She was suspicious of his motives. Really, men just didn’t approach her. She wasn’t the type of girl who normally attracted the attention of the popular guys, the extraordinarily good-looking guys, or the athletic guys. On occasion, she would get asked out by the sweet yet awkward nerdy guys, but usually even if they noticed her, they were too shy to ask her out. It wasn’t that she was fat, ugly, or unintelligent. She wasn’t any of those things. Though she definitely wasn’t glamorous, she was pretty in a natural, earthy way. Fussing over makeup or designer clothes just wasn’t her thing; rather, she was more the fresh-scrubbed, girl-next-door type who was most comfortable in jeans, a t-shirt, and a ponytail. She never saw the need to draw attention to herself, yet socially inept didn’t quite describe her. It wasn’t that she couldn’t make small talk and interact in group settings; she just never really saw the point. Happiness to her was sitting on the sidelines observing others or spending time alone reading a good book, exploring nature, or experimenting in the kitchen. Those were solitary activities; maybe they didn’t have to be, but for her, they were. Solitude made her happy. She liked her own company and her own hobbies.
Now here was this smart, handsome, and out-going guy intruding on her solitude. What was she supposed to make of that? Sure, they had known each other for a while, but they were acquaintances, nothing more. There had never been any indication that they would ever be more than that; except, according to him, he had been interested in her from the start. He said he found her intriguing and elusive. The more she tried to blend into the scenery and avoid detection, the more he thought of her as a mystery, a puzzle he felt compelled to solve.
The most confusing and suspicious part of the whole thing was that he didn’t ask her out on an ordinary, run of the mill date. . . No, he asked her out for Valentine’s Day. Who does that? She was having trouble figuring out why he had asked her out at all, and he asks her out for Valentine’s Day. More than that, he refused to take no for an answer. He told her he had it all planned and wanted to alleviate her concerns. She didn’t have to dress up or make herself up into something she wasn’t. He wanted to go out with her, the girl he said he knew. All she had to do was say yes and be ready when he picked her up. He promised that she would have fun. He all but begged her to give him a chance. What was she supposed to do?
Since he swore he was showing up at her door no matter how many times she said no, she figured she had two options: she could let him show up to an empty house or she could give in. She decided to test his word. She was ready when he arrived, dressed in her standard jeans and a sweater. Her hair was in a ponytail, and she did not wear makeup. She dressed like she would for any other event outside of work. To her surprise, he was casually dressed as well. He didn’t take her anywhere fancy either. He said he wanted to prove to her that he had been paying attention and that he really did know the true her. He drove her to the nearby park and pulled a blanket and picnic basket out of the backseat of the car. Knowing that she liked to cook, he had wanted to fix her dinner: homemade pizza, pasta with pancetta and veggies, and a fruit salad. Because he knew she loved nature, he chose to eat in the park rather than intimidate her by inviting her to his home. They ate in a lovely spot overlooking the pond. After they ate, they strolled some of the paths and fed the ducks. Then he told her there was one more part to their date. He took her to the bookstore where they meandered through the shelves discussing their favorite books before sitting down to have coffee and dessert. He had managed to incorporate all of her favorite things, normally solitary things, into their date. He showed her that they had those things in common and that he really did like her for her. They talked more in that one night than all of their previous interactions combined, and she was suspicious no more.