Third Date by Kylie Keene
Publication date: June 20th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
At 23, Morgan is a little behind other women her age when it comes to dating and relationships. More specifically, she’s a virgin. Dating wasn’t a priority in high school and college, but now that Morgan has a job and her own apartment, she’s ready to jump back into the dating scene.
When Morgan’s friends at work inform her that most men expect sex on the third date, she panics. She’s convinced her lack of experience will be a total turn-off for guys and make for a really awkward third date. Her friends tell her to just do it with a random guy to get it over with, but Morgan isn’t sure that’s what she wants.
When she meets a guy she’s certain is her dream man, she’s ready to lose it on their third date. But doing so isn’t as easy as she thought. And then there’s the fact that she can’t get another guy out of her head.
Through a series of mishaps and misunderstandings, Morgan eventually finds herself at a place she wasn’t expecting, but the place she wanted to be all along.
“Okay, here’s the deal. I’m ready to date but I’m kind of lacking in experience.” I wait for their response but they say nothing, so I continue. “What I mean is that I haven’t done the things that you’re claiming men expect on a date.”
“Wait a minute.” Kayla sets her wine glass down. “Are you saying you’re a virgin?”
“Yes.” I sit up straighter, the wine boosting my confidence. “I’m a 23-year-old virgin.”
“Hold on.” Kayla puts her hand up like she’s stopping traffic. “How is that possible? I mean, I know you haven’t dated much but—”
“Don’t listen to her,” Paige says. “I think it’s sweet. And romantic. You’re saving yourself for marriage. A lot of people do that. Good for you, Morgan.” She raises her glass as if we should toast to my virginity.
I ignore her raised glass. “No, I’m not saving myself for anything. In fact I really just want to get the whole sex thing over with, especially now that I know men are expecting it by the third date.”
“That’s not true for all men,” Paige assures me.
“It’s all men.” Kayla pours herself another glass of wine. “So how could this not happen in college?”
“I don’t know. I didn’t go to many parties and I didn’t live in the dorms. I lived at home with my dad, so it just didn’t happen. Plus, I never made it past the first couple dates with a guy. I wasn’t interested enough in any of them to . . . you know.”
“If you can’t even say the word, you’re not going to be able to do it.” Kayla jumps up and starts pacing the floor. “Okay, we can fix this. I can find you a guy who would be more than happy to take care of this for you.”
“She’s not getting her car fixed here.” Paige shoots a dirty look at Kayla, then turns back to me. “You need to find someone who cares about you. Someone who will make this memorable for you.”
“I don’t know if I want it to be memorable. I think I might just want to forget it after it happens and move on.”
“Yes, that’s exactly what you should do,” Kayla says. “My first time was prom night junior year with this guy I was dating. I made it into this huge deal and then it was over in like a minute. And he dumped me the next week. So trust me, the first time sucks. You just want to get it over with.
“You should really think about this some more.” Paige uses her mom-tone, soft-spoken and concerned. “You’ve waited this long. What’s the rush?”
“I’m not in a rush. And I’m not saying I need to race out and have sex. I just need to start dating. But if this third-date rule is a real thing, or even if it’s four or five dates, then I don’t know what to do. I’m completely inexperienced.”
Kayla takes some cheese from the tray and plops down on the couch. “Just have sex and get it over with. I’ve already got someone in mind for you. I’ll see if he’s free Friday night.”
“Friday night? As in this Friday night? That’s so soon. I don’t think I can do that.”
Kayla gets up, grabbing her purse. “You can do it. I’ve gotta go.”
“Morgan, don’t listen to her. You’re not going to have sex with a guy just to get it over with. And you’re not doing it with some random guy.”
“Paige is right, Kayla. That’s just not me. I at least need to know the guy.”
“That’s why you’ll go to dinner first.” Kayla’s at the door, but she turns back and says, “Show me your underwear drawer.”
She races to my bedroom. I run to catch up with her, Paige following behind.
Kayla opens my top drawer and pulls out one of my bras. She holds it up. “What is this? Polyester? Beige? It doesn’t even have wires in the cups. No wonder you always look so saggy. Where do you even buy something like this?”
“They come in a two-pack,” I mumble. “You can get them anywhere.”
