He was in his bedroom, sitting on the floor like Shiloh, trying to sort things out in his head. Over and over in his mind, he thought of what Jennifer had said to him. There had been two things he had to do–break up with Alanis which he did on Tuesday and find out how Shiloh felt about him.
The thought of asking her how she felt about him scared him. What if her feelings weren’t the same? What if it was just attraction or a crush? What was he going to do then?
There was only one thing to do and that was to stop seeing her–stop having her over at the house. It wouldn’t make sense to continue seeing her if she didn’t feel the same way about him. That meant there was no future there. He hoped with all his heart that his love for her was reciprocated.
He glanced at the clock on the wall. It was half-past four. She should have been here by now. Perhaps, she was running late. If something had come up, she would have called and let him know and they would have arranged to see each other another day. Today his life was going to change forever. He only hoped that it was going to be in his favor.
He heard the doorbell and his heart skipped a beat. He got up and combing his fingers through his hair, he left the room and went to answer the door. Taking a deep breath to calm his nerves, he opened it.
Shiloh stood there, looking up at him. “Hello, Mr. Gladstone.” She was wearing a white top and a knee-length denim skirt.
“Hello, Shiloh.” His expression was tense as they exchanged glances. He wasn’t keen on the bright lipstick she was wearing, though. It didn’t suit her at all.
“I’m sorry I’m late.”
“It’s all right. I figured that you were running late.”
“My mother had a few guests over so I couldn’t cut and run. I had to stay for a while and help her to take care of them. I must admit that I was relieved when she told me that I could leave. I was happy to get away from small voices and grownup glimpses.”
“Small voices?” he asked as they went into the solarium where the sun was streaming through.
“Small Voices is one of Raaya’s favorite shows. It’s about Trolls, those creatures who are cute and ugly at the same time. They are always singing, dancing and hugging. Mind you, the animation is very good and some of the songs are catchy but after a while their voices get on your nerves.”
“And grown up glimpses?”
“My mother’s guests were all talking about glimpses of their kids who were all grown up. One of them remarked on how grown up I was. My mother chimed in and said that she couldn’t believe it either. She said it was as if it happened over-night–one minute I was a kid and the next, I’m a young woman. Another woman asked me if I had a boyfriend.”
“And what did you say?”
“I told her no, of course.”
“What’s wrong?” she asked.
“It’s true. I don’t have a boyfriend.” Even if I did, I would have broken up with him the moment I realized that I was in love with you, she thought.
“Shiloh, remember when I asked you if you would date an older man?”
Her heart was pounding now. “Yes.”
“And remember what you said?”
“I said that I would.”
“When I asked if you would have a problem with a man in his mid-thirties wanting to date you, you said no.”
“I meant it, Mr. Gladstone. I wouldn’t have any problem at all.”
“The man I was talking about was–me.”
Yes! She tried to stay calm when she was bursting with excitement. “I know.”
He moved closer to where she was standing, his heart racing. “Shiloh, there is something I need to know.”
“How do you feel about me? I know that you’re attracted to me but I need to know if your feelings are more than physical.”
She took a deep breath. “I–I feel more than attraction for you,” she admitted. “I’m-I’m in love with you, Mr. Gladstone.”
He groaned and cupping her face between his hands, he confessed, “I’m in love with you too, Shiloh.”
She gaped at him, her eyes wide with shock and delight. “You are?”
“Yes!” His eyes dropped to her mouth. He wanted to kiss her so badly.
“But what about your girlfriend?”
“I broke up with her on Tuesday. I couldn’t continue seeing her knowing how I felt about you. It would have been wrong–unfair of me.”
Shiloh blinked back the tears. “Oh, Mr. Gladstone, you don’t know how I’ve dreamed, hoped that you felt the same way about me.”
“Call me Marc,” he told her huskily. “I too hoped that you felt the same way about me.”
Shiloh hugged him around his waist, pressing against him. She watched transfixed as his face got closer and then, his lips were on hers. As she kissed him back, she could hear the fireworks going off in her head.