Mary gazed out the window absently, her chin resting in the palm of her hand, elbow firmly planted on the kitchen table. Was she jealous of Cindy? It had been a long time since she had dated Russell Cade, and he was the one who broke off the relationship - if it could be called that. There was no fight. He simply stopped calling or coming by. That was about the time he became so reclusive - right after his mother died. It was as if he dropped off the face of the earth. Yet Cindy's call indicated he was not only back among the living, but seeking out company again.
When Cindy began talking about a tall stranger with interesting green eyes who had become a regular at the diner, Russ was the first person she thought of. She couldn't honestly deny the hope that he would call on her. He didn't, though, and that smarted a little.
She sighed and stood. Some things simply weren't meant to be. She carried her supper dishes to the sink. A single setting in a quiet house. Would it ever change? The answer came swiftly. Not if she continued to sit at home and wait for life to find her. Of course, she did date, but she wasn't much of a party person. She was going to miss her women's night out with Cindy. She had other friends, of course, but they did like to party.
Cindy would be concerned if she knew her friend had submitted a profile to an online dating service. How pathetic could a person get? Actually, she wasn't so much looking for a guy as she was confirming that there were compatible guys out there - single ones. She wasn't looking for romance. Okay, maybe she was, but she didn't actually expect to find it online. She had no intention of moving to another state and it would be difficult to find a job close. Besides, she wasn't interested in a guy that didn't have a job by the time he was 30ish. The search was merely an experiment - a game of sorts.
Mary checked her mail daily to see if there were any matches to her profile. She was ready to give up when she received a notification. She read his profile, thinking all the while that this was the kind of guy she could really go for. Yet she made no attempt to contact him. At least she knew there were guys like that available. Of course, he could have written anything about himself. He could be a 70-year-old lecher living in India for all she knew. She turned her computer off and went to bed.
After a restless night, she was back on the computer the next morning, seated at the desk in her nightgown. Why not contact him? It might be fun to have an online mystery friend. She sent a quick message, revealing as little about herself as possible. West Texas was a big area. She submitted the message and headed for the shower.
An hour later she was back at the computer. He had replied to her message. This was actually fun! He was in the Air Force, but he was raised in west Texas. She leaned closer and read again to make sure she was reading it correctly. He was raised in the next town down the highway! In the picture he attached, he was in uniform. He wasn't wildly good looking, but he was attractive. She shut the computer off. This was ridiculous.
After a little housework and a lot of thought, she was back at the computer again. Being in the service, it would be possible to verify his information. She sat for a long time before she made the decision to respond to him. It wasn't so different from writing a letter to a serviceman. She began typing, chuckling at the thought that she had made a huge leap. She wasn't going to tell Cindy after the fuss she had made about Cindy's safety.