Tarik’s meeting with Milton was over. After they said goodbye, Milton returned to his office. Instead of saying goodbye and leaving, Tarik walked over to the desk.
Tisha’s heart began to pound but she feigned nonchalance. Was he about to make another appointment to see Milton or was he just coming to say goodbye?
When he reached the desk, he stood there, looking down at her for a few minutes and then, clearing his throat, he asked, “I was thinking that if you don’t already have plans, that you could join me for lunch.”
After she recovered from her shock, she replied, “I don’t already have plans and I would love to have lunch with you.”
Was that relief she saw on his face? He smiled and said, “Great. Is one o’clock good for you?”
“All right. I know a restaurant that’s about a fifteen minute drive from here.”
“I’ll be back in a couple of hours.”
“See you soon.”
“See you soon.”
He lingered for a moment and then, turned and walked away. As soon as he was gone, she picked up the receiver and called Milton.
“Tariq just asked me to have lunch with him.”
“He did? Good for him.”
“I’m taking my lunch break at one. Is that okay with you?”
“Of course, it’s okay with me. Janice can cover for you. She takes lunch at noon. Go and enjoy yourself.”
“Thanks, Milton.” Tisha hung up the phone and tried to concentrate on her work but she was so excited. Periodically, she glanced at the clock to see what time it was. She couldn’t wait for Tariq to return.
Hours later, he did. She looked up and there he was in the sitting area, leaning against the partition, a broad smile on his face. As usual, he had his cell in his hand. “Hello,” he called.
“Hello.” She stood up. “I’ll be right with you.”
“I’ll be here.”
She left the desk and went to the bathroom to quickly freshen up. She popped her head into Milton’s office. “I’m leaving now,” she said. “I should be back in an hour.”
Milton smiled. “Enjoy your lunch.”
“Thanks, I will.” She turned and walked away.
When she returned to the reception area, Tariq switched off his cell.
She grabbed her handbag and walked over to him. “Thanks for inviting me to lunch.”
“It’s my pleasure. I’ve wanted to ask you for some time but only worked up the nerve to do so today.”
“Yep. I had to find out first from Milton if you had a husband or a boyfriend and he told me that you were single.”
“When did you ask him?”
“Today, during our meeting.”
Milton, you sneaky…why didn’t you tell me that Tariq asked you about me when I stopped by your office a moment ago? Shaking her head, she said, “I asked him the same thing about you and was relieved to find out that you’re single too.”
“Great. We’re two single people going out for lunch. Do you like Lebanese food?”
“I’ve never tried it.”
“You’re in for a treat. Let’s go.”
He was right. She loved the food and the restaurant with its warm and welcoming ambience. Over Shish Tawook, Lamb Kefta, they got to know each other. By the time they were having two slices Sfouf (Tumeric cake) for dessert, he had asked her to have dinner with him on the Saturday evening. She couldn’t wait to tell Milton.