My morning passed in a haze of exhaustion. Once more I woke early to take care of business mail and found an unbelievable number of new messages. I skimmed through for dates instead of trying to respond to each one, despite knowing I would be short on time after school. One of the emails sought for me to act as a driver tomorrow, which I accepted after noticing the car would be provided. Another I was forced to decline, already being booked on Saturday for Michelle’s big day. The rest would be fine waiting for a day or two, but I understood well already why father had a secretary. Keeping the schedule was quite time-consuming even running a small business, but I would persevere.
School went fairly smoothly, though I fell asleep during my lunch. Jarod tried pulling more information about my hopeful date with Emma out of me, and I only wished I could appease him. I was both eager and anxious about whether she would call me, but I knew too little about the girl. If only I asked Timothy more questions about her, I might be better prepared for meeting his granddaughter. Regina, on the other hand, pointedly avoided the subject and spoke with me quite briefly. I feared that I truly hurt her feelings by agreeing to go on a date with another girl, but doubts still lingered about what part she had in the torment other girls suffered when pursuing me. Was she truly capable of being so cruel to others? If so, I would regret my association with her.
I was allowed to leave track practice a little early after explaining that I had work, which allowed me to take a quick shower and change before catching a bus to the mall. For a brief moment, I thought I saw violet eyes on the bus when I boarded, but to my disappointment I found no tiny girl with auburn hair in the crowd. The entire trip I daydreamed about what seeing her again would be like. My cheeks felt hot after I nearly missed my stop and hurried off. I didn’t see anyone resembling Georgina’s picture when I arrived at the meeting spot in the mall, so I took a seat near the fountain and attempted to find her. I felt like I was being watched, which might be why I jumped when she was suddenly at my side.
Georgina looked like a woman in her late twenties, but her request claimed she was 37. Her wavy hair reached her shoulders and was quite black without a strand of grey. When I stood, she was nearly my height, which was partly due to the heels she wore. Noticing far too much leg, my eyes quickly darted back up to meet hers. There was something disturbing to me about her hazel eyes. They seemed dead to me, as if no emotion ever touched them though a smile was on her lips as she greeted me. “James, I presume. I wondered if your site’s picture was a fair resemblance to you, and I must say that it is. Ready to do some shopping?”
I gave her a smile and said, “A pleasure to make your acquaintance, Miss Martin. A best friend comes when called, so I’m ready when you are.” She looped her left arm around my right, catching me off-guard, but I did my best to relax and allow myself to act casually as a dear friend would. “Call me Georgina, deary. I love how the blue in your shirt brightens your eyes,” she said as her right hand caressed my sleeve. “I wish I had more friends like you. There’s nothing like a man’s opinion on how a girl looks when shopping.” The notion struck me a bit odd, especially considering Georgina’s age, but I replied as casually as I could, “I’m glad to be of service. Might I inquire how you came across my site? I’ve been surprised by how many messages I’ve received lately.”
She laughed, but I didn’t catch even a hint of mirth in the sound. Instead of replying to me, she guided me to a boot-filled store to our left. My comfort zone became further endangered as my mind was suddenly focusing on the tight violet outfit she wore with a skirt that barely reached her mid-thigh. The effect was more pronounced as she started trying on boots, resting her foot on a seat before asking me what I thought. “Umm… those do look lovely as well, although I think the third pair will suit you the best,” I said through a knot in my throat. My opinion was honest, but part of me was looking forward to her leg being on display yet again. I kept reminding myself of her age, which only added to my discomfort. Then I started focusing on how her eyes unsettled me which finally helped me regain my form.
I managed to keep calm as she took me through various clothing stores, though she continued to tease the entire time. I succeeded in distancing her body from mine with the bags I carried as she made more and more purchases. I nearly had a lapse back into nervousness when she eyed a lingerie store at length, but I became distracted by a glimpse of auburn hair moving around a corner down the hall. Georgina declared rather suddenly that she was tired of shopping, so we headed out of the mall without entering the feared store. I loaded up the trunk of her red M3 coupé and then was surprised by her asking me to join her for dinner, since that wasn’t part of the initial arrangement. Part of my business was remaining flexible, and I did need the money. I assented after pointing out that this meant additional fees, to which she agreed.
