A Cad Falls to Grace Ch. 03byFlyingtiger©
I arrived in the hotel restaurant at 6:15, got a table. My waiter would be the same young man who had waited on me the initial night when Grace had arrived. He approached me to take my order, recognized me and smiled.
"Thanks for the large tip the other night." He said.
"No problem my friend, and thanks for your assistance."
"Did it work out for you? I know it's none of my business, but I am just curious."
I winked at him. "Yes it did. I was able to apologize. She accepted it."
"What can I get for you this morning sir?" He asked with a smile.
"Nothing yet, she should be down in a few minutes to have coffee with me, so keep an eye out please. Come back when you see her here."
"I will sir."
He left, and not thirty seconds later, Grace walked in. I threw my hand up, and she spotted it immediately, and came to sit down. I got up and pulled her chair out for her, then sat down.
"Sorry, I am a little early." She said.
"Me as well. I have been here for about five minutes. I'm glad you came a little early. More time to be in your presence." I said, winking at her.
She blushed slightly as I looked away to find our waiter, and saw that he was well on his way towards us. Just before he arrived at our table, I said, "I mean that Grace. I enjoy being around you."
She looked at me and smiled, still blushing slightly, when the waiter arrived.
"Good morning, Jay is my name and I'll be your server. What can I get you this morning?"
We both ordered coffee, and I added scrambled eggs and sausage to the order. Grace ordered French toast and sausage. She again told Jay to split the order, since Styles was paying for her meals.
As Jay left to place our order, I looked at her, dressed again in conservative, but rather stylish skirt and blouse combo, beige skirt and dark blue top. "Again, you look stunning." I said.
"Ha!" She started, "This outfit is probably five years out of style."
"You still look stunning in it." I replied.
Jay brought our coffee, and several options of sweeteners and creamers. She selected what she would add and did so, while I just added a couple of sugars and stirred mine in.
After the first couple of sips, I decided to jump in on the deep end early, and said. "Not to sound bold, but what did you mean last night when you said that you could see a lot in my eyes?"
She smiled at this. "I am fairly good at reading people as well Matt. I could see in your eyes at that moment, after telling me that you had slept with a lot of women over the course of years that you were telling me the truth. I also saw that the truth you were telling me bothers you. Your words reflected that as well. I was surprised to hear you reveal things like that, very personal in nature things. Your eyes told me that you were being truthful to a woman, and that it was a forgotten experience for you."
I sat there looking at her for a few seconds, stunned that I had been read so easily, because she had basically unraveled the truth in her comment.
"Wow, you read all that in my eyes?"
"Yes, and I understood your comments easily, but I could tell that saying them was an unfamiliar circumstance for you."
"What else did my eyes tell you?"
"Matt, as an ICU nurse, I have heard many people's last words, have actually heard deathbed confessions, of things ranging from murder to long ago affairs. The eyes are the key to the soul, and I have seen a lot of regret in people's eyes, as they lay near death. I saw regret in your eyes last night, and a spark of something you claim to have lost, hope."
"Really?" I asked, after a moments pause.
"It did not scare you off?"
"Am I not having coffee with you this morning?" She answered with a question of her own. "I don't scare off that easy. I deal with death about every day. Besides, I also deal with a man who lies to me all the time at home. I can tell when a man is lying, whether it's to try to make amends, or to get laid. You weren't lying to me last night, you were laying some things from your soul out, things that I think bother you, possibly torture you to some extent."
I sat there with the realization that she had pierced my shell, my caddishness if you will. I suddenly had the painful fear that she thought I was spilling secrets to her to get her into bed. My spirit sank like a rock. I felt totally out of control at this point, like she was filleting me. I would not turn down a roll in the hay with her, but that was not my prime objective. Not in her case.
I could see Jay the waiter coming with our breakfast, and finally said "No one has ever read me like that before Grace. You're very perceptive, and I feel pretty confused right now."
"Your eyes also told me you are looking for something more than what all your conquests ever brought." She said. "Nothing to be confused about. Saying what you did last night outside my hotel room confirmed it.
