Tuesday, February 22, 2011

By Chance ~ The Conclusion

It was like having a drink with a stranger…we talked and he laughed at my corny jokes and he told a few clich├ęd jokes too. He ended up being pretty funny. He was taller than I was and he had dark brown hair and dark brown eyes. He had an interesting face. He had olive skin. He looked like he could have been native Indian which later I found out he was part Chippewa. 


There was something about him that I liked.  He had a way about him that made you feel as if you knew him. We talked about work and he asked me where I had been all his life. I laughed and he didn’t. He looked at me as if he could eat me up. 


The lights flickered and it was last call. The bar was closing. He never asked for my name or my number.  He walked out with me and my friends and asked where I was parked. I pointed to the racy fire-bird and he smiled and said it suited me. He asked for my keys and opened the door of the car and leaned it and told me he would see me again.  I wondered if that was going to happen since he had never asked my name.  


The weekend flashed by in an instance and when I walked in to work there were a dozen roses on my desk with no card. I smiled and wondered how he knew. Then, I remembered he asked me where I worked. I worked at a company that sold phone systems. 


I had an appointment that morning with a new company and I was pressed for time and could not take any more time with thinking about the stranger I had a drink with.


I walked in to the company and was directed to the Vice President of Sales and as I walked in I thought this was some office with the sky line of Chicago. 

It was a beautiful Mahogany desk and the man was turned around in his chair talking to someone with his back to me. I had no idea if he knew I was there and didn’t want to eavesdrop on his conversation so I began to back up going for the door when I heard, “of course, she’s here yeah I’ll get all the info and get back to you.”

The man swirled in his chair and he stood up and crossed the room and held his hand and said, “Hi, I’m Jim VP of sales and you must be my 11:30. My eyes must have showed my surprise and I must have turned all shades of red before I laughed out loud. 

This was my call, my stranger who I had dreamt about all weekend long. I was thunderstruck. For the first time in my life I did not know what to say. Here was this stranger in his Brooks Brother suit looking so at home and very sexy in this huge office with this gorgeous view of the city. 

My mind was reeling. Who was this guy and most importantly how the heck did he know who I was?  My first thought was when we met at Eric’s Friday night did he know me? This was just strange.  He looked at me as I was querying my mind with all of the how’s and what’s?  

“Let’s have lunch and he put his hand on my back and led me to the door. We walked down the hall to the elevator and rode down to the lower level where there was a restaurant. We did not speak until we were seated. I didn’t know how this presentation was going to go. I was nervous and was told I was going to be talking to the VP of sales and was not expecting this. 

The waiter came by and asked if he could get us a drink. I am not much of a drinker but I could have used a shot or two of something just for some courage here.

This was bizarre. He took the liberty of ordering for me and said he hoped I didn’t mind.  He asked how my day was and if I had the cost of the phones and what I had it mind for his company. 

This was business as usual to him. Was he kidding? I wanted to know who he was and how he knew who I was. He said he remembered my license number from my car and he knew somebody who gave him my name and address. He also knew he had an appointment with somebody by the same name and he didn’t believe in coincidences.  

He also asked if I liked my job and at that point I didn’t think I was getting the sale or not and told him that I was quitting my job and moving to California in 2 to 3 weeks. He asked why and I said I wanted to live somewhere warm and with mountains and my family was moving out there too. I told him my brother was an actor and I wanted to go with them.

He asked if I believed in love at first sight and I laughed and saw the twinkle in his eyes with mischief. The corner of his mouth went up to a grin and I felt that I had stayed too long at the party. 

The waiter came with our salads and I had no idea how I was going to swallow this food
.
He told me a little about himself of where he grew up and that he was the youngest of four just like I am.  He said, this company that he was working for was having a bit of financial problems and he didn’t know how much longer he was going to be employed. 

I looked at him and asked why I was here if they were not going to buy the phone system from me. He said, “I had to see you again and I didn’t want to meet you in that bar”

I was flattered at his attention but thought this was too unbelievable. Our lunch came and we talked and laughed about various things. 

