She was telling me about the hard history between them.  “You have to tell me if he comes in,” she said anxiously glancing over her shoulder.  “He’s tall and dark and will walk in like he owns the place.  You’ll know him.”

Sure enough, when he entered I recognized him right away just from that description.  “Red shirt?” I asked.

She thought for a second.  “Yes, red shirt.”  He came over to our table and sat down in the empty seat next to me.  I glanced at her to see if she was piqued by that detail, and was astonished to see the change that had come over her.  Suddenly, she was sparkling – gazing adoringly at her man, smiling with delight at his presence.

She made the requisite introductions and he launched into a description of his day.  He’d taken two of the women on his staff out on a “teambuilding exercise” for the afternoon and returned them to their spouses drunk and sick.  He seemed to take an odd pride in the achievement.  We discovered we’d graduated from the same college the same year, and he noted that he thought he’d dated all of the pretty girls, but had never met me.  He’d played football there until his senior year, when he gave it up to focus on activities that were more career-oriented. He went up to the bar to get himself a beer.

The mask dropped, she leaned forward and continued her story.  “I didn’t hold it against him that he was fucking her,” she said quietly.  “I know it’s because he was afraid of what we had.”

He returned to the table and the sparkle returned.  Maybe that’s it, I thought.  Maybe I never charmed that type of man because I didn’t put on that face.  It seemed like an awful lot of trouble for not much return.


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