Dinner for Two at Table Eight
That evening Bianca finished business at the manufacturing plant just before six giving her enough time to freshen-up and travel into town to meet one of her suppliers for dinner. She had never met him personally, only spoke business over the telephone. He seemed approachable and positive but above all well-mannered. She invited him, not for a business meeting, but for a relaxing evening to get to know him better.
She always used the same homely Italian restaurant and sat at the same table, number eight, when visiting the plant, however, this evening it would be dinner for two at seven-thirty. This table was well positioned at one end so she could sit with her back to the wall and survey the comings and goings of the other diners. She looked forward to meeting James Blakemore and smiled to herself when thinking that this could be considered a date.
Bianca arrived ten minutes early, ordered her usual glass of red wine and waited expectantly for James. Just before seven-thirty a tall casually dressed fellow came in. He looked around, saw her alone at the table and crossed to the table and sat down.
“Did you see the game last night?” he asked in loud resonate voice.
“ No, I was preparing our six month production forecast,” Bianca replied a little surprised at his lack of introducing himself.
“Well let me tell you something,” he roared, “it was a total disgrace. We should never have lost but when we play against all three officials and the spectators what could we do.”
This loud announcement had all the patrons looking to see what was going to happen next.
“James, who are the ‘we’ you refer to?” inquired Bianca leaning her elbows on the table.
“England of course, who else do you think!”
“Ah!”, Bianca smiled as she knew where this was leading. “You are talking about the FIFA World Cup.”
“Exactly. I don’t know what has happened to football. Foreigners allowed to play. Disgusting.”
“It’s the world cup, is it not,” explained Bianca grinning, “all the participating countries have qualified to play.”
“Rubbish, it was a fix,” he boomed his cheeks flushing hot, the vein standing out on his forehead.
“What!” Bianca was on her feet in a flash, “I’m leaving now and don’t you ever speak to me like that again.”
“But I haven’t ordered yet.” His voice turned to a loud shriek.
“So, what’s stopping you? The spectators,” she gestured to the attentive patrons, “or the foreigners.”
Bianca picked up her purse and with a triumphant toss of the head walked causally across to the manager, requested her bill and was about to pay when a good-looking well dressed young man interrupted her.
“Good evening, I’m James Blakemore,” he smiled, “are you Bianca Gobatti?”
“Yes. But,” Bianca said puzzled, looking at him and then at table eight where a pair of waiters were removing who-ever-he-was.
“I’m late, but I did phone explaining,” said James, “I think your phone might be switched off.”
Bianca took him by the arm and led him to her favorite table.