Tall, Dark, and Handsome...
By Jennifer Anne F. Messing
“Why don't you come out with us tonight, Cathie?” my friend, Alexis, at work asks. “We're going to Randy's Pub. Food and drinks are great...cute guys too!” The nods and smiles of my two other female co-workers tell me they heartily agree.
Cute guys at a bar? Yes! But the marrying type? No! “Not tonight,” I answer. “I appreciate the invite, though.”
Once again, I manage to evade further scrutiny from my girl-friends who frequently hang out at bars on Friday nights. I don't have anything against bars or people who go to them...but, at 25, I'm tired of lighthearted flirtations that don't go anywhere. I want to meet an interesting, educated, and good-looking man who's looking for a serious relationship.
At 5 p.m. I log off of my computer and then clock out of work. I pick up my purse and stroll out of the office into a balmy June evening. Seventy-two degrees and sunny—just perfect!
After a short drive, I arrive at my cozy apartment. Taking off my black, high-heeled shoes, I instantly plop down on the couch. I'm so glad it's Friday! Stretching out my legs feels wonderful.
Fifteen minutes later I awaken from a relaxing cat nap. I've decided I'll walk to the public library this evening, just two blocks away. Can you believe it, but I love going to the library? All those rows and rows of books, magazines and movies!
After quickly snacking on some leftover spaghetti and a small salad, I change into a fuchsia and white, floral-printed sundress. I put on my strappy, hot-pink sandals and shortly after I walk out of my apartment.
The elderly lady next door, Brenda, is watering her potted plants. She looks up at me. “Lovely dress, Cathie! Where are you going?”
“To the library.”
“You always look beautiful, no matter where you're going,” she says. “Are you meeting anyone special?”
“Ha ha, I think not,” I answer, grinning. “But you never know, maybe I might meet someone tall, dark and handsome...” Yeah, right, at the library? Who am I kidding?
“Ah, yes—” Brenda answers, with a knowing smile. “Have fun!”
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I immediately make my way to the movie section when I get there. Tonight I'm looking for a classic movie starring Grace Kelly. My mother loved Grace Kelly's movies—more than loved, I think, she adored her movies and swooned over the handsome leading men in them!
I spend a good fifteen minutes carefully examining all of the classic movies. I finally spot a DVD of “The Country Girl,” starring Grace Kelly, so I hold on to it while I continue searching for other good titles.
“Cathie Cameron, isn't it?” I hear a pleasant male voice that seems familiar. I turn and am surprised to see tall and handsome Jake Bennett! He's the purchasing manager in the luggage manufacturing firm where I work. I don't see him that often because his office is on a different floor.
“Jake!” I answer. “Nice to see you.”
“I hope you don't mind my saying this, but you look...beautiful,” he says, eyeing me with appreciation.
“Thank you,” I answer, blushing slightly.
“The Country Girl,” he says, looking at the DVD I'm holding. “Do you like classic movies?”
“Yes, very much,” I answer.
“I'm here tonight for our monthly meeting,” Jake says. “I lead a group that discusses classic movies.”
“Really?” I ask, astounded.
“Care to join us?” he asks. “We're an open group; about 15 people. Tonight we're watching a few scenes from and discussing Rebecca, starring Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine.”
“I'd love to come,” I answer.
I spend the next hour in one of the library's comfortable function rooms. The group is lively and animated, with members ranging in age from the early twenties into their fifties. I feel welcomed and at home.
When the meeting is over everyone gets up and chats for awhile. I gather my purse and start to walk to the door when I see Jake wave at me.
He catches up with me and says, “So glad to have you tonight, Cathie. Would you like to join me for coffee and dessert in a few minutes, after I stack the chairs and close the room?”
“Do you have a place in mind?” I ask.
“Broadway Brew,” he says. “Just three blocks away. A neat place—great coffee, sandwiches and pastries.”
I notice that his eyes are a very attractive, deep-blue color. “A bite of dessert sounds great,” I answer.
We soon make our way out of the library and down the street together. It's 9:15, still very pleasant. A warm, purple glow fills the sky as the sun sets. When we reach the corner of Clairmont street we take a left turn. I see Broadway Brew in the distance.
As we pass by a popular nightclub we suddenly see three familiar ladies on their way in, chatting and laughing out loud.
“Alexis!” I call out. I recognize my two other co-workers with her.
Alexis instantly sees me, then her eyes widen with surprise. “Well, no wonder why you didn't accept our invite tonight,” Alexis teases as they approach us. “You didn't tell us you have a date!”
“I didn't—” I answer, a bit flustered. “I mean...er...”
“Actually, neither did I,” Jake says, looking at me, “but it seems we both like movies with happy endings.”
“I see,” Alexis answers.
“Now if you'll excuse us, ladies,” Jake says. He nods at them and we continue on our way.
“Have a great time, Cathie,” Alexis says, flashing me a wink.
I look into Jake's eyes, smiling happily as I feel his arm gently encircle my waist.
I turn to my friend just then and wave, hoping she'll meet a tall, dark and handsome man tonight...just as wonderful as the one I'm with!
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About the Author
Jennifer Anne Fabregas Messing is an author, poet, and creative writing teacher who has a bachelor's degree in Journalism and Religious Education. A past president of the Oregon Christian Writers, she has over 200 articles, short stories, and poems published in 60 magazines, including: The Storyteller, The Gem, LIVE, Edify Fiction, and Mocha Memoirs. Originally from the Philippines, Jennifer Anne and her husband have three young adult children and reside in Oregon, USA.
You can read her movie review column on the 2nd Friday each month here at Pandora’s Box Gazette.