She couldn’t stop crying. The tears just kept falling. Her heart was breaking. How she ached for Marius. She realized now that she had never really loved Titus. She cared deeply for him but she was never in love with him. She never knew what it was like to be truly and completely in love until she met Marius.
Where was he right now? What was he doing? Was he alone or was he with that girl? Jealousy consumed her. It had felt like a knife thrusting in her heart when she saw them together. Were they just friends or more? She could tell from the girl’s body language and attitude that she was into Marius but was he into her too? She didn’t want to believe that he was.
When they had exchanged looks, she saw the feelings raging inside her reflected on his face. That offered her some encouragement but at the same time, it made things more painful for her because they couldn’t be together. It was what his aunt wanted. He was living with her so he had to respect her wishes.
After he and that girl had left the restaurant, she had been in a really bad state. Nothing Brooke said or did could lift her spirits. When they parted company, she went straight home, threw herself on the bed and wept. The next day, she met Titus and broke up with him. Understandably, he was shocked and wanted to know why. As gently as possible, she told him that she wasn’t in love with him. He asked if there was someone else and she admitted that there was but she refused to say who it was. When Titus and she parted, he was extremely hurt and angry. She hoped that one day soon, he would forgive her for breaking his heart.
Now, she was single again. She tried to occupy her time and mind with visits to museums, drives into the countryside, long walks in the park or on the beach. She took impromptu trips to other parts of Europe, went to the opera or concerts. She even tried reading or taking up some hobbies but nothing could make her forget Marius. He filled her heart and mind. It was worse at nights when she lay in bed. Her body ached for him and she imagined him lying there next to her. As she walked along the beach now, she felt the hot tears running down her pale cheeks. Oh, Marius, she moaned in despair.
It was just after six in the evening when Marius arrived at the building where Elspeth lived. As he made his way to the entrance, he hoped that she would be home. If not, he would call her and arrange to see her another time. He wanted this visit to be a surprise.
A year had passed since they last saw each other. He was twenty-one now and working. As soon as he found another place to live, he was going to move out of his aunt’s place. Last night, he had told her that he was going to get back together with Elspeth.
“Why, Marius?” she had asked. “Why are you so determined to throw your life away like this?”
“How is being in a relationship with the woman I love throwing my life away?” he had demanded.
“Does she love you?”
“Yes, she does.”
“And what about her boyfriend?”
“She must have broken up with him by now.”
“Are you sure about that?”
“I’m sure she has but there’s only one way to find out.”
“I hope you know what you’re doing, Marius.”
“It’s too bad you couldn’t have fallen in love with Ritta. She’s a nice girl and it was obvious that she has feelings for you. When you were spending more time with her, I thought–I hoped…”
“Ritta is a nice girl but I’m not in love with her, Aunt Lourdes. She’s more like a sister to me.”
“Well, you’re twenty-one now and old enough to make your own decisions. I just hope that you don’t regret this one.”
“I won’t,” he had insisted and she held her peace after that but he could tell that she was very disappointed. He was sorry about that but his happiness mattered to him and he could only be happy if he and Elspeth were back together.
And now, he was on his way to see her. He hoped that he was right and that she had ended her relationship with Titus.
He took the elevator up to her flat and when he was standing outside of it, he paused to take a deep breath before he rang the bell. He heard footsteps, saw the keyhole pulled aside and then the door was flung open. Elspeth stood there, staring at him. “Marius,” she exclaimed.
“What are you doing here?”
“I wanted to see you.”
“Come in.” She stepped aside for him to go inside. “Why didn’t you call to let me know that you were coming?”
“I wanted it to be a surprise.”
“I’m so happy that I didn’t go out or I would have missed you.” She closed and locked the door before turning towards him, her eyes running restlessly and eagerly over his tall frame. How she longed to throw her arms around him and hold him tightly.
“If you weren’t here, I would have called and arranged to come back again.”
“How are you?”
“Happy now that I’m here with you.”
“I’m so happy that you’re here.”
“Before I explain why I’m here, answer me one question.”
“Are you still with your boyfriend?”
“No. I broke up with him. I told you that I would.”
“Okay. I told my aunt that you would have but I thought I would ask just to be sure.”
“And–and what about you and that girl I saw you with at the restaurant?”
“Yes. Are you and she still seeing each other?”
“Ritta and I are just friends. We weren’t dating or anything like that.”
“I’m so relieved to hear that, Marius. When I saw you with her I was so jealous.”
“You have no reason to be jealous of her or any other girl, Elspeth. You’re the only woman for me. That’s why I’m here.”
“I prayed, I hoped that you would come back to me,” she said smiling through the tears. Then, in a flash, she was throwing herself into his arms. He held her tightly against him as they kissed wildly, passionately.
“Oh, Marius, I love you so much.”
“I love you too, Elspeth.”
“Say you’ll marry me.”
“I will marry you,” he replied. They kissed again, then, she broke it off to grab him by the hand and take him to her room.