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Death of a Bachelor; i mean it's a song title but not a schmaltzy cute one
Topic Started: Feb 5 2016, 10:42 PM (527 Views)
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Nathan checked his watch for probably the tenth time in the last few minutes as he hurried down the sidewalk. He wasn't running late, actually, but he couldn't discount the possibility of some kind of disaster striking between his leaving rehearsal and arriving at the Diamondback to meet Mia, like road construction or a stray asteroid striking him out of the blue. Meteorite? He didn't know what they were called and when, but it wasn't entirely out of the question.

These rapid, irrational trains of thought were unlike him, but the reality of the situation hadn't really sunk in until shortly before he left. He'd asked a girl out on a date. A date. With Mia. He'd always thought she was cheery and nice, not to mention cute, but hadn't even considered the possibility of making a move until he'd already gone and done it.

Unless of course she didn't take things that way at all and he made things unbearably awkward between them for the rest of their admittedly short high school lives. The thought of that was almost enough to stop him in his tracks and make him reconsider, but if he stopped to reconsider he'd probably be late. Better late than never, perhaps, but... well, if he let his nerves get the better of him, "never" was a distinct possibility. Mia didn't deserve that, especially when any potential awkwardness was Nathan's fault.

He nearly stopped anyways when he arrived in front of the ice cream parlor and saw Mia staring out the window right at him. Dammit, was his watch slow? Had she just gotten here early? Didn't actually matter in the end, he supposed, and she'd already seen him so he couldn't let nerves take over now.

Nathan took a deep breath and oh God what if he was all sweaty and gross-looking? He'd freshened up as much as possible after dance, but then he'd rushed over here and it was a warm day and...

And well, she'd already seen him. Nothing to do about it now, yeah? She didn't look repulsed, so he took in another breath and entered the ice cream parlor, sliding into the seat across from Mia with a smile. "Hey, did I keep you waiting?"
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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Nathan breathed a small sigh of relief when Mia admitted that she'd gotten there early, rather than him being late. He really, really didn't want to screw this up. "Dance went good. Uh, well. It went well. Did you have any practices today?"

Thank God for deep breathing techniques. He couldn't very well start doing full breathing exercises in the middle of the ice cream parlor, but straightening his posture and trying to steady his breathing went a ways towards helping him calm down. Yoga saves the day again.

"Oh, and what were you planning on ordering? I can pay, if you're alright with that." He hoped Mia wouldn't be put off by him offering to pay up front, but better to get it out of the way now than to have an awkward argument later over who should foot the bill. It wasn't like the Diamondback was particularly expensive, and he'd been careful to save up a bit for this.
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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"No, no, you look fine!" Seemed like they'd had some of the same worries, which was... Nathan wasn't sure he'd call it "good", but maybe reassuring. Mia wasn't snobby, of course, but he'd still had some reservations about what she'd think of him coming directly from rehearsal. Fortunately, those worries seemed unfounded.

He smiled in what he hoped was a reassuring way when Mia asked about him paying. "Yeah, I don't mind at all. I asked you out, so it's only fair. And as for the menu, I guess it depends on how hungry you are. They've got burgers and fries if you don't mind greasy stuff, but I usually just come here when I want an ice cream. The mint chocolate chip is really good, I usually get that."
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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Nathan wasn't sure if he should smile or not as Mia rambled on; he didn't want to look like he was making fun of her, but most of what she did was normally pretty amusing and this was no exception. She still seemed nervous though, edging on uncomfortable.

"Are you feeling alright? I'm not making you uncomfortable, am I?"

Maybe he was coming on too strong, offering to pay and all? It had been a while since he'd been on an actual date, and will his nerves had mostly settled he still wasn't entirely sure what to do with himself. He wasn't sure if he should keep making eye contact or look away and give Mia a break, but he also didn't want to look uninterested or distracted.

Maybe he ought to go ahead and order some food so they could have something to occupy them until they both calmed down.
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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"No, not at all!" Nathan rushed to reassure Mia. "You're not messing anything up. I'm kind of nervous too, actually, it's been a while since I asked anyone out. So don't worry, okay? We can just eat and hang out, no pressure."

He ran a hand through his hair while he considered the selection of food and ice cream. "It's kind of early for dinner, but I'm thinking of getting some actual food before ice cream, since I just came from practice and all. Would you want to split some fries or something?" Food was usually a safe topic that people could discuss, and he wouldn't be surprised if Mia was also jonesing for a snack after her activities.

In a way, the awkwardness made him feel better. They both wanted to make the date good without overstepping their bounds with each other, and they were communicating about it, or trying to. It felt like their first steps were going in the right direction, which was something he always worried about. Some people could make relationships work after a rocky start, but early warning signs tended to stick in Nathan's mind.
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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Nathan smiled back, feeling the last little bit of tension slip away as Mia brightened up. "It was better, right? It always is, once you remember it's not the end of the world. The first time I fell down during a recital, I thought I was going to have to quit forever because I'd always be that guy who fell onstage and messed up the show. And you know, people still do bring it up sometimes, but nobody decided that I was terrible just because I tripped."

