“Thanks for lunch, Boris,” Tulia said when they were standing outside of the restaurant.
Lunch with her had been very pleasant and it had helped him to forget about Cate for a while. “You’re welcome,” he said quietly. “Am I forgiven?”
“I returned the engagement ring this morning, you know.”
“Oh. That must have been hard for you.”
“To be honest, I wanted to chuck it but it was expensive so I returned it instead and got all of my money back.”
“Her brother, Edward called me this morning to offer his condolences. He acted like somebody in my family had died.”
“I guess she told him and he felt badly about it.”
“Yes. His sorry was far more genuine than hers. She kept saying that she was sorry but that didn’t make the situation any easier. If she had told me how she really felt before I asked her to marry me, it would have made a lot of difference. It would have hurt still but I would have respected her for it.”
Tulia thought about it for a moment and then asked, “Would you like to come over to my flat later and talk?”
He hesitated. What if he was tempted to make love to her again?
Tulia saw his hesitation. “If you don’t feel comfortable coming over to my flat, we can go to the park or to a pub or some public place.”
Relieved, he said, “A pub would be fine. Thanks, Tulia.”
She smiled. “You’re welcome.”
“However, I would rather not talk about Cate.”
“We can talk about whatever you like.”
“Maybe I’ll talk about Airbus acquisitions or Cannibalizing airframes which will probably bore you to death.”
“I’m sure I won’t be bored.”
He didn’t answer.
“I’d better to be going,” she said. “First, I have to pop into the health shop and then head back to the office.”
“What time would you like us to go to the pub?”
“Around seven. I’ll meet you in the lobby.”
“Enjoy the rest of the afternoon, Boris and I’ll see you later.”
“Yes, I’ll see you later, Tulia.”
She waved at him and then, turned and walked away.
He watched her go. And a few minutes later, as he was heading back to his office, he realized that he was looking forward to seeing her later.