Tulia was waiting in the lobby for Boris when he got there. She smiled when she saw him. “Hi.”
“Hi.” He held the door open for her and they stepped went outside into the crisp night air. The pub was a ten minute walk from where they lived. It was as lively as usual. They found a table at the back. After removing their coats, they sat down. “I was here the evening after I left your place.”
“Oh. I’ve never been here before although I pass it on my way to and from the tube. It seems nice. What would you like to drink?”
“I’ll have a Corona.”
“And I’ll have the Raspberry House Soda.” She got up to go to the bar to get them, when he placed his hand on her arm to prevent her.
“The drinks are on me,” he said.
“But I invited you to have them with me–“
“And you treated me to lunch.”
“I know. The drinks are on me.” He stood up and left the table. He soon returned with the drinks. “Here you go,” he said, holding out hers.
“Thank you, Boris.” She took it from him.
“You’re welcome,” he said as he sat down.
“It’s very warm in here,” she remarked.
“Yes. That’s why I’m wearing this tee shirt.”
It was a good thing she was wearing a shirt instead of a sweater or she would have been sweating like crazy. She took a sip of her drink. “This is nice,” she exclaimed.
He sipped his beer. “So, were you able to get the Space juice for your friend?” he asked.
“Yes, I was. The store had a lot of interesting products. I think I will visit it again soon.”
“We’ve been neighbors for over two years now and I don’t know much about you.”
“I’m afraid that my life isn’t very exciting,” she replied self-consciously.
“Where did you live before you moved into my building?”
“Well, before moving here, I was working at an advertising company until I got laid off and then got evicted because I couldn’t pay the rent. Until I was able to get another job and place of my own, I was sofa surfing at my friends’ places.”
“That must have been tough.”
“It was but I was thankful that I had friends I could stay with.”
“How long did it take you to find a job?”
“About three months. Soon after I got it, I pounded the pavement to find a place to live and was lucky to get the flat I have now.”
“I’m glad that we’re neighbors.”
“So, where do you work?”
“I’m working at a Sales and Marketing Company. Right now, I’m working with Wicked Wickles to launch their new fundraising campaign to help children and families living in poverty.”
“Sounds like a very worthy undertaking. Please let me know if there’s any way I or my company can help.”
She smiled. “Thanks. I will.”
“How did you spend the holidays?”
“With friends and alone.”
“So, you have no one special to share the Sentimental celebrations with.”
She lowered her gaze. “No.”
“I’m sorry,” he said. “I realize that if there had been a man in your life, what happened between us wouldn’t have happened.”
She looked at him then. “No, it wouldn’t have. I’m not a cheater.”
“Nor am I. Not once did I ever look at another woman when I was with Cate, let alone cheat on her.”
“She was a very fortunate woman. I know of people who are in committed relationships but they still cheat.”
“Clearly she didn’t think she was fortunate to be with me. You know, I asked her point blank if there was another man and she said no.”
“Didn’t you believe her?”
“No, I didn’t.”
“Do you think if you had asked her brother if there was another man he would have acknowledged that there was?”
“No, I don’t think he would have. Blood is thicker than water.”
“Let’s not talk about Cate. Would you like another one?” he asked, indicating her drink which was almost finished.
She said, “Only if you’re going to get something for yourself too.”
“I’m going to have another beer.”
“Ok. I’ll have another one of these, thanks.” She watched him as he walked away. She hoped for his sake that Cate had been as faithful to him as he was to her. She had seen them together once. They were coming out of his flat, talking and laughing. Cate was very pretty and as she watched them walking holding hands down the steps, unseen, she thought to herself what a lucky woman she was to be with Boris.
I really hope that in time, Boris will get over her and move on, even if he moved on with another woman instead of me.