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?
She was beautiful, was his first thought when she walked into the restaurant that evening. He could see she had her hair done and was probably wearing a new dress, but that wasn't what kept his attention. There was just something different about her tonight. And he loved it.
He stood as she approached and held out her chair.
“How are you?” he asked after the waiter left with their drinks order.
She took a sip of her water and smiled at him. “You know, I am actually pretty good.”
He smiled back. “You definitely look it. And no,” he said when she wanted to interrupt, “it's not just the dress or the lovely hairstyle. You look beautiful.”
He leaned closer. “And smell like sin personified. Who did you cheat out of his taxes today?”
She laughed at his conspiratorial tone and leaned closer too. “That is my secret.”
His laughter joined hers.
Others looked their way, and he was sure he was the envy of many men and women tonight. But that was their problem. He had the pleasure of her company, and he was not going to worry about other people. Not tonight.
They ordered the wine suggested by the sommelier, and two dishes recommended by their waiter and laughed and talked as if nothing had changed between them.
Halfway through the main course, he started telling her about the divorce and the complexities of the agreement he had with Lena.
While he talked, she asked a few questions but listened mostly in silence. When he stopped talking, she was playing with her wine glass.
Their plates had been taken away, and he refused dessert for both of them.
He reached out and took her hand, pushing the glass to the side.
“Talk to me, sweetheart. What is going through that mind of yours?”
She sighed and slowly pulled her hand away. “You are a free man.”
“I will be. Soon.”
She sighed again, and her shoulders slumped a little as she contemplated her thoughts. He could guess what was coming, but he needed to hear her say it.
“I am not. Free, I mean.” She looked towards a table where a young couple was holding hands, clearly unaware of the world around them. To be that young. To be free to love like that.
She looked back at him. “I may never be free.”
He waved to the waiter for the bill.
“We need to talk about that.”
She blinked. “Didn't you hear what I just said?”
He smiled. “I did, but I am not going to let that stop me from loving you.”
He waved a finger at her. “And neither should you.”
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