Reaching into his jacket, he felt the billfold of his wallet. Inside he knew that he had a business card or two. “Just go over there you dolt!” he told himself, but he knew that even though he had her interest, he just wasn’t that brave. Still holding her eyes, he pulled out the card obviously, took a pen from the front counter and wrote on the back of the card. He smiled at her and turned to the man seating guests.
“Do you see the strawberry blond woman at the bar staring at me?” He saw him look over his shoulder and nod once. “Would you find a way to give this to her without her friends noticing?” Matt handed the card to him with a ten dollar bill folded under it.
“They’ll never know” he said smiling.
The man walked back towards the kitchen and Matt glanced back over his shoulder. Feeling daring, he found he still had her gaze, and winked at her. Suppressing the maniac laughter at his spur of the moment plan, he went out the door. He walked to his car and got in it, starting it up. Pulling out of the spot, he drove out of the parking lot and waited for traffic to clear to turn onto the street. His cell buzzed.
“This is Matt” he said, wincing as he realized he was answering like he would at work. He hadn’t recognized the number.
“This is Fae” said the voice. He closed his eyes, smiling. Not only was she beautiful, but her voice was perfect. Soft and lower than he was used to, not sexy, but definitely flirty. “I got your note and while I definitely appreciate the gesture, I really can’t leave right now.” He had written, You look like you’ve heard this story a million times already, let me know if I can rescue you by inviting you for coffee at the Barnes and Noble up the street. He couldn’t understand what was coming over him, but a louder part of him was becoming more persuasive in saying “GO FOR IT!” That of course, didn’t include walking up to three women obviously out for a girls night out and introducing himself. Getting more outgoing? Yes. That bold? No way.
“Yes, hun, I’ll be right there. Sorry. We’re getting ready to leave and I would LOVE to invite you, but men are not allowed tonight, it’s Jenny’s pre-bachellorette party.”
“Pre?” Matt said, wondering.
“Yes. We wanted a night just the three of us before we had to hang out with the people we HAD to hand out with, if you know what I mean.” He truly felt as if she was wanting to spend time with him, but couldn’t. He’d been blown off before, but this didn’t feel like it. He took heart.
“Totally understand where you’re coming from. You three been friends for a while now?”
“Since college, but we have to invite her sisters and neither Amy or I can stand Jenny’s sisters, so it’s gonna be a chore. Can I call you sometime? I obviously have your number, and I know you drive a red Acura. You should probably pull out, there’s a big truck headed your way.” she giggled as I turned around and saw her standing by the entrance, the big truck obstructing my view of her in the short black dress she was wearing.
“Please do, Fae. I look forward to hearing from you” he said, waving to her out the window and pulling out onto the street.
“Okay. Ciao, Matt.” she said, and hung up.
Driving along, Matt felt like he was 15, and had just asked his first girl out. The butterflies in his stomach were fluttering all over the place and he had trouble focusing on the road. The Barnes and Noble signed loomed over to his right so he turned into the parking lot and pulled into a space. His breathing was a bit labored and fast. He looked in the mirror and saw a stranger grinning widely at him, the man breaking out into almost hysterical laughter as he saw his reflection in the mirror.
Holding his stomach and laughing, he couldn’t believe the man in the mirror was him. That guy looked happy. That guy didn’t look like he’d spent so much of his time moping and being depressed. That guy looked like there was something to look forward to. He gradually got his laughter under control, while strangers moving around the car looked at him strangely. His cell buzzed again.
Instantly, he froze looking at the numbers, but it was a number he recognized. It was Terri.
“Matt, I just realized we should be out celebrating your test! Is it too late to take you out to dinner??” She sounded upset.
“Terri…let me just tell you about the last 15 minutes…” and proceeded to begin his tale. When he got to the part where he described the woman at the bar, Terri stopped him.
“WAIT!” she demanded.
“What?” he said.
“Where are you? Are you with her?”
“No, I’m sitting in the parking lot of the Barnes and Noble on Route 22”
“I know where it is, I’ll be there in 10 minutes. I don’t want to hear the rest of this story without seeing the look on your face. I can tell your cheeks are hurting from smiling so much just from the tone in your voice. I’ll be right there.”
The phone went dead and for the second time that night, the second time in a very long time, Matt laughed long and hard.