Noelle was having a private meeting with Barry Forbes in her office when the door opened and Sandra, her secretary walked in. Noelle glanced up at her, unable to hide her irritation at the disruption but before she could say anything, Sandra spoke. “I’m sorry to interrupt, Noelle, but I have an urgent phone call for Mr. Forbes.”
Immediately an expression of concern crossed Barry’s face and he asked, “Who is it from?”
“It’s your wife. She sounds very upset.”
Noelle said to him, “You can take the call on my phone.”
“It’s on line one,” Sandra said.
Noelle picked up the receiver, handed it to him and pressed the line one button. She watched as Barry spoke to his wife and saw his face go pale. It must be very serious, she thought in alarm. As soon as he was finished speaking, she said to him, “If you have to go, go.”
“It’s Sam, our youngest daughter. She was struck by a car and they said it was very serious. My wife’s at the hospital now.” He stood up and pulled on his jacket, his hands trembling slightly.
“I hope and pray that she will be okay,” she said. “Are you okay to drive?”
He nodded. “I’ll be fine. I’m just a bit shaken up.”
Noelle got up and walked with him to the elevator. “Please call me on my cell and let me know how Sam is.” She reached out and clasped his hand.
“I will,” he promised. The doors of the elevator opened and he stepped in. He leaned against the wall as they closed.
Noelle stood there for several minutes, praying that Samantha would pull through. She was only fifteen, the same age as Tatiana. She couldn’t imagine how she would feel if she were to receive news that her sister had met with a terrible accident.
“Are you all right?” a voice inquired behind her. She turned and found herself staring up into a pair of amazing blue eyes. They belonged to Horst, the new director of the company. He was absolutely gorgeous with thick, wavy black hair, athletic build and a deep, sexy voice with a German accent. As usual when she was around him, her heart began to beat faster.
“No,” she said. “Barry Forbes and I were having a meeting a few minutes ago when he got an urgent phone call from his wife. Their youngest daughter, Samantha got struck down by a car and is in serious condition. Barry is heading over to the hospital right now. Poor man. I hope Samantha will be all right.”
Horst’s eyes filled with sympathy. “I hope so too,” he said quietly. “I remember how awful it was for my parents and me when my older brother had a skiing accident. He was in such serious condition that they didn’t think he would survive but, thank God, he did. After months of physiotherapy, he was fully recovered. He walks with a slight limp but the important thing is he survived. I’m sure the doctors will do all they can for Samantha.”
Noelle smiled slightly. “Thanks,” she said. “I feel a little better.”
“Good,” he said, rubbing her arm.
She swallowed hard, hardly able to think straight because of the sensation of his fingers on her bare arm, stirring up all sorts of sensations.
“Noelle, have dinner with me tonight at my place,” he said, startling her. His eyes held hers in a steady gaze and his expression was intense. “We can sit on the terrace overlooking the ocean while we eat. It’s summer so the sun wouldn’t set until around nine. We can watch the sun set.”
It took a while for it to sink in that he was asking her to have what sounded like a romantic dinner with him at his beach house. Of course, she was going to accept his invitation. She would be a fool not to. She would worry about what to wear later. “Yes,” she said now rather breathlessly. “Dinner sounds wonderful. What time would you like me to be there?”
His features became relaxed. “Come for seven,” he said.
She expelled a shaky breath when he stopped rubbing her arm and placed it in his pocket. “I’ll be there for seven.”
“Good.” He smiled, making her heart melt before he excused himself and walked away.
The rest of the day was a complete blur for her. Then, it was time to leave. It was Friday and a great start to the weekend. As she drove home, she wondered how things fared at the hospital and hoped that Barry would call her.
As soon as she got home, she took a quick shower and then went through her wardrobe for something to wear. She chose to wear a long, floral print off the shoulder summer dress with a side slit below the knee and a pair of wedge heeled sandals. Her hair was pulled back in a French knot. Satisfied with the way she looked, she grabbed her handbag, keys and left the flat, her heart racing with excitement. It was a lovely evening. The sunshine was bright and it was a very pleasant drive up the coast.
Horst answered the door soon after she rang the bell. He smiled broadly, clearly delighted to see her and his gaze traveled over her as he held the door open for her to go in. “You look beautiful,” he remarked after closing the door and turning to face her.
She smiled self-consciously. “Thank you.” He looked incredibly handsome in the black shirt and dark blue jeans. His hair was a bit tousled. Her fingers itched to bury themselves in the thick, silky tresses. Realizing that she was staring, she turned away.
“Come, let me give you a quick tour of the place before we have dinner.” He led her through the foyer and into the living-room which was bright and airy with lots of natural light coming through the windows. The stunning all white living-room decor looked like something she would see in Elle Decor magazine.
The kitchen was large and bright with windows, unlike hers. It had granite counter-tops, an island with chairs. The tantalizing aroma of dinner lingered in the air although the windows were open. There were three guest bedrooms and the master bedroom. The master bedroom was decidedly masculine and the French doors opened onto the balcony, affording one an unobstructed view of the sea. It must be a treat to wake up to that every morning, she mused as she followed him to the terrace.
“Have a seat, while I go and get dinner.” He held out the chair that was facing the sea for her to sit in. Then, he went off to the kitchen.
