Lavinia and Franco

curvy3Lavinia was standing outside of the office building waiting for the courier.  He had an important package for her boss and she wanted it to be given to her directly.  It was a mild afternoon.  As she waited,  Teresa, whom she couldn’t stand walked up with her boss, Franco, one of the company’s directors in tow.  They were returning from one of their lunches.  He was a gorgeous man and Lavinia couldn’t deny that she was attracted to him.  Their eyes met over Teresa’s head.

“Waiting for someone?” he asked.

“Yes, the courier.”

“Aren’t you cold?” Teresa demanded, eyeing her critically.

“No, I’m not,” Lavinia replied shortly.  Why should it matter to her that she wasn’t wearing her coat?

“I hope you don’t have to wait long,” Franco said.  The expression on his face made her mouth go dry.

She smiled.  “I hope not too.”

He held the door open and his gaze lingered on Lavinia before he followed Teresa into the building.

Lavinia couldn’t shake the feeling that he was attracted to her too but what about Teresa?  Just then, the courier came and after signing for the package, she went up to the office.  She went straight to her boss, Mitch’s office and handed him the package.  Then, she went into the kitchenette to fix herself a cup of Herbal tea.  She was just about to return to her desk when Teresa walked in, her expression thunderous.

“I saw the way you were looking at Franco a few minutes ago when were standing outside.”

“I don’t know what you think you saw.”

“Forget it, Lavinia.  You aren’t his type.”

Lavinia’s mouth tightened.  “And I suppose you are.”

Teresa flicked her glossy black hair over her shoulder with a well manicured hand.  “Yes.”

“Why, is it because you look like those half-starved bundles of twigs who call themselves fashion models?”

Teresa’s eyes flashed at her.  “There’s no need to get nasty because Franco prefers his women to be slim instead of being heavyset.

Laconia bristled.  “For your information, I’m curvy NOT heavyset.”

“You’re still not his type so you need to stop throwing yourself at him.”

“Girl, you’re out of your mind.  I have NEVER thrown myself at Franco.”

“Whenever he leaves his office, you’re always there trying to get his attention.”

“I don’t have to try to get any man’s attention.  And for your information, he’s the one who strikes up a conversation every time I see him.  Maybe you should be telling him to stay away from me. Excuse me.  I’ve got work to do.”  She turned and sauntered away before Teresa could say anything.

Lavinia went back to her cubicle and sat down at her desk, fuming.  If she weren’t a God fearing woman, she would have accidentally on purpose spilled her tea on Teresa’s Dolce & Gabbana blouse.  What Franco saw in her, she had no clue.  Granted she was stunning and smart but she was vain and impossible to get along with.  None of the women in the department liked her.

Her phone rang and her heart leapt when she recognized the extension on the display.  Taking a deep breath, she picked up the receiver.  “Yes, Franco.”

“I know that you’re probably busy but can you spare a few minutes?”

“Sure.  I’ll be right there.”

After she hung up, she stood, smoothed her dress and her hair before she headed to his office.  She had the pleasure of walking past Teresa’s desk and straight to Franco’s door which was slightly ajar.  She smiled when she saw the other woman’s miffed expression as she closed the door behind her.

MitiaFranco was sitting behind his desk.  He had removed his jacket.  The white shirt he wore accentuated his swarthy complexion.  When she walked over to him, she saw the way his eyes traveled slowly and deliberately over her and she tried to ignore her body’s response.  She stood in front of his desk, looking down at him.  “You wanted to see me?”

He leaned back in this chair, placed his hand over his chin.  Did he have any idea of how delectable he looked at that moment?  “Have dinner with me tonight.”

After she recovered from her surprise, she replied rather breathlessly, “I can’t.”

“Why not?”

“I don’t make it a habit of going out with another woman’s man.”

He frowned.  “What are you talking about?”

“You and Teresa.”

“What about us?”

“Don’t play dumb with me.  I know that you and she are in a relationship.”

“Yes, a business relationship.”

“But I’ve seen the two of you go out for lunch several times.”

“Those were all business lunches with other clients.  There has never been anything personal or romantic between Teresa and me.”

“Maybe you should make that clear to her.”

“I will.  Now, will you have dinner with me?”

“Sure.”

He grinned making her heart flutter.  “Good.  I’ll pick you up at seven.”

