I couldn’t believe it! He was actually staring at me. Just yesterday in the cafeteria when I was having lunch with a couple of my co-workers, Ronda remarked how seriously sexy he was and that he had to be married or dating some exotic woman. “I’m sorry but a man with his looks can’t be single.”
“That’s not necessarily true,” Christa said. “I know a gorgeous guy who doesn’t have a girlfriend.”
“You mean Clancy. He’s currently not in a relationship but it won’t long before he is. Guys like him don’t stay single for long.”
I made the mistake of saying, “I hope Maddox isn’t married or in a relationship.”
Ronda looked at me, her hazel eyes narrowing. “It won’t do you any good to hope that because you don’t stand a chance with him in this life or the next.”
“Ronda, why do you have to be like that?” Christa demanded.
“Yes, Ronda. What’s wrong with Kelly-Ann?” Donna asked. “Why can’t a man like Maddox be attracted to her?”
“I know a lot of men like Maddox who just aren’t into women who look like Kelly-Ann. No offense, Kelly-Ann.”
“None taken,” I replied but I was smarting. What she said hurt. What was wrong with me? I wore glasses but, so what? I was attractive and smart. I have had several good-looking men interested in me and have dated a few. Nothing ever came of the relationships but that was okay. We wanted different things, that’s all. I’m still friends with a few of them.
For the rest of the time we were together, I didn’t say much and was relieved when it was time to go back to my desk. Before we parted, Ronda said to me, “Sorry if I came across a bit harsh but I didn’t want you to get your hopes up. Doesn’t the Bible say something about the blows of a friend being better than the kisses of an enemy? I’m your friend, Kelly-Ann and I will always level with you.”
“Sure, Ronda.” The Bible also said that we should watch how we say things. Our words should be seasoned with salt so that we don’t tear one another down. I forced a smile, bade her farewell and went in the opposite direction. As soon as I got back to my desk, I got calls from Christa and Donna, both advising me not to take Ronda’s words to heart. I promised them that I wouldn’t but her remarks had cut me to the quick.
I knew she had a “thing” for Maddox and was hoping that if it turned out that he was single that she would have a chance with him. Ronda was a looker so she wouldn’t have a problem snagging him if he were interested. Even if she weren’t in the picture, I was sure that I wouldn’t stand a chance with him.
So, why is he sitting over at that table in the corner, staring at me? Self-consciously, I check my hair to make sure it was fine. I resisted the urge to check my face in my compact mirror. Instead, I sat there, trying to act cool. Then, he stood up. I thought he was going to leave but he was coming over to me. My heart began to beat fast and I placed my hands under the table because they were trembling. I was a nervous wreck.
When he was standing at my table, he smiled. “Hello, Kelly-Ann.”
“Do you mind if I join you?”
I nodded. My hands were sweaty. I rubbed them on my pants.
“How are you doing?”
“I’m doing well, thanks. How-how about you?”
“I’m good. Just got back from Phoenix.”
“How was it?”
“Hot but nice. I have family there.”
“My cousin is a sophomore in the University of Arizona.”
“That’s in Tucson.”
“Yes. I was there once. Very nice city.”
“You work with Eileen, right?”
“Yes. She sits across from me.”
“Is she dating anyone?”
“No. She’s single.” Like me. Why was he asking me about Eileen?
“Do you think she would be interested in going out with me?”
“I–I don’t know.”
“I guess the only way to find out is to ask her myself.”
“I guess so.” I was bitterly disappointed but what did I expect? “I’d better be heading back to the office now.”
“Okay. I’m waiting for a friend. While I wait, I will have a tall glass of crispy cold cola. It was nice talking with you, Kelly-Ann.”
I stood up. “It was nice talking to you too. Goodbye, Maddox.”
“Goodbye.” As I started to leave, he got up and returned to the table he was sitting at before he joined me.
When I returned to the office, I went straight to the washroom to compose myself. I chided myself for the way I was asking. Did I seriously think that he would be interested in me? I must have been out of my mind.
Eileen was sitting at her desk. I was about to walk past her when I stopped and turned around. She glanced up at me and smiled. “What’s up, Kelly-Ann? Had a good lunch? I’m sorry I couldn’t join you. I have been swamped all morning.”
“Lunch was fine. I ran into Maddox.”
That got her full attention. “You did?”
“He joined me at my table and we chatted for a while.”
“Really? Do tell.”
“He said that he had just gotten back from Phoenix.”
“Yes, I remember him mentioning that he had family there.”
“He asked about you.”
“Really? What did he ask about?”
“He wanted to know if you were dating. I told him that you weren’t. You aren’t, are you?”
“No, I’m not dating. What else did he want to know about me?”
“He wanted to know if you would be interested in going out with him. I told him I didn’t know.”
“Oh. I really wish that I had come to lunch with you. I could have told him myself that I would love to go out with him.”
“Well, he said that he was going to ask you himself.”
“Great! I hope that means that he’s going to call me.”
“Does he know where to reach you?”
“Of course. The last time I saw him, I gave him my business card.” Her phone rang just then. A broad smile spread across her face. “It’s him!”
I quickly walked away as she reached over and picked up the receiver. I told myself that if Maddox had to date someone close to me, I was glad that it was Eileen. And I’m glad I never told her how I felt about him. I had come very close to doing so.
A year has passed since I ran into Maddox that day. I have gotten over him. Eileen and he are still dating. I won’t be surprised if they get married. I wish them all the best. Even Ronda has to admit that they are a perfect match.