“So…” I said across the coffee shop table. “Here we are.”
“Yup,” he said back.
I put some sugar in my coffee trying to avoid the silence.
“Mm! So,” I bobbed my head in the direction of the S on his shirt, “you like comics?”
“Yeah! I do actually.”
“What are your favorites?”
“Let me guess: Superman? And for Marvel you’re probably into any characters that they haven’t made black or women yet. Am I wrong?”
“… did you agree to this so you could get dirt on me or something?”
“So, you don’t have any interest in me at all…”
I almost heard what he’d said but his biceps were louder.
“…well, I’ll have you know, I like all kinds of graphic novels. Alan Moore, Building Stories, more Avant-garde stuff like that. I mean… I do like Superman too… and I think Marvel does force the issue on a lot of things.”
“Ugh,” I said, unable to hold it in any longer. “Can I ask you a favor? Stop bringing down Sci-fi class with all these anachronistic examples. Huxley didn’t know about the finer points of genetics that we do now, and of course the Island of Doctor Moreau isn’t possible but that’s a lot less interesting than what the story itself presents.”
It was his turn to “ugh.”
But instead of saying anything he waved his hand for the barista and ordered two beers instead.
“I’m guessing those are for you,” I said, “because there’s no way you think I’m actually staying for this whole date.”
“Look,” he said. “I find a lot of your viewpoints irreconcilable, and you think the same of me. We’re not made to get along. But, maybe the thing we have in common, is a curiosity about whether we can hash it out and come to some sort of middle ground.”
“That’s not curiosity. That’s stubbornness, and while I can tell you no part of me wants to be in any kind of middle ground with you, I’m not stubborn enough to stay here with you and reaffirm that.”
He chuckled. “I know you won’t leave.” He put his big arms up on the table, obviously flexing them a bit, and he ran a hand through his long and inky hair before scratching at his stubble. When he opened his midnight blue eyes again, they seemed to flash with purpose. “…because there’s at least one thing about me that interests you.”
My hands clenched near the elbows of my crossed arms and I looked at that shit-eating smile of his before looking down and away, cursing under my breath. “Damn it…”