She reached for the one of the sticky pads on his desk and she wrote her address and number before tearing the sheet off and handing it to him.  When he reached over took it from her, he deliberately let his fingers touch hers.  Her eyes flew up to his face and what she saw there made her heart skip a beat.  “I–I’d better go,” she stammered.

“What’s the hurry?” he asked as he got up from the desk and walked around to where she stood.

“I-I have letters to type, photocopying, filing and–” She was nervous now.  This was the first time she had ever been alone with him.

He touched her face, making her breath quicken.  “Eres una mujer muy hermosa.”

It was the first time she had heard him speak Spanish and it sounded very sensual.  “What-what did you say?”

He moved closer.  “I said that you’re a very beautiful woman.”

“Thank you.”  She wondered what Teresa say about that.  “I didn’t think I was your type.”

“You’re exactly my type.  You’re beautiful, sexy and highly intelligent.”

“I thought Teresa was more your type.”

“Teresa is a very attractive woman but she doesn’t do anything for me.  You, on the other hand, drive me crazy…” He reached out, caught her by the waist and pulled her against him, making her gasp.  His smoldering eyes raked her upturned face before his mouth found hers.  Her eyes fell shut as his lips moved passionately on hers and her arms wound themselves about his neck.  She couldn’t believe that she was standing there in his office kissing him.

The knock on the door jolted them and they broke apart.  He leaned against the desk, breathing heavily and she frantically straightened her clothes and ran her trembling hand over her hair.  After he managed to compose himself, Franco called out, “Yes?”

The door opened and Teresa walked in.  She stopped half way, her gaze shifting from one to the other.  “The Board meeting is about to start in ten minutes,” she said.

Franco reached for his jacket and pulled it on.  “Thanks, Teresa.  I will head over now.”

Teresa lingered for a few minutes and then she left, leaving the door ajar.  Lavinia turned to face him.  “I really should get back to my desk.”

“I’ll see you later,” he said before he leaned over and kissed her on the side of her neck, making her tremble.  When he drew back to look down at her, his face was flushed.  He walked past her and out of the office.

She leaned against the desk for a few minutes, her mind whirling, trying to catch her breath and then, she left.  As soon as she sat down at her desk, Teresa was standing over her, livid.  “What were you doing in Franco’s office?” she demanded.

Lavinia raised her head and looked her calmly in the face and said, “That’s between Franco and me.  Now if you will excuse me, I have work to do.”

Teresa flounced away.  When Franco returned from the meeting, he called her into his office.  Since that day, there weren’t any more confrontations between Lavinia and her–not if she wanted to keep her job.  And Franco signed her up for the Getting Along in the Workplace course.  After their dinner date that night, Lavinia and he officially began dating.

The Preacher’s Son

63bd04344f09d5e8bd3b06820c0af8c2The first time I saw her, I knew that I was in very serious trouble.  We met at my sister’s wedding.  She’s my brother-in-law Jack’s secretary.  She went with a male co-worker and I went with Rachel, a woman I have been dating for a while.  Both our families have this expectation that we are next in line to get married.  I’m not sure why they think that.  Granted, Rachel is a terrific person, very beautiful and I enjoy her company but there was something missing.  I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.

It wasn’t until I met Leila that I realized what was missing for me in my relationship with Rachel–sexual desire.  I never felt it for her but the moment I laid eyes on Leila, I wanted her.  After we met, I could hardly take my eyes off her and the first opportunity I got, I asked her to have dinner with me even though I was still dating Rachel.  Leila accepted.  I took her to a restaurant which had gotten rave reviews and we had a great time.  I asked her out after that and we started dating.  Things were going well.  I made sure that I never went to her place or she came to mine because I was afraid of what would happen.  It was hard being with her and not want to touch her. When I was with Rachel I thought about her and wondered if she was thinking about me.  For a long while, I was dating both women unbeknown to them.  Not the sort of thing you would expect from a preacher’s son, is it?

At nights when I was alone, I thought about Leila and what it would be like to make love to her.  Then, I recalled the scriptures in the Bible which spoke against pre-marital sex.  What was I going to do?  I wanted Leila but I couldn’t have her because of my religious convictions.  Should I break up with her and marry Rachel?  How could I marry Rachel when I didn’t love her?  I ended up breaking up with her much to our families’ chagrin.  It didn’t matter when I tried to explain to them that she would be better off with a man who would love her in return.  They made me feel like I had committed the unpardonable sin.  I knew that I had done the right and honorable thing.  If only I knew what to do about Leila.