He rubbed the back of his neck, laughing a little as he remembered. "I still get nervous sometimes before a performance, but I try to remind myself of that when I do. Just to keep in mind that it won't be too bad if I do mess up, you know?"

"So, how about those fries?" He waved to a loitering server so that they could make their order. They were talking and seemed to be getting into the groove now, so that was the first obstacle out of the way. Promising start, and even though Nathan had told himself that he'd be okay with whatever happened today as long as he and Mia were still on good terms by the end of it, he couldn't help feeling a pleasant little bubble of excitement and anticipation at how they were getting along.
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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Nathan couldn't help but wince, both in sympathy with Mia's story and a bit of embarrassment at his mistaken assumption. Still, it wasn't all bad. If anything, it spoke to Mia's determination and chipper attitude, both things that he liked and admired about her. "Heh... yeah, that's pretty much how I see it. If you didn't feel a little nervous about how things would go, your heart might not really be in it, you know? It motivates you to get better."

"But yeah, food. Now for the really important stuff." He grinned and turned to wave down a loitering server to place their order.

"And, uh, I don't mind you talking. But I guess I could find something to ramble about too, if it would make you feel better. There's always something going on." That last part might have been a little more true than he wanted it to be, and in a somewhat less pleasant way, but, well... There were plenty of fun and good things in with the bad, usually. Right now was a pretty good time.

Both in the general sense and the much more immediate, given his company.
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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"Oh man, what hasn't been going on?" Nathan leaned back in his seat and ran a hand through his hair. "There's the spring recital coming up, so we've been spending a lot of time on that. Plus school and graduation in a few months... Michelle's got all this stuff going on with dance and sports and school too, and I usually go to all her stuff since our parents are busy." Probably shouldn't go into too much more detail there, lest all the little unpleasant things start spilling out and wreck the mood they'd just managed to save.

"I'm really excited for the recital, though. We're doing more contemporary stuff and it's supposed to be all abstract and artsy. It's pretty cool. A bit more exciting for some people than classic shows, you know?" Talking about dance was good, it was safe. No risk of letting his neuroses run wild all over the date. "I don't think I've asked before - have you ever gotten into any kind of dance?"

Nathan glanced up with a smile as their plate of fries was delivered, taking advantage of the lull to take one. And to immediately wince as he bit into piping hot potato. Smooth move, Lovegrove. "Careful, they're really hot."
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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Mia's retort startled a laugh out of Nathan, leading him to cover his mouth with his hand and inadvertently smush more hot french fry against his face. Wow. He was really pulling off this whole "smooth guy on a date" thing, huh.

Giving up on being discreet, he quickly grabbed a napkin and wiped his mouth off. "Sorry about that. Cheerleading's cool, you guys definitely don't get enough credit for how demanding it is. Dance is kind of like that too, I guess." He plucked another fry from the plate between them once he was relatively certain enough time had passed for it to not scald him. Speaking of the recital, should he invite Mia? Would that be a weird thing to do - "hey, since this is going pretty well, want to come out in a weekend or two and watch me jump around on stage in tights?"

Though he did look pretty good in them, he supposed.

No, probably better to wait and see if Mia expressed actual interest before going and doing that. Nathan didn't want to come off as overeager for anything, as much as he enjoyed her company. Sports was a safer topic, and one she was clearly enthusiastic about. "So, do you have a favorite sport out of all the ones you do? I know BMX competition is a pretty big deal."
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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"Yeah..." Mia had inadvertently stumbled on something there, alright. Nathan at least has a pretty good idea of what he wanted to do after graduation; he had been looking into actual dance academies in the area, nothing too expensive or too far from home. Four years, or however long it took to get his certification as an instructor. Maybe he'd come back to Kingman, or maybe he'd head to a bigger city where there was more opportunity for a young person who had just gotten their degree. Either way, he didn't have too much pulling him in different directions when it came to higher education and a career.

Outside that, though...

There was no saying exactly how much longer Nana was going to live, but five, ten years down the line... well, that was it. She was old, and her mind was going, and that was how it went. Circle of life and all that. But until she passed away, they'd keep taking care of her, keep spending money, and his parents would keep fighting and dragging him and Michelle into the middle of it. Nathan didn't see a divorce in the cards until either Nana passed or Michelle graduated, but he did see it. Five, ten years down the line...

This was no train of thought that he needed to be pursuing right now, though. He shook his head to clear his momentary melancholy and smiled at Mia again, though it was a little forced. "Well, you've got some choices lined up, at least. I'm sure somebody will be willing to give you a good deal for sports or something else you're interested in."

Nathan racked his brain for some other topic to turn the conversation to, before they both got bogged down in their respective future worries. "Do you have anything fun planned for the end of the school year, or summer? There's stuff coming up at school too, like the last baseball games and Sadie Hawkins..."

Oh. Right. Nathan suddenly realized just how much it sounded like he was dropping hints for Mia to ask him to the dance. That hadn't been his intent at all, but it was out in the open now. Oops.
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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