Part III

Doubt

Will it ever end?

It was only going to be dinner. I felt relieved to have stopped stressing over whether to give him another meeting. I had decided to take a chance.

I knew the facts about what I was potentially getting involved with. I had found a gun in his closet. He always seemed to be on the phone. He was wealthy beyond belief considering what he said he did for a living. He was charming. He was brutally handsome. He was very interested in me. I continued to wonder if my career as a successful author and my beauty were enough to genuinely inspire such an intense level of interest so quickly.

I told myself to put my doubts aside about him and give him a true, fair second chance. If I was giving him a shot at love, why go in harboring doubts about his suitability?

I had an unusual level of confidence as I got ready for our dinner date. After all, he had aggressively pursued me after only meeting twice. I let myself have hope that there was the potential here for a lasting love affair.

My track record with men had been poor since my husband had left 5 years ago. I couldn’t seem to meet quite the right guy. Maybe I was just too naive about men because I had gotten married so young. When I met one who seemed to be better than nothing or at least had his shit reasonably together, it either never got off the ground or sputtered out after a short time.

Now, I had some hope since casting my doubts aside about Joe. I desperately wanted to believe he would be the next big thing in my life.

I was not, however, going to willfully ignore red flags if any more came up with him in the course of seeing each other again. I told myself I was truly going to vet him properly.

He arrived promptly at 8:00 on Friday night in his obscenely expensive car to pick me up for our date for dinner. I opened the door wearing one of my best dresses and sexy high heels. I had realized during the course of a week of turmoil about Joe that I hadn’t had sex in over a year. But this was only going to be dinner. He looked ridiculously handsome in a pricey designer suit.

There was a quick, electric moment of intense eye contact before he put his arms around me and drew me in for a kiss. I needed to break the spell. “Hey, hi, ok, let’s go now!”

The stereo was the best I had ever heard. U2 was playing “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” Hmm.

We went to the restaurant where he said he worked as a bartender. It was a very fine dining restaurant with a spectacular, famous view of the Manhattan skyline at night.

Joe quickly ordered a bottle of wine when we were seated at a table with a spectacular view. The waiter brought shrimp cocktail to the table with the wine.

Joe made a toast “To us!”.

I smiled and clinked glasses. I reminded myself to not falsely lead him on. I nervously looked at the menu.

“What do you recommend?” I asked.

“If you like fish, the Chilean Sea Bass is excellent.”

I was waiting for him to ask about my nonresponsiveness to him after our second date at his house. When he didn’t, I decided to try to learn more about him.

“Well, Joe,” I said, “this is a great chance for us to get to know each other.” Now, he looked nervous.

“Tell me all about yourself.” I said.

“Like, what do you want to know?”he asked.

“Tell me why a cool guy like you never got married.”

He blushed. “It’s kind of a long story.”

“Go on.”

“There was this girl in college, Melissa, and I loved her. We dated starting in sophomore year. By senior year, I thought she wanted to get married after graduation. We were very tight.” He shifted in his seat.

“To this day, she was the most beautiful girl I have ever seen. I was crazy about her.”

“What happened?”

“She ran off with the starting pitcher after our baseball team won state championship.”

“So, that’s it?”

“Well, I never got over her. I dated plenty of women when I was young, but I always compared them to Melissa, and none of them ever measured up.”

“I think if you really wanted to get married, you would have found a way. I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be so nosy.”

“Oh, no, it’s ok. I don’t mind. Tell me more about what you’re looking for in a relationship. I remember you told me you are separated from your husband.”

“That’s right. I’m not looking for another husband. I just want someone to love me and be my partner in life. Someone I can trust who has his shit together.”

“Is a beautiful woman like you looking for sex, possibly?”

“Well, not specifically, but I would hope it would come as part of the package.”

“That’s very interesting, Miranda. Maybe we can come up with some sort of an arrangement.” His blue eyes lit up in the dim light of the restaurant.

We had finished our entrees and were looking at the dessert menu.

When our chocolate mousse arrived, Joe said, “Why don’t you come with me to my beach house next weekend?”

“I’ll think about it.”

I still had my doubts.

To be continued in Part IV

Thank you for reading:)