Elsa should've figured that the blind date was a very bad idea. While she appreciated Anna's concern about her well-being and her rather solitary lifestyle, with nearly no friends sans her own sister to speak of, Elsa should've said no to her offer.
„Please, Els! For me? At least try it! He's in a couple of my classes and... okay, he's a bit of a dick, but at least you'll get to go out every once in a life? Meet new people?" Anna pleaded.
Elsa very much protested the notion of her going out on a date just for the sake of meeting new people, especially when she was supposed to do it alone, without the safety net of her sister or the few friends she actually had. Despite her arguments, which fell on deaf ears, Elsa found herself dressing up for the first time in forever, applying light make-up, and actually perhaps looking forward for the night. She was not looking for anyone to date. She would not jump into a relationship, not after the last time. But, perhaps she could get to know the mysterious Hans, and who knew? Maybe they could actually become friends. Maybe, over time, something more.
That thought went out the window after about fifteen minutes of Elsa sitting in the booth, her posture deflating with every minute, she decided to text Anna.
He has not arrived yet, Anna.
He'll be there, I promise! Just look for red hair!
Elsa sighed and pocketed her phone, smoothing the lines of her dress. The waitress approached her once again, asking for her order. Elsa had to decline once again, saying she needed more time. The waitress just smiled sadly at her and left her alone.
Four pitying looks and a half hour later, Elsa decided she had had enough. Before she had the chance to stand up, however, someone slid into the opposite seat of the booth, startling the ever loving shit out of her, making her nearly jump out of her skin. At first, Elsa thought it was Hans, and was ready to give him a piece of her mind before storming out. The fire from her eyes quickly disappeared after noticing that the person on the other side was not the one she was supposed to meet.
„Sorry I'm late, sweetheart. The traffic was crazy!" he said, his voice on the louder side of the spectrum. Elsa just looked at him with wide eyes.
„You are not Hans."
„I'm Hans for now. Just go with it," the man said, the depth of his voice surprising Elsa momentarily. She gave him a quick once-over, taking notice of his strong jawline, athletic figure, and a rather deep shade of blue, assessing her just the same. His most noticeable feature, however, was the silvery-grey hair – something pretty unusual for a man who appeared to be her age, if not younger.
„Why?" she asked after a few seconds, not willing to let the awkward silence continue.
„Because whoever this Hans is, is a dick for not even bothering to show up. I'm Jack, nice to meet you," he smiled. His grin was so open and honest it shook Elsa straight-on, and she found herself smiling at him in return, oddly affected by his sweet gesture. The fact that he was one of the most beautiful human beings she had ever seen may have helped his odds.
„Hello, Jack. Nice to meet you, too. I'm Elsa," she said, her smile warm.
Jack grinned. „Glad we're on the same page. So, any reason you're here, dressed to the nines, looking like a million bucks? You are aware that this is a shitty diner, right?"
Elsa looked around as if noticing her surroundings for the first time. Looking back at Jack, she shrugged. „My sister convinced me to go on a blind date. You can see how it worked out."
He smiled sadly at her, already not happy seeing her deflated. „Hey, for what it's worth, I really think the guy's a total ass for standing you up like this. God knows any normal guy wouldn't think about doing this kinda stuff."
Elsa's smile got larger and she beamed at him, her eyes warm. „Thank you, Jack. What brings you here, to this.. uh, shitty diner?"
The swear seemed foreign on her tongue, and Jack found it rather amusing. To be fair, he'd only come here to get some waffles to go and then go back home to watch Netflix and most likely fall asleep on the sofa. Again. When a very pretty platinum blonde sitting alone in a booth caught his eye, he decided to observe her for a few seconds – not in a creepy way, no. He was not a stalker, thank you very much. Rather, he found himself intrigued. A beautiful young woman in a dress, sitting all alone in what is quite possibly the worst diner in all of Burgess?
Jack immediately understood what was going on when he saw her look over her shoulder twice in a matter of minutes. When he noticed her pick up her purse, her back hunched and expression radiating disappointment, Jack acted on instinct.
„Long story short – came here, saw you, noticed you looked sad, decided to brighten your mood."
This seemed like the right thing to say, for when her smile widened even further, Jack could swear he went blind from the brightness of it. He knew, from all his years of knowing all kinds of people, that Elsa was not used to smiling much.
They talked for a few minutes, both of them noticing different things about the other. Elsa found out he was two years younger than her – he blushed when she told him her age – and that he was majoring in English and Psychology. Jack found out she was working in her family's business, and based on her expression, decided not to ask about her work any further. They talked more, the conversation flowing surprisingly easily, Elsa's body language becoming more and more open each minute, her posture relaxed and trusting.
It shocked her to her core, really, to see herself react like this to a man she'd just met. There was something about him, however. Something that just screamed at her to trust him. Perhaps it was the kindness in his eyes, the carefree attitude he seemed to employ, the openness that just radiated off him, a stark contrast to her own. She found herself opening up to him, talking about her childhood with her sister, talking about her passion for Geometry and architecture in general, her love of reading, her favorite books.
He asked questions, interested in getting to know this miracle of a girl, just as she asked him. Her heart warmed at the love with which he spoke about his sister, the passion and pure, joyful laugh when he told her about the various pranks he and his best friends pulled off in high school.
„It was time for me to grow up," he said, „but we went all out for out last day."
When he told her about their final prank at the end of his senior year, her sides hurt from laughing so much. When she wiped the tears from her eyes, she looked at him and smiled.
Unbeknownst to the other, it was this moment that they started to fall in love.
The conversation went deeper and deeper, going from philosophy (Jack was no slouch, but Elsa had him beat on this one) to literature (Elsa gaped when he gave her a thorough analysis on Kafka's Metamorphosis, one of his favorite books, she soon found out) to his favorite subject, psychology. Elsa would lie if she said she wasn't attracted to him more than just physically, now.
The same could be said for Jack.
„I'm sorry, lovebirds, but we're closing for tonight. I'm gonna have to ask you to leave," said the waitress from earlier, glancing at Jack. She knew Jack, he was a regular. She smirked at him.
„Would you like your pancakes to go?"
Looking at Elsa, Jack grinned. „Nah. I'm fine."
Elsa grinned back.
„Can I walk you home?"
„Would you like to go up?"
When Elsa woke up the next morning, her head on Jack's chest and his arms wrapped around her, she smiled. Jack, who she knew was already awake by his breathing, leaned in and whispered in her ear, „Does that mean I get to take you out on a real date?"
Elsa laughed. „Yes."