His life was in the dumps. He lived in a one-bedroom apartment, all alone. He often ate Captain Crunch cereal for dinner and worked full time at a Target store at the customer service center. Ken wasn't proud of his life. After all, he had graduated from college with a degree in radio and television. He worked at a TV station for 3 years before the recession happened. Once he was fired from being a cameraman for the five o'clock news, Ken had no idea what to do. Due to the poor economy, the only job he was able to get was at Target, with the help of his younger sister Marie who worked as a cashier there. He was thankful for it, but missed working in the TV industry.
Ken hadn't had a girlfriend for over a year. Deena, his last girlfriend left him when she found a man that had a job. So much for the promise of for richer or poorer. Ken was glad he had never married her. Sure, he was lonely but he figured once he got back on his feet, he'd be ok. Little did he know that Target customer service jobs don't pay as well as cameramen jobs. He could barely pay his rent much less afford food. He got discounts because of his job there, but sometimes it wasn't enough.
He lived paycheck to paycheck just like a lot of other people. He got up around nine each morning, took a shower, drank his coffee, went to work, came home after ten at night and got up and did the same thing the next day. He was stuck in a rut and he knew it. He wanted to have a better life. He wanted to have a woman. He wanted to get a better place. He wanted a new car. He wanted so many things, yet he couldn't. He figured things could get better but as the months went by, he knew he was trapped in a rat race.
The show was called Dared. It aired every Thursday night at eight o'clock. The show was about doing daring deeds. They'd ask you to do something that you never thought you'd do for a certain amount of money. Some people let spiders crawl on them. Some people walked on glass, some were kept underwater until they nearly passed out. They offered good money. Any range between $50,000 to $250,000 depending on how daring the stunt would be.
He host of the show, Rick Vee, a 30-something year old that shaved his head and wore a goatee, traveled from town to town getting people that were just walking by and asking them to do something disgusting or dangerous for money. It was simply a show that let you see how desperate people were for money.
Rick Vee loved to select people who seemed to be down on their luck. He figured those were the easiest targets. Those people would do anything for money. They were the people that kept the show on the air. Without the naïve and desperate, Dared would bomb.
Ken was an avid fan of Dared. He made sure that he had no major plans on Thursday nights and even offered to work Saturdays just so he could be off on Thursdays. Even when it was reruns, he still loved to sit back with a Bud Light and watch just how far people would go for money. It was a show that helped him escape his reality and made him think if HE'D do anything for money. He'd always keep tabs where the show would be at each week and hoped the show would be in his town.
Ken rang up that last customer of the night. A short woman returning a DVD player that she said never worked. Oh well. Ken knew it would only be repackaged and put out to be sold again. That was the Target way.
"Hey Kenny, you think you can work for me tomorrow?"
Ken turned to see his coworker Zac, a 22 year old surfer guy. Zac had a crooked nose, long blonde hair and a dark tan.
"Naw, Can't. I'm busy," Kenny lied.
Zac shrugged. He looked at Max, Ken's other coworker but Max stopped him before Zac could even ask. "Don't even ask. I'm busy too and so is everyone else," Max said bluntly.
Zac groaned. "Oh man, it's my birthday tomorrow. Can't you guys give me a break?"
Ken laughed. "Yeah, I thought your birthday was in December?" It was not the middle of March.
Zac laughed. "Oh yeah. Damn I forgot you were at my party."
"Fuckin' pot head," Max said and went to the back to finish stocking. Zac shot him an evil glance.
"Sorry bro," Ken smiled.
Zac shrugged. "It was worth a try. I wanted to go to The Raveonettes concert. I'll probably just call in sick."
"Watch out, they might fire you," Ken warned.
Zac scoffed. "They'd be doing me a favor."
Ken nodded. "Ah, I suppose you don't have to worry about paying rent huh? You live at home and you're still young. Oh those were the days."
Zac laughed. "Living at home sucks major balls. I can't even bring chicks over."
"Well, maybe if you concentrated on working instead of always missing work, you'd have money to get your own place."
Zac rolled his eyes. "Oh yeah. I'd make lots of money working at this dump. I'd be filthy rich."
"Hey, it's better than nothing bro. Be thankful you got a job. A lot of people are homeless."
