Barbara heard his voice and these words before she even saw Andy, “In Nigeria there is a wealth of oil, and thus everyone should be enjoying the spoils, yet most live below the breadline while in the oil rich Arab countries you find no beggars.”
This stopped Barbara in her tracks, keen to hear more she sat down on the entrance steps, trying to imagine what this man holding sway at Jennifer’s dinner party was like. Jennifer begged her and Sarah, “Please come because Philip has invited five male partners to dinner. I don’t want to be the only female. He invited them mainly to hear the views of Andy Banks. “
It wasn’t only the subject matter that held her, but also the tilt in his voice. She was now eager to meet this man despite her initial misgivings. Jennifer’s voice “Oh there you are; why are you sitting on the steps? Please come in.” woke her from her trance. “I‘m so pleased you’ve come; Sarah can’t make it until later.”
Andy continued to hold sway, seemingly hardly noticing Barbara other than an intense glance out of deep blue eyes. He was of medium height, with short black hair tending to baldness; in the looks department, average. After the introductions, Andy was the only man she saw. During dinner she sat next to one of the other younger men, John, and with whom she mostly conversed. John told her that the three younger men were in partnership, the other’s name was Peter. Andy was the brain. Peter ran sales and he, John, the business. They had been friends at university, the older men an accountant and a lawyer. Naturally Andy sat next to Phillip, who captured most of Andy’s attention.
The evening went off very well. Philip captured Andy alone for at least an hour. Philip was also technically trained so he and Andy had a lot to talk about. During this time she also learned that none of the three partners were married. When Sarah arrived she soon commandeered the company of Peter, the most handsome. In fact, they were married three months later. Barbara spent much of her time conversing with John and the two older men. All that time, though, she so much wanted to talk to Andy, but John, who eventually invited her out to dinner, mostly commandeered her time.
She reluctantly accepted, but her purpose in accepting was really in hope to keep contact with Andy, thinking that on occasions Andy would be present.
Later in the evening, though, she did have a chance to speak with Andy, where he again gave her that intense look while speaking to her. He asked her all sorts of questions and she found out he was very funny with an acute sense of humour. After this she realized she had fallen in love with him, yet he disappointingly made no suggestions as to their meeting again.
After that evening she frequently dated John, who in time declared his love for her and asked her hand in marriage. She declined because she was really in love with Andy. After that she saw less of John, but they did go out with each other when need be, although never during their meetings did she once see Andy.
When years later, at the age of 35, and not having seen Andy again, she started to wonder if she should not have accepted John’s proposal of marriage, because he really was a nice man. The chance of this fell through, though, when she introduced John to her younger sister. She was matron of honour and as luck would have it, Andy was best man.
During the ceremony Andy confided to her that he had wanted to ask her to dinner that first time they met, but since John was one of his best friends, as well as business partner, he had not done so in respect for John. That was when the sparks between them started to fly – like his conversation there was never a dull moment.