Melania went into Home Depot and saw Matt in the section with the lamps. Taking a deep breath, she walked up to him. “Hello, Matt,” she said quietly.
He turned and his expression became guarded. “Hello, Mel.”
“What are you doing here?”
“Looking for shady lamps.”
“Oh. Is Gina with you?”
“No. The lamps are not for the house.”
“They’re for my new place.”
“Your new place?”
“Yes. I have been searching for a new place for a while now and found one today. I’ve been looking at furniture and other things in the meantime.”
“Are you moving out of your home?”
“Yes. Gina and I are separating.”
She stared at him, shocked. “For how long?”
“And what happens after the six months are over?”
“I don’t know.”
“What about your new place? I thought you had to rent for at least a year.”
“The landlord and I agreed to a month to month lease.”
“Isn’t a month to month lease more expensive?”
“Yes, it is more expensive than a long term lease but that’s fine with me. I can afford it.”
“Is your new place an apartment or a condo?”
“So, where’s your condo?”
“It’s in the Yonge-Sheppard area.”
“That’s a nice area. I had thought of renting a condo unit somewhere around there but found the rent to be way above my budget so I got an apartment in the Bathurst area instead.”
“I’ve always liked the Yonge-Sheppard area. I can walk to the Sheppard Ave subway instead of driving to work. That will save me a lot of expenses in commute and parking.”
“I–I want to apologize for my behavior the last time we saw each other. I was very rude to you and I’m-I’m so sorry.” She hoped that she wouldn’t break down and cry in front of him.
“And I’m sorry for my remark about your appearance.”
“Don’t be. You weren’t the only person who didn’t like it. My friends and Aunt Kira didn’t either. And you were all right. That’s why I returned to my old look.”
“Why did you tell me that you were dating?”
“I’m sorry about that too but I had to make you believe that there couldn’t be anything between us–not even friendship because I made a promise to Aunt Kira.”
“I felt as if you had punched me in the stomach,” he admitted tightly. “I was mad with jealousy.”
How she longed to reach up and touch his face. “I’m sorry, Matt.” Her voice trembled and she was close to tears. She turned away to blink them away.
“Let’s go outside and talk,” he suggested.
Melania preceded him out of the store. They found a spot outside where they could talk privately. She stood facing him as he leaned against the wall, her arms folded. “You said you were jealous,” she said.
His expression was tense as he met her nervous gaze. “Yes, I was. I couldn’t think straight. I went for a drive down to Harbourfront where I spent a while walking along the waterfront trying to clear my head. As soon as I got home, I called your aunt and told her what happened. I wanted to find out if it was true that you were dating.”
“And Aunt Kira told you that I wasn’t. Did she also tell you that Desmond and I are just good friends and that he’s engaged to my friend, Tyla?”
“Yes. She also told me something else.”
“What was that?”
“She said that you have feelings for me. Is that true, Mel?”
“Yes.” There was no point lying again. It wouldn’t do any good. And they had always been honest with each other.
His eyes darkened. “And I have feelings for you.”
She sighed. “This is why we can’t be around each other, Matt.”
“You’re right. We both promised that we would stay away from each other.”
“We have to because of Gina, Cam and the baby.”
“It’s going to be hard, though.”
“Are you coming to Dad’s birthday party on Saturday?”
“I’ll see you then.”
“Yes. Do your parents know about the separation?”
“No, I haven’t told them. I told Joel and most likely he has told Kira and now you know.”
“None of us will breathe a word.”
“I’ll tell Mom and Dad a couple of days after the party.”
“That’s a good idea. Well, don’t let me keep you any longer.”
“Where are you off to now?”
“I’m going to buy a gift for your Dad.”
“I wish we could go somewhere now and have a bite to eat.”
“We can’t.” What if instead of going for a bite to eat, they were tempted to go to her apartment instead? No, she couldn’t take that chance.
“I know. Well, I’m glad we ran into each other and I look forward to seeing you on Saturday.”
He stared at her. “Can we hug?” he asked.
She hesitated and then she went up to him, her heart racing. This was not a good idea but how could she resist when her arms ached to hold him? She put them around his waist and he put his about her shoulders. Her nostrils were filled with the tantalizing scent of his cologne. His body felt so nice and firm against hers. She closed her eyes briefly, savoring the moment and then, abruptly pulled away. “‘Bye, Matt,” she muttered, avoiding his gaze.
“‘Bye, Mel.” He watched as she turned and walked away. He dragged his fingers through his hair, his expression drawn. His heart was pounding and his body was on fire. It felt so good holding her in his arms. If only he had he met her before he met Gina then, he wouldn’t be stuck in a loveless marriage.
He couldn’t wait to move out of the house and into his own place. When he got home, he was going tell Gina that he was moving out at the end of following week. They currently weren’t on speaking terms and this was since the night when he had spurned her advances and she ended up sleeping in the guestroom. That was some time ago but she was still mad with him and now he wasn’t even sure if she was going to accompany him on Saturday night. Maybe she wouldn’t and that would suit him fine because then his father’s birthday celebration would go off without a hitch. And I can relax and enjoy myself, he mused as he went back into Home Depot to look at the lamps again.