Luckily, the teacher from the next room, Anthony, happened to walk by and see how much work I had to do. He came in and helped, and we got the job done quickly. So, being the decent sort, I offered to cook dinner for him and his girlfriend.
After the tests were over, I suggested we set a date and I'd make them fondue. "But," I said, "we should have a couple more people. Fondue feeds 4-6, and there's no real way to alter the recipe." I figured he'd pick another teacher from our school, and if they had a partner, that would make five people, if they didn't, it would make four. But Anthony had other ideas.
"I'm an elementary school teacher," he said. "I don't meet many guys. How about inviting some guys who aren't teachers?"
Guys who aren't teachers? That was a tough one, but I was going to a friend's birthday party that night, and I had a number of male college friends. I was sure I'd figure out the right one or two that Anthony would like.
To my surprise, one of my friends brought his brother. I'd met the brother a few times before--we even spent a whole party talking to each other a few years before, but he'd never called me, so nothing ever came of it. Both my friend and his brother had girlfriends, so I could invite them to dinner without either of them jumping to uncomfortable conclusions. And although it would be a little bit weird having dinner with three couples, I thought I could handle it.
So, when my friend and his brother offered to walk me to get a cab, I asked them if they liked fondue.
"Who doesn't like fondue?" They replied. And so it was set.
When I called to make arrangements, I found out that my friend's brother didn't have a girlfriend, and my friend couldn't make it because he had to go to a bachelor party. Okay, four people.
And the guy I had now spent two parties talking to didn't have a girlfriend.
The night of the dinner, I realized I was out of milk. So I called my friend's brother and asked if he'd pick some up for me. He agreed, and arrived early--with flowers.
Anthony called and said he and his girlfriend were running late, which left me making conversation with my friend's brother, whom my mother told me not to date because he had an unstable lifestyle--he worked in film. Having already dated and hated the lifestyle of a very nice musician, I agreed with my mother on this one. Creative people are great as friends, but I need stability in my life, so I wasn't going to date any more of them.
But I asked my friend's brother about his work anyway, because I figured he'd have some good stories. He did, but he didn't tell me any of them that day. Instead, he said, "Actually, I'm thinking of getting out of film. I want my life to be more stable. I think I'd like to be a teacher instead."
Anthony and his girlfriend showed up, and we had a delightful time eating fondue until she accidentally kicked him under the table and he thought it was time to leave. So there I was, alone with my friend's brother, who offered to stay and do the dishes.
My friend's brother's name? I don't like to use names here, so let's call him Hopper.