It was Saturday evening and Layne was waiting outside of the mansion for Olivia. He expected her to arrive at any minute. She had called earlier that day to remind him about their date. “I didn’t forget, you know,” he told her.
“I didn’t want to take any chances,” was her reply.
“By the way, where are you taking me for dinner?”
“It should. It was featured in the March issue of Essential Dining. It’s a fine dining restaurant which serves modern British food and is one of York’s leading restaurant.”
“Sounds good.” He googled the restaurant after he ended his call with her and was keen on having the Dark Chocolate Delice.
He didn’t mention anything to Sable or his father. If they asked, Preston would inform them that he was out having dinner with a friend. After leaving the study, he slipped out of the mansion and headed for the Yorkshire Dales where he spent the rest of the afternoon, enjoying the scenic views as he strolled alongside rivers and streams.
By the time, he got home, it was time to shower and get ready for his dinner date. He determined to enjoy his dinner tonight with Olivia. Fortunately, his father and Sable weren’t home when she arrived to pick him up. They were having dinner with the Harrogates in Wetherby. Hopefully, he would be back home before them, although he doubted it. And if Sable went to his room later, he would pretend that he was sleeping.
Olivia was right on time. Her red Vauxhall ADAM swooped down the long driveway and screeched to a halt on the gravel driveway. Smiling, he ran down the steps and opened the passenger side door. Olivia’s eyes traveled over him admiringly. “Nice suit,” she remarked.
“Thanks.” He closed the door and fastened his seatbelt. “You look great in that red suit.”
“Let’s go.” She pulled away and sped down the driveway.
“I’ve had it for a couple of years. What kind of car do you drive?”
“A metallic grey Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio.”
“Now, that’s what I call a great set of wheels. It’s sleek and sexy. I bet you look amazing behind the wheel.”
Layne smiled. “It’s a great car. I’ve had it for a year and a half.”
“Maybe you can take me for a ride one of these days.”
“Sure. When we go to look at flats, I’ll drive.”
“Sounds good. By the way, that’s some mansion you live in. How about a tour before you move out?”
“I’ll think about it.”
“We can do it when your father and step-mother aren’t there if you prefer.”
“So, how did your father and step-mother meet?”
He really didn’t feel like talking about them but he indulged her. “They met at a charity ball in London when he was there for a week on business.”
“I wonder if their eyes met across the room and then, he approached her and never left her side all evening.”
“I don’t know. All I know is that a week later, she was invited to have dinner with him and me and then, a month later, they were married in a quiet ceremony with a few guests.”
“A whirlwind romance. How thrilling. Where did they go on their honeymoon?”
“Tuscany. I’ve always wanted to go there. I read somewhere online that it’s one of the best honeymoon destinations in Europe.”
Layne didn’t answer.
“Are you seeing anyone?” Olivia asked him.
He shook his head. “No.”
“I’m not seeing anyone either. How about you and I seeing each other since we’re both single and available?”
“Here we are,” she announced as the restaurant came into view. She parked the car and they got out. They were shown to a table by the window. “This is the perfect place for special occasions.”
Layne looked around. “Yes, it is a rather nice place. I like the atmosphere.”
They ordered the starters. He had the stuffed morel and she had the Asparagus Tart. “Have you told your father and step-mother that you’re planning to move to Manchester?”
“No, not yet.”
“Do you think they’re going to wonder why you’ve decided to move out after all this time?”
“I think they will accept that I’m a grown man who needs his own space.”
“They’ll probably miss you, especially your father but they can always visit.”
For the main course, he had the Yorkshire Lamb and she the Sea Trout. And for dessert, he chose the Dark Chocolate Delice while she opted for the Caramelised Pear Soufflé. She paid the bill and they left.
When they got to the car and they got in, she asked him, “Do you fancy going to Roxy Ball Room? We can have a couple of mocktails, shoot pool or play ping pong.”
“Sorry, Olivia, but I’ll pass.”
“All right. Maybe another time.”
They got in the car and drove off. On the way to the mansion, they talked about the areas in Manchester he was interested in.
“I think Deansgate would be perfect for you,” she said. “It’s close to amenities and you have easy access to the tram, bus or the train if you choose not to drive to work. You’d save on gas.”
“Yes. That’s why I’m interested in that area as well as in Levenshulme.”
“Salford Quays offers water-side luxury apartments with access to trams and buses. It has a lively nightlife, plenty of bars and restaurants. These are all very good choices. I’m sure we’ll be able to find apartments in each for you to look at. Another area you might be interested in is Castlefield. It’s located on the basin of Bridgewater Canal.”
“I like the idea of living by the waterside. Let’s add Castlefield to the list.”
When they arrived at the mansion, it was after ten. They both got out of the car. She walked over to him as he stood at the foot of the stairs leading to the front entrance. “Well, here we are. I hope you had a good evening.”
“I did,” he said. “Thank you for dinner.”
“I’d like to do it again some time.”
“Goodnight, Layne. I’ll be in touch.” She hugged him and then, walked around the car to the driver’s side. She got in and waved before she skirted down the long driveway. He turned and went up the steps.
He let himself in and made his way quietly through the foyer and to the staircase up to his room. He quickly got undressed and changed into his pajamas. After brushing his teeth and rinsing his mouth with Listerine, he climbed into bed.
It was eleven-thirty when the door to his room opened slowly and Sable went in. She closed the door and went over to the bed. The light from the moon shone in and she could see Layne’s face. He looked like he was fast asleep. Although she was bitterly disappointed, she didn’t want to disturb him. Instead, she tiptoed out of the room and closed the door quietly behind her.
When he knew that he was alone again, Layne opened his eyes. That was close, he thought. It was tough, though. He could feel her standing there looking at him. He could smell her subtle perfume. He had been tempted beyond belief to open his eyes so that she would see that he was awake and climb into the bed with him but he had resisted. Yes, he had resisted temptation so why didn’t he feel good about it?