Tanner had just called to invite her to have lunch with him and she had accepted. Now, she couldn’t help wondering if she should have accepted. This was the sixth time they were going to have lunch together.
In addition to having lunch together, they did other things like going to the Burlington Performing Arts Centre to see Legends of Motown. They went to the Toronto Raptors vs. Los Angeles Lakers game and to an improv comedy show. Lately, it seemed like she seeing more of him than Matt.
What would Matt think? And Aunt Kira and Uncle Joel? She hadn’t even mentioned to them that she knew Tanner. Perhaps, Matt would save her the trouble and tell Uncle Joel who would in turn tell her Aunt Kira.
Melania sighed. She stood there, half dressed, debating whether or not she should call Tanner back and tell him that something came up and she couldn’t have lunch with him. No. She couldn’t do that. Besides, what was wrong with two exes having lunch together? It was all completely innocent.
She went to her bedroom and pulled on a mid-calf length black skirt. After checking her hair and face, she went into the foyer to put on her coat and knee high boots. Grabbing her handbag and keys, she left the unit.
Just as she stepped outside of the condo building, Tanner drove up. As she went down the steps, he got out to open the passenger-side door for her. As usual, he wasn’t wearing a coat. He looked good in the shirt and sweater and black pants. Smiling, he said, “Hello, Lana.”
She smiled in return. “Hello, Tanner.”
“What are you in the mood for this time?” he asked when he got in the car.
“I have a craving for Indian food.”
“Indian food it is then. And I know the perfect place.”
The perfect place turned out to be Maezo which was near the Art Gallery of Ontario. “You’re probably not going to believe this but, I’ve never been to the AGO.”
“And I’ve never been to the Metropolitan Museum.”
“I went there once on a school trip.”
“I went to an exhibit once to the AGO.”
“Did you go alone?”
For the appetizer, they had the basket of mixed vegetable ‘pakoras’. And for the main, Melania had the Mutton Biryani and Tanner had the Chicken Tikka Boneless. “You’re weren’t kidding when you said that this was the perfect Indian restaurant,” Melania said. “This is so good.”
Tanner smiled. “One thing that you and I always enjoyed was good food.”
“Yes. I love trying different types of food.”
“You remind me of my sister, Giana.”
“Is she still living in Rochester with your parents?”
“No. She moved to Miami.”
“You and she are Americans but your parents are Europeans.”
“Yes. Our mother is Italian and our father is German.”
“Which part of Italy is your mother from?”
“Naples like Sophia Loren.”
“And your father?”
“He’s from Frankfurt.”
“Tanner doesn’t sound Italian or German name.”
“My name is actually Tanino but everyone, except my family, call me by my nickname, Tanner.”
“Tanino. That’s a nice name. Would you like me to call you that or continue to call you Tanner?”
“It’s up to you what you prefer to call me.”
“I’m so used to calling you Tanner.”
“Then, continue to do so.”
“Have you and Giana ever visited Naples or Frankfurt?”
“Yes. One year the four of us took a trip to Naples and another year we visited Frankfurt.”
“Do you know how to speak Italian and German?”
“Say something in Italian.”
“Sei molto bella.”
“What does that mean in English?”
“You’re very beautiful.”
“Oh.” She suddenly felt very self-conscious, especially with him staring at her like that. Her face felt hot.
“Ich wünschte, wir wären noch zusammen.”
“Is that German?”
“What did you say in German?”
His expression was tense as he returned her gaze. “I said, I wish we were still together.”
Melania’s heart began to pound and her breath quickened. “Tanner…”
“Sorry. What would you like for dessert?”
She dragged her eyes away from his face to look at the menu. “I’ll think I’ll have the Mango Rasmalai Trifle.”
“Good choice. I’ll have the Gulab Jamun Cheesecake.”
“When was the last time you visited your parents in Rochester?”
“I visited them before I moved to Toronto.”
“Are you regularly in touch with them?”
“Yes, I speak to my parents every weekend and Giana and I text each other.”
“Did you tell your family about Gina?”
“Yes, that you’re dating her.”
“No, I haven’t but I told my mother about you.”
“What did you tell her about me?”
“That you were the girl of my dreams, that I was crazy about you, that you broke my heart and that nine years later, we’re friends.”
“And…what did she say?”
“She said that if two people are meant to be together, eventually they’ll find their way back to each other.” He met her gaze and a tense expression came over his face.
The waitress brought their dessert then. For several minutes, neither said anything. They just ate their dessert. “Do you think your family will visit you this summer?”
“I don’t know. Giana won’t come because she’s planning to go on a Mediterranean cruise with her boyfriend. When I speak to my parents again, I will ask them if they want to visit. I’d love to see them and I’d really like you to meet them.”
“I’d like to meet them too.”
“So, when we leave here, we’ll go to Ontario Place.”
“What are we going to do there?”
“Watch Cirque du Soleil’s Cabinet of Curiosities.”
“Do you have tickets?”
“Yes, I bought them this morning after I asked you to have lunch with me.”
“Oh. I’ve always wanted to see a Cirque du Soleil show.”
“Yes. I remembered and that’s why I got the tickets.”
She smiled at him. “Thank you, Tanner.”
“You’re welcome, Lana.”
They finished their dessert and then, they left for Ontario Place.