Not all long lasting marriages are happy. But what do you do if divorce is not an option?
University friends, Stephanie and Nick, meet again after twenty years. But life has not been easy or simple for either of them. Will this friendship affair stand a chance against reality?
They met the following Sunday afternoon at the coffee shop.
“How has your week been?”
“Rough, but I managed. Yours?”
Nick smiled at the memory of his kids' visit two days earlier. “Splendid actually. Work was busy as usual.”
Stephanie pointed to his mouth. “That smile tells me there is more.”
A few minutes later she was laughing with him.
“Sounds like your children want you to be happy.”
He nodded. “Yeah, I think so too.”
They finished their coffee and decided to go for a walk in the fairy garden. They didn't go to the cottage but stayed on the public paths.
There were more people in the garden, some even with dogs or baby strollers out to get a breather from the heat.
They didn't talk much, each lost in their own thoughts.
He wondered what she would say to a change in their relationship. The more time he spent with her, the more he wanted to kiss her, hold her, make love to her. And yet something was holding him back. She was not like the others. They were friends and he wanted that connection to stay.
Maybe it was people always saying that you lose the friend if you gain the lover.
He watched the sun sprinkle highlights in her red-brown hair, and wondered why they hadn't been lovers all those years ago. She was highly intelligent and beautiful on top of that. They were almost the same age, and yet time had been her friend when he compared her to other women of his era.
When the path might a tight turn, they were almost enclosed by trees and shrubs in their own little world.
He caught her looking at him.
He cut her words off by sealing his lips to hers.
And then the world exploded in an array of colours and flavours.
* * *
Stephanie caught herself smiling at the oddest moments. Even her oldest friend knew something was up when they met for lunch on Monday.
While Denise knew about her husband, Stephanie never told anyone about the affairs, fearing her friend's censure and loss of friendship.
With a great deal of effort, Stephanie managed to get through lunch without making a fool of herself.
Neither did she tell Denise about meeting up with him again. She too knew him at uni, might even have dated him once or twice. But Nick was her secret. Something she didn't want to share with friends and family. Her own happiness.
Stephanie stopped in her tracks. Happiness?
When was the last time she felt something even remotely resembling that emotion?
She opened the door to the building of her afternoon appointment. After signing in at security, she got into the elevator.
Many people returned after going out for lunch and the car stopped at every floor. She stood at the back and watched the numbers of the floors slowly roll over.
Her cheeks heated with the memory of the kiss in the garden. She touched her lips remembering the way his moved and teased hers. Even her body recalled its heated reaction.
Nick wanted to be lovers, he made that clear, but he didn't kiss with sex on his brain. There was desire, and heat, which they shared once she got over the shock of that first touch. She wanted him too. All because of a kiss that made her happy. Happy? Could a kiss do that? How could he do that?
The floor number rolled around that woke her mind to the reality of getting back to work.
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