Sitting across the table from my rich, married guy friend, I tried to think rationally. My heart raced and a million ideas bounced around in my head:
Was the stuff he told me about paying it forward just some sort of way to scam me? What could he want from me? I’m broke, he can’t scam any money off me. My house was foreclosed a couple of years ago, he knows that. He seems pretty wealthy- – I mean he has at least three cars- including two Ferraris that I’ve seen. Has he gotten rich of scamming people? No, I doubt he wants my six-year-old minivan. Think, Jennie, think- what is his angle in asking for my social security number? I came here to shut down any idea he might have about me being more than a friend, after he sent those roses and all – but maybe he’s not trying to get in my pants after all. Maybe he’s just in some kind of financial trouble and there’s some way he’s going to take advantage of me that way. God, why were you so dumb as to think that he wanted to be with you? Ha ha, silly Jennie, you aren’t that cute. He wants something from you financially. Don’t be stupid, Jennie. This is so weird.
All this in a span of seconds. My brain has a tendency to have runaway thoughts.
I must have looked confused, suspicious or perhaps just slack-jaw stupid. But it was like someone handed him a playbook for exactly what to say to snap me right back into a non-suspicious, good-girl mindset.
“Jennie, if I were twenty years younger, I’d be chasing you all over town. But I’m too old for that and just want to have the joy of giving you a very special summer,” he told me. “You have gotten the short end of the stick in lots of ways, but you get up every morning and work every day to improve the lives of not only your kids, but all the kids you teach. You are a beautiful person and have the opportunity to get back a little of what you have given.”
“Maybe you’ll meet a guy there, have a fling, eat great food and see beautiful things,” he continued. “You’ll need money to really do that, and I know you don’t have much.” He looked at me in the eyes as he told me all of this.
My heart and brain shifted gears, but were no less active:
Wow, okay, he is being totally honest. Or is this how he scams people? He acknowledged that he is attracted to me but said he’s not interested in pursuing me. Maybe I’ve been misreading everything. Is there anything morally wrong in accepting a gift from him? What the hell does he want my social security number for? Is this just a secret way of scamming me? No, wait, he really is a nice guy, and he knows I have nothing to get. He has helped me fix my car at the soccer sideline. He is friendly with all the parents. Worst case scenario would be something happens and I have to fix my credit, but it’s already trashed with the foreclosure. He couldn’t want my identity. He must really just mean what he says.
I still don’t think I could say anything, but I don’t doubt I was blushing or stuttering or something. It was all just so strange, and even my fast-acting brain couldn’t keep up with my thoughts. I’m sure I probably stammered a few lame refusals.
“Jennie,” he continued, ” I want to get you a credit card. The bill will come to me, but then I want you to have money to do whatever you want there. I just need your social security number to set it up with my bank.”
I was completely confused; it all seemed logical and oh my God, it seemed like a dream come true to not have to be so worried about money over the summer. You only live once, you may regret it if you don’t just go for it, Jennie. Just calm down and try to enjoy this. Things like this defintely don’t happen often.
I relented. I told him, “I am overwhelmed with how generous you are being. I feel funny accepting, though.” He smiled, told me I was going to have a wonderful summer, and wrote down my social security number. We then ate some yummy seafood and had a glass of wine.
Just relax and enjoy this, Jennie. These things don’t happen that often and he is so kind and nice.
After we finished eating and had an espresso, he walked me to my car, Then, as I buckled up with him standing at my still-open car door, he leaned in and kissed me. It was a quick, absolutely unexpected kiss, and I was in shock. My brain started racing again and I couldn’t get a word out of my mouth. He almost immediately closed the car door and walked off.