"I got my mom and pops to take care of me. It's all good."
Ken laughed. "Whatever man." He looked at the clock and it was closing time. Thank God. He went to the back to take some more returned items and found Max talking to Ken's sister, Marie. Marie was only 20. She was still going to college and working part-time as a cashier. She was the one that had gotten Ken his job. She was waiting for Ken to drive her home. She was still saving up to buy her own car and lived at home with their mom since their dad was passed away when Marie was only four and Ken had been eleven years old.
"Kenny," Marie called out. Her dark black hair was pulled back in a ponytail and her pale blue eyes looked tired.
"Hey sis. Ready to bounce on out of here?"
Marie laughed. "Stop trying to sound hip. But yes, I'm ready to go."
They all turned to see Lily walking towards them. Lily was tall, slim and really, really pretty, at least to Ken she was. She had shoulder length brown hair, soft brown eyes and an inviting smile. Ken had liked her immediately but felt she might be too young for him. It was his rule to date females 25 and up. He was ready for a serious relationship and really young girls only wanted to have fun.
"You forgot your phone," Lily said breathlessly handing Marie her cell phone.
"Oh shit. Thanks. I forgot I had left it at my station."
Lily laughed. A sweet harmonic laugh. "I heard your phone go off. I think you got a text message. That's how I knew you'd left it."
She looked at Ken and smiled shyly. Marie noticed the intensity every time Ken and Lily were around each other. She wished that they would just start dating instead of being so damn shy.
"You remember Kenny right?" Marie blurted out.
Lily looked at Ken and nodded. Her face was turning red. Ken was blushing as well. "Hey," he said quietly.
"Hey Lily you going with us after all?" Max interrupted Ken and Lily's moment.
"Yeah. I already got my tickets."
"Where you all going?" Marie asked curiously.
"The Raveonettes concert. It's tomorrow night," Max answered.
Ken stared at Lily. She seemed excited to go to the concert. Although he never really heard of The Raveonettes, he wanted to go too. "Oh yeah? Are they sold out?"
Max nodded. "Nah. Why? You want to go too?"
"I want to go!" Marie yelped.
"You like The Raveonettes?" Max asked.
Marie nodded. "Of course! I just hadn't thought of buying the tickets because I didn't know any of you were going!"
Max laughed. "No, I was asking your OLDER brother here."
Ken smirked. "Yeah, yeah why do you always got to tease me about my age bro? You're only two years younger so shut the hell up."
Max playfully punched Ken in the arm. "I'm just playing. Yeah why don't you two come along too? Missy and Joe from electronics are going with us. We'll make it a group thing. We're all meeting up at the concert."
Ken's heart leaped. He didn't think he had enough money to buy tickets but he was going to find a way to get the money. A chance to hang out with Lily was one he could not pass up. He had a few CD's he no longer listened to that he could sell and some books. He thought of heading over to the electronics department to purchase The Raveonettes CD so he wouldn't be totally clueless about their music. He had all night to stay up and listen to it over and over again. He'd sleep during the day. He'd be missing Dared, but it was worth it just to hang with Lily.
"That sounds fun. Hope you two can make it. I got to get going," Lily said before flashing a sweet and sexy smile to Ken. "Bye guys," she waved and walked away slowly.
"Bye," Ken managed to say several seconds later.
Marie rolled her eyes. "You ready?"
"Wait," Ken said and turned to Max, "is the electronics department still open?"
He got lucky that Joe from electronics had let him take The Raveonettes "Lust, Lust, Lust" CD for free. After ken told him he wanted to join them for the concert. He put it on in his car CD player as soon as he dropped Marie off at home. He liked the music and thought Lily had great taste. The songs were catchy and had that noisy cool beat to them.
After getting to his apartment, he put the CD in his CD player and turned it up. Not too loud after all his neighbors might get upset. It was Wednesday night and people had early jobs to get to in the morning.
He cleaned up a bit as the music played. He figured he might clean just in case if they group wanted to go hang out at his place after the concert. He looked through his CD's and books and got a few he wanted to sell. He called up Ticketmaster to see what the price for the tickets were. He gulped when he heard $30.00. He'd be lucky to get $20.00 for his books and CD's. He began looking through his couch and found a crumpled dollar bill and a few coins. All together he got $1.82.
