She couldn’t stop thinking about Marius. Even when she was with Titus, it was Marius who filled her head, her thoughts. That afternoon, she had to go to the fashion show just to see him. She watched him as he walked across the cobbled stones. Brooke wasn’t there. She had some family affair to attend. Elspeth was relieved. She would finally get a chance to be alone with Marius. There was a French restaurant nearby where she could take him for lunch. She had been there once and the food was extremely good.
After the fashion show was over, she walked straight up to Marius who looked very pleased to see her. “Hello,” she said.
“May I treat you to lunch? There’s a great French restaurant a block away from here. We can walk there. That is if you don’t already have plans.”
He smiled. “No, I don’t have any plans.”
“Great. Let’s go.”
They started for the restaurant. It was a balmy day. They drew a few glances as they walked side by side. He hand his hands in his pockets. A few times she turned and caught him looking at her before he looked away. She blushed. It was obvious that he was attracted to her and that thrilled her. She couldn’t deny nor hide her attraction for him. This lunch was just an excuse to be with him. She pushed all thoughts of Titus from her mind.
“So, how was your trip to Paris?” she asked when they were sitting in the restaurant and had placed their orders.
“It was great. We were there for the weekend. I was able to do a little sight-seeing before and after the show. And the next day after the shoot before taking the Eurostar back here. Paris is a beautiful city. I hope I get another chance to visit it.”
“I’m sure you will. How old are you, Marius?”
“I’m twenty-eight.” She wanted to ask him if he had a girlfriend but was afraid that he would ask her if she had a boyfriend. “Which university are you attending?”
“Cambridge. This is my second year.”
“What are you studying?”
“When you’re not in fashion shows or on modeling assignments, what do you do with yourself?”
“I jog, go for walks, ride my bike, play soccer with my friends, read and watch television.”
“What about dating?” She had to know. “I’m sure there are lots of girls on and off campus who would love to go out with you.”
He smiled. “I’m not dating right now.”
“Would you ever date a girl of a different race?”
He nodded. “Yes, I would.”
“So, you would date me?”
He looked shy then. “Yes.”
She felt her face grow hot and her stomach flipflop. “And I would definitely date you.” She would, if Titus weren’t in the picture and even then…The waiter came then with their orders. “I hope I’m not embarrassing you,” she said after he left.
Marius shook his head. “You’re not,” he assured her. “Are you dating?”
Darn! She had two options. She could lie or come clean. “Yes, I’m dating. He’s from Jamaica.”
Marius lowered his eyes so that she couldn’t see the disappointment in them. He should have known that someone with her looks would already be in a relationship. “I have family there,” he said. “I visited them years ago with my parents.”
“Titus is from Kingston.”
Titus was a lucky man. “Does he still have family there?”
“Yes, his mother and sisters. His father died when he was a teenager. His brother lives in Berlin with his family.”
“Does your family have a problem with you dating him?”
“My parents don’t but the rest of my family does but that’s their problem.”
“Do you think Titus would have a problem with us having lunch together?”
“No, he wouldn’t,” she quickly replied although deep down she knew that he would if he suspected that she was attracted to Marius. “Tell me more about you.”
Lunch went too quickly and it was time for her to head back to the office and for him to go to his next shoot. They stood outside of the restaurant. “Thanks for lunch,” he said. “I had a good time.”
She smiled. “You’re welcome. And I had a good time too.”
He held out his hand. “Well, goodbye, Elspeth.”
“Goodbye, Marius.” She turned and walked to the parking lot where her car was. In her handbag was his phone number. She had asked him for it just before she paid the bill.
“So, are we still on for tonight?” Titus asked the following day. It was a late, sunny Saturday morning and they were walking through a golden field after enjoying a picnic lunch.
She turned to face him. “I’m sorry, Honey, but something has come up. Can we do dinner another time?”
“Sure. No problem. I’ll call and cancel the reservation.”
They continued walking for a while and then they retraced their steps back to the car. As soon as she got home, she went into the bedroom and to get her wallet. She found the folded piece of paper with Marius’s cell number on it tucked in the secret compartment and then she returned to the living-room.
She hesitated for a moment and then, she picked up the phone. Her heart skipped a beat when she heard his voice. “Hello?”
“Hello, Marius. It’s Elspeth. Do you have plans for this evening?”
“I-I’d like you to have dinner with me.”
There was a brief pause. “Sure. Where?”
“Um, here at my place. Will that be a problem for you? If–if it is, we can go to a restaurant instead.”
“No, it isn’t a problem for me. What time would you like me to be there?”
“Is seven okay with you?”
“Good. I’ll see you later.”
After she ended the call, she grabbed her cookbook to see what she would make for dinner.
Marius stared at the phone. He should have turned down her invitation. Why didn’t he? It was because he wanted to see her again. He was attracted to her and it was obvious that she was attracted to him too. At lunch, they could hardly take their eyes off each other. And now, she was inviting him over to her place for dinner. He tried not to think about Titus or how he would feel if he were in his shoes. He tried not to think about anything except how much he was looking forward to this evening. He told his aunt that he was having dinner with a friend.