He asked me where I parked and I told him across the street in the parking garage he walked me over and said, “I am sorry for the ruse, but I was desperate to see you again” He lifted my chin and kissed my lips gently. “I need to see you again. I haven’t stopped thinking about you since I met you.”

Then he took my face in his two hands and kissed me like he was never going to let me go. “Don’t make any decisions about California yet.” I looked at him with uncertainty.

“I want to go with you when you leave” he smiled and walked away. 
“Hey, what do you mean you want to go with me?” I asked. “I hardly know you.”
“I can’t let you go without me. He winked “You and I are going to have a life together.”
I gave him a look as if he were out of his mind.

“You know you’re beautiful.” He said as he walked away. Did he really think by giving me a compliment that I was charmed?

Well, we did go to California together and we began to see each other every day and got to know each other. It was a whirlwind romance and I was falling in love. 

We talked to a priest about getting married.
The priest was more sensible then we were when he said, “I won’t marry you until you have been together for at least 6 months.”  

We ended up not getting married. In fact, we broke up. He left California but he kept in touch by letters.

Three months later he called me and asked if he came out to California would I come back to Illinois with him? I told him I was in Las Vegas for the weekend. As I was on the phone with him there was a knock at the door and when I opened the door it was him standing there with a huge smile on his face and a bouquet of wild flowers.  

He grabbed me and hugged me and whispered in my ear, “I got spooked, everything was happening too fast. I want you in my life forever. I love you more than I can tell you.”  I looked up in to those dark eyes and knew from that moment that he was going to be part of my life. I hugged him as tears streamed down my face as he was kissing me. “I love you too.” I told him.  

We did not get married until a couple years later. It was not a traditional wedding as planned but that’s another story.

We are still doing the happily ever after. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

By Chance....

To honor this week with love still in the air I am going to tell you a story about a man and a woman.

The woman in question is me. The time is 1984. There is an actor in the white house and he is our 40th President, Ronald Reagan. A gallon of gas costs 1.83 a gallon. The hottest singers are Madonna which my husband still likes. Michael Jackson’s thriller album is out and very hot. The movies were Indiana Jones, Sixteen candles and Footloose. The Olympics are held in Los Angeles in several months and I am attending because I am planning on moving out there. I had a job making more money than the average income of that year which was $21,000. I thought I was rich. 

It was a Friday night and June 1st.  I went after work with a bunch of women and a couple of guys from my work to this bar that was known to be a great pick up place and kind of a meat market. If you couldn’t get picked up here there was something definitely wrong with you. Not that I was looking to get picked up. I didn’t have a boyfriend and was pleased. I had been dating some real losers and wanted to cleanse my soul and pallet.
I was taking a hiatus of men.

The bar that we usually haunted was called Eric’s and it was like a Cheers where there were all the familiars who came in to either to drink, flirt dance or go home with a loser. It was one of those places where it was wall to wall people. The lightening was low and very bad meaning after a few drinks everybody looked good. The acoustics in the place needed work it was so loud in there you couldn’t hear yourself think. In this instance there were no big thinkers that hung out here.

The music was always blaring, and not conducive to talking. The music playing was the likes of Prince mooning over “when the doves cry” It was one of those nights where I was just going to go home and just hang out by myself and get lost in some movie or even take a long soak in a tub. However, after a lot of brow beating from my friends and coercing I ended up going with them. I should have opted for the long soak.


The song playing was “hot Sunglasses at night” by Corey hart.
People were dancing and snuggling up to the ones they might go home with.  I was just staring at the dancers when I looked up and saw this guy who had dark hair and dark eyes looking at me from across the bar. I kept staring and so did he. We were having a contest to see who could break eye contact first. I won. The guy walked away from his friends and disappeared. This guy was not a regular. 


One of his friends I had seen in this bar before. You know the type the Man who thinks he is doing you a favor by talking to you. He was a creep. Anyone who knew him or was friends with him stay away….

