Last night (and this morning) was our Sunday school group's Late Night party. We started on campus and went to the Chi Alpha meeting, then headed over to the church and played silly games and sang karaoke and ate junk food. Darren, a fellow whom I've seen at church a few times, was there. I first met him at the progressive dinner in December. Good looking, funny, just enough charm--I was mildly interested; it's not often I find a Christian man with these qualities. So when I saw him again last night, I took notice. Played a game of pool, Becky and me vs. Darren and Caleb, which we won cos Caleb called the wrong pocket when he sunk the 8-ball.
Maybe twenty of us went to Denny's at 2:30am, and Becky, Elisa, and I rode there in Darren's '86 Porche (with Elisa and me packed tightly into the back seats). We had a good time at Denny's, too. Darren laughed my jokes (well, most of them), I laughed at his, and I was realizing that I had to be careful not to develop a crush on him. He offered to drive the three of us home, even though he doesn't live near any of us. I noticed that, from time to time, he would ask Becky a direct question, initiating conversation with her, where he wasn't doing that with anyone else. Perhaps he's just being friendly, I thought, since Elisa and I were doing a fair amount of talking with little prompting. Though Becky isn't shy, she's more reserved than Elisa, and not given to wisecracking the way I can be. Besides, I thought, he's a year or two older than me; surely he's not interested in a freshman.
We dropped Becky off first, up at Day Hall. When we pulled up in front of the entrance, she started to get out, and Darren said, "Wait, hang on," jumped out of his door, and ran around to open her door for her. "Oh, that's so sweet!" Elisa said. I was a bit suspicious. He walked her a few steps toward the front door, and they stopped. Elisa and I watched them intently. Becky had her cell phone out. "Is he giving her his phone number?" Elisa wondered.
"I think so," I said in resignation.
A couple more seconds passed. "He's totally giving her his number!"
He got back in the car and we pulled away. After a moment he said, "I just gave her my phone number. What do you guys think?"
I think I managed a "Wow." My brain was a bit scrambled at this point, so I happily let Elisa do the talking. "She's a really great person."
"Yeah? She seems really nice. You hardly meet anyone like that anymore."
"She's a little young."
Both of us answered: "She's a freshman."
"Oh. Well that's not so bad."
Darren and Elisa chatted a bit longer about Becky, since Elisa knows her better than I do. It took me a good two minutes before I was feeling myself again. We dropped Elisa off on South Campus, and then made toward my place. "I was pretty nervous," he said. "I really had to dig up my courage."
I told him about Waled, the Muslim physics grad student who'd bared his heart to me a few years ago. I'd felt so bad for him, as he was telling me what he thought about me and how he wanted to get to know me better, because I could almost taste his nervousness, and I knew I was going to turn him down. But in spite of myself, I wished Darren the best.
So it'll take a day or two to shake him out of my head. If I'd simply found out that he had a girlfriend, it probably wouldn't take me so long--current girlfriends are predictable. The way this morning's events transpired was unexpected.
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