Episode Twenty-Seven First Date
The next evening at six o’clock before closing, Molly checked her look in the mirror. She squirted on some cologne and put on some lipgloss. She locked up and went outside. A smiling Tarek was waiting for her at the bottom on the steps. He waved.
“Hello, Beautiful! Two questions,” he shouted up from where he stood. “One: Have you changed your mind about having dinner with me?”
“No,” she smiled. She was actually looking forward to it all day.
“Good! Question number two: Are you hungry?” She nodded and ran down the steps.
“Then, let’s go,” he reached for her hand. “Today’s special’s at the coffee shop are grilled chicken breast, house salad, and broccoli. Or tuna noddle casserole. Or turkey club sandwich with potato chips and pickle. Or the famous, or should I say infamous, mystery meatloaf. Peanut butter pie for dessert. I stopped and read the sign on my way over to get you.”
“I’m hungry, it all sounds good, even the mystery meatloaf.”
“Oh, you brave girl!”
They walked into the coffee shop and sat in a booth on one of the windowed walls. They ordered coffee while looking at the menu. He reached across the table for her hand.
“So, tell me, Molly,” he said, setting his plan in motion, “where do you hope to be in five years?”
“Out of this armpit of the nation, that’s for sure.”
“Okay. How about in one year?”
“Now that’s much harder to answer. I need to save a lot more money in order to make the jump out of here.”
“Well, it’s never too early to plan, now is it? Where would you like to go?”
“Someplace warm and sunny. Florida. The Gulf of Mexico coast. Somewhere around Clearwater. It’s my favorite place on the planet. Ever been there?”
“Been to Florida. Orlando, Miami, Jupiter. But not Clearwater.”
“It’s so gorgeous down there! My parents and I went on vacation there when I was still in high school. It was wonderful. That was before they, uh, passed away.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry, Molly. What happened?”
“Auto accident on the freeway. They tell me they died instantly. According to the paperwork I have, it was eight years ago. But I just can’t believe it’s been that long ago. It still hurts.” She looked out the window.
“I’m sorry, Honey,” he squeezed her hand. “Do you have any other family?”
“No.” Soon the waitress came to take their order.
“I’d like the grilled chicken breast with broccoli, Italian dressing on the salad,” she said.
“I’ll have the same,” he added. The waitress left.
“So, Tarek, tell me, where do you see yourself in five years?”
“I see myself with a job where I am my own boss, make my own hours, where I make a great deal of money. I see myself married to a very kind and beautiful woman who loves me. Very much,” he smiled at her shyly. “And I don’t want to go back home, either.”
“Well, then, do you like Florida?” she teased.
“Yes, I do!”
“Then Clearwater it is.”
“Okay, we’ve got the place. Now, do you prefer a house or apartment?”
“Condo. On the beach.”