“Paul, you never take me out on a real date.” Tabatha grumbled as she plopped down on his couch.
“What do you mean? We just went to the diner.”
“Yeah, but that’s just a little café. Its not a nice restaurant where you have to make reservations.”
Paul chuckled and kissed her forehead. “Tomorrow night, we’ll go on a real date.”
Tabatha smiled, clearly satisfied.
That night after Tabatha had left, Paul couldn't sleep. No matter what he tried, sleep evaded him. So many questions were zooming through his mind. He sat up and had a nice long chat with Allan. After his midnight snack, and midnight run to burn off the midnight snack, he was finally exhausted enough to go to sleep.
He had the day off that day and had decided to go to his parents’ house. “Hey Mama.” Paul called as he went through the house. His father was in his office on the phone.
Donna was in the kitchen. “Hey baby, I was just making lunch.”
He kissed his mother’s cheek. “Are the guys coming over?”
Donna shook her head. “No, Jeff and Greg can’t get off and Phillip has a doctor’s appointment.”
“What’s wrong with Phillip?”
“Nothing. It’s Sophie’s appointment. Second trimester.” Paul nodded, having no clue what that meant. “Jeff and the kids came over last night.” Donna announced.
“Well I’m sorry Mama, I was a little busy.”
“With what?” Donna shot him a questioning eye.
“Tabatha was at the house.”
“Oh was she?”
“Yeah. And we had a good time.”
Donna squealed. “I told you she was a nice girl. Didn’t I tell you?”
Paul nodded. “Yes Mama, she’s very nice.”
Thomas came into the room rubbing his belly. “What smells so good?”
“Hamburger Helper.” Paul’s stomach growled at the mention of his favorite food.
“Sound’s good and smells better.” Thomas sat down at the table.
“So how are you, kid?”
“I’m good Dad. Thanks.”
“Got any answers to those questions?”
“Well, actually, maybe I do. Tabatha and I have been spending more time together. I really like her.”
“Well what about Grace?”
Paul was silent for a while. “I’ll always love her. That won’t change. But I’m not sure if she can love me back. And maybe I’m just wasting my time with Grace when I’m supposed to be with Tabatha. Or maybe it’s the other way around…”
“So what you’re saying is, you’re just as confused as the last time we talked.”
Paul nodded. “Yep, pretty much.”
Brian checked his watch. He had a little time before his lunch was over. He dialed her number. “Grace? Hi, it’s Brian.” He heard her stutter and fumble around. Something bumped in the background.
“Hi Brian…how are you?”
“I’m okay. Hey listen, my lunch is almost over so I can’t chat long but I just wanted to say that I had a great time with you the other day.”
“Thanks…I had fun too.”
Brian cleared his throat. “I was wondering if we could do that again sometime. Sometime soon. Just the two of us.”
“Brian, that’s very sweet of you but I don’t know…my husband just died a month ago…I don’t know if I could…”
“Not even as friends?”
Grace laughed. “I don’t know…”
“I will call you later for the answer. Right now, I have to get back to work.”
“Grace, just think about it. Okay?”
Grace sighed. “Okay, I’ll think about it.” Brian hung up the phone. Grace hit end and quickly dialed Paul’s number.
“Paul! You will not believe what just happened.”
“What? Is everything okay?”
“Yes, everything is fine. You know Brian Duncan, right?”
“Yeah. He’s the new doctor. Seems like a nice guy.”
Grace was pacing. “Yeah he’s very nice…he just asked me out.”
“Yeah…He said he was going to call me later for my answer. What do I say?” He was silent. “Paul?”
“What do you wanna say?”
Now it was Grace who didn’t answer. “I-I don’t know. We went to ChuckE Cheese with the kids and I had a good time but this is just the two of us and I haven’t had a date in over ten years. Allan was the last guy I ever dated…Pauly, what do I do?”
Paul sighed. “What do you want, Grace? Tell me what you want. Do you want to go out with him? He’s a nice guy. You like his daughter. What do you want?”
Later that night when Brian called for her answer, she was ready to give it to him.
“That is completely fine. I understand. Maybe some other time.”
“Thank you Brian. I really do appreciate your offer. I’m just not ready.”
“I understand. However, my offer still stands anytime.”
Grace sighed. “Thank you Brian. I have to go now, I have to put the kids to bed.”
“Okay, good bye Gracey.”
Grace hung up without saying goodbye. He had called her ‘Gracey’. And she was angry with him for saying it. That was only Allan’s pet name for her. Even if Paul did use it every now and then…she liked when Paul called her Gracey.
Grace groaned and crawled into bed. Her children had been asleep for about an hour, she just wanted to get off the phone with him. She fell asleep emotionally drained.
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