*Writer Warning: Chapter 4 is my longest chapter to be published, and its also my favorite.*
April 1st 2016
Seven minutes. Four hundred and twenty seconds of speed dating. A noun for an organized social activity (torture event) for men and women seeking a platonic relationship. Basically, it’s chair torture for insane people wanting seven minutes with the opposite sex to gage their interest in a short span of time.
How did my boss talk me into this?
Yes, my boss.
Three months ago, I walked into her office with the proposal to start cooking classes at Lit, Dirk’s bar. Planting the idea in my head, Alyssa and I had been researching and typing up a proposal for my boss, Norma.
Norma always the last one to leave the office was sitting at her desk one night when I approached her with my plan. Each passing year, Open Arms, our non profit would hold numerous charitable donation events to keep Alyssa’s insane idea alive.
Inside the folder were drafted crowdfunding letters to big companies like Disney, Old Navy, Best Buy, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, just to name a few. We asked for donations either in cash form or donations for our silent auction to raise money to spread business awareness.
The same went for local business. Tech Hut, a few local grocery stores, clothing stores, and family fun entertainment venues.
Then came the insane goal, budget. Exactly how much did I need to help foster kids learn how to cook and live independently? In the first year, how many foster kids aging out of the system would I provide hands on training?
Budgeting for large groups of people required something I didn’t have experience with, but something Norma did. Skeptical about my proposal, Norma gave me the go ahead to jump start my plan. The letters had been sent out to all businesses. Dirk started renovations on Lit, only to fire the first contractor for skipping work too many days. As he searched for a new contractor, I researched inexpensive venus and or free venues for local bands to hold a concert.
One place, I had in mind was Seventeen, a club for teenagers ages twelve to seventeen. Their venue was a two story warehouse with an open floor plan.
A month into planning, Norma approached me with the idea to hold a speed dating event. She mentioned my blog and how on the forefront of dating, so why not raise money and date at the same time.
The speed dating event would be held over the course of four weeks, each week having a different age group. First night, twenty-one to thirty-three, second night thirty-four to forty-five, third night was forty-six to fifty-six and the last night was fifty-six to sixty-five. The large age gaps were for personal preference to age likes.
Seven minutes. Four hundred and twenty seconds was all it took to meet someone at a speed dating event.
The patio at Augmented was located on one roof of one of the smaller high rises in downtown Phoenix. The bulb patio lights refracted small bits of dim lighting bouncing them off one building to the next accentuating hints of shiny elements, along with my silver shimmery pencil skirt that reached just below my knees.
Tightly winding my legs together in case a man tried anything only seemed fitting for tonight.
Pairing my skirt with a black fitted shirt and denim jacket, my high heel stilettos complimented my short legs perfectly. They added longevity when I didn’t have much in the way of legginess.
“If I smile anymore, I will get lockjaw.” I grit through my teeth. Arriving twenty minutes ago, Alyssa, a spectator, continuously reminded me to smile.
Be friendly and open. Think of this as practice.
Liking her last bit of advice, I figured to do just that, I would practice.
These men were like going to the batting cages. I would work on my technique, form of conversation, and nerves all within seven minutes.
“Just relax, you will be fine.” Alyssa fiddles with her large silver hoop earring with little skulls at the end. Her hair parted and twisted with two large Maleficent cones screamed for attention more than her long legs beneath the knee length deep wine colored dress that she combined with a black leather jacket. Her makeup, flawless with dark rich colors and deep wine colored lips.
“You’re right.” I say on a large exhale of breath, picking up my apple martini downing the contents in one large gulp setting the glass on the small patio bar. “I need to relax and have fun. Smile and be nice and friendly. All the stuff you’ve been telling me.” What I didn’t say was my insides were chattering with nerves and I hoped the alcohol would calm them down.
“No way,” Alyssa says gripping my arm for dear life, “Why is my brother here?” Cole entered the patio area from the open doors, his hands resting in pockets of his dark blue dress slacks. Immediately spotting us, tilts his head in our direction as a wave.
“What are you doing here?” Hands on her hips, sassiness masked her friendly adorable personality as Cole neared the bar.
“I invited him and Mark.” I smile apologetically. I swore she growled at my apology.
After everything that happened with Alyssa during college, Cole came to the rescue. Rescue meant keeping tabs on her and then fighting like cats and dogs. When it rained, it poured with them.
