Bye, Mum. Don’t wait up, I might be late.’
Zoe Harris twinkled her fingers at her mother Maureen and headed for the front door.
‘You’re looking very glam, darling. Where’re you off to tonight?’
Maureen pushed herself away from her computer long enough to admire her daughter’s expensive scarlet and black dress, and her sleek, newly highlighted blonde hair.
‘Nowhere exciting. Just dinner with a guy.’
‘Excellent! It’s high time you took a break and had some sort of social life.’
Zoe wished her mother wouldn’t get quite so excited about every dinner date she went on. It was just a meal, after all.
And, as she kept reminding her mum, being a financial adviser wasn’t easy, and as the youngest partner in the firm, she had to work late and on most weekends. She couldn’t remember when she’d last been out with a man who wasn’t a client hoping for free advice about investments.
‘Well, I hope he appreciates his good luck. I’ll probably be still awake and working when you come back. I’ve loads more to do on these revisions.’
‘Aren’t you going out too, Mum? It’s Saturday, I thought you and Auntie Dora were seeing that Brad Pitt movie.’
‘Brad will have to wait. They want the first three chapters by Monday.’
‘There’s such a thing as all work and no play, you know,’ teased Zoe.
‘Oh, I’m not quite as bad as you are, love! I do have a bit of fun now and again.’
‘I can guess your idea of fun – computer solitaire!’
Maureen said nothing, just gave her a small smile that didn’t reassure her.
Sometimes, Zoe worried about her mother. Maureen was an attractive, vibrant woman with a youthful spirit. But ever since she’d achieved an elusive publishing deal – something that Zoe couldn’t have been prouder of – she had spent so many hours writing her detective stories, she never seemed to have time for anything else.
We’re a fine pair, she thought ruefully, two gorgeous women and neither of us with a man to call our own. Not that they needed a man, Zoe reminded herself. But it might be nice, once in a while, to spend their evenings with more than just each other, or the odd friend – someone who loved them for them.
As Zoe drove towards town, she became increasingly nervous. She hadn’t told anyone about registering for online dating. Her mother would probably worry about unsuitable men trying to manipulate her with lies and flattery, and she worried the girls in the office might see her as pathetic for having to resort to the internet to find the perfect partner.
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September 15, 2020