# 28 – Jim

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This kiss started like the others, playful and a little tentative, but quickly evolved into something else entirely.  Liza relaxed.  Apparently, she’d managed to find the one guy who found her ridiculous behavior endearing.  This time, they were interrupted before Liza could lose track of time.  Someone was coming through the door.  She shoved Bruce away and flew into the closest seat.  Bruce calmly slid into a chair on the other side of the table.  The man who entered was wearing khakis and a polo shirt.  He was pretty nondescript except that he was very tall and very cheerful.  He was older.  Not grandpa old, but definitely empty nester old.  His huge smile wasn’t mocking or sarcastic, not that this made Liza feel any better.  She never wanted so badly to be invisible.

“Oh, hi!” said the man brightly.  Her face felt like it was going to melt.  She managed a weak smile and nod.  He exchanged a quick greeting with Bruce (his name was Jim) and then set about making his coffee as if nothing was amiss.  Liza was torn between bolting out of the room, continuing to sit frozen, and trying to further the pretense that she and Bruce had just been sitting there talking.  Frozen won out.  She sat like a statue, eyes darting between Bruce and Jim. Bruce was calm, smiling slightly at Liza with raised eyebrows as if he had no idea what might be bothering her.  Liza had a sudden desire to push the table into him.  Not hard, just a nudge really.  Then she noticed that he was twiddling a scrap of the bandage between his fingers and working the inside of his cheek with his tongue.  Jim finished making his coffee, said his goodbyes, and smiled his way out of the kitchen.

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