He hit send and waited for a reply. Two minutes later, Tim had a date. They had exchanged emails, texts, and a call or two over the last two weeks, so he decided to pull the trigger.
“Ok, McGrath’s is good,” the text read. “May be a little late depending on work. I’ll be in a blue shirt with a red necklace in case you’re not sure.”
The next evening, Tim walked into McGrath’s at six. He found two open stools at the bar and ordered a beer.
Diane’s day was a nightmare from the second she walked into the office. By the time four o’clock rolled around, she just wanted to escape. Two hours later, she walked into McGrath’s for a drink, before going back to her empty apartment. There were two single seats left open at the bar. She assessed the lesser of two evils.
“Is this seat taken?” Diane asked the dark haired man.
“No,” Tim replied. “I’ve been saving it for you.”
What a line. Diane thought as she took the seat and smiled politely. She played with her ruby necklace while she decided what to drink.
“Tim.” The man held out his hand. Man, she’s better than her pics. He thought as he studied her blue eyes and dark hair.
Diana rolled with it. “Nice to meet you.” She shook his hand.
“What are you drinking?” Tim asked.
“Thinking a margarita,” Diane said distractedly.
Tim ordered a margarita and smiled.
“Thanks. It was a helluva day at work.” Diane let her guard down a bit at the gesture.
“Yeah, it’s nothing like San Diego.”
“Ah, I went to school in San Diego. Miss it. Could use a good beach day.” Diana smile at the thought of her college days.
“I’m looking forward to my next beach run,” Tim stated with a smile and a toast as Diane’s drink arrived.
Diane loosened up after her first margarita and a trip down a memory lane of happier days.
Tim was amazed by the way things evolved. He never knew she surfed, and her stories brought back good times in California. The conversation went from there and lasted for more than an hour. As they changed topics and kept the talk flowing freely, Tim realized he wanted to learn even more.
“Listen, I came for a drink or two, but you’re really interesting. I’m starved. Wanna join me next door for some dinner?” Tim asked.
Diane looked Tim over and thought, why not? It would save her from figuring out her solo dinner back home anyway. Plus, Tim seemed to have it together, and she’d have broken her rule about getting numbers from a bar if he made the offer.
As the pair felt a buzz from the drinks they had, they both loosen up and began to joke around. Each of them thought the other had potential and was glad to have ventured in that night.
Tim waved off Diane’s motion to cover her share of the bill.
“Thank you, but you didn’t have to.” Diane smiled.
“I want to,” Tim said, as he finished signing the receipt.
“Sure. Let’s go,” Diane said as she grabbed her purse.
Tim followed Diane through the lounge and to the door. He was mesmerized by the way her hips moved in the tight black skirt that she wore below her blue shirt. Her heels added to the look.
When Diane got to the door, she didn’t hesitate to open it, though Tim attempted to get ahead of her. As he took control of the door, a woman walked up. Tim was busy watching Diane and didn’t notice her. The only thing he did was make sure the woman in jeans and a blue shirt cleared the door before letting it go.
“Thank you,” the dark haired woman said to Tim, with a flash in her blue eyes.
That’s when he noticed the red beaded necklace.
It was a fleeting moment that Tim recovered quickly from by dismissing it. He caught up with Diane in a matter of strides. Tim opened the door to the steakhouse.
“Thank you,” Diane said as she locked her blue eyes on his.
Ten minutes later, Tim’s phone vibrated, but he ignored it because his attention was on the woman in front of him. When the restaurant closed hours later, he walked Diane to her car and watched her drive off in her sports car. She didn’t ask for his number, and he had forgotten about anything outside of the last few hours.
Tim reconsidered sending the woman a quick message. Instead, he checked his texts and found the unread one. “Sorry I was so late. Guess I missed you.”
That’s when he realized that the woman who had captured his interest and full attention wasn’t Cynthia.
Tim shouted into the night air. Despite being a semi-regular at McGrath’s, Tim had never seen the woman, who left in the sporty ride, before and wouldn’t see her again, no matter how much he wanted to know more of her.
He took a deep breath and looked at his phone. His finger slid across the screen. “Stayed as long as I could. Maybe next time.”
Janelle Jalbert has written in various genres and formats. Her non-fiction work includes reporting in motorsports and book credits in the areas of education and business.
Jalbert is currently working on various projects in both fiction and non-fiction. Her fiction often utilizes elements of magical realism.
You can visit her website at www.janellejalbert.com where featured articles include topics about writing, life, magical realism and the series “What if? Wednesdays” where the hypothetical becomes reality, if only for a short time.