It sounds like the perfect formula for a Saturday night in a big city, anywhere in the world.
It took him a few weeks but eventually he worked up the courage to ask me.
I’d been dropping hints all over the place but, as my brother tells me, blokes go a bit dim around a woman they fancy. They might be tigers in the boardroom but a pretty face seems to turn off most of their synapses, which is cute but a little frustrating.
A couple of Fridays had gone by and I was beginning to think that he was not going to ask.
We all headed for the elevators after a glass of ‘bubbly’, generously supplied by our employer.
It happened every Friday night.
The boss would donate a half decent bottle of Yarra Valley Pinot Noir and we would break out the plastic cups and toast the end of a productive week, or otherwise.
Our manager was the only one on any floor of the building who did this and we all wondered why. He was competent, which was more than you could say for most of them, but he hardly ever spoke a word.
He left us alone to get on with our job but it would have been nice if we could have checked in with him from time to time, just to get a bit of reassurance that we were doing our job well; but I guess you cannot have everything.
As I said, we were standing by the elevators feeling happy, which was a mix of a small amount of alcohol and the promise of two whole days and three nights without having to think about work.
“Ruby’s has a pretty good dance floor.”
For a moment, I wasn’t sure that this comment was directed at me, but it was. Ross was standing on my right shoulder looking every inch of his six foot one. His suit needed a press but that was to be expected as the jacket had probably spent the day thrown over the back of a chair.
All the females had coat hangers; the males had the back of a chair.
He smelled good and I wondered what he was going to say next, but first he needed to hear from me.
“I like Ruby’s, but I haven’t been there for a while. Is the bartender still cute?”
“I wouldn’t know, but we could find out together if you like?”
“That sounds a lot like an invitation. Let me check my diary.”
I made a pretence of looking through the diary on my phone, knowing full well that I had nothing planned for the weekend. Ross looked a little worried so I didn’t string it out.
“I’m free tomorrow night, but Sunday I’m flying down to Rio so I will need my beauty sleep.”
“Tomorrow night would be great. Can I pick you up at 7?”
“Yes, you can. Would you like me to tell you where I live.”
Ross blushed at his oversight and I gave him the address.
“So we are on then? Dinner, Dance and Show?”
“Let’s see how the dinner and the dancing go before we commit to sitting in the dark together.” I was kidding but Ross blushed again, and he had only just regained his normal colour. I remember thinking that I was going to like this bloke.
I spent a lot of time picking out the right outfit.
I didn’t want to appear too eager, but I didn’t want to remind him of his favourite aunt either.
The blue dress made me look fat and the red one said ‘take me down the nearest alley and have your way with me’, and the yellow one was too attractive to bees.
In the end, I took a chance and chose a dress that said, ‘It Saturday night, we are on the town, let’s see where this thing goes.’
I don’t normally engage in ‘horizontal folk-dancing’ on a first date, but I wore matching black lace undies, just in case.
As it turned out, the dinner was perfect, the conversation was better than I could have expected, the dancing was unexpectedly good, and the show didn’t put me to sleep.
He kissed me goodnight and didn’t suggest that he come up for coffee.
I would have said yes if he had suggested it but it was okay that he didn’t push himself forward. He proposed a late lunch the next day and I was delighted to say yes.
I waited at Emilio’s for more than an hour, but he didn’t turn up.
The police are waiting out in the foyer and I have no idea what to tell them other than he didn’t call me and he hasn’t been into work for three days. When they ask me about him I’ll tell them what I told you, everything, with the single exception of the small package he asked me to hold for him.
No, I haven’t opened it, and no, I’m not going to.
I see a lot of small packages in my work, and I don’t have to open this one to know what is in it.
I’m trying to work out if I’m part of this, or if his interest in me was more than a way to hide the diamonds.
No one in the office connected him and me, and the police didn’t ask any questions that gave the impression that they knew about us.
Love, lust, attraction, call it what you will, it’s strange and it makes people do funny things.
If I was being used as part of his escape, I’m going to be mad, and disappointed, but I’ll get over it.
He trusted me with his ill-gotten gains and I’m hoping that when he reappears, it will be for me as much as for the boodle.
I guess I’m a bit of a romantic, or a bit of a fool; you can decide.
I’m 37 and I no longer have stars in my eyes.
I still have my figure and by my estimation, I have 1.9 million dollars in cut diamonds in my freezer.
Life is no longer boring.
I wonder what would have happened if I had said no to his ‘night out’?