Everyone wants a bargain, and Anne was no exception. It was for this reason that Anne found herself in her local Aldi making her weekly shop.
"Excuse me," the young man said to her.
Anne adjusted herself appropriately. She glanced up at this stranger and noted that he was rather handsome. He had a real beauty - not the heavily manicured type willing to spend hours on his appearance in the morning. Perhaps a few years ago she would have struck up a conversation, but her confidence had long since disappeared. She gave him enough room to pass.
Ever since she split with her husband, Anne had been short of money. When married, she had money and more to spend on herself - food, clothes, travel and anything else she desired.
Nowadays, it was a completely different story. Anne needed to watch every penny, and this meant that she needed to buy the 59c can of tomatoes at Aldi. How her life had changed!
It was a bitterly cold day, miserably wet and windy. Anne had made her way to the car park.
Standing outside for longer than a minute was excruciating - any exposed skin was quickly numb. Anne hated the cold, and she couldn't wait for the warmth of summer to kiss her smooth, dark skin.
Anne always struggled through winter - and it wasn't just the weather. She always lacked sufficient vitamin D, and this meant that winter always brought her sickness. How she wished she could afford to travel somewhere warmer for the long winter months. But that was her previous life.
"Excuse me... Again," a somewhat familiar voice requested. "You're making a habit of getting in my way today. Do you do this sort of thing often?" the handsome young man asked Anne.
He was parked next to Anne, and while she was slowly placing her groceries in the car, he had tried to get past her to access his own.
"Only to attract the attention of cute guys." Anne wasn't sure why she said it. She felt a little stunned. What had come into her?
He smiled. Anne noticed that he had a great smile. Sort of cheeky and exciting.
"I'm flattered." he seemed to go a little red as he responded. "Can I help you at all?" He asked Anne. "You've got quite a bit of stuff."
"Thank you - that would be great!" Anne was struggling to unload her trolley's contents into her car, and this offer of assistance was well and truly appreciated.
"So... What's your name? I'm Tom. I haven't seen you around here before."
Since her marriage breakup, Anne had to move to an area more suitable for her budget. This meant that she was further away from family, friends and all that she had known.
Moving to this new area, Anne was reluctant to socialise with the locals just yet. She frequently told herself to "get out and meet new people tomorrow" - but it never happened.
"I'm Anne. I've only just moved into the area." This was only vaguely true. Anne had moved several months prior.
"Where are you from originally, and have we been making you feel welcome?"
"I'm doing pretty well considering..." Anne let on more than she normally would.
Tom was making light work of all of Anne's groceries. Not a large man, Tom was clearly quite strong. Unfortunately Anne couldn't check out his physique under the heavy jacket he required on such a winter's day.
He was probably medium height, with dark brown hair, and Anne guessed he was relatively lean. His fair skin was impeccable, and although he'd clearly walked out out of his house unshaven that morning, it suited him.
Anne also noticed that she was drawn to Tom. He was moving the groceries easily, but Anne kept getting in the way as she gravitated towards him.
Tom finished up. "May I give you a bit of a guided tour? I'm a long term local and can show you all the best parts." He asked.
Anne knew that Tom's intentions were a little mischievous, but that didn't prevent her from accepting.
"Of course, that would be great. Thank you."
Anne hadn't had anything really going for her since the divorce, and maybe this was an opportunity to take the bull by the horns so to speak. Tom seemed like a nice guy, and she was sure she would have a decent time. At the very least she might even get a nice meal. It had been a while since she'd had one of those.
"What's your address? I'll pick you up at 7 on Friday."
Anne gave Tom her address. It had been some years since she'd been on a date. She had a powerful excitement, and she couldn't wait for Friday evening to arrive.
The rest of the week flew by, and all too soon Tom pulled up in his dark sedan. It was an older BMW, but it had been well taken care of.
Anne's unit was at the front of her block, but was well covered by a sturdy fence and bushes for privacy. She knew that the security and privacy was important - particularly because of how vulnerable she felt living alone.
She heard Tom's car door shut, and got ready to open the door. Anne had been preparing for 2 hours - a long warm shower, choosing the perfect outfit, doing her hair and makeup. She had decided on a black cocktail dress with a lovely cardigan she had kept. Anne knew she was going to be cold, but she was willing to make that sacrifice.
The doorbell rang.
"You are a vision! Very beautiful." Tom told Anne.
"Thanks - you're looking good too." Anne was very happy with Tom's appearance.
He had obviously made a great deal of effort to look good. In the days leading up to their date, he'd had his hair cut, and it fell nicely across his face. Tom was wearing a knitted jumper with collared shirt, nice slacks and shoes. He seemed to carry more confidence than their last meeting too.