Pretty Woman

Pretty Woman

She agrees to dine with him at Bel & the Dragon, in the heart of Windsor. He arrives the moment she does, kissing her on each corner of her mouth, in the sunshine. Instantly she is taken back to the last time a man kissed her on both corners of the mouth, the only other man after he said goodnight to her for the first time. She shakes her head, shakes the flooding memory from her mind.

 

He sits across the table from her in a booth, in a quiet section of the popular restaurant, after he requests it of the waitress. His arm rests over the back of the seat, his body language is unguarded. She elongates her back, sitting up straight against the backrest of the seat. Her smile is warm while she engages his eyes, listening tentatively to him talk. They both laugh and appear to be enjoying themselves. His charm, charisma wins her over instantly. His directness, openness and non-bullshit attitude are double points scoring.

 

He reveals his entire history with women he’s been with, warmly and confidently. He’s been married twice with 2 children – a boy of 18 years and a girl of 6 years, and he treats his latest ex’s daughter as if it is his own too.

 

He has a house in Chelsea where he lives alone and a house in Surrey’s countryside where his children sometimes stay with him. He drives in Surrey but has a driver in London.

 

He loves the finer things in life but does not waste money; he’s a finance lawyer of sorts (a doctorate in both finance and law) and has worked for the largest professional services firm in the world and now for a financial company that produces film sets so he travels all over the world with work. “I worked on The Ghost And The Darkness, in Africa 1994/5, and travelled around the major cities. But I missed out on Durban for some unknown reason. I did not like poverty.”

 

He wants another child or 2 but it must happen in the next two years. “I don’t want to be 65 when my child or children are 10.”

 

“I only want 1 child, but it must happen in the next year,” she says.

 

“But this time I will marry for love.” Previously, he tells her, it was to make partner at the age of 26 while he worked for the multinational company – a marriage of convenience, which she agreed to. It only lasted 6 months, but they both got what each other wanted: he, partnership and she, money. And the second was because his lover got pregnant and he wanted to do right by his son so his son can inherit his Italian’s family’s fortune one day. The only son… “Unless I have another…”

 

He asks about her ex-lover. She keeps it brief. Her briefness does not satisfy him. “Why did it end?”

 

“He was too old for me; 22 years is too big a gap. And he wasn’t the same when living together compared when being on holiday together for a week every 3-4 months yet I didn’t change. He can’t handle any stress, and it always felt as though I added to it.”

 

He agrees that fun holidays together do not prepare anyone for a future together. You have to live with someone as soon as possible. “Were your parents happy with the age-gap?” He chuckles.

 

“No!”

 

“Will they be happy with our age-gap?”

 

“Maybe a bit happier, but I don’t think 13 years is too much of a difference especially if you still want children and are not afraid.”

 

“If he walked past you right here,” he gestures with his hand, the space in front of her,” what would you do?”

 

“Well, if he saw me then I’d say hi. But if he didn’t see me I’d ignore him.”

 

He smiles, nodding his head. “The youngest women I date are mid 40s.”

 

“So, why are you here in front of me?”

 

“How do I resist you?”

 

Towards the end of their lunch, he explains how old school he is. “I pay for everything. Is that a problem for you?”

 

“It would be the very least of my problems…”

 

“Good. But it would be great if you suggest things for us to do; tell me what you really desire doing and we will go and do it unless I can’t afford it. But that’s never happened so far.”

 

“Okay,” she says, slapping the table with excitement, “how about we go for 3 nights and experience the Northern Lights in Norway or Iceland or even Finland?”

 

“I’d just need to get time off work. That’s the only issue. Otherwise, we’ll do it. Anything…”

 

She asks him if he has any animals. “I have 5 horses at my country house, and used to play polo professionally.” She asks him to teach her how to ride properly. “Just name the day or days,” he says.

 

She has to rush off, get back to her job. He stands up, kisses her on both corners of her mouth again. She steps back. He pulls her towards him. They embrace. He holds her tightly. “I’d better go,” she says, breaking free from his arms.

 

He calls her from his car phone, while she’s almost jogging back to the village, to give her dates as to when he can fit in with her unforgiving schedule. “I know this perfect place in Windsor for breakfast on Sunday. And then another for breakfast on Tuesday. Wednesday it can be lunch and dinner. And then we can take it from there. You may be bored with me by then.”

 

“Not sure if I can get away in the evening.”

 

“Ah! But I want us to go to the theatre soon. Do you appreciate ballet?”

 

“I don’t have anything to wear,” she blurts.

 

“I’ll take you shopping. Would you mind if I came along? It will be fun with you.”

 

“Well, it depends what kind of shopper you are.”

 

He laughs.

 

She feels like Pretty Woman already. She ponders if she ever wants to feel like Pretty Woman especially by a man she hardly knows…

 

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