As we drove away, I realized the woman was nervous toward the end of our shopping for she visibly relaxed as she drove away. The windows were down, and the wind gave Georgina a wild look as she sped along the road at every opportunity. Jarod would definitely appreciate how the woman handled the wheel, which got me thinking of the vulgar remarks he would surely make about an older woman hitting on me as she seemed to be. Then I found myself considering how Regina would likely love shopping with me in such a manner, and how she would be an equal tease to the lady by my side. This comforted me some, allowing me to believe for a moment that the teasing was just a female thing.
The car came to a crawl as we turned into the driveway of a fairly large, brick house that looked to be old but well-kept. The dark red shutters at each window looked to be real instead of the more typical decorations of modern homes. Stepping inside, a window garden could be seen in the kitchen from the hall, likely filled with herbs. The smell of incense grew stronger as we approached her bedroom, and a definite sense of unease regained a footing in my chest. I hurried out of that room after setting her bags by her dresser, though she had taken a seat on the bed. “Wow… I can’t believe how hungry I feel,” I exclaimed from the doorway.
Georgina followed me as I swiftly walked to the kitchen, and then she asked me to take a seat at a kitchen table as she prepared some soup. “Would you like some wine, James?” I declined, making light of the offer, and accepted a glass of soda instead. We talked a bit, but my head felt foggy. I was surprised when she sat at the table with only one bowl of soup from which she ate. “Don’t fight it, young one,” I swear Georgina whispered, but my eyes were now trying to focus on the doorway. I saw a tiny girl there whose violet eyes seemed to glow. She was so very beautiful. My ears longed to hear again that amazing accent of hers, but my eyelids felt so heavy, keeping them open seemed impossible. I rested my head on the table while part of me screamed to wake up. I wanted to see the girl at the door. “Alma,” I tried to say. I heard a gasp near me shortly before something hit the table and clattered to the floor.
I woke up on a couch with a crocheted blanket over me. I felt so groggy and yet still managed to feel unbelievably embarrassed. If father found out I fell asleep on the job, he’d put an end to my business immediately. I wondered how Alma got me onto the couch and then questioned myself. I must have dreamt of the girl for I was working for Georgina today. I stood up, knocking a note to the ground in the process. The note was from Georgina, explaining that she had to leave for work shortly after I passed out. Apparently, the woman worked as a nurse and was on call. She was very comforting in it, telling me not to worry about falling asleep and saying that such things happened to the best of us. She also said that she wouldn’t be paying the extra fee, since I hadn’t lasted through dinner. I was fortunate that she was quite the generous woman.
I did as the note instructed and locked the house after leaving. Then I followed her instructions to the nearest bus stop. My parents would be surprised at how long this shopping trip lasted, since I apparently slept for over two hours if I even remembered the time Georgina and I arrived correctly. There was still a thick fog in my head, so I didn’t feel I would get any homework done this night. My mind kept returning to Alma, and I wondered what there was beyond her accent that occupied my thoughts so often.
When I arrived home, I explained that Georgina was truly an avid shopper, and had invited me to dine with her afterward. I did my best to make the story sound far more innocent than it seemed at the time, since she did me such a service in not being angry at my unprofessional behavior. Also, I didn’t feel that my parents would approve at such a woman being flirtatious, with me not yet out of high school. I then hurried to bed before my stomach started to growl, not wanting my parents to question my hunger, and still fell fast asleep before my head touched the pillow. I awoke at eleven with a clear head, so I raided the fridge and devoured all the leftovers with the appetite of a starving teenage athlete. This wasn’t the first time I pulled such a stunt, so my mother wouldn’t likely question it too much. I even managed to get some homework done before drowsiness took me once again.