“Where do you go to meet decent men in today’s world?” Tara leaned on the little cafe table.
Cheryl smiled. “The mall. Wear your skirt shorter or jeans tighter and necklines lower and purchase a bunch of stuff so you have your hands full of bags.”
“First of all, I’m not interested in selling myself, and what’s with hands full of bags?” Tara raised an eyebrow.
“If you’re not interested in selling, you’ll never find a buyer. It’s never failed to catch the interest of a good looking guy willing to help carry some of those bags.”
“Cheryl, I’m not interested in a one-night stand. I’m interested in finding someone who’s interested in so much more than that.”
“Tara, my girl, I don’t know what to tell you. I’ve met decent guys at the mall, but, obviously, we’re looking for different things. I’m not looking to get tied down forever.” Cheryl rolled her eyes.
“I’m sorry, Cheryl, but I thought you knew I don’t believe in that kind of intimacy outside of marriage, and honestly, I’m surprised even you get a guy’s face out of his portable electronic device long enough to notice you.”
“If you dress right, you can get their attention away from anything else.” Cheryl grinned.
Tara sighed and after eating a forkful of salad changed the conversation. They spoke of how things were going at their jobs through the rest of the meal. Then they paid their bills planned to meet again in another month and said their good-byes.
As Tara walked out of the cafe, a man with salt-and-pepper hair walked in, head down, looking at his smartphone. Before Tara could swerve out of the way, the man walked right into her.
“You really shouldn’t be walking while looking at your phone. You could hurt someone.” Tara’s face was red with anger.
The man looked up. “I’m so sorry. I’m sure you won’t believe this, but I’ve never done this before. It’s just that I needed to verify the time of my next appointment. I don’t want to be late getting back to the office. I didn’t hurt you, did I?”
Tara’s heart skipped a beat as she looked into the large, darkest chocolate brown eyes she had ever seen, and her annoyance seeped away.
The man’s brow wrinkled. “Are you all right?”
Tara cleared her throat. “I’m fine.” She lowered her eyes slowly, taking in the man’s navy blue suit and pale pink shirt, open at the neck, all the way down to his shiny, black dress shoes.
“Would you mind stepping over here, out of the doorway for a moment?” He gestured to his right.
Tara moved with him.
“Please forgive me. I’m not really so attached to my phone, but it is important for keeping my schedule. Since you’re exiting the cafe, I assume you’ve already had lunch, so would you be willing to meet me here tomorrow or Friday so I can buy you lunch and make it up to you?”
“Are you single?” Tara blurted out. “I mean, if you’re married, I wouldn’t want anyone to get the wrong impression if they saw us together.” She felt her cheeks grow warm.
A smile passed over his lips. “No, I’m not married. My name is Paul Winston, and you are?”
“Tara Hollingsworth, and I’d be delighted to meet you here for lunch on Friday.” Then they parted ways, and Tara, with a little more hope in her heart, walked back to the place of her employment.