Jessie and Linda coolly eyed their latest catch with a practiced look as Tom made his way through the crowded bar to where they sat in a corner booth.
Tom was the cute new guy on the fifth floor of their company’s office that some of the girls had been talking about. One girl, in particular, had gone out with him a couple of times, and had reported that he was a quiet guy who carried a big stick. She had said this with a gleam in her eye and a smile on her face. That was all Jessie and Linda needed to know. As the well-known Tenth-Floor Tramps, they felt duty-bound to find out for themselves just how big a stick Tom carried.
Tom had been in the company’s Atlanta office for about six months. He was in his mid-30s, of average height and weight, with hair just beginning to go gray. He was originally from Florida and had been married once, but was now divorced with a child living with his ex-wife in Colorado. It had been an amiable divorce, but it had still left him hurt, so he had wanted to start off new in another state, somewhere closer to his aging parents and the rest of his family.
Thus, he had jumped at the opportunity to join this company and move to Atlanta. It meant he only saw his daughter once or twice a year, but that was something he’d have to live with. Maybe a few years down the road, after he’d mellowed a little bit, he could possibly move back and be more a part of his child’s life.
But for now, he was enjoying the single life in a large Southern city. Frankly, he was more comfortable in the South, dealing with Southern women. They were so much less demanding and so much less naïve about the ways and means of life and love. He’d had a strong, Southern-to-the-core mother and two sisters, one older, so he knew instinctively how to live with a Southern girl.
And Jessie and Linda were both thoroughly Southern girls, as Tom was beginning to learn. It was just after the end of the workday on a Friday in early spring, absolutely the best time of year in Georgia. The air was filled with the sight and smells of the azaleas and all of the other blooms that make spring in the South such a kaleidoscope for the senses. And, of course, with spring flowers comes spring fever, when the urge to merge rises uncontrollably in lovers of whatever persuasion.
So Jessie hadn’t been too shy about approaching Tom in the cafeteria one afternoon the previous week. They had become acquainted, then Jessie had introduced him to Linda a few days later. They had invited him to join them for a few after-work drinks at their preferred watering hole just around the corner from their building. Tom wasn’t sure what to expect, but he knew only fools turned down date invitations from the likes of Jessie and/or Linda, and his mama hadn’t raised a fool.
Tom may have been a quiet guy on the surface, but he could be a real party animal when the mood hit him, and right now he was definitely in the mood. His department had just sweated out a deadline on a major account, that if they had missed would have meant either working overtime that night or coming in the next day, both of which would bust the project’s budget. Since nobody wanted that, they had plunged themselves into the project and had gotten it done. So the adrenalin was still rushing, and Tom was ready to cut loose as he plopped down next to these two lovely ladies.