(That night... 6:28pm)

Jerry stood on the steps of Elaine's brownstone, shuffling his feet. Why was he so nervous?

Come on, Seinfeld, Calm down. It's just a date.

He checked his hair and clothes in the reflection of the front glass doors, hoping he hadn't over-dressed. He wore a black sport coat and the nicest pair of slacks he owned. Instead of his typical "loud" shirt, he chose a pale blue.

He had to admit, he looked pretty good.

He had made reservations at an Italian restaurant that Elaine was sure to love. Patrons of Laughter were always raving about the food and the service.

On a whim, he stopped by a sidewalk flower stand and purchased a bouquet of pink flowers. Sure, it was old-fashioned, but he wanted to make the best impression possible.

He took a deep breath and pressed the buzzer, sighing with relief when she unlocked the door remotely from her apartment. He made a mental note to mention that their apartments were similar (security-wise) in case the evening went badly and he needed a conversation topic.

Opening the door, he ran up the three flights of stairs two at a time. Once he got to the top, however, he wished he had taken the elevator. He stopped to catch his breath and then walked around the floor looking for 3D, her apartment number. When he found it, his stomach tightened with anticipation.

He knocked on the door and he could feel his pulse increase when he heard her footfalls and then the jangling of what was probably a chain lock.

Then the door opened...

What he saw literally took his breath away.

Elaine stood in the doorway, smiling at him. She was beautiful. Her long hair fell like waves, spilling onto her shoulders. But what captivated him most was the dress. It was THE DRESS! The same one she'd worn the night he first saw her at Laughter. The sexy, satin-ish (oh what was that material called again?) black dress that showed off her incredible figure.
He was sure that it was the first time in history that a comedian was ever rendered speechless.

Self-consciously, Elaine looked down at her dress and then up at Jerry.

"What's wrong? Am I over-dressed?"

Jerry swallowed hard.
"You're stunning." He said, cringing at his choice of words.

Elaine blushed. "Really?"
Jerry could only nod.

"Um... You look nice, too." Elaine said.

Her voice told Jerry that she was nervous as well.

Suddenly he remembered the flowers he held in his hand.

"These are for you." He said, handing her the bouquet.

Her eyes lit up, making her even more beautiful (if that was possible).

"Oh Jerry... Thank you."
He got the impression that no one had given her flowers before and the thought saddened him.

"So..." Elaine said shyly. "Are you ready to go? I don't even know where we're going. Um...not that it matters."

Jerry smiled. "Hopefully it will be an evening that you'll never forget."

(Later that evening)

"Oh my God, that was the best meal I've ever had in my life." Elaine said as Jerry walked her to the door.

"Yeah, the food was pretty good, wasn't it? Who knew canned pasta could be so tasty!"
Elaine laughed and playfully punched him in the arm. "Jerry, you are going to make me pass out if I laugh any more! I think I made a scene in that restaurant from laughing so much! People were staring at me!"

"No, that was me they were staring at. They were probably wondering what a guy like me was doing with someone so beautiful." Jerry said.

Elaine felt her cheeks burn. Jerry had been a complete gentleman the entire evening. She hadn't had this much fun on a date in... well, in a lifetime.

Without thinking, she said. "Would you like to come in?"
Jerry smiled. "Yeah, that would be nice."
She led him inside and closed the door. "Would you like a drink?"
"Sure." Jerry said.

Elaine peered into her refrigerator. "Let's see... I have orange juice, apple juice, water, iced tea..."
"Iced tea sounds good." Jerry said.

Elaine could feel her hand shaking as she poured him a glass of iced tea. When she turned to bring him the glass, she noticed that he'd made himself comfortable on her sofa.

Suddenly her nervousness increased.

Just stay calm, Elaine. Everything will be fine. This is a new guy. A chance to start over.

"Have a seat." Jerry said, patting the sofa and gesturing her to sit down.

"Oh... Okay. Well here's your tea." She placed the glass of iced tea on the coffee table.

"Thanks." Jerry said.

As soon as Elaine sat down, she could feel the warmth of Jerry's body next to hers. She tried to make herself comfortable when suddenly she felt Jerry's arm go around her shoulder.

"Just relax." He said, surprising her with his gentle tone.

She took a deep breath. "I'm sorry..."

"I'm not." He whispered.
His fingers stroked her hair and he began to trail kisses down the side of her neck. His kisses reached her cheekbone and she gasped when his mouth captured hers, kissing her over and over again.

Was this really the same guy who was so outgoing and funny? Was it possible that he was as nervous as she was?

Without warning or explanation, unsettling memories of Paul came flooding back, trapping her inside them.

She bolted upright on the sofa, clearly leaving Jerry confused.

"What's wrong?"
Her mouth quivered as hot, stinging tears filled her eyes; tears she had to fight to keep at bay.

She tried to speak, but the words were barely a whisper. "Nothing... I'm sorry."

A lone tear escaped and slid down her cheek.

"Lainey, you're crying." Jerry said, brushing the tear away. "Was it something I did? I-I didn't mean to be so foreword. I'm sorry."
At that moment, Elaine realized that he was blaming himself

Oh God, Elaine. What have you done?

"It's not you... It's me." Elaine said, knowing that it was the worst excuse in the world. She used it on guys all the time.
Only this time it wasn't an excuse. It was the God's honest truth.

"Right." Jerry said, rising from the sofa.
"I-I just can't... do this right now... I-I'm sorry..." Elaine said.

His crestfallen look almost shattered her heart.

"Well, I should go." He said, crossing the room to the door.

Quickly she rose to follow him. Just as he reached for the door, she touched his shoulder.

"Jerry?"

He turned to face her.

"Thank you. For tonight, I mean. I had a good time. "
She tried to smile but it was impossible.

"Sure, no problem. Goodnight, Lainey." Jerry said.
She couldn't help but hear the harsh tone that consumed his voice.

Elaine watched through blurry eyes as Jerry wordlessly walked out the door... and possibly out of her life. It was then that she realized he'd been calling her Lainey instead of Elaine.

She crossed the room to the sofa and sunk into the cushions, sobbing into a pillow. \

Why was it so hard to forget about the hurt?

Just then she heard the unmistakable sound of a car door opening from the street below. Seconds later, the door closed.

Her heart raced, wondering...

She ran to the window and peered out, catching a glimpse of the now-familiar BMW. The engine turned over and idled for several seconds, and then, to her horror, slowly began to pull away from the curb.

Before she could stop herself, she ran down the stairs and onto the sidewalk. When the BMW passed her on the street, she began to run after it.

"JERRY! WAIT! PLEASE!"

Miraculously, the car came to a screeching halt.

Elaine watched as Jerry guided the car back into the parking space and got out of the car.

He turned, stunned to see her running toward him.

"Lainey, what are you do-."
Before he could finish, Elaine grabbed him and pulled him into a kiss. He wrapped his arms around her, kissing her until they were both breathless.

"I-I'm so sorry. I-I mean about before." Elaine said when the kisses ended.

The boyishly handsome grin she loved so much had returned.

"Well..." Jerry said. "Don't let it happen again. Because I, for one, can't take that kind of reject-."
Elaine silenced him with another kiss, realizing at that moment that she'd never been happier.
For she had truly gone from Laughter to love.