Head Over Heels CONCLUSION
Neil sat at the tall bar table across from Angie, leaning his hands on each of his knees. Angie couldn’t help noticing that they were just about eye-level now.
“Wow, you’re finally my height,” she giggled and rolled her eyes, looking down at herself.
Neil scrunched his eyebrows and squinted in confusion.
“What?” he asked.
“You know… I’m just so little compared to you,” Angie adjusted herself in her seat, looking down at the flats she still wore.
“Oh, I didn’t realize my height was such a problem.” Neil teased, his ears slightly flushed.
Angie was still glancing down, feeling self-conscious and tucking her feet under her chair.
She and Neil had walked together to The Cantina just a block from the office. She would have normally enjoyed the warmth from Neil’s elbow as he brushed against her arm, walking side-by-side. If only she wasn’t feeling extra short next to her tall, handsome date.
Suddenly aware of the silence, Angie looked up from the table.
“Huh? Oh no. You’re fine… I on the other hand…” her voice trailed off as she rummaged through her purse, looking for her compact and lipgloss, feeling a little flustered after drawing attention to her vertically challenged stature.
Neil cocked his head to one side, waiting for Angie to return his gaze again.
“Busy day?” he asked.
Angie sighed audibly, then forced a laugh as she looked up from her handbag.
“You could say that,” she said, finally finding her lip gloss at the bottom of her bag and looking into Neil’s face.
His eyes were full of her reflection, looking back at her intently. Listening. Really listening.
Angie smiled, relaxing her tensed shoulders.
“I had a lot of running around to do for the meeting… My feet were killing me.”
Angie winced thinking of her bandaged heel.
“You poor thing! Morris really runs you ragged, huh?”
Angie playfully sticks out her lower lip and nods, lapping up Neil’s delicious sympathy and avoiding her admittance of an extra sprint back home to swap her painful heels.
Neil laughs, smiling with his mouth open.
“Looks like someone needs a foot massage later,” he teased.
Angie’s smile dropped and she reflexively pulled her flat-clad feet tighter under her tall chair. Then she jumped as she banged her bandaged heel against the bar under her chair, followed by lifting her knee in reflex to pull away from the pain, only to hit the underside of the table, jostling the water glasses and making Angie squint again.
“Whoa! You okay?” Neil asked, steading the table with his large hands on either side of it, leaning over to attempt a peek underneath.
Angie pulled her ankles under her chair again, careful of the bar this time.
“I’m fine,” she barked with a squeak of panic. Her voice resembled that of a yapping dog.
“I’m fine,” she said again, more controlled.
Neil’s eyes were a little wide. Was that from confusion or shock, Angie wondered.
“I’m such a klutz, today,” she tried to laugh it off.
Neil forced a smile.
“I’m sure you could use a drink after the day you’ve had,” Neil said.
Angie nodded, then her rumbling stomach reminded her how little she’d eaten today.
“Sounds great, but do you mind if we eat a little something first? In case you couldn’t tell by my size, I’m kinda a lightweight,” she laughed.
Neil looked down at the table’s empty paper placemats.
“Sorry, I should’ve thought of that,” he said, looking like a kid who’s been scolded at the dinner table.
“No, no!” Angie interjected. “Don’t worry about it. I just don’t want to embarrass myself-”
Neil stands and points to the bar behind him with his thumb.
“I’m gonna go find a waitress and order us some apps. She hasn’t even glanced our way,” he said.
Angie’s stomach grumbled an inaudible thank you.
“Calamari okay?” Neil asked.
“Perfect,” Angie nodded.
She watched Nail amble over to the bar where a tall, slim waitress stood. As he approached, Angie’s stomach tripped, then flipped on the floor – an uncomfortable tumble that had nothing to do with hunger pains.
Neil was obviously asking the waitress over to the table, but she said something to keep Neil there a few more moments, clearly taking the order right there.
Angie saw the waitress’ eye light up as she took in Neil’s full view. She knew what the waitress saw. Angie saw it, too. Obviously.
He was the blonde version of Jim from The Office. Krasinski may be slightly more dashing and funny, but that wasn’t anything Angie held against him, even if Angie was slightly cuter than the Pam counterpart.
It didn’t seem like Neil was flirting with the waitress. Nice guy. But, the waitress seemed a little too smiley with Neil. Naughty girl?
Her ankle throbbed and her mind wandered to Neil’s words.
Was Neil offering to give her a foot massage before? Or, was he just mentioning one in general, taking interest in her well being?
The tall waitress laughed, and Neil turned to head back to their table, smiling in Angie’s direction.
Or was he smiling at the back and forth he’d just experienced with the waitress? Angie wondered.
Angie dropped her eyes back to the silverware in front of her as Neil squeezed through the crowd.
“Apps are on the way!” Neil said as he plopped back into his seat. “I couldn’t order your drink because the waitress said she had to card you first,” Neil made a quizzical face and shook his head.
“Haha,” Angie said. The waitress was mocking Angie’s height. What a bi—
“I realized afterward that I hadn’t asked what you wanted anyway,” Neil said, then shrugged his shoulders with his hands raised. “Sorry about that.”
Angie was still thinking of the waitress as Neil continued talking. Her hand absentmindedly drifted down to her now bruised ankle as she adjusted the bent band-aid and gave her sore heel a gentle rub.
“It was so noisy this afternoon, wasn’t it?” Neil asked.
Angie nodded to Neil, arguing internally with herself as she debated whether she was better off with her comfy flats when other women were on the prowl.
