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Where to begin? Where to end? Can I stay here with you a while longer?

Perhaps it would be fitting to start with “Once upon a time…” seeing as, for the moment, I feel an awful lot like a goddamn princess. It’s hard to trust anything these days, and only time will tell, but for now I am smitten. I keep fearing the rug will be pulled out from under me, but in this case it’s a red carpet.

I spent last week in quarantine and amused myself by chatting with men on dating apps. Of those conversations, one materialized into an actual date. He is an absolute sweetheart, a gentleman, and a short king. He’s actually only a few inches taller than me. He lives outside the city in a suburb I love, but makes no issue of traveling the 47 minute commute to come see me, even if only for a few hours. We spent a lot of time chatting from my quarantine jail, and I had a good feeling about him, but I was delighted to have it confirmed once we actually met.

We had a lovely time, walking through the city and talking and he didn’t blink once when I clumsily knocked over my drink more than once while telling a story and talking with my hands. He actually does this little blink eye twitch thing when he is excited, like he scrunches his eyes up for a moment. It’s adorable. I though when we were sitting by the water, with our legs hanging over the edge, that he would kiss me. Because he gave me the little eye scrunch. I could see that he wanted to kiss me, but he didn’t yet.

Eventually we found seats at a bar nearby. During our quarantine courtship he had learned just how much I like to dress up. He told me he had an idea for a date where I could dress up, but he wanted to wait to meet me in person, see how it went, before telling me. At the bar he excitedly interrupted me and said,

 “Oh, my date idea! Do you want to hear it or do you want to be surprised?”

I asked him to tell me and he said

“There is a ball in Baden on Friday, do you want to go?”

Do I want to go to a ball? Me? Queen of overdressing?

“Oh my god, yes!”

I honestly lost my mind and before I said anything incredibly stupid, I just smashed my face into his face and kissed him.

So, yeah, I am going to a BALL.

I don’t know man, this guy is amazing. He’s so together, and he has flawless Ritz Carlton energy, and I think we’re both just crazy for each other. I know we’re both crazy for each other.

“Do you always take girls to balls on the second date?”

 “No, never, but I knew you were special.”

You know that moment, on a date, where you’re both hot and bothered and dying to embrace the other? After some polite kissing by the water, and some slightly less polite kissing, we took a long route toward his train station, through the narrow, warmly lit back alleys of Vienna. We were making polite conversation, about…something? For the life of me I couldn’t tell you what, because my inner monologue was mostly running variations of “Would it be weird to start making out with him here, in front of all these bar patrons?” or “Can I just pull him into this doorway- ah fuck someone is going into the building”.

We turn around a half dozen romantic corners, only to find an uncomfortable smattering of people, out enjoying the moonlight. There’s an anonymity provided by  a large crowd, but a small group of people makes for an uncomfortable audience in these situations. So we kept walking, past gin bars and shuttered jewelry shops, and at last we rounded a corner to a narrow street, lit by the wall sconces of the restaurant there, with only one man walking down the street towards us. I decided I would let that man go around the corner, at which point I was going to attack my date. But, it seems we shared the same inner monologue, because the stranger was only two paces past us when my date turned to me, reached his hand to the side of my face, ran his fingers through my hair, kissed me, and pressed me against the wall behind me. We kissed furiously, soliciting a scolding cry from a passing taxi cab, and ignoring it. He exhaled into my mouth and moaned “God, I want you.”

But I dropped him at his subway stop, gave him a kiss goodbye, and when he walked away I noticed he had been standing on a penny. A lucky penny, it seems, so I pocketed it to give to him the following day.

We spent the next two days seeing each other whenever we could. I saw on the morning after the date that he had deactivated his OKC account. I asked him about it, because I am not ready to be exclusive yet, and he just said “That was my choice, not yours, you are the only one I want to see.”

He talks like a guy who has already been to therapy.

So, it’s only been a short time but I am overwhelmingly optimistic, and I feel like a princess. He literally calls me his queen. I just, I can’t stop thanking the universe.

I saw him again last night, and as he was leaving my apartment I decided to kiss him goodbye while we waited for the elevator. Instead, he pushed me back into the apartment and said “I will catch the next train”,  threw his bag on ti the floor, unzipped his coat, picked me up and carried me into the bedroom. This is not some hulking strong man, so it was a bit like when an adrenaline rush gives someone the strength to lift a car for a moment.

So, this past week has been magical, and on Friday night I get to have my Hallmark princess moment and go to a ball. I got an amazing gown, if I say so myself. If the man hasn’t fallen for me by then, when he sees me in this dress he is absolutely going to.

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