Part VII

She dashes madly around her place getting ready for Kevin’s return. Hiding the junk food wrappers and empty Diet Coke cans in the recycling bin and decluttering the kitchen counters just in time as she hears the car pull up. She opens the front door to see the exquisite machine and Kevin unfolding his tall body from the driver seat. She can’t conceal her excitement and cheerfully calls out a welcome home and nice ride greeting. Kevin forces a winning smile and inwardly groans. He heads up to the door and a beaming welcome. Ugh.

He leans in for a quick kiss only to be met with an intimate and long kissing embrace. He can tell she’s more fired up than usual and hopes it’s for all the right reasons. He can do this. He holds her hand as they cross the threshold and he tells her how much he missed her. Do they have time for a quick drink before heading to Karen’s for dinner? Yes. Let’s have a drink and chat before we go. Drinks poured and sitting at the tiny kitchen island she gets a look on her face. She’s wrestling with some thoughts; he waits for her to start.

Small talk is her forte he has discovered. He’s never really met anyone as adept at talking about nothing for extended periods of time. Her favourite topics are golf and her current list of tv shows. But tonight she’s asking about him and his business trip. He confesses that it’s tiring and he’s glad to be back home. She likes that; “home” with her. Ok she’s ready to spill her words after a few good gulps of wine.

He watches her intently as she gathers her thoughts and courage. She decides to rip of the band aid quickly and her words tumble out in a quick barrage. She knows they’ve just met but she feels a complete connection. Me too he adds for encouragement. She continues with her desire to take their relationship to the next level. She wants to convey her trust and commitment by investing in his venture. Ok he says, we are on the same page; what did you have in mind. The relief is visible on her face; her shoulders relax and she continues. I have a draft made out to you to invest in the business; she reaches for an envelope and a small box. Here’s the cheque and a good luck charm. He accepts the box and the envelope.

He reaches into his breast pocket and pulls out a small tidily wrapped package. Let’s exchange good luck charms; I can’t get over how in sync we are. Two pieces of the same puzzle. She swoons as he leans in for a kiss. They unwrap their gifts. His a tacky coffee mug that says “I love your smile” with a grinning dog photo. Hers a pair of earrings; she gushes and immediately puts them on replacing the gawdy baubles she was wearing. They kiss again and she implores him to open the envelope. He does carefully, trying not to shake. He looks at the beautiful digits on the draft and glances up to meet her eager face. There are no words. She’s smitten and he’s counting his lucky stars. And the time he has left to carry on the charade.

Off they go to Karen’s in his loaner car. He explains that his car is still waiting for parts but the dealer loaned him a similar model in the mean time. She’s settled into the passenger seat clearly feeling like royalty. And giddy from the pre-dinner activities. Karen is a quick drive away and some easy banter and music pass the time quickly. She tries to fill him in on who will be there but his mind is already on the beach. A million miles away. He’d like to tell her to shut up but holds his tongue. Almost Scott free.

Karen lives in a nice suburban home with her husband and dog. The home is nicely lit and looks inviting as they approach the door. They brought wine and a small hostess gift. Karen opens the door to greet them and alluring aromas waft in her wake. Smells delicious they both say simultaneously and then look at each other and laugh. Perfect. The stage is set.

They enter the house and two other couples are already inside enjoying drinks and appetizers. The introductions are made. Everyone seems nice and they chatter excitedly as they give him the once over. He expected as much. He’s there to meet the standards of her friends and they will scrutinize him in every way. Karen asks him to help her in the kitchen and he trails behind her telling her how lovely her home is and how much the delicious aromas are affecting his appetite. He knows the ladies enjoy the compliments. Karen is playing more appetizers and hands him a bottle of wine to open. So your the Prince Charming whose swept my girl off her feet. Well, he says, she’s done the same for me. It’s been a wonderful whirlwind. Totally unexpected but welcome. She’s a terrific lady and I’m grateful to have found her.

That did the trick. Karen mellowed immediately and the conversation took a welcome turn to local news and the proposed downtown development. A lively discussion ensued with the group being almost evenly split on the topic. It was time to relocate for dinner and everyone took their seat at the dining table. Karen was a tremendous hostess and set a table that was simply gorgeous. When the first dish was served it was apparent that the fare tasted as good as it smelled. Course after course was scrumptious and everyone’s compliments lit up Karen’s face. By the time dessert and coffee were served they were all sated. It was, all in all, a very productive evening. Now all he had to do was perform for one more night. By this time tomorrow he would be on his way.

They said their good byes and promised to gather again soon. The usual “it was great to meet you” were exchanged and cars pulled away. Karen and her husband waved us off from the front porch and turned to walk inside as we backed out.

They loved you! She was gushing fuelled by too much wine and emotion. She rambled on in mostly incoherent bursts and run on sentences until we arrived back at her place. With any luck she will just pass out when we get to bed. And that’s exactly what happened. Boom. Out like a light. A good opportunity to have himself a private celebratory drink and plan his next moves. He could move his timelines up significantly now that his financial house was in order. In fact even better than he had hoped. He had enough money extra to buy a small fishing rig. A sigh of relief and contentment escaped his lips. His ship was coming in.

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