Cathy Singleton does not want to fall in love, at the very least not with this intriguing, mystery man who has been coming into the diner where she works in the evenings to support her son. Ever since her husband walked out on her and their child, leaving Cathy utterly devastated, she has been closely guarding her heart, devoting instead all of her love to her son Billy. But there is just something about this new man’s piercing blue eyes and big smile showcasing pearly-white teeth that cause her heart to pulsate and her palms to sweat. He just…gives her all the feels. She suspects he’s a salt of the earth kind of guy, who probably makes less than $60k a year because he comes in every day and sits in her section, wearing a blue chambray shirt with sleeves rolled up to his elbows and trousers that look clean but are obviously not new. Oh, and once, he gave her a ride home in his boss’s Maserati because his car was in the shop and Cathy could tell that he was really embarrassed about it because he doesn’t actually own a fancier car. Cathy thinks he probably drives a reliable, economic car like a Toyota Camry or a Ford Escort.
He was just tired of the gold-diggin’ hos… gold-diggin’ girls, they drivin’ me crazy, I can’t take it no more.
Daniel Richmond is one of the richest, most eligible bachelors in the country, having been born the scion to a massive breakfast cereal empire. Tired of being chased by Houston’s high society women and social butterflies, Danny is desperate to see how the other half lives. He asks to trade places with his friend Sam, whom he met in boarding school (Sam was a scholarship student), and Sam thinks he’s gone completely insane. But Sam is not about to blow an opportunity to kick it for a couple of months in a penthouse and drive around in Ferrari. It just so happens that Sam lives next door to hard-working single mom, Cathy Singleton. Danny first encounters Cathy when Sam takes him to a little diner called Betsy’s. Danny had never had a patty melt or french fries cooked in lard— just the very thought of it, really, made him want to vom—but Sam swears to him that this stuff is what real Texans eat, so Danny thought, what the hell, might as well go all the way. His delicate digestive system rebels as he forces himself to consume the greasy, over-fried foods, in an effort to impress Cathy. Oh, he will miss his chef Pierre while he is conducting this little social anthropological experiment.
But he was a lying liar who lied. And his pants? Armani and totally on fire.
Her best friend Miranda tells her she is completely, totally insane. “Girl, what? You dumped… that hunky, hunk’a burning studmuffin because he lied about being poor and is actually a goddamn multi-millionaire? Are you… mentally retarded? You and Billy will have a better life now and Billy will have more excellent opportunities that he would never have had before, had you not met this man. And you… dumped him? I… I can’t even. I’m sorry, I can’t be friends with you anymore. You’re a blithering idiot.” Crying, Cathy reached out to her childhood best friend. “You don’t understand. He lied to me. I cannot marry a man who lies.” Miranda knew she had to leave at that very moment or she would end up smashing her friend’s brains in with a baseball bat. “He was tired of women coming after him for his money. He wanted to know if a woman would love him without his money. You loved him without his money. What the fuck do you want— for him to give up his money? Girl, I can’t. I can’t stay here anymore.”
She was tired of being the friend who dished out common sense advice that no one listened to.
Miranda sat in her car for a moment and took plenty of deep breaths. All her life, she had been so busy solving everyone else’s problems, that she never had a minute to look at her own. Well, enough is enough with that shit. She reached for her mobile phone and dialed the number of the man who had called her last night, asking her to help him make Cathy see reason. Miranda sneered.
“Hello,” said his smooth, deep voice, which carried not a trace of a Texan accent, since he was educated in New England.
Miranda sighed. “Daniel,” she said, taking a second to think of what to say. “I don’t think she’ll forgive you. She has this thing against the wealthy. She’s all about the proletariat and the working classes. Bring back the guillotine, she says.” Daniel was silent on the other line, but Miranda could hear him breathing.
“All right,” he says. “All right. Well… listen, Miranda, I don’t know if you’re doing anything tonight… ugh, never mind. It’s idiotic.”
Inwardly, Miranda was screaming, but somehow she managed to retain her cool. “What, Daniel? Tell me.”
He laughed softly. “It’s just that… I made a reservation at a friend’s restaurant tonight and had promised him I would come. It’s Maison Fabuleuse? I feel like an idiot now for choosing the place because I’m pretty sure that Cathy wouldn’t even have enjoyed it. Anyway, since I promised my buddy I’ll make an appearance at his chef’s table… Well, would you mind joining me, instead? I know it’s a horrible, last-minute imposition, but I’d really appreciate it if you could do me this great favor. Then we can further discuss that awful thing you told me the other day of why you think Proust is the thinking man’s James Joyce. I was aghast to hear it.”
Miranda was bouncing up and down in the seat of her car, but somehow, when she spoke into the phone, she sounded cool and calm. “I’ll have to rearrange some things, but I think I can make it work. Shall I meet you at the restaurant?”
Daniel chuckled. “Of course not. What kind of escort would I be if I didn’t fetch you from your home? Jean-Claude and I will pick you up at seven. Au re voir, Miranda.”
Miranda sighed happily. “Au re voir, Daniel.”
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