She’d married at twenty-three and that had been decades ago. Was he interested in her? Had she said the wrong thing in their conversation?
Charles cleared his throat. “I hate to lunch alone and it’s a great day for lunch. Being Sunday and all.”
She spoke so fast her tongue tripped over the words. “It’s a great day for lunch.”
His face lost the slightly worried cast it had taken on. “It absolutely is. Please tell me you aren’t a vegan or gluten-free or following whatever bizarre lifestyle foods thing that’s popular right now.”
Lillian shook her head. A strand of her blonde hair floated free of the knot she’d pulled it up into earlier. “I believe bacon is a viable food group, hate green drinks, and once ate an entire Dutch apple pie and a carton of black walnut ice cream. By myself.”
His smile held delight. “You’re a rebel then.”
“I am.” Her giggle was out of her mouth before she could stop it. “Is that a bad thing?”
“Only if we get spotted by some of the above named folks while eating.”
“I know a really great place. It’s off Canal.”
He said, “Lead on.”
He took her arm when she went to navigate around the shelves. The courtly little gesture warmed her heart.
They set off walking and she found herself laughing and talking with Charles like she’d known him forever. They had a lot in common, and not just what they did for a living. They both loved Off-Off-Broadway theatre, and they both loved baseball and books. They shared the same taste in music too and she was smiling as they finally decided to board the bus to make the last leg of the journey. On the bus he stood and insisted she take a seat. For a few minutes, as they headed down toward Canal, Lillian felt almost like she had when she had first come to the city so many years ago and first started dating.
There was a world of possibilities opening up around her. She was happier than she had been in a long time. She had some friends left and she still had some things she was attached to—dance groups and so forth—but she had missed feeling a real connection with another human being.
Charles made her feel like she was pretty just because his eyes stayed on her face while he spoke to her. She caught a glimpse of her reflection in the glass and was a little surprised by the warm color in her cheeks and the shine in her eyes.
She found herself grateful for having put on the pretty blue silk blouse and the nice jeans that morning, and for having taken a little timer to put on some mascara and gloss. The little jet of perfume she’d sprayed on had faded to just a light little whiff of floral scent now but she knew that he could smell it and when he leaned closer then murmured, “My God that smells nice,” then backed away hastily she was thrilled.
The bus had emptied out and he took a seat next to her and added, “Don’t think I’m weird for smelling your perfume please. I have to admit I’m rusty with this kind of thing.”
Her head bobbed up and down. “Me too.”
He gave her hand a squeeze, “Well, thanks for helping make to knock the rust off.”
Her grin stayed in place all the way to the restaurant.
Lillian paced the floors of her apartment a few nights later. The lunch with Charles had gone very well and they’d exchanged phone numbers as they’d stood in front of his building, which was closer to the subway than hers. He offered to walk her home but she said no firmly, she wanted to walk a little and just revel in the fact that she had done it. She’d gone on a date! Besides she had noticed his slight limp and while he’d sworn it didn’t hurt she was sure that his leg was aching a good bit by the time they made it all the way back to the Upper East Side.
He’d had to work the next few days and she had been working second shift so their schedules had conflicted quite a bit but they’d finally nailed down a day they were both off and they’d agreed to have dinner and go to see a show. Lillian’s heart was in her throat as she went to the bedroom to peek in the mirror again, smoother hair again, and agonize over whether or not the light green silk dress, and the small strappy heels she wore were just too much. Maybe she should wear the little black number and some different shoes, put on a jacket to cover the low back and necklines of the dress.
It was a perfectly nice dress, one she had worm on similar outings, but would Charles think she was a horny old lady when he saw the flesh of her bosom rising just above the neckline in a small but visible swell?
“God I hope so.”
The words made her laugh. It was true. She was horny. Fifty-five wasn’t really that old and it was most certainly nowhere near dead. Neither of them were doddering oldsters, and she was definitely aware of how good looking he was, and just how charming too.
He was fifty-eight. Still strong and virile. The leg injury had happened during the same car accident that had taken his wife from him. Otherwise he was in great health and when he had stepped up close to her and gave her a soft but passionate kiss after that lunch she had felt a very male hardness press against her lower body before he’d walked away with a promise to call her.
He had called her. They were going out, and she was a nervous wreck. A nervous horny wreck. How long had it been since she had deliberately set out to seduce a man anyway?
Too long. She probably didn’t even know the moves anymore!