Heir first date was at Houston’s, a restaurant in Irvine, where he opened the door for her and put her napkin on her lap.
Candles flickered along the polished-mahogany bar; jazz drifted from speakers; conversation purred. Her cornsilk-blond hair fell in waves over her shoulders.
High black Gucci heels, designer jeans, Chanel bag.
At 59, married and divorced four times, she had begun to worry that she was too old for another chance at love.
Her four kids were grown, she ran a flourishing interior design firm, and she was looking for a man to share her success with.
Her date was 55, 6 feet 2, with hard-jawed good looks and a gym-sculpted frame.
He looked a little weathered, and he dressed lazily — shorts and an ill-matching preppy shirt — but he might have once been an All-American quarterback on a trading card. He had thick dark hair and a warm, friendly smile that invited trust.
His eyes were hazel-green, with the quality of canceling out the whole of the world that wasn’t her, their current focus. They had found each other on an over-50 dating site, and she thought his profile — Christian, divorced, physician — seemed safe.
She had been on three other recent dates, but the men were less handsome than their profile photos, and the talk was dull. He showed keen interest in the details of her life and business.
He didn’t want to talk just about himself, even though his stories were riveting.
He told her all about being an anesthesiologist in Iraq, where he’d just spent a year with Doctors Without Borders. That he owned houses in Newport Beach and Palm Springs. “This feels incredible,” he said, stretching out on her bed.
That he happened to worship at her church, Mariners. And he told her that she stopped his heart, she was so beautiful. Her last serious boyfriend had wounded her, in parting, when he said she wasn’t. She thought this was moving a little fast, but she decided to allow it. She brought John back to her penthouse, just up the block. She thought, “It’s just a mattress.” She became uncomfortable. He just didn’t want to leave, and she had to insist.