Short Story Part II

Alone and lonely (the two are exclusive I believe) she thought she would give the dreaded internet dating sites another try. She had so many friends that had resounding success with finding lasting love on line. Why not her? Paying for the premium dating memberships was out of the question. A penny saved is a penny saved. Plenty of Fish seemed like the obvious route.

Her profile caused her some concern. She didn’t look her age (60 something) so a photo was easy. But how to articulate her characteristics in way to snag the man she desired. The list of must haves was extensive: tall, handsome, well off financially, a good golfer, healthy, home owner, travels, nice car, limited baggage, widower preferred … she needed the best wording for bait. She wondered how her other friends, not as good looking and desirable as her in her mind, managed to find good men. With money. That shared. She was due. This was her time.

Choosing a photo was a piece of cake. She had plenty to choose from; there were tons of selfies taken with friends (usually as a third wheel on a night out with a couple) all she had to do was edit out the friend. Voila. A happy shot of a done up lady enjoying herself. That’s the image she wanted to portray. Even if it was a stretch. Now for the profile itself; that needed finesse and strategy. Fun loving retiree loves to golf and enjoy life to the fullest. Must love travelling and fun adventures. Let’s play a round to see if we’re a fit. Done. Click. What a clever play on words; they’ll think she’s smart too. Well done. With the profile live and activated it was a matter of time.

She didn’t have to wait long. The computer notification system was hopping! As she sifted through the “winks” and summarily passed by the Kumars, Sandeeps, Thans, Osmundos and everyone else with a foreign sounding name along with a few Bobs and Rogers whose profiles didn’t meet the standards, she found Kevin. Stop the presses. This guy ticked every box.

A widowed dentist who lived in the city with his faithful Lab, Milo, loved to spend time at his weekend retreat to golf and ride his motorcycle. Doesn’t like social media (bonus! She’s never been on line in any other way but the dating site). Grown children living abroad. Oh and the photo. Wow. Why was this hunk single? Easy decision to wink back. Hopefully he wants to meet. She might have to go shopping for a killer outfit. She starts calling her friends to boast about her next husband; free dental work for all!

He sends a message via the dating site. It’s simple and professional: let’s do lunch; my treat. (This was getting too good to be true!) I’ll reserve a table at Danilo’s for Friday at 1 pm. (Only the top restaurant in town!) Ask the maître d for my table. (It’s a date! …. for life! …. this is the treatment I deserve). See you Friday.

Her friends are cautionary; be careful. You don’t know this guy. Call if you need help. Really? It’s lunch. In broad daylight. At a five star establishment. It will be fine. You’re just jealous! What to wear ….

Friday couldn’t come soon enough. It was two days of agony and stress. This has to work. Period. The outfit was not her usual flamboyant affair; she wanted look refined and worldly. Not an easy feat. Hair just right; make up too. Nothing over the top. Ready or not here we go.

When she arrived at the restaurant she used the free valet parking. It would cost her a tip to the attendant but it would be worth it. Her car was a recent model of a cheap import; not the best showpiece but not embarrassing either. Too bad it wasn’t summer and she could have driven her seasonal convertible. Oh well. She does one last check of the ensemble and hair and teeth. All good. She thinks she’s a knockout.

The host shows her to the table where Kevin is waiting. He sees her approach and rises with his hand extended. His profile was bang on! Tall and gorgeous (in a silver fox way), nicely dressed and gentle hands. Harrison Ford comes to mind. He was perfect. So were his teeth. That smile! They sit and the waiter is on stand by to take a drink order. Wine? Red? Certainly; a bottle of the Beaujolais Nouveau. As they wait on the wine the small talk starts. He’s gracious and wants to know everything about her and she’s all to happy to comply. When the wine is poured she opens up about her life more and more. He is enthralled with her and hangs on every word. Her courage is up and her mind at ease; Kevin was everything she wanted and more. She could picture herself on the back of his motorcycle or walking into the clubhouse after golf. Wait until he sees me play!

