Perusing Princesses Presents - The Dating Game Day 2

You are Going to Have to Pay for That! By Jillian Neal

Many years ago, fourteen to be exact, I was oh so very, very pregnant. I no longer had the cute baby bump or that refreshing glow of pregnancy. Oh no, I was eight and a half months pregnant, and so full of my precious son that I could no longer see my feet.
It happened to be Valentine’s Day. I’d spent the morning at the OB’s office being measured, “You still have a few weeks to go, and you’re already measuring 41 weeks, Jillian.”
I bit my tongue to keep from asking her just what she’d like me to do about that. Anyone that could see their feet became my mortal enemy.
You see, I am barely 5” tall. My husband, however, is 6’4” and weighed almost 10lbs. at his birth. Our sons took after him. I was so full of baby I couldn’t eat. I had heartburn so badly I tried to sleep sitting up. I couldn’t even draw a full breath. I was completely miserable.
My darling husband, being ever wary of my moods, came home from work early and suggested that we go out since it was Valentine’s, after all. He happened to arrive in the kitchen just as I was trying to reach something in a cabinet. My belly wouldn’t allow me to get close enough to fetch whatever I was after. He quickly sought to help. I burst into tears.
He, once again, tried to console me. Blubbering and hissing I took him into our laundry room and showed him the still wet socks stuck to the bottom of the washing machine, that I couldn’t reach to put in the dryer, because of my girth.
After rectifying the sock situation, he continued to placate, “Let’s just go out to eat. We’ll get out of the house for a little while. Get your mind off everything.”
I glared.
His eyes turned pleading, and I finally relented.
We changed clothes, and once I managed to locate shoes that my swollen feet would fit inside of, I waddled to our car. I left my purse at home. I didn’t care.
Now, finding a restaurant that would seat us on Valentine’s without a reservation became a concern. “I would have made reservations, but I wasn’t sure you’d want to go out.” DH apologized repeatedly. I stared out the windshield like the world had deeply offended me.
We were young and had only been married a few years, so Olive Garden was quite a treat. We didn’t go out to eat very often. I might’ve even managed a half-smile as he pulled in the parking lot with a hopeful smile.
However, we were definitely not the only couple that had decided on Olive Garden as their Valentine meal locale. DH shot infuriated glares at the men seated in the waiting area until one of them finally relented and stood so that I could sit down.
Since, I have always had stories swimming in my head, before I ever began to actually write, I imagined all of the rude men that regarded me more like a beached whale and less like an extremely pregnant woman, being doused with spaghetti sauce and meatballs from a clumsy waiter. This, of course, didn’t actually happen, much to my chagrin.
When “Neal” finally rang from the maître d, DH helped me up and guided me to our table, a booth. I did somehow manage to get into the tiny space, but it was dicey for a few minutes.
We ordered, and I ate. Somehow, the baby shifted a little and allowed me to feel how hungry I really was. DH ordered me more food and managed to talk me into a better mood. He told me how beautiful I was, and how he couldn’t wait to be a daddy, and offered to pick up ice cream on the way home.
I loaded pasta into my mouth and decided that maybe this wouldn’t be such a horrible Valentine’s Day.
That is until the waitress brought the check. DH reached into his back pocket and then his eyes goggled in terror! “I don’t have my wallet! It’s in the pants I wore to work!”
I’d left my purse at home. We had no way to pay for the very large dinner that we’d consumed! Now, remember, this was long before we had cell phones or access to our bank accounts from any wi-fi hotspot. All of our friends and neighbors were out celebrating the romantic night. There was no one to help us.
With a deep breath, DH explained the predicament to our waitress. She scowled angrily. “You ordered a ton of food!”
He apologized and promised we would return home and come back with his wallet, but that we lived about a half-hour away.
That wasn’t good enough. The manager decided that I should stay at the restaurant as some sort of insurance policy that DH would, in fact, return for his impregnated whale and pay our bill.
I sat back in the waiting area watching other women who could move lithely and could see their feet smile and laugh. I checked the clock endlessly. Where was he? The manager would come by and offer me an eye roll before returning to the task of feeding hundreds of people on Valentine’s. An hour passed, and I began to panic. What was taking so long?
DH finally returned an hour and a half later. He almost bowled over the maître d in an effort to get to me and to get the bill paid.
I ground my teeth and offered DH nothing more than huffs and scowls as he apologized all the way home.
When I stormed up the stairs and into the kitchen, I found two-dozen red roses on the counter, one for me and one for the baby.
“I had to do something. That’s what took me so long.” DH offered sweetly.
So, though it hadn’t gone quite as we’d planned, I spun and did my best to hug him tightly. We spent the evening laying in bed watching our little boy kick and move in my stomach. Then we celebrated Valentine’s night just the way it should be celebrated. ;)

The Dating Game
Jessica Scott, Meg Bingley, Christa Desir

The Dating Game by Jessica Scott
I didn’t actually date all that much. When you’re a private in Germany in the mid 1990s, there’s not much by way of dating. We all kind of hung out in the barracks and partied together.
I’d met him when I’d gone out went out with a group of friends post break up from a real winner (and by that I mean loser I was lucky to be away from). It was New Year’s Eve and we’d been dating for a few months.
We snuck away from the party and walked around outside together. It was kind of surreal. The moon was bright and huge in the sky. You could hear the music from far away. It was cold but not sub-arctic.
He turned and put his arms around me and cupped my face (that was seriously why I fell in love with him was the whole cupping my face thing) and whispers "Happy New Year. I love you” and then kissed me.
I was a goner after that, let me tell you. We’ve been together ever since. 

