It was late afternoon and she had come for a walk in the park after going home from work. She didn’t bother to have dinner. She just wanted to come here and clear her mind. How she managed to get through with her work today, she had no idea. Most likely it was because she had asked God to help her. Still, it was hard concentrating when all she could think about was how Reuel looked without his shirt on. Her heart skipped a beat every time she did that and her stomach did somersaults.
She tried to not to stare or to make it obvious that she liked what she saw. He seemed oblivious to the effect he had on her which meant that he didn’t see her in any other way but as the little girl he was once very close to. She smiled as she remembered how they used to go rock-climbing and camping with her friends and their parents. He used to tell them stories as they roasted marsh-mellows over the camp fire. She liked it better when it was just the two of them, though. She liked having him all to herself. Once they camped at the Walton on Thames campsite. They went for walks along the river, llama trekking and horse riding nearby. She remembered how they used to sing Blue Honey Blues as they drove back to London on the Sunday evening after spending a fun weekend at the campsite.
She wondered if he remembered those times. If he missed them as much as she did. Was there a woman in his life? She hadn’t heard of him dating anyone but it didn’t mean that he wasn’t. A man with his looks and appeal was bound to be in a relationship, right? With all her heart, she hoped that he wasn’t. A lot good it would do me, she thought, scuffing the grass with the tips of her sneakers. He still thinks of me as a little girl. If he didn’t, he wouldn’t have been shirtless this morning when I saw him.
Sighing heavily, she dropped to a squat. I have to get over him. I have to stop wishing for the impossible. He will never see me as a woman. I will always be that little girl who used to hang on his every word. I will never know what it would be like to kiss him or be held in his arms or to make love with him. I will never experience any of these things with him. Yes, it’s time for me to move on. I have been carrying this torch for too long. It’s time to put it down. Dejected, she rose to her feet and headed home.
Reuel stood outside of her building. He should have called her to let her know that he was stopping by. He had planned to call her when he left the office but he didn’t have time because he had to meet someone and he was running late. When he got to the cafe, the person was already there waiting. After apologizing profusely, they had two Lattes as they discussed business. The meeting lasted longer than he had anticipated.
He rushed home, showered and changed. He called her on her cell but there wasn’t any answer. He tried her LAN line but the answering machine came on. He didn’t bother to leave a message. Instead, he grabbed his car keys and left the house. If she wasn’t home when he got there, he would wait. It was still very bright. The sun was going to set in approximately two hours.
It was half-past six when she was walking up the path leading to the building. She glanced up and was startled to see Reuel standing there, watching her. Man, did he look sexy in those jeans. Like clockwork, her heart began to beat really fast.
Feigning a calm which she was far from feeling, she smiled and climbed the steps to where he was. “Hi,” she said, hoping that he would attribute the breathlessness in her voice to physical exertion. “I didn’t expect to see you here. Have you been waiting long?”
“No. I got here about five minutes ago. I called both numbers but no answer.
“Oh. I turned my cell off.”
“I came to apologize for this morning.”
“Apologize for what?”
“For making you uncomfortable and not acting like a gentleman. I should have put on a shirt. I’m sorry.”
“Don’t-don’t worry about it. It’s forgotten.” That, of course, wasn’t true.
“To make up for it, I’d like to take you out for a bite to eat, that is if you haven’t already had your dinner.”
“No, I haven’t eaten.”
“Good. When was the last time you had a Le Royale Cheeseburger?”
Her eyes lit up. “Not since you and I went to Le Bun which was–what–two years ago?”
“Yes. Two years is a long time to go without chowing down on the best burger in all of London.”
She laughed. “You’re right. My mouth’s watering at the thought of sinking my teeth in one.”
“What are we waiting for then? Let’s go.” He grabbed her hand and off they went, down the steps to where his car was parked.