It was my turn to go up for drinks as the waitress was harried. At this rate you would die of thirst if you waited for the waitress. As I went up to the bar and retrieved the drinks. I turned around and the guy who was staring at me from across the bar held out his hands to help me. I was hesitant if I should encourage his help but the smart me did not want to make extra trips delivering the drinks so I opted for his help. He returned to the table with me and set the drinks down. I turned around to say Thanks and he disappeared. 


Who was this man? The Invisible Man? I looked around wondering why he disappeared like that. He was kind of cute. After I became seated I looked up and they guy with the dark eyes was staring again. I smiled and sipped my drink.

The next thing I knew he began to walk over and I knew that by me smiling I had just given the green light for him to come talk to me. “You intimidate me.” He said in a low voice and smiled.

I thought I was hearing things. I had never intimated anyone before in my life what was he talking about. I must have made an expression on my face that he could read. He said, that I looked sophisticated with my hair pulled up like that. When you think of sophisticate I think of Grace Kelly not me. Little did he know, I had never worn my hair like this before or since?

I had the look of a school teacher maybe that was the attraction. I looked like a school marm. I thought I was going for that business look with the suit and business white shirt and the low pumps. I dressed if I just walked out of the preppy handbook. I gave him a look not sure if he was complimenting me or trying to be cute with me. 


I looked up and smiled at him. He was dressed very casual in a pair of tight jeans that showed off his nice build and firm butt. He had a friendly face. If I was into aurar’s his color would have been blue.



I asked if he was attracted to teachers. He laughed and when he laughed his eyes crinkled around his eyes giving him a sexy look. He never took his eyes off me and I was impressed that his eyes never left my face. He stared at me intently. He never asked for my name and I didn’t ask for his. It was like having a drink with a stranger…to be continued…  




Monday, February 14, 2011

Love Is In The Air...“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.”

This is a blog that I wrote a year ago and it bears repeating so out of the archives... 


    Every February across the country, we celebrate Valentines Day.  We celebrate by exchanging cards, flowers, candy, and of course, the whisper of love through out this special day. This day is for people flirting with the idea of being in love or people actually in love. It also means we see pretty pink and red hearts all around us.  Of course, we cannot think of Valentines Day without that darling chubby cupid, posing with his bow shooting his arrow of love.  I have to admit, that in this instance being chubby is cute.  Valentines Day is when the restaurants gear up for couples in love everywhere and they advertise those cute meals for two.

    Look at the businesses who have a hand in helping us discover love on this day, florists, card shops, lingerie boutiques, and candy shops.  This is truly the day for romantics everywhere. I asked a few of my friends what Valentines Day meant to them and they all said the same thing, “love and romance.” That about sums it up for all of us. Ever since we were in grammar school, we used to exchange valentine cards with our classmates. That was a fun day and then we would have a party celebrating “love”

    Just for the fun of it, I thought I would ask my husband what he thought of Valentines Day, thinking he would vow his ever-ending love for me, but no, he began a litany about the St. Valentines Massacre, so you know where his mind is. That day will go down in history and has nothing to do with Love, but aren’t you curious why Capone chose that day of all days?  Was it because his nemesis owned a florist shop?  
     Have you ever thought about how St. Valentines became such a special day and why? I guess I wonder why we all do this in the name of St. Valentines.   St. Valentines Day, which has surprised me, has been around since the middle ages. Of course, the first written Valentine did not appear until around 1400. Valentine’s Day has also been both a Christian and Ancient Roman tradition. However, I had to wonder who is St. Valentine, and how did it become part of this rite of honor.

     I do remember reading years ago that the Catholics do have several saints named Valentine and, or Valentinus, and they are martyred, naturally. Valentine was one of the most popular saints in England and France. There are so many stories about how Valentine’s began, but this is one legend that I thought was the most romantic that I would like to believe is true. 

