Equal Shares Ch. 11

bysteveh11©

"How about Tennants?" he asked Elizabeth.

"It's a good place. I've been there many times," said Elizabeth. She didn't exactly have a string of studs on call, but she did have an active social life: "There're miles on the clock," as she'd said to Stan last summer, "and the chassis is more upholstered than before, but the engine still runs and I know how to take the curves!" Sometimes Elizabeth could be outrageous, and Stan had roared with laughter, he remembered.

"Anyway, Stan, I need a little help. Could you..." and Elizabeth went on to describe a problem she had with a test she was running. With a sigh, Stan went back to work.

Not soon enough, it was half past four and Elizabeth was saying "Good-bye and Good Luck!" to him as she left. Stan kept on, tinkering with the test jig that Elizabeth had been using, trying not to think about the time. The minute hand of the clock seemed to take forever to climb up towards the twelve.

Eventually, after an aeon, it did. Stan walked through into reception, where he had to run the gauntlet of Elaine. Normally, he didn't really mind, but this time he had somewhere to go!

"Hi Stan, what are you up to?"

Stan hurried through, merely wishing Elaine a "Good night!" on his way. He caught a glimpse of Elaine's wide, wide smile as he hurried by. 'She's another who knows far, far too much!' he grumbled to himself, but he didn't really mean it.

He had an oddball grin on his face as he entered the lab where Anne was standing, waiting for him. Her face lit up in an arc-light smile as she saw him, and he felt his spirit lift in response.

Without words, they sat together as they had earlier in the afternoon. Each went to speak, mouths opening in unison, and they hesitated together. Finally Anne grinned and said "You first, then Stan. If I recall correctly, you asked me out..."

Stan couldn't help it, he blushed crimson.

"Yes. Yes, I did, didn't I, sort of. Let's see if I can do it properly, then."

"Anne, would you like to go out with me? Tonight? I thought we could go to Tennants."

"Where's that, Stan? More importantly, what is it?"

This was NOT going as planned.

"Um. It's a wine bar in town. I... I've been there a few times. It's got small tables and low light, so we can be private, and they do excellent food there, too, if you'd like. It's er, sort of – well, cosy. We used to like going there." Stan had been going to say intimate, following his thoughts of earlier, but felt that was not quite the note he wanted for this early in the relationship.

"Who did you go there with, Stan?" Anne asked, quietly.

'Yes, that's right. It had, of course, been Caron.' He looked at Anne, then his eyes unfocussed and he seemed to go away from her for a moment. He came back to her, looking her intently in the eye.

"It'll be okay, Anne. It'll be fine."

Anne didn't understand what had just happened, but she decided to file and understand later. In the meantime, she'd take it at face value. So, she said,

"Good. Then I'd be glad to go there with you tonight. What time were you thinking of?"

"Oh, let's say about eight?" Stan thought aloud.

"That's fine. What sort of place is it. I mean, is it dressy?"

"Well, it's not like Apricot's, but it's not a spit'n'sawdust pub, either. So, you'll want something nice, but not flashy, I guess. If it helps, I'll be wearing a shirt and a sports jacket, no tie."

Anne grinned. "That's good, Stan. Now, what colour?"

"Grey jacket. I don't know what colour shirt. Or anything else at the moment. I'm not sure I know my own name! Did I tell you that you're beautiful?"

"Flatterer! Now go! Go on, I need to get home and get ready for my date tonight. Shoo!"

Stan went, his smile wide, his eyes bright. He had a date with Anne and Caron still loved him. All was well with the world.

- - - - - - - - - -

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