Leila knew that I was a Christian but she didn’t know that my father was a preacher.  I wasn’t sure that I wanted to tell her that.  Would she treat me differently?  I thought of talking to my father about my relationship with her but I knew that he wouldn’t approve.  I can just hear him say, “You need to end your relationship with this woman because you aren’t like her.  She doesn’t believe in the things you do.  The two of you don’t belong together.  It’s like light and darkness which cannot be together.”

Last night when Leila and I were together, she said to me, “I’ve dated Christian men in the past but I never once thought that I would be attracted to one who’s younger and white until I met you.  You’re different.  I think about you constantly and I can’t help wondering what it would be like to sleep with you.”

I stiffened although my body was reacting to the idea of sleeping with her.  “Leila, I don’t think we should be talking about this…”

“I know that you’re a Christian and you don’t want to have sex before you get married, but there isn’t any harm in us kissing, is there?”  Before I could answer, she was kissing me.  Her hands were pressing down on my thighs as she leaned over.  We were in my car, parked outside of her building.  We had been to a Mozart concert.  The windows were rolled up and it was dark where we were so no one could see us.  I lost my head and kissed her back.

For several minutes, we exchanged passionate kisses and I was tempted–really, really tempted to go up to her flat with her but I had to be strong even if it killed me.  I groaned against her lips before I pulled away.  “I’m sorry, I can’t do this.”

She sat back in the seat.  “I’m the one who should be sorry,” she said.  “I shouldn’t have kissed you.”

“Leila, maybe we should stop seeing each other for a while,” I said.

“If that’s what you really want.”

“Leila…”

“Goodbye, Leif.” She got out of the car before I could say anything else and ran up the steps leading to the front entrance of her building.  I watched her go, my heart breaking.

Prodigal

The next several weeks were torture for me.  I thought about her every minute and missed her so very much.  I wanted to call her and tell her that I had made a mistake.  I wanted to drive over to her place and take her in my arms.  I was a wreck.  I couldn’t eat or sleep or think straight.  I went to church but I found no joy in it.  I went through the motions and I felt guilty.  I asked God to forgive me for allowing my feelings for Leila to replace my adoration for Him.

I decided to go away on a mission trip to Peru just to get my mind off my own problems and to focus on helping others and sharing the Gospel with them.  Unfortunately, being miles away in a foreign country and on another continent didn’t dampen my feelings for Leila.  I still wanted her.  I still ached for her.

It was harder at nights when I was alone.  During those times, I wished that she was lying next to me.  One night, I opened my Bible to 1 Corinthians 7 and the words, But if they cannot control their bodies, then they should marry. It is better to marry than to burn with lust” jumped out at me and I asked myself, Why don’t I marry Leila?  It made perfect sense to me.  I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life without her.  But then, at the more I thought about it the more I realized that it would be wrong to marry her just to satisfy my lust.  How could I be so selfish?  No, the best thing for me to do was to move on.

That was easier said than done.  I tried to move on with my life–forget about Leila by busying myself at work and church but nothing worked.  And now, several weeks since my return from Peru,  I’m standing in her flat, hands in pockets, facing her.

“So, how was your trip to Peru?” she asked.

“It was rewarding.”

“I see.”

“I miss you.  I think about you all the time.”

“I miss you too.”

“Leila, during these past several weeks, I have realized something really important.”

“What’s that?”

“I can’t live without you.  I want to spend the rest of my life with you.”

“What are you saying, Leif?”

“I’m saying that I want to marry you, Leila.”

“You’re a preacher’s son, Leif.  I wouldn’t be a suitable wife for you.”

I stared at her.  “You know that my father’s a preacher?”

“Yes.”

“How long have you known?”

“Since we met.  Jack told me.”

“And it didn’t bother you?”

“No.  Why should it?”

“I was worried that it might, especially after you told me that church wasn’t for you.”

“I used to go to church you know but after a while I hated going because the single and married women didn’t like me.  The married women thought that I was after their husbands and the single women resented me because most of the single men were interested in me.  The guy I ended up dating dumped me after he became a deacon.  He said that I wouldn’t be suitable as his wife because I wasn’t a virgin.  I was good enough to sleep with but not to marry.  I left the church right after that.  I wasn’t right for him and I wouldn’t be right for you for the same reason.  How would it look a preacher’s son getting hitched to a sinner like me–a wanton woman–a woman of ill repute–a pariah?”

