I could not believe I was at Comet Pizzas. It had to be the worst place in town. I didn’t expect to go to some five-star steakhouse or anything but seriously? This place has been shut down twice by the health inspector. The last time I ate here I was five at Becky Smith’s birthday party and got food poisoning. It was brutal. Twenty screaming five-year-olds all puking.
I was here for my first date with Scott Owens. Ever since he moved here at the start of the year, I’ve had a crush on him. Me and about half the girls and some guys in our grade. More if you counted the whole school. I was so thrilled when he asked me out. I thought we would just go to the movies or something. Maybe grab a slice of pizza from any other place in town. I know he just moved here, but he had been here for a few months at least. He couldn’t have picked better?
“You excited May?” I faked a smile and nodded at Scott, scared if I spoke I would let my true feelings show. “I’ve wanted to take you out since the first time I saw you.” I didn’t have to fake my smile for this. Scott was super cool and hot, and for some reason he liked me. May Nelson, the total dork. I smoothed out my skirt and followed him inside.
Oh god, the smell.
There were a few people there. It was so dirty. Like this was seriously concerning. How could Scott think this was an ok place to bring a date?
“Um, I just have to go to the bathroom real quick,” I told him. Scott nodded.
“Cool. I’ll see if I can get us a table.” He gave me a smile and I totally melted.
I walked into the bathroom and almost threw up. This was awful. There was literally a pair of dirty underwear on the ground next to one of the stalls. I gagged and pulled out my phone. I looked up Comet Pizzas and sure enough, it was the lowest-rated restaurant in town. I then called my best friend Erin. She answered right away.
“Are you ok?” Erin said sounding very concerned.
“Yeah, I’m fine. It’s just that... well Scott brought me to Comet Pizzas.”
“Wait, I thought Scott liked you?” Erin said and I couldn’t help but laugh.
“Yeah me too! I don't know, he must not have realized how gross it is here. I’m hoping he’ll realize and we can bail.” Erin laughed.
“Fingers crossed. I’ll pray for you.”
“You don’t pray.”
“Yeah, but Comet Pizza is that bad. The last time I went there I was ten after a soccer game and spent the whole time puking. So prayer.”
“Ok Erin,” I said rolling my eyes. At least I was smiling. I said goodbye and prepped myself to go back out there.
It did smell less in the restaurant than in the bathroom which was good. Scott had already gotten our table and he waved me over. He stood up when I got to the table and didn’t sit back down till I did which I thought was the cutest thing.
“So, um, why did you choose this place, Scott?” I asked in what I hoped was a casual way. Scott smiled and his whole face lit up.
“So, my uncle is actually the owner. I’m living with him while my parents are overseas. My mom is a scientist and she’s in Africa studying different types of monkeys. So here I am. Anyways, whenever we visited here growing up we always ate here. It’s nice cause it’s super familiar when I’m away from home. I figured you’ve probably eaten here before so I thought it would be nice for you too.” Ok, it’s official. I’m an awful person.
“Yeah, um, I came here for some parties and stuff over the years. I don’t live that close though so not too much.” This is at least true. I live on the other side of town and since Scott picked me up he doesn’t question it and instead just nods.
We continue chatting and I find out we have a lot in common. The food wasn’t too bad and seemed fully cooked which is an improvement from the last time I came here. The night was actually going perfect until Comet Pizzas proved its low rating and I started throwing up. It was bad. I started crying and ran to the bathroom. Scott called after me but I ignored him.
I hate this place!
There was a knock on the bathroom door then Scott poked his head in, his eyes closed.
“May? Are you in here? I don’t want to open my eyes because it’s the girl's bathroom but are you ok?”
“Go away, Scott,” I said, wiping my eyes. I dug through my purse for my mints and took three. “I’m gonna have someone pick me up you don’t have to drive me home out of pity.”
“Pity? What? May you got sick. That’s not your fault.”
“You’re right! It’s this stupid restaurant's fault! Everyone knows this place is awful Scott! The real reason I don’t come here is that every time I have I’ve gotten food poisoning!” I covered my mouth with my hand. I can’t believe I’ve just said this. I expect Scott to get angry and leave but instead, he laughs.
“Are you alone?” I frown but nod. Then I remembered his eyes were closed and spoke.
“Ok good.” He opened his eyes and walked in. “May, I know the food here sucks. I have taste buds. But my uncle begged me to come here tonight and even offered to give us a free dinner.”
“But...” I just stared at him for a minute trying to find words. “I thought you loved this place?”
“I was trying to make it seem like I didn’t realize how awful it is so you wouldn’t be mad at me for bringing you here. Every time I come here I pray that it’s better. Pro-tip, the chicken doesn’t taste too good but I’ve never gotten sick from it.” I laughed a little. I had thought it was weird that he got chicken at a pizza place.
“Look,” Scott rubbed his neck seeming nervous, “I really like you. And I want to go on a lot of dates with you that aren’t here. Would you be ok with that?” I nodded, smiling.
“Yeah. I would be.” Scott grinned at me.
“Cool. Now, I have an extra toothbrush in the car because I thought someone might get sick tonight. I’m gonna grab it for you because I’d really like to kiss you.” I blushed. I’ve never kissed anyone before.
But a few minutes later when we left, my teeth freshly brushed, Scott pulled me close to him and kissed me softly.
“Can you promise me something” I whispered when he pulled away. He nodded. “Can we just get takeout next time?” Scott laughed and kissed me again.
“I think that can be arranged.” He promised, pressing his forehead to mine.