He sat at his usual chair at the counter and slipped his hands around the hot mug of strong, black coffee she had waiting. His hands looked strong and capable, his nails neatly trimmed. He was a civil engineer and always kept a slide rule handy in his shirt pocket. She knew he looked forward to his weekends because he loved the outdoors. He often told her that coming here after his first day back at work helped him miss the weekends a little less and gave him something to look forward to.
She knew he referred to her cooking, and maybe a bit to her company. But she sure wished he felt more than friendship for her.
She slipped a fork and napkin next to his cup, knowing he'd open the napkin immediately and lay it in his lap. Millie took comfort in their routine and though she dreamed of seeing him outside the diner, she wasn't willing to take the chance of losing what little they shared. Instead, she risked nothing. And gained nothing. She settled for weekly coffee, pie and a bit of conversation.
"Are you voting tomorrow?" She asked, watching as he put a huge bite into his mouth and chewed.
Paul swallowed and nodded. "Of course. Truman deserves another term, by my way of thinking. A lot of folks think Dewey's going to give him some trouble, so I figure every vote counts." He put another bite in his mouth and his eyelids dropped shut in ecstasy. "Nobody can make a pie like you do, Millie. I'm going to miss it."
"Miss it? Why should you have to miss it?" She cocked her head to one side, confused. "I'm not leaving."
"That's true." His brown-eyed gaze lifted to hers, somber and steady. "But I am."