“You’re none of those things.  You’re a very beautiful and desirable woman.  It isn’t your fault that men want you.  And being a preacher’s son didn’t prevent me from going to wild parties and hanging out with the wrong crowd.  I’m not a virgin.  I had several girlfriends but what got me back on the right track was a pregnancy scare.  It turned out that my girlfriend’s period was late.  We were both relieved that she wasn’t pregnant. I cleaned up my act them.  I stopped partying, hanging out with the wrong people and decided that I would wait until I’m married to have sex again.  I became a born again Christian and you can do the same.  Nothing is impossible with God.”

“I still believe in Him even though I don’t go to church anymore.”

“I want you to know that He loves you, Leila.  He never stopped.  All He wants is to have a relationship with you if you will give your heart and your life to Him.  It isn’t too late to do so.”

“You sound like a preacher’s son,” she said, smiling.  Her eyes were moist as they met mine.  “Maybe that’s your calling–to follow in your father’s footsteps.”

“No, my calling is to remind people that God loves them like I’m doing right now.  And I believe that it was He who brought us together.”

“Do you really believe that?”

“Yes!  And I’m so thankful to Him because I love you, Leila.”  It was true.  I realized it last night.  I was in love with her.  I wasn’t marrying her to satisfy my lust.

“I love you too.  I didn’t want to fall in love with you because of our differences but I couldn’t help myself.”

“Sometimes the differences between two people can enrich their relationship because each person brings something to the other.”

“I’m not like you when it comes to spiritual things but I have a lot to offer you.”

“I know you do and that’s why I want to spend the rest of my life with you.”  I reached for her and pulled her into my arms.  “So, how do you feel about marrying a preacher’s son?” I asked.

She put her arms around my neck.  “I feel blessed and humbled,” she said simply.

I smiled and kissed her.  I too felt blessed and thankful because she was the woman I was meant to be with.

Source:  Lang-8

Toshiro Cuts Ife Loose

20180427_05062375_MIt had been months since she last saw him.  He left in November and now they were in the middle of March.  It was the wet season.  It rained last night and today the place felt nice and fresh.  It was a Friday afternoon.  Her shift had ended but before going straight home, she decided to come to the beach for a while.  Miremba said that she would be at the mall with her friends so there was no need to rush home.

Ife stared out at the sea.  It had been a long time since she came here.  It was within walking distance of the hotel where she worked.  She remembered Mr. Kobayashi telling her that he came here sometimes when he finished his business early before heading back to the hotel.  Was she here now because she hoped to see him?

Yet, she couldn’t believe that he would be here in Kampala.  They would have seen each other by now.  No, he had to be in Tokyo.  She wondered when he would return to Kampala.  She missed him.  Her mind went back to the last time they were together before he left.  It was a Friday and it was raining cats and dogs.  She was beginning to wonder what was keeping him when she heard the front door close.

She was inside the bathroom cleaning when he opened the door.   She turned to find him leaning against the frame, in his wet shirt and trousers. “You’re soaking wet,” she exclaimed. “You should get out of those clothes.”

“I’m going to take a shower,” he said.

“All right,” she said, moving away from the wash basin. “I’ll wait in the bedroom until you’re done.”

“No,” he said. “I want you to join me.” He removed his shirt and the rest of his clothes, his eyes never leaving her face.  He stood there naked, his desire for her obvious.

Heart racing, she nodded and got undressed. He closed the bathroom door and taking her by the hand, led her to the shower. They stepped inside and he slid the door shut. After turning on the water, he turned to face her.

Without saying a word, he pulled her into his arms and began to kiss her. His kisses deepened when she responded and soon he was pressing her against the tiles while his lips plundered hers, the water beating down on his back. They made love in the shower and afterwards, he ordered room service.

Ife sighed.  She was so engrossed in her thoughts that she didn’t notice him.

62_0318b9a0-9dce-48f6-a55e-47f72173ee34Toshiro watched her from a distance.  He positioned himself in such a way that she couldn’t see him.  He had followed her from the hotel.  He had been about go into the hotel and to leave a message at the front desk for her  when he saw her coming out of the entrance.  His heart ached when he saw her.  And his resolve began to weaken but he had to do what he came to Kampala to do.

