Janie, a widow, meets Tony online and discovers her romance in cyber space.
|Carpe Diem, a Romance in Cyber Space
By Patsy C. Adams
Part One: Time to Meet?
Usually Janie looked forward to each and every one of BlueAngel’s emails. But not this one. This one caused a wave of nausea that was building up in her stomach in one massive knot. Her hands were shaking, and she hadn’t even opened it yet!
She laughed at herself. This is ridiculous, she thought. I’m a grown woman. I shouldn’t be reacting this way.
Nonetheless there it was, like a beacon flashing neon letters at her from her inbox, the letters proclaiming a simple subject line: Time to meet? Her mouse hovered over the link to the message when she drew her hand away from it and jolted up from the chair.
She stumbled into the kitchen, far away from her computer screen, away from the email. She fumbled around with her coffee grounds and filter. She poured the first scoop into the filter and ended up with grounds that fell everywhere. Great, she thought, look at me! She was a mess. Stepping across the tile floor in her bare feet, she felt even more grounds on the floor. There was no time for this now.
She began rummaging through the cupboards. Janie could only hope she still had some instant coffee around somewhere. Just when she nearly gave up, she spied a small square container of ready-to-make goodness. Eureka!
Pulling her mug from the microwave, she sipped. It wasn’t great. Heck, it wasn’t even very good. But it was coffee. Janie’s mind was still reeling from the events of the morning. She decided a shower would help her put everything into perspective.
Why now did he want to change everything, she kept asking herself. Why would he want to meet, except to further the possibility of their friendship turning into…. a relationship!
Following through the motions of her shower, she found herself once again sitting before her monitor with a towel around her wet hair and a second mug of instant blend in her hands. She couldn’t procrastinate this any longer. Taking a reassuring slurp from her cup she sighed. Then lifting the coffee to the screen as if to toast the monitor, Janie whispered, “Carpe diem,” to herself, and opened the email.
Subject: Time to Meet?
Well, no time like the present, right? I happen to have business in Wilmington. That’s only about an hour away from you. I thought I could finally bring my Van Wellborn pieces over and we’d have the opportunity to photograph the entire collection together. I don’t think we’ll find a buyer willing to pay what it’s worth if we don’t have a real photo featuring the entire collection in one place.
Besides, this would give me a good excuse to take you to LA Paz. Then you’ll find out what real seafood is all about.
Tony a.k.a. “BlueAngel21”
Seemed harmless enough, she told herself. This wasn’t anything out of their norm, except that this meeting would take them out of the two-dimensional plane of every day cyber chat and thrust them into the reality of an interpersonal situation. Her brow began to furrow at this last thought….
It was clear now that it would take time to formulate a response to this latest note from Tony. She had to get her wits about her and make some decisions.
Working at home could take extra self-discipline, at times. Today, she skimmed over the rest of her inbox and decided to take of the day off.
“He wants to meet me,” she began explaining to Trish.
“You’re saying that like you just got the worst news of your life…,” her best friend responded over the telephone.
“Well, you don’t think I should meet a stranger off the net, do you?” she retorted somewhat defensively.
“A stranger! Oh, please. Both of you have your businesses and most of your personal info on line. You’ve been talking to him since you met in that antique chat room for what, a year now?!”
“Probably more like fourteen months,” Janie confessed. “Don’t change the subject. Do you know how crazy this has made me this morning? I’m drinking instant coffee right now.”
“Oh that is gross, but now you’re changing the subject. You know exactly how many months since you started talking, and you’re wondering if meeting is a good idea?” Trish responded in disbelief.
“There are wackos out there,” Janie reminded with a tone of caution.
“How many wackos are stalking the Antique Boutique’s on line chat room? Be real. Besides, we can just make it a double date then. Ron and I will come along.” Janie could practically hear Trish’s mischievous grin at the other end of the line after the check mate she’d just delivered.
There was a long pause while Janie digested this suggestion. Although it was a logical idea, she hadn’t thought this through logically at all.
“Don’t think it through,” Trish said, reading her mind. “Let’s just plan on it.”
Janie knew Trish had her best interests at heart. It was hard for Trish to understand that Janie was perfectly happy and self sufficient on her own.
“Hello? Ya still with me?” Trish asked breaking the silence.
“Sorry. I haven’t hung up on you…. Yet!” she giggled into the receiver and both women laughed. “How can I say no?” Janie asked, admitting she’d been out maneuvered.
“OK. Just let me know when and we’ll be there.” Trish answered and ended the call.
Janie could hear the sense of victory in Trish’s voice. Normally she would not have allowed Trish to make her do something like this. She had avoided numerous ploys Trish and others had attempted in trying to play match-maker with her. She couldn’t help but wonder why now she was suddenly allowing it.
Janie sat down on the bed in her room and picked up a silver frame from the top of the oak bureau. She leaned back into the bed, unable to take her gaze away from the photo. The man smiling back at her was one that still left an ache in the pit of her stomach. An ache that had not gone away for the past 9 years since Eric had passed away.
Unwilling to allow herself to wallow in the grief of days gone by, Janie set the picture back down on the night stand, dusted herself off, and made the bed. Mustering up a bit of courage she returned to her office.
The walls were sparsely decorated which added to the clean and tidy overall appearance. She had a few paintings, her diploma, and license to practice law hung neatly on the walls. She had chosen a warm green shade of plush carpeting to run throughout her three bedroom home. There was matching green trim where the eggshell colored walls met the ceiling. It was simple.
Seating herself, once again, in the off white office chair facing her computer terminal, she turned back to the screen, clicked the “Reply” button and wrote:
Subject: Re: Time to Meet?
If we ever hope to sell the Van Wellborn collection I think it’s absolutely essential we photograph it as a collection. It will definitely improve the authenticity of its existence and increase our chances of success.
LA Paz sounds like a nice place for a business dinner. Thank you for the invitation. In fact, I think we should just meet there. Trish and Ron will be joining us. Please send me the details soon.
Looking forward to seeing your pieces,
Janie the AntiqueChic
She hesitated, her mouse just sort of hanging over the send button now. She didn’t want to appear too cold. Likewise, she didn’t want to give him the wrong impression.
Whatever that would be!?!
She didn’t have a clue.