Cole cared about Alyssa deeply, coming around to the idea of her marrying an older man. She once said his biggest regret was not knowing about everything going on in her life. I reminded her it wasn’t about other people giving up their lives, because they have to live them. It’s about that one person who takes a moment to say hi or ask how you are doing that makes a huge difference.
A surmountable difference.
“Let me let you in on a little secret baby sister,” He leans his large frame closer to her tiny one. “I am here to find me a match.” He devilishly grins, lips molded into a firm devilishly grin.
Alyssa sighs, “Cole, so help me god, don’t ruin tonight.”
“I wouldn’t do anything of the sorts. Besides, Cassie here needs all the moral support she could get, don’t you?” He nudges me with his elbow.
“It’s good to see you too Cole, you clean up nicely.” That wasn’t sarcasm, it was a compliment. Cole was very good looking, tall, slender and muscular. Total opposite of Mark his partner, who was more broad shouldered and wide chested. Cole had deep chocolate eyes and wore his devilishly sexy grin well. The last time I saw him, which had been months ago, he was sweaty from his workout, so tonight he did clean up since the last time I saw him.
“And so do you,” Scanning body with his eyes, I nervously look away under his stare, “Really nice.”
“Balls, big brother, balls.” Sipping her drink, Alyssa reminds him of her warning.
No dating Cassie.
“Sorry Cassie, I love my balls too much.” He laughs looking away.
“So, I guess Mark is a no show?” Alyssa reads my mind.
Cole, “I guess so.” Turning his attention to the bar, he orders a long neck beer.
“I am sorry, Cassie,” Leaning into me, she whispers out of Cole’s hearing.
Shrugging, “It’s okay. I half expected him to show up.” I met Mark the same night I was rekindled with sweaty Cole. Cole and Mark worked together at the local police department. Mark to agree to come tonight because I told him it was for charity. Recently single, his deadly good looks flustered my tongue tying it into verbal dysfunction.
In the span of seven minutes, my tongue would have to untie itself to ask him questions. Ask him out, and free itself aimlessly chatting away.
Deciding to change my wardrobe up a bit. Next door to the nail salon I frequented was a small clothing boutique, the mannequin in the window was wearing the skirt I had on. The shiny material immediately caught my attention and I went inside to purchase it for tonight. Aiming for gorgeous and attention grabbing, it worked. The guys here tonight had given me many once overs, but the one guy whose attention I wanted was a no show.
The event planner clinked her glass, waiting for the room to quiet down, I zoned out inwardly chastising myself for putting in effort when I should have went for lackluster.
“Excuse me,” The young male bartender tapped me on the shoulder.
Spinning around in his direction, “Yes.”
Setting an apple martini in front of me, “The gentleman over there wanted me to give you this and this,” he slides a paper across the counter.
Clutching the paper in my fingers, I scan the length of the bar finding Landen sitting at the far end. Our eyes meet, lifting his beer, he tilts it in my direction. The top button to his dress shirt undone, his eyes shimmered in the light over his head.
Tilting my head back down, my fingers work opening the small piece of paper.
Take a sip and relax, Cassie.
Considering the note, my eyes couldn’t stay away from his meticulous handwriting. The pen pressed deep onto the paper like his words were pressing deep inside my brain.
Thickly swallowing, I wasn’t expecting to see him.
“Thanks,” I say digging in my small black clutch to pull out a tip. Waving me off, the bartender scampers away and I donate the a few dollars to the tip jar on the counter. Wrapping my fingers around the stem of the martini glass, slowly I make my way over to Landen.
His eyes hooded watching my every step as I remained calm and adjusted to seeing him. We hadn’t seen each other since he returned Bessie, scolding me for not properly taking care of her.
“I didn’t peg you for a speed dater, Cassie.” He jokes tilting his head back laughing.
“I didn’t peg you for one either.” I reply not laughing.
“I am here on a date.” He says pointing inside of the restaurant.
“Isn’t it weird you’re on a date, but out here buying me a drink?”
“Not particularly. I told her I saw an old friend and had to catch up for a minute. She didn’t seem to mind.”
He really loved that term.
Old friends, new beginnings.
Rolling my tongue in my mouth, I couldn’t be Landen’s friend. When you have one-sided deep rooted emotions for someone, it’s not a good idea to be friends. All the wonderful feelings for him would mature into a full bloom only to end up dead in the friendship zone.
