My Place Or Yours

They’d been talking for over a month, and there seemed to be a spark– a completely non-sexual one– since the very beginning.

Vivaan smoothens his shirt anxiously before he enters the restaurant. Nervous laughter bubbles in his chest as he notices the pattern on it, again: eggplants. The irony is not lost on him. But he had to buy it once he saw it, if only for the laughs. He only hopes Noah will find it just as funny as he did.

After all, it’s a perfect outfit for a first date. More so for a first date with someone you met on an asexuality dating app.

They’d been talking for over a month, and there seemed to be a spark– a completely non-sexual one– since the very beginning. Finally, they had decided, it was time to meet. They’d decided to meet at a fancy restaurant, something Vivaan has regretted from the second it was decided upon, but what was done was done.

And today is the day. Or the evening, actually– it’s seven, already.
Vivaan walks into the restaurant, his anxiety increasing even more when a surly looking man greets him solemnly as he enters. He mumbles a reply as the man takes off his coat. “Noah Smith, please,” he says to the receptionist, who then leads him to a table.

Noah’s eyes are already fixed on him as he walks over. He stands up to give Vivaan a short hug, before sitting down again.
“Nice shirt,” is the first thing he says with a smirk.
Vivaan immediately feels lighter.
“Thought it was appropriate.”

The waiter turns out to be starkly different from the surly man who took his coat: he is young, excited, and if Vivaan’s not wrong, slightly flirty. Scratch that: Vivaan’s definitely not wrong.

All of the waiter’s attention seems to be directed only towards Noah, who doesn’t even seem to notice.
At one point, Noah asks the waiter what he recommends for the main course, and the waiter actually winks at him, following it up with a: “Wouldn’t you like to know?”
Noah’s eyes instantly flicker to Vivaan, looking way past uncomfortable.
“Right,” Vivaan says, loudly, stepping in to save Noah, “We’re just going to have the starters for now, please.”
The waiter raises an eyebrow at him, before nodding, and finally leaving.

They actually get along in person. It’s something Vivaan was worried about: he kept thinking that maybe, they wouldn’t have the chemistry that they have when they text. But they do. They talk, laugh, make jokes at the expense of one another, and for the first time, he actually has fun on a first date.

“Maybe a fancy restaurant wasn’t the best idea for a first date,” Noah says as their dinner is about to end, “It’s rather uptight, isn’t it? Not to mention the waiter.”
“Maybe not,” Vivaan agrees, “We can hardly dilly-dally if we want to.”
“And I want to talk more.”
“So do I.”

And there’s no implied sex. He knows for a fact that there is no ulterior motive, nothing expected of him, and it can’t end after a night together.
He nods as Noah excuses himself to go to the restroom for a second, and uses that time to calm himself down, tell himself that this is going well and it’s going to be okay. He feels judged by the fancy restaurant and shuffles uncomfortably in his seat.

Noah comes back a few minutes later, looking slightly annoyed. Vivaan immediately tenses up: was he wrong in thinking this was going well?
But then Noah sits down and speaks.
“The waiter,” he says, rolling his eyes, “He thinks I look more like a fling, dating-to-fuck kind of guy. And he certainly didn’t mind.”
Vivaan chuckles nervously, “Well, he couldn’t be further from the truth, could he?”
Noah fights a smile before giving in, his eyes warm.
“I suppose so.”

They find themselves in a bar, of all places, in neighbouring seats, drinking. There’s music and people and this honestly wasn’t the best choice either because they have to shout to hear each others’ voices.
It buys them more time, at least.
Until a drunk girl stumbles up to them, placing her hand on Vivaan’s shoulder and scaring him.
“Hey, there,” she slurs.
“Hi.”
“Wanna dance?”
Vivaan flushes.
“I’m kind of– on a– um, we’re talking,” he says awkwardly, and Noah looks amused.
The girl frowns for a second, before her eyes widen.
“Oh! Are you two– you know,” she winks.
“We’re on a date.”
“I was going to say fucking.”
“Oh, well.”
“That’s how every date ends, right? Do you want to come to my place?”
“Right,” Noah grins, taking over from there, “We’re going to leave now.”
“There we go.”

“So, first date,” Noah says, hesitantly taking Vivaan’s hand.
“First date,” Vivaan agrees.
“Was it a good first date?”
“The company was great, the locations really could’ve been better,” Vivaan replies, and they both laugh.
“So, we’re not fucking.”
“We’re not.”
“And we probably never will.”
“I don’t think so, no.”
“And is that okay?”
“It’s more than okay.”
“I do want to spend more time together, though. Play Mario Kart, maybe.”
“That sounds dreamy.”
“Well, Vivaan. Allow me to ask you a very inappropriate question, then. Do you want to come to my place?”
“I’d be happy to.”

About the author

Saachi Gupta

Saachi Gupta is an LGBTQ+ activist, animal lover and the author of 'With Love, or Something Like That.' She is a strong believer in equality amongst mankind.
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