When P.T. Barnum said, “There’s a sucker born every minute,” he might have had Jason in mind.
Jason is a salesman and a good-time guy. He says his job is to fly around the country and take people to lunch. He’s 42, divorced for 10 years. He’s been through the “I hate all women” stage and the “I’m gonna jump on every woman” stage and when he saw Lonnie, 35, a waitress in a diner near his office, he was in the “I’m ready to settle down” stage.
They started to date in September. Jason would call her up and say, “How’d you like to go out tonight?” and Lonnie would hem and haw: “I don’t know . . . . I really shouldn’t . . . . Maybe another time.” So Jason would sweeten the pot: “Let’s try that new steak house.” And Lonnie would grab her coat.
But there was a part of herself she held back.
“She was always very aloof,” says Jason. “I told myself she needed to know me better, that she had been through some tough times, emotionally. I tried to talk to her about it, but she would change the subject.”
Christmas came and Jason gave Lonnie a complete head-to-toe outfit. Dress, coat, shoes, purse. She gave him a bottle of aftershave. “Not even cologne.” He took her on trips and paid for everything. She would say, “I’ve got to have you for dinner.” She never did.
Jason excused all of it. “I wanted to be Mr. Understanding.”
Because Jason travels so much, restaurants are no big deal to him. So he decided that, as a special treat, he’d prepare dinner one Saturday night for her. He made spaghetti with homemade sauce and homemade noodles. He even made his own salad dressing. Lonnie never showed. He called her and she said something came up and she had to work. He called the restaurant, she wasn’t there. It was a pretty quiet dinner party.
He called her a few days after her no-show and she said she had worked that night, but at a different restaurant. “I knew she was lying to me. But my self-esteem wouldn’t let me see it for what it was.”
Through his business connections, Jason can get great seats to concerts. Lonnie was dying to see Michael Buble, so he got two tickets for her and her girlfriend. Then Tim McGraw was scheduled to appear and Lonnie asked for six tickets.
“I just assumed we’d go along with four of her friends. I gave her four tickets and she said, ‘Where’s the other two?’ I said, ‘I thought they were for you and me.’ She said no, they were all for friends. I was ticked off, but I gave them to her.”
Jason had a sneaking suspicion that Lonnie might have gone to the concert. He called her that night and, sure enough, she wasn’t home. But he got proof when his friends, sitting down the aisle from her, reported that not only was she there, she was there with another man.
“That’s when it hit the fan,” says Jason. The pieces — finally, after eight months — fell into place. “It was an education,” says Jason. “People pay for their education and I sure paid for this one.”
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