“Landen.” A chipper voice calls out from behind him, “Our table is ready.”
Catching the voice in my line of vision, a gorgeous redhead, leggy like Alyssa wearing a tan short strapless dress veered in our direction.
“I didn’t peg you for someone who dated high school girls.” I commented straightening myself.
Tilting his head downwards, a deep chuckle escaped his lips. “She’s not in high school. Nursing school, but not high school.”
“Right.” Barely convinced, his date looked prematurely young.
“Hi, I’m Vanessa.” She clicked her name off her tongue as she wrapped her arm around his back side locking Landen at the waist. Sliding his arm around her shoulder, he looked happy and comfortable.
“Cassie, lovely to meet you.”
“Landen says you guys grew up together.”
Pinning our gazes, I studied him for his white lie. “Something like that.” I reply dryly as his eyes plead with mine to go along with his stupid white lie.
“It’s nice to meet someone who knows him.” Vanessa leaned her head on his shoulder.
Ping pong balls of jealousy bounced around in my stomach. The pretty woman’s affection took hold of my cool composure. Inflicted, jealousy was an unwanted disease of emotions. Locking me into place like their arms did to each other.
I tried too hard to get over him. I could stay away for long periods of time, but every time I was confronted by Landen all these old feelings destroyed my ability to rationalize a clear thought staining me with jealousy. Now was no different.
Another check mark on the list of why we shouldn’t be friends.
“It was nice catching up, Landen. Good to meet you Vanessa.” Extending my hand at her, keeping the jealousy at bay, I had to escape the awkward position Landen put me in.
“Nice to meet you too. Maybe we can meet again soon.” She suggests shaking my hand, her fingers resting on the tips of mine.
A royalty handshake, fancy.
“That would be nice.” I lied not wanting to have to meet his girlfriend again.
“See you around, Landen.”
“See you, Cassie.” He winks as I take my drink from the counter downing the contents.
The way I downed drinks, I would end up drunk speed dating.
“Alyssa said I would find you over here.” Mark remarks when I spin around into his well built chest.
“Mark.” I sputter. Not slur. I wasn’t that drunk.
Happy newfound flutters detonated replacing my earlier jealousy. A warm handsome smile slowly fluctuated two dimples to form just below each of his eyes. Handsomely sporting a silver dress jacket with matching slacks and black button down top, his dark ash hair sleekly styled to one side. Freshly showered, he smelled divine like warm rich spiced rum and baby powder.
“Cassie.” A sexy grin spreads across his face, “You look too beautiful to be raising money for charity.” His eyes skim my body as his fingers brush my hair behind my shoulders for better inspection.
Man crazed and tipsy, the strong urge to kiss him sat at the tip of my tongue. All the tongue twisted nerves from his fingers on my tight curls sent a train of wanting deep down between my legs.
“Thank you.” His compliment blushed my cheeks to a dark hued pink.
“You’re welcome. Are you ready?”
To have you on the table?
My mind reeled arousal.
“I am. Are you?”
“Can I be honest?”
Yes, please! But only if your honesty has to do with you and I.
Side note: downing two Martini’s back to back wasn’t a good idea.
“I’m nervous. Dating is hard. Speed dating is probably harder.”
Recovering my drunken mental instability, I smile, “I’m nervous too. If you feel lost or nervous, send a look my way for reassurance.”
With speed dating underway, I was feeling like a champ. The first handful of contenders took a seat across from me when I decided on calling them contenders because I had to weed out those who were here to achieve a date or sex.
I could tell from the moment the first one sat down in front of me, he wasn’t my type. Long rockstar hair, trimmed goatee, hazel eyes, but something was off. He was good looking, but I could sense something. And then he showed me what I knew all along. All of his front teeth were gold.
Bright gold to be exact.
Larry and I didn’t match.
We were like blue cheese and a good wine. Literally the guy smelled like blue cheese, his veiny pungent smelly body odor didn’t sit well on my stomach.
Then there was Gregg with two g’s who pointed to his name tag and talked about himself in the third person. Then Henry, a year younger than me couldn’t put his phone down. He hid it under the table like a student not wanting to get caught by a teacher. Then Sai, deep rich brown skin with matching eyes towered over me at the table was more like a friend. Let’s just say we spent seven minutes talking about curry. His mom owned an Indian restaurant in Chandler. Sai recommended I drive the twenty-four miles for an exquisite taste testing.
