Dinner & Plans for Christmas

He was on his way to meet Chioma for dinner and was really looking forward to it. They were having it at Portland, a casual fine dining restaurant. He had been there last year with a group of friends and had enjoyed the private dining experience. It felt nice going openly to restaurants instead of having to drive out of the city because neither he nor Ruth wanted to bump into someone they knew.

Ruth. She would have a fit if she knew that he was having dinner with a very attractive woman whom he had met only once. He had made up his mind that he was going to end his affair with her and was going to break the news to her on Boxing Day. Until then, he would have to make excuses not to see her and hope that she didn’t show up at his flat.

Chioma was waiting outside of the restaurant for him and smiled when he approached her. He saw the way her eyes traveled over him and was pleased. She looked amazing in the purple top over a skirt which reached over the knee revealing long legs clad in knee high black boots. “Hello,” she greeted him.

“Hello. You look great.”

“Thanks. So do you. I’ve never been to this restaurant before but have heard many good things about it.”

“I’ve been here once and really liked it. I hope you do too. Shall we go in?”

“Yes.”

He held the door open for her and they went inside. They were shown to a table by the window. After he made sure she was seated, Dushan went and sat down opposite her. “So, what do you think?”

“It has a nice relaxed and comfortable setting. I like it.”

He smiled. “Good.”

For starters, he had the Jerusalem artichoke gnocchi and she the Celeriac & truffle raviolo. “This is delicious,” she commented.

“I had it the last time I was here and was tempted to have it again but decided to try something else.”

“Was it a business lunch you had here?”

“No. It was a friend’s birthday dinner. We had the 6 course tasting menu which was absolutely amazing. We loved all of the courses. I’ve recommended this place to friends and colleagues and had always planned to come again.”

“I’ll probably recommend it to people I know too. I’m sure Adaeze and her boyfriend would like it.”

“Adaeze has a boyfriend?”

“Yes. She’s dating one of the men whose car she fixed. I met him the day after you and I met. His name is Aamin and he’s from Dubai.”

“What about you? Do you have a boyfriend?”

She shook her head. “No. I’m single. What about you?”

“I’m divorced.”

“Any children?”

“No. My wife couldn’t have any.”

“That’s not why you’re divorced, is it?”

“No. We’re divorced because I was cheating on her.”

She stared at him for being so brutally honest. He didn’t have to tell her why he was divorced. “I know that men and women cheat for different reasons. What was yours?”

“Opportunity,” he said simply.

“Not everyone who has an opportunity to cheat will do so.”

“I know. There are times when I wish I hadn’t done it not only because it was wrong but because it hurt my wife very deeply.”

“Did the other woman know that you were married?”

“Yes, she did.”

“Didn’t it bother her that she was sleeping with a married man?”

“No.”

“I’m sure if she were married she would have had a problem with her husband cheating on her.”

“She is married.”

She stared at him. “You were cheating on your wife with a married woman?”

“Yes. She has an eighteen year old daughter with her first husband.”

“Her first husband?”

“Yes. After he died, she remarried.”

“Did he know about your affair?”

“I don’t know.”

“Are you and this woman still seeing each other?”

“I’m going to see her on Boxing Day so that I could tell her that it’s over between us.”

“Does her second husband know about you?”

“No.”

“What about her daughter?”

“No.”

“What made you decide to end it this time?”

“My conscience and you.”

“Me?”

“Yes. After meeting you, I felt more convicted to do the right thing.”

“And if we hadn’t met, would you have continued seeing her?”

“No. I would have ended it.”

“Well, I’m glad that after all of these years, you’re finally doing the right thing.”

“And I’m glad that I met you.”

Their main courses arrived then. His was the Stuffed guinea fowl and hers was the Gigha halibut. “Do you have any plans for Christmas?” she asked.

“Yes, I’m having Christmas dinner with one of my friends and his family. They didn’t want me to spend it alone. What about you?”

“Well, Adaeze and her boyfriend are spending it in Dubai with his family. They invited me to go with them.”

“Things are really moving fast for them.”

“You mean because she’s meeting his family?”

“Yes.”

“I guess he’s really serious about her.”

“Are you going to Dubai with them?”

“No. I’m staying here.”

“You can’t spend Christmas alone.”

“I won’t be alone. I’ll have my Hallmark movies to watch or maybe I’ll head down to JW3 Ice Rink and watch people ice skate for a while.”

“You can’t do that.”

“Why not?”

“You just can’t. Now, I have two options for you. The first is you can come with me to my friend’s house for Christmas dinner or you and I can spend Christmas together doing whatever you want. You choose.”

“Dushan–“

“I don’t want you to spend Christmas alone, Chioma. You can spend it with my friends and me or just with me–that is if you don’t have a problem associating with a divorced adulterer.”

“I’m not going to hold your past against you. Besides, if I didn’t want to associate with you anymore I would have told you that to your face by now.”

“I relieved to hear that.”

“Would your friend and his family be very disappointed if you don’t go?”

“Not if I tell them that I’m spending Christmas with you.”

“All right. We’ll spend Christmas together.”

“Great. So, what else would you like to do besides watch other people ice skate?”

“Attend a Christmas church service at St Martins in the Field in Trafalgar Square. Even though we live in London, it would be nice to do the Hop-on hop-off London Bus Tour. We can go to Chinatown and have lunch or dinner there.”

“Maybe we can do a Christmas river cruise, which includes a Christmas lunch on board the boat while cruising the Thames. And I can see which restaurants are open on Christmas Day and book a reservation.”

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“All right. Thanks, Dushan.”

“For what?”

“For passing up spending Christmas with your friends to spend it with me.”

“I did it for myself as much as I did it for you. I enjoy your company, Chioma.”

She smiled. “I enjoy yours too.”

“Now, what shall we have for dessert?”

“The Malted chocolate ganache and White chocolate & bay leaf mousse sound good.”

“Let’s both try the Malted chocolate ganache,” he suggested.

“All right. And then, walk off this and the rest of our dinner afterwards.”

After dinner, they went for a walk along Oxford Circus, stopping to window shop before he took her home.

Sources: Healthline; Visit London; Visit London; Love and London; The Infatuation; Google

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