Max smiled when she saw him and he was grateful to see that their friendship was still heading in the right direction.
“Hey you back.”
“Sorry, I haven’t been around lately, I’ve had some work stuff to do.”
“I figured you just gave up on me.”
AJ’s jaw dropped and he started to get flustered.
“I didn’t…I mean… I swear…”
Max laughed loudly. “I’m just kidding. You don’t have to tell me what you’re doing every second of the day and I know you can’t spend every waking minute at the diner.”
AJ let out a grateful sigh. “Thank you for understanding.”
“That’s what friends do.”
“I was kind of hoping to take my friend out for dinner tomorrow night.”
“I think I have to work.”
“Nope, I talked to Bob and he’s giving you the night off. No excuse now.”
She laughed again. “Ok then. What time do you want me to be ready?’
“Is four ok?”
“Good. Dress up but keep it kind of casual and I’ll see you then.”
Max smiled and gave him a wave as he was leaving. Suddenly, he couldn’t wait for the next night.
AJ showed up at four and was surprised to see that Max wasn’t out there waiting for him like usual. After he parked, he headed up to her apartment and waited for a few minutes for her to open the door. When she did, he was shocked; her usual attire was nowhere in sight. Standing on three inch black pumps, Max was wearing a short, chiffon black dress with a matching short sleeve, chiffon wrap. She had on eye shadow, mascara and lipstick which enhanced the beauty of her face; her locket lay against her chest.
“Is this ok?” she asked.
“It’s more than ok Max, you look absolutely beautiful.”
A blush crept across her face and she lowered her eyes to avoid his stare. He got closer and pushed her chin up with his hand.
“Why are you looking away?”
She finally looked up and saw him staring at her.
“I’m just not used to hearing that.”
“Well you need to get used to it especially if you keep dressing like this. I’m gonna be saying it over and over again.”
She chuckled. “Once is enough AJ.”
He grinned and helped her down the stairs and out to the car. Once he got her settled, he started the drive to the small restaurant he was taking her too. It was located on another small beach area and had a beautiful outside deck where they could dine and dance to the live band they were featuring that night. When they finally got there, Max could tell that he had given her a simplified version of this amazing place.
The restaurant looked like a large cottage that was painted a faint shade of green and had a wraparound porch with various plants in hanging pots dotting the upper railings. A small shingle with the name hung over the side of the lower railings and there were about twenty LED candle settings scattered about the veranda. There were also several wooden stand-alone porch swings where people could wait for their table.
Once inside, Max noticed that they had taken the same simple, but pretty, approach in the interior as well. There were two small dining rooms on either side of the entryway and a large staircase in the middle led the way to a balcony dining area. The bar was straight ahead and she could see that the entire back wall was a combination of windows and glass French doors.
AJ led her out back to a huge wooden deck that could easily seat fifty people. Attached to that, was a beautiful dance floor that was lined with twinkling white lights and it was already crowded with couples enjoying the night and the music. She could see the sand stretching out behind the band and noticed that the waves were crashing a little further out.
“Wow.” she whispered. “This place is incredible.”
AJ beamed. “I thought you’d like it.”
“I love it.”
He steered her towards the table with the best view of the ocean. The waitress came right away to take their drink orders and Max waited until she left to say anything.
“You really didn’t have to do all this.”
“Yes I did. You’re special to me and I wanted to show you this place.”
“I don’t deserve it.” she replied quietly.