He wore a thin gold wedding band. She glanced surreptitiously from behind the newspaper, watching his ring glint in the sun streaming through the coffee house windows. He lifted his mug, bringing it to a set of full lips surrounded by a neatly-trimmed goatee. He wore a gray suit, accentuated by a silvery blue tie, one that had her speculating. Had he picked out today’s professional ensemble? Or had his wife, dutiful, but probably plain, laid it out for him this morning? Maybe he had an important meeting today, and his wife wanted him to look sharp. To bring home the big bucks. To pay for the 2.5 screaming children and the old, smelly family dog.
She took a sip of her cooling latte. With one hand holding the paper, she reached into her snakeskin purse and pulled out her favorite lipstick, “Luscious Apple.” With the skill that comes from being a woman, she smoothed on the red color, having long ago memorized the shape of her collagen-filled lips. She placed the lipstick back in her purse, then casually ran a hand over her blond hair. She’d had extensions put in the other day, and her hair, once stringy and brown, now swung down her back when she walked. She felt like a supermodel.
The man had rolled his magazine – Time, it looked like – and picked up his briefcase. As he prepared to stand, the woman stood up, straightened her pencil skirt, and clicked her way over to his table.
“Excuse me, I don’t mean to bother you, but could you point me towards the Chrysler building? I’m from out of town and a little turned around. Chicago is such a big city.”
“Of course. Just take a right out of here and go about five blocks.”
“Thank you so much. I’m Rachel, by the way.”
“Hi, Rachel. Nice to meet you.”
She reached out to stroke a finger down his sleeve.
“This is a beautiful blazer, Mr… I’m sorry, what did you say your name was?”
“I didn’t. Jacob.”
“Jacob,” she purred. “That is one of my favorite names. May I sit down?”
Jacob looked around the shop. There was only one other couple occupying a table, and although he felt uncomfortable, he really didn’t have an excuse to say no to this woman. Rachel.
“Please,” he said, gesturing toward the chair.
Rachel sat down and slowly crossed her legs, her skirt riding up her thigh. She leaned forward on the table, a move calculated to show ample cleavage.
“So, Jacob, tell me about yourself. A handsome man like you must be successful.”
Jacob cleared his throat, adjusted his tie.
“Well, uh, I’m a real estate developer. I’ve got a meeting in an hour with some investors for a project.”
“My, that’s fascinating. You must be wonderful at your job.”
Rachel traced her top lip with the tip of a pink tongue.
“Tell me, what else do you do? Do you like to have fun?”
She ran her fingertip over the top of his hand.
“Yes, yes, I like to have fun.”
“What kind of fun?”
“All kinds of fun. Why do you ask?”
“I think we could have some fun. Together.”
She leaned across the table to run her fingers through his silky hair.
“Well, you let me know.”
Rachel stood up, walked around the table, and kissed Jacob’s cheek. As she did, she dropped a folded piece of paper onto his lap.
“See you soon, Jacob.”
He turned around to watch her shimmy through the door. Unfolding the paper, he felt his throat constrict, felt a bead of sweat trickle down his temple.
Jacob pushed his chair back from the table and picked up his briefcase. With the note clenched in his clammy hand, he walked out of the coffee shop. And turned left.