I stopped by our favorite café to wait for Greg and ordered espresso. I sipped my coffee, looked at the window and pretended I was absorbed with the view of the busy street and didn’t care that the guy in the corner stared at the back of my head for fifteen minutes. I felt enormous relief when I saw with the corner of my eye that he got up from his chair. “Finally he’s leaving,” I thought. I was wrong. He came up to my table and sat in front of me.
“Hi,” he said. “I’ve been looking for you.”
“You mean at me,” I thought, but I said only, “Really?” and expressed false surprise as well as I could.
“Yes, you look beautiful in this light. I’m Danny. Can I ask your name?”
Softened with the compliment, I said, “Liz. But I have a boyfriend.”
“I know, I saw you with him here, a week ago. That’s why I was looking for you. He doesn’t deserve you.”
“Yes, really,” he said seriously, not noticing my sarcasm.
“It’s not your business,” I decided to be more direct.
“It’s my business because I deserve you.” Now he stared at my forehead and, probably as a result of heavy concentration, his eyes crossed.
I felt awkward, but also curious. “Are you trying to hypnotize me?”
“I’m connecting to your third eye to correct your thinking.”
“Oh, and how’s it going?” I checked my cellphone for time.
“He’s late, your boyfriend?” he asked.
He was, but I said, “It’s none of your business, believe me.”
“I saw him with another woman. Here, twice. He doesn’t deserve you. You should be with me.”
Now I stared at him. “When, how did she look?”
“Red hair, slim, not as beautiful as you are. So, will you go out with me? I can cook, I dance tango and I am a great lover.”
“Oh my god,” I got up from the chair. He got up, too, and grabbed my hand.
“Don’t leave, let’s go to see a movie.”
“Next time,” I said, pulling my hand out of his clammy claw and wiping it off on my jeans.
“Promise?” he said.
“Sure.” I rushed to the door and right outside the café bumped into Greg.
“Liz, I’m so sorry I’m late.”
“Sure, it’s hard to date two women at once.” I pushed him away and hurried along the street.
“What are you talking about?” Greg caught up with me and blocked my way.
“I knew it!” I almost cried at him. “I knew something’s going on, and now it’s finally clear.”
“What’s clear?” He looked puzzled.
“You are cheating on me, that’s what’s clear! You don’t even care enough to bring her to another place; you meet her in our café!”
“Who told you this crap?”
“Danny!” I paused. “I mean, he’s a freak, for sure, but it doesn’t matter. He saw you with another woman.”
“And you believe some random freak more than me?”
I looked at him, confused. ”Kinda.”
“You’re a freak!” he shook his head. “Let’s go, I will introduce you to my second girlfriend.” He brought me to his car and waved to a read-haired woman on the front seat.
“Melissa, this is my girlfriend. Liz, this is Melissa, she is a realtor,” he looked at me meaningfully. “Re-al-tor.”
“You bought the house!” I jumped on him and hung on his neck.
“Almost. I want you to see it first.”
“Oh my god, I’m such an idiot, I’m so sorry.” I hid my face on his shoulder.
“I know,” he kissed my cheek and said, “Get in the car.”
Before we took off, I said, “You know, let’s not go to that café anymore. I’m afraid being a freak is contagious.”