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Open Features: A D-I-Y Marriage - Part 4

...He looked relieved, she thought, as she took him in. Fifty-something, perhaps even sixty. Dorky glasses which no-one had ever bothered to tell him about, she suspected. A slightly musty smell about him. A ridiculous moustache. Probably not used to or comfortable with women. She had met similar before. The important thing was: why wasn’t he used to women?...

It's not exactly love at first sight when Muriel sees Cyril.

Brian Lockett's story continues tomorrow.

Muriel chose her wardrobe carefully, trying on and discarding skirts, blouses, dresses, tops and bottoms, shoes.

“Shit,” she eventually said to herself in exasperation. “I am not going for a job interview, am I? This Schnapps will have to take me as he finds me. I can’t believe he’s going to spend as much time dressing up for me.” So she settled for a business-like outfit in dark grey. It looked a little sombre, she thought, as she eyed herself in the full-length mirror, but what the hell.

She convinced herself that she was going to meet this man out of sheer curiosity, but couldn’t repress the excited tingling of her body as she stepped through the entrance to The Riverside Bar. The day was sunny and mild, unusual for London in November. She had no difficulty identifying Cyril because he had chosen a table for two in the centre of the room. He was peering earnestly at his tomato juice as she approached.

“Mr Snaps?”

“Miss Embling, I presume?” He rose and held out a hand, gesturing with the other for her to take a seat.

“I think we can move quickly to Cyril and Muriel, don’t you think,” she said with a smile.

“We both know why we’re here, so we do not need any small talk.”

He looked relieved, she thought, as she took him in. Fifty-something, perhaps even sixty. Dorky glasses which no-one had ever bothered to tell him about, she suspected. A slightly musty smell about him. A ridiculous moustache. Probably not used to or comfortable with women. She had met similar before. The important thing was: why wasn’t he used to women?

Now he was speaking as he signalled to the waitress.

“I’d better tell you straightaway, Muriel, that I am a creature of habit and do not eat a large meal at this time of day.”

Muriel looked at him quizzically.

“That is not to say,” he added as the waitress dispensed the menus, “that you need to follow suit. Of course, feel free to order whatever you want.”

She was touched by his embarrassment.

“Thank you,” she said. “I will do just that.”

Muriel believed in starting off on the right foot.

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