Cassie – Chapter 3 – Saturday Night

I’m sitting there at Bonner’s bar. A place I only go to with my friend Johnny R, because he likes an Irish sports bar that’s outside the bubble of Rittenhouse. (See: Johnny R – Some good stories there…)

But I come here out of boredom and not accustomed to being off, and just hoping for some social time and maybe the possibility of hanging out with Cassie.

Well. that’s paid off, and I immediately change to water to stay clean before Cassie arrives.

My day off may actually become interesting and fun for once.

I’m chilling at the bar as it fills with young, attractive, brilliant students from the Wharton School of Business across the street.

I love seeing all of these young, vibrant brilliant people all hanging out and chatting, laughing and drinking together. The beginning of adult life. So fun.

Cassie hits the door and looks amazing. She’s wearing a light top that is low cut and shoulders are out. Her jeans showcase her shapely legs. I’m still intrigued.

She looks beautiful, and sees me immediately. I stand to greet her, (As you should gentlemen when a lady enters or leaves the room) We hug and she has a seat.

She orders a Guinness, and I return to my Victory Summer Love.

Cassie is intrigued by my choice because she’s never seen that and I can tell she wants a taste. Nick the bartender cracks the cap from the bottle and lays it before me. I look at Cassie and know she wants a taste.

I’ve become so good at reading people I hand her the ice cold beverage. She smiles an puts it to her lips and takes a sip. I know she’ll love it. I also love that this kind of human exchange this early says “I know your safe to put your mouth on my drink before I drink it.”

That’s an early positive in an initial meeting.

“I’m sure it’ll be sweeter now that it’s touched your lips, Cassie,” I charm. She smiles and says it’s really good.

I go into who I am and what I’m doing currently to give her background. Family, single status, work, and where I’m going.

She unloads the same. Big family in California. Brothers and sisters. Strict Christian upbringing. Love it. She’s probably a wild child with issues.

Cassie and I connect as quickly as we did at the salon but on a deeper level. She’s beautiful and fun to be with today. I’m just happy she showed up to rescue me from being off with nothing to do.

She has her degree and has done a lot in human services. But she likes to party and has done coke. That’s why she looks older than her 31 years she told us at the salon. She was a wild child for years rebelling against her conservative upbringing.

It’s a textbook existence, but I really like her. We all have had our levels of damage in this life.

I like being with her and we hit on so many cylinders. She’s laughing and interested in my stories. I only give a few, but we’re having a great time.

She says she just got out of an abusive relationship. Mental and physical. That’s not good and a red flag waves in my face, but I flick it away because I have no investment here. (That’s an early overshare) I’m just happy to meet someone new and kill a few hours on my day off.

I’m really having a great time with this girl and she’s fun to be with. Which is rare in the dating arena, but I didn’t swipe on her, we met at the salon.

She’s from Cali and is absolutely clueless when it comes to Philly. That neophyte is perfect for someone like me. She’s not around all of the time, and I can turn her on to all of the cool spots in the city.

I can tell Cassie already appreciates that and tells me so. I’m happy to hang with an attractive lady and show her the finer points of our fair city.

Bonner’s is getting busy with all of the Wharton kids and it’s getting noisy. I tell Cassie, that we’ll close out and I’ll take her someplace completely different. The exact opposite of where we are now.

I cash out with Nick and say good bye to the crew. The whole bill for both of us is $30 including tip. Cassie thanks me and says she’ll buy my next drink.

We leave Bonner’s. It’s at 23rd and Sansom. I know where I’m going to take Cass to blow her mind.  (hopefully) We walk east and as we make our way to 16th street we pass so many bars and restaurants. (Sansom is rich in a little bit of everything. That’s why my friend Johnny loves it) Mellagrano, a fantastic Italian BYOB, Helium Comedy Club, Fat Jack’s Comic Book Store, The Ritz movie theater, Village Whiskey, home of the best burger in the city and killer whiskey, Capogirio, good gelato, but not anywhere near as good as Gran Caffe L’Aquilla, (which is God) All of the Stephen Starr Restaurants on 18th in Rittenhouse, Dizen Goff that has the best hummus in the city, Happy Rooster, a great bar with with good food but a big coke bar, Marathon, a spectacular chain that’s like an upscale diner with a bar but with food locally harvested.