    Legend has it, a person named St. Valentine, a roman who actually sent the first Valentine greeting himself. I guess the story goes that he was in prison for refusing to give up his Christianity and he fell in love with a girl who happened to be the daughter of the person who put Valentine in prison. Talk about hard luck! Well, you can imagine the rest; she visited Valentine in prison, they both fell madly in love, and before he was sentenced to death, he wrote his true love a letter and it was signed “from your Valentine.” Funny, isn’t it that we still use that term today?

   His death took place on February 14, 269A.D. the same day that the Romans celebrated the feast of Lupercalis, which is the day when boys drew names of girls to honor Juno, and couples were formed for the year.

   I am not sure if this story is to be believed, but it says something for Love and what a romantic character he was. 
      
     Did you know that women buy about 85% of all Valentines?
    The oldest known Valentine card is displayed at the British Museum.

     A woman who is known as the “Mother of the Valentine,” made these elaborate cards, created with real lace, ribbons, and colorful pictures, known as “scrap.”  Her name was Esther A. Howland. She created the first commercial Valentine’s Day greeting card, which was produced in the U.S in the 1840’s.

   This is another fun fact that I came across. It is believed that 1 billion
Valentine cards are sent each year, making Valentine's Day the second largest card-sending holiday, next to Christmas. Now that you know a little bit more history about Valentines Day, I thought I would leave you with a few favorite quotes of mine that share the same sentiment of St. Valentines Day, when Love is in the air....

“Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.”- Aristotle

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”- Lao Tzu

“My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
my love as deep; the more I give to thee,
the more I have, for both are infinite.”- William Shakespeare

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.”-Helen Keller

“Love does not dominate; it cultivates.”- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place.”- Zora Neale Hurston

“Two souls with but a single thought, two hearts that beat as one.”- John Keats

Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you!  Make it a special Day with the one you love!




Thursday, February 3, 2011

Short Story ~ She Spills A Drink

I met my friend Susie for breakfast last week and we challenged each other into a writing challenge. The challenge was to write a short story using one line and the line is...She Spills a drink on him. Here is mine and if you want to read Susie's go to   http://motherhoot.com/blog1/?p=2348


As Natalie looked around Fitzpatrick’s bar, she was thinking she had met her waterloo as she turned and looked at the man who she had been dating for the past 5 days. Auggie Russo.  She wondered what in the hell was wrong with her that she was still with him and didn’t unload him.
     “This isn’t working for me?” he said. “This relationship.”
Natalie blinked and saw his lips moving and wanted to take her chocolate martini and pour it over his head. She thought better after she had bought her own drink waiting for him to meet her. Besides, she was not going to waste this good martini on this idiot.
  “What do you mean it isn’t working? Is this because you gave me this necklace and you expect me to put out for you?” She couldn’t believe this pampas ass. Imagine this loser telling her this isn’t working.
   “You are not helping this relationship and your hair….” He tried to look wounded. Natalie wanted to laugh. He just insulted her hair. The jerk!
   “What do you mean I am not helping this relationship and what is wrong with my hair?” She huffed
   “What is with the streaks in your hair; I mean you’re a nice person, intelligent and a good time…”
   “Yeah, I am so nice and intelligent and a good time but it isn’t’ working for you?” she wanted to just slap that squirmy smile right off his face. Why didn’t she tell him that it wasn’t working for her either, before he said it to her? She just said to herself what a loser he was, she couldn’t say it for sure now, and he would just think it was sour grapes. She could be cool she thought as she carried her drink and just walked away from him, leaving him in her dust. She moved to the bar and looked around at all the other women who were laughing and flirting and thinking what is wrong with me? I am just as cutesy as any of them. Okay, she thought I might not have that 20-year-old body I once had, but I am more than a sexy body. Hey, look, this idiot wanted me in his bed. Well, she needed to stop right there. That was not a compliment at all.  She did wonder why he was doing this tonight and here, now in this bar.  As she pondered this thought, she looked up and saw this dark haired guy staring at her from across the bar. In that instant, she wanted to look behind her. He smiled raised his drink and nodded at her. Natalie looked at him, and gave him a sheepish grin….
     “What do you think you are doing walking away from me?” Auggie said as he reached for her neck grabbing the necklace.
      “What the hell are you doing?” as the drink splashed spilling on her white V-neck sweater. The drink trickled down Auggie's silk trousers and he let out a growl. Natalie looked at him and with such displeasure as the drink mostly splattered on her.  Chocolate spots all over the front of her. “Ahh” she cried. It seemed like the whole bar stopped and witnessed the spill of the century all over Natalie.
     “Look what you have done you bitch?” he huffed as he pulled a bar towel from the bar and holding the necklace in his other hand. He tried to dab at the front of his crotch.
     “Are you crazy?” she screamed. She grabbed the towel out of his hand and gave him this glare and he must have seen that glare before because he moved out of her way fast. When she looked up, she was looking up in to the darkest eyes she had ever seen. He had a smile but she sensed he was cocky. When you looked like he did, he earned that title. His cockiness only made him more attractive. This guy was so out of her reach. She was pretending to pat down her sweater, as she knew she was turning red with this man’s eyes looming down on her. Natalie felt her chin lift up and it was her fantasy man. She could lose herself in his eyes. What was wrong with her? Her tummy was doing flip-flops and she was getting goose bumps just standing next to him.
     “Are you alright?” he asked in a smooth olive oil voice.
Natalie was speechless. How do you talk to Adonis?
     “Where is that guy who was standing here, the one who made me spill my drink all over me.?”

