‘Twas the Night Before: Chapter 5: Tom and Noella, Part Three
Well, we are a long way from the Simultaneous Cookie-Eating of Buck and Chloe, folks!
And we are at least a little ways from the Waiting Eighteen Months to Kiss Your Girlfriend of Buck and Chloe, too.
And so, I have graced this section of story, the telling of Tom and Noella’s budding romance, with my patented Actually Not That Bad.
The Actually Not That Bad is kicked off when Tom admits he is attracted to Noella’s confidence and accomplishment in her profession, not just her womanly qualities of beauty and sweetness. Granted, where Tom has seen confidence, I have seen an inability to accept “no” as an answer, but hey, whatever floats Tom’s boat.
Once again, we see the theme of Tom needing to change, while Noella is free to remain the same. She finds Tom’s humor too dark. I would provide an example of his dark humor, but damned if I can find one. I think Noella’s making it up.
Tom asks her out via e-mail, and they date for about a month before The Big Date, in which Tom invites her to his bitchin’ apartment.
The ice was finally broken one night when Tom seemed nervous after dinner and appeared to have to work up the courage to make a suggestion on the way to the car.
It took a month of dating to “break the ice”? Really? Damn.
“How about dinner at my place next Friday?” he said.
She shot him a double take. “You cook?”
JENKINS YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO USE THAT EXPRESSION AGAIN! PEOPLE ARE NOT “SHOT” DOUBLE TAKES! THAT IS NOT HOW IT WORKS! JESUS!
“Tube steaks are my specialty.”
“You probably know them as hot dogs.”
She laughed. “May I bring anything?”
He shook his head. “Just your buns.”
Why, Tom, you rascal, you!
Had this been any other book, I would have assumed that Tom’s nervousness was due to the fact that he was inviting her over for dinner and then some fun sexy times, but of course, this is not to be. This is
Christian Santa Fiction, after all.
Instead, Tom charms us by spending a whole afternoon cooking…
…a nice meal of chicken breast and London broil. It required char-grilling both meats before baking the concoction over rice in the oven.
This is a weird meal to me. Chicken and beef together? I admit my bias, due to the fact that I never eat chicken and rarely eat beef, but still. Where are the veggies, Tom? Remember your nutrition pyramid!
Well, when in Rome:
Aw, but I forgive you for not making a balanced meal, Tom, because you are just so sweet:
He hoped his neighbors didn’t notice him on the balcony, firing up the grill in the dead of winter. He hurried in and out, turning the meat, warming his hands over the charcoal.
When Noella arrives, we get an example of the quick wit that has so impressed Tom:
“Ah, I cook like this for myself every day.”
“And I’m the mayor.”
You would think that after dinner would be the time for the horizontal rumba, but no. Instead it is time for HOT SCRABBLE ACTION.
Yep, Scrabble. And not even Strip Scrabble. What a waste.
And then they watch a movie. In the action that shows the exact age of this story more than any other, Tom has rented (Blockbuster bag and all) Sleepless in Seattle. Amusingly, he correctly predicts that Noella already owns her own copy and has seen it hundreds of times, but he goes ahead and rents it anyway. Minus one for imagination (and guts) on Tom’s part.
(It occurs to me that I live a very different sort of life from the life of a RTC Heroine. Around the time of this story, my college boyfriend and I watched The Opposite of Sex on our first date “in.”)
[Noella] loved that [Tom] was the type that didn’t talk during movies.
Aw, man, strike two for Tom. Where’s the fun of watching a movie, especially one you’ve seen many times, if you can’t make fun of it?
And when the movie is over, it’s still not time for sexy fun. Nope, the evening is over, because their relationship is “still embryonic.” Yep, dating for a month and still embryonic.
Tom gives her one kiss, out in the parking lot. (Because, as we all know, a true courtship would never involve something so risky as kissing in private. That might lead down the slippery slope to S-E-X, and these characters are in their thirties, so I’m sure, just like Our Buck, they’re still saving themselves for marriage.)
Well, I can see that there will be no chance for an Actually Not That Bad in the next post, because it is time for Tom to act like an ass!