After an intoxicating lunch, two hours later, did we really talk that long? They head out to the valet. She hands her tag to the attendant. Is Kevin getting his car,too she wonders? No. He’s got to make a couple of calls and they accommodate him at the bar. He will leave a bit later. Great. Fine. He wants to set another date and promises to call; he really enjoyed her company and wants to spend more time. Practically swooning she glides behind the wheel of her car. The smile stuck on her face is immobile. Wait until she tells her silly jealous friends.

Kevin returns to the restaurant until he’s certain she’s pulled away. Then he quickly exits and heads for the subway. His car is not exactly road worthy and besides that he can’t afford the gas. He gets back to his apartment just in time to catch the super putting an envelope under the door. Final notice. Oh boy. He’s got 30 days, 60 at best, to clear out. He better score an exit strategy soon. Today’s prospect was the best he’s had in months, and he couldn’t afford to keep hunting. He needed to move in for the kill sooner than later. His plan started to take shape based on the information he was able to extract over lunch. She was desperate; she was ready. He might have to escalate the schedule; the walls were closing in on him. He needed this to work.

She got home on cloud nine. The afterglow from her lunch was like a warm sweater wrapping her in a cozy embrace. It was her time to get a lucky break. Good things should be coming her way after years of struggling alone. She’s done well for herself that’s for sure. Owns her own place and enough savings in the bank to retire comfortably. But a guy like Kevin would be the icing on the cake. She was busting to share her extraordinary day with everyone. She’s not worried about jinxing it; this was real just like she had been dreaming about. I hope he calls again soon!

Kevin had to fabricate a story to get around his current situation. He couldn’t let her see his car or where he lived. But he needed to keep the plan moving and not waste any time. He called her that night to keep the fire burning; what a stroke of luck that they met … she was the person he had envisioned …. never thought he could open the door again … it was love at first sight. She lapped it all up. As he continued the call he pushed more and more. This was going to be easy. Dinner the next night; he would pick her up. How much credit did he have left on that credit card? That would determine the venue.

She was so excited she could hardly breathe. This was real and it was happening fast. Kevin felt the same as her. Maybe by the weekend they would head up to his retreat with Milo. Walking the dog, a romantic meal with wine in front of a roaring fire. Start the check list: nails, waxing, outfit inventory maybe a few good bottles of wine (to show how classy I am). He’s going to love it and he’ll be hooked.

Kevin arrives at the door with a bouquet of flowers and a bottle of wine. If dinner goes well there will be a nice night cap. She giggles. He leads her to the car and explains before she can size up the old model Chrysler, that it’s his neighbours beater; his car had a warranty recall by the dealer and their loaners were all out (you know, everyone bringing their car in at the same time due to recall). Plausible. She laughs; Murphy’s Law. For sure; forgive the humble ride, dinner will make up for it.

It’s a nice restaurant. Certainly not the high end like lunch. But rustic and inviting with the promise of good food. The owner mans the door and greets Kevin by name. This must be the beauty you were telling me about. She laughs and says she likes it here already. This is going well. She has no idea that the owner is a poker friend of Kevin’s and that many an all-nighter were held in the private event room adjacent. Kevin’s called in a favour and the service is VIP. She’s in for a show and it’s got to work.

Over dessert they agree to enjoy the wine back at her place. He doesn’t want the evening to end. She immediately agrees. They drive back to her place and she serves the wine. Kevin leans in for a kiss. He knows he’s an exceptional lover; his exes have told him if it wasn’t for his skills in the sack they would have pulled the plug a lot sooner. Kevin feels the vibe; he’s taking the next step and it’s a risk he can’t afford to lose.

He tells her his place is being renovated and shows her photos of some house in an old neighbourhood. The permits are approved and they’re getting ready to start the demo. He’s really sorry but he’s moving to his weekend retreat until further notice and he’s devastated that it will curtail their blossoming romance. He would have her to the retreat but his best friends son is staying there temporarily and there’s only one bathroom. Not the place you’d take a lady. He’s moving out at the end of his internship in a month or so. He can see her wheels turning. She’s buying it. More wine. More kissing.

I have an idea she says. Why don’t you stay with me. I have a perfectly good spare room and a second bathroom. We are both adults here. Let’s call it a trial run and see where it takes us.

Bingo.

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