     “He left in a hurry.” even his voice was sexy. Natalie looked and saw the Auggie leaving in a hurry out the front door.
The coward, she thought but then thought that maybe it was better this way.

She dried her self off as much she could but there were still chocolate stains everywhere. She grabbed her purse and left the bar towel at the coat check counter and walked towards the door.

      “Hey hold that door!”
She almost didn’t look up; the man sprinting toward her was the same guy who lifted her chin and smiled at her before her night turned horrible. His lean, broad shouldered frame covered the door.  As he was racing toward her, he was dressed a little better than the average customer in this bar. He was wearing a blue sport coat nice dress slacks and very nice looking black shoes.
      “Thanks,” he gasped. 

        “It is the least I could do and Thank you for being concern in

there.” she lowered her eyes.

Blowing out an explosive breath, he turned to Natalie “It wasn’t anything really.”  He suddenly grinned. “Nice hair.”
Not only was he a ten on the Richter scale he had exquisite taste in hair. “Thanks” she said. She would have said more but she felt tongue tied again and like some idiot, she wanted to say something clever or witty and her mind drew a blank. She watched him walk down the street and turn left.  Unfortunately, she was going the same way, but she debated standing on the busy street until he left she didn’t want to look like she was stalking him, but deciding that was a bit childish, she began walking.  Why was she acting like this? She was independent, a take-charge kind of woman, she followed him, although she hung back, hoping he wouldn’t notice. She had read all the books on becoming more assertive. However, she did not put that talent to the test daily.  Also, the feeling of fear that comes from being alone at night in the city with all scary stuff in the news she felt that creepy feeling come over her.  Even though this man looked like a God, he could still be some sex deviant.
       “Are you following me?”
        Jolted from her strange and wayward thoughts she glanced up to see him standing at the lot looking amused and drop-dead gorgeous. Could serial killers be this charming? Hey, look at Ted Bundy? Her mind was racing and she was as nervous as a cat.  
       “Are you parked in the back lot too?”
       “Yeah, I am. Really, I am not following you” 
When she went to confession this week, she would have to admit to that little white lie.
       “I was kidding. I was hoping you would follow me.”
       “Did you?” She blushed and laughed.
       “Hey, you know that guy that you were with at the bar?” he said
   “You mean that loser Indian giver I was with? She sneered “He scratched my neck and ruined my sweater.”
  “What do you mean he scratched your neck?” his voice raised
  “He grabbed the diamond necklace that he just gave me right off my neck…” she rubbed her neck where the red marks still showed.”
I don’t know why I even kept him around I knew what he wanted once he gave me the necklace” she knew she should stop talking before she began to babble on.
    “Diamond necklace, huh that some gift. He must have a few bucks.”
    “He’s an accountant and I met him awhile back.”
    “Hey you must think I am pretty nosey but you caught my eye at the bar.”  

