As the ceremony began, John felt a lump in his throat as he watched Gloria take her vows. She was radiant! Paul looked happy but very nervous, which was apparent from the perspiration shinning on his face. The lace and chiffon dress Gloria wore clung gently to her slim figure. For some reason she seemed very vulnerable to John. He noticed tears in Alice’s eyes and could hardly hold them back himself.
At the reception Alice introduced him to everyone as Gloria barely had time to kiss him on the cheek and greet her other guests. If it wasn’t for Alice, he would have been completely lost. When he was getting ready to leave Alice came up to him, clasped his hands and told him how happy she was that he came. She even suggested having lunch together at a future date. He didn’t know what to think of that, but he agreed.
A few weeks later John was just settling in to life without Gloria. Oh he’d probably see her now and again in passing but it would never be the same. The phone ringing startled him out of his musing. He picked it up and said, “Hi this is John, it’s your nickel.”
“Hi John, this is Alice, remember me?”
“Of course how are you doing Alice,” he tried to keep the surprise out of his voice.
“I’m fine John, I was just wondering if you would like to go to lunch next week?”
“Why um, well, I, that is yes that would be great!? Where would you like to go?”
“There’s a little Italian place not too far from where I live, called Giovanni’s. The food is great if you like Italian.”
“That sounds good Gloria, I love Italian, what day and time shall we meet up?”
They set the date for the next Wednesday about one o’clock, and they would meet at the restaurant. John was flushed with excitement over the thought of meeting Alice for lunch. He couldn’t fathom why he was so excited. ‘I must be getting old,’ he thought, ‘it’s only a lunch with Gloria’s Mother. I don’t even know if she has a husband or she is just trying to be friendly to a friend of her daughter.’
Still, Alice was an attractive woman and still young and she seemed to like him. When Wednesday rolled around, John was still trying to calm himself down. Alice was more his age he thought and that calmed him some. He told himself Alice either had a husband or a boyfriend. ‘Attractive woman like her wouldn’t be just out there. Would she? Here I go again’, he thought. I got all excited about Gloria and where did that get me?’ So as he was driving to the restaurant, he had himself under control and just said to himself that he would have a nice lunch and that was it.
Giovanni’s proved to be an ideal meeting place for Alice and John’s first date. It was very informal, with red and white checkered tablecloths and candles burning on each table. Even sawdust on the floor to make it more authentic. John ordered the best red wine they had and Alice was impressed. The food proved to be delicious and since they both were good eaters they ordered more than they enough food. So they each had doggie bags when they left. They had chatted about mundane things during lunch since they really didn’t know each other. And the afternoon passed pleasantly with no glitches by John due to nervousness. In fact they got along great and especially for a first date, if that was what this was, he thought. Alice invited John back to her house for coffee and dessert. And of course he accepted. He wasn’t ready for what happened next though.
To be continued.