About Jessica Scott
USA Today Bestselling author Jessica Scott is a career army officer, mother of two daughters, three cats and three dogs, wife to a career NCO and wrangler of all things stuffed and fluffy. She is a terrible cook and even worse housekeeper, but she's a pretty good shot with her assigned weapon and someone liked some of the stuff she wrote. Somehow, her children are pretty well adjusted and her husband still loves her, despite burned water and a messy house.
She's also written for the New York Times At War Blog, PBS Point of View Regarding War, and IAVA. She deployed to Iraq in 2009 as part of OIF/New Dawn and has had the honor of serving as a company commander at Fort Hood, Texas twice.
She's pursuing a graduate degree in Sociology in her spare time and most recently, she's been featured as one of Esquire Magazine's Americans of the Year for 2012.
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My Worst Date Ever by Margaret Bingley
When I was 16 I was asked out by a good looking 19yr old at our tennis club.
The only drawback was that he was quite a lot shorter than me. We went to the local cinema, and when we arrived his mother was waiting in the queue.  ‘I’ve saved a place for you both!’ she said.
So, the three of us sat in a silent row watching The Fall of The Roman Empire, which went on for hours and then we all left together.
He did walk me home alone from the bus stop, but outside my house he asked if I would sit on the wall so that he could kiss me. I was mortified, and declined the offer of a second date!

About Margaret Bingley

Margaret Bingley was born in Sutton, Surrey and educated at Sutton High School for Girls GPDST, where she won the school English prize, and then at Rickard’s Lodge Secretarial College in Wimbledon. After that she went to work at the BBC in London, and later moved to work for The Heinemann Group of Publishers at Lower Kingswood in Surrey, where she met her future husband, Alan.
In 1974, Margaret and Alan moved to Grantham in Lincolnshire and In 1976 their son, Alex, was born. One day, after reading a particularly boring book, she decided to try and write one herself and eventually, after many trials and tribulations, her first book THE DEVIL’S CHILD was published. Much of the book was based on those early, halcyon days of motherhood.
She continued writing steadily from 1983 onwards, and in February 2000 she also started writing a weekly column of 400 words for the local paper, The Grantham Journal, entitled ‘The Way I See It’.
Apart from her work, Margaret enjoys reading, opera, dry white wine, Foyle’s War (or anything else with Michael Kitchen in it!) and gardening.
She does not like reality TV shows, ‘alternative’ comedians or Political Correctness.

Prom by Christa Desir

The big date. The one girls have been told from an early age is the second most important night of their life (#1 being their wedding night). Every dance in high school is a test run for prom night.
Which was a bit of a problem for me, since no one ever asked me to dances. By my junior year I’d become one of those girls who pretended dances suck. And they do, but mostly because girls like me didn’t get invited to them. But the mystique of prom still tickled the back of my mind and as jaded as I had become about homecoming and the Valentine’s dance, I held out a glimmer of hope for prom.
So imagine my surprise (not) when as a junior, I accidentally on purpose talked an incredibly shy and awkward senior into inviting me to his prom. I mean, this seemed like a great opportunity for me to ready myself for my own prom.
Only it was horrible. The thing that people forget to tell you is that prom blows if you don’t really like-like the person you’re there with. Because you’re surrounded by couples who like-like each other, who are maybe getting ready to later have sex, who have a twenty-four hour extended prom plan. And when you’re with the shy awkward guy from your o-chem class who can barely put two sentences together, it is a million times worse than if you didn’t go at all.
So I danced with my date twice. And I danced with someone who I like-liked once, though I think his date was a bit salty about it. And I looked at the interminable post-prom plans my shy date had schedule for us and I couldn’t bear the idea of it. So I did what every normal seventeen-year-old girl in my situation would do: I faked sick and made him take me home.
And never went to my own senior prom.

About Christa Desir

I’m Christa Desir and I write young adult novels. I am an avid reader and have been in love with YA books ever since reading Judy Blume’s FOREVER (while hiding between the stacks in the library).
My first success with writing came at the age of five when I wrote a story about my sister and our neighbor Andy “kissing in the dushes.” My parents were so proud of this work, they framed it and showed it to every visitor who came to our house. My sister still has not forgiven me.
I live outside of Chicago with my awesome husband, Julio, and our three children. When I'm not writing, I am an editor of romance novels. I am also a feminist, former rape victim advocate, lover of coffee and chocolate, and head of the PTA. It is a rare day when I don’t humiliate myself somehow, and I frequently blog about my embarrassing life moments.

