She was exhausted. She had to get up 3 hours earlier than usual to make the drive from Richmond to D.C. for the 9 o’clock meeting. It had been a long day with a working lunch. Fortunately, the meeting was at the hotel where she had a room, and she had been able to slip away for a few minutes in the afternoon to check in. She would enjoy a restful evening and a good night’s sleep. After the meeting the next day, she would head back home, maybe. Her company had offered to let her stay a second night and she was seriously considering it. She was thinking that she wouldn’t want to make the drive home after another lengthy, intense work session, and have to make that daily transition from professional woman to mom after a long drive. But, she could make that decision tomorrow.

She finally said her goodbyes to the other team members, and again reassured them that she would be fine going back to the room. She explained that she was tired, and wanted to grab a quick bite to eat. She said that she also needed to call her husband. She lied, but it added more plausibility to her excuse.

She was really tired of these people. They were nice enough, but it had been a long, intense day, and she was ready for some distance. She would get a drink, or two and something light to eat, and then enjoy a nice long bath and the solitude of her room, and some much needed down time.

The young man at the front desk suggested Maddy’s. It was only four blocks away, and they had great food with a laid back atmosphere. He said it wouldn’t be too loud, but there would be a crowd, and most likely a short wait for a table or booth.

The thought of waiting to eat alone didn’t intrigue her, but she figured she’d give it a try. She could always come back to the hotel and order room service. She thought about changing first, but knew if she went to her room, she wouldn’t leave. She really did want to get out, at least for some fresh air.

She walked güvenilir bahis the four blocks. It was a pleasant evening, so she somewhat enjoyed it, even though her feet were killing her. Sure enough, there would be about a 30 minute wait, but the hostess suggested the bar if she was eating alone. The round tops and the seats at the bar were first come, first serve.

She bit her lip, thinking about. As soon as she looked over toward the bar, a man who was seated near the end, stood, threw down some cash, and left. She quickly moved toward the empty seat. There was a couple engrossed in a conversation to the right, and a man sitting at the end to the left, who appeared to be reading a Kindle or maybe a Nook. Perfect. She wouldn’t have to talk to anyone.

She didn’t ask either the man or the couple if the seat was taken. She just sat down. Within a minute, one of the bartenders, a clean-shaven man who appeared to be in his late twenties, came over, smiled and asked, “What can I get ya?” as he scooped up the check and the money on the bar.

“Whatever Merlot you suggest, and a dinner menu please.”

“Sure. Chateau St. Jean.”

He leaned to his left, and grabbed a menu and placed it front of her.

“Appetizers are half price for another 20 minutes.”

“Thanks”

She looked at the appetizers, but everything seemed to be fried, or something she didn’t really like, so she continued to look over the menu.

The man, of the couple to the right, had his back to her. She could hear bits and pieces of the conversation. She decided they weren’t a couple because they seemed to be discussing something related to work, or possibly gossiping about co-workers. She sensed she had rolled her eyes. They also seemed to have been there awhile, at least the man who was holding a drink that was half empty.

The man to the left was engrossed in whatever he was reading. Occasionally, he would take a sip of his beer, türkçe bahis which was mostly full, but he would never take his eyes off the screen of his e-reader. Yet, he did seem different. It appeared that everyone in the bar was dressed in a suit. Some of the men wore khakis and button down shirts, but almost all of them had ties. The women were dressed just as professionally, wearing either business suits or nice blouses and skirts. She was wearing a professional, but very tight fitting black dress that accented her figure. When she had put it on that morning, she really didn’t know why she selected that particular dress, but she didn’t think about it too much either.

The out of place man was dressed in an untucked, faded bluish t-shirt, short pants, and sandals.

Tom Cruise, she thought to herself. That’s who the bartender looks like. Tom Cruise in … what was the name of the movie … Cocktail! I wonder if … no, she thought to herself. He’s probably never seen it. He’s too young. She laughed audibly, but to herself. Out of the corner eye, she thought she saw the man to her left quickly glance over, but then back to his book. She didn’t return the furtive look.

Tom Cruise returned with her Merlot and asked if she was ready to order.

“I’ll have a Greek salad with the Vinaigrette. That’s it. Thanks.”

“Be right up. Bread?

“No thank you.”

She began to sip her glass of wine. She quickly decided that Tom Cruise made a pretty good suggestion. She had a quick thought she might be here awhile. All she needed to do was make it back four blocks, but then she remembered the bath that was awaiting her. She would eat the salad, and maybe have another glass of wine, and then head back to her room.

She continued to sip her drink, enjoying the taste, and the relaxing effect it was having on her. Still, she rubbed her neck which was still tense, both from the drive and the day-long meeting, that hadn’t güvenilir bahis siteleri gone that well. They had made progress, but still had a lot to accomplish the next day. She had almost finished her glass of wine when Tom Cruise returned with her salad.

“Another one?”

“Yes, please”

The salad was way too big. She could only see herself eating half of it. She would do what she could do, finish her second glass of wine, and head back to the room. She slowly worked on the salad, and the wine that Tom Cruise had brought her. She had just taken a bite of the salad when he cruised by and asked, “Anything else?” Her mouth was full of salad so she nodded no. “Okay, I’ll get your check.”

With her mouth still half full of salad she almost shouted, “Shit … shit.”

The man to the right never heard her, but the man to the left, still engrossed in the book looked up and said,

“I’ve had the salads here. They’re not that bad.”

She finished chewing, swallowed and said, “No. It’s just. Damn. I left my purse in a meeting room at the Marriott just down the street.”

“Hmm … quite the predicament,” he said with a wry smile.

She smirked. She didn’t see the humor. She thought she might be able convince Tom Cruise to let her walk down, find someone to open the door, get her purse, which was hopefully still there, and then walk back down to the restaurant, and then back down to the hotel, all in these shoes that were killing her feet.

“This just kind of put a damper on my evening. I was really looking forward to relaxing and a nice, long hot bath. Not the best end to not the best day.”

“Tell you what. I’ll take care of your dinner.”

“No, you can’t do that.”

“Sure I can. No hidden agenda. Promise. You’ll get back to your room and into your bath a lot sooner. Just pay it forward when you get the chance.”

She quickly thought about the trek up and back and back up again, and trying to find someone, and …

“Well, okay. Are you sure?

“Absolutely.”

“Well, thank you so much. My name is Stefanie.”

She extended her hand, which he took and smiled, “I’m Asa.”

To be continued …

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