Part 4 by Barbara Phinney
"Okay," Shanna started, plunking herself down into the chair opposite Nancy. "So, Ted apparently got hitched this Christmas in the Caribbean. It was a whirlwind courtship." Her grimace turned to a sly smile. "How dare he send you roses and chocolate!"
"Oh, stop it! We both know it isn't him." Nancy scolded. They were sharing a small table in the local cafe. She rarely went out this late in the evening, but Shanna had insisted they meet to discuss this secret admirer. "But who is it?"
She tossed a furtive look around at the patrons. Oh, to be so gregarious that you could just slip out and meet friends and laugh and talk and enjoy life! Nancy was half-scared she'd stick out like a sore thumb, or say something foolish, or laugh too loud.
"Let's go to the next guy on the list, then," Shanna was saying as the waitress set down Nancy's decaf and a beautiful tray of vanilla biscottis, the cafe's famous and most expensive creations. Nancy looked up at her. "I didn't order the biscottis."
"They're a gift from another patron," the waitress said, pointing to the edge of the tray. "There's a note tucked underneath."
Nancy pulled it free and unfolded it. "Vanilla, a delicate flavor so as not to overpower your natural beauty. It's nice to see you out enjoying life."
She looked up at the waitress. "Who sent these? It doesn't say. Point him out to me."
The woman scanned the cafe. "Well, he was here a moment ago. He paid cash for them at the counter. Oh, there he is!" She pointed outside. "He's just leaving."
Nancy caught sight of the tall, strong frame of a man dashing across the street. "I've missed him!"
Shanna jumped up. "Let's go!"
Nancy looked mortified. "Oh, I don't think so. After what happened with Ted..." And what happened even before that, with him, back in Georgia... oh no, she wasn't about to risk embarrassment again. "Besides, I just ordered coffee, and what about these biscottis?"
"We'll get them to go but come back for them! This is an adventure, Nancy. Live for the moment!"
In that breath of time, Nancy decided Shanna was right. This was an adventure. And it was fun. She nodded, thanked the waitress for her patience, and dashed out of the cafe, even setting aside her caution with her new shoes. "You're right," she called over her shoulder to Shanna, "but we need to know where he went."
"To take a creative writing course I hope," Shanna called back. "His note was really cheesy."
Nancy slammed to a stop and glared at her smirking friend. "Well, I liked it! It reminded me of-" She cut off her words. No, it didn't remind her of him...
She searched the street, past those just lounging on the bench or window shopping. Evening had fallen completely, making it more difficult to see, but...there! Turning down the street where Cupid's Corner Museum stood, disappearing from her sight-
Nancy quickly looked both ways before dashing across the street. She was going to meet this man, or else!