I glanced up and was startled to see my neighbor, Tulia standing there. I hadn’t heard her because I was so deep in thought. I was still reeling from the shock of Cate breaking off our engagement. The ring was in my pants pocket. I longed to throw it away but it was expensive.
When I asked her if there was someone else, she said no but I didn’t believe her. Whoever he is, I hope he’s worth it. My pride was hurt and I was very angry. Suffice to say, I wasn’t in the mood to talk to or see anyone.
I scowled at Tulia who was watching me closely. “What do you want?” I demanded. I knew I was being rude but I was bloody angry.
She looked hurt and startled. “I’m sorry,” she mumbled. “I was just wondering if you were okay. I didn’t mean to upset you. I’ll leave you alone.” She turned and walked away.
I sat there for a few minutes and then got up and went after her. She was just opening the door to her flat. “I’m sorry, Tulia,” I said. “You didn’t upset me. I’ve had a lousy day and I took it out on you. I’m sorry.”
She smiled and said, “It’s all right. Would you like to come in?”
I nodded. It was better than being alone in my flat with my thoughts. She opened the door and went inside, holding it open for me to enter. Although we have been neighbors for two years, this is the first time I have been in her flat. She has never been to mine either. Cate is the only woman who has been there. Cate. My mouth tightened. Damn her to Hell.
“Did you say something?”
Tulia’s question startled me. I didn’t realize that I had sworn out loud. “It wasn’t important,” I said. I followed her into the living-room.
“Make yourself comfortable,” she said. “Have you already eaten?”
“No.” I was hungry but hadn’t bothered to fix myself anything to eat. I was too upset. As soon as Cate left, I left the flat and went to sit on the steps. If I had stayed in the flat, I might have smashed things or drown my sorrows in liquor.
“I’ll fix us both something to eat.”
“Please don’t go to any trouble for me.”
She smiled. “It’s no trouble.”
I watched her as she left the room. I knew that she was attracted to me. I can tell by the way she looks at me. I’ve never seen Cate look at me like that–not even when we were dating. I guess I was too blind and besotted to notice. I feel like such a fool now.
How am I going to break the news to my parents? My mother will be devastated. She was really looking forward to a spring wedding. What would my friends and colleagues say when I tell them that the wedding is off?
My anger towards Cate blazed inside me like an inferno. I felt like I was going to explode. How could she do this to me?
I couldn’t stay here. I needed some fresh air. I started to leave when Tulia walked in. She stopped when she saw the expression on my face. “What’s the matter?” she asked.
“I can’t stay,” I muttered tightly.
She came over to me at once. “Is there anything I can do?” she asked, touching my arm.
The feel of her fingers on my skin was doing strange things to me. My heart began to beat faster and my breath quickened. I should have walked away. Instead, I pulled her roughly against me, startling her and kissed her. The feel of her soft lips against mine drove me mad and I devoured them like a ravenous wolf. I wasn’t thinking about Cate anymore. My body was throbbing with a hunger I’d never experienced before.
Tulia broke off the kiss to gasp, “You’re engaged.”
“Not anymore,” I muttered.
She stared at me. “Is that why you were so upset?”
“Yes, but I’m not upset anymore.” That was true. At the moment, I was filled with another powerful emotion–desire. I cupped her face between my hands and kissed her again. That lasted for a while and then, I released her long enough to strip myself and her.
There was a shaggy rug in front of the fireplace. I pushed her down on it and she lay on her back, staring up at me, both of us breathing heavily. Then, my hands and mouth were all over her exquisite body. Her skin was very soft and smooth.
The feel of her fingers gripping my hair and then traveling down my back drove me out of my mind. She moaned when I entered her. My knees dug into the rug as I slammed into her, my eyes squeezed shut as waves of mind-blowing pleasure swept through my body. It had never been like this with Cate. Never. This realization filled me with exultation.
An hour later, we stood in the foyer, facing each other. “I’m sorry about what happened,” she said.
“Sorry about what we did or sorry that I got jilted by my fiancee?”
“I’m sorry that you got jilted.”
Once again, my wounded pride reared its head. “I don’t want your pity,” I muttered tightly.
She looked mortified. “I-I didn’t mean to offend you,” she protested.
“I have to go. Goodbye, Tulia.” I didn’t wait for her to answer. I opened the door and let myself out. I went to my flat, got my wallet, grabbed a jacket and headed for the nearest pub. There, over a couple of beers, I reflected on my life and how it had suddenly become such a tangled mess.