Our food arrived at this point. We grew silent as we ate the light breakfast. She finished first, then said, "All during dinner yesterday evening, when I was rambling on about the chaotic mess my life has grown into, your eyes showed no pity, but an understanding, an empathy. I also believe you want to help me."
As I finished my breakfast, and then my coffee, I said, "Well, I would, if I could."
"Of that, I do not doubt. You said that you were a good guy, just not a good person. You're a better person than you think, I believe. It's just unfamiliar territory for you."
I smiled at this. "So, you don't think that I just want to have sex with you?"
She half laughed. "No, you are a man, and a man always wants to have sex."
"Ok, granted." I replied. "But you don't hold that against me do you?"
"Not at all. Look, I believe you knew by the middle of our dinner yesterday, that there was a 99.9 percent chance you were not going to get laid by me. Yet you listened to my sad tale of marital woe.
You did not seem to judge. You allowed me to spill secrets to you, and did not lose interest in the things I was telling you. For a man, in my experience, that takes a pretty good person."
I sat back in the chair, marveling at her words. I winked at her and smiled. "A 99.9 percent chance? Wow, I'm losing my touch. But what if I was feigning interest in the hopes of getting lucky?"
She laughed at this. "Matt, you are a very attractive man. I can tell that you keep yourself fit physically. You have also, except for that one outburst, given me no reason not to be attracted to you. That being said, I have to do all I can to make my marriage work. I think you respect that, and I thank you for it. I also get the feeling that you don't really fake anything. If your only goal was to get lucky with me, I think you are smart enough to have figured out your chances fairly quick, and would have tried to steer me to a different subject. You didn't."
I could not help admiring how she seemed to know that for once, I was being sincere "I do. I admire anyone who has a moral code. I had one myself once. I guess sometimes, with the right person and situation, that moral code rears its head again." I said, again finding her beautiful blue eyes, and looking directly into them.
We looked at each other for a long minute. I wondered if she could see, in my eyes that I was in love with her.
"The conversation got pretty deep this morning Grace. Thanks for being honest with me. I don't give or receive enough of that I suppose."
"Well, when you give honesty, then you usually get it back. I rarely do, at home at least. It was a little refreshing to have a man open up his soul to me, and not be saying what he thinks I want to hear." She looked at her watch at that point. "I had best be getting across to the convention hall. But before I go, where are we going to eat dinner tonight? You mentioned singing."
"I believe I will let you ponder that today while at your convention. Text me when you get out, and I hope you brought some jeans on this trip, maybe some cowboy boots."
"Jeans yes," She said, "Cowboy boots no."
"Well, we can make do. It's a surprise of sorts. I hope you'll like it."
She arose and grabbed her purse. "The restaurant has my information to pay for the meal. I do need to get over there and be seated. I'm looking forward to a night out."
"OK," I replied. "I am as well. If there should be any problems with the bill, I will take care of it. See you this evening, enjoy the day."
She smiled at me as she turned and walked toward the door.
I watched her as she left, admiring the shape of her body from behind. I blew a kiss at her as she went through the door. "Good for you Grace, and thank you" I thought to myself as she disappeared from sight.
I spent the majority of the day in my suite, answering phone calls and emailing the staff back in Virginia. The day was sunny and rather hot there in Texas, and since it was Saturday, and our office was working with a skeleton staff, replies to emails were few and far between. No matter, nothing that I had sent was groundbreaking developments, and most of the phone calls were from people I had met with earlier in the week, either seeking to move along with doing business with us, or turning us down. Overall, business wise, it was a good day.
At 2PM, I set the business phone up for voicemail only. I made reservations for two at a Tavern/Steak House just west of Dallas that featured a Saturday night Karaoke contest from 5 till about 8:30, then a live band into the night till closing. I did not figure that we would be there till closing, and was being a little presumptive that Grace would agree to sing in a setting like that, but figured that the worst she would say was no, and we could at least have a good Texas meal and watch others try to win the grand prize of an expensive Stetson Cowboy hat.
I remembered her having an excellent talent for singing from back in our school days, and hoped that perhaps she would have a great time out on the town. I was also hoping to have a good time out with her, and perhaps we could both just enjoy a good time with each other and not delve again into her problems at home, and my problems within.