We turn North on 16th street and I lead Cassie to R2L.

R2L is a sleek, sophisticated restaurant and private event space, R2L sits 500 feet above the city on the 37th floor of Two Liberty Place and features wall-to-wall unobstructed, breathtaking panoramic views that span for over 40 miles. With its bird’s-eye views of Philadelphia and creative American cuisine by Chef Daniel Stern, R2L sets the scene for some of the city’s most spectacular culinary experiences.

THE ATMOSPHERE

Your arrival at R2L begins with an exclusive elevator ride to the 37th floor of Two Liberty Place. Walk past the open kitchen and into R2L’s bar and lounge where hand-crafted cocktails and wrap-around seating make it one for the best places to grab a drink with friends and watch the sunset. Enjoy a memorable meal in the dining room featuring professional, attentive service and spectacular panoramic views of Philadelphia.

PRIVATE EVENTS

The R2L Private Event Coordinators will work closely with you and will personally attend to every detail to create an event that will meet your specific needs and exceed your expectations. From a midday board meeting to an intimate cocktail party overlooking William Penn atop City Hall to a grand seated dinner, the private dining options at R2L are as boundless as the view. Each room is equipped with plasma televisions for presentations and full audio-visual capabilities.

Cassie has no clue about Philly or where she is about to go.

We enter 2 Liberty and there’s some remodeling going on. The staff is sweet and apologizes but they lead us to the elevators.

I haven’t been here in years. There’s no reason for me to ever come here. Killer views, mediocre food, (Deadly dessert, sorry Daniel Stern) but sexy bar and an impressive dark space on the 37th floor of 2 Liberty.

There’s an ocean of people waiting for the elevator due to the construction. But Cassie and I are cool because we’ve already had drinks and she’e so affable at this moment, which I love. It’ll happen, we just need to get to 37. If it’s not too crowded a new girl to the city will love this. R2L is a space to impress.

 

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Lenore – Nowhere To Go But Up

“She had started to pound $10 cocktails like she was going off to war.”

I was coming off my break up with Michelle, (See: Michelle – 2007 to Present – A Brand New Day) We remained friends, but I figured I should get back out there. I had little knowledge on how online dating worked. I met a cute enough girl online (OK Cupid) – looks a little wild, perfect for where I am in my life, and we decide to meet.
I go all out for this first date. We’re going to my favorite “upscale” taco place and a movie after that I was excited to see. She called me about 10 minutes late and she’s pissed. She couldn’t find parking and now she couldn’t find the place. I excuse myself from the table, step outside, and try to look for her. I don’t see this girl anywhere, but I suddenly hear my name being called. I look over, and the girl who I thought was a slinky girl with pink hair looked almost nothing like her photos.
When we sit down inside the restaurant, she tells me the story. She’s gained about 45lbs…since the baby (which she also neglected to tell me about) and had recently dyed her hair moss-green, mostly by accident. I honestly wasn’t even sure that she was the same person, but she told me she was in beauty school and mixed something up. I don’t remember the exact details, because I stopped being able to pay attention to her story. Why? Because she had started to pound $10 cocktails like she was going off to war.

Uh oh, bad sign.
She ended up ordering the most expensive thing on the menu, drinking $50 in about 5 minutes, and started to get whiny and cranky. What would a normal guy have done? Maybe split the tab and call it a night. Me? Nope. I keep thinking, “Maybe she’s just nervous. Obviously, she’s been through a lot and is a bit of a mess.”
So, the idiot that I am, I take her to the movie. The movie has assigned seating, which lands us in the back of this theater. When we go to sit down, her drunk ass falls over, much to the chagrin of a father and his pre-teen daughter who are sitting in the seats next to us. This girl is in and out of consciousness most of the movie. It was a great movie, but when she was conscious, she complained throughout it – loudly and childishly.

