Brett stared, fascinated, as Carla dipped her last French fry into a dollop of mayonnaise. She popped the greasy potato slice into her mouth, rubbing her tummy as she did so.
“Mmm,” she said, rolling her eyes up to the ceiling in gastronomic ecstasy. “Good to the last bite.” She wiped her lips and then tossed the crumpled napkin onto her plate, smiling at Brett as she leaned forward, her chin resting on folded holds. “How’s that salad doing for you?”
“It’s fine.” He fumbled for words, feeling flummoxed after watching this petite, pixie faced woman polish off the Gutbuster Lunch special consisting of a triple bacon cheeseburger topped with onion rings, an extra large serving fries, and a giant soft drink, as well as additional side of breaded chicken fingers covered with ranch dressing. Oh, and the extra mayo she’d ordered, for dipping the fries in. She had eaten it all, every bite – well, all except for the lettuce and tomato that graced the top bun. He couldn’t help but stare now as she lifted the limp vegetables off her plate and wrapped them up in a paper napkin.
“I always take the garnish home for my hamster,” she explained as she tucked the soggy napkin into her cycling backpack. “Heaven knows I can’t stand the stuff.”
Brett turned his eyes down at his own lunch. He’d ordered his usual raw spinach salad topped with grilled chicken breast, dressing on the side. He didn’t know if it was the smell of so much fried food turning his stomach queasy, or the cold grip of disappointment, but he had lost his appetite.
A work friend had been lobbying to set him up with Carla for weeks. Normally Brett avoided blind dates, but after weeks of hearing about the amazing Carla Lupinetti, his defenses were worn thin, and he’d finally agreed to a meet up. Up until an hour ago, the date had been magical.
They met at mid-morning in the park for a short, casual bike ride around the lake. Midway through they stopped to admire the view, and fell easily into lively conversation that was quite unlike the stilted small talk typically experienced on first dates. An hour passed and Brett found that he was reluctant to say good-bye to this beautiful woman who was clicking with him on so many levels. She was intelligent with a wry sense of humor that delighted him, and he had been attracted to her physically from the moment they shook hands in greeting. An invitation to extend the morning activities into a lunch together had fallen from his lips without hesitation.
But now he knew this could never work out. He was a committed to a healthy lifestyle, had been his whole life. He shopped organic sources, grew his own veggies and herbs, and bought all his meat from local farmers who shunned antibiotic use in their animals. Fat, sugar, and processed foods were banished from his kitchen. He ate real food, mostly vegetables, in carefully measured proportions. There was no room in his life for a fat guzzling, processed food addict. He sighed in disappointment.
“Are you feeling, okay?” Carla’s polite concern pulled him from his musing.
“I’m sorry,” Brett said as he set his fork down. “I was lost in thought for a moment.” He pushed his full plate away. “I guess I’m not that hungry, after all.”
Brett drummed his fingers nervously on the table. “I’m sorry if this seems forward,” he asked impulsively, “but how can you can put away such a tremendous quantity of food and still retain your amazing figure?”
“Good genes, I guess.” Carla replied, not in the least bit offended. She sipped the last drops of her Dr. Pepper through a straw before continuing. “I’ve always enjoyed hearty food and lots of it.” Carla glanced up at him from beneath lowered lashes and impulsively reached across the table to lay her hand atop Brett’s forearm. “It could also be that the excitement of meeting someone special has further increased my appetite.”
Brett stuttered for an appropriate reply, but he was silenced when Carla leaned in, whispering in breathless tones. “And now if I could be the one to risk being forward, I’d mention that I also enjoy indulging my voracious cravings in other areas of my life as well.” Brett’s jaw dropped in surprise as Carla’s smooth fingers gave his arm a suggestive squeeze.
In that moment Brett decided that perhaps he was being too hasty in his judgment. Maybe this relationship would work out after all…