“Jensen is always loud when he visits,” Neil continued.
Angie forced a smile as she thought about her chocolate heels in the closet.
“I can hear his voice booming on the other side of the wall. That’s a guy who doesn’t need a megaphone!” Neil laughed.
At least the heels would bring her eye level to a certain waitress.
“I mean that was a really long meeting today. I saw you in and out of there a few times, too. Did you even have a chance to eat lunch?”
Yes, the heels pinched her toes, but her feet were in pain anyway, so what difference would a couple more hours have made?
Angie jumped, clearing thoughts of her closet and looking into Neil’s eyes through the haze.
“I’m sorry, what?” she sputtered.
The waitress came to their table with two double shots of something clear and a beer bottle on a tray before Neil could answer.
She smiled largely at Neil first, then turning to Angie.
“Can I get you anything, Sweety?”
Angie smiled tight-lipped, squinting her eyes at the possible condescension.
And she wanted to card her before?
“I’ll have what my date’s having,” Angie replied.
“Oh,” the waitress stammered, “okay then,” and placed her hand on the bottle.
Angie reached out and snatched a shot from the tray.
“Thank you!” Angie tried sounding as genuine as possible, compensating for her sudden rude behavior.
The waitress may have been flirting with Angie’s date, but it was still impolite to snatch things – or so her mama said in her head.
“Oh, that’s-” the waitress started, but Angie drank half of her shot before it could be taken back.
Neil’s eyebrows raised and he looked to the waitress.
“It’s been a long day… we’re just really thirsty,” he said.
Grateful and shocked at Neil’s attempt to smooth the awkwardness, Angie laughed through her nose with the faintest dribble from her mouth, desperately holding what she now knew was tequila in a bubbled mouth.
Neil laughed, covering his lips with his fist in an attempt to be polite.
“I guess so,” the waitress shakily laughed.
She placed the beer bottle in front of Neil.
“I’ll be back with those appetizers… and another beer in a jiff,” she pointed to Angie, then sauntered back through the crowd with a little less sway to her walk.
Angie then swallowed and smiled with shifty glances to Neil, wiping her mouth with a napkin, embarrassed she assumed the shots were for them.
Neil leaned his head to one side again, reminding Angie of a cute puppy. Just another adorable trait of his.
“May I ask what that was all about?” Neil chuckled.
Angie was digging in her purse again for the lip gloss she’d just rubbed off, grateful to avoid Neil’s gaze for another moment while she composed herself.
“Oh, it’s nothing,” Angie waved her hand to brush away the thought of the waitress.
“Just dealing with a little issue,” Angie said, opening her gloss and applying with the compact in front of her face, blocking Neil’s gaze. Hoping he didn’t see how flushed her face felt.
“What issue?” Neil asked.
“Oh,” Angie slowly applied her gloss, trying to ignore her now quivering hands from the rush of jealousy and alcohol. She was so hungry.
“You know… the flirting,” Angie bounced her eyeballs from side to side, her compact dropped just enough for Neil to see her annoyance.
“Flirting?” Neil asked.
The waitress came back then and placed a single shot at the table in passing.
“On the house. Sorry for the confusion,” her gesture was much warmer than the tone of her voice.
“See?” Angie breathed, eyes widened despite their desire to droop.
“Thank you!” Neil said at the waitress’ back.
She didn’t turn around.
Angie exhaled and grabbed the new shot glass, downing it immediately.
“Pff!” She exhales.
“That was nice, right?” Neil asked in a hush.
“And the flirting continues,” Angie mumbled to herself, not listening to her date.
Her stomach vibrated and Angie imagined the burning she felt was her insides eating themselves.
“What? Who’s flirting?” Neil asked.
He stared across at Angie in disbelief. Is this how she always acts outside of work?
“I mean, it was pretty obvious the way I was treated. But, you know… whatever.”
Angie was starting to lose her train of thought as her head was unable to focus on anything through the growing fog.
“Oh… sorry about that,” Neil responded.
“I mean, we’re on a date…. Who does that?” Angie snapped.
“I didn’t think… I didn’t notice-” Neil said.
“I’m sitting right here!” Angie’s voice raised.
“Look,” Neil started, “I don’t like what you’re insinuating. I’m not that kind of-”
“God, I’m hungry,” Angie exhaled.
Neil blinked. How could she accuse him of flirting?
“Okay,” Neil took a deep breath and stood.
“Maybe this is a bad night to do this,” he stated.
“Oh, I’ll be ok,” Angie said. “If someone would just bring the appetizers,” she mumbled.
“It’s busy. Service is slow,” Neil began.
“Yeah,” Angie squeezed the bridge of her nose as a throbbing headache began to sink between her temples.
Neil shook his head.
“Maybe, too busy for us… I’m gonna call it a night,” he said.
“What?” Angie lifted her head, her fingers sliding halfway down her nose.
“No, wait. I wasn’t talking about you. I was just –” Angie flustered, trying to correct her statement.
“You know, I thought adults would have outgrown silly kinds of jealousy.” Neil stammered, fidgeting with the keys in his pocket.
“No! I wasn’t talking about you. I was talking about her!” Angie tried forcing a little laugh with a one-sided smile.
“I’m just super self-conscious, and I… I-”
Neil had already turned half-way and raised his hand.
“Please, Angela,” his eyes looked down as he finished with, “spare me the it’s – not-you- it’s – me routine,” and walked away.
Angie’s eyes dropped to her hands, contemplating what just happened.
“No, it’s really not you,” she whispered.