Matt was at Yorkdale Shopping Mall when he bumped into Melania. For several minutes, they stared at each other. It had been several weeks since they went to the Raptors’ game. “Hello, Mel,” he said finally.
“Hello, Matt.” Her heart was racing. She tried not to stare at him but it was hard not to because it had been ages since she last saw him. “How are you?”
“Fine, thanks. And you?”
“Fine, thanks. How are Gina and Cam?”
“They’re fine too. I almost didn’t recognize you. You look different.”
“It’s my new look.”
“What’s wrong with the old look?”
“Nothing. I just thought a change would be nice.”
“It doesn’t suit you, Mel.”
Her chin lifted a fraction and her expression became defiant. “Well, I think it suits me and so does Desmond.”
His eyes narrowed. “Who’s Desmond?”
“He’s the South African guy I’m dating.”
“Since a couple of weeks ago.”
“Is it serious?”
“Maybe. I have to go.” This was so painful. She was acting like she didn’t want to be around him when she wanted nothing more than to be alone with him. She wanted to take him back to her place and show him she really felt about him.
“Are you meeting him here?”
“Yes. We’re having dinner at The Cheesecake Factory.”
“I didn’t mean to upset you when I said that your new look doesn’t suit you, Mel. You’re beautiful without this getup.”
“I’m not upset. This isn’t the first time we’ve had a disagreement so let’s not make a big deal about it. I think it suits me and you don’t. Let’s just leave it at that.”
“Why are you acting like this?”
“How am I acting?”
“Like I’m your enemy instead of your friend–“
“Maybe I don’t want your friendship anymore.”
“Why? Is it because of this guy you’re dating?”
“No. It’s because I don’t want to be friends with a married man anymore. Now, I have to go or I’ll be late.”
He grabbed her by the arm. “Mel–”
“Go home to your wife and your son and leave me alone, Matt,” she cried. She yanked her arm away and walked off. It was the hardest thing she had ever done in her life.
He watched her go, a muscle throbbing along his jawline. It would be pointless going after her. Besides, they had drawn a few curious stares. Hunching his shoulders, he turned and went in the opposite direction.
“You’re late,” Desmond said, shaking his head.
“I’m sorry,” Melania apologized. “I ran into someone I knew.” Before meeting them, she had popped into the washroom in The Bay to wash her face because she had been crying and to reapply her makeup.
“So, this is your new look,” Tyla remarked, looking her over. “What do you think, Des?”
“Call me old fashioned but I prefer the old look.”
“I’m afraid, I agree with Des. Sorry, Mel.”
Melania sighed. “Well, it was worth a try. I’ll get the braids taken out tomorrow and forgo the makeup and the false eyelashes.”
“With your looks you don’t need all this showy stuff,” Desmond told her.
That was similar to what Matt had said. Matt. She had been really horrible to him but it had to be a clean break. He had to believe that she was dating someone even if that someone was just a really good friend. It was no use hanging on to what could never be. Besides, she had promised her aunt that she wouldn’t cause any more trouble for Matt and his marriage and that meant that there could be no contact between them outside of family gatherings.
She turned her head away so that they wouldn’t see the sadness on her face or that her eyes were a bit shiny. “Let’s go and eat.” She walked away. Tyla and Desmond followed her, holding hands. In June they were going to tie the knot and Melania was going to be the maid of honor.