“That’s some dress,” Stuart remarked.
“Do you like it?”
She smiled as she walked around to the passenger side where he stood holding the door open. It pleased her that he liked the dress. It was fairly new and this was the first time she was wearing it. He looked sharp in the navy blue suit and white V-neck tee shirt underneath. “I’m glad you like it.”
“What’s not to like?”
“Does Natalia know that I’m joining you, Sophie and her husband for dinner this evening?”
“No. And she doesn’t know where we’re having dinner. I don’t want her showing up and making a scene.”
“Is Sophie’s husband Australian?”
“No, he’s American but he got a teaching job in a Queensland state school.”
“What does teach?”
“What about Sophie? What is she going to do?”
“She’s an excellent secretary. I’m sure she won’t have any trouble finding a job.”
“Have you ever been to Australia?”
“No, although I’ve heard that they have beautiful beaches.”
“Every time I think of Australia, I think of kangaroos, koala bears, the outback, the Great Barrier Reef and Aboriginal people.”
“Don’t forget Meryl Streep’s famous line, ‘a dingo ate my baby’ in the movie, A Cry in the Dark when she played the Australian woman whose baby was taken from their tent by a dingo. The incident happened in the Northern Territory of Australia.”
“I’ve never wanted to visit there. Maybe it’s because I’ve heard that it’s a racist country. Last month, I read an article online that 76 per cent of Australians say there is a lot of racism in Australia. In another article, the writer stated that Australia is deplorably racist. It was founded on a racist document and hasn’t improved.”
“Yes, I’ve heard of the racism there. Unfortunately, racism exists every where, including here in “the land of the free”
“Don’t get me started on the line, ‘all men are created equal’. How can all men be equal when black people are treated as inferiors? Black men are tossed into prison for minor infractions which white men would simply get a slap on the wrist for? Not to mention having people looking at you and following you in the store as if they think you’re going to steal something. I’ve experienced that in boutiques. What about when black people are stopped by police or black men who are being shot by them?”
“Let’s not talk about this anymore. It’s too upsetting.”
“You’re right. Let’s talk about something else.”
Half-hour later they arrived at the restaurant. They were shown to their table. Sophie and her husband weren’t there as yet. “Would like us to order our drinks now or wait for them to get here?”
“No, we can wait.”
“This is nice,” she said, looking around. “I like it.”
He smiled. “I’m glad you like it. Wait until you taste the food.”
The waitress came over to them. She was young and pretty. “Would you like to order your drinks now?” she asked Stuart.
“Not right now, thanks.”
“All right.” She smiled and excused herself.
“She was flirting with you.”
“She was not.”
“Yes, she was. She completely ignored me. It was as if you were sitting here by yourself.”
“Well, if she’s flirting with me as you say, she’s wasting her time.”
“That’s good to know.”
“You look amazing in that dress.”
She smiled. “Thank you.”
Just then, Sophie and her husband joined them. Stuart introduced them to Shandra. Sophie looked very elegant in her wine red dress and her strawberry blonde hair in a French knot while Robin looked dapper in a dark grey suit.
The waitress returned to find out if they were ready to order their drinks.
She was very friendly, acknowledging Sophie and her husband, Robin but ignored Shandra. After she left, Sophie said to Stuart, “That waitress was flirting with you.”
“I told you she was,” Shandra chimed in, glowering at him.
“I’ll have to do something about that, then,” Stuart said as he picked up his menu.
The waitress returned with their drinks. She set their drinks down on the table before them. With a dazzling smile, she asked Stuart, “Are you ready to place your order?”
Stuart’s gaze shifted from her to Shandra. Reaching over, he rubbed her hand with his finger, his eyes meeting hers as he asked, “Have you decided what you would like to order?”
Shandra could hardly think. It was the first time since they had known each other that he had touched her like that. It was doing crazy things to her body. “I-I’ll have the Pomegranate & Pistachio Spinach Salad and the Turmeric Dusted Fresh Red snapper.”
Stuart glanced up at the waitress who wasn’t smiling anymore. “And I’ll have the Mediterranean Salad and the Spicy Kermani Beef. For the appetizer, we would like the Cheese Plate with a Persian Twist.”
She went away after getting all four orders. As soon as she was gone, Stuart removed his hand but his eyes lingered on Shandra who was still nonplussed.
“I think the waitress got your message,” Sophie said, smiling at Stuart.
“I agree,” Robin said, looking at Stuart and then at Shandra. From where he was sitting, there was definitely an attraction between them. You would have to be blind not to see it.
Each time the waitress returned to their table, she was decidedly more professional in her manner and not smiling as much. She no longer ignored Shandra who was still thinking about the way Stuart had rubbed her hand and the way he had looked at her. If only Natalia weren’t in the picture…
“I love your dress,” Sophie said, interrupting her thoughts.
Shandra smiled. “Thanks.”
The rest of dinner was filled with flowing conversation and lots of laughter. Shandra’s Bha Bha experience was surprising because of what transpired between Stuart and her. It was a very pleasant one too because she got to meet two amazing people.