He cursed and continued looking. Maybe he could ask Marie but he felt bad for doing that. After all she was only a college student and working part-time. It just wouldn't be right. He could only hope that they'd give him enough money to buy the tickets. He knew he'd need more than $30.00 to buy Lily and himself a beer or two.
He checked his wallet and found a five dollar bill and found two more quarters near his coffee table. Damn, he didn't want to ask anyone for help but times were desperate. He'd wake up early the next day to see how much money he could get for his books and CD's first and then maybe talk to Marie and plead with her. Suddenly, he remembered that she'd given him $20.00 the week before for gas money since he was the one that drove her everywhere.
He jumped up from the couch and ran to his hamper where he threw his dirty clothes in. He tried to remember what pants he'd worn that past week. He remembered he was tired when Marie had given him the money. He just took it and put it in his pants pocket.
He dug out all his pants and searched each one frantically. A twenty dollar bill would help so much! He looked and looked until he found it. He pulled out the folded bill and secretly thanked the lord!
The next day, Ken woke up early enough to head to the bookstore to sell his CD's and books. They gave him fifteen dollars for everything. He was thankful and hoped he had at least some money for at least one beer for him and Lily. He called Marie to see if she was going to buy her ticket so he could go pick her up. He'd almost forgot that she was in class. He left her a voicemail and decided to wait at the bookstore before going.
Marie called him a few minutes later. Sure enough she'd been in class.
"Sorry," Ken apologized.
"Its' ok bro, my phone was turned off. I just saw your missed call. What's up?"
"Are you going to buy your ticket? I can pick you up at school if you want."
"Ugh, I wish! Guess what? I totally forgot that I got a study group date tonight. I'm struggling with Bio and if I fail, that means my financial aid goes. I can't afford to miss it."
Ken's heart sank. "Are you serious? I mean can't you study another night?"
Marie laughed. "Uh ... no. What's the deal? Didn't you always tell me how important school is?"
Ken found it hard to breathe. He wanted to go to this concert so bad! He wanted to get to know Lily but he needed Marie to be there just in case he had nothing to say. "Yeah ... I just thought you'd go to the concert with ... us."
"Kenny," Marie began, "It's ok. Just talk to her. Be your own sweet self and believe me, she'll love you."
Kenny smiled. His sister was always so reassuring. "I'm nervous."
"I know you are. Just relax. Talk to her about anything other than work. Ask her about what he likes to do for fun or if she's read any good books. I know she likes to read so that might be a good conversation."
Kenny sighed. The smell of coffee and pastries from the café in the bookstore were making his stomach growl. He hadn't realized that he hadn't eaten since lunch the day before. As much as he wanted to eat there, he had to save his money for the concert. He had some mac and cheese he could make at home.
"Thanks sis. Love you."
"Love you. Bye and good luck!"
He clicked off his cell phone and decided to go buy his ticket. Then he'd go home, eat and take get some sleep. He'd fall asleep to The Raveonettes CD.
When Ken woke up, it was almost six at night. The concert would start at eight. He went to take a shower and ate some cereal so he wouldn't be starving at the concert. He had to watch his money. He knew how expensive food was at concerts. He hadn't decided what to wear yet. He looked through his closet and went with a black polo shirt and some faded blue jeans. He slipped on his black Sketchers. He shaved and combed his jet-black hair. He figured he looked decent. That's what he hated about first dates. Everyone always needed to make some kind of impression. No one was real on first dates.
He called up Max just to confirm that he was still going. Max said he was already going out the door and that he'd call him once he was at the concert hall. Ken took one last look in the mirror before leaving. He took a deep breath and assured himself that everything would go good. "Here goes nothing," he said and left.
Once he got to the concert hall, he parked and quickly began to look for Max. Max had called him already to let him where to look for him. It took only a few minutes until Ken found Max. He was with Missy and Joe, but where was Lily?
"Hey Kenny," Missy greeted him and gave him a quick hug.
"Hey Missy, Hey guys," Ken shook hands with Joe and bumped fists with Max.
"We're just waiting for Lily," Missy announced.
"Is she coming?" Ken asked anxiously.
