Created by Diane Brown, Buena Beach is an online soap opera, giving up all the juicy details of some of the hottest guys and gals of Buena Beach, a small town in Southern California. Check back everyday for a new episode here on HelloBeautiful.com.
Sure, I know what everyone’s thinking: “What is that old pervert doing with that cute, young girl…young enough to possibly even be his daughter?” Well, she’s not that young (or, I’m not that old). But I suppose I could have a child Lauren’s age if I would have been having sex at age 10 or 11. Luckily, I wasn’t into girls that early, too busy collecting hot wheels and playing video games. These days, not much has changed. Well, some things have changed. I still have the Hot Wheels collection and stay up late on weeknights playing Guitar Hero and Resident Evil, but now I’m definitely into girls. Most of them, however, aren’t so into me. At least not after they get to know me; that I have a most unsophisticated palate (loving sloppy joes and fried bologna sandwiches on Wonder bread); that I go straight for the comics if and when I ever receive the Sunday Times or Sundial; and that I’m saving myself…for marriage that is.
Okay, okay. I guess that’s not completely accurate. I can’t save for something that I’ve already had – an initial sexual experience. But I made the decision a couple years ago to stop having sex until I got married; and at the time, I wasn’t ready to get married, at least not to my then girlfriend. With that decision, she in dumped me, which for the most part confirmed I made the right choice. But a year later, when I’d dated woman after woman who had no respect for – even laughed in my face about – my decision, I began to have second thoughts. Now two years into my drought, I’m getting itchy and restless. If the right girl came along, I’d surely have to wrestle temptation. That’s why I’m straightforward from the get-go, before the waiter even gets a chance to take our order during a first date, which I always schedule at my favorite Buena Beach sports bar. If she freaks out, cool. I order myself a monster order of chili-cheese fries and a basket of Buffalo wings while she races out of the place, eager to get on her cell phone to tell her girlfriends about the re-virginated deviant she just abandoned. The last time it happened worked out perfectly for me, giving me a chance to catch most of the NBA playoff game that I was recording at home.
One might think that hanging out with Lauren, short skirts and all, might only add to my frustration; that an attractive teenager who by all means is quite flirty with me has no business kicking it with an adult male teacher from her school. But reality for me is quite the contrary. As Lauren’s mentor, I feel it’s up to me to be a role model in her life, especially with her past. She spent a good portion of her life fighting off an abusive father and advances from cousins and an uncle; my purpose, I believe, is to show her that some of us guys are still gentlemen, who believe that women are beautiful creatures that only deserve to be treated with the utmost respect. I guess you could say that, although we’re only about a decade apart, I sort of see her as a daughter.
Still, the double takes as we make our way through the dense crowd are kind of funny and have become commonplace since our outings began last month. I’m thinking I should invest in a couple of shirts that say “He’s my mentor” and “I’m his mentee”.
After we stop at the concession stand, where I spend $50; and at the fans’ stand, where I spend another $175 on gear for Lauren, we find our seats just ten rows or so behind the Angels dugout. Now at our fourth game together, we have our routine down: super nachos, pizza, and a couple of dogs before the national anthem, either popcorn or peanuts during the third inning, ice cream at the seventh-inning stretch, and two cotton candies to enjoy on the way home – one pink, one blue. We always change up our drinks, however. Whereas last time, I started with root beer, today I went for strawberry soda.
“Eddie,” she says as we watch the pitcher warm up. “You know, you can order a beer if you want. Don’t feel bad about drinking in front of me.”
“Are you kidding me? I always enjoy a strawberry soda with the game. That’s even more American than apple pie.”
She lifts a wary eyebrow. “Come on. You know if you were here with your guy friends, you’d be ordering huge cups of beer, getting sloppy drunk, yelling at the umpire…”
“No, that’s not me. At least not anymore. I quit drinking awhile ago.”
The other eyebrow lifts. “You’re kidding!”
“Is it really that much of a surprise?”
“Well…yah. I mean…how can I say this the right way? You’re Mexican.”
O-kay. “So much for being politically correct, if that’s what you going for.”
“I didn’t mean it like that,” she says. “Hey, I’m Portuguese, and we drink a lot too.”
I chuckle a bit. “Oh, well in that case…”
“Well, I just mean you’re young. You like sports. You’re a deejay, working late at night at all these different clubs. It just seems strange to me that you’d choose not to drink.”
Sometimes I did think it was strange, seeming to find myself surrounded by alcohol whenever I took advantage of my downtime. But since I stopped drinking cold turkey years ago, I haven’t missed it. “Were you an alcoholic?” she asks.
I nod, still looking out at the field. “Still am. Always will be.”
“So, you can’t even have a drink at your wedding?” She seems genuinely concerned about this.
“Who knows? Maybe,” I say, not wanting to be a Debbie Downer.
I guess she feels the same way. “Well, we can change the subject. Talk about something a little less intense.”
“What’s going on with your love life?”
“Oh, so you want to get really morbid, don’t you?” I say. Our conversation is stalled for a bit while we sing the Star Spangled Banner. I’m hoping that when we sit back down, she’ll want to focus on the ball game instead of picking up our discussion.
“So, you seeing anyone?”
Damn! “Nope. I’m seeing no one.”
“Any prospects?” she asks before stuffing a huge chip into her mouth.
“Not a one.”
She sits back in her chair, intently licking her cheese-covered black fingernails. And then, just when I figure she’s over the whole “Eddie’s Love Life” conversation, she says, “What about the Vice-Principal?”
“Alice…er, umm, Ms. Canto?”
Her eyes practically light up. “Yes.”
“Why not? She’s into you.”
“Please,” I say, but intrigued.
“Really. And I like her. She passed my test.”
I’m almost scared. “Which is?”
“That first day, when you introduced me to her, I was kind of rude, you know? Indifferent to meeting her and all. But she was still nice to me. Even when I saw her at school last week – she remembered my name and asked me how I was doing and everything. And then, you told me that she’d be cool with me working at her restaurant. She’s perfect, Eddie. Per-fect.”
Alice? I’d never thought of her that way before. And honestly, I don’t think I’m her type. Besides, I could just see her leaving me alone at the sports bar like all the others, then telling all the teachers at school how much of a prude I am. Soon, the rumor would get around to the students, and they’d start sending paper airplanes at my head with the word ‘FRIGID’ written on them in bright red ink.
“Think about it, Eddie. She’s perfect. Smart, pretty, ambitious. And, doesn’t she love the Angels?”
I shrug, acknowledging all those facts. “Oh, yah. She’s the real Angels fan. I just jumped on the bandwagon recently because of the free tickets I’ve been getting.”
“Okay, like I said. Per-fect. You propose to her during a game on the big screen, then the two of you get married at Angel Stadium, right there at home plate. And then you can have your wedding beer.”
The two of us laugh at the sight, although if you threw in some snacks from the concession stand, it wouldn’t be too bad of a thing. “You should ask her out. And not to a game – that’s a tacky first date.”
“What about a sports bar?”
She rolls her eyes. “No wonder you’re single. Eddie, ask Alice…”
She waves off my correction with her hand. “Yah, whatever. If you ask her out, please, please, please take her somewhere nice.”
“Of course,” I say, humoring her.
“I’m serious. And, actually, let me plan out the whole night. It’ll be fabulous.”
She gives it a rest while I watch the action at first base. But after two more batters, she’s still wondering about this alleged date of mine. “So, are you really gonna ask her?”
“I don’t know.”
“Maybe,” I say, with a final slurp of my soda.
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