It was during the Intermission that he spotted Lauryn. He was waiting for Kellie who had gone to the bathroom while she had just come out of it. Not wanting her to leave before he got a chance to talk to her, he squeezed his way through the crowd and went over to where she was. He caught her by the arm and she turned.
She looked lovely in the black cocktail dress which flattered her body. Her skin looked so smooth and flawless, he had to fight the temptation to lower his head and kiss her on the shoulder. What he felt must have been evident in his eyes because he saw her expression change. “Hello,” she said, sounding a little breathless.
“Hello,” he replied. He was still holding her arm. It felt so soft against his fingers. Unable to resist, he rubbed his thumb against the skin. “I didn’t expect to see you here this evening.”
“I didn’t expect to see you either.”
“Are you here with someone?”
“Yes. What about you?”
He opened his mouth to ask whom she was with when Kellie joined them. His hand fell to his side. “This is Kellie,” he said.
She looked at Kellie and then, forcing a smile, she said, “Hi.”
Kellie’s green eyes traveled over her. “Hi,” she replied curtly before turning to him and saying, “We’d better go back to our seats.” She made a point of clutching his arm.
“Enjoy the rest of the show,” he said quietly before they walked away.
When they were seated, Kellie asked, “Who was that woman you were talking to?”
“You didn’t give me a chance to introduce her to you,” he said, evasively.
“I wasn’t interested in meeting her,” Kellie informed him. “And to be quite frank, I didn’t like the way she was looking at you before I came over. It was painfully obvious that she’s attracted to you. I detest a woman who fawns over another woman’s boyfriend when she has her own.”
He looked at her then. “What do you mean?”
“She’s with her boyfriend. There they are.”
He followed her gaze and saw Lauryn walk into the auditorium with a tall, black man. He watched as they sat down just as the lights dimmed. Red, hot jealousy coursed through him and his fingers gripped the arms of his seat. Who was he? What was Lauryn doing with him? Was she seeing him too?
His hand shook slightly as he dragged his fingers through his hair. The show had begun but he couldn’t focus on it. He kept looking over at where Lauryn and her date were. He had to find out who the man was.
Lauryn sat there watching the drama unfold on the stage but her mind was elsewhere. From where she sat, she could see the box where Henrik was. Who was the woman? Was she his girlfriend? She looked stunning in the pastel blue pant suit which flattered her olive complexion. She looked like she came from a well to do family as he did. They were a perfect match. How long had he been dating her? Was he going to marry her one day? Lauryn closed her eyes. I was a fool to think that I could have any kind of future with him.
When the show was over, she couldn’t wait to get out of there and was thankful when she was in the car on her way home. When they were outside of her building, Donald asked her, “Are you all right? You haven’t said much since we left the theatre.”
“I’m just a little tired,” she said. “Thanks for inviting me to come tonight with you, Don. Give my love to Gwen.”
“I will,” he promised before he got out of the car and walked around to open her door. When she stepped out, they hugged. “Goodnight.”
“Goodnight.” She waited until he had climbed back into the car and driven off before she went up the steps leading to the entrance of her condo building. She waved at the security guard as she passed him. In the elevator, she leaned against the wall. Where was Henrik now? Was he taking his date home or was he taking her to his place. The doors opened and Lauryn stepped out into the corridor. She hurried to her unit, anxious to get out of the dress and into something more comfortable. As she fumbled inside her handbag for her key, she wished she hadn’t gone to the theatre.
“What’s the matter with you?” Kellie demanded. “You’ve been acting strange ever since you run into that woman. Who is she, Henrik?”
“I met her in the library. We were sitting at the same table.”
“Is there something going on between you?”
He might as well come clean. “Yes.”
There was a pregnant pause and then: “For how long?”
“We met in December–”
“Seven months? You’ve been seeing this woman for seven months?”
“Do you have feelings for her, Henrik?” Kellie’s voice trembled.
“Do you have feelings for her?”
“Where does that leave us?”
“We can’t continue to see each other. I’m sorry, Kellie.”
“Sorry? Is that all you could say? You’re sorry?
He didn’t answer.
Kellie grabbed her handbag and opened the door. “Well, you’re not as sorry as I am. Goodbye!” She scrambled out and slammed the door shut. She hurried up the steps leading to the entrance of her building and disappeared through the revolving doors.
Henrik sat in his car for several minutes. He hated hurting her like that. She had every reason to hate him. He sighed heavily. He wished he hadn’t gone to the theatre. Who was the man he saw Lauryn with? Was he the new man in her life? He closed his eyes as the jealousy ripped through him. He had to see her and find out. He turned on the ignition and drove out of the lot.
Lauryn stepped out of the shower and pulled on a pair of cotton pajamas. She went into the living-room and turned on the television. In a couple of hours, she would welcome in the New Year–alone. She wished she hadn’t seen Henrik with another woman. It hurt. She closed her eyes in despair. They soon opened again when the doorbell rang.
She hurried to see who was stopping by and her heart leapt in her chest when she saw who it was. She opened the door, her eyes wide as they met his. “Hi,” she said as she stepped aside for him to go in. After closing and locking the door, she turned to face him. “I didn’t expect to see you.”
“Who was the guy I saw you with tonight, Lauryn?” he demanded thickly, his eyes dark and restless on her face.
“My brother, Don. His wife, Gwen’s getting over a cold so he asked me to go in her place rather than let the tickets go to waste.”
Henrik released a shaky breath. “I thought he was someone you were seeing.”
“No. I’m not seeing anyone. What about you? Who was the woman you were with?”
“I was in a relationship with her before I met you. Tonight, I ended it.”
“Why did you end your relationship with her?” She was happy he did but she needed to know the reason.
In a flash, he was standing inches from her, his heated gaze on her upturned face. “Isn’t it obvious?” he asked. Then, he reached down and pulled her into his arms. “I’m in love with you, Lauryn.”
Her heart melted and she put her arms around his neck. “I’m in love with you too, Henrik.”
He was about to lower his head and kiss her when the clock struck twelve. “Happy New Year,” he murmured huskily.
“Happy New Year.”
Source: The Telegraph