Contemplating the urgent phone call, Crystal felt a little nervous as she headed towards her apartment. Three days ago, a man she hadn’t hardly heard from in five years called and invited her on a date.
“Hi Crys. Would you like to go to a ball with me?” Cree had said.
“Well…” Cree had sounded nervous to say, “it’s on Monday, and it’s a formal event. Still like to go?”
“So, where is it?”
He’d then filled her in on the details of the ball in Las Vegas. They’d drive up on Monday afternoon. Then, the Marine Corps Birthday Ball would happen that night. The two of them would spend a night in Las Vegas, and then he planned to drive her home Tuesday Morning.
Crystal grinned as she recalled how her boss had reacted to her asking for Tuesday off, the Friday before, no less. T supported our troops. However, not everyday does an employee suddenly ask for a weekday off to go to a ball.
She thought back to the dress she’d bought two days ago. After the phone call, Crystal had called her best friend, E, who’d taken her shopping immediately. By some luck, they’d managed to find the perfect dress for the occasion.
As Crystal pulled into her parking spot, she noticed a towering man playing with a little girl on the playground. About then, the butterflies in her stomach lurched and began flapping wildly to escape.
Driving to Vegas
“Crystal, I’d like you to meet Elizabeth,” Cree said, motioning as the little girl stepped forward.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you.” Elizabeth stepped timidly closer to him as Crystal greeted her.
“I usually just call her Lizzie,” Cree told her. “She’s my wingman, so basically what she says goes.”
Crystal invited Cree and Lizzie up to her apartment, where she dropped off her stuff for work, and grabbed what she’d need for the trip. As they set off, Crystal pulled out her phone and snapped a quick pic of her date.
Then, she turned her entire attention to Lizzie. Somehow Cree sounded serious about her.
A Cautionary Tale… or Two
Once Lizzie tired of Crystal’s attention, she dozed off. Cree told Crystal a story about another date where Lizzie disapproved of the lady.
Cree had approached the girl cold, and opened her with some sort of routine. Then, completely out of the blue, Lizzie had walked up and looked him straight in the eye.
“You can do better Dad!”
Just like that, the date ended, and he’d politely excused himself. Cree never regretted it. Another time, he’d come home from work depressed and exhausted. As soon as they go through the door, Cree had collapsed in their entryway.
Young Lizzie, then brought a blanket and tucked him in, cuddling next to him until they woke up the next morning.
Crystal realized with a warm smile that these two were definitely a tightly packaged deal; a ready made family.
Once they arrived in Las Vegas, Cree took them straight to Camelot. While the ball would take place in Caesar’s Palace, apparently he’d gotten a ridiculous discount on rooms across the street. At check in, Cree came back with three separate room keys.
“You’re not seriously going to leave her in her own room?”
“No, I got a babysitter,” Cree said, grinning at her concern.
Sure enough, a few minutes later, they met another lady in the attached parking garage. She’d driven an Audi something or rather, and seemed eager to take Lizzie for some fun. The two of them disappeared into their room.
Next, Cree escorted Crystal to her room, and left her at her door to get dressed and ready for the ball. As Crystal carefully laid out her dress, she never even stopped to take in the already packed day.
United States Marine Corps 236th Birthday Ball
About an hour later, Crystal heard a knock on her door, and opened it to see Cree. He wore a black jacket with red trim, blue pants, a white belt, shiny shoes, and a stack of medals on his chest.
“Stay right there,” Crystal said, as she snapped another pic with her camera.
She felt slightly annoyed that her camera had been smudged at some point along the way, but it couldn’t be helped, it was the only one she had at the moment.
“Ready?” Cree asked, offering his arm in a gesture of chivalry.
Crystal took it and asked if they could say goodnight to Lizzie first. The grin on Cree’s face told her that he’d already been planning on that. Her bringing it up seemed to make him so much happier.
“Hang on you two,” the babysitter called after them as they left. She quickly snapped a picture of them with her phone, and wished them a good night. She winked at Cree…
The actual ball consisted of:
- 5:00 – 5:55 PM Cocktail Hour
- 6:00 –
6:457:30 PM Ceremony/Speeches
6:45 – 8:157:30 – 9:00 PM Three Course Dinner
8:15 – 12:009:00 – TBD Dancing/Drinking
During the Ceremony, Crystal made sure she placed her hand on Cree, to let him know she remembered him. Then, the guest speaker took a ton more time than anyone expected or wanted. By the time they ate, the entire room seemed ravenous; that, and drunk.
Finally, Cree asked her to dance, and they managed two songs before he begged her to leave.
Las Vegas Nightlife
From the ball, the two of them made their way straight back to their hotel. There, they changed back into their street clothes, and Cree picked Crystal up again.
Crystal enjoyed their walk, as Cree escorted her around the strip. By ten thirty, they ended up in front of the Bellagio Fountains. In that light, Crystal caught a glimpse of Cree’s blue eyes, and snapped another random pic.
After several amazingly romantic light and water shows, Crystal felt Cree’s warmth press into her back. She snuggled back, enjoying the stark contrast to the November cold.
When she finally turned around, Cree grinned and bent down for a kiss. Instead, Crystal turned her head, catching his lips on her cheek, and changed it into a close hug. She couldn’t help but giggle at Cree’s confounded expression. Crystal didn’t feel ready to kiss him just yet.
As they sauntered back up to her room, Crystal led Cree into the room, and sat him on one of the queen beds. Then she bent down to him, and gave him a deep, passionate, and completely chaste kiss.
And that was it, the night ended. She knew he wanted another kiss, but she wanted to do things better this time. As she considered the day’s events, it occurred to her:
“As far as first dates go, not bad.”