Harry Spangler loved his kids, he did. But the truth of the matter was that he wasn’t ready to date. He knew if he turned up at Queen Charlotte’s ball alone, his kids would ramp up their campaign to get him a…woman friend. His wife had died just two years ago, he wasn’t ready for any ‘women friends’.
“Why don’t you just hire an escort?” his friend Nigel asked as they played chess that evening.
“Where does one do that?” he asked perking up at the idea.
“Leave it to me Haz, I’ll get you somebody.” Nigel said with a pat on his shoulder.
“Make sure she’s…”, Harry lifted up one finger looking for the right word.
“Don’t worry Harry! She’ll be as respectable looking as they come.”
Harry stood beside his car, waiting for Nigel to draw up with his date for the evening. Two of his sons and his daughter had already called him to find out who he was coming with. He’d been relieved to have an answer for them that didn’t start with…’Nobody’.
He saw Nigel’s Land Rover draw up on the cobbled London side street and stepped forward, heart beating nervously. His friend alighted from his vehicle and then went round to open the door for his passenger. The first thing he saw was her upswept shining red hair. It was too dark to see her face but her red lipstick shone, highlighted by the lights spilling from the Royal Courts of Justice. She had a nice mouth he could see; definitely a beautiful woman.
She was wearing the gown he’d sent; Nigel had given him her size. She wore it well and Harry let go of a breath he didn’t know he was holding. He smiled, extended his arm out for her to take.
“Harry? Meet Elaine”, Nigel said, “Elaine? This is my friend Harry. He’ll be your date for the evening.”
“Pleased to meet you”, Elaine said. Her voice was soft with a hint of London Sloane Square, seemingly shy. Harry moved forward, covering her hand on his arm with his own.
“The pleasure is all mine”, he said.
They walked into the ball arm in arm, Elaine keeping step with him, head raised high and back straight. Harry liked her already. He leaned over to speak to her as music spilled out of the hall.
As he swept her into the hall she turned to him and smiled, leaning in to whisper, “Do you want to dance?”
Harry had missed dancing.
He nodded in agreement.
The looks on his children’s’ faces was priceless.
This was going to be a good night.