“Wait staff in France,” continued Francois, “are usually very unhappy people. It is like they feel stuck in an unhappy career; whereas here in Sydney, you have university students who are still young and nice to you.”
Their sushi and sashimi platter arrived. Both his hands were required for handling chopsticks, dipping raw fish into soy wasabi trays, and sipping a small cup of green tea. Aspects of his seduction were taking a break.
“I think if you are unhappy in your day job you shouldn’t be there. Plain and simple.”
Francois released a hand off his rice bowl and rested it around the curve of her ankle. He knew if he just agreed with her (which he did) they would land into friends-discussing-things territory, and they’d spent their last four dates doing that.
“Really?” he challenged, “what about if you have three kids you are trying to send to private school, a pregnant wife and a mortgage?”
“Well, you’re stuffed then. Doomed. Stay in a job you hate. It pays the bills doesn’t it?”
“Don’t put me in a box. That might be me in a few years time…”
“That would be terrible. I don’t wish that over your life, Francois.”
He leaned over to kiss her forehead. “Thank you. For letting me buy you dinner at cheap places. I knew you didn’t give me your number just because you saw my Honda CRV.”
Truthfully, she let him call her because he made her laugh and he had a career job. Grace was a dedicated Health Worker, but she wasn’t impractical about men.
“Just keep driving me home, I like it when a man can drive a woman home. Oh,” she pulled out a twenty-dollar note, “here.”
“No,” Francois backhanded her money away. “I invited you to dinner tonight, it’s my shout.”
Grace smiled. Admittedly she was expecting this, because she had read somewhere that proper gentlemen enjoy rejecting a woman’s offer to pay. Still, she was willing to pay her share.
He paid the bill to their Japanese waiter and Grace grabbed his satchel.
“The night is still young, Belle.” He took his satchel from her. “My house is close. I can show you some of my drawings.”
She slid into him. She felt so comfortable with his arm around her shoulder. It was as if he could glide his fingers across her lower back and she wouldn’t notice the transition.
“I’d love that, but…” she was about to launch into autopilot with her speech.
“I get it, you are a Church girl. You don’t go home with strange boys to see their drawings. You are 28 years old and still a virgin because you are waiting until you are married for sex.”
Wow, thought Grace.
Unsure of how great her poker face was, Grace was definitely shell shocked. Could he see this? “You knew? This whole time?”
Francois released his hand from around her waist.
“It’s complicated. I’m not going to pretend that I will accept this. But girls like you don’t come by very often, so I’m just going to keep trying to seduce you until you succumb to me… and that’s it.”