Again, she smiled. “I should introduce myself. Natalie Venti”
 He was taller up close or maybe she was just more aware of his size when he looked at her like that.  Like maybe, she might be his favorite dessert.
      “Johnny Torino.”  He smiled and shook her hand.
The last time she felt a tingle like that was in the 8th grade when the Colletti twins fought over her to see which one was going to take her to the St. Frances of Rome school dance .  
  “Would you like to go for coffee at the Oasis?” he gave her that cocky smile again and how could she refuse him.”
   “Sure.” she said smiling knowing the Oasis being a local hangout was a place she would feel safe.
   “Here lets take my car as he pointed at the black Ferrari next to her vintage red mustang.
 “Nice car,” she said instead.   She knew men liked to talk about their cars.  That was a safe topic, kind of like talking about the weather.
     “Thanks, I like the sound system. But you have a real classic in that mustang.”
    “It might be a classic but it doesn’t always start.” she laughed.
He was standing very close to her as he opened her car door, his cologne filled her nostrils; she could see the color of his eyes.  They were dark like the night.
        “The seats are low,” he held out his hand.
   She took it and sucked in a breath.  She was trembling from his soft hands.  
       “Careful” he said “It’s a long way down.”     
  He pushed the CD button and shot her a quick smile.  “Where do you live?”
  “I live in Elmwood Park.”
   “Where do you live?”
    “I have a loft on the near North side.
She could have taken issue with his speed, but she was feeling such a wild impatience.  She had never gone that fast down Harlem Avenue in her whole life. He revved his engine as he took a quick turn in the Oasis parking lot. As they walked in the door of the Oasis. Frankie the owner shouted out. “Como sta, Johnny.”
      “Ciao Frankie”
     “You know the owner?” Natalie looked at him surprised.
      “I know a lot or people.” he put his hand in the small of her back and led her to a booth in the corner where he sat with his back to the wall.
     “Do you work in the restaurant business?”
    “I work in a lot of different businesses.” he said cagey “You want some eggs or something.” he waved to Frankie’s wife Florence who was coming around to pour coffee.
Amused by the sudden music, “That’s Amore” coming from Johnny's cell. Natalie smiled. Johnny grabbed his phone and looked down at the number with a surprised look on his face.
    “Would you excuse me a minute.” as he was sliding out of the booth answering his cell, “Hold on a minute, Marco?”
Natalie smiled. “Sure.”
     “Coffee?” Florence asked.
      “Yes, please.” as Natalie turned over her mug.
      “How do you come to know my Johnny?” asked Florence smilingly.
     “I just met him this evening.” Natalie said.
     “That Johnny is a good boy but you gotta watch out for him.” She waved her left hand in the air and laughed, “All the girls love him.”

To be continued….
            
              