By the first half, I was speed dating exhausted. Mark hadn’t made it to my station, and every so often we would send smiles from across the room. Setting up a seven minute speed date to get asked on a real date was a little beneath me. I figured if Mark liked me in seven minutes, then maybe he would ask me out.
Not the most perfect plan, but I had to try.
Seeing the majority of men, some who were nicer than others, we had a ten minute break to mingle and use the restroom.
Following the dark mahogany wood floors vibrating from the music beneath my feet, the line to the restrooms sat between the bar and the hostess station. Single occupant bathrooms seemed to be all the rage, but were downright annoying when you had a full bladder and a line to conquer.
Brushing past me, Landen tugged my hand leading me from my place in line directing us down the small corridor through a door leading into what I assumed was the kitchen. Eyes straight ahead, fingers wrapped tightly around mine, dishes chaotically clanked and flames from the stove rose as the metal pans scraped along the burners. Hungry stomach growled and mouth watered as the kitchen staff nodded at Landen like they gave him approval being back here.
Swirls of questions sat at the tip of my lips, how did he know anyone here?
Opening the cooler door, pulling me inside, the cold metal steel lock clicks behind me as I am met with a rush of cold air.
“What are you doing?” Irritated from being pulled away from the direction of the bathrooms, I didn’t understand his motive.
Grumbling inaudible words, running his fingers down the length of his overgrown styled hair, his internal thought process abruptly stops along with his grumbling lips.
Without a thought, he closes in on me. Backing myself into the steel door for protection, my eyes instinctually flutter closed as I am greeted with his warm attentive lips.
Gripping fistfuls of his dress shirt, my fingers edge his body closer to mine. A moan escapes my lips parting them slightly as his tongue licks softly coaxing them to open. Submerged by his closeness, he smelled the same but different. Sweet and savory like his lips tasted. Landen, my weakness, impassioned by him, I kissed him back wholeheartedly.
My mind a blank slate beckoning me to consider the situation, but I couldn’t. Him and I, the only people existing were us in a well lit cold kitchen refrigerator.
Forcing myself to focus on what was happening, the harder I tried, the deeper our kiss melted away the worries I wouldn’t allow to beckon forth.
Running his fingers ran down my chin, he cupped it softly in the palm of his hand. His other hand rested above my breast flatly across my heart. The placement felt like he was asking me to trust him, to give myself to him when I damn knew well that I couldn’t.
But I did give myself to him. Lifting my leg to edge him closer, I silently cursed my tight pencil skirt. Awkwardly kicking my leg, the tight material at the knees didn’t give me full advantage to wrap my leg around his as my heel slipped off my foot landing on the floor.
Exhausted by my futile efforts, my foot planted itself back down greeted by the cold floor sending a jolt of reality to see the situation clearly. Distracted by the curves of his lips, the taste of his tongue threw me off balance. Shaking off confusion and Landen, I had to get a grip on reality.
His lips so warm, soft changed to an aggressive hungry upbeat, only allowing me a small window of time for my discombobulated thoughts to drop the friendship bomb he had on me earlier didn’t entitled kissing!
Unwantedly dropping fist fulls of his shirt, using all my strength, I pushed him away only succeeding as his heated green eyes, once warm iced over like a thick glaze on a cake.
Struggling to breathe, I couldn’t catch my breath fast enough.
He has a girlfriend.
You know the one who wants to hang out.
We kissed. It was cake, pie, and ice cream good.
Wincing, “Why?” I stalk to him hobbling awkwardly pushing at his chest causing his steps to backtrack to the end of the walk in refrigerator as I picked up my heel along the way.
Apprehensively, his fingers run down his hair again, his eyes avoiding contact with mine.
Finding my voice, “I am trying to move on from you. No more wonderful surprise kisses in secret locations!” I poke his chest, “This is a reason why we can’t be friends. You and I have too much history. Bad history. Wonderful history, but still history. And what happened here,” I motioned around the cooler, my heel flinging in my hand, “Shouldn’t happen. You have a girlfriend!”
Taking in the size of the cooler and the food inside, I had always wanted to eat at Augmented. Only opening a few months ago, their waitlist was crazy long. When they agreed to host our speed dating event, I got to taste some of their small appetizers, southern infused cooking with a healthy twist, not fully satisfying my taste buds.