"Of course," Max replied, "She's just running late. I think she had to stay a little after her shift. She'd taken the morning shift so she could make it out her tonight."
Ken smiled. Just the thought of Lily soon showing up was making him feel happy and excited. They all waited around and chatted for a while. Ken didn't really know Missy or Joe too well but he liked them because they were laid back and talked about music mostly.
"Sorry, sorry, sorry." A gentle voice came up from behind Ken. Ken's heart raced. He knew it was her. He could smell her jasmine scent from a mile away.
"Hey it's cool," Max said. "C'mon guys, that gates just opened."
Ken turned and saw Lily. He'd never really seen her out of her Target uniform. She wore a black tight fitting tip with the word BEBE in rhinestones across it. Blue jeans and brown shoes, she looked casual but sexy as hell.
"Hey," Ken said.
"Hi," she replied and smiled timidly. "Where's Marie?"
Kenny shrugged. "She couldn't make it."
"Oh ... that's too bad," Lily said.
"Yeah. I wanted her to come but she had some school stuff to do."
"Oh ... I see." Her voice was quiet. It was hard to tell if she was even remotely into him.
They walked side by side into the concert hall. It was loud and the concession stands were already filled with long lines. The concert was general admission so that meant no assigned areas. They decided to stand by the stage towards the side. Not too close to the speakers but close enough to see the band. Lily stood next to Ken.
"I'm sorry Marie couldn't make it, but I'm glad you did," Lily said. Her words were barely audible in the midst of the crowd, but Ken heard her. Her words touched his heart.
"I'm glad I made it too," Ken said and smiled at her. Just then the band came on stage and the crowd went crazy. Ken watched how Lily's eyes lit up as she sang along with the songs and she swayed her body side to side sometimes slightly rubbing against him. Ken found himself enjoying the band even more live, than on CD.
When they started playing "With my eyes closed," Ken was in a daze. He was finding it hard not to stare at Lily. She looked so pretty that night. He watched her sing along and every now and then their eyes would meet. She had a glow to her that he'd never seen before. He wanted to know how old she was but was almost afraid. He knew he wanted a woman 25 and up but just for Lily he'd make that exception. He figured she might be just a year older than Marie, but now days you could never tell.
"You want a beer or something?" Ken leaned down to ask her.
She looked up at him and nodded. "Yeah that'd be great. Can I go with you?"
That pleased Ken more than anything. He told Max where they were going but Max was too much into the music to even care. They walked out together. He put his hand on the back of her lower back leading her among the crowd of people.
Once outside, Ken took a deep breath. Lily lifted her hair up. She was sweating. They walked towards the concession stand line, which was now a lot shorter. They stood for a moment without saying much just glancing at each other and at the people surrounding them.
"What do you want? Any beer in particular?" Ken asked.
"A corona would be great. But whatever is good. I hardly drink but a nice cold beer sounds great right now."
"You got your ID?" Ken asked hesitantly. This would be the chance to know her age.
"Uh..." she began to dig into her jean pocket. She pulled out some cash, a debit card and her ID. "I sure do."
The line moved. "So ... if you don't mind me asking. How old are you?" Ken waited.
Lily tossed her hair back. "26 and you?"
Ken's jaw dropped. "26? Are you serious?"
She giggled. "Yes I am. Here, take a look."
She flashed him her ID and sure enough she was only a year younger than Ken. It was hard to believe. She could barely pass for 21. "I just thought you were much younger that's all. It's cool. I'm 27."
She licked her lips. Her lip gloss was wearing off. "I see ... well you don't look 27. I figured 25 maybe?"
Ken smiled. "Yeah flattering me will get you every where."
Lily looked up at him. She batted her long eyelashes. "Hmm is that so?"
Ken gulped. "Maybe."
She laughed softly and nodded towards the line. It had moved again.
"So what are you into Lily?" Ken asked. He wanted to know everything about her. The way she looked at him and blushed when she talked to him was making him feel good.
"Well ... I'm into music, books, art. I'm going to school part-time to finish my degree in Education. I want to teach junior high."
Ken was impressed. "Yeah? Why junior high?"
She shrugged. "I'm good with adolescents. I thought about maybe even teaching high school, but I want to try junior high first."
