The hand over her lips said she had spoken too much. She was beautiful. He was intrigued. What could she have said that revealed so much? He moved to a closer table, leaning onto his elbow to place himself within ear shot.
"It wasn't that bad, Molly. I mean, you shouldn't have said it, but it's not that bad. It's the truth, and you know, sometimes the truth is a good thing."
"You don't think terribly of me, do you?"
"Nah. It's you know, a thing that happens between people. Sometimes it hurts a little, but if they're grown up they move on, right?"
"Oh yes, definitely. But, now that. Now that it's ahhh out there, we'll still be friends, won't we? I don't see how we could be - you have every right to distrust me - but I hope that we can be. We've known each other so long."
"Well, that just depends on a lot of things you know. Like, what happens with everyone - does it work out or doesn't it, does one of us cheat, is one of us crazy - that sort of thing. And you know, you never really know about these things until you find out about them."
"That's true I suppose. I'm just afraid that everyone will know and everything will change and it won't be like it was before. And that would be just dreadful."
As the young lady slumped her shoulders and flopped her hands into her lap, John noticed a tiny smirk showing in the corner of the other girl's mouth.
"Molly, Molly, it'll all work out, I'm sure. Even if everything does change, change is good. We all need change from time to time. It keeps things fresh and all. You know how it is."
With that, John folded the paper he been pretending to read beneath his arm and moved to join the pair.
"Ladies, pardon me for interrupting, but the two of you are so stunningly beautiful that I simply could not resist begging you to let me buy you drinks. I am sad to say, however, that I am somewhat underfunded at the moment, and since this fine establishment requires a ten dollar minimum, I must make a further fool of myself than I had already intended and beg you in the most dramatic manner imaginable," with that he knelt before them on one knee, "to allow me to treat you to lunch."
Molly eyed the newcomer nervously. "I I'm not sure that's such a good idea. We were just leaving, you see. I'm sure your company would be most enjoyable, but I I must go, I promised..."
"Oh, Molly, don't worry about that engagement. This guy wants to join us for lunch, I think that's a great idea, and we should take him up on it."
"But Patty, you have a lunch date with Tom! You just told me!"
"Oh, Tom won't mind at all, I'll just give him a little text, and we'll make it a dinner date. There, no harm done. Now, let's enjoy our lunch, and Molly, do close your mouth, it's not attractive, dear."
John beamed at Patty, "Why, there's no need for you to cancel your date with your boyfriend, I would hate to intrude or to be the source of a lover's quarrel. Harmony betwixt a man and a woman is a beautiful thing and not of the sort with which one should ever wish to tamper."
"Oh, Tom understands. He's done the same thing to me a dozen times. It's perfectly fine, don't you think, Molly?"
Molly's cheeks flushed, "Patty, Tom would never accept lunch from a strange woman!" she paused, "No offense to you Mr. ummm. Oh I'm afraid I didn't catch your name!"
"John, you may call me John, no mister, it makes me sound like a schoolteacher. I hope that you do not think me strange. After all, any man with a bit of sense would surely stumble over himself for the simple opportunity to sit in the company of two such lovely young ladies."
Molly blushed again. "Oh Mr. umm John, please don't think me rude, it's just that it is a little awkward, as I'm sure you can understand, to have a man to whom I have never been introduced ask to order my lunch. I'm dreadfully uncertain in these situations, but I'm certain that Tom would be terribly disappointed if Patty didn't show up for lunch."
"I am certain you are correct, and as a gentleman in full and complete support of peace and harmony between the sexes, I humbly and regretfully rescind my offer. Please accept my apologies for any discomfort I may have caused you."
As he turned to leave, a tiny tug at his sleeve pulled him back to Patty. "John, before you leave, won't you leave us your card so that we might call you sometime. Perhaps we could go on a little double date."
John handed each his card, "I do beg you to allow me the pleasure of your company on some other occasion. I look forward to your calls."