“I’m sorry Cassie. I don’t know what came over me. I saw the way you looked at that guy after we left… I had this strong urge.” He struggled to explain his reasoning, rubbing the back of his neck to ease the tension.
“With time strong urges are meant to decrease by fighting the urge to primally claim someone you want to be friends with, Landen. Big mistake! Huge! And that guy his name is Mark. I happen to like him. A lot.”
He flinched, glowering at the mention of Mark’s name. His eyes zoned into mine hardening my very core, reaching deep within me to get me to reconsider him.
I stared when the urge of going to the bathroom came back with force. Suffocating inside a cooler with Landen and I kissing wasn’t how I wanted to spend my evening. Skirting around what happened all those years ago, fervently kissing wasn’t going to solve the elephant in the room.
I am not talking about my bladder either.
“I can’t be your friend.” Swiveling on my heels, I turn to the door. Pushing on the inside lock, the door wouldn’t budge. Jiggling the handle, pleading with the stupid metal, I was stuck.
“It won’t open.” Pushing inward, I try again.
Landen’s presence grew closer behind me as I felt his body heat next to mine. Stepping aside, I let him try.
Fiddling with the handle, his luck matched my own.
Banging on the door a few times, all we could do was wait.
“Can’t you call someone.” Shivering goosebumps prickle down my legs.
“I don’t have my phone.”
“Alyssa has my purse and I have to pee.” I confess dancing around like I had ants in my skirt. I didn’t know how much longer I could hold my bladder.
Lifting my hands into fists, angered at Landen for being so careless, I bang on the door. I banged until my hands were red and sore.
Blocking my hands from another round of banging, Landen cups them in his. Blowing warm shallow breaths over my cold fingers, the heat barely is enough to warm them.
“I’m sorry.” He whispers between blows, his eyes downcasted lifting to meet mine for the briefest second.
Contently sighing, “It’s okay. But we can’t kiss anymore. You have to distance yourself from me.” I confess closing my eyes enjoying seconds of his heated breath prickling along my skin before it vanished, replaced by the cold air.
“I know. It won’t happen again.”
“Promise.” His words didn’t sound convincing.
“Dammit Landen, take this seriously. Promise me you’ll stop.”
“I’ll promise after you let me touch you one more time.” Caressing his fingers down the length of my arm taking ahold of my heel, he bends down, tenderly gripping my ankle as I steady my hands on his shoulders. Lifting my foot, he slides the black heel on glancing up at me.
“I promise to keep my distance. I promise to tell you I’m sorry for falling in love with Pancetta everyday.” A wobbly choked laughed echoed off my lips at his use of my nickname, “I promise to let you come to me when you’re ready, when you forgive me. I promise when you’re feeling unsteady or unsure I’m going to catch you. I promise for the rest of my life, I’m yours, Cassie. I promise all the promises insufficient and sufficient just to have you in this position, because the next time when you see me down on my knees like this in front of you, I’m going to marry you. If you think me kissing you is a huge mistake, think again. I see it as a small victory.”
Swallowing an insufficient gulp of air, my heart loudly pounded with each promise, five hard beats. Telling my brain and heart to cooperate with each other, my brain wasn’t sure of any promise he made me.
“Landen, I—“ Choked up and lightheaded, spitting out anything, “Landen, how did you get us back here?” I asked distracting myself as his fingers skimmed along the length of my calf. Their slow caress prickled wonderful sensations I hadn’t felt in a long time. I couldn’t muster up the courage to ask him to stop.
“Zeke and I were contracted for the job.” He didn’t seemed bothered I didn’t say anything about his promises. Deep down he knew I wasn’t ready to forgive him.
Zeke, his partner. The guy I never called.
Deciding against being with someone Landen hooked me up with, I threw the number away.
“I thought you were in construction?” His fingers racked higher sending delicious goosebumps along my thigh.
“I am, but my dad gave us a loan to start our own construction company.” Using his other hand, his fingers synced caresses on my other leg.
He wasn’t making this easy. Attentive and soft, but not easy.
“You got your second chance.” I give him a cheesy smile.
“Not quite, only in one part of my life I did.” Sliding his fingers up the hem of my pencil skirt, my breath hitched as my nails dig into his shoulder with need and anticipation.
Unexpectedly, the door swung open bringing extra light into the refrigerator. A large man stood at the entrance studying the both of us and our positioning.