"I see ... that sounds pretty cool. Marie is an education major too. She wants to teach elementary though. She says teenagers now days scare her."
"I have my college degree in radio and television but yet I work at Target." Ken teased.
But Lily did not laugh. "That's ok. You'll get a job soon. Marie had told me what happened. I'm sorry to hear about your camera man job."
"Yeah, that's life I guess. I've been applying but no luck. I've even tried radio since I was told I have the voice for it, but no luck there either. I should have gone for law or medicine."
Lily looked up at him with a serious but pretty face. "No, you should study what you like."
Ken was enjoying talking to her each minute that passed. They finally reached to counter and ordered. Ken ordered a Corona for Lily and one for himself. They walked back into the concert although secretly, they both wanted to stay outside and keep talking.
Two hours later, the group hung out outside of the concert venue. Missy, Joe and Max were busy going on about how great the concert had been. Ken had to agree he had a blast but it wasn't' because of the band.
"Well, I got to go," Lily said hesitantly. "I got one class tomorrow morning."
Ken felt disappointed. "Can I walk you to your car?"
He saw her face light up. "Sure, yeah."
"Ok guys we're going to get going. See you all tomorrow," Ken announced. Lily said her own goodbyes and they walked out together.
They pushed through a crowd before getting to the parking lot. Once outside the humid night air pressed against them.
"Phew! God it is hot!" Lily said lifting her hair again. Ken found that to be extremely sexy.
"Yeah it is. Did you enjoy the concert?"
They walked slowly towards Lily's car. "Yeah I did. I'm so glad you came Kenny."
He liked the way she said his name. He usually only let Marie call him Kenny, but he loved the way Lily said it.
"Me too. I had a great time."
They stopped in front of Lily's car. It was a gray Honda Accord. "Well, here's my car. I hope you're not parked too far away?"
Ken really didn't care how much further he'd have to walk to get to his car. "Not too far," he lied.
Lily pulled her car key out of her other pant pocket. Ken thought it was cool she hadn't brought her handbag. She just brought what she needed. "Ok ... well ... goodnight Kenny. I'll see you at work tomorrow?" Lily looked hopeful.
"Yeah," Ken said. His eyes never left hers.
She licked her lips and reached up to place a kiss on his right cheek. "Thanks again. Goodnight." She climbed into her car and left it on idle for a minute before taking off. She looked at him and he at her.
Ken stood there in shock. He never thought she'd do something as sweet as kiss him. Maybe not on the lips but the way her breath had briefly felt against his skin as she reached to kiss his cheek, was amazing! She was amazing!
She waved goodbye and pulled out of the parking lot. Ken waved back and began to walk back to his car. It had been one of the best nights in a long time. He'd been so alone and now she had hope that maybe, just maybe Lily would want to be more than friends.
The next few days at work were quite pleasant. Ken loved to steal glances at Lily. They'd secretly flirt with their eyes. He could see her from where he was. Every now and then she'd make a funny face and make him life and vise versa. They were being silly but Ken loved how their slow flirtation was making him feel.
"Oh my god! Kenny, just ask her out on a "real" date!"
Ken jumped up hadn't realized Marie was standing behind him.
"Jesus Christ Marie. You scared me."
She giggled quietly. "Sorry. Just want you to be happy bro and I know Lily makes you happy. You know I haven't seen you this upbeat since ... well, we won't mention her name now will we?"
Ken knew she meant Deena. That was before he discovered how Deena really was. "Yeah ... well ... that was the past."
"I know Lily really likes you." Marie said and began to walk away.
Ken grabbed his sister's arm. "Whoa! Wait a minute. How do you know she really likes me? She told you?"
Marie rolled her eyes. "Well duh! She doesn't have to tell me. All she ever does is ask about you. She asks if you live with me and mom. She asked what TV station you worked in. She asked if you had a girlfriend and how old you were ... blah, blah blah. I mean when I'm interested I a guy I ask about him."
Ken blushed. "Yeah? Why didn't you ever tell me before?"
"You never asked."
Ken hugged her. "I love you sis. I love you more now that you've given me this information."
Marie playfully hit his arm. "Whatever."
Ken turned to see Lily eyeing him. He knew it was time to make a date.
