Quinn’s car was neat and tidy. There was a single picture tucked under the corner of his visor. I recognized the young lady he was hugging right away. It was Anna.
“Quinn,” I asked cautiously. “How is Anna doing?”
The smile left his lips immediately and he kept his eyes straight ahead of him. “I keep forgetting you know about her.”
“I don’t know if I‘ve ever meet her though.” I said.
Stacie sat quietly in the back seat as Quinn began to talk about his sister’s health. “She has stopped responding to the treatments and medications.” He said.
Then he paused for a moment and let a large lump slide down his throat. “The Doctor’s say she is still relatively strong considering but that without the treatments working we have little to hope for."
Stacie piped up from the back seat. “Don’t say that. There is always hope.”
Quinn nodded graciously but he did not respond. His eyes tightened and I imagined him trying to shrug off her words before they melted into his heart. Lord, there is always hope. Please allow Quinn room in his heart to feel it and embrace it.
Quinn had chosen a small eatery across the street from my hotel. It was a sweet gesture considering it was after one o’clock. Stacie had to be at work by three.
The restaurant had a very quaint, French appeal to it. The aroma that filled our senses as the door came open was glorious. My stomach began to covet immediately. Quinn pulled out a chair for Stacie and then me before he sat down. He’s very good with my sister. He seemed to know how to soften her and win her over slowly.
Stacie has always been very protective of me even though she is three years younger. In fact, if my memory is worth anything I can almost picture the first time she met Mitch. It was very much like our lunch today.
It was in the food court of the University I attended in Montreal. It was particularly busy at lunch in there and that day I needed to find two seats. Stacie had come along with me for the day to see what college life was like. She was in her senior year of high school and really could not decide whether to study at home or abroad. So, this day, she was my shadow.
We had walked the perimeter of the tables twice and still had not located two seats together, until a dark haired young man stood and waved to us.
Stacie nudged me with her elbow. “Is he waving at us?” We both did an about face to see who was around us and then back at him. He was now pointing towards us with two fingers. Carefully without tipping my food tray all over me, I pointed to myself inquisitively.
His rumbled hair fell over his eyes as he emphatically nodded yes. He pointed down to his table that had two empty seats now. Stacie began to march over to him before I had decided what to do about the situation.
She spoke forcefully to him demanding answers as to why he was motioning to us.
Cautiously he spoke. “I am nearly done my lunch and I thought you might want my table.”
“Yes.” Stacie said confidently. “But that is all we want.”
The man seemed unnerved by Stacie’s abruptness and he turned his dark, enchanting eyes on me. We all sat together for about ten minutes talking about all kinds of things. Stacie would often answer the questions he directed to me but he didn’t seem to care.
Just before he excused himself, he reached his hand over to me and introduced himself as Mitch. Then he rose with his tray and trash.
“By the way,” he said. “I eat here every Tuesday and Thursday at this time if you ever need another table to sit at.” With that spoken, he winked and walked away.
With her mouth full of food, Stacie leaned over to me and spoke. “That was a lame pick-up line. With practice, he might find a nice girl someday.”
Without her consent, I realized he had. That was the beginning of my courtship with Mitch, as we met for lunch every Tuesday and Thursday from that day on.
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