She had been thinking about him and their dinner date all day. She kept telling herself that she was just excited because he was her favorite cousin. Yet, why did her heart skip a beat every time she thought about him? And why did it bother her that he had a girlfriend?
“So, tell me about your girlfriend,” she said, trying to sound casual. “What’s her name and where did you meet?”
“Her name is Fernanda and we met in Lisbon last year when I was there on vacation. She’s Brazilian.”
“Do-do you have a photo of her?”
“I do.” He took out his cell and searched for what he was looking for and then handed it to her. “I took that one a couple of days before I left to come here.”
Tamar stared at the photo. Fernanda was stunning. She had short black hair, an olive complexion and very exotic features, not to mention great bone structure. Tamar felt frumpy in comparison. “Is she a model?” she asked him as she gave him back the phone. Now she wished she hadn’t asked him about the photos.
He smiled. “No, she isn’t a model although she has been approached by agents several times. She’s a News Anchor at ITV.”
“ITV? That’s the channel which airs episodes of Miss Marple and Poirot.”
“Yes. Remember we used to watch those mysteries together whenever you and your parents visited?”
“Yes, while they were in the living-room or out on the patio talking, we used to go down to the basement and watch Miss Marple and Poirot while binging on a bowl of Miss Vickie’s Jalapeño potato chips.”
He chuckled. “Yes, or the Chex Snack Mix. You ate most of the almonds.”
“Yes. I love almonds, especially when they are roasted.”
“And who can forget your mother’s delicious Jamaican patties?”
“Or your mother’s to die for Saheena balls with the green mango chutney? My mouth is watering just thinking about them now.”
“Yes, Saheena is one of her specialties. I think that’s why Dad really married her.”
“Does Fernanda cook?”
“Sometimes. And I have been told that you, my dear cousin, are an excellent cook yourself. The last time I spoke to Mom which was last week, she said that everyone was raving about your Moroccan Lamb Tagine. She also heard that you’re always preparing some new dish.”
“I love to cook. I have tons of cookbooks and am always looking for new recipes.”
“I would love to sample your cooking sometime.”
She smiled. “How about next Friday evening? I’ll call and give you my address.”
“Next Friday evening sounds good. I can’t wait and I’m curious to see where you live.”
“I live in a one bedroom condo at the Yonge and Sheppard. It’s within walking distance of Mel Lastman Square. The subway is close by so I take it instead of driving into work.”
“North York is a very nice area. That’s probably where I would have lived if I hadn’t moved to London.”
“So, whereabouts in London do you live?”
“I live in a penthouse in Covent Garden. There are always lots of things to do around that area. I too take the train to work.”
“I’ve always wanted to visit London.”
“You should come and you can stay with me.”
“Wouldn’t Fernanda mind?”
“Why would she? You’re family.”
“You’re right. I’ll take you up on your invitation one of these days.”
“Good. I hope it will be soon.”
“You mentioned that Uncle Reg and Aunt Zalina were thinking of visiting you in August.”
“What about Merari?”
“No, I don’t think she’s going to come. She prefers to hang out with her friends.”
“So, your parents will get to meet Fernanda.”
“Yes and you too when you come for a visit. I could ask her to give you an ITV Daytime Studios Tour.”
“Have you been on one?”
“Yes. They last approximately 90 minutes and guests will have access to three of the four sets on any given tour, depending on production that day.”
“I’d really like that. Thanks.”
He reached over and covered her hand, his eyes meeting hers. “You’re welcome.”
Tamar returned his gaze, her heart racing. His hand felt warm on hers. She was tempted to cover it with her other hand. Just then the waitress came over with their dessert. Relief and disappointment filled her when Rehoboam removed his hand. She tried to act like nothing had happened and began to talk about work, movies, politics, anything she could think of. They had tea and then she asked for the bill.
“Do you mind taking a photo of us?” Rehoboam asked the waitress as they were leaving.
“Not at all,” she said, smiling. She took his camera phone and waited for them to stand next to each other. “Move a little closer.”
Rehoboam put his arm around Tamar’s shoulders and she slipped her arm around his waist. They smiled and the photo was taken. “Thank you,” he said to the waitress as he took the phone from her.
“You’re welcome,” she said. “Have a good evening.”
They thanked her and left. Outside they faced each other. “Do you want to see the picture the waitress took?”
He showed it to her. “It’s a really nice one, isn’t it?”
“Yes, it is.” She wanted to ask him if he was going to send it to Fernanda. “Could you email it to me?”
“Sure. I’ll do that right now.”
“Do you need a ride back to your hotel?”
“Thanks, but I think I’ll stretch my legs.”
“Thanks for dinner, Tamar.”
“I’ll see you on Saturday.”
“Yes. I’ll pick you up at six. Enjoy your walk.”
“I’m sure I will. It’s a very nice evening.”
They hugged and then, she left.
He watched her go. He wished he didn’t have to wait until Saturday to see her again. It was like old times. They had such a great time at dinner, talking about old times. He knew that when he left and went back to London, he would miss her terribly. Hopefully, she would visit him before the year ended. Maybe, he should ask his parents to encourage her to go with them if they were still planning to visit in August. He would take her sightseeing while his parents visited friends and family.
He would take Tamar to his office and introduce her to his co-workers. He could just picture their faces when he told them that she was his cousin. And he would take her and Fernanda out for dinner. Fernanda.
He took out his phone and emailed her a short message, attached the photo of Tamar and him and sent it. In his email message, he wrote, Here’s a picture of my cousin, Tamar and me. She took me out for a really nice dinner and we had fun remembering old times. She asked me about you and I showed her the last photo I took of you. On Saturday, I’m going to have dinner with her parents. Am going for a walk now. It’s too nice an evening to spend in my hotel room. Have a good evening. Miss you. Love, Re.
He moved away from the wall he had been leaning against and headed west. Two hours later after he got back to his room, showered and was watching CNN before going to bed, he heard from both Fernanda and Tamar. Fernanda replied to his email. Nice photo. Don’t see the family resemblance at all. Hope you enjoyed your walk. I sitting here in my living-room with a glass of wine, wearing a teddy and wishing that you were here. Miss you like crazy. Love and kisses. Fernanda.
He smiled and was about to put the phone down on the dresser when it rang. It was Tamar. “Hello.”
“I’m sorry to be calling so late. I just remembered that Dad had given me two tickets to a Raptors game. It’s tomorrow evening. Would-would you like to go?”
“Yes, I’d like to very much.”
“Good. I’ll meet you at Union Station at five-thirty and then we’ll walk to Scotiabank Arena, formerly Air Canada Centre.”
“I’ll meet you there tomorrow, then.”
“Goodnight, Tamar.” He smiled as he ended the call. He didn’t have to wait until Saturday, after all.