Ken was surprised when Lily agreed to go out with him Sunday night. Luckily, they were both off on Sundays. Ken had agreed to go pick her up and they'd go have dinner. He was glad to have gotten paid that Friday. He wanted to take her to The Olive Garden or Red Lobster. He wasn't sure if she was into Italian or Seafood.
Just as he was getting dressed that early Sunday evening, Marie called him. He saw her number flash on his cell phone and he smiled. "Yes?" He answered arrogantly.
"You getting ready for your hot date?" Marie asked.
"You know it." He studied himself in the mirror.
"Where you taking her? Please don't tell me Taco Bell or Wendy's."
Ken laughed. "Of course not. I'm not new to this dating scene you know. What kind of food does she like do you know?"
"Hmm ... I always see her eat salads or sandwiches so I'm not really sure."
Ken sighed. He began to comb his hear as he held the cell phone with his other hand. "What do you think of The Olive Garden?"
"Yeah that's decent. What do you plan to do after dinner? Don't tell me you're taking her to a movie."
"Uh yeah maybe. Why?"
Marie groaned. "Because a movie is not a good choice for a first date. I mean you want to get to know that person as much as you can and if you go to a movie, you can't really talk."
She had a good point, Ken had to agree. "What do you suggest then sis?"
There was a brief silence. "How about you take her bowling or maybe just go for a nice walk. Or a nice drive downtown? That way you can talk to her more."
"I guess I should leave it up to Lily don't you think? I mean what if she just wants dinner and that's all?"
"What's so funny?" Ken asked curiously.
"Believe me bro. That's not all she'll want."
Ken gulped. "What?" He stopped combing his hair.
"Oh nothing," Marie teased. "Well, I got to go."
"Wait!" Ken asked almost dropping his comb.
It was too late. Marie had already hung up. Sometimes his little sister could be so damn cruel. But he loved her anyway.
Ken went to pick Lily up a little after seven that evening. He wore a blue polo shirt and black slacks. When he arrived at her apartment, he was expecting her to be wearing some jeans and a hot top, but instead his jaw almost hit the ground when she opened the door wearing a sexy but sweet spaghetti strap green and white sundress. Her hair was pinned up with curls hanging down.
"Hey Kenny," she said softly. "You want to come in?"
Ken could only nod. He was speechless.
He trailed her into her apartment, closing the door behind him. It was a small place but it was cozy. She had pictures up on the wall of her family. There was a small fish tank between the living room and kitchen. She had a love seat and a small couch. Her entertainment center had a 22 inch plasma TV, a shelf stereo and many CD's and DVD's.
"Do you want something to drink before we go?" She asked humbly.
"Uh ... ok ... yeah."
She looked over at him from the kitchen. "Ok go on and have a seat. What do you want to drink? I got ginger ale, Coke, water and lemonade."
Ken shrugged. "Water is fine with me."
She grabbed two bottled waters and went to join him in the living room. She handed him his water and went over to the stereo and began to play a Natasha Bedingfield CD.
"Whatever we do tonight, let's promise not to talk about work ok?" She said as she walked over to him. Taking a seat next to him she opened up her own bottled water and began sipping.
"Hey, it's a deal," Ken promised.
"I had fun at the concert," Lily began.
Ken nodded. "Me too. I wasn't really going to go but when I found out you were going I just had to invite myself."
Ken swore he saw her blush. She looked even prettier. He was feeling very comfortable with her at that moment. The music was nice and it went with her.
"Hey this music is pretty cool. The singer has a nice voice."
"Yeah, I agree. I love her music."
"Who is this?" Ken asked as he moved his head to the beat.
"Hmmm I gotta check out her music."
"I could make you a copy if you're nice," Lily teased.
Ken laughed. "Yeah, that'd be great."
Suddenly, she reached over and put her hand over his. Her hand felt somewhat cold from having held the chilled bottle of water. It didn't take long for her hand to warm up. "I'm glad we're going out tonight Kenny. I like you ... a lot."
Ken was the one to blush this time. "I like you too. A lot." He turned his hand over and let his fingers entwine with hers. They stared at each other for a moment. He wanted to kiss her, but figured the night was still young.
"You ready to go?" He asked hesitantly.
