The words caught her off guard, especially since she had been lost in her normal reverie: the imaginary world she lived in while walking, shopping and eating among the throbbing crowds of citizens that packed this city from wall to wall during business hours.
But they caught her off-guard in another way, and it took her a second to realize it. For some reason, she wasn't offended at being called "meek" by a complete stranger. It was true, but that doesn't mean a stranger should address it. Maybe it was because of the suave and confident way he delivered the sentence. Maybe it was his Ivy-League good looks and high-end business suit. Maybe it was the calm, slightly smiling expression on his face. She didn't know. But she wanted to hear him explain what he meant.
So, she put down her paper cup of tea and just looked back at him through her slightly too-thick glasses. He started to look somewhat familiar, but she couldn't remember why.
He took her pause and return gaze as his cue continue talking from his tiny, coffee-shop table.
"You're not a girl of curves, not a girl of height, and not the girl they use in makeup ads. You're not a fashion plate, not a debutante, and not a leading lady. Am I wrong?"
She shook her head, not believing that he was exposing her right there in a crowded eatery. She was even more amazed that he was dead-on right. She wasn't flattered, but she felt she had to hear him out for being so bold. The more he talked, the more she was sure she knew him from somewhere.
He took a sip of his coffee. "And, yet, you're okay with all that. You don't look distressed or upset. You're dressed nicely for work, even though they don't make outfits that really flatter a woman who still looks like a girl. You wear make-up, and wear it well, even though your glasses hide a lot of it and the plainness of your features. Your hair is well taken care of, even though it's such a dull brown it could almost be called a warm grey."
She kept listening. She was sure she recognized him now.
"And that's what I find sensual. You're gentle, you're quiet and I bet you're a real pushover. You'd do almost anything that anyone asked of you. Especially anything that a lover asked of you. And, well..." His sentence trailed off for a moment, and he put down his cup. "Well, you've accepted it. You like yourself, even if you're not the woman every guy wishes for. In your meekness, you're so self-confident. I never understood that until I saw you sitting here. You're confident about losing yourself in someone else. You're confident in your lack of willingness to stand up and raise your voice. You're confident in not being strong. You're just a beautiful contradiction."
She just stared at him.
"Can I.. I mean.." He paused. "Can I take you out on a date?"
She turned back to her tea, and took a sip. And then, she responded. "No."
She got up from her chair, walked over to him, leaned over and whispered into his ear as sensually as she could muster. "As insightful as your observations were... You failed to recognize me for who actually am."
"Oh?" His body posture went stiff.
"Yes." She paused and whispered even closer into his ear. "I may be meek, but my father is not. He is the owner of the company you work for. I recognize you from the Christmas party."
"Oh." His posture changed to limp. "So, your dad is the old man..."
"Yes, and I shall inherit... your job."