The worst part of the movie, though, is when she got horny and decided to start trying to give me a hand job in the movie theater. Normally, this would be a kind of sexy proposition, but not when you’re sitting right next to a pretty buff-looking, angry father and his young daughter. I had to pull her hand away maybe 5 times as this guy shot me looks of “I’m about to fucking kill you” before I finally took her out of the theater. I felt so bad that I bought the dad/daughter a gift card for the theater and wrote a quick apology before walking miss #greenhairdontcare outside.
It only gets worse from here, sadly. She ends up having a fucking meltdown on one of benches outside the theater. She’s crying and talking about killing herself for about 20 minutes. She’s calling herself fat and ugly, saying that I’m a pig and an asshole for taking her out, and asks me if I’ll fuck her in her car loudly and repeatedly (she asks loudly and repeatedly, not for loud, repetitive sex). I’m getting glares and the cops come over twice to make sure I’m not hurting her.
At some point, I just gave up. I called a cab, which she refused to get in. She hopped in her car, drunk as hell, and sped off. I ended up spending over $200 for this night. By the end of this thing, I was ready to swear off dating entirely, especially after the next 3 days of her texting me depressing shit and pics of her lady parts out of nowhere. But, in the end, I had nowhere to go but up. Dating got a lot better after that.

Sort of.

 

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Daphne – Lovely Hostess – Hello Again

I felt a little tap on my shoulder. I turned and there was the lovely visage of Daphne. I was still reeling from my sweet encounter with Lara, that seeing Daphne pushed me to the next level of euphoria.

I ran into little hostess Daphne from Square 1682 again, but first this little myth.

The story of Daphne is an example of an etiological myth, one that is strongly explanatory of why certain things in their culture were a certain way.

There are many examples of Greek myths that explain why certain religious rituals were performed, why some people’s may be named what they are, or even why varying objects, plants and animals were symbols of their gods.

The gods were known for punishing mortals for offending them, but occasionally they punished each other. The gods were a vengeful folk, and they did not take kindly to being insulted, by mortal or god. Apollo made the mistake of insulting one of his fellow immortal.

Apollo was a great archer, but sometimes he was a little full of himself. One day he caught sight of Eros, the son of Aphrodite. Eros was also an archer, and his arrows were responsible for instilling the twists and turns of love and lust in a person’s heart. Apollo teased young Eros, putting down his abilities as an archer, claiming that one so small could make no difference with his arrows.

Angry at this insult, Eros shot two arrows, one tipped in gold, one blunted and tipped with lead. The arrow dipped in gold had the power to create insatiable lust in a person, while the other created absolute abhorrence towards all things romantic and passionate. The unfortunate soul who was struck with that arrow would have no desire to love anyone. The arrow dipped in gold struck Apollo, but the arrow dipped in lead struck fair Daphne.

Daphne was the daughter of the river-god Peneus. Apollo chased down the maiden, desperate for her love, but she wanted nothing to do with him, and she ran from him endlessly. Soon, she grew weary in her running and that Apollo would ultimately catch her. Fearful, she called out to her father for help. As all gods of water posses the ability of transformation, Peneus transformed his daughter into a laurel tree. Suddenly her legs took root, and her arms grew into long and slender branches.

Apollo reached the laurel tree, and, still enamored with Daphne, held the tree in a special place in his heart. He claimed the tree as his special tree, and adorned himself with some of its leaves. And that is why the laurel was, and still is, a symbol of the god Apollo.

 

I had just finished chatting and flirting with sweet Lara upstairs at the salon. (See: Sun Stories – Lara – 2016 to Present – Tinderella) I came downstairs, locked the door and stood for a moment on Walnut street. Normally I would just head down the street and go home, but for some reason I just stood there taking in the sounds of the city at night.