She smiled. "Yup. Let me just go get my handbag." They slowly released their hand holding.
Ken anxiously waited for her. Suddenly he felt a bit nervous but it was a good kind of nervous. It was the kind where you know something good is going to happen but are almost afraid for it to happen, yet can't wait for it to happen.
Lily came back a few seconds later. "Ok, let's go."
Dinner at Olive Garden was wonderful. Ken and Lily talked for over two hours. They ate their salad and bread sticks while they chatted about what their likes and dislikes were. During their entrée they talked about what future plans they had and by dessert, Ken knew he was in love. He loved everything about this girl. She was mature and had better things to talk about than what color of nail polish she should buy.
After dinner, they headed out to a blues bar to get some beer and listen to good blues music. They were still able to have a decent conversation over the loud music. After just two beers they decided to call it a night. Lily had school the next day and Ken didn't want to waste his morning sleeping in. He drove Lily home and walked her to her apartment. It was already past midnight.
"Kenny, I had a really good time tonight," Lily said sweetly as she looked up at him.
"I did too. When can we hang out again?" He asked anxiously.
She smiled. "How about next Sunday? Or Thursday? I know those are your days off right? I think we have the same days off."
Ken nodded. "Sounds like a plan. Hey maybe Thursday you can come over and hang out at my place. I'll order in some pizza or Chinese and we can just watch some tv and relax. Bring my copy of the Natasha Bedingfield CD so we can listen it."
She was beaming. "That sounds perfect! I'll bring the pizza if you provide the Corona beer. I love just relaxing at home. Hope you don't mind if I wear something comfortable do you? I mean I love wearing dresses and heels, but no girl is really comfortable wearing them."
Ken laughed. "Hey no problem. Just be yourself. I like you."
She moved closer to him. "I like you Kenny. I think I've liked you since the first day Marie pointed you out when you were applying at Target. She said 'there's my brother. Hope he gets the job'. Secretly I was hoping you'd get the job too."
Ken reached for her hand. "When I first saw you I swear you made my knees buckle."
She bit her lower lip trying not to smile. "I want to kiss you Kenny."
Ken didn't hesitate. He cupped her chin with his other hand and tilted her head up slightly. He placed his lips over hers gently. It was maybe a three second kiss but it was the sweetest kiss Ken had ever experienced. No tongues involved, no saliva just their lips pressing against each other.
"Goodnight Kenny," Lily whispered.
"Goodnight Lily," Ken replied. She fumbled through her keys until she got the right one. She turned to look at him once more before disappearing. Ken waited until she was inside and heard her lock up.
He walked back to his car and felt like break dancing. He couldn't stop smiling. His heart was still racing and he could still feel Lily's lips on his. He grabbed his cell phone and dialed Marie. He knew she'd be fast asleep but he wanted her to wake up to his happy message in the morning.
To his surprise she answered. "Hello?" Her voice was sleepy.
"Oh sorry Marie. I thought you'd be asleep."
She giggled. "I would be asleep but I kept my phone on because I knew you'd call me. How did it go?"
Ken climbed into his car and turned it on. "Dang, where should I start?"
"Anywhere, just leave out all the gross details. I don't know for my own brother to tell me everything."
Ken laughed. "True. Well, we had a real nice time. Lily has great taste in music. She looked absolutely beautiful tonight and I think I'm in love."
Marie sighed. "I hope so. You're getting too old to be alone bro."
Ken reached over to turn on his car radio. Some Muse song was on. "Well ... she might be the one but you know it's too early to tell sis."
"I like Lily. I think she'd be good for you," Marie said bluntly.
"I like her too. I like her a bit too much. And guess what?"
"She said she liked me too. I kissed her goodnight."
Marie gasped. "Omg! That's great! Finally! Now all you two need to do is sleep with each other."
Ken frowned. "Hey!"
Marie chuckled. "I'm kidding."
"Well baby sis I got to let you go. I'm going to go home already."
"Ok Kenny. See you tomorrow. Love you."
"Love you back." He hung up and drove through the deserted streets on a late Sunday night.
