He watched her with her friends. They were laughing and having lunch at a swanky restaurant. He was on his way to back to the youth shelter following his lunch break. He stood there to see if she would notice him. She suddenly turned and saw him. The smile vanished from her face. Their eyes met and held for several minutes before she turned away. Her friends had noticed him too and they were probably asking who he was but she shrugged. Soon they were talking and laughing again as before.
Hurt and angry, he walked away. Last night she was all over him but now that she was with her friends, she acted like she didn’t even know him. It served him right for getting involved with a high-class woman.
They met a couple of months ago at a charitable event. She showed up alone wearing a black sequenced evening dress which flattered her gorgeous figure. He went up to her and at first she looked a bit put off but by the end of the night, she had warmed up to him. The following night they went for dinner to an Italian restaurant and over pasta and wine, they got to know each other. He learned that she was an only child who grew up in a predominantly white neighborhood and went to ivy league schools. She worked as a Brand Communications Manager at a Telecommunications company. The job paid extremely well and she loved it.
After dinner, they went to her place, a luxurious penthouse overlooking Central Park for a nightcap. He stood behind her as they looked out the window. Unable to resist, he pulled her against him and buried his face in her hair. It and she smelled really good. She didn’t pull away. Encouraged, he turned her around and cupping her face between his hands, he lowered his head and kissed her. Her eager response excited him and his mouth hungrily devoured hers, eliciting a moan from her. As they exchanged kisses, he picked her up and carried her over to the sofa where they ended up making love. He spent the night and left the next morning after breakfast.
They saw each other regularly after that night but they never went to the places she and her friends went to and he never met any of them. She met his friends. His best friend, Joe told him, “She’s different from the women you usually go out with. She’s classy.”
There were times when he wondered why she was going out with him. He didn’t think he was the kind of guy she would be interested in. Granted, they were great together in bed but he wanted more than just a physical relationship with her. Last night when they were at his place, munching on Nachos while watching Sunday Night Football, he realized that he had fallen in love with her. He wanted to tell her but something held him. Was it fear, doubt? He still wasn’t sure how she felt about him and it bothered him that she hadn’t introduced him to any of her friends. Was she afraid of what they would think?
It was clear from her behavior just now that she was ashamed of him. Why else wouldn’t she invite him to join the group? He had planned to take her skating at Wollman Rink and afterwards, huddle together as they sipped hot chocolate. Well, he wasn’t going to bother. Instead, he would watch Breaking Bad. What a dismal prospect but it was better than nothing. When he got back to the shelter, he pushed all thoughts of her out of his mind and got busy.
It was after seven that evening when he finally let himself into his apartment. He was hungry but was too lazy to cook so he ordered pizza. After taking a quick shower, he turned on the television. The doorbell rang. Thinking it was the pizza delivery guy, he grabbed his wallet. He peered through the keyhole and stiffened when he saw her standing there. Taking a deep breath, he opened the door, his expression guarded. He saw her eyes travel over his tee shirt and jeans. “I wasn’t expecting company,” he said. “I was planning on having a quiet evening.”
“May I come in?”
“Sure.” He stepped aside so that she could enter. After closing the door, he leaned against it, arms folded. “So, what brings you over here?”
“I wanted to see you.”
“You saw me earlier today when you were with your friends.”
“Sorry that your friends saw me or sorry that you didn’t introduce me to them?”
“Harlow, I haven’t been completely honest with you.”
“I didn’t tell you about Malik.”
His expression darkened. “Who the devil is Malik?”
“He’s the guy I was dating when you and I met. The friends you saw me with know him. I didn’t want them to know about you. That’s why I didn’t introduce you to them. I didn’t want them to say anything to Malik before I got a chance to speak to him.”
“Are you here to break up with me, Lorraine?”
“No!” she cried. “Breaking up with you is the last thing I want to do.”
“What about Malik?”
“I broke up with him.”
“Yes. I couldn’t continue dating him when I’m in love with you. It wouldn’t be fair to him and–” the rest of her words were smothered under his lips. She put her arms around his neck and pressed against him.
Several minutes later, he raised his head, his face flushed, to gaze down at her. “Today when you looked at me and then turned away, I was hurt. I thought that it was because you were embarrassed. You didn’t want your friends to know about me.”
“Do you know what they said when they saw you? They said, ‘whoever that guy is, he’s real cute.’ And I agreed with them. And one of them said, ‘it’s too bad you’re already in a relationship.'”
“So, you think I’m real cute?”
“Yes.” She reached up and to pull his head down towards hers when the doorbell rang.
“It’s the pizza I ordered.”
“What kind did you order?”
“Hmmm. My favorite. I’ll go rustle up a salad to go with it.” She reached up and kissed him before heading for the kitchen.
He watched her go, grinning. This night had turned out better than he had planned. And it was the first of many nights together for the rest of their lives.