Embarrassed, caught with Landen’s down on his knees, hands halfway up my skirt, I pulled my leg back racing past the man at the door. My heels clicked against the floor centering guilt in my gut on my way to the bathroom.
During the rest of speed dating, my mind focused solely on leftovers. I was Landen’s leftovers. The type of leftovers someone loved so much they kept making them just to reheat them when the craving was strong.
Landen had a strong urge to test, taste, and promise my devotion to him.
I didn’t like being a leftover. Dammit, leftovers were to be eaten over a small period of time, or else they spoiled. My time with Landen was up. Spoiled rotten. He totally forgot to freeze me for future use. Although he tried earlier, I rushed out before he lost interest in my taste clearly throwing myself out.
By the time Mark reached my table, his friendly eyes eased my bundled leftover nerves.
“Having a good night?” He asks taking a seat.
“The best.” I smile jokingly.
“You know, I have a confession to make. I waited to see if you would have noticed, which is why I didn’t say anything sooner.”
“Okay.” The bundles of nerves returned as I gripped the bottom my chair.
“We’ve met before.”
“We have?” Easing my fingers from under the chair, I didn’t recognize him at all.
“In high school, you went to the movies with Sharon Winters to see The Twilight Saga: New Moon. Sharon was dating my best friend James at the time. You were standing in line reading the book trying to catch up before we went inside. You made a comment looking up from the book to find James and Sharon making out. Your eyes landed on mine and you said —“
The memory returned with full force, “Eighteenth century vampires apparently needed the same genetics as twenty-first century vampires, glimmer and shine. And the guy standing next to me commented that sparkly vampires were accurately portrayed in the series.”
“That guy would be me.”
“No way.” Mark looked completely different, like a chameleon shedding his skin into a whole new person. His hazel eyes swirled brightly with emerald green and deep yellows accentuating his sun kissed skin. Broad wide shoulders hugged his button down shirt against his masculine athletic build. His easy going personality admirable and affectionate caught my heart in a baseball glove. When I met him some months ago, we did talk. Mark made conversation easy, while I fumbled a coherent sentence.
I can’t believe he recognized me and I didn’t say anything until now.
“I lost twenty pounds, joined the police academy and started working out.”
“I shared my bag of popcorn with you when you forgot your wallet at home.” The memories still fresh on my mind.
“You even bought me a soda.” We laughed at the memory.
“Small world.” My laughter ceased, “Why didn’t you tell me?”
“We went to two different schools, but besides that I was insecure about my looks. I had the courage to talk to you when I saw you again the summer after graduation. I saw you at the movies at the concession stand when I spotted you, as I made my way over another guy came behind you pulling you in for a kiss.”
Landen. See leftovers. Either I was a leftover or Landen was. The scraps of our one month stint got in the way of.. well, guys like Mark.
Not remembering the title of the movie, we had went to see some blockbuster action movie right before he left.
“I’m sorry.” I offer as a consolation prize, a shitty one. “If I wasn’t with someone and you tried, I would have said yes.” That was the honest truth. We chatted before and after the movie while Sharon and James were sucking face. The way he was all the years ago and a couple of months back, easy going, made me flustered because of his looks. Even twenty pounds heavier, Mark was adorably handsome.
“Want to get out of here?”
“I can’t. Co-organizer.”
“How about I will wait for you and we head out to get something to eat. I know a great 24 hour Mexican restaurant.”
“Chips and salsa?”
Maybe, leftovers weren’t so bad if they were recreated differently.
Recreated leftovers vs. Speed Dating
Some people like leftovers and some people don’t. It’s that simple. But if you took a leftover and recreated differently, do you think it would be more appealing and edible? Or do you think timing and hunger is the key to fixing someone’s aversion to leftovers?
Personally, I love leftovers. A little green beans from the night before are a great addition to a salad or even next to a fresh plate of food? Leftover spaghetti, yes please! Especially cold.
When you save something you think has no purpose, think again. I mean, really think long and hard about the capabilities that small amount of food can be recreated into something yummy.
You’re probably asking yourself how does leftovers and speed dating go together? I rekindled with a man from my past, a man I intentionally asked to speed dating in hopes he would ask me out, and but he remembered me and I had no clue who he was.
I am not comparing him to leftovers. I
What I am comparing leftovers to is all my failed relationships. Thinking back, could I really recreate our compatibility? Some yes, and some like sub par Chuck, no effin’ way.
