Home > My Own Mr. Darcy(8)

My Own Mr. Darcy(8)
Karey White

“We either need bigger tables or smaller plates,” Myra said when she put down our food and drinks. “These crappy tables are the worst part of my job.”

“I’ll bet they are,” Chad said. “We’ll do our best not to create a mess for you.” He bestowed his warm, crooked smile on her. To my surprise, Myra’s glacial expression thawed and she smiled back at him. She had an unexpectedly pretty smile.

“I appreciate that. But if something spills, it won’t be your fault. It’s the tables.”

The potato skins were loaded with bacon and cheese and a small bowl of sour cream for dipping finished them off perfectly. Before we were through eating, The Slocum’s took the stage and began playing. Soon I was carried away by the music. It felt so real and heartfelt. The brothers moved from instrument to instrument throughout the performance. They played guitar, drums, banjo, mandolin, and piano. Before each song, a brother would share the story that had inspired it. Some were funny and a couple, like the one about the birth of the bearded Slocum’s baby nearly made me cry.

Myra refilled our drinks and brought us another plate of potato skins partway through the concert. Chad sang along on a few songs. I was surprised to realize I was having a great time.

When The Slocums finished, we clapped and cheered but they didn’t come back to the stage. Chad left a generous tip for Myra and we moved through the crowded room to the door. Chad kept his hand on my waist until we were outside.

“That was fantastic,” I said.

“I’m glad you liked it. I love live music.”

“I love good live music,” I said. “I’ve been to a couple of live shows that were awful. But I loved this. I’m glad you suggested it.”

Chad smiled. He had a really good smile—easy, slightly crooked, and totally genuine. It seemed to come from inside him and wasn’t just a happy thing attached to his face.

“Thanks for calling me,” Chad said. “I’m usually pretty good at reading people, but my sensors must have been malfunctioning the day we went to lunch.”

If I were a better person I’d have put his mind at ease and let him know his sensors were right on the money. But I decided that rather than confess the circumstances that led to this date, I’d let him puzzle over my mixed messages.

I didn’t want to admit it to Janessa, but I’d had a good time and a little part of me hoped Chad would call again. I tried to ignore that little part, however, because if I enjoyed myself too much, I’d have to admit that Janessa was right. And she wasn’t right. Mr. Darcy was worth holding out for. He was the man I’d been dreaming of for years. The one I was waiting for. The one who would walk into the bank on Monday morning.

MORNINGS AT THE bank were busy. Courtney and I worked the inside teller windows and Pete ran the drive-thru. Our branch of Oregon National Bank was located close to the university and several streets of small businesses. Mornings were spent preparing all those little stores for the day’s business with cash for their drawers and petty cash boxes. Evenings, we had a flurry of deposits.

It was a busy Monday morning. I was looking out at the line of waiting customers when he walked in. He was taller than anyone in the room. Of course. His hair was dark and a little disheveled. It was hard to see from where I was, but his eyes looked like they were blue. And best of all, he didn’t smile. He looked gorgeously unpleasant and impatient. He looked around the room and his eyes met mine. Still he didn’t smile. My heart was racing. He looked perfect.

I gasped, shut my thumb in my cash drawer, and then tried not to cry while Mr. Sandoval from a hearing aid store asked me if I was okay.

When I finished Mr. Sandoval’s transaction, I looked at him again.

I did my best to time it so I’d be his teller. I went a little too fast with one customer and accidentally shorted her a twenty dollar bill. I tried to concentrate as I corrected the transaction. I slowed way down on the next customer, but just when I thought I was finished and would be able to help him next, my customer asked me to break a ten into change. He walked up to Courtney’s window while I counted out nickels and dimes. Furious, I stomped my foot. Not too loudly but enough to release a little of my frustration.

I listened closely as Courtney helped him to see if I could learn anything, but he hardly spoke. He gave a terse nod when Courtney thanked him for coming in and turned on his heel and left. He had excellent posture and a nice, confident stride.

I finished with my customer, and then before anyone else could step forward, I picked up the phone and dialed Courtney’s extension. She glanced at her phone’s display and looked over at me curiously.

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