This (updated) piece is a semi-prologue to the fiction I will be working on during NaNoWriMo – Kate’s story
“Wow! I’m impressed that you’re so good with your hands Kate.”
Eddie looks me straight in the eye and his gaze is unflinching.
“Yeah, but you’ve got the equipment I need – yours is bigger, stronger and you definitely know how to work it.”
As soon as I see his smirk, I realize that my words sound very, very wrong. My face burns with embarrassment as he sits at my kitchen table taking a sip of the coffee I never should have offered him.
“I don’t think that I’ve met a woman who owns her own drain snake and actually knows how to use it.” Eddie points to the plumbing snake I tried to unclog the toilet with before calling his company. “How do you know so much about home repair stuff?” Eddie seems genuinely interested but I can’t see why.
There is nothing interesting about my life as a 39 year-old divorcée. As Hannah tells me, “Jack shit” is what my life is about…
I don’t want to have this conversation but Eddie is far from finishing the coffee any time soon and is unhurried to leave. Now, I really regret having offered it to him.
“My ex-husband had two left hands and I was left to get this house up to speed. I learned a lot from the different projects I undertook and the contractors I hired.”
Eddie acknowledges my words with a nod. Oscar the dog has taken a liking to him and sits quietly at his feet, probably crushing on him too. There is a long silence and I shift uncomfortably in my chair.
“Was that your daughter who was leaving when I arrived? She’s a pretty girl.”
Oh, Eddie’s being friendly to get to Hannah. I get it now. His friendliness is making sense…
“Hannah? Yes, she’s quite pretty.” I don’t dare add what a horrible personality she has but of course I don’t need to air that dirty family laundry.
“Well, she has your looks. How old is Hannah?”
I take a sip of my own coffee and drink him in with my eyes. Sure, Eddie’s sweet and very good-looking but I’m sure that he’s in his late twenties and too old for my Hannah.
“Hannah’s twenty-one. And you’re a little too old for her if that’s where you are going with that question. And she’s got a boyfriend who she’s living with.”
Eddie’s eyebrows arch and he puts his mug down. “You think I’m interested in Hannah?”
Eddie leans forward towards me. “Don’t worry. I’m sure that Hannah’s a lovely girl but she’s not my type. I prefer women who are more mature.”
I choke on his words and coffee spits out of my mouth. I’m positive that coffee has squirted out my nose too but at this point, my focus is solely on trying not to choke. Eddie jumps out of his seat and whacks me on the back a few times, looking concerned. When I finally stop coughing, he hands me a napkin to wipe my chin and then sits back down.
“Are you okay?” I nod and keep nodding because I have no words. “Are you sure?” I nod again.
“I hinted at going for coffee the last time I was here but I don’t think that you took me seriously.”
So I didn’t imagine his flirting…
“But no more hints. How about you and I go out for coffee sometime?” Eddie is totally serious and I’m totally speechless.
“I…uh..I…uh…how old are you Eddie?”
“Old enough to ask you out for a coffee date.” I stare at him blankly until he is forced to respond. “I’m thirty. And you’re…”
Thirty? Whoa! Wasn’t it just like yesterday when Eddie’s father had brought him along as a teenager to the house when John had busted the garden faucet and water was flying everywhere? He couldn’t have been more than 17 at the time.
I just stare at him, still not knowing what to say so he continued.
“And you’re old enough to have a 21 year old daughter, which is more than fine with me.”
I truly don’t know what else to say.
“Kate… I won’t take no for an answer, at least not yet.” He downs the rest of his coffee, takes out a business card and scribbles something on its back. “Here’s my personal number, just so that you have it. But I’ll be calling you. All you need to do is say yes when I do.”
When he places the card in my palm, our eyes lock and for once, I don’t look away.
Can this be something new and good in this dismal life of mine?
Maybe, just maybe…but sometimes life has other plans.
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