CopyCat Cafe: A Stand In?

Continues from here.

“What the f…” I said before being interrupted.

Tracey stood before me in my own cafe’s kitchen, Sonya was on her left and a man by the name of Tom stood on her right. During our evening of too much to drink Sonya and her girl friend Tracey had decided I needed to make Simon feel like ‘the other man’ in my life as pay back for him doing that to me. I of course disagreed but they wouldn’t take no for an answer and less than twenty four hours later things started to unfurl and all four of us stood looking at each other.

Tom was good looking, short blonde hair, only and inch or two taller than me, good physique, well groomed and not my usual type, but that in itself made me interested. Interested in what you ask? I don’t know but I was interested in something about the man standing in front of me.

After greeting Tom and shaking his hand I said. “Are you really a willing participant in this or do they have something on you?”

“I must say it was a bit of a weird request, but what can I say, Tracey talked me in to it.” Dammit even is voice was sexy.

“She must owe you big time for doing something so crazy.” I replied.

“Hey what’s the worst that can happen? I get to be seen with a wonderful woman and have a dinner or two. Seems like a reasonable deal to me!”

“I might not be a ‘wonderful woman’,” I replied using air quotes and hoping he saw it as a joke and not someone trying to put themselves down.

“The way Tracey talked you up you sounded like Wonder Woman!” Tom replied and I blushed, not something I had done too often in my life.

“Well I thank Tracey for such kind words but it’s worth noting that she was drunk last night and he my still be effected by alcohol!” I stated with a smile on my face.

Well Tom started off pushing all the right buttons, I still wasn’t sure how I felt about the game Sonya and Tracey has set up but as Tom seemed to be a willing participant I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe I should just have a bit of fun.

“So what are you interested in Tom?” I figured if we were going to spend time together having a few common interests might make it easier.

Although I was still slightly hesitant about the way we’d been set up my mind was slowly convincing me to play along but I was sure if I was to keep playing there had to be something we could talk about when we were together. Tom rattled off a few of his main interests and thankfully none of them were sport so I wouldn’t have to fake an interest in some football team while we had dinner, I also wouldn’t have to pretend I was someone I wasn’t because he was the sort that would only be seen in the top class restaurants. He was a very down to earth sort of person and nothing about him seemed to be pretentious at all. Being a friend of Tracey’s maybe I shouldn’t have been so surprised.

“So when is the first date?” Tracey asked after we’d been talking for about fifteen minutes.

Both Tom and I looked directly at her.

“Going by the look they both just gave you it wont be tonight Trace!” Sonya said through laughter.

I looked at Tom, “Sorry, I honestly can’t do tonight, I’m wrecked. After the night these two forced on me last night I’m going home to bed.”

“Sound like an invite to me Tom!” Tracey said.

I was used to the forwardness from Sonya, and probably shouldn’t have been that surprised that her girl friend had a similar trait but the comment still stunned me. Tom was obviously less surprised and was quick with a reaction.

“And that’s why you got the nickname Yo-Yo Knickers isn’t it?”

We all laughed, even Tracey.

“I don’t hear you complaining too often.” Tracey said looking directly at Sonya.

“Not even when it happens in public, Babe!” Sonya replied.

To see them together and their interaction with each other one could be excused to think only days before there was a massive rift forming between them. As Sonya had suggested a complete repair wont be a short term thing but the fact that they’d gotten back to joking and having fun so quickly was a great sign and I loved seeing it.

“Maybe we should get these two a room?” Tom said to me.

“Or we could lock them in the cool room over night, they ought to be back down to normal operating temperature by morning!” I said with a smile.

“Ooooooooohhhhhhh.” Sonya said gleefully, “There’s salami in there! How would you like to try my salami Trace?”

Tracey agreed at which time I turned to Tom and said, “Not sure what she plans to do with it because it’s sliced!”

After the laughter and silliness eased down I told them I’d had enough for the day and if they wanted to keep chatting and being silly they could do so but they’d have to lock up. Everyone agreed it was time to go home so Sonya and I grabbed our bags while Trace and Tom exited the kitchen.

As I set the alarm, a code I didn’t need to concentrate on to enter correctly, I said to Sonya. “Will I see you tomorrow or do you want you day off?”

We both stepped outside and I was locking the door as she responded. “No, if I need it I’ll take it one day next week when Yo-Yo Knickers can get time off!”

Laughter broke out again but didn’t last as long.

“Can I walk you home?” Tom asked as I stepped off the single step at the door.

Again I was shocked, sure I had agreed to play the game but I’d already made my intentions about going home to bed very clear and I didn’t expect Tom to jump into the game so quickly. To be honest I still felt a little weird about playing a trick on Simon, but obviously not weird enough because I agreed to Tom’s offer.

We left Sonya and Tracey at the corner of Standing Street and Florence Street, they headed west, to Sonya’s house and I headed north with my escort. Before we got to my doorstep I found out Tom was widowed, sad news for anyone but Tom was only 38 and had only been married 3 years when his wife died of cancer and that all happened 5 years ago, he’d been single since then and wasn’t sure if he was ready to date again.

I realize it wasn’t the most pure thought I could have had but at the time I remember thinking that a person who wasn’t emotionally stable enough to know if they wanted to date wasn’t the sort of person I wanted to be seen out with. But I quickly reminded myself that Tom and I weren’t dating, we were just going to be going out as two friends, nothing more nothing less.

When we got to my doorstep I thought it would be rude of me not to invite Tom in for at least a drink, so I asked him in for dinner. It was pushing towards 7pm and while he would still get himself home by 7:30, because he only lived three streets away, he took up my offer.

“I can’t guarantee much, I have no idea what is in the house.”

“I’m sure anything you find will be fine. But if it’s too much trouble you don’t have to.” He said.

“Not too much trouble, just no guarantees. Besides we can get to know each other a bit more.” It sounded like I was really on a date, I felt a bit weird but I didn’t know how else to handle the situation and so far I had enjoyed Tom’s company so spending a bit more time was him was definitely not going to be a chore.

After diner, which was nothing more elaborate than some burgers I found in the freezer and was able to defrost, cook and squeeze between some two day old buns from the fridge, Tom offered to help me clean up. Throughout our conversation and his offer to help clean up it was hard not to compare him to Simon, the looked different, they sounded different and they acted different but both were extremely polite, well mannered and not to shy to offer their help.

I know what you’re thinking and no that didn’t happened, I didn’t fall for Tom or fall into bed with him, he helped me do the dishes and that was it. By the time the dishes were done it was dark and although I offered to call him a taxi he politely refused telling me that the walk would do him well and that he wasn’t afraid of the dark.

Before he walked out the door I gave him my card which had all my contact details on it and told him that if he wanted to call me I’d be more than happy to go out for a few friendly drinks or even a meal. He took my card, pushed it into his pocket and promised me he’d call. He then stepped out into the darkness and we say our farewells.

Less than two minutes later I was flicking through the TV guide on the screen of the TV in the family room and my phone beeped telling me there was a text message. I put the remote down and headed to the kitchen to see who was sending me a message. It was Simon.

“Who was that leaving your house?
Should I be concerned?
Please call me!”

I dropped the phone in disgust.


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