Missionary Position(7)

By: Daisy Prescott


Regaining my manners, I extended my hand. “Selah Elmore, nice to meet you.”

“Gerhard Hendriks.” His large hand wrapped around mine in a firm grip. With formalities out of the way, he shrugged off his suit jacket and loosened his green silk tie before sitting down and ordering a gin and tonic. Silver ball cuff-links embellished the cuffs of his dress shirt. Mr. Hendriks was such a suit.

“For the record, I’m only half Dutch.”

“What’s the other half?”

“American.”

“Really? But you have a Dutch name and accent,” I stated the obvious. Go me.

“Want to see my passport?” He smiled. “My mother is American, and I went to school in the States. My—” The bartender interrupted him when he set down a gin and tonic and another bowl of delicious kibble. Gerhard took a sip and then continued, “Anita lives in Chicago now.”

“And you?” I asked.

“Here for now.”

“For now?”

“I travel a lot for work. Amsterdam is home, but otherwise I’m a nomad.”

Sexy nomad. Images of Lawrence of Arabia came to mind.

“What about you, Selah Elmore?” My name sounded different, exotic, on his tongue.

“What about me?” His charming Dutchness charmed me stupid.

“Where do you live?”

“Portland. Oregon. Not Maine.”

He nodded. “I’ve been to Maine, but not the other Portland. I went to college in Boston.”

There was something distinctly Harvardian about him. “Harvard?”

His smile broadened, revealing straight, white, ridiculously gorgeous teeth. “How’d you guess?”

“There’s something about people who attend Harvard.”

“What?”

“They have names like Gerhard and wear expensive navy suits.” I grinned back, testing the flirting waters.

“I’m a stereotype? Are you trying to catalogue me?”

“Stereotype? I don’t know you well enough to say, but I do enjoy cataloging things. Blame my job.”

He scanned my red jersey dress and narrowed his eyes. “You don’t look like the banking type. I’d guess collector or curator since I first saw you at the auction reception.”

He did remember seeing me there. Sitting up a little straighter, I mentally preened.

“Art history professor, but you were close.”

“Ah, it all makes sense now.”

“It does?” I sipped my martini and then nibbled on one of my olives.

“Why you were at the reception. African art professor?”

“No, the human form. Mostly how female nudity is portrayed across cultures.”

He paused with his glass near his mouth. “You’re an expert in naked women?”

I nodded, watching his reaction.

“Huh.” He swallowed. “Who knew such a job existed.”

His response was typical, making me laugh. “Jealous?”

“A little. My work involves no naked women. Although, sometimes there are naked breasts.” His eyes met mine.

“In banking? You mean when you take clients to strip clubs?”

“Now, now. Don’t start with your stereotypes again. Who said I was a banker?”

“I assumed.”

He smirked.

“Yes, I know. Ass-u-me. You were at the reception tonight and someone pointed you out as part of the TNG group.”

“Because I was standing with a group of bankers doesn’t mean I’m a dull number cruncher.”

I couldn’t tell if he was teasing, but I felt like an ass for putting him in a box. “So what do you do?”

“I crunch numbers.” His face remained blank for a moment, then his eyes crinkled and his lips twitched.

I smacked his arm where it lay on the bar. “You do not!”

“I do in a way, but no, not really. I work for another area at TNG.”

“One that requires you to travel.”

“Yes, in fact I leave for a conference in a few weeks. Enough blabbering about me, what are you doing in Amsterdam?”

I told him about my week here, and plans in Accra for the next six months.

His smile returned. “You’ll love Ghana. It’s Africa for beginners. Stable, peaceful, and almost everyone speaks a little English.”

“You’ve been?”

“I had an assignment there three years ago. In Accra.”

“I’ll be staying in Accra! Mostly. I want to visit the North and see some elephants.”

“You have to see the elephants. Also, eat joloff and kelewele. Watch out for the palm wine, though; it sneaks up on you.”

Tall, gorgeous, charming, worldly? Bless you, Anita, patron saint of blind dates.

“I can’t wait. I have oodles of Out of Africa fantasies running through my mind.”

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