"You didn't call," the voice on the other end sounded melodically disappointed.
"Oh, hi, Miranda."
"You didn't call," she sweetly insisted.
"I, umm, I didn't need any help with the copier."
"Well, I did say to call me, anyway."
"Oh," said Michael. "I ... I guess I thought you were just kidding."
Miranda chuckled softly. "I do enjoy a good laugh, Michael, but no, I wasn't kidding. What are you doing tomorrow night?"
Michael's mind raced down the list of possible answers, as well as down another list - the one with all the ways he normally spent his Saturday nights. Nowhere on that second list was anything about having dinner with a woman.
"Nothing that would interest you, I think, Miranda."
"You might be surprised," came the response. "But listen, it's Valentine's Day this weekend, and I'd like to go out with a nice man. Someone I like. What do you say?"
"Well, I guess that sounds better than defragging my computer's hard drive."
"Michael, that may be the sexiest thing anyone's said to me all week. Pick me up at 7:00. See you then," and Miranda hung up.
Michael breathed out, realizing he'd been holding his breath for almost the entire phone call. In a sudden moment of clarity, he realized he had no idea where Miranda lived. Racing to his computer, he logged on to the company mainframe and accessed his Outlook e-mail program. "Yes!" he exclaimed to himself when he found Miranda's contact card and, thankfully, her cell phone number was listed in the information. He dialed the number nervously.
"See how easy it is to pick up the phone and call?" Miranda said by way of greeting.
"All right. You did that on purpose. Where do you live?"
A moment later Michael hung up, and suddenly had a vision of Miranda Wheatley as Mata Hari, and himself as Crown Prince Wilhelm. He spoke in a German dialect the rest of the night.
To be continued on Sunday. Valentine's Day.
Click the "Saturday Novel" label at the lower right to read this story from the beginning.