I felt a little tap on my shoulder. I turned and there was the lovely visage of Daphne.  I was still reeling from my sweet encounter with Lara, that seeing Daphne pushed me to the next level of euphoria. I chatted with her and told her this is where the salon was and that she should come tanning. She said she never had, but may want to try it. I told her about how it was important to get a base tan before she goes on her next adventure. (She loves to travel)

I described the benefits and handed her a free tanning card. I think when I told her I’d put her in the best bed in the house she was sold. In my heart I would love to take her to another bed that has benefits beyond her imagination.

I love Daphne. I have loved her since I first laid eyes on her over two years ago. That beautiful face and low voice just melts me.

But I don’t really love Daphne. I love her in the true phicklephilly sense. I’m in love with the idea of her and beauty. One is in my mind, and the other is simply good genetics on her part. She had nothing to do with that.

She’ll probably never come tanning. She’ll also never meet me for a drink or lunch or anything. I know she has time, but she won’t ever do it. It doesn’t really bother me, because we’re not romantically involved. If we haven’t met up for even one drink in the two years I’ve known her, it’s not happening. She’s young and beautiful and I’m sure being hit on by dozens of suitors of both sexes on a weekly basis.

I’ll keep getting butterflies in my stomach and my heart will flutter when she appears, but I’ll just have to settle for that. She may as well be an elegant tree that I can occasionally stand beside, but can never take her away with me.

 

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Annabelle – Chapter 4 – My “A” Game Lunch

I wasn’t sure, but I sure felt the euphoria of Annabelle. It had nothing to do with her, but at that point, neither of us knew that.

I had sent an email to Annabelle sometime after our “First Date”  thanking her for a wonderful time. I also asked her if she’d like to meet me for lunch at Jones (Stephen Starr restaurant at 8th and Chestnut) I knew the General Manager and knew I would get the exclusive hook up.

She got back to me and said yes!

I made a reservation, and got there early. My table was clear and I took a seat. the staff knew what to do. I waited. Annabelle arrived and I waved her over. She she had a t-shirt on and was wearing a pair of denim cutoffs that showed off her long slender legs. I hadn’t seen them before, but at nearly six feet tall, she had incredible pins.

She said she had just come from the pool where she had been swimming. I didn’t care. I was just happy that she had shown up. She had this scrubbed, day at the beach air about her. I liked it.

Within minutes a bowl of their signature mac and cheese, (which is glorious at Jones) arrived with a side of siracha. Annabelle was impressed. She wasn’t accustomed to going to restaurants with older men that made things happen. I could tell this. She was a simple girl who was surrounded by artsy people who had nothing.

We dug into the mac and cheese with great fury. Baby was hungry and liked to eat. We chatted, and I was happy to see this beauty again. I did my nervous talking thing I do with all new women in my life. But she was laughing a lot and I knew it was working. I was still friends with Michelle, but she was moving on with Delaware Dave, and I was feeling the power with this one. (See: Michelle – 2007 to Present – A Brand New Day)

I gave her a dvd of “The Art of the Steal” the documentary about the Barnes museum that we went to on our first date. I also brought her two miniatures of Chivas Regal’s Maple Whiskey, or as I call it, Hangover Nightmare Juice. At some point on our first date she mentioned that she liked maple syrup. Annabelle was delighted. How crazy will it be when I go to her apartment and find that she has no DVD player or a TV???

Sadly, I was still in love with the idea of love and didn’t know what I was getting myself into. If someone had pulled me aside and told me that this whole thing was a mistake that would have been great. But I know I would have done it anyway. I missed the drug of love I once had with Michelle and wanted it again. Annabelle was twenty-six and I wanted her. I didn’t even care so much about her age, I just needed to feed the addict.

