I had never been so happy to finish work before, I couldn’t keep the smile off my face as I waited at the bus stop. Not only did I not have to return to this place for the next forty hours, tonight I had an actual date. With Tyler. He had picked me up for work every night, made me coffee, and we’d talked. About everything and nothing. I knew he had two sisters and a brother, was close to both of his parents, he played soccer, his favourite food was pancakes. I also knew what he looked like half naked. Not from experience. From the photos he sent me every night and most mornings.

It had taken some talking to get him to agree not to pick me up every morning, so instead he sent me selfies. Like the one that had just come in, his neatly made bed in the background his delicious body front and centre with the message:

Tyler: morning babe. I was up early enough to work out and make my bed so I could have picked you up. Looking forward to tonight, stay sweet xx

I sent back: You would have had to skip the work out and you need it after all those pancakes! See you @ 9 xx

Tyler: can’t wait!

I put my phone away after that. I knew if I responded he would too. I always had to be the one to stop our exchanges. That first night he’d dropped me off with a chaste kiss because, “If I start kissing you, I wont want to stop,” and asked me what time my break was. In a daze from his kiss and his words, I’d answered automatically.

Two minutes into my break time, my cell had beeped with a new message, a photo of a very sleepy looking Tyler and the text: wish you were here xx

Me: Me too, at least you have decent coffee!

Tyer: hmmm, think I have something better than coffee to keep you awake

Me: You have chocolate? You’re amazing!!

Tyler:  not chocolate baby but I sure hope you think it’s amazing anyway

Me: Better than coffee and chocolate? You have me very very curious!

Tyler: are you teasing me on purpose? Curious as a cat are you?

Me: Meow

Tyler: bet that sounded sexy as fuck. This is why I can’t call you! No phone sex at work you! Behave!!

Me: Ha! You’re the one with the dirty thoughts. I think you should be asleep. Night Tyler.

Tyler: Thinking of you, of course they’re dirty. Night babe xx

Me: Behave!! Goodnight xx

Tyler: Never xx

That had led to another discussion about appropriate message times and messages. He’d grinned, unrepentant, but agreed not to set his alarm to wake up and send me messages. Same deal we had for early morning texts. Tyler was a carpenter so he worked with power tools and, in my opinion, needed to be well rested each day. I’d told him that if he didn’t agree to not getting up early to pick me up, I’d go back to catching the bus to work in the evenings too. He’d countered with picking me up every other day. I’d countered with he got one trip with me, his choice. A quick trip home in the morning, or picking me up each evening.

He’d chosen the evening but each morning he would text me. Sometimes just after I left work, other times just as I was going to bed. We hadn’t moved into phone calls, the timing just wasn’t right. But he had been quick to lock in my one free night. As if he had competition for my company.

I hadn’t let myself think about it too much, dinner at a restaurant that didn’t have a children’s menu, possible dancing afterwards. “Wear a dress,” he’d said with a serious look. Now, as I waited for the bus I let myself think about it, let myself worry about what I was going to wear, did I even know how to dance anymore? And what about after the dinner and dancing? Would Tyler expect … no, that wasn’t the question. Would Tyler want … more? Would I?

I had no answer as the bus arrived or when I walked home. I had no answer as I prepared breakfast and kissed my boys good morning. I had no answer while they went grocery shopping with their father and I tried to catch a nap. There was no denying I was attracted to Tyler or that the feeling was mutual. As much as he kept the kisses we exchanged light and chaste, he couldn’t hide his physical reaction when he hugged me tightly before letting me go.

I didn’t know how things worked with dating these days. Sex seemed to be treated so casually, swipe right, swipe left, hook ups, friends with benefits, bootie calls. Then there was us. The history we had, the memory of that moment of insanity, though insanity had never felt so good, seemed so right. Did that change things? I remembered how Tyler had joked about not putting out on the first date all those months ago. But what date was this? And was the third date still the date?

I guess I’d find out soon. Sleep was being elusive, I closed my eyes and tried counting sheep. With my luck, I’d fall asleep over dessert and all this thinking would be for nothing…