“Hello, Ife.”

She swung around.  “Mr. Kobayashi,” she exclaimed, looking startled to see him.  “What are you doing here?”

“I followed you.”

“Did you just arrive in Kampala this morning?”

“No.  I arrived on Wednesday.”

“But that’s two days ago.  How come we didn’t see each other?”

“I’m staying at a different hotel.”

“But why?”

“I thought it would be best.”

“Do you want me to come to this other hotel to see you?”

He shook his head.  “No, Ife.  I came back to Kampala to tell you that it’s over between us. ”

“Why are you doing this?  Is it because you’re married?”

“No, I’m not married.  I’m doing this because it’s the decent and right thing to do, Ife.  I took advantage of you because I wanted you so much I couldn’t think straight.  I have never once imagined that I would resort to blackmailing a woman into sleeping with me but that’s what I did.  I’m disgusted with myself.”

“Mr. Kobayashi—”

“You’re free of me, Ife.  After today, you will never see me again.  I hope that one day you will be able to forgive me for what I have done to you.”

“Toshiro…”

That was the first time that he ever heard her say his name.   It made his heart stop and his stomach flip-flop.  His eyes darkened on her face as he pulled her roughly against him.   His head swooped down and his mouth found hers.  He kissed her passionately and she eagerly responded.  For several minutes, they stood there on the deserted beach, kissing wildly.

“Watashi wa, anata o aishiteimasu, Ife,” he moaned against her lips before he abruptly pulled away.  “Goodbye, Ife,” he muttered tightly before releasing her and walking briskly away.

Ife watched him go until she couldn’t see him anymore.  Then, she collapsed on to the sand and sobbed.

Next up is Miko Explains Things.

Sven and Nadira

WillH007-600x750“So, you’re serious about this?” Stijn asked his younger brother, Sven while they were standing on Stijn’s balcony which overlooked the Hudson River.

“Yes, I am.  I’m madly in love with Nadira and I’m going to ask her to marry me.”

“But what about Femke?”

“I don’t love her, Stijn.”

“Does she know that?”

Of course, she does.  Long before I met Nadira, Femke suspected that I didn’t feel the same way about her.  And when I broke up with her, she was very upset but not surprised.”

“What about Mom and Dad?  You know that they’re going to have a major problem with this.”

“Stijn, as much as I love our parents, I’m not going to let them interfere in my life.  I’ve made up my mind and there’s nothing they nor you or anyone else can do to change it.”

Stijn patted him on the back.  “I envy you,” he said.  “You were always very strong-minded.  You always went after what you wanted and never let anything or anyone stop you.  If marrying Nadira is truly what you want, then go for it.  I wish you the best.”

Sven smiled.  “Thank you.  I hope that you will come to the wedding.  It would mean a lot to me.”

Stijn looked him in the eyes.  “If it means that much to you, I will be there.”

Sven hugged him.  “I’d better go.”

Stijn followed him into the foyer.  “Take care, little brother,” he said as he opened the front door.

“You too.”

Stijn watched him walk away before he closed the door.  Sven had guts.  He admired him for that.  He was thankful, though, that, unlike Sven, he had fallen in love with a Dutch woman.

Nadira was lying on the floor, staring up at the ceiling, daydreaming about Sven thumb_98525_420_630_0_0_portraitwhen the doorbell rang.  Scrambling to her feet, she went to answer the door.  She smiled broadly when she saw who it was and eagerly unlocked the door.  “Hello,” she said as she put her arms around his neck.

Sven held her against him, his eyes intent on her upturned face.   “Hello,” he murmured before he lowered his head and kissed her.

They kissed for several minutes before she drew back.  “We’d better go inside.”

He released her and removed his leather jacket as she locked the door.  “I have something very important to ask you,” he informed her.

“What is it?”

He responded by getting down on one knee and taking her hand.  “Will you marry me?”

Nadira smiled through the tears.  “Yes,” was her choked reply.

After he slipped the ring on her finger, he got to his feet and cupping her face between his hands, he kissed every inch of her face before kissing her on the lips.  “I love you,” he murmured.

She put her arms around his waist and pressed against him.  “I love you too.”

