Have you read Chapter One?
"So what do you think looks tasty?"
Tom was perusing the menu. Anne was looking, but not really absorbing what was available.
The car ride to the restaurant had been uneventful, but Anne's nerves and excitement were starting to get the better of her. Or so she thought.
She had never been particularly good at small talk, and making conversation with a new man she didn't really know anything about was proving a little difficult.
Tom talked about the area as he drove past. He certainly had some history - Tom seemed to know everything about the local landmarks and the people in the area.
After they arrived, Tom had jumped out of the car and opened Anne's door for her. She certainly wasn't used to such service!
Tom brought his jacket into the restaurant from the car, and just hung it over his arm. When they got to their table (Tom had called ahead), he hooked his jacket on his chair.
"I think that the special sounds pretty good - fresh, locally caught fish. I haven't had fish pie, but I'll give it a try!" Tom chuckled at his rhyme.
Anne hated the very thought of someone else ordering for her. Just doing things for her in general made her uneasy. She is a grown woman and can handle herself - thank you very much!
"I'm not a fan of seafood myself, said Anne.
"Really? You don't like mussels or oysters either? I don't know what I would do without them!" said Tom.
"Really, truly. Not a fan of seafood. But I more than make up for it with other foods. I'm a glutton for chocolate if that counts."
Anne noticed Tom had started to look like he was regretting his fish pie decision.
"I certainly have no issue with other people eating seafood though."
Tom seemed to relax.
The food arrived - Tom had his fish pie and Anne had her roast pork. Pork had always been her favourite, and this dinner looked delicious.
With their wine and hearty meals, the conversation soon turned to their what they were doing now.
Anne explained that she was relatively new to the area and finding her feet. She was enjoying it (sort of), but clearly she was having a bit of a tough time. She glossed over the reasons why she moved - she didn't feel comfortable revealing that just yet.
Tom had grown up locally, been to school and then started work as a carpenter. Unfortunately it wasn't as enjoyable as he'd hoped so he'd decided to join the army.
After he joined the army he was sent overseas to the Pacific Islands for some peacekeeping missions. Over there he had developed a tan, been worked pretty hard but had a good time. Tom had enjoyed mixing with the locals, and helping people who really needed it. The extreme poverty had obviously affected him.
"Since my last tour, I've tried to do what I can locally to help out others less fortunate. I try to volunteer at the local soup kitchen and organise donation runs for local charities and sports clubs."
This was a breath of fresh air for Anne. She was used to meeting people intent on money and power - not helping others. She was really starting to like Tom. Obviously his job had contributed to his strength and fitness.
Before too long, they had finished their wines and meal. Declining dessert, Tom offered to pay. Anne wouldn't hear of it and paid for half - leaving a small tip for the decent service.
"Shall we go for a stroll?"
While the weather had been cool, today seemed to be an exception. For a winter's evening it was relatively balmy, and spending more time with Tom seemed like a great idea to Anne.
Anne shivered from a cool gust of wind.
"Would you like my jacket, Anne?" Tom offered.
While it seemed rude to take his jacket and potentially leave him cold, it was too difficult for Anne to say no. Her attire meant that she was going to be rather cold indeed without it.
Eating ice cream on a date had always seemed like such a cliche, but Anne was having the time of her life.
After an hour's walk, they got in Tom's car and drove to Anne's unit. Tom opened Anne's door again and walked with her to her doorstep.
Tom leant in towards Anne. She could feel his warm, sweet breath. He smelt like the double chocolate ice cream he'd finished not half an hour before. Anne felt herself move closer too.
He was taller than her, and smoothly adjusted his height to make it easier for the two of them. Tom's arm went behind Anne - almost as if to encourage her to lean in further.
Tom gently kissed Anne on the lips. Anne's whole body relaxed, but her heartbeat was going a million miles an hour. It was a phenomenal kiss, and Anne didn't want it to end. The light touch of his lips on hers made them tingle.
After moments, they pulled apart.
"I'll call you." Tom called out to Anne as she turned the key and entered her unit. Anne smiled.
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