Vanilla Ice Cream
by Kelly F. Barr
Here he came again—blond hair and blue eyes. He walked with a confident gait, but his smile was always shy. Becky wondered if he had a girlfriend. He came into the creamery once a week. Always alone. Always perused the menu, then ordered vanilla—Every. Single. Time.
Becky watched as he stood back and stared up at the large board of thirty flavor choices. He cupped his chin in the thumb and index finger of his right fist. After a minute or two, he stepped forward. Becky smiled and said, “What can I get you?”
He looked into her eyes, then dropped his gaze and said, “I’d like a waffle cone with two scoops of vanilla. Do you ever have vanilla bean?”
Becky choked back a laugh and cleared her throat. Vanilla bean? Was he serious?
“No, I’m sorry. We’ve never had vanilla bean. Just vanilla. Would you like to try one of our other delicious flavors with one scoop of vanilla? Be a little daring today?”
His eyes locked on hers. She was grinning at him.
“Are you teasing me?”
She chuckled. “I’m sorry. I can’t help it. You’ve been in here every week for a month and you always get vanilla.”
“I like vanilla.”
“How do you know you don’t like any of the other flavors?”
He stared at her in a moment of silence, then said, “Well, what’s your favorite?”
“I have more than one favorite. However, if you want my opinion, for you, I’d suggest a scoop of Wilbur chocolate.”
“Wilbur chocolate.” He cupped his chin and looked up at the menu board again, then returned his gaze to hers. “Why’s that?”
“Well, since you’re a plain vanilla guy, I figure if you’re gonna step out and risk trying a new flavor, you don’t want anything too complicated.” This time she laughed out loud.
“You’re teasing me again.” He smiled his shy smile, but Becky noted a sparkle in his eyes.
“I can’t help myself. I can’t imagine not indulging in something more exciting than vanilla.”
“Are you saying vanilla is boring?”
Becky chewed her lower lip, guilt warming her cheeks, and nodded, hoping she hadn’t offended him.
“You’re very pretty when your cheeks flush and someone leaves you speechless.”
She stared at him. This time, her lower jaw hung a little low.
He smiled, a little less shyly, and said, “Okay. I’ll take one scoop of vanilla and one scoop of Wilbur chocolate … if you’ll … uh … tell me your name and what time you get off on a Friday … and promise to join me in an ice cream cone … uh … next Friday … after your shift.”
Now his face was red. Much redder than Becky was sure her face had been a moment ago. “I’m Becky Johnson and I work most Fridays till seven, and yes, I’d like to join you for an ice cream cone next Friday after my shift.” She scooped his ice cream as she talked. Then as she handed him his cone, asked, “What’s your name?”
“I’m Grant Miller.” He flashed his shy smile, took the cone, and moved to the cash register as Becky waited on the next person in line.
* * * * *
The following Friday Becky couldn’t wait for her shift to end. She kept glancing at the clock, willing the hands to move faster. She still couldn’t believe her flirtatious teasing had led to a date with Grant. She’d been attracted to him the first time she’d waited on him at the ice cream counter.
At five minutes til seven, as Becky was waiting on her last customer of the evening, Grant walked in, caught her eye, and smiled at her. She smiled back and as soon as she finished with her customer, she walked to the back door of the ice cream kitchen area, took off her apron, tossed it on the laundry pile, and punched out at the time clock. Then she stepped into the ladies’ room to use the facility and, as she washed her hands, she checked her hair and makeup in the mirror.
She stepped out of the restroom and moved toward the dining room. Grant met her in the middle of the room just beyond the customer line at the ice cream counter. He motioned with his right hand toward the line. “Shall we?”
She smiled, nodded, and stepped into the customer line with Grant directly behind her.
“So, what flavor do you recommend I try with my scoop of vanilla this evening?” He leaned forward and spoke near her ear.
His warm breath sent a shiver down her spine. She turned and grinned up at him. “How about the chocolate covered strawberry?”
“Hm. I was considering chocolate chip cookie dough. I understand that’s in vanilla ice cream.” He flashed an unusual mischievous smile at her and her heart skipped a beat.
“Not feeling very daring this evening?” She raised an eyebrow at him. “Do you like raw chocolate chip cookie dough?”
“Raw? You mean it’s not pieces of chocolate chip cookies?”
“Of course not, silly. That’s why it’s called chocolate chip cookie dough.”
“Maybe I’ll go with the chocolate covered strawberry after all.”
Becky laughed out loud.
When they had their ice cream cones in their hands, Becky and Grant found a table for two in the small room, off from the main dining room, where it was quieter.
Grant asked, “Do you work every Saturday?”
Becky shook her head. “Every other Saturday.”
“Have you ever been to the drag races?”
Becky’s eyes widened. “You like drag races?”
“Did you think that because I prefer boring vanilla ice cream that I am boring?”
“Well … no. But I wouldn’t have pictured you attending drag races.”
“Does that mean you’ve been to a drag race?”
“No, but I saw them once on T.V.”
“Would you like to go to one with me on your next Saturday off? I have a friend who has a dragster and races.”
“That sounds like fun. I actually have tomorrow off.”
“Great. Where should I pick you up?”
Becky gave Grant her address and he said he’d pick her up at one o’clock the next afternoon. They talked about things they enjoyed doing while finishing their ice cream cones, then Grant walked her to her car and said good night.
* * * * *
The next day was warm and the sun was shining when Grant picked Becky up. They talked about music and books they both enjoyed as Grant drove them to the drag race track. As they pulled into the parking lot, Grant said, “Randy Martin is my friend who races. His car is red. He started racing here last year. He’s only won a couple times so far.” He took Becky’s hand, sending a jolt through her, as they walked to the viewing area.
When they chose a place to stand and watch, Grant pulled something out of his pocket. “You might want these.”
He handed Becky a pair of foam ear plugs. She looked at him with a wrinkled brow, and he said, “These races are quite loud.”
Becky inserted the plugs in her ears just before the first two cars took off down the race track. Even with the ear protection, Becky jumped at the noise as the cars took off.
Grant’s friend, Randy, actually took third place that day.
On the way home, Grant asked, “Do you need to get right home?”
“No. Why do you ask?”
“I’d like to take you to dinner.”
“That sounds wonderful.”
Twenty minutes later, Grant pulled into the parking lot of an upscale Italian restaurant.
As they stepped out of his car, Becky asked, “Aren’t we under dressed for this restaurant.”
“No. It’s not a pizza joint, but it’s not a super classy Italian restaurant either. It’s in between.” Grant took her hand as they walked through the parking lot and Becky smiled. She liked holding his hand.
Grant ordered lasagna and Becky ordered chicken fettuccine Alfredo. Dinner was delicious and Becky couldn’t have been happier with the company. While they waited for their cannoli to arrive, Grant reached across the table and took Becky’s hand in his, rubbing his thumb over the back of hers.
“I really enjoy spending time with you. Would you be willing to be my girl?”
Becky smiled at him. “I really enjoy spending time with you too. I don’t mean to sound like I’m making fun of you, but your girl … what exactly do you mean by that? It sounds old fashioned.”
“Yeah, I guess I am kind of old fashioned.” He tugged at his shirt collar. “What I mean is … uh … going out with only me—no one else.”
“Oh, you want us to be exclusive.” Becky smiled at him. “In that case, I would love to be your girl.”