I thought about what she had said at breakfast that morning, about there being a 99.9 percent chance I would not get laid by her. I chuckled at the way she said it, and realized that it was true, so I resigned myself to that, and it lightened my mood surprisingly. Just being in her presence for a night out would be fine with me, and I hoped my plans for our dinner date would be well received.
I also checked, and discovered that her flight back to Atlanta the next day, was actually my flight as well.
This was before my company bought our own plane, and I was still flying commercial. I discovered that while Styles had paid for her trip out and back home, as befitting a top producer, they only bought coach.
I made a couple of phone calls, and upgraded her ticket to first class, right beside me for the flight from Dallas to Atlanta. I would be switching planes there to fly on to Washington, while she of course, would be home. I set it up where she would be surprised when boarding the plane, kind of a last departing gift from me. I knew then that I had better not screw the evening up by going down the stupid path again.
I searched my own feelings, and found that any inner anger I had was not likely to surface, given that I had mended my mistake on our initial meeting, so I felt pretty confident that the evening would be ok from that standpoint.
I received a text message from her at 3:00, saying they were about finished. I replied with a smiley face, and told her I would meet her in the lobby at 4:30, and hoped she was hungry.
I received a smiley face back from her, then showered and dressed for the evening.
I went down to the lobby at 4:15 and sat in the foyer of the hotel. I had dressed in a pair of black jeans, cowboy boots, and gray button up shirt, not really western, but close enough I guess. I did not have a cowboy hat to wear, so substituted a Dallas Cowboys baseball hat instead, that the team reps had given me earlier in the week.
I sat there for about 5 minutes, then began scanning the elevators, looking for Grace. After another five minutes, I felt a hand on my shoulder. "Hey there cowboy, looking for me?" I heard her say.
I turned and saw Grace standing behind me, dressed in fairly tight jeans, a burgundy blouse, and a pair of boots, not the cowboy variety, but again, close enough. Again, she looked stunning, to me at least.
"Are you ready?" I asked. "I am starving, and I believe there is a steak about 10 miles from here with my name on it."
I stood and offered her my arm. We walked out and got in my rental, and began the twenty minute or so drive to the steak house.
"Off we go." I said, as I pulled away.
"Two things I want to tell you before I ask where we are going." She said.
"Ok," I said, pulling out into traffic. "Shoot."
I saw her smile at me from the passenger seat before I put my eyes on the road. "First, you look like an idiot wearing that hat."
"Really, I thought it was appropriate for the evening. We are in Dallas, it's almost football season, and this is the home of the Cowboys. Why do I look like an idiot?"
She laughed. "Ball caps do not look good on you, in my humble opinion."
"Well I tried to convince the Marines that hats did not look good on me either, but they kind of ignored me. But for you, I will take it off." I then removed the hat and tossed it into the back seat. "Now what is your second thing that you are going to critique me for?"
"Oh, it's not a critique, but rather a compliment."
"OK, I could use one after being called an idiot." I said with a smile.
"I didn't call you an idiot, I said you looked like one wearing that ball cap."
"Ok, details, details. I'm still waiting for my compliment."
"All right. Don't take this the wrong way Mr. Pearson, but you have very sexy arms. They feel as solid as steel."
"I knew all that working out would pay some dividends eventually." I detected a playful tone in the way she was talking to me this evening, and decided to play along. "Does that reduce my chances of not getting laid by you?" I glanced over, with a big smile on my face.
"Hmmm," she started. "I guess it certainly does."
"Oh boy, by how much?"
"You now have a 99.8 percent chance of not getting laid by me tonight." She laughed. She did reach over and squeeze my right bicep though.
"Wow, this day is getting better all the time." I said, a big smile on my face.
I felt relaxed at this point. She had openly flirted with me, and I with her. I felt assured that we would enjoy this evening out without letting the heavy conversations of earlier get in the way. It was a good feeling.
She began again. "So where are we going, and what are we doing? You said something about singing."