While he was gone, Noelle leaned back in the chair and surveyed the table which was covered in a white cloth, with a vase of red roses in the center. There were two glasses and a bucket of ice with a bottle of what she supposed to be wine in it. There were utensils and napkins. And there were two white candles. They were not lit. Perhaps he was going to light them after the sun set.
She smiled, breathing in the tangy salt air. The beach was deserted. It was nice and peaceful unlike where she lived. She watched as the shallow frothy waters rolled onto the sand. It must be so nice taking long walks, with nothing but sand, sea and sky around for miles and miles.
Horst brought out two salads and sat down in the chair on her right. After he said a prayer, they tucked into the Quinoa, Beet, and Arugula Salad.
“This is delicious,” Noelle exclaimed. “I’m so used to having the Greek or Italian or green salads. This is a really nice change.”
He smiled. “I ate this salad at a restaurant a couple of months ago and always promised myself that I would make it.”
Twenty minutes later, he brought out the main course. She gazed at the plate with the Crispy Parmesan Garlic Chicken with Zucchini, her mouth watering with anticipation. “You’re an amazing cook,” she said after having a mouthful. “Where did you learn to cook like this?”
“I learned fast that eating out could be expensive so I taught myself to cook. I searched the Internet for different recipes and tried them. After lots of trials and errors, I finally got it right.”
“Well, you’ve definitely got it right. I can’t get over how soft and succulent the chicken is.”
“Thank you.” He poured the wine into the two glasses. It had a sweet and savory taste.
“So, now I know that you are a great cook.”
“What else would you like to know about me?”
“I can tell from your accent that you’re German.”
“Yes, I was born in Hamburg, Germany. I always wanted to come to America. I used to watch a lot of American movies. I especially liked the classics and the westerns. My favorite western was The Magnificent Seven with German actor, Horst Buchholz. After I graduated from university, I moved here. Initially, my parents weren’t happy but when they visited and saw how well I was doing, they became supportive.”
“Are you an only child?”
“No. I have an older brother and a younger sister. He lives in Berlin with his family and my sister lives in Vienna with her husband. He teaches at the Vienna University of Technology and she works as a nurse at a private clinic.”
She asked him more questions about himself and his family and then it was his turn to ask questions about her. That evening they learned more about each than they had in all the years they worked together.
After dinner, she helped him to clear the table and he stacked the dirty plates, glasses into the dishwasher. “Are you up for dessert?” he asked.
She shook her head. “Not right now, thanks,” she said, patting her stomach. “I don’t think I have any more room for it.”
“All right. Let’s go back on the terrace and watch the sun set as promised.”
They sat down facing the ocean. Ten minutes later the sun began its descent. As Noelle watched it set, Longfellow’s quote came to her. “Down sank the great red sun, and in golden, glimmering vapors veiled the light of his face, like the Prophet descending from Sinai.”
They sat there for a while longer. It was such a fun evening that she didn’t want to leave but it was getting late and the drive home was close to 80 minutes. “I’d better be heading home now,” she said, getting up from the table.
“Do you have plans for tomorrow?” he asked as he walked her to the door.
She shook her head. And even if she did, she would happily cancel them.
“Spend the day with me tomorrow. Come for eight so that we can have breakfast together and bring a swimsuit.”
“Sounds wonderful,” she said with a smile. “I’ll see you tomorrow morning. Thank you for a lovely dinner and evening.” Are we going to kiss goodnight? For some women it might be too soon but not for me. I’ve wanted to kiss this man for a very long time.
He wanted to kiss her so badly but didn’t want to rush things. Instead, he reached down and kissed her on the cheek. When he drew back, his eyes were dark when they met her wide ones and his face was slightly flushed. “It was my pleasure,” he said huskily. “I wanted to ask you over for dinner for a very long time.”
The air was suddenly very charged between them. Her skin tingled where his lips had been and her heart was pounding wildly. “I-I’m glad you finally got around to it,” she stammered.
“So am I. I look forward to seeing you tomorrow, Noelle. Call me when you get home tonight.”
Noelle opened her mouth to say something when just then, her cell rang. It was Barry. He called to tell her that Samantha’s condition was stable and the doctors were very optimistic that she would make a full recovery. “Thank God,” Noelle exclaimed. “Thanks for calling, Barry. We’ll be in touch.” She ended the call and put the phone back into her bag.
“His daughter is going to be all right,” she said to Horst. “I’m so relieved.”
“I’m sure her family is very relieved too,” he replied, his expression tense. “Noelle…”
“I should leave now,” Noelle said but she didn’t move. She stood there gazing up at him, her breath quickening.
Groaning thickly, he reached for her, the desire in his eyes almost scorching her as he pressed her against him. His lips found hers and ravaged them. She put her arms around his neck and kissed him back. After several minutes of exchanging passionate kisses, he drew back to gasp, “Spend the night with me.”
She nodded. “Yes,” she managed to say before he lowered his head again to kiss her.
Two hours later, clad in dressing-gowns, they were relaxing on two chaise lounge chairs on the balcony outside of his bedroom, having two Black Forest Cannoli Parfaits with a view of the moonlit ocean before them. It was a perfect end to a perfect evening. The following morning, they had a late breakfast before she went home.
They became romantically involved and a year later, they got married. On the first evening after they returned from their honeymoon, they had a sumptuous dinner, which Noelle prepared, on the terrace and watched as the sun set over the horizon.
Source: AZ Quotes