As they exchanged kisses, he felt as if his heart would burst from the love he had for her.  How could his family begrudge him of something that felt so right and so beautiful?  And he knew without any shred of doubt that it was God who had brought them together.

If God is in it, go for it.

Too Young

“What’s wrong, Ken?” Roxanne asked him as they stood on the hill overlooking the river one Sunday afternoon.  He had been very quiet and she could tell from his expression that something was troubling him.

D85D2-D8D4-CD1C-38CF-A053EA3522F5“You’re too young for me,” He insisted.  “I’m almost twice your age.”

“What does age matter when two people love each other?” Roxanne demanded.  “Are you sure that our age difference is the only reason you’re having second thoughts about us?”

He frowned, his blue eyes narrowing behind the sunglasses.  “What do you mean?” he asked.

“Well, you’re white and I’m black–”

“If I had a problem with your color, we wouldn’t be together.” He ran his fingers through his auburn hair.  “Frankly, I’m astonished that you would even think so.”

“I’m sorry,” she apologized, looking very contrite.  “Ken, please don’t let our age difference come between us.”

“I don’t want to but you should be with someone your age not someone who has been married before and is now divorced.  You have your life ahead of you.”

“It doesn’t matter that you were married and are now divorced.  I don’t care about that.”

“I’m old enough to be your father.  You should be with someone much younger, Roxanne.”

“I don’t want to be with anyone but you, Ken.  I love you.  I thought you loved me too…”

older man at windowHe ripped off the sunglasses and tossed them on the grass before taking her by the shoulders.  His eyes were troubled when they met her wide ones.  “I love you,” he muttered tightly.  “I love you so very much.”

She put her arms around his waist.  “Then, stop finding excuses not to be with me,” she cried.  “I know you’ve been through a bad marriage with a woman who didn’t deserve you but I’m not at all like her.  I love you more than life itself and I know that I can make you happy if you would just let me.”

Releasing her shoulders, he cupped her face between his hands.  “You win,” he said simply before he lowered his head to kiss her.  Above them, the sun emerged from behind the clouds and below the river flowed, unabated.

This is my last post for 2019.  Happy New Year, Everyone!

Henrik and Lauryn

atong arjok sundan 1It was during the Intermission that he spotted Lauryn.  He was waiting for Kellie who had gone to the bathroom while she had just come out of it.  Not wanting  her to leave before he got a chance to talk to her, he squeezed his way through the crowd and went over where she was.  He caught her by the arm and she turned.

She looked lovely in the black cocktail dress which flattered her body.  Her skin looked so smooth and flawless, he had to fight the temptation to lower his head and kiss her on the shoulder.  What he felt must have been evident in his eyes because he saw her expression change.  “Hello,” she said, sounding a little breathless.

“Hello,” he replied.  He was still holding her arm.  It felt so soft against his fingers.  Unable to resist, he rubbed his thumb against the skin.  “I didn’t expect to see you here this evening.”

“I didn’t expect to see you either.”

“Are you here with someone?”

“Yes.  What about you?”

He opened his mouth to ask whom she was with when Kellie joined them.  His hand fell to his side.  “This is Kellie,” he said.

She looked at Kellie and then, forcing a smile, she said, “Hi.”

Kellie’s green eyes traveled over her.  “Hi,” she replied curtly before turning to him and saying, “We’d better go back to our seats.”  She made a point of clutching his arm.

“Enjoy the rest of the show,” he said quietly before they walked away.

When they were seated, Kellie asked, “Who was that woman you were talking to?”

“You didn’t give me a chance to introduce her to you,” he said, evasively.

“I wasn’t interested in meeting her,” Kellie informed him.  “And to be quite frank, I didn’t like the way she was looking at you before I came over.  It was painfully obvious that she’s attracted to you.  I detest a woman who fawns over another woman’s boyfriend when she has her own.”

He looked at her then.  “What do you mean?”

“She’s with her boyfriend.  There they are.”

brook-taverner-dinner-jacket-1He followed her gaze and saw Lauryn walk into the auditorium with a tall, black man.  He watched as they sat down just as the lights dimmed.  Red, hot jealousy coursed through him and his fingers gripped the arms of his seat.  Who was he?  What was Lauryn doing with him?  Was she seeing him too?

His hand shook slightly as he dragged his fingers through his hair.  The show had begun but he couldn’t focus on it.  He kept looking over at where Lauryn and her date were.  He had to find out who the man was.

