“I should probably warn you ahead of time where I’m taking you—” It had been less than a week since she’d been to his parent’s house and they were on another date. This was starting to feel exclusive. Caleb turned his head slightly to look over at Ashley. He was leaning back casually in the bucket seat of his car, driving with only his left hand.
He looked like one of those guys who think they’re cool and wear dark shades late at night. It sort of worked for Caleb though. In his Armani sport coat, wing-tip Salvatore Ferragamo shoes, and his sixty thousand dollar Porsche Cayman, he really did look cool. And very sexy, she had to admit, even though it made her blush to think that.
Besides, she liked having him so close to her while he drove. Not that he could ever be very far away from her in a car this small. He could have leaned all the way against the driver’s side door and still held her hand with ease. He smelled good, looked good, and she felt good sitting next to him.
“If I don’t tell you ahead of time, you might read too much into it.” He smiled and she was intrigued.
“I’m listening—” she waited for him to continue.
“We’re going over to Bloomfield Hills… to the Detroit Temple.” He looked over at her again, almost sheepishly, and waited for her reply.
She had to admit, her breathing did speed up briefly, but she tried to remind herself that he’d told her not to read too much into it. She knew that it was very common for guys in the church to take their girl over to some pretty temple grounds and propose to her in the gardens out back. She was not ready for that, and he knew it. He laughed at her as she tried to get herself back in control.
“I was thinking about surprising you, but decided against it.”
“That was probably a good choice,” she whispered. “I may not have been willing to get out of the car.”
She smiled shyly over at him. He knew exactly why she felt that way, and she knew in that moment that it was never his intention to make her feel uncomfortable.
“Is that why you asked me to get dressed up? Here I thought we were going someplace fun for dinner.”
“We are, actually.” He smiled at her again, almost with a hint of another secret. “But that comes later. It’s still early.”
The sun was just starting to set and the lights from the suburbs of Detroit were starting to twinkle. They wound their way through Farmington Hills and some of the most beautiful suburbs in the Detroit area. The golf courses, country clubs, and upscale neighborhoods were not what one normally thinks of when visualizing Detroit, but they were just a few miles away from the sky scrapers and nightlife of downtown. It was a peaceful area, and Ashley enjoyed the drive up to Woodward Avenue.
They pulled into the parking lot that was shared between the Bloomfield Hills Stake Center and the Detroit Temple. Caleb pulled the car into a space at a far corner of the lot, like he always did. He liked to find a spot where it was less likely that someone would scratch their car door against his shiny black paint.
He came around to open her door, and reached for her hand. She felt like a princess stepping out of his car and looking up at the temple. Ashley had never been here at night before, and the temple was lit up like a glowing beacon. It was beautiful. She was glad they had come here.
“Would you like to go walk through the gardens, my lady?” he whispered to her. “I promise I won’t ask you any… difficult questions.”
“I would love that, sir.” She placed her hand through his arm and let him lead her up the stairs and down the stone path. The spring flowers were in full bloom, and were beautiful even in the twilight. The lights that followed the walkway lit the way and they just walked silently, feeling the sweet spirit of being on the temple grounds.
He led her to a little stone bench and they sat down together. Caleb was silent as he took both of her hands in his. She tried not to be nervous about it; he’d already promised. He seemed almost as nervous as she felt, but he just looked down into her eyes and held her gaze.
“I want to tell you something Ashley,” he whispered.
“Okay,” She felt her breathing speed up and she tried to control herself. This was getting serious, and she wasn’t sure she was ready.
“I know that we haven’t known each other for very long, and that you’re in a really complicated situation right now.”
That’s an understatement, she thought, but waited for him to continue.
“I think my mom sort of messed this up for me the other day,” he hesitated again. “But, I’ve wanted to tell you… that I think I’m falling in love with you.”
She had known that’s what he was going to say. It didn’t surprise her, and it didn’t surprise her that she felt a sense of peace about it. She wasn’t ready to say it back to him, but she was ready to see where their relationship would take them from here. She felt very comfortable with him and maybe was falling in love with him, too. She just wasn’t ready to say it back to him yet.
Ashley leaned forward ever so slightly and reached up half way to him so her face was inches away from his. Although she didn’t want to be the first to kiss him, she wanted to make it very clear that was her intention. This was something she was ready for. And she couldn’t think of a more romantic location for their first kiss.
He leaned his head forward and softly kissed her. It was an amazing first kiss. He reached up and held her face between his hands and kissed her softly for a few minutes before letting her go and taking her hands back in his.
They gazed into each other’s eyes for a long moment, and she decided she definitely was falling in love with him. She still wasn’t ready to say it out loud though. They sat that way for a few more minutes, then he stood and offered her his hand. When she stood up, he collected her in a very comfortable hug and she rested her head on his chest. He smelled amazing. They kissed one more time then walked silently back to his car.
“Ready for dinner?” His voice was husky and soft as he sat down next to her and clicked his seat belt in place.
“Definitely,” she said.
“You’re in for a real treat…”