Paige stares at my beige bra, dangling in the air. “Um, maybe you could get one or two new ones. I could go shopping with you if you want.”
I snatch my bra from Kayla. “But these are really comfortable. And I don’t need that much support. I’m not exactly large-chested.”
Kayla takes it back and checks the size. “34C? That’s not small. You need new bras. Just throw this one out.” She tosses it on the floor and reaches in my drawer again. “Paige, look at this. It gets worse.” Kayla holds up a pair of my underwear. Pink cotton high-cut briefs.
“What’s wrong with those?” I try to grab them but she holds them high in the air. “They’re cut high up on the hip. They’re sexy.”
“You tell her.” Kayla says to Paige. “You’re better at saying things nicely.”
Paige looks at the underwear, then back at me. “Well, I kind of wore ones like that back in middle school. Not that you can’t wear them. I mean, you could work out in them, I guess. But maybe it wouldn’t hurt if you got something a little more, um, appealing to the opposite sex. Maybe something that doesn’t come in a pack of six.”
“What do you wear?” I ask her. “You’re married. You shouldn’t care what your underwear looks like.”
“I’m married, but I still want to look sexy.” She unzips the side of her skirt to reveal her silky black bikinis. “These are my weekday ones. I have better ones for the weekend.”
Kayla keeps snooping in my drawer. “That’s all you have in here? You don’t even have one decent pair of underwear? There isn’t even any variety. They’re all the same style.”
“I stock up every year during the back-to-school sales.” My voice trails off as I realize how pathetic that sounds. I’ve been buying back-to-school underwear! The kind meant for tweens! The kind that’s sold in six packs! “All right. Maybe I could use some new ones.”
Kayla tosses my underwear back in the drawer and closes it up. “I’ve gotta go. But we’ve got some work to do.”
I head down to the gift shop, hoping and praying it’s not full of people. Luckily, it’s empty because the lunch session is still going on in the main ballroom.
I search the shop for condoms but can’t find them anywhere. They have everything else; toothbrushes, combs, aspirin, shower caps, tampons, toothpaste.
The young woman working the cash register sees me searching the store like I’m on some type of scavenger hunt.
“Can I help you?” she asks.
The woman is in her twenties and has reddish-blond hair that hangs in loose waves several inches past her shoulders. She has huge breasts and is wearing a short black dress that shows off her long legs. I’m just guessing here, but I would say she’s probably not a virgin. Which means she’s likely found herself in need of condoms before and wouldn’t judge me for buying them at a hotel.
I go up to her and speak softly. “Do you sell condoms here?”
She looks surprised. I’m suddenly offended. Do I look like someone who would never need condoms? I’m no beauty queen but I’m not exactly ugly.
“We keep them back here.” She reaches under the register and opens a drawer. “How many do you need?”
How many do I need? How many does she think I need?
“Um, just one.”
She gives me a strange look. “They come in packs of three or more.”
“Oh, okay. Three is good.”
“Do you want ribbed, flavored, sensitive, extra sensitive, for her pleasure, glow in the dark?”
I had no idea there were so many different types of condoms. I’ve never actually shopped for condoms.
She continues. “For flavored we have cherry, citrus, grape—”
“No. Just plain. No flavors. No glow in the dark. No ribbing.”
“So do you want sensitive? Extra sensitive? For her—”
I hear people starting to leave the ballroom, coming out into the lobby.
“I don’t know. Just give me whatever. It doesn’t matter.”
“For her pleasure.” She holds the package up and smiles. “Why should guys have all the fun, right?” She punches something in the register. “Should I charge it to your room?”
I imagine myself giving the accounting department at work a copy of my hotel receipt with a charge for condoms on it. I’m sure it would just say ‘gift shop’ but with my luck, you never know.
“I’ll just pay with cash. How much is it?”
“With tax, it’s $10.59.”
“For three condoms?”
She shrugs. “The hotel jacks up the price. When people are desperate, they’ll pay anything.”
I search my wallet, which is full of ones for some reason. She notices and looks away. Great. Now she probably thinks I work at a strip club.
People from the conference are starting to linger and talk outside the gift shop. I count my money and find that I only have nine ones. That’s it. I hand her my credit card but she doesn’t take it.
“Sorry, but our machine is down. It’s cash only or I can charge it to your room.”
