“I don’t know what came over me yesterday. I hardly even thought about it before I did it. I’ve been going crazy today, peeking around every corner to see if there’s mistletoe lurking somewhere.”
“I wish I had seen you and Bradley in action. I did talk to him later that day and he seemed like he was still a little jumpy.”
Jen’s Accord continued to hum down the highway with her husband Christopher at the wheel. I shared the back seat with their three year old daughter Madelyn.
“And so now you think your grandma has given you a voodoo mistletoe curse?” Christopher asked, barely containing his laughter.
“No, I think my grandma, as sweet as she is, is full of baloney. But maybe she’s messing with my head enough that I’ve let myself be caught under the mistletoe twice in the last two days.”
“We’ll help you watch your back at the arena. Just sit back and relax. We’ll guard against any errant mistletoe attacks,” Christopher offered.
“Thanks,” I said sarcastically. “To be serious though, I have been really stressed about somehow being ambushed by it today.”
Jen and Christopher had offered me a ticket to watch her little brother play in his college basketball game. Since it was at my alma mater and Jen and Christopher were always good company, I had been happy to go along. Plus they were always grateful to have an extra hand with Madelyn at crowded events.
We made it to the center with plenty of time to spare. Jen’s brother had gotten us great seats close to the front row and midcourt. Jen pushed me into the row first to make sure I was seated next to the outrageously attractive guy sitting by himself right next to our four seats.
Geoff had no trouble starting up a conversation all about himself. I learned he hailed from Boston where his family was well established in the real estate industry. Old family. Old money. He was in grad school on a fellowship—not that he needed a scholarship, but who was he to turn them down when he was the best candidate. His department head thought he was destined for a MacArthur genius grant someday with some of the ideas he was churning out in his chemical engineering program. At one point in his monologue, he even invited me back to his pad to see some of the chemical models he had put together. Quite an offer, seeing as how he hadn’t even determined my name. He briefly mentioned he was here with an old friend who was off buying some snacks. I wondered if only someone as insufferable as Geoff himself could abide being in his company. I also wondered if Geoff always leaned in so closely and flashed his smile so frequently to women he was just getting acquainted with.
Not soon enough, Geoff’s friend returned with nachos and drinks, gave me a cold stare, kissed him possessively and draped herself all over him. I was very curious if Geoff’s girlfriend was aware that Geoff described her as just an old friend to strangers.
Grateful that Geoff was now occupied, I focused on the game.
As soon as I looked at the jumbotron at half-time, I had a feeling I might be in trouble. The screen had a festive border around it and at the top was a digital image of a sprig of mistletoe. The words “kiss cam” flashed at the bottom as the camera focused on couples in the stands. The camera would randomly settle on a couple in the crowd and the two would generally oblige the crowd with a quick on-screen kiss and a wave. My only saving grace, I thought, was that I was thankfully not part of a couple. My anxiety turned to dread though as the jumbotron suddenly cut to me. I saw my face in half the screen and Geoff’s handsome profile in the other with that digital mistletoe over both our heads.
Geoff mugged for the camera and then turned to me with a wolfish grin and one cocked eyebrow. I could not only feel, but, thanks to the jumbotron, see the panic written on my face. I tried to motion the cameraman to swing the camera to the other side so that the kiss cam could capture the actual couple. But Geoff would not be deterred from his moment in the spotlight. He had the gall to wink at the camera as he came toward me, lips leading the way.
The kiss promised to be a lingering one, but fortunately, I was able to put my hand up in front of Geoff’s face in the universal ‘stop’ symbol. The camera caught Geoff smooching my palm instead of locking lips with me. The arena descended into laughter which only got louder as the screen captured the girlfriend hitting Geoff over the head with her purse. The girlfriend actually grabbed his ear and pulled him out of his seat. Outside of criminals on TV, I had never seen a grown man frog-marched up the stairs, but that’s exactly what Geoff’s girlfriend did as she grabbed his shoulders and hustled him out of the arena. I fortunately avoided the girlfriend’s wrath and her well-aimed handbag. I was guessing this was not the first time Geoff had played the field.
Check back tomorrow to see if Grandma's magical mistletow is still working!