Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Chapter 04: Getting it Done

After I posted the message to Daise, I started feeling a little uneasy. I hunted around on the site for a while, and found that they had an option to do a scam-check.. I thought it was pretty clever. The way it worked was that they sent someone to deliver a single red rose to the address of the person they were checking, and then provided photo of the delivery. That meant that I would get to see that Daise was who she said she was, she lived at the address that she had used to register and she would probably be flattered because I was 'thoughtful' enough to send her a rose.

Feeling much better about it, I left the computer and settled in to watch the Springbucks beat the All Blacks at rugby. Ok, so it was a copy saved on my PVR and not live, but then it was a game that deserved being watched three or four hundred times.

When the time rolled around that I had agreed to chat to Daise, I was sitting at my computer browsing idly. Eventually the chat notification popped up to tell me that Daise was online.

I couldn't believe how apprehensive I was as I replied to her “Hello, are you there?”

“Hi Daise,” I typed, “How was your day?”

“Terrible. I couldn't stop thinking about you and when I checked my messages at lunch time, I got the one you sent me. I haven't been able to think of anything else.”

“And? What do you think?”

“It is a little difficult to type like this. I wish I could speak to you rather.”

“Ok. Do you have a phone there where I can call you?”

“I have a friend here at the business centre who has a cell phone. Would that be OK?”

“Sure. Give me the number.”

Once I had the number, I called the phone directly from my Cell. It only rang twice before she answered.

“Hello?” I loved her voice. Just that one tentative hello in that delightful accent was enough for me to know that.

“Hi Daise?”

“Yes, this is Daise. Is that Rupert?”

“Yes. It's nice to hear your voice. Please thank your friend for me for allowing you to use her phone.”

“OK.” I heard some rapid-fire Russian and then she came back on the line. “She tells me to tell you it is no problem.”

“OK. So … what did you think about what I asked you?”

“The people at the Dating Agency tell me that I should rather ask you to visit me here.”

“Yes, I thought that they might. I made some calls though and it seems that it would be easier for you to get a visa to come here than for me to go there. I can arrange it within two weeks from when you decide to come. It would take me months to get a visa to go there.”

“I would like to see you Rupert. When would you want me to come?”

I could hear that there was a bit of a hesitation in her voice. I tried to think about what the possible cause could be and decided that it was possibly to do with her job, although I was a little confused about that as she had listed herself as a student on her profile.

“Don't worry about it for the moment Daise,” I said, “let's talk about something else. I see you a student. What are you studying.”

“I am in a secretarial college. I wasn't able to go to University, so I am working at a restaurant to pay for it so I have to worry about how I am going to manage to take leave.”

I could see now what the problem was. It seemed that money was a real problem, confirming what I had suspected had made her desperate enough to join the Dating agency in the first place. What I really liked though was that she made absolutely no mention of money. It seemed that she was too proud to do so, which went a long way towards easing my fears of a scam and gold-digging.

“Ok. How long do you have left to study there?”

“Another three months. It is a two year course and I am almost finished.”

“All right, how about this. If you want to come out here to see me ...”

“Oh, yes I do,” she interrupted.

“Ok, well in that case, maybe you can find out when you can take a week's break.”

“I already know. We are having a holiday next week. I don't think I can get leave from my job though.”

I could hear the frustration in Daise's voice. I guessed that she was concerned that she would be missing an opportunity.

“Rupert, can I tell you something?” Daise choked out over what I realised were sobs that she was valiantly attempting to hold back.

“Of course you can. What is it? What's the problem?” I asked.

“I want to visit you, but I really cannot afford to leave my job for a week because I won't get it back afterwards. Could we wait till after I finish my course?”

I thought about it for a few seconds. “OK, here's an idea. How about you come out to see me and when you go back, if your job is not there for you, then I will give you the money you would have lost by not working there. How's that?”

“You can't do that.” was the shocked response.

“Why not?” I asked reasonably.

“What if you don't like me?”

“That's what I am planning for. If I don't like you is when I will give you the money. Don't worry about it though. You think about it and let me know what you have decided later. Maybe we can talk again tomorrow?”

“Ok. I am not sure about getting a phone though, my friend is not always here and the people here don't like us girls using these phones. They think they should only be for the men to use.”

“Mmm. All right. Why don't you email me your postal address then and tomorrow we will just chat online while you and I think about this. OK?”

“Why do you want my address?”

“I want to send you a present. Is that OK?”

“”Yes, that's fine. You don't need to send me any presents though.”

“I want to. Let's leave it for today, and we can chat online tomorrow. Don't forget to send me your address though, OK?”

“Ok. Bye Rupert. Thank you for phoning me.”

“Bye Daise.”

I hung up the phone, very happy with the way the conversation had gone. I was getting a really good feeling about Daise. She seemed to me to be very honest and sweet. Some of naivety also came through, and I found that to be very endearing in itself.

A few seconds later an email message arrived from her with her postal address and a lot more thank-you's for being so understanding and patient with her. I replied telling her it was only what she deserved.

Now for the present. I had thought of this while we were talking and thought it would blow her away, without costing me much at all. I jumped into my car and headed down to the Hillcrest Mall.

When I got there, I went to the little sales shop for my Cell Provider and started looking at the various phones and packages on offer. There was one very cheap package, R80 per month, which included a pretty decent phone. I spent some time talking to the sales clerk about it, and got her to check up on the roaming arrangements with the Ukraine. It took her some time, especially as we were right at the end of business hours, but she eventually had everything figured out and I paid for the phone and contract, paying for it for the full twenty-four months, rather than worrying about making monthly payments. What was nice about this contract was that the R80 paid for everything and included 100 free air-time minutes, with any additional usage requiring the user to purchase 'Air-time' so it was possible to run up an account. When I had everything together, the saleslady boxed it all for me and I dropped it off at the courier depot on my way home. The after-hours duty clerk assured me that it would be delivered in the Ukraine by late the following day.

Figuring that I had had a full day, I went home and had a hot shower then climbed into bed to fall asleep while watching the rest of the rugby game.

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