A Single Yesterday

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Chapter 33

The following morning, Zach and Charlie entered their shop with their new puppy. They greeted all the customers with a friendly smile and short conversations. Betty was ringing up a customer on the register when she noticed the puppy that Charlie was holding.

“And what do we have here?” Betty asked as she stepped out from behind the counter. When she began to pet the puppy, it immediately began to squirm in Charlie’s arms.

“It’s our new puppy. She’s a girl,” Charlie replied.

“Well, isn’t she the cutest thing. What’s her name?”

“I can’t decide, there’s so many to choose from,” Charlie said.

“How about Daisy?” Betty said. “I think Daisy is an adorable name. It’s one of my favorite flowers. She’s as fresh as a Daisy.”

The puppy began teething on Charlie’s finger. “Yeah, she’s fresh all right,” he said giggling.

“She’s so cute,” Betty said. “Best of luck with her. I should really get back to work.” She began to walk away.

“Yeah, sure,” Charlie said. Then he thought about what Zach said and how Cary Grant would handle the situation. “Uh wait,” he blurted out.

“Yes, what is it?”

“Ms. Betty, would you, um ... would you care to go out sometime?” Charlie said. He immediately felt foolish. He didn’t think he sounded like Cary Grant at all, and thought he made a complete jackass out of himself.

“Are you asking me out on a date, Charlie?

“Yes ma’am,” Charlie said. He so was nervous that he began to sweat.

“I’d love to, but under one condition.”

“Yes, what is it?” Charlie said. He couldn’t believe that Ms. Betty was actually considering going on a date with him.

“You have to stop calling me Ms. Betty and ma’am, you make me sound old. Agreed?”

“Yes, M ... uh, Betty,” Charlie said.

“Okay then, it’s a date,” Betty said. Her smile seemed to light up the room. Her teeth were perfect and white. And the way the light shined through the windows, it brought out the green in her eyes. Charlie gazed at how they sparkled. He felt as though his heart skipped a beat.

Zach walked around the store inspecting the freshly painted walls. The painter they hired was almost finished with the remaining wall. The color was bright and cheerful. It also made the store appear larger and brighter than before. They wanted the customers to feel stimulated and encouraged to buy something.

At that point, Zach made a strategic decision. He envisioned the store being a place where an entire family could shop, not just men, which was only a quarter of the market. The newspaper article mentioned catering to oversized and little people, but now Zach was thinking beyond that. He wanted to include clothing and other items for women and children, as well. Why only cater to a quarter of the market when we can cater to men, women, boys and girls, Zach thought.

Zach was excited and wanted to share his new strategy with Charlie and Betty. When he spotted Charlie and Betty talking in the distance, he thought they made a nice looking couple and could see that they genuinely liked each other. They both wore smiles that lit up their faces each time they were together.

At that moment, Zach realized that Charlie had changed. He had become a new man. He seldom suffered from depression when he thought about of his family and Max. He had a new home, a new dog and lived comfortably. He took a liking to Ms. Betty and seemed truly happy. Things were finally going well for Charlie ... for all of them. Life was good again.

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