Be The Girl

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First Date (short story)

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There she is again, on yet another Friday night. She sits alone on her bed in her college dorm. Her roommate is on a date and, to her, it seems like everyone else is, too. A sudden knock at the door interrupts her depressing thoughts. She sulks to the door and opens it. “Hey, Kate! I just thought I’d drop by and check in on you.” Her best guy friend Kurt greets her cheerfully. She manages a smile, but he sees right through it. “What’s wrong?” Kate avoids eye contact and goes back and sits on her bed.

Kurt follows her and sits down next to her. “Are you going to tell me?” Kurt and Kate have a special friendship where they care for each other a lot. It doesn’t seem that they like each other as more than friends, but that could change. “Kurt and Kate have a special friendship where they care for each other a lot. It doesn’t seem that they like each other as more than friends, but that could change. “Kurt, I’m a junior in college. I’m 19 years old!” Kate says. “I know you ar. What’s your point?” She opens her mouth to explain, but decides against it.

“Come on, just tell me!” Kurt pleads. “No, it’ll sound dumb!” Kurt puts a hand on her shoulder and says, sincerely, “Nothing you say is dumb, Kate.” She sighs. “Fine, I’ll tell you.” He smiles triumphantly. “It’s just that, I’ve never been on a date before, and I get lonely.” Kate doesn’t meet Kurt’s eyes when she says this. “I had no idea it bothered you so much. You’ve mentioned it before but I…I just didn’t know. I’m sorry.” Kate remains silent. A few seconds later, Kurt jumps up.

“I’ve got it!” Kate looks up at him, confused. “What do you mean?” Kurt smiles at her. “I’ll take you on a date.” Kate’s eyes widen in surprise. “Seriously?” He nods. “Yeah! You let me know what you want to do, and we can go out tomorrow night. And I’ll have us back early enough so that we can get a good night’s sleep before we have to go to church in the morning.” Kate is still trying to process all of it. “Does that sound okay?” Kurt asks her. For the first time that night, Kate smiles. “It’s a date!”

After Kurt leaves, Kate begins thinking about where she wants to go on their date. Since this will be her first date, she wants it to be memorable. She begins brainstorming her ideal date and, 15 minutes later, she has it all planned out. They can go to Applebee’s for dinner and then go back to her dorm and watch a movie. It may seem simple but, in her mind, it’s perfect. She shoots a quick text to Kurt to let him know what she wants to do. A few minutes later he texts back, ‘That sounds great! I have Jaws if you want to watch that.’ Kate laughs to herself then texts him back saying, ‘I’d love to.’ With their plans set, they both decide to go to sleep. They have a big day ahead of them.

The next morning, Kate awakes to the sound of her roommate bustling about their dorm. Still tired, she opens one eye to see what exactly it is that her roommate, Jessie, is doing. She sees that Jessie is in the bathroom doing her hair and makeup. She’s probably going to see her parents over the weekend. “What time is it?” Kate mumbles. Jessie hears her and comes out of the bathroom, curls bouncing. “It’s 11 o’clock, sleepy head!” She says perkily. Jessie has boundless energy which is sometimes a little too much for Kate. She’s like a wild animal you just can’t tame. She’s harmless, though. Since Kate and Jessie have been roommates for three years, they’re pretty good friends. “So what’d you do last night?” Jessie asks.

Kate stumbles out of bed. “Nothing much. But I do have a date tonight.” Jessie, who had returned to doing her hair, drops her curling iron and it barely misses hitting her foot. “You have a date?” Jessie asks, obviously surprised. Kate just smiles and nods, casually. “Who’s the lucky guy?” Kate blushes. “Do you remember Kurt?” She asks. Jessie’s face lights up. “I knew there was something between you two! You just can’t deny chemistry like that!” Kate gets a puzzled look on her face. “Really? You think so?” She had never really seen Kurt in that way. She thought that he was just taking her on a date to be nice. But what if it is more than just that?

