When I Wear that Ring

It was pouring; the kind of day when people are afraid to go out on the road because accidents are so ubiquitous. On that overcast evening, I headed out, ducking under my umbrella, and slid into the driver’s sear. I am the type of guy who never breaks appointments, dates, or promises. People say one of my best traits is my reliability. So reliable me drove along the rain soaked highway to Charlie’s Crab Shack. After parking on the gravel, I stepped out of my old boring silver car. I heard my shoes crunch as I sprinted in the rain across the gravel towards the welcoming door. Once inside, I hung my rain coat on a peg, and looked around. Charlie’s Crab Shack, normally quite busy, had many available tables due to the crazy weather. Only a few chairs were filled; then I saw her, Hannah Tinsley. Hannah Tinsley, a young woman, who was a top notch business partner. As I took in what she was wearing and how she looked, I wondered how long she took to get ready. She looked clean, was wearing casual clothing, and there was a glow that seemed to radiate from her (probably the candle’s doing). Her light brown hair was loosely sitting on her shoulders, and on her body she wore a red turtleneck that fit very well. As she waved me over, I noticed a gold ring around her finger. Damnit, the hot successful ones are always taken.

*****
Why do I even have to work with someone? I could easily get the deal signed in no time, and Sean Manning is just going to get in my way or at least slow me down. What a bonehead. Yet, here I am with a fake smile plastered on my face. He slid into the booth across from me.

“Hello, Mr. Manning,” I said with great formality.
“Hey, and call me Sean,” he replied in a casual tone.
“Alright, same goes for you…Hannah Tinsley. It is so nice to meet you, I have heard only great things about your work,” I said. Not.
Then, he gave me a goofy smile, “Yeah right,” Sean said sarcastically, “If I was back in high school, my English teacher would give me an F on all my reports. But thank you for you fake accolade.”
Surprised at his good humor, “You’re welcome.”
Sean raised his right eyebrow into an arch and gave me a look, “So you admit my work is crap?”

*****
Hannah became a little flustered, but quickly composed herself, “I was just being polite. Plus, I am letting you be right, I mean you said your work was not that great, and I just don’t want to start off our meeting with an argument.” She gave me an innocent smile.
In return, I too gave her a smile, although a bit more genuine. After making some small talk about the increasingly awful weather, I decided we should start working.

“Okay, Hannah…let’s get down to business.”
She nodded her head in concurrence.
I took out my folder, and she followed suit. We debated, fixed, revised, and talked about redoing it all from scratch for the next fifteen minutes. Then a waiter came over to our table.
“What can I get for you today?” she said in a sugary tone. Her tone was so sweet that it practically got the customers to order a dessert first.
“Lobster stew and ice tea,” said Hannah.
“And for you?” she asked as she looked in my direction.
“A hamburger and a beer,” I replied.

After a nice, satisfying, and relaxing meal, we decided to work more at the office. We exchanged office addresses and business emails. During the dinner, my gut was telling me that I should get to know Hannah Tinsley on a more personal level. So, as we were heading to exit Charlie’s Crab Shack, I got up the nerve and asked, “Hey, would you like to go out some time?”

*****
Shifting uncomfortably, I replied, “No, I’m sorry; I just don’t think that would be very appropriate Mr. Manning.” I tried to quickly head out, and all I heard him say was, “You can call me Sean.” I cannot believe he tried to ask me out. I do not know what he was feeling, but for me the last two hours were painful. He kept piling on joke after joke, and each time he obviously expected me to laugh hysterically (I tried to laugh to be nice…very forced). Regardless to say Sean’s jokes were lame; definitely not laughing material.

Then there was the way he ate. Disgraceful! The entire time there was either something on his out lip or a green thing stuck in his teeth. I casually tried to hint at it, but to no avail. Plus, while he was eating, he was talking (or rather telling jokes) yuck! I thought this was a business meeting. Instead, he laughed at his jokes while sharing his food with me by spitting it across the table. Sean Manning was practically force feeding me by laughing food onto my face.

*****
I do not understand, she seemed to be enjoying herself and Hannah giggled uncontrollably at all my jokes. I mean no girl has ever liked my jokes as much as she did; Hannah obviously has a great since of humor.

That business meeting was the bomb! We worked for the first ten minutes, and then we just had fun, and talked. I couldn’t piece it together, Hannah seemed completely into me. I was on my best behavior. Plus, she kept staring at my mouth the entire time; well, I have heard I have a great smile. Man, Hannah Tinsley was classy. She kept dabbing at her mouth with her napkin daintily even before she started eating.


So, with no answers, I dejectedly started my car, and drove home. I absently noticed the weather, as I was preoccupied. When I arrived home, I tossed my briefcase on to the couch and clicked on the TV. I drowned my rejection by watching my favorite shows. My puppy started wining so as to get my attention and let her inside. Exhausted and a tad annoyed, I lifted myself off the comfortable sofa, and let her in. I stoked her absently as I once again went over the night’s events; crap, I completely forgot. How could I? It was one of the first things I noticed: her ring. I guess it slipped my mind because I was having such a fun time. Now it all made sense; no wonder why she said that it would be inappropriate.

The next morning, I went for a jog along the beach at sunrise. My Labrador bounced alongside me. Today was a new day, and anything could happen. In fact a few hours later, something did happen. I jogged over to Good Morning Café, and guess who I saw. That’s right, Hannah Tinsley.

I felt embarrassed because I had hit on a married woman. By the time she had turned around, with a latte in her hand, I had composed myself. Casually I asked, “Hey Hannah, would you like to join me for brunch, I have a few more jokes for you?”
Looking down at her watch, then back at me she replied, “No Sean, sorry, I’m actually meeting someone…oh, here he is now.”
I glanced over my shoulder and spotted Mr. Tinsley. After taking him in, I stood up, held out my hand, and greet him, “Hello, you must be Hannah’s husband, it’s nice to meet you Mr. Tinsley.”
“I’m not Mr. Tinsley…there isn’t a Mr. Tinsley, Hannah’s not married”
“Oh, then you guys are engaged, congrats,” I said with fake enthusiasm.
He gruffly replied, “Why do you think this? No, we are not engaged nor married. We are just about to go on a date if you must know.”
Now I was confused, looking over at her left finger, “But she wore a gold diamond ring last night.”
“Why were you with her last night?” asked not Mr. Tinsley.
“Just a business meeting George,” Hannah said.
I could have sworn…

*****
He didn’t imagine the ring. I did have one on the night before. I simply wear it as a decoy so men won’t ask me out. I realize that seems weird; I am at that age when guys hit on me and expect me to be coy with them. But I don’t want that to happen. I am not scared, shy, or a lesbian. When I see a guy that looks nice and interesting, I want to ask him out. He usually asks about the ring and I tell them it was my grandmother’s ring and only fits my ring finger. Who says the guy has to ask?





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