His dark eyes sparkled as he watched her dance through the aisles. She came here every Tuesday at 3:00 PM. He waited to see her, even if his shift was over. Her golden hair bounced across her shoulders as she sing-songily selected the freshest fruits and filled her basket. Each item she examined carefully, sniffing, looking, and testing, before choosing just the right one.
He'd long admired her milky complexion, blue eyes and warm smile. She'd smiled at him more than once, and had even spoken to him on occasion. Her voice was like a melody. Everything about her was perfect.
In fact, she was too perfect. He knew she would never consider a guy like him. Average. Insignificant. Dull. Hispanic. Him with his day job of stacking fruit in bins and night job as a bartender, he was nothing, and she was everything. She would have a boyfriend like the man Michael that had accompanied her once. He was tall, blonde, tan and muscular. He was probably in his mid thirties and he did everything for her. So, he decided, he would just admire her from a distance and then be on his way.
She watched him leave after she'd checked out. She knew he left about this time, so she made sure she arrived no later than 3:00. She smiled at him every time she saw him, hoping he'd show some interest, but he'd just nod. Once she'd even asked a question about strawberries, but that only made her feel stupid and awkward.
She arrived at her restaurant shortly before the 4:00 opening time. Fresh fruit was always an important part of the menu. Usually she'd send others to shop, but on Tuesdays she made the selections, and hers were always the best. She hung the help wanted sign back in the window.
The doors opened and the work began. Business was booming since Antonio's had closed. The tables filled quickly. Besides being the hostess, she filled in where she was most needed. Tonight it was at the bar.
"Excuse me." She heard someone at the front door. "I would like to apply for a job." His English was heavily accented but his voice familiar. She spun to look at him and dropped the drink she was holding
He resembled a deer caught in the headlights when he recognized her. He stood stuttering while she tried to clean up the glass and liquid mess. Coming to his senses, he bent to help her.
Face-to-face she blushed feeling more foolish and awkward than she usually felt around him. "You work at Mikes." She stated trying to compose herself.
"I'm afraid we need a bartender, not kitchen help." She realized her mistake as soon as the words were out of her mouth but she couldn't reel them back in. "I mean…" she started again, but his crestfallen look told her it was too late.
"Yes." He mumbled. "Of course." He turned to leave.
He stopped and faced her.
"I'm sorry." She stammered and then more confidently added. "Please forgive my rude behavior. I'll get you an application right now." She put out her hand and he shook it. "My name is Geena."
"I am Eduardo." He smiled slightly.
She gave him the application. When he'd completed it he returned to her. "Can you tell me where the owner is?" he asked turning the application over in his hands.
"I can take that."
"No, no, I must give it to the owner. It states that on the application."
She glared at him, angry that once again someone assumed just because she was young, blonde and female she couldn't be the owner and realized in an instant that he had made the same mistake she had. Assumptions. Dangerous things. She changed her expression to a grin and said, "I am the owner."
He blushed this time, and tried to apologize but she laughed. "Even?"
He looked at her quizzically.
"What I mean is, we've both made the same mistake. That makes us even now?"
He nodded with a weak smile.
She looked over the application. "When can you start?"
"Do you not want to check my references?"
"No. You have a honest face." She handed him the apron tied around her waist and walked him back to the bar, introducing him to several of the employees along the way.
They barely had a chance to speak that first month he worked there, but he always watched her. One Tuesday after closing she collapsed at a table. He brought her a glass of wine and some grapes. She smiled appreciatively. She enjoyed his attention and his company even if she was too tired to talk.
Reaching for a grape he put his hand on hers. Their eyes met and he picked up the bunch. He plucked the nicest grape. She watched silently as he carefully peeled the skin from the grape, the same as she'd done for years. He then put it up to her lips and waited.
She parted her lips slightly. She let the fruit roll across her tongue for a moment before chewing seductively and swallowing. She had wanted him long enough. She had waited long enough. Their eyes remained locked until he leaned down and kissed her.
His kiss was tentative but her response was not. She leaned into the kiss, into him and into the table, knocking the bowl of grapes and the wine on the floor. It shattered loudly send shards of glass everywhere. They both stopped and stared at the mess and then began laughing.
"Don't worry," she smiled. "I'll have Michael clean it up." She slid her hand into his and they left together, while Michael watched irritated. He got a broom and mop and cleaned up the mess they'd left behind.