Saturday, November 19, 2016

Generation Nine — Chapter One: Welcome to the Dating Game; Tonight's Bachelor, Seth Cantrell!

   Seth watched as his father slowly turned into an elderly Sim, and as those before him, Trenton handed down the mantel of Patriarch to his only son. Seth, newly graduated from high school, was a tad lost not having a regular routine. So, he made it his first directive to seek out a bride. After all, how could he be a Patriarch if he had no children? Luckily, for him, he’d spent part of his scholastic life making a few friends. Some of them female, too. Which was only remotely easier, if one wanted children.
    Seth drew out his cell phone and skimmed through his list of contacts. Darling Walsh. She was interesting. Customarily wore a baseball cap, backwards, a sports shirt and shorts. She wasn’t in the least bit feminine, she was always just ‘one of the guys’. But then again, he didn’t know her too well, either. She may be surprisingly fascinating. Perhaps, she just needed a little coaxing to get her out of her shell?
    “Darling,” he said, when she came on the line. Unfortunately, his two sisters were standing just a few feet away from him. They gave each other a look, which alerted Seth to the possibility stories might be carried to their parents. His mother was certain to start planning the wedding at the first hint of any romance. Why were his palms sweating? 

    “Yeah, it’s me, Seth Cantrell. Yeah, from Civics. Third row, fifth seat. Ah, now you remember me. Say, I was just thinking. Would you like to meet me over at Magnolia Park? I don’t know, just hang out for a bit … Okay, good, I’ll see you there. Oh, in about fifteen, does that work for you? Sure, okay. See you then.”
    Betsy, grabbed him by the sleeve as he was about the leave. “Darling? You called someone darling? Who is she — darling is a she, right? Give us the stats.”
    “Height, hair color, eyes. Pretty, not,” Hannah chimed in.
    “I don’t know, yet,” he said, pulling his arm away.
    “How can you not know — you called her darling!” Betsy persisted. “You must have an opinion.”
    “She always has her hair in a cap, that’s how. Sheesh, let me go, or I’ll be late.”
    Seth sighed. Both of his sisters had taken jobs. One was a critic the other a click-bait operator — he really wasn't certain what that entailed beyond her creating and maintaining a blog. Females!
    He jogged the few blocks to the park and managed to make it before Darling arrived. At least he hoped he got there before her. Pretty soon, she came walking up.
    “Hey, hi,” Seth said, smiling.
    “Oh, I remember you, now,” Darling said. “The hunk in the third row, fifth seat. Civics.”
    “I’m not sure about hunk, but you got my seat correct.” There was a bit of an awkward silence that followed. Seth was so new to this whole dating thing. So much so, he wasn’t sure this even qualified as a ‘date’. He just wanted to get to know her better.
    “So,” he said at long last. “How’s your day been?”
    “So far, okay.” 

    “Your career?”
    Darling slapped her knees, laughing. “I’m currently unemployed. School was my full time job.”
    “Any plans for the future?”
    “Only that I’d like one.”
    “Ah, well, good. Say, are you hungry? Would you like to go over to Millie’s for a bite to eat?”
    “You mean, like a date?”
    Seth shrugged. “Sort of. Only nothing formal. Just two people chatting over a meal.”
    He’d seen old videos of the Dating Game and this meeting was just as awkward as that game show. He just wished he had his questions written out for him on those little 3 X 5 cards.
    They made it to the Café known as Millie’s. He walked ahead of Darling to the host and requested a table. Then he watched as Darling wandered along to the back of the restaurant. For a moment she fidgeted with the cup-cake making machine in the kitchen. He could see her through the slat of the food pass. What the heck? Pretty soon, she came back over to Seth and the two took a seat in the booth.

    Seth again did his best to engage her in conversation. He wanted so much to get to know this mysterious person, but she barely opened up. He did learn she was active. That was a plus, since he was, too. Likely they could spend some time together jogging, working out at the gym, or hiking or other fun stuff. Then he tried to flirt with her. That, as it turned out, was a huge mistake. Darling reared back from him and almost receded into the booth cushions. Obviously, she wasn’t into flirting. Unflirty, he filed that in the back of his brain. Had he that proverbial ‘black book’ he’d have written it beside her name.
    A bit of small-talk later, he paid the bill, and they both parted ways. Feeling embarrassed out of his mind, this first ‘date’ was a disaster. He’d sooner go through another earthquake than spend another minute with her. While he’d hoped for more, there simply was no there, there. She just was. An enigma in a backward baseball cap. 


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