If you haven’t read it yet, you might like to take a gander at It’s a Stretch first because Betty’s story only gets better.
It was just one thing after another with the icing on the cake being Bob winning the bid. Bob’s an idiot. He’s got less talent in his little pinkie than I have in my whole body! Oh wait, I might have that phrase wonky.
You get the point. I’m trying really hard not to roll my eyes at myself right now. So, where was I?
Oh yeah. Lazy, Betty’s-coattails-riding Bob won the bid with the new client. It’s only the biggest coup of the century.
I might have slunk off to my dark corner of the cubicles and buried my head deep in the trash can, but no one could see, so I’ll just deny it. Ahem.
A few of my co-workers tried to cheer me up, but I was far too deep in my Monday-on-a-Thursday blues to pay much attention. I will admit, I almost swore off coffee after the morning I had, but then I smelled the fresh-brewed aroma of Nancy’s special Columbian blend she brings in and promptly gave up the idea. After accepting a paper cup full of the syrupy, smooth bean blend and a few moments of commiseration with my fellow worker bees who also dislike Bob’s cavalier, I-told-you-so attitude, I hid myself away until the clock on the wall read five. Closing time.
I wanted to drive straight home, but the idea of getting in my car was, frankly, a little frightening. I had no idea what awful thing might prevail against me if I got behind the wheel. I hesitated with my hand on the latch, my key fob poised, ready to pop the lock, but I couldn’t do it.
My hand dropped to my side, surrender to the fear an inevitable outcome. I scanned the distance as I pondered the best course of action.
Okay, Betty, I said to myself, your tummy’s rumblin’. First order of business: put some food in the ol’ gut.
With a brisk nod I shoved my spare key back down in my purse pocket.
I yanked my hand out and hastily shoved my thumb in my mouth, sucking the drops of fresh blood off the side. Too late I remembered my regular keys, mangled by the police officer’s kind retrieval of them for me, were already in the pocket and sliced the living day lights out of the side of my thumb.
“Great, just great. Anything else for me?”
I stared up at the cloudy sky, daring it to rain, before I looked back at my thumb to examine the damage.
“That’s gonna leave a scar.”
“Do you always talk to yourself, Betts?”
At this point I think I shouldn’t have been surprised at anything, but I was. Darn it all! I couldn’t move my mouth to speak except to look like a fish out of water.
“Da–Dave. Hi,” I said as I looked from my thumb suspended inches from reentering my mouth and his amused expression.
Quick as a wink I stuck my hand behind my back, gripping the bloody thumb tight in my other fingers and did my best to give him a Julia Roberts smile. I should know better, though, since every time I attempt that look I end up appearing more like a crazed lunatic escaped from an asylum.
“Wha–do you work around here?”
His smile opened up wider with a touch of laughter and I could have melted into my shoes, but somehow I held it together.
“My offices are in the same building as yours, Betty. I see you all the time, but you don’t seem to notice me.”
Can I just slap myself now? Seriously. I don’t know how I could have missed the fact that the hottest single male in my apartment building works in the same building I work in. How does that happen?
“You’re pulling my leg.”
“No, but I can if you want me to.”
Did he just try to make a joke? That was so lame it was cute, I thought in distracted amusement.
“Listen, Betts. You don’t mind if I call you Betts?”
I shook my head and forgot too late that my mouth was hanging open.
“Good. Listen, Betts, I’m headed over to Smith’s for dinner and I’d love some company.”
Blink, Betty! If you can’t speak, at least nod for cryin’ out loud. I nodded.
“Uh, yeah. Sure,” I said and hoped I sounded cool.
“Great. It’s just around the corner so we can walk.”
“That’s a relief after the day I’ve had, I’d rather not get in a car at the moment.”
Did I say that out loud? I glanced over at Dave to see if he’d heard. It was apparent that he had, but even if the look on his face hadn’t given it away, the next words out of his mouth would have.
“Yeah, about that. I saw you outside the apartment building getting out of that cop car this morning. Everything all right with you?”
“It’s a long story,” I said in a mumble while I griped at myself for not thinking that whole part of the morning through.
He opened the door to the restaurant for me then said, “We’ve got some time, and I’m all ears. I mean, I’m a good listener.”
Was that a blush on his face? I thought to myself. There was nothing else for it, so throughout dinner I told him the whole sordid tale from beginning to end. I’m amazed he didn’t run screaming from the booth.
“Talk about a terrible, awful, no good, very bad day.”
I gave him a funny look.
“My nephews love that book,” he said with a shrug of the shoulders.
Awww, he’s got nephews and reads to them! Can I just be totally in love now?
And to cut a long story short, Dave offered to drive me home and give me a lift to work tomorrow morning. He even walked me to my apartment door and checked to make sure the lights worked before saying goodnight. It’s not every day I meet a man who buys me dinner, tells stupid jokes to make me smile, spends time reading with his nephews, and doesn’t let the bad stuff of the day get in the way.
Now I need to get a Band-aid for this cut. Today could have been a complete fail, one big ugly scar on my memory, but it turned out better than I could have hoped.