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Henry continued west on Oakland Park Boulevard, moving more slowly now. He was still out of breath from his meeting with the Amazon.
Finally the library came into view. The double doors slid open and he crossed into the welcome air conditioning. He spotted Grace immediately. She was sitting at the reference desk, reading something on a computer. Her thoughtful look and the glasses she wore over her brown eyes made her look really smart. A spasm of self-doubt overcame Henry. He paused. How should he approach such an intelligent woman? Was he really the one for her? What if she wasn’t interested at all?
He stood there so long considering that she finally looked up and saw him. To Henry’s relief, she smiled. She remembered him from Marcy’s Fourth of July party. She motioned him over to her desk.
“Hi Henry,” she whispered, her low voice reminding Henry that they were in a library. “How are you? What brings you here?”
Henry froze. It was the moment of truth. Should he act like he was just looking for a book, and had run into her by accident? Or should he be honest about his reason for being here? Henry was surprised to find his hands sweating; he wiped them on his trousers.
“Do you like bowling?” he blurted out, his heart pounding.
Grace smiled. It was a beautiful gesture, spreading from her mildly crooked white teeth up through her graceful cheekbones with the dainty little mole on the upper left and into her deep brown eyes, the skin crinkling around them in delight. Even her dark slim eyebrows participated, arching upward first in surprise, then relaxing in contentment. “Of course,” she said. She gestured at the seat in front of the desk. “Why don’t you sit down?”
Henry sat down and smiled back at Grace, feeling a bit awkward sitting there and staring at her with another woman’s saliva still drying on his dick.
“Are you busy right now?” Henry asked. He didn’t want to be a bother.
“I have some time to talk,” Grace said, leaning forward with her elbows on the desk. “How have you been? I haven’t seen you since Marcy’s party.”
Henry nodded. “Usual work routine. Not much else happening. How about you?”
“The bahis firmaları same, I guess.”
There was an awkward pause. Henry realized that he hardly knew anything at all about this woman that he had just invited on a date.
“I could pick you up,” Henry offered. “Would 8 o’clock be all right?”
“Eight o’clock is fine.”
Grace wrote down her address and passed it to him. There was another awkward pause, and she looked away. For a moment Henry wondered if he had disappointed her somehow. But it was just a library patron who needed help with a research project for school.
“I’ll leave you to your work,” Henry said, standing up. “See you tonight.”
Grace nodded. “See you at eight.” She turned back to help the young student.
On his walk home, Henry kept to the side streets. He was not in the mood for any more sudden sexual encounters. As he walked, he thought about Grace. What would she be like? This was his first date in twenty-six years. He hoped he wouldn’t blow it.
He breathed a sigh of relief as he reached his house and closed the door behind him. His neck was sore from looking over his shoulder all the way home. He did his Saturday grocery list and made a furtive run to the supermarket, then came home and showered and shaved. He rummaged in his closet but the best he could come up with were a tired pair of beige khaki pants and a boringly ordinary plaid shirt. He dressed himself and went to pick up Grace.
Her front door opened as Henry pulled up in her driveway. She emerged with purse in hand, ready to go out. Henry jumped out of his seat to go around and open the passenger side door for her, but she was already pulling it open.
“Hi, Henry!” Grace greeted him with a smile. “Thanks, but don’t worry about getting the door for me. I’m a very informal kind of gal.”
“OK, Grace.” Henry stood for a moment, looking at her. “You look really pretty with your hair down like that.” The bun in which she had tied her hair in the library was gone. The loose brown tresses falling across her pearl necklace and shrimp-colored top looked every bit as good as Henry had imagined they would.
“Thanks, Henry. kaçak iddaa Now stop gawking and get back in the car. Let’s go bowling!”
Henry did as he was told. They made small talk along the way: the weather, sports, and local politics. Henry pulled into the bowling alley parking lot with the impression that Grace was way too smart for him. He wondered why she had ever agreed to go out with him in the first place.
As they walked up to the counter to rent their bowling shoes, a gaggle of girls at the nearby concession stand giggled and gawked at Henry. Some of them elbowed each other. All of them smiled at him. One of them, a slim brunette in a see-through pink blouse, blew him a kiss.
Henry looked away, his face turning red. He glanced at Grace to see if she had noticed, but Grace was grabbing her shoes and saying something about going bowling with her daughter when she was younger, and how she missed those moments.
Henry grunted as they walked toward their assigned lane. He motioned Grace toward the bowling balls, the back of his neck hot with the young brunette’s gaze. “You can go first.”
Grace sent the ball spinning down the lane while Henry admired the curve of her butt through her white cotton pants. The ball smacked into the pins, knocking five of them over. As Henry congratulated her, the brunette with the see-through blouse approached them. Henry turned toward her with his mouth open but she just smiled, dropped a napkin, and kept on going. The girl winked, her face turned away from Grace, and swayed her ass from side to side as she walked.
Grace bent to pick up the napkin but Henry got to it first. There was a phone number on it written in red lipstick. He tossed it into the trash and turned back to face Grace as if nothing had happened.
Grace shrugged and launched another ball down the lane.
They played for an hour and then broke for a snack. The brunette passed by their table, soda in hand, stared at Henry from behind Grace, and licked her red-lipsticked lips.
Henry squirmed in his seat.
“What’s wrong?” Grace asked. She still panted a little from the exertion of bowling, and a thin sheet of sweat kaçak bahis glistened on her face, giving her a sensual glow.
“Nothing. Just – It’s getting late.”
Grace glanced at her watch. “It’s way too early for you to turn into a pumpkin . It’s not even 10:00.”
The brunette grinned over Grace’s shoulder at Henry.
Henry pushed his seat back and stood up. “I’d like to take you home now.”
“Henry! What’s wrong?”
“Nothing, Grace. This has been a wonderful evening. I’m so glad you came with me. But it’s time to go.”
“You’re turning red,” Grace said. “Something’s wrong.”
“Everything’s fine.” He beckoned her out of her chair and held the door open for her on the way out. “Let me take you home.”
They were quiet on the drive back to Grace’s house. When they arrived, Grace made no move to leave the car.
“Henry, did I do something wrong?”
“What? No. No, Grace, not at all. I had a wonderful time with you. You’re funny and beautiful and …”
Grace’s hand went to the door and pushed it open. “Good night, Henry.” She slammed it shut behind her.
Henry stayed in the driveway just long enough to see her enter her house safely. Then he pulled out and headed home.
As he approached his house, he saw an unfamiliar car in his driveway. It was a little green foreign job. A girl got out as he cut his engine.
It was the brunette with the thin red shirt.
“What are you doing here?” Henry was furious. He had had high hopes for his date tonight and this girl had ruined everything.
“Uncle Henry,” the girl said softly, “that’s no way to talk to a lady in need.” Her hand went to the top button of her shirt and unfastened it.
“Go away,” Henry said. “All you ladies just leave me alone. I don’t want any part of this any more.”
The girl’s lower lip trembled in mock hurt. “Don’t you think I’m pretty?”
“Get out of my yard.” Henry unlocked his front door and pushed her away as she tried to enter. “Get away from here or I’m calling the police.”
The girl’s jaw dropped as Henry slammed the door in her face.
Henry stood just inside the door, waiting and listening. After a few minutes, the girl started up her car and roared away. Henry’s shoulders sagged as her car vanished down the street. He sat down on the couch and held his head in his hands in silence, his heart as empty as his house.
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