Katy sold women’s purses, but she relied on men to make a living. A woman took the purchase of a purse seriously - it wasn’t unusual for a whole day to go by without a woman actually buying a purse from her - but a man would buy one for the woman in his life as casually as he picked up some flowers on the way home. He knew it was the thought that counted, and if he bought a purse that was red or sequined or long-strapped when none of those was to his woman’s taste, he would still get credit for trying.
So Katy wasn’t surprised that the older man was camped out in the break room; he probably had a wife at home with an approaching birthday or anniversary. But she started to wonder if he was there for another reason when he quietly watched her showing the purses to the dark-haired woman.
Well, she was used to that. Two delivery guys from next door had whispered and jostled each other before asking her what she was doing after work. She didn’t even bother to smile when she told them she wasn’t interested.
Really. What made them think she would ever date a man who had to wear a jumpsuit to work?
The older man, however, seemed to belong in another group of men: those who would buy a purse before asking for her phone number. Usually, the men would say that the purse was for a sister or mother, but she was pretty sure it would end up in the back of a closet.
(The weird guy with the glasses was in a whole new category: she had never had a man buy a purse and then actually use it.)
After the woman regretfully left, touching the black velvet one last time, the man came forward with his wallet open. He pointed to one purse after another, and then pulled out a bundle of twenties. He stacked them in a neat pile, adding one extra. “Keep the change, darlin’,” he whispered with a smile. Katy was almost sorry that she had to turn down this one, since buying ten purses was the biggest gesture any guy had ever made. If he were fifteen years younger, she might have considered him, but…no. She pulled out the pink plastic handled bag, but he stayed her hand.
He gathered six of the purses into his arms, hung two from his wrists, looped two over his thumbs. He stood before her for a few seconds, smiling, and Katy wondered if maybe an older guy would be a nice change. But he nodded his thanks, left the room, and headed into the main office, where he stopped before the older woman who had just left in the conference room.
“Bob Vance, Vance Refrigeration. These are for you.”
As Katy watched, the woman’s face shaded from surprise to wonder. She removed her glasses then reached out, and plucked the purses from the man’s arms as carefully as though they were delicate fruit.