She Spills a drink on him…
As Natalie looked around Fitzpatrick bar, she was thinking she had met her waterloo as she turned and looked at the man who she had been dating. for the past 5 days. Auggie Russo.  She wondered what in the hell was wrong with her that she was still with him and didn’t unload him.
“This isn’t working for me?” he said. “This relationship.”
Natalie blinked and saw his lips moving and wanted to take her chocolate martini and pour it over his head. She thought better after she had bought her own drink waiting for him to meet her. Besides, she was not going to waste this good martini on this idiot.
“What do you mean it isn’t working? Is this because you gave me this necklace and you expect me to put out for you?” She couldn’t believe this pampas ass. Imagine this loser telling her this isn’t working.
“You are not helping this relationship and your hair….” He tried to look wounded. Natalie wanted to laugh. He just insulted her hair. The jerk!
“What do you mean I am not helping this relationship and what is wrong with my hair?” She huffed
“What is with the streaks in your hair; I mean you’re a nice person, intelligent and a good time…”
 “Yeah, I am so nice and intelligent and a good time but it isn’t’ working for you?” she wanted to just slap that squirmy smile right off his face. Why didn’t she tell him that it wasn’t working for her either, before he said it to her? She just said to herself what a loser he was, now, she couldn’t say it for sure he would just think it was sour grapes. She could be cool she thought as she carried her drink and just walked away from him, leaving him in her dust. She moved to the bar and looked around at all the other women who were laughing and flirting and thinking what is wrong with me? I am just as curtsy as any of them. Okay, I might not have that 20-year-old body I once had but I am more than a sexy body. Hey, look, this idiot wanted me in his bed .and now he wants to break up with her and why is he doing it tonight and here, now in this bar? She looked up and saw this dark haired guy staring at her from across the bar. In that instant, she wanted to look behind her. He smiled raised his drink and nodded at her. Natalie looked at him, and gave him a sheepish grin…. “What do you think you are doing walking away from me?” Auggie said as he reached for her neck grabbing the necklace.
“What the hell are you doing?” as the drink splashed spilling on her white V-neck sweater. The drink trickled down Auggie's silk trousers and he let out a growl. Natalie looked at him and with such displeasure as the drink mostly splattered on her.  Chocolate spots all over the front of her. “Ahh” she cried. It seemed like the whole bar stopped and witnessed the spill of the century all over Natalie. “Look what you have done you bitch?” he huffed as he pulled a bar towel from the bar and holding the necklace in his other hand. He tried to dab at the front of his crotch.
“Are you crazy?” she screamed. She took the towel out of his hand and gave him this glare and he must have seen that glare before because he moved out of her way fast. When she looked up, she was looking up in to the darkest eyes she had ever seen. He had a smile but she sensed he was cocky. When you looked like he did, he earned that title. His cockiness only made him more attractive. This guy was so out of her reach. She was pretending to pat down her sweater, as she knew she was turning red with this man’s eyes looming down on her. Natalie felt her chin lift up and it was her fantasy man. She could lose herself in his eyes. What was wrong with her? Her tummy was doing flip-flops and she was getting goose bumps just standing next to him. “Are you alright?” he asked in a smooth olive oil voice.
Natalie was speechless. How do you talk to Adonis? Where is that guy who was standing here, the one who made me spill my drink all over me.?”

“He left in a hurry.” even his voice was sexy. Natalie looked and saw the Auggie leaving in a hurry out the front door.
The coward, she thought but then thought that maybe it was better this way.

She dried her self off as much she could but there were still chocolate stains everywhere. She grabbed her purse and left the bar towel at the coat check counter and walked towards the door.

