Story Sent in by Marilyn:
The dating pool was pretty shallow, where I used to be from. During that time, I met Travis online. He and I liked a lot of the same music, and we both worked in two different hardware stores, a town or two apart.
After talking online for a while, he asked me out on a proper date, to a popular steakhouse (actually the only steakhouse) in the area.
When I arrived there, I found him seated at a booth with four other people: on one side was a large, red-faced woman next to a tall, thick-bearded man, and on the other side, two younger girls: one around 16, the other couldn't have been older than 10. Travis sat next to them, all the way inside the booth.
"Marilyn!" Travis shoved himself out of the booth and over to where I stood, "Great to meet you! This is my family," he turned back to the group at the table, "My mom, dad, and sisters: Bea and Alice."
"Your family?" I asked, as in, "You brought your family?"
"They sure are!" he replied, "Here, I'll get you an extra chair."
I wanted to be polite, but I certainly didn't want to stay for long. Travis set up a chair for me at the end of the booth and sat back down, all the way inside, again.
Travis's mother asked me, "Where are you from?"
I replied, "Willington."
Travis's mother giggled and said, "Not what town, honey. Where's your family from? Your roots?"
I replied, "Way back? I think Germany, England, somewhere in there."
Travis's mother frowned and sat back, as if she had hoped for a better answer. As if in agreement, Travis's father leaned forward and said, "Aw, don't be like that, Irene. She's prettier than a pop can full o'sugar!"
Alice, the youngest sister, asked, "Where are your parents?"
I said, "At work and at home. Not here."
"Why?" she asked.
Travis cut in, "Isn't this great? Our first big dinner as a family!"
The waitress chose that moment to take our drink orders. Travis's father ordered five plates of nachos for the table and was sure to watch the waitress's ass as she walked away.
He caught me looking and said, "Mmm, yeah."
It made me shudder. I said, "I appreciate meeting... all of you for dinner, but I can't stay too long."
Travis asked, "Why?"
I said, "My...cousin was in an accident over in Mt. Carmel, and I have to drive my aunt to the hospital. Nothing bad. She just hit a hydrant, but they're checking her out, anyway."
"Sorry to hear," Travis's mother said.
Travis's father said something to me that sounded like, "You're real pretty," but it was low, so I couldn't hear him too well. It dawned on me a moment later that he was very likely drunk.
I said, "Yeah, so I kind of have to go..." and I stood up.
Travis shoved out of the booth again and said to me, "I'll walk you out."
He did, and when we made it outside, he wished me and my family well, then went for a kiss. I pushed him away, he said, "Okay," and shuffled back inside the restaurant.
I felt bad for lying to him and his family, but I thought that it was a small price to pay to escape that mess.