The week went by slow, or at least it seemed that way to Ken. Thursday was taking too long to arrive. Although he loved the teasing and flirting that went on during work with Lily. She'd often wink at him from across the room. Or at times, she'd give him a sweet smile, with a hint of seduction. They had lunch together, not alone but with a few other coworkers. By the time Thursday came around, Ken was ready to be alone with Lily.
It was seven at night and Ken had just finished cleaning up his apartment. He had gone to the grocery store earlier that day and bought some Corona beer, Lily's favorite, which was nice and cold in the fridge. He had a few bags of assorted chips as well just in case they got hungry later after the pizza.
He knew it was the second date, yet he still felt somewhat nervous. A pretty woman like Lily could do that to him. He looked at himself one more time hoping his blue jeans and Abercrombie t-shirt were ok for the evening. Lily had said to be comfortable.
His doorbell rang a few minutes after seven. Lily was at the door wearing comfortable sweat pants, Nike sneakers and a Hollister t-shirt. Her hair was up in my ponytail and her make up was very light. She looked gorgeous! She held a large pizza box.
"Hey, come on in," Ken greeted her. He stepped aside and watched her sashay into his apartment.
"Nice place," Lily said as she set the pizza down on the coffee table. "You want to eat here or in the kitchen?"
"Here's good," Ken replied. "Let me just go get some paper plates and the beers."
"You need help?" Lily called out when he was in the kitchen.
"Nah I'm cool." Ken was busy looking through his pantry when he felt her presence right behind him.
He looked over at her and she was smiling. She opened her arms out to him. He didn't hesitate to hold her.
"Sorry," Ken apologized. "I'm just nervous, still."
"Me too," her voice was muffled as her face was buried in his chest. He kissed the top of her head and broke their embraced.
He looked at her pretty face and leaned down to kiss her. He thought a nice gentle kiss would be nice, but realized that was not possible once Lily wrapped her arms around his neck and pressed her lips harder on his. He parted his mouth slightly and felt the wetness of her tongue on his lips. He slid his tongue into her mouth meeting with hers. The kiss was passionate but not wild. It was the perfect kiss.
Lily broke their kiss slowly. Ken felt her take his breath away. "Now, isn't that a better way to say hello?" She asked in a sexy voice.
Ken nodded. "Oh yeah. I completely agree." He pressed his forehead against hers. "Lily, Lily. What am I going to do with you?"
"We'll figure that out later won't we?" She teased.
He gave her a peck on her lips. Ken let her go cautiously. "You can go make yourself comfortable on the couch. The remote is there too, so feel free to watch whatever you want."
Lily went ahead to sit on the couch. She grabbed the remote and began changing the channels. "Oh I brought the Natasha Bedingfield Cd for you. It's here on your coffee table." She called out.
"Hey thanks," Ken smiled and looked for the paper plates.
"How long have you lived here?"
Ken had the paper plates, napkins and two beers with him. He walked over to her and sat right next to her. He placed everything down on the coffee table. "Um for about a year. I had a much better place when I was working at the TV station."
Lily took a look around. "It's a nice place. I mean it's smaller than my place, but it's still nice."
Ken knew she was just being polite and he loved that about her. "Thanks. Here's your beer," Ken handed her the cold Corona after he'd opened it.
Lily took a long gulp and sighed. "Oh yeah. That hit the spot. Thank you."
"You're welcome. Hey by the way what kind of pizza did you get?" Ken asked as he grabbed the warm Pizza Hut box.
"I forgot to ask you what you liked so I got supreme."
Ken's eyes widened. "Oh Lily. You are my dream girl. I LOVE supreme! Especially from Pizza Hut."
Lily took another swig of beer. "Me too. I used to buy Dominos but ever since that video of the two kids putting the veggies up their nose and doing all those nasty things, I kind of lost my appetite for Dominos."
Ken laughed. "I totally understand. I think that video made Dominos lose a lot of business. Although we never know if Pizza Hut employees do the same thing now do we?"
Lily shrugged and grabbed a plate along with a huge slice of pizza. "Until I see it..." She bit into it and giggled.
They both were laughing at began to enjoy their meal. After three slices of pizza and three beers, they were both completely satisfied. They talked in between channel surfing. It was past eight at night now and Ken almost forgot about Dared.
"Oh wait, sorry I MUST watch this show," he announced as he put Dared on.