This is a work of fiction.

He showed up at her door, 3B, at 6:58 p.m. When he had promised over the phone that he would arrive at her apartment door promptly at 7 p.m.; she had not stopped to consider the good deal of wiliness that it would take him to properly get into her building, pass the buzzer and navigate the hallways to her difficult-to-find door, but as he stood in front of her with one disconcertingly vibrant pink carnation, she couldn’t help but wish she had worn her serrated headband for extra protection.

Before this evening, they had vaguely known each other through a mutual friend — had run into each other quite a few times at Starbucks, in bars, on the street — and had exchanged pleasant bouts of small talk, but never anything remarkably flirtatious or particularly arousing. In fact, she was the one who had technically made the first move, asked their mutual friend to hint that he should ask her on a date. She was bored of sitting with her coffee alone, and he always looked rather charming and presentable across the Starbucks table with his own latte, so she thought it might be a suitable match.

Given her maddened heartbeat as she heard him rap at her door, though it is unclear why she thought she could possibly be prepared for such an outing, especially when she hadn’t even done a thorough background check. So, just as she reached to open her door, she made a last-second decision to throw a large and chunky sweater over her otherwise moderately sexy ensemble.

As they walked down the stairs and across several blocks to their dining location (a small, but decently elegant diner that she had chosen specifically for its highly populated surroundings) the force of the wind barely budged her chastely armored body, but threatened to blow her carnation away on several occasions. The dinner was nice. Standard cordiality, slightly uncomfortable, but occasionally charming conversation; this made her wary. Whatever was to come, she needed to be prepared. As they lingered over coffee and a shared slice of subpar pecan pie, she grew increasingly on edge. Perhaps it was only her numerous precautionary layers, but she soon found herself sweating profusely.

After what seemed like a decade, the check arrived. He reached toward his pocket, and the panic that had been mounting inside her finally struck. He was pulling out a weapon. She knew she must beat him to it. Adrenaline coursed through her. She shoved her hand into the breast pocket of her jacket.

“I’ll pay.” She practically howled. He shriveled back with his jaw slacked, “I mean … um, OK … if you really want to … ”

“I do!,” she barked. “I mean, yes, I do, I really do want to pay.” He would not seduce her. Even over $6 Chardonnay.