“I only have $9. I have to run to the ATM. I’ll be right back.” As I’m closing my wallet, my change spills out and goes all over the floor. I bend down to pick up the scattered pennies, nickels, and dimes.
“Let me help you with that.” I look up and see Brad picking up the change.
Shit! What is he doing here? Where did he come from?
“Thanks, but you don’t need to help,” I say, urging him to leave.
He picks up the last penny. “I think we got it all.”
We both stand up and he gives me the change.
“Are we still meeting for drinks tonight?” he asks.
Cashier girl is observing the scene and I feel her staring. I glance over and see her checking Brad out. I’m sure she can tell from my blushing face that he’s the reason I need the condoms. She smiles at me, as if reassuring me that Brad is worth the ridiculous price they charge for them.
“Yeah. I’ll see you then. I’ve gotta go.” I race out of the gift shop.
As I’m leaving, cashier girl calls after me. “What about your stuff? Are you coming back with your money?’
I ignore her and hurry back to my room. The whole scene was fate telling me not to do this. I’m not ready. Or Brad’s the wrong guy. Something’s wrong. Buying condoms should not be that hard!
“Serena?” A deep voice wakes me from my thoughts.
I look up and see a man standing next to my table, holding his hand out. He has jet black hair and deep brown eyes and he’s smiling at me. But since my name isn’t Serena, I’m guessing he’s meeting a blind date here and thinks I’m her.
I take a moment to consider my options. What if I just pretended to be this Serena girl? Doing so would certainly qualify as being adventurous. But then Serena wouldn’t have a date. But I’m sure she could find another one. With a name like Serena, I bet she gets tons of dates. Serena sounds exotic. The name alone would draw a man in. Morgan, on the other hand, sounds like a last name. Or the name of a company. It’s dull, practical, and not the least bit exotic.
“Excuse me. Are you Serena?” He asks it again.
“Um, yes. Have a seat.” The words come out of my mouth before I can stop them.
“I’m Luke.” He smiles and sits in the chair next to me. “It’s nice to meet you.”
“Nice to meet you, too.”
“Can I get you a drink?” He’s still smiling, his teeth sparkling white.
“No, thank you. Water’s fine.”
“So Jackie said you work at the agency?”
Agency? What agency? I stare at him, not sure how to answer. And then I come to my senses.
What the hell I am doing? This is crazy! I can’t pretend to be someone else. Steal someone’s date. I really need to get a life. And a date. A real date, not someone else’s.
“I’m sorry. I’m not Serena.”
“What did you say?”
“I said I’m not Serena. I’m not your date.”
“I don’t understand.” He sits back in his chair, trying to get some distance from me now that he knows I’m insane.
“I was just pretending to be. Sorry. You just surprised me when you came up to my table and—”
“Yeah, okay.” He stands up and shoves his chair back in place. He almost seems mad or maybe he’s afraid of me. “Good luck with everything.”
He takes off to the hostess stand.
Good luck with everything? What does that mean? Good luck ever finding a date? A man? A life?
I watch as a tall brunette approaches him. She’s wearing a red dress and three-inch heels. She’s gorgeous. And exotic-looking, just as I thought.
The waiter comes back to my table. “Are you ready to order?”
“Yes, I’ll have a vodka tonic.”
“Um, okay.” He seems surprised, given that I turned down the wine earlier. Now I’ve skipped straight to the hard liquor. “Would you like anything to eat?”
My eyes are still on Luke and Serena. They even sound like a couple. Like one of those couples on a soap opera who are rich and always look perfect and have sex all the time.
Luke escorts her to the bar, his hand on her lower back as he whispers something in her ear.
“Ma’am?” The waiter’s still standing there. “Are you going to order?”
I sigh and look back at my menu. “Do you have burgers here?”
“We have a prime rib burger with a portobello mushroom sauce.”
“I’ll have that.” As he turns to leave, I say, “And bring TWO vodka tonics.”
“So someone IS joining you?”
I scowl at him.
“Oh. Sorry.” He scurries off to the kitchen.
This is the last time I eat alone at a restaurant. Okay, maybe it’s not the last time, but I’m never going to a date restaurant again.
I should’ve stayed home and eaten one of the meals in my freezer in front of the TV.
Maybe I’m not ready to be adventurous.