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“No worries,” Mike replied. “Take your time. I’m really starting to have some strong feelings for you and I want you to be sure of what, if anything, you feel for me. So give me a call when you’re ready. I’ll be waiting.”

Melanie watched Mike walk off after he’d helped her into a cab and she couldn’t help but smile as she thought over their short but promising budding relationship. It had all started about five months ago. After recently moving back to Hampton, South Carolina, Melanie had immediately become active in community theater. With all of the turmoil going on in her real life, she’d loved immersing herself into the various characters and losing herself for a few hours. One day, as she was leaving the theater after a Sunday afternoon matinee, she stopped short upon hearing her name.

“Melanie….Melanie Walker?” called a well-dressed woman who appeared to be in her sixties.

“Yes, that’s me. Have we met?” asked Melanie.

“No...and I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to startle you. I just saw the play you were in and wondered if I might have a few minutes of your time?” The woman took a few steps towards Melanie with her hand extended. “My name is Mrs. Harriet Cornelius. You might have heard of Colton Cornelius Industries?”

“Why yes…I uh… yes we can talk and yes I have heard of Colton Cornelius Industries,” Melanie faltered for words even as she shook the hand Harriet extended with a gracious smile.

“How old are you my dear?” Harriet asked out of the blue. At Melanie’s astonished gasp, Harriet chuckled and continued. “Forgive me for being so blunt, but at my age, we get right to the point. So we’ll skip that question for the moment. After seeing the production, I was very taken with your presence onstage. I read in the playbill that you have recently moved back to Hampton. You seem to be a woman of some charm and if you are not otherwise spoken for I would like to have my son contact you and invite you to a dinner we’re having this weekend. We are great theater patrons and there will be all sorts of interesting people in attendance that you should get to know. And…well to tell the truth, I think you would make a fascinating dinner companion for my son.”

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