Twitter: @ChristaDesir

The Dating Game
Sidney Halston, Meghan March

Here’s a snippet from FULL CONTACT by Sidney Halston. Jessica is on a blind date that has been sabotaged by Slade, the hero. Right before the date began, Slade told Roger that Jessica was cranky because she was on her period. It all went downhill after that…
When the appetizers arrived, she dove into her Watercress salad (dressing on the side), while Roger ate his glistening-with-oil, fried calamari.  She looked at her salad suspiciously wondering if her fried calamari would be arriving soon, but when he began to eat, she realized her salad was her appetizer. Why had she let him order for her? Her mouth watered for those fried calamari. She swallowed a few more green leaves and took a sip of her way-too-sweet Cosmopolitan.  Why did men always assume a woman wanted a Cosmopolitan? Thank you, Sex and the City.
“Good?” Roger asked as he took a sip of his red wine.
She smiled and nodded.
“So, how are you feeling? Any cramps?” The Cosmo went right out of her nose mid-sip. She coughed and her eyes watered. Roger looked around, embarrassed, before standing up and walking behind her to pat her back.
“You okay?” he whispered.
She nodded, grabbed a cloth napkin and wiped her eyes and nose as the last few coughs came out.
“Sorry ‘bout that.” She cleared her throat a few more times as the waiter gathered their plates.
“You okay?” he asked again.
“Yeah. Just caught me off guard with that question.”
“There’s nothing to be ashamed about. Menstruation is a normal thing. All women experience it.”
Her eyes widened and she leaned forward and whispered, “I’m fine. No cramping.” She put on her best fake grin. “For Christ sake, I beg you not to say the word menstruation again.”
“I won’t. But you don’t have to be shy with me.”
Dinner came right before she had a chance to respond.

About Sidney Halston
USA Today bestselling author, Sidney Halston lives her life with one simple rule: “Just Do It” Nike, and that’s exactly what she did. After working hard as an attorney, Sidney picked up a pen for the first time at thirty years old to begin her dream of writing. Having never written anything other than very exciting legal briefs, she found an outlet for her imaginative romantic side and wrote Seeing Red, among four other novels currently in the works, including the sequel to Seeing Red. That first pen stroke sealed the deal and she fell in love with writing.

Sidney lives in South Florida with her husband and children. She loves her family above all else, and reading follows a close second. When she’s not writing you can find her reading and reading and reading… She’s a reader first and a writer second. 

When she’s not writing or reading her life is complete and utter chaos trying to balance family life with work, and writing (and reading). But she wouldn’t have it any other way.

WORST DATE EVER by Meghan March
I was sixteen, and my parents had just recently lifted the ban on dating. This was my second real date EVER—the kind where the boy picked me up in an actual car that wasn’t his mother’s and took me out.
And that’s where it all started to go wrong.
To protect the not so innocent, let’s call this boy Chris. Tall. Hard body. Tan. Blue eyes. Curly, dirty blond hair. He. Was. Hot.
I waited anxiously by the front door at the appointed time, looking all cute in my pale pink mini skirt and white tank top. It was summer. August, I think. Just before school was supposed to start.
The appointed time came and went with no car pulling into the driveway.
Nope, the 1986 Firebird didn’t roll up until ten minutes later, and then it just sat in the driveway. Sat. My dad was standing by the front door and told me in no uncertain terms that there was no way in hell I was going out that door until the boy came and knocked like a proper date.
So I waited.
And waited.
And then Chris honked the damn horn.
My dad opened the door and stalked out to the car, ripped the door open and explained that no one was taking his daughter on a date if he couldn’t exercise even the minimum amount of courtesy by coming to the door and pretending to be a gentleman for five miutes.
Aaaaand the Firebird door slammed shut and it peeled out of the driveway, tires squealing.
End. Of. Date.
So. Maybe that doesn’t count as a ‘worst date ever’ because it was the date that never happened, but sixteen year old me was horrified. I never talked to the boy again. It wasn’t until I was several years older that I thanked my dad for teaching me never to settle and helping me dodge the bullet of what could have been an even worse date.

About Meghan March
Meghan March has been known to wear camo face paint and tromp around in woods wearing mud-covered boots, all while sporting a perfect manicure. She’s also impulsive, easily entertained, and absolutely unapologetic about the fact that she loves to read and write smut. Her past lives include slinging auto parts, selling lingerie, making custom jewelry, and practicing corporate law. Writing books about dirty talking alpha males and the strong, sassy women who bring them to their knees is by far the most fabulous job she’s ever had. 

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