That was me back then. I suppose that was me always. The failure that could always close beautiful young women. I wanted Annabelle to feed my addiction to love. I was the guy who couldn’t have a healthy mutual relationship with a woman. I had already gone down in a ball of flames years ago. A failed marriage, and a string of bad relationships. Nearly more than I could count. The last few had failed because they were younger than me and wanted marriage and kids. I had already destroyed that and had a kid to prove it. A hundred thousand dollars blown on child support and a broken family. Nothing worked. I wasn’t cut out to be in a relationship, let alone a marriage.

I think maybe I should just be alone. I love women. Desperately. But what if for some reason I am only in love with the idea of love and I am unable to actually be in love. I want Annabelle. She’s receptive, and artist, blonde, long legs…

I’m a fool. I am only chasing and courting her because she is young and beautiful. Just like Michelle. That unattainable gazelle that is just out of reach. I must have her. But do I really know her? Is it a match? She works in the arts. They’re a bunch of weirdo losers in the “arts”. We have nothing in common. Just this common connection. A girl I met in a bar that is kind of finding her way in life.

But I’m happy in this moment. I love the sound of her warm voice.

The lunch goes well. It’s the 17th of July. My father’s birthday. He’s 83 today. I picked this day because 17 is a common number in my family. It keeps turning up. That’s why this second date is happening. Annabelle is along for the ride. I’ll call my father tonight and tell him all about it. He’ll listen intently and live through me for once. But not really. He’s had his life. It has been so much more colorful than mine. Just like when I’m talking to him and telling a story. He’s not listening. I know he’s just waiting for me to shut up so he can talk.

He’ll ask her name, and I’ll tell him. He’ll access her heritage and maybe approve. If she sounds western European she’s good.

I remember when I was out in L.A. and working as a musician. My girlfriend at the end was a nineteen year old black girl. I remembered when we finally packed it in and came home. I loved and trusted my dad, because he was awesome. I told him about the black girl and what had happened. I’ll never forget what he said, ” Are you into blacks now?”

I should date and fall in love with a beautiful black girl just to smite that motherfucker. Yea, I can call my dad a motherfucker, because he fucked my mom and made me.

But I digress…

The lunch goes really well. She was excited about the pair of miniatures of Chivas Regal Maple.(The shit tastes terrible)  I also told her I would have asked her out to a second date sooner, but I was waiting for the Art of the Steal DVD to be delivered in the mail!

I have to go meet with the nice people at Chris’ Jazz Bar and she has to go to a photo shoot.

We go outside, and her bike is locked to a pole out front. A bicycle. A simple girl. She’s young and beautiful. Oh, those legs.

I’m in love with the idea of love.

What’s wrong with me?

I tell her I have to go and we hug. I remember very specifically, I went in for the hug…and went for the kiss on the cheek back by the ear. I think we all want to kiss on the lips. But you must sometimes settle for the cheek. It’s just the stupid rules of dating. Especially in the beginning.

She tells me her birthday is coming up soon.

The baby seal is hot. She’s been sitting on the rocks with her mom. She decides to jump into the sea to cool off. The water is crisp, and frothy.

Twenty five yards away, a dark grey dorsal fin cuts through the  water, sensing the life. Feeling the drug of the next love affair. Ready to feed.

I tell her I have some good ideas for her birthday, and she agrees. (I’m so going to make this happen)

I kiss her cheek and say that she’s great.

I walk west on Sansom. I text her that it was amazing seeing her and want to see her again.

When I get to Chris’ Jazz Cafe, I’m waiting for the general manager, and I get a text.

It’s Annabelle. She agrees, and gives me the XO

When I saw the XO I knew it was on. I kissed her on the cheek. That’s still the friend zone. But you can cross over. If a girl throws you an XO in an early text, you’re in boys.

I wasn’t sure, but I sure felt the euphoria of Annabelle. It had nothing to do with her, but at that point, neither of us knew that.

She wanted her dad, and I just wanted to be loved by pretty girls when I was thirteen. So here we are, and we’ll have to see what happens.

 

 

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