"Yes, Miss Grace, we are going to a Steakhouse/tavern restaurant this evening. They have a Karaoke contest that begins in about an hour or so, and I thought you might enjoy it, maybe even do a little singing yourself. I recall you being a songbird back in the day in school."
I glanced over at her as I drove. Her face was a question mark. "Do you expect me to enter the contest?"
"Only if you want to. It was just a thought. I just thought that you might enjoy it."
She grew silent for a moment, and I wondered if I had said something wrong, or if she was somehow upset over my presumption.
"You OK?" I asked. "I'm sorry if my choice for this evening is not very pleasing. We can go somewhere else if you'd just like to eat and talk."
I was worried at this point, feeling that somehow I had ruined the evening.
"Not at all. What the heck," she began. "I do enjoy singing, it's just been a long time since I sang in anything other than a church choir."
I relaxed at this. "Well, who better to sing in front of, if you decide to do so, than a roomful of people you don't know."
"This is true, I may consider it."
"Fair enough." I said.
We arrived a few minutes later. She had changed the subject and told me that she had won a free lease of a new car for the next year, as a gift from Styles, due to her being the highest producing Southeastern representative. I assumed it would come with Styles logos and such, but it was a nice gift.
We entered the steakhouse, and were seated immediately. We had arrived before the main night rush apparently, and our food arrived fairly quickly. I ordered a large ribeye, with fries as a side, and she ordered steak and shrimp. Just before I started to tear into my food, I rolled my sleeves up.
She watched me do this, staring at my forearms.
"What?" I asked.
"Yes, you do have excellent veins." She laughed.
"Oh no, you going to break out the needles now?" I asked.
"No, I left them at home, but your odds just got better." She smiled, winking at me.
"What are they now?" I smiled back.
"Wow, that's cold. I guess I'll just have to try harder." I said, cutting into my steak. "Or give up completely."
She let out a slight chuckle, and we began to eat. Both of us ate quietly, enjoying the food, but looking at each other with long stares.
She finished before I did. She looked over toward the stage area on the other side of the establishment and noticed that it was being set up for the Karaoke show.
As I was chewing my last bite of steak, she looked at me and asked, "Wonder how this contest is set up?"
I shrugged my shoulders as I chewed on the tasty rib-eye. After I swallowed, and then took a drink of my sweet tea, I said, "Let me ask the waitress."
I flagged down our waitress, and when she came to our table, asked her about the process for signing up.
"There's no real sign up for the show," she began, in a lovely Texas drawl. "You basically go up and ask for a certain song. If they have it, then you give them a first name. It usually does not take long to get up and perform. Not many people get up and do it this time of the evening. On the nights when we have no live band playing, and they run it out till closing, it gets pretty popular, once more people lose the fear to alcohol."
I thanked her for the information, then got the food tab and paid it. Once she brought the receipt back, Grace and I exited the restaurant portion and went to the tavern side of the building, which was much more spacious, and as of that time, not nearly full. We sat down at a two person table, and when a waitress came by, we each ordered a soft drink.
It wasn't too loud at this point, so I leaned over to her and said, "We must look like a couple of prudes, ordering Cokes."
She smiled and said, "Yea, but who cares."
I nodded in agreement, and she suddenly got up and went to the stage area, which was really just one step above the floor. I saw her talk to a couple of people, then one guy write something down in a ledger looking book. She pointed back at our table as she talked to him. After exchanging nods, she returned to our table.
"Well, did you sign up to sing?" I asked, as she sat and picked up her drink.
"Yes, I chose a song for me to sing, and one for us to sing." She said, giving me an impish grin.
"What?" I said. "Hearing me sing is the last thing you, Dallas, or the state of Texas needs to hear."
"Too late! Don't be a chicken. This was your idea anyhow." She fired back.
"No, it was my idea for you to sing because I know you can, and figured you might enjoy it. I never mentioned anything at all about me getting out there and doing it."
"Be that as it may, you're going to sing a song with me." She smiled, then grabbed my hand and squeezed. "Your odds may go down some if you do."
I knew she was just playing by the look in her eye. "Well, they would have to go down a lot more than they have for having sexy and veiny arms for me to even consider it."