Dom dropped down on the other end of the sofa. "An old… I guess you could call her someone I once knew who…" He sighed, staring down at the floor.
"Now she's back?"
"In a way. She's…here on a job."
"For the same company you work for?"
Dom gave a sharp nod. "Yeah, and there's not a damned thing I can do about it."
"Ask them to send you somewhere else."
"That's not feasible at the moment."
Tim smiled slightly. "Good, because I'd miss you."
Dom cocked an eyebrow. "From the sound of it—from what you said—you have someone else now to keep you busy."
"I'm hoping that's what's going to happen. But I won't know until tomorrow. He might change his mind by then."
"I don't think so. I told you he seemed very interested in you when we were at the museum, and I gather you've seen him again since then."
"At the library today." Tim told him what had happened—in detail.
When he finished, Dom chuckled. "I can almost see it all as it went down."
"Sorry. I'm just…it's important to me. But…" He looked at Dom, frowning. "Am I making a mountain out of a mole hill? I'm scared, Dom. This is the first time anyone's even seemed the least bit interested in me as more than…than an acquaintance, if you know what I mean. He could think about it tonight and decide he was stupid to ask me to lunch and—well..."
"Tim, you have to start believing in yourself. From what you told me, he asked because he's interested in you. If you go into this thinking you're not worth his interest, he's going to wonder if maybe that's so. For all you know, he's as scared as you are. He's dedicated his life to Cherie, I suspect, and I'd be willing to bet that means not getting involved with anyone for fear it could cause… problems."
Tim frowned, thinking about that. "Problems for her if people found out he's gay? But you said he said he'd gone to Maxie's a couple of times."
"Don't forget, Maxie's caters to everyone, so if anyone found out, they wouldn't think anything about it."
"True, I guess. I wonder…"
"If she knows he is? Kids are smart and she's very smart, so it wouldn't surprise me if she figured it out." Dom grinned. "You said he told you she dragged him to the library today. What do you want to bet there was method in her madness?"
"She couldn't know I'm gay. No one knows."
"She really likes you, from what I've seen. Maybe she was playing matchmaker and hoping."
Tim sighed. "That definitely puts the pressure on. What if we decide we don't like each other? Could she deal?"
"Stop being so negative. Yeah, you barely know each other at this point but hell"—Dom reached over to pat Tim's shoulder—"maybe it's fated that you two are supposed to be together and she is just the catalyst."
"I don't believe in fate."
"Well start, damn it. You're a good, decent man who deserves to be happy. I'm betting Richard could make that happen, if you let him."
"If he decides he likes me."
"Would he have asked you to lunch if he wasn't attracted to you, at least on some level?"
"So go tomorrow and see what happens. I'm placing odds that by the end of lunch, the two of you will decide to have another date, and another, and in the end, he'll be more than willing to have you in his life—and Cherie's—on a permanent basis."
Tim chuckled. "What sort of odds?"
"A hundred to one?"
"That works." Tim started to get up then said, "If you want to talk about…."
"Not really, but thanks for asking. Now if I were you, I'd go get some sleep. You need to be bright and perky tomorrow."
Tim snorted. "Me and bright and perky is an oxymoron. Still, yeah, I probably should try to sleep, if I can."
"You will, and you'll dream of Richard and be doubly ready to see him tomorrow."
Tim rolled his eyes as he stood. "I'm already ready, thanks to your calming me down."
"Glad to have been of service. Just remember, I want all the details tomorrow night"—Dom grinned—"presuming you aren't out on a second date with him at that point."
"On a work night? Uh-uh," Tim replied as he headed to the door. "Saturday, maybe."
"Yeah, it does," Tim said hopefully, as he left Dom's apartment.