Six months she'd been using the dating agency. And in all that time Ruth had yet to meet a guy she cared to see again. Until tonight.
She stood on the doorstep of her Victorian terrace. "Thanks for a lovely evening, Bob."
"The pleasure was all mine, Ruth. We really should do it again."
"How about next weekend?" She blushed. She wasn't normally this forward. But then she hadn't met anyone like Bob before.
"I can't think of a better way to spend a Saturday evening."
The crimson in Ruth's cheeks intensified.
"Care for a coffee?" She asked, surprising herself.
She fumbled in her bag for her keys, then fumbled again to open the door. Inside, she made straight for the kitchen, turning on lights as she went.
"Is coffee okay, or would you prefer tea?"
"God, no. Decaf's a bit like a broken pencil."
Ruth laughed. She'd been doing it all evening. "You're so funny."
Usually the guys from the agency were so stiff and formal. Bob was different, he'd been cracking jokes all evening.
By the time the drinks were ready, he'd wandered back into the hallway.
"That's my son," Ruth said of the picture Bob was admiring.
"He has his mom's eyes," Bob said, taking the coffee. "Bright and alive."
Ruth felt her cheeks flush again.
"Do you miss him?"
"Yeah. He was my whole world. But he's a good man, and I'm proud of him."
"Wish I could say the same about my boy."
"You shouldn't blame yourself, Bob."
"Who else should I blame then?" He paused then quickly said, "Sorry. I'm sorry. I just get angry when I think about the mess he's made of his life."
"It's okay," Ruth said soothingly.
That was only the third time Bob had mentioned his son all evening, and each time she could sense his pent up anger. She admired how he managed to control it. That was something he ex-husband had never been able to do. Those brief flashes of emotion told her there was more to him than a constant stream of gags.
"You know, I was just thinking, this is the first time I've had a man in my house that wasn't trying to sell me something for as long as I can remember."
Bob chuckled, "Well if you're interested we've just had a new line of vacuum cleaners in the shop."
This time they both laughed.
Ruth rested on the edge of the kitchen table, and slipped off her shoes. She sighed. "That's better."
"I'll never understand why women wear shoes that cause them pain."
"I wouldn't expect you to. After all, you're only a man."
"Only a man?" Bob positioned himself in front of Ruth.
"Only a man. A very charming man..."
Bob leaned in close.
"And so very..."
.... There is more of this story ...