“Wilson here,” I said.
“You are crazy! What was all that stuff about nude pictures of me? I had everybody coming in here for an end-of-day meeting and you dropped that story on me! Damn, Wil. Maybe I should have sent you a picture so you wouldn’t be making up stuff,” Jackie said, laughing.
“Probably a good thing you didn’t. My fantasies are already in overdrive,” I said.
We talked for a bit, she told me where to meet her at 4:30 PM Friday-- a bar attached to a restaurant in the city near where we both grew up. It was in a new hotel I had never seen. She said they were supposed to have a good crowd after work on Fridays. That sounded fine to me. It might be best if we weren’t meeting in a quiet, subdued place.
I got to my parent’s house on Thursday night. I had checked into a Holiday Inn out by the interstate before going over to see them. We stayed up late talking about family stuff. The next day I went back over to the house in the morning and spent time with them until mid-afternoon when I headed back to the motel. I told my parents that I was going to take a nap—jet-lagged as I was—and then go out with some old college pals for dinner. I’d see the folks again on Saturday.
Since Jackie was coming straight from work I decided I shouldn’t be under dressed. She had her own real estate office, so chances were pretty good she’d be in business clothes. I put on a dark blue suit I had brought for a meeting on Avenue of the Americas in New York back on Tuesday. Normally I didn’t need to dress like this for business. But I wanted Jackie to be comfortable… I didn’t want to look like… well, hell, I looked pretty good in that suit. So, why not wear it? I checked the mirror on the way out the door. A new pale blue shirt and a dark silk tie. Shoes shined. If she showed up in jeans I'd feel like a complete dope.
I got to the bar early; 4 PM and it was about a third full. I found a table near the back where I could see the entrance off the hotel lobby clearly. Hell, I didn’t know what Jacqueline Sampson even looked like these days. Who was I even looking for?
The waitress came by, “Hi! I’m Cindy, I’ll be serving you tonight, what can I get for you?”
I looked up at an adorable olive-skinned creature of about 21. Her name tag said, “Cyndy.” How cute.
“Well Cyndy with two *y’s*, I’m Wil and I will be purchasing cocktails from you this evening. I’ll start with a Sapphire and tonic,” I said.
“Great, Wil! Is someone else going to be joining you, or are you on the prowl tonight like most of the people that will be showing up here in the next few hours?” Cyndy asked.
“I’m here for a reunion, Cyndy, with a lady I haven’t seen in nearly 25 years. I haven’t seen even so much as a picture of her since the early 70’s,” I said.
“Wil! That’s so cool! When is she supposed to be here?” she said.
“Soon. And I’m nervous. I need that drink,” I said with a laugh.
“Yes, Sir! Right away, Sir!” Cyndy grinned and went to the bar. Good Lord she was cute. In every way possible. Ah, sweet bird of youth.
I was on my second drink and it was close to 4:30. I had begun to size up everyone who came through the door for “could-that-be-Jacqueline?” potential. There was a steady stream of talent arriving. Cyndy came by every now and then to check on me. She simply loved the idea of our reunion and acted like she was on “the inside” of a secret deal. I gave her a little background, and I started to think she was as excited about our reunion as I was. Well, almost. Frankly, I wasn't this nervous on prom night.
I didn’t think Jackie would be coming in with a group, so when 3 or 4 women would come in together I’d look at them, some were quite attractive, but figured none were Ms. Sampson. The place was filling up. I was glad I’d dressed in a suit as this was definitely a downtown office worker crowd. But they looked to be mostly in their twenties and thirties—a bit younger than me. Cyndy kept my spirits up when it was 4:45 and there was still no sign of Jackie. “Another G&T, Wil?” she asked.
“Nah. I’ll just chew on some ice in frustration for a while, thanks, I don’t want to get drunk,” I said, “at least not yet.”
Cyndy put her hand on my arm, “Relax. She’ll be here. She’s probably so nervous about seeing you she can’t even remember where this place is. I know I would be all keyed up. Just sit back and watch the crowd. She’ll get here and you’ll forget she was late as soon as you see her!”
While young Cyndy was telling me to remain calm, I halfway noticed a platinum blond, seemingly about 35, in a light gray suit and pale pink blouse walk up behind her. I couldn't see her face, but I knew she was stopping just behind my adorable waitress.
“Wil? Is that you?” the blond in the tailored gray suit and killer high heels said.
Cyndy stepped back from the table and I stood up. “Jackie? Is that you?”
She nodded with a huge smile. I threw my arms around her, we hugged, and kissed each other on the cheek. My waitress had backed up ten feet or so and she caught my eye as I looked over Jackie’s shoulder. Cyndy stuck both thumbs in the air, did a sort of touchdown dance, and mouthed the word “Yessssss!”