Before, you even ask could I recreate what L and I had all those years ago? No. We’ve both matured. Ours lives have taken us on different paths, now a path that seems to be reconnecting, but different than years before. .
I am talking about recreating a dish you forgot about or something you thought had no purpose. For instance, M, a guy way before L, who I met in high school, sadly I didn’t see a purpose in him. We went to different schools, he never asked for my phone number, or made a hint he was into me. But life has a funny way of bringing two people together when they least expect it. Especially, when I am trying to get over L from my past.
After speed dating, M and I went to eat at a Mexican restaurant. Knowing him previously and learning about the man he is now, the man recreated himself was breathtaking.
All those built up nerves I had from the nights events vanished. M’s attentive and relaxed demeanor made me follow suit.
We talked about life after high school, me college and him the police academy. I learned how even as a policeman, he thinks gun laws in our country need revision. I swore he talked about change and I swallowed it up. Watching his hard jaw move along with his plump lips as passion poured from his mouth.
Completely amazed at how the timid teenage boy from my past became a passionate law enforcement officer felt like our second chance encounter was purposely recreated by fate.
The whole meal was spent talking and eating. We stayed out way too late enjoying one another’s company.
By the end of our “date” (I don’t know if I should call it that) M watched me pack up my leftovers, including chips with a curious grin on his face.
“What?” I asked sheepishly.
“I’m just curious to know why you’re taking the chips.” He replied reaching for my hand swaddling his fingers through my free hand.
“They are going to toss them.”
“And…” He encourages me to continue.
“And I am going to use them to make chilaquiles.” The menu didn’t even offer them or else I would have gotten them over enchiladas.
“What are those?”
“Tortillas fried until crispy, red or green sauce is incorporated and it’s topped with cheese. Also served with a side of eggs. In some Hispanic cultures leftover or stale tortillas are used to make the dish.”
“Sounds delicious. I didn’t see that on the menu.”
“They didn’t have it.” I frowned.
“Does that mean I am invited over for breakfast?”
Mark came over breakfast and I served up Chilaquiles. We sat in the patio eating it straight from the pan. He swiped his finger across my mouth as my mouth seemed to be hankering for some leftovers, and he leaned in to kiss me.
My toes dug into the patio, my fingers held onto the chair for dear life. And then, everything melted. All my fears melted with his warm lips on mine. How he waited for me to comfortably lead by opening my mouth letting him invade and learn what I liked. He caught on quickly. He kissed with passion, much liked he talked.
I melted like butter left in a car in the heat of Phoenix summer. If you’re not from Arizona, that is code for it’s effin’ hot. Another code, the kiss was effin’ hot.
He pulled away slowly releasing my bottom lip, my eyes slowly fluttered open met with his wide grin and adorable catered dimples below his eyes, that is when he said, “I like leftovers.”
My body flushed and I leaned in, this time taking the lead.
I grew up in a house where leftovers were served every Wednesday. My mom referred to it as “pick your poison”. And every Wednesday, I did. Also on Thursday depending on the expiration date of the food.
My grandma taught me, “waste nothing.” So, I never did. I learned to reuse whatever was in my kitchen. Leftover sautéed spinach quickly turned into a delicious frittata. In a hurry, leftovers for breakfast. There is no set time for breakfast foods because they also make delicious and easy dinner foods, too.
Whatever leftover you have in your refrigerator can definitely be eaten the way it is or recreated into something different.
It’s all about inventing a new creation.
2- 4 Leftover tortillas or tortillas cut into quarters for frying.
oil (only if frying)
1/4 c Red enchilada or Green enchilada sauce.
Cheese of choice
Garnishes: shredded lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, radishes, and sour cream.
Heat oil on medium heat in skillet. (If using tortilla chips, skip this step.) As oil is heating up, cut tortillas into quarters. And grate cheese, if not using pre shredded.
Place tortillas in oil and fry until golden. Set aside of paper towel to drain oil.
Safely discard oil, and heat 1/4 c enchilada sauce in pan on low.
Adding tortillas once the sauce is slightly bubbling. Stir to incorporate sauce and tortillas. A nice glazed coating. If you need more sauce, add some in and stir.
Top with cheese and turn off skillet cover.
In another skillet, cook eggs to your liking.
Plate chilaquiles and top with eggs. Serve with your choice of garnish.
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Chapter 5 is on its way!