I sighed, watching my hands slip the earring into my ear. My reflection stared back at me with a sulky expression. I couldn’t believe my friends did this to me. A Blind Date! What was I going to do? The echoing of bells chimed all over the townhouse. Great; my date is here, I thought sarcastically. I stood and made my way downstairs. At the door I smoothed my sweaty palms down my light purple dress that had a belt to accent my waistline. The bell rang again as I stared dumbly at the door.

My mind was telling me not to do it, but a small voice said, “Go for it; what could possibly happen?” I nodded in agreement to the voice then opened the door.

~ ~ ~

Liam

Finally the door opened to reveal a girl slightly shorter than me. I plastered on a smile, hoping this date wouldn’t be too awkward.

“Hello, my name is Liam,” I stated. “Are you Emily?”

~ ~ ~

Emily

I stared up at the man that called himself Liam and bobbed my head. His smile widened a bit. I, for some reason, grinned back

“So,” he drawled, “shall we go?”

“Oh yeah,” I squeaked. Liam led me to his car, holding open the door for me.

I cracked a grin. “Such a gentleman.”

“It’s nothing.” He flushed.

As he spoke, his voice reminded me of thunder on a stormy night. I slid in and he shut the door, Liam walked over to his side and got in. Then we were off. In the car I got some time to study him without his knowledge. Liam had thick, wavy hair that hung past his ears. It was a caramel color with a tint of blonde in its depths. He had an oval face with a slight squaring to the jaw. Across his cheekbones and nose he had a dash of freckles. I couldn’t really tell because of the dimness of the car.

I was about to get a look at his eyes when suddenly he remarked, “Your friends told me you like to volunteer at the animal shelter, is that true?”

~ ~ ~

Liam

After I asked the question her face lit up like a firework. Suddenly I knew that I had broken through her protective shell. I gripped the steering wheel as an idea rolled through my brain. Instead of taking her to some boring restaurant, I’d take her to the animal shelter. I grinned and went back to listening about her work.

~ ~ ~

Emily

I couldn’t believe that Liam was actually enjoying my boring story. I became even more nervous and my voice trailed off. Liam looked over hinting, “I think I have the perfect place to go.”

“Oh really?” I queried, my eyebrow rising. “Where are we going?”

He beamed. “You’ll see . . . I hope you don’t like that dress.”

In the window I could see a puzzled expression in my features. I was about to ask where we were going when we suddenly stopped in front of an old brick building. Liam turned off the car and slipped out. I waited patiently for him to open my door. When he did I stepped out and murmured “Thank you.” He could only smile; I turned away, my face feeling hot. Why was I blushing at the sight of his charming smile? Sighing, I stared down at my strappy gold sandals. Liam placed a gentle hand on my shoulder, “Don’t you want to see where we are?” I lifted my head and saw the sign that read ‘Livingston Animal Shelter.’ I gasped turning around to face him.

“I thought we were going out to eat?” I asked. 

Liam’s face turned red and his leafy green eyes held embarrassment, “Yeah, but after hearing about your passion for the animal shelter, I knew we had to come here.”

I placed a hand on his arm, “Thank you Liam, it means a lot to me.” I looked down at where my hand touched his arm and noticed the contrast between our skins. He was a deep brown color, like he was dipped in molasses. Mine was pale and lifeless; I instantly pulled my hand back and muttered, “We should go inside now.” Then I hurried to the door.

~ ~ ~

Liam

I watched her go, staring at her back, something inside me crumbled a tiny bit. Emily was afraid of me. I shook my head sadly and raced to catch up with her. I got there just in time to open the door for her.

~ ~ ~

Emily

I walked inside the open door and waited in the lobby.

Liam walked in, asking, “You ready to work?” 

I nodded shyly. We meandered over to the front desk to sign in. After signing in, a lady led us to the kennels. I scurried over to my favorite dog, Lucy, a labradoodle with big, chocolate-colored eyes.

I knelt by her pen and cooed, “Hello pretty girl, did you miss me?” Lucy wagged her tail happily. I was so absorbed in the dog I almost didn’t notice Liam beside me. I turned my head slowly, studying him again. He did have a dash of freckles. I grinned slightly. I let my gaze roam over his clothes; he was wearing black dress pants, covered in dog fur. His shirt was white and he was wearing a dark blue tie with light blue stripes running diagonally across it. I hadn’t really noticed his attire until now because I had been so nervous about our date. But at the sight of him covered in dog fur I couldn’t help but giggle. At my laugh he looked at his clothes and back at me.

Liam’s face broke into a grin. “Are you laughing at me?” I shook my head, still giggling. Liam glared playfully at me. “Well, I guess it’s kind of funny. Since I’ve already helped several animals.” My giggles subsided after a few seconds and I went back to petting Lucy. As I petted her I could feel something warm and calloused slip into my hand. I looked down and found Liam holding my hand. I gazed up at him, feeling warm and happy. We left Lucy and started filling bowls with food and water. I also cleaned out cages, laughing as some of the little puppies attacked Liam in the cage he was cleaning. He smiled and then stared at his watch. “We should get going; I have one more place to take you.” I got up, took one last look at Lucy and followed him out of the building.

~ ~ ~

Liam

Back in the car, Emily was silent. I was really tempted to grab her hand again but I resisted. So far the night was going great. As we drove, I noticed her staring at me. I winked. “Like what you see?” She blushed and made the smallest nod I’d ever seen. Since I was staring at her, I almost missed the turnoff. I switched lanes and a few minutes later we reached the park. I exhaled in relief. “We’re here.”

Emily Rademacher
Author