And here is the ending to my novel-in-short-stories, Friendly Casualties:
“I haven’t had lunch with a beautiful woman in a very long time. The first time I saw you—”
“Sam,” Maggie said, “are you flirting with me?”
“I’m too old for you,” she said.
“No, you’re not. I mean . . . Miss Nilsson—”
“Maggie.” He hunched his shoulders. “I apologize. It’s just that . . . What I mean is, you’ve been hurt. So have I. We’re what they call ‘friendly casualties.’ Maybe you’d let me comfort you. Just a little bit.”
“Sam, it wouldn’t be—”
“And maybe you could comfort me. Only just a little.”
Maggie started to shake her head.
“Maggie.” He took her hand. “We have to start somewhere. Have lunch with me.”
Maggie looked up into his lined face, so full of hope and pain. Her heart hurt for him.
“Sure,” she said at last. “Sure.”