“Excuse me Ma’am,” a voice said and a hand tapped her on the shoulder.
She swung around.
“You scared the crap out of me! In fact I think I crapped myself.!”
Eloise looked into the embarrassed face of the young man who had stopped her. At his mortified look, she chuckled.
“Sorry, just kidding about that. I didn’t really crap myself, but you did startle me.”
“I’m sorry,” he said, holding up a package.
“A lady back there thought you might have left this on the table. She’s got a walker so she couldn’t catch you.”
Eloise scratched in her capacious bag, then said, “Thanks. I’d lose my bum if it wasn’t attached to me.”
The young man said, “That’s okay,” and turned to walk away.
“Hang on a minute,” she said.
He turned back and looked at her enquiringly. He was quite a personable looking young man, she thought. Tall, athletically built, with curly brown hair, brown eyes, and even features.
“Can I ask you something?”
“Yes?” he said cautiously.
“Are you presently attached to anyone?”
No.” he responded, “And I have no interest in being anyone’s toy-boy.”
“You wouldn’t say that if you’d seen me twenty years ago. But no, I don’t need another toy-boy, I’m happy with the one I’ve got.”
He looked at her with amusement. She was certainly the most entertaining person he’d met in a while.
“So, why the question?”
“Before you run off, hear me out,” she said.
He folded his arms and cocked his head.
“Alright. I have this granddaughter, gorgeous girl, smart as a whip, but just makes these godawful choices when it comes to men. The last one was a total moron. Everyone could see it but her”.
“By everyone, I presume you mean you?” he said.
“Smart boy,” she acknowledged.
“She saw the light and finally dumped him. She’s in between at the moment. I’d just like to steer her to someone reasonable before the next disaster.”
His mouth quirked into a smile,
“And how do you know I’m ‘reasonable’ as you put it, and how do you propose to do this ‘steering,’ always assuming I’m agreeable of course.”
She looked at him shrewdly.
“I’m a pretty good judge of character. I think you’ll do very well.”
“And you’ve decided this after five minutes of talking to me,” he said sceptically.
He stood there looking at her for a moment.
“Oh come on,” she chided.
“What have you got to lose?”
“My senses probably,” he muttered.
“Alright,” he sighed.
“So how are we doing this?”
“She’s picking me up in ten minutes just outside. I’ve twisted my ankle and you’re helping me.” “You’re a devious old biddy aren’t you. You realise we haven’t even exchanged names?” “That’s no biggie, “she said airily.
“I’m Eloise, my grand daughter is Samantha, Sam for short, and you are?”
“Nice name. How do you do Brandon?”
“I’m not at all sure right now,” he answered.
“You’ll be fine,” she assured him.
They stood at the entrance to the mall.
“You’d better hold my bag, and support me,” she told him.
“ I’m not really happy with this subterfuge. It’s not a good way to start a relationship,” he grumbled.
“Once you’ve hooked her, it won’t matter,” she told him.
“She’s not a fish, he retorted.
“Here she comes!” she exclaimed.
A blue BMW sedan drew up and parked illegally close to them. An attractive, blonde girl jumped out and came hurrying over.
“Grandma, what happened?”
“Hurt my ankle. Brandon here came to my rescue. Just help me into the car will you dear?” Sam took her grandmother’s arm, opened the passenger door and helped her into the car. She caught Brandon’s eye. Unable to help himself, he gave a slight shake of his head. She looked uncomprehendingly at him for a moment, then a look of understanding appeared in her eyes. She gave him a wry smile, then came over to him.
“I’m Sam. Thanks, Brandon is it? She’s incorrigible. Always trying various ways of setting me up with someone. She doesn’t understand, I need to make my own mistakes.”
“I’m sorry. She seems to think you’ve made quite a few lately.”
She pursed her lips.
“She told you that did she?”
He shrugged apologetically.
“And she thinks she can do better by picking you?”
Again, he shrugged. He saw her struggle to control herself. Then, unexpectedly, she laughed.
“I suppose the old biddy’s right. My batting average has been pretty woeful lately”, she said mournfully,
“I just don’t want to give her the satisfaction of knowing she’s right!”
“Bit late for that, I think.”
“Alright, Brandon. Here’s my phone number, give me a ring in a few days.”
She rattled it off and he programmed it into his phone. She shook his hand and got into the car. He watched them drive away, Eloise giving him a cheeky wave as they went.
It was a few days later. Brandon had rung Sam and they had agreed to meet for coffee in the same mall where he had encountered her grandmother. After they were seated and had ordered, he asked, “And how’s your grandmother?”
“As interfering as ever. She kept asking if you’d rung, and why I hadn’t taken your number and rung you.”
He said, “Sorry about that.”
“You’re sorry? She’s my grandmother! Interfering old biddy.”
“Does she really have a toy-boy?”
“She told you about Gordon?”
“Not really. Just in passing.”
“He’s about twenty years younger than her. He adores her, just can’t understand why. They’ve been together for about five.”
“She’s certainly something.”
“Yes, but I love her, the evil witch. What are we going to do?”
“We don’t have to do anything. We met, things didn’t work out, end of story.”
“We haven’t exactly done anything yet,” she pointed out.
“Would you like to?”
“I don’t want you to start a relationship with me because you promised my grandmother.”
“This is really awkward. What do you think would have happened if we had just met in a different way?”
She grinned unexpectedly.
“Probably nothing. You’re all wrong for me.”
“According to Eloise, you’re not a moron. I’m only attracted to morons.”
“ I can be as moronic as the next guy if you want me to be.”
“You’d do that for me?”
“If that’s what it takes.”
She reached out and took his hand.
“I think I might grow to like you, Brandon.”
Their coffees arrived. As they drank, she thought to herself, ‘This could work,’ despite Eloise’s interference, or perhaps, because of it.
Anyone who was prepared to go along with her madcap idea just after meeting her, had something going for them. It might be worthwhile finding out what that something was.