It was early Monday morning and she was on her way to Reuel’s place. She had a letter to deliver to him and she promised her boss, Mr. Fitzpatrick that she would drop it off before going into the office. Her heartbeat accelerated at the thought of seeing Reuel. It had been ages since they last saw each other.
They had known each other since she was born. He was her godfather. They were close until she began to develop feelings for him. When she realized that she had fallen in love with him, she kept her distance.
She had no idea that Mr. Fitzpatrick and he knew each other. Apparently, they used to work together at the same company until Mr. Fitzpatrick left to start his own business. And now Reuel’s company was doing business with Mr. Fitzpatrick’s.
She loved working for Mr. Fitzpatrick. He hired her fresh out of university. They had been working together for five years.
When she mentioned that Reuel was her godfather, Mr. Fitzpatrick was surprised and pleased. “He and I go a long way back,” he said. “He’s a great man and friend.”
When she reached his house, she stood there for a moment. She used to love coming here and spending entire days with him. He would explain the Bible to her and answer all of her questions. They would go for walks around the neighborhood, swimming at the community center, drives in the countryside or play cards and board games. She loved being with him. She missed the wonderful times they had together. She missed him.
Pushing these thoughts away, she rang the doorbell and waited for him to answer. Five minutes later, the door opened and he stood there staring down at her. Her heart leapt in her chest and then began to pound heavily when she saw that he was half-naked. Swallowing hard, she muttered, “Good morning,” as she backed away. She seemed to be having trouble breathing normally.
“Judith, what a pleasant surprise,” Reuel said, smiling as he stepped outside. “It has been a while since I last saw you. How have you been?”
“I’m—I’m fine,” she replied. She deliberately kept her eyes on his face.
“Thank Bob, I mean, Mr. Fitzpatrick for me. I can begin work on the project now that the contract has been signed, sealed and delivered.”
“I hope it wouldn’t be weeks before I see you again, Judith.”
“I’m sorry. I’ve—I’ve been busy with work and—”
“I hope work doesn’t consume all of your time. You’re young. You should be going out and enjoying yourself.”
“I go out sometimes,” she said. How she wished he would put on a shirt. His massive chest and well-toned arms and torso told her that he worked out a lot. Stop staring, she chided herself. “I—I had better leave now. I—I don’t want to be late for work.”
“Thanks for stopping by with this,” he said, smiling and indicating the envelope. “When you’re not too busy, I would like it if you were to stop by again for a longer visit.”
“All right. Have a good day.”
“Thanks. You too, Judith.” He watched her as she walked briskly away. He realized that she had been a bit withdrawn. And he noticed how she avoided looking directly at him. He glanced down at his bare chest and shook his head.
You dope, he muttered under his breath. Why didn’t you put your shirt on? No wonder she was acting the way she was. His half-nakedness had made her comfortable.
He had just finished working in the basement and hadn’t bothered to put on his shirt when the doorbell rang. He was expecting her. So, he came right up after quickly drying the perspiration off his skin. He should have known better. He was her godfather, for Pete’s sake. He would call or stop by her place later and apologize.
He turned and went inside the house. He had just enough time to shower before heading to the office. As he walked towards the bathroom, he was painfully aware that Judith wasn’t a little girl anymore.