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candlelight dinnerShe wore a very pretty, pink, long-sleeved sweater that hugged her body and showed off her curves quite well. Her jeans were a couple of sizes too small, which was perfect for me, for obvious aesthetic reasons. She walked towards me from across the crowded bar, with a lovely smile on her lips – blood-red lips that broke into an easy smile that wrinkled the corners of her hazel eyes and made her look that much more beautiful. She was a little under 5’10″ tall, and easily one of the tallest women in the room.

She moved with a graceful, relaxed-yet-sexy walk, with her brown-streaked curls bouncing up and down with each step she took. She walked over to me, her smile widened as I stood up and hugged her tightly for a couple of seconds, and held out a chair for her. My fingers deliberately brushed her shoulders and her waist as I helped her into her seat, leaving no doubts in her mind what my intentions were.

“A gentleman,” she said. “You guys are hard to find these days.”

Her voice was sweetness personified.The lilting tones put my head into overdrive and even before I could say anything, I felt a stirring in my loins, an almost animalistic urge to pounce on her and take her roughly, right there in the crowded bar.

I smiled my best smile and said, “Then I’m glad you found me.”

We spoke of this and that, made small talk, and flirted quite a bit. I think my best line was, “I wish I knew Braille.” Since it was a blind date,  she got my meaning, and blushed deeply. Her lovely face turned bright crimson when I said it. We ordered a couple of drinks and a bite to eat. I reached my hand over to hers and held it there for a few minutes. She didn’t retract her hand. Instead, she locked her fingers between mine and we sat there, looking into each others’ eyes. Was this love at first sight? Was I really doing this? Meeting this beautiful woman, holding her hand, looking into her eyes and steadily falling in love?

The waiter handed me the bill, and just as I was about to pay, she reached over and snatched the bill away from me.

“I’m paying,” she said with a sweet smile.

I couldn’t react because I had seen something that had sent a shiver down my spine and in an instant, filled my very soul with terror. I wish I hadn’t seen it and I hoped I had imagined it, but I knew it was wishful thinking. I had seen the most terrifying sight that threatened to make me into a sniveling coward.

“Uh,” I said. “Look, I – I have to go. I am running late for a meeting.”

She stared at me coldly, stunned, unable to comprehend. Even before she recovered, I stood up, hastily threw down some money on the table and muttered something about it being my treat, stammered an apology and like a fool, I stumbled out of the bar and ran for my life. I did not take a cab, I did not even bother looking for my bike that I had parked close  by. I ran the three blocks to my house, in full sprint, not looking back. I was scared and I was not going to stop until I reached home.

After what seemed like an eternity, I reached my front door, out of breath and wheezing heavily. I rang the doorbell and almost collapsed into my roommate’s arms. Being one of my closest friends, he was obviously shocked and worried. He helped me into the chair, gave me some water and helped me calm myself down. My kid sister, who was also home, came out of the room and stared at me. I looked a total mess. They asked me what happened and demanded an explanation. They even offered to call the cops, thinking I had been mugged.

“No, don’t call the cops. They won’t be able to do anything,”  I managed to say between deep breaths.

“Nikhil, you’re scaring me,” said my sister. “What happened!?”

I looked into their faces – my sister and my best friend – anxiously looking at me, and waiting for an explanation. So, I told them my story about how I had met the perfect woman, the wonderful time we had had, the drinks and the dinner and the conversations. Then I reached the point of the story where the bill arrived and she had reached out to snatch it from my hand.

“What happened? Why did you run when she took the bill??” asked my roommate.

“Dude,” I said. “She had body hair!”

***