Kurt is going to get Kate at 6, and it is 5 already. He doesn’t have much to do to get ready, which gives him plenty of time to be nervous. Kurt’s roommate, Jack, notices that he seems a little unsettled. “What’s up man? Is something bothering you?” Jack pats him on the back. “I’ve got a date in about an hour.” Kurt tells him. “Who with? Jack asks. “My friend Kate.” Jack smiles. “You mean the really pretty girl that you’re always hanging out with?” Kurt chuckles. “That’s the one.” “Well, great man! Have fun!” Kurt nods. “I will!” Jack starts to walk off, then he remembers why he started talking to Kurt in the first place. “So what’s wrong?” He asks. Kurt shrugs. “I guess I’m just nervous.” Jack laughs. “That’s what happens when you like a girl!” Kurt’s eyes widen. “But this is Kate! She’s my friend!” Jack smiles. “Maybe it’s time for you two to be more than that.”

Back at Kate’s dorm, Jessie is helping Kate get ready. “What should I wear?” Kate asks, indecisive. “Well, you want to wear something cute, but you don’t really need to dress up since you’re going to Applebee’s.” She starts looking through Kate’s closet. After about a minute, she finds something. “Ooh! This is perfect! It’s a dress, but it’s casual. Plus, I don’t think you’ve ever worn it before.” “That’s because I just bought it.” She takes the dress from Jess and goes to get changed. She emerges from the bathroom at a quarter until 6. Her hair is styled, she’s wearing some makeup, and, in her new dress, she glows like an angel. Jessie smiles. “You’re ready! Go have fun!”

Kurt knocks on her door right at 6 o’clock. The door opens and he is face-to-face with a version of Kate he’s never seen before. She looks stunning! Eventually he finds his voice. “Are you ready to go?” He chokes out. She smiles. “Yes, I’m starving!” As they walk to Kurt’s car, they talk like they always do. There’s no awkwardness between them, and conversation comes easily. The drive to the restaurant is no different. It’s just like two friends hanging out. Except it’s not. It’s so much more.

They arrive at the restaurant about ten minutes later, and are seated immediately. They order their drinks then look over the menu. “What do you want to get?” Kurt asks her. She shrugs. She’s heard of girls being one of two ways on dates: either they order a salad so they don’t seem like they eat too much, or they order what they want and hope the guy accepts them for who they are. The latter should come naturally to Kate since she’s out with her best guy friend but, suddenly, she’s nervous and afraid he’ll judge her. When the waiter comes to take their order, she makes her decision.

Kurt orders the chicken tenders and Kate decides on pasta. While they wait for their food to come they begin talking. Unlike before, it is a little awkward, now that they have both acknowledged that they are on a date. This isn’t like the other times they’ve gone out to eat together. More afraid of silence than awkward conversation, Kurt speaks up with a cliché date question. “So, what can you tell me about yourself?” Kate giggles. “That you don’t already know? Not much.” “Okay, well tell me about yourself before college.” Strangely enough, Kate had never really told Kurt anything about her life before she started college. “Um, not much has changed.” He just looks at her. “I don’t believe you.” He challenges her. “It’s true!” “Is there anything that you miss?” This gives her an idea of what to talk about.

“I miss my dog. In general, I miss having a pet.” Kurt probes her to tell stories about her beloved schnauzer, Bella, and she does. The awkwardness melts away as Kate makes Kurt laugh with her recounts of Bella’s crazy behavior over the years. When she is in the middle of telling Kurt about the time Bella made her chase her around the neighborhood, the waiter arrives with their food, forcing Kate to postpone her story. They continue to talk while they eat their meals and, once Kate can’t think of any more funny stories, she passes the conversation off to Kurt. “What I miss the most would have to be the town I lived in. It was such a fun little place.” This leads into a conversation about each other’s childhood. They learn a lot about each other that night. But not in the typical first date way. Rather, in a way that paves the road to something much greater for them.

Once Kurt and Kate get back to her dorm they make some popcorn as she puts Jaws into her laptop for them to watch. Armed with a bowl of popcorn they sit down on her bed with the laptop in front of them. They start the movie and watch for a few minutes before Kate gets scared. To his utter surprise she scoots right next to him and lays her head on his chest, holding on to him to make her feel safe. Hesitantly and unsure, Kurt wraps his arms around her and pulls her closer. As it gets to the scary scene, Kate looks up at Kurt. “Aren’t you scared?” She asks him. He looks her straight in the eye when he answers her. “Terrified.” But it’s not the movie that he’s scared of; it’s his newfound feelings for his best friend.


*This story was inspired by the Season 8 Friends episode “The One Where Joey Dates Rachel”.