           “Hey hold that door!”
She almost didn’t look up; the man sprinting toward her was the same guy who lifted her chin and smiled at her before her night turned horrible. His lean, broad shouldered frame covered the door.  As he was racing toward her, he was dressed a little better than the average customer in this bar. He was wearing a blue sport coat nice dress slacks and very nice looking black shoes.
      “Thanks,” he gasped. 
“It is the least I could do and Thank you for being concern in there.” she lowered her eyes.
Blowing out an explosive breath, he turned to Natalie “It wasn’t anything really.”  He suddenly grinned. “Nice hair.”
Not only was he a ten on the Richter scale he had exquisite taste in hair. “Thanks” she said. She would have said more but she felt tongue tied again and like some idiot, she wanted to say something clever or witty and her mind drew a blank. She watched him walk down the street and turn left.  Unfortunately, she was going the same way, but she debated standing on the busy street until he left she didn’t want to look like she was stalking him, but deciding that was a bit childish, she began walking.  Why was she acting like this? She was independent, and take-charge kind of woman, she followed him, although she hung back, hoping he wouldn’t notice. She had read all the books on becoming more assertive. However, she did not put that talent to the test daily.  Also, the feeling of fear that comes from being alone at night in the city with all scary stuff in the news she felt that creepy feeling come over her.  Even though this man looked like a God, he could still be some sex deviant.
       “Are you following me?”
        Jolted from her strange and wayward thoughts she glanced up to see him standing at the lot looking amused and drop-dead gorgeous. Could serial killers be this charming? Hey, look at Ted Bundy? Her mind was racing and she was as nervous as a cat.  
       “Are you parked in the back lot too?”
       “Yeah, I am. Really, I am not following you” When she went to confession this week, she would have to admit to that little white lie.
       “I was kidding. I was hoping you would follow me.”
      “Did you?” She blushed and laughed.
“Hey, you know that guy that you were with at the bar?” he said
“You mean that loser Indian giver I was with? She sneered “He scratched my neck and ruined my sweater.”
“What do you mean he scratched your neck?” his voice raised
“he grabbed the diamond necklace that he just gave me right off my neck…” she rubbed her neck where the red marks still showed.” I don’t know why I even kept him around I knew what he wanted once he gave me the necklace” she knew she should stop talking before she began to babble on.
“Diamond necklace, huh that some gift. He must have a few bucks.”
“He’s an accountant and I met him awhile back.”
“Hey you must think I am pretty nosey but you caught my eye at the bar.” 

Again, she smiled. “I should introduce myself. Natalie Venti”
 He was taller up close or maybe she was just more aware of his size when he looked at her like that.  Like maybe, she might be his favorite dessert.
        “Johnny Torino.”  He smiled and shook her hand.
The last time she felt a tingle like that was in the 8th grade when the Colletti twins fought over her to see which one was going to take her to they St. Frances of Rome school dance .  
“Would you like to go for coffee at the Oasis?” he gave her that cocky smile again and how could she refuse him.”
“Sure.” she said smiling knowing the Oasis being a local hangout was a place she would feel safe.
“Here lets take my car as he pointed at the black Ferrari next to her vintage red mustang.
 “Nice car,” she said instead.   She knew men liked to talk about their cars.  That was a safe topic, kind of like talking about the weather.
          “Thanks, I like the sound system. But you have a real classic in that mustang.”
“It might be a classic but it doesn’t always start.” she laughed.
He was standing very close to her as he opened her car door, his cologne filled her nostrils; she could see the color of his eyes.  They were dark like the night.
           “The seats are low,” he held out his hand.
   She took it and sucked in a breath.  She was trembling from his touch.  
       “Careful” he said “It’s a long way down.”     
  He pushed the CD button and shot her a quick smile.  “Where do you live?”
           “I live in Elmwood Park.”
“Where do you live?”
“I have a loft on the near North side.”
      She could have taken issue with his speed, but she was feeling such a wild impatience.  She had never gone that fast down Harlem Avenue in her whole life. He revved his engine as he took a quick turn in the Oasis parking lot. As they walked in the door of the Oasis. Frankie the owner shouted out Como sta?” Johnny.”
“Ciao” Frankie
“You know the owner?” Natalie looked at him surprised.
“I know a lot or people.” he put his hand in the small of her back and led her to a booth in the corner where he sat with his back to the wall.
“Do you work in the restaurant business?”
“I work in a lot of different businesses.” he said cagey “You want some eggs or something.” he waved to Frankie’s wife Florence who was coming around to pour coffee.
Amused by the sudden music, “that’s amore” coming from Johnny's cell. Johnny grabbed his phone and looked down at the number with a surprised look on his face.
“Would you excuse me a minute.” as he was sliding out of the booth answering his cell, “Hold on a minute, Marco?”
Natalie smiled. “Sure.”
“Coffee?” Florence asked.
“Yes, please.” as Natalie turned over her mug.
“How do you come to know Johnny?” asked Florence smilingly.
“I just met him this evening.” Natalie said.
“That Johnny is a good boy but you gotta watch out for him.” She waved her left hand in the air and laughed “all the girls love him.”

To be continued….