Lauryn sat there watching the drama unfold on the stage but her mind was elsewhere.  From where she sat, she could see the box where Henrik was.  Who was the woman?  Was she his girlfriend?  She looked stunning in the pastel blue pant suit which flattered her olive complexion.  She looked like she came from a well to do family as he did.  They were a perfect match.   How long had he been dating her?  Was he going to marry her one day?  Lauryn closed her eyes.  I was a fool to think that I could have any kind of future with him. 

When the show was over, she couldn’t wait to get out of there and was thankful when she was in the car on her way home.  When they were outside of her building, Donald asked her, “Are you all right?  You haven’t said much since we left the theatre.”

“I’m just a little tired,” she said.  “Thanks for inviting me to come tonight with you, Don.  Give my love to Gwen.”

“I will,” he promised before he got out of the car and walked around to open her door.  When she stepped out, they hugged.  “Goodnight.”

“Goodnight.”  She waited until he had climbed back into the car and driven off before she went up the steps leading to the entrance of her condo building.  She waved at the security guard as she passed him.  In the elevator, she leaned against the wall.  Where was Henrik now?  Was he taking his date home or was he taking her to his place.  The doors opened and Lauryn stepped out into the corridor.  She hurried to her unit, anxious to get out of the dress and into something more comfortable.  As she fumbled inside her handbag for her key, she wished she hadn’t gone to the theatre.

“What’s the matter with you?” Kellie demanded.  “You’ve been acting strange ever since you run into that woman.  Who is she, Henrik?”

“I met her in the library.  We were sitting at the same table.”

“Is there something going on between you?”

He might as well come clean.  “Yes.”

There was a pregnant pause and then:  “For how long?”

“We met in December–”

Seven months?  You’ve been seeing this woman for seven months?”

“Yes.”

“Do you have feelings for her, Henrik?”  Kellie’s voice trembled.

“Kellie…”

Do you have feelings for her?”

“Yes.”

“Where does that leave us?”

“We can’t continue to see each other.”

“I’m sorry, Kellie.”

Sorry?  Is that all you could say?  You’re sorry?

He didn’t answer.

Kellie grabbed her handbag and opened the door.  “Well, you’re not as sorry as I am.  Goodbye!” She scrambled out and slammed the door shut.  She hurried up the steps leading to the entrance of her building and disappeared through the revolving doors.

Henrik sat in his car for several minutes.  He hated hurting her like that.  She had every reason to hate him.  He sighed heavily.  He wished he hadn’t gone to the theatre.  Who was the man he saw Lauryn with?  Was he the new man in her life?  He closed his eyes as the jealousy ripped through him.  He had to see her and find out.  He turned on the ignition and drove out of the lot.

Lauryn stepped out of the shower and pulled on a pair of cotton pajamas.  She went into the living-room and turned on the television.  In a couple of hours, she would welcome in the New Year–alone.  She wished she hadn’t seen Henrik with another woman.  It hurt.  She closed her eyes in despair.  They soon opened again when the doorbell rang.

She hurried to see who was stopping by and her heart leapt in her chest when she saw who it was.  She opened the door, her eyes wide as they met his.  “Hi,” she said as she stepped aside for him to go in.  After closing and locking the door, she turned to face him.  “I didn’t expect to see you.”

“Who was the guy I saw you with tonight, Lauryn?” he demanded thickly, his eyes dark and restless on her face.

“My brother, Don.  His wife, Gwen’s getting over a cold so he asked me to go in her place rather than let the tickets go to waste.”

Henrik released a shaky breath.  “I thought he was someone you were seeing.”

“No.  I’m not seeing anyone.  What about you?  Who was the woman you were with?”

“I was in a relationship with her before I met you.  Tonight, I ended it.”

“Why did you end your relationship with her?”  She was happy he did but she needed to know the reason.

In a flash, he was standing inches from her, his heated gaze on her upturned face.  “Isn’t it obvious?” he asked.  Then, he reached down and pulled her into his arms.  “I’m in love with you, Lauryn.”

Her heart melted and she put her arms around his neck.  “I’m in love with you too, Henrik.”

He was about to lower his head and kiss her when the clock struck twelve.  “Happy New Year,” he murmured huskily.

“Happy New Year.”

They kissed.

Source:  The Telegraph