I did the strangest, most unexpected thing today.
To Charlotte Samuels, no less.
Even in hindsight, I'm still not sure what happened.
I went to Marlow's to meet her.
I've only ever been there once or twice even if Dad is a regular—like most wealthy and important men who favored the iconic diner where industry-makers from decades ago communed, and where new players tried to emulate them.
I didn't eat and from what I remembered, the food wasn't that amazing.
It must be the girls. Marlow's has a good array of young and attractive waitresses. I'm not sure it's intentional but I had a feeling it helped draw in the clientele.
While I sat and waited, I observed the customers' interactions with the serving girls who smiled and flirted back. I haven't seen anything too inappropriate but I wasn't oblivious to the possibility that some of these customers might pay for exclusive services outside of the diner.
Thinking that this young girl my father was so fond of was earning extra on a similar capacity made me a little sick. In spite of how I felt about the situation, I didn't like thinking of women forced by their economic circumstances to trade their bodies for food and shelter.
The fact that I was ready with a rather generous monetary offer to give Charlotte Samuels in complying with my plan that she come to Dad and tell him she didn't want to marry me, made me feel a little bit better.
The money might help her get out of whatever hole she'd dug for herself.
My initial anger had ebbed slightly and I was grateful for that.
It never helped to approach a business deal with an emotional bias.
Not that I imagine it would be too complicated.
I'd offer her money in exchange for her having a simple conversation with my father about how she didn't really want to go through with what he'd planned. In the end, we all win, even my father, even if he doesn't know it yet.
I know he's guided by some kind of notion that he's doing something wise and important but while I respected and admired my father, I drew the line at being dictated about my bride.
Unfortunately, none of the reports I read through prepared me for the sight of Charlotte Samuels.
I first noticed a pretty girl as she was coming my way, stopped by the shameless flirt Bruce Cooper. I watched, wondering whether I was going to have to jump in and save her if Cooper got too friendly but she handled that well and kept walking.
I couldn't look away. As she came closer, I got a better look at her, not recognizing anything except the fact that the girl with the unruly dark blond hair and bright blue-green eyes had my blood singing.
She'd said something when she arrived at my table but I was too absorbed to have caught it.
She wore the look of innocence and surprise when she caught my eye and I had the most disorienting urge to trace the curve of her bottom lip.
I had to remind myself that I was in Marlow's for something else—something more important than an inconvenient attraction to one of the serving girls.
It wasn't even that she was a knockout beauty. That was more like Simone and a dozen other women I've dated over the years.
I tried to put a finger on it but gave up after a few moments. It wasn't anything specific about her—just the fact that she reminded me of a day on the beach, sitting under the warm, bright sun shining against bright blue skies, and looking out to the sparkling blue-green ocean.
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Brandon's Notebook (A TMMM Bonus Material)Romance
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