I was so taken aback by his comment that I nearly let my grip on the mug loosen for a moment. Balancing the mug between my fingers and palm, I hurriedly sat across from Neil and placed the mug on the floor beside me.
"So, when you are not out making house-calls, what is it that you do on a regular Saturday?", I asked him, handing him the cookie plate.
"Well, I already started my day as usual. Jogged around the park near my place, played a couple of sets of tennis at the club, and had myself a big breakfast. That's pretty much it. Now all that's left for today to become the perfect Saturday is a nice brunch at a quaint cafe", he smiled over his coffee mug.
"I know the just the place", I exclaimed, "Oops! I didn't mean to imply that I wanted to accompany you. Just that I know an amazing place a couple of blocks down. "
"I wouldn't mind your company, by the way", Neil smiled at my flustered reaction and chugged down his coffee. "Since you kept your promise and provided me with the perfect cuppa, I think it's only fair that we head out and follow it up with some divine food. I can see that you need something warm in your system, and pronto."
"No no, I really didn't mean it. I usually don't invite myself to people's brunches."
"So, are you saying that you don't want to have some good food, or is it my company that has put you off?" Neil's easy smile clearly indicated his amusement.
"I can see that I am not in a strong position here, so I guess I'll give in graciously. Thanks for inviting me, but you will have to entertain yourself while I get ready."
He waved the paperback that he had borrowed from me and said, "Guess I'd better get cracking on this baby then", and popped a cookie into his mouth and started perusing the back cover of the book.
I removed his mug and mine and headed into the kitchenette. I set the mugs down in the sink and rinsed my hands. Shaking them dry, I headed towards my bedroom and just turned back to see what he was doing. Another cookie was getting devoured and I suddenly pipped, "See that you don't spoil your appetite", and then laughingly shut the door on seeing his quizzical reaction.
I hurried to inspect my helter-skelter room and just bundled together the clothes that had been strewn all over. I put them in the hamper in the adjoining bathroom and then poked into my closet to pick out something to wear that wasn't crushed, or crumpled, or stained. I took out a sea-green top and examined it for any defect, but since I couldn't find any, I paired it with a pair of white denim capri pants that I adored.
I headed into the bathroom and slid out of my hurriedly put-on outfit and threw it in the hamper as well, all the while thinking about the man waiting just outside the door.
His very thought seemed to flood my body with a sense of urgency and a nervous tingle that I hadn't felt in long. I stepped into the shower cubicle and stood under the jets of the tepid water, scrubbing my body with one of the many body washes that I had stacked on the shelf beside the shower nozzle.
I hummed to myself as I shampooed my hair into a respectable condition and then turning off the shower jets, I dried myself off as I tried to untangle my hair at the same time. Heading out of the stall, I dried my limbs off thoroughly as I scrutinized myself in the mirror.Thank God, my nose was nearly back to its natural coloring and there was no sign of a pimple or blemish. A little mascara and a hint of gloss was all I needed today. Wrapped up in the towel, I bundled my hair into a haphazard bun and took my watch from where I had left it near the sink the night before. Strapping it onto my wrist, I walked into the bedroom and sat on the bed.
Taking the body butter from the nightstand, I began rubbing it all over my legs and then my arms and nearly allowed the tube to fall from my hands as I heard a discreet knock on the door.
"May I ask how much longer it is going to take. The cookies are all gone and I am finding the heroine in the book a little too damsel-in-distress for my liking."
"I'll just be out in five. I promise", I chuckled at his comment.
Snapping the lid on the bottle shut, I quickly slipped out of the towel and into one of the nearest available lingerie sets from my closet. I then slid into the pants and shook my hair free from the top of my head. Putting on the top, I rushed to the dresser and rummaged through the debris in the drawer as I emerged victorious with a berry-pink gloss and a tube of mascara.
Quickly applying the gloss and mascara, I bunched my hair on top of my head with a silver and jade clasp and then quickly checked myself in the mirror. Not too dressy, not too casual. Just about right, I thought to myself, as I stacked on a couple of flirty wooden bangles that went with the top. I took out my wallet from my work bag and transferred it to a straw handbag that was holed up in my closet.
I swept my hair away from my face and headed to the door. "I'm all done. Let's get going", I called out to Neil, who was standing near my book shelf with a couple of books in his hand and then some lying on the floor beside his feet.
"I'm sorry, I was a little clumsy", he said sheepishly.
"Oh! It's no big deal. Let me help you with that", I said as I strode to where he was standing and bent down to retrieve the books. I handed them to him as he put them back on the shelf, with him apologizing a couple more times while we were at it.
"I remember somebody saying something to me about an endearing yet infuriating habit recently. Guess it was infectious, huh?" I smiled at him and stood up with the last stack of books. I leaned across from him and placed the books on the shelf.
"Touche", he said and smiled.
"So, are we ready to leave?" I asked him as I moved towards the door of the apartment.
"I may not be aware of the latest trends in fashion but I do remember that shoes were a staple in this season's must-have lists", he chuckled from behind me and then cracked up with laughter.
I could only look back at him and then at my bare feet, and then I too burst out laughing.
It was going to be a hell of a day.