CAN SHE START OVER AFTER A BETRAYAL? — EXCERPTED FROM “INTERIOR DESIGNS”

Elephant-bar-3

Out of the blue, a former lover calls to invite Martha to lunch.  What is he up to?  Excerpted from Interior Designs.

***

Meeting up with Zach at our favorite little bistro reminded me of all those times in the past.

 
He was already there when I arrived, and waved me over.  He stood up and pulled out my chair in a way that reminded me of some kind of prince.  Or a gallant hero in a book I might read.

 
Smiling, I waited for him to outline the agenda.  Was this going to be a business lunch or something else?

 
“Okay, first things first,” he began and grinned.  “May I tell you how gorgeous you look today?  Even more luminous than I recall from the past, and you were definitely a shining example of womanhood then.”  His eyes twinkled.

 
“Thanks, Zach, but what’s going on with you?  I haven’t heard from you in ages…so why now?”

 
“You get right to the point, don’t you?  Okay, I missed you.  That’s all.  I can’t believe that I let you slip away.  There’s just something really special about you that reminds me of the beautiful moments in life….”

 
Not knowing how to respond, I just sat there.  My first thought was that he sounded too charming.  Like someone who was planning a coup.  Now why would I be so suspicious?  Was it just because he had abruptly stopped calling, or was it my own wounded pride from my marriage ending?  That feeling you get when someone betrays you.  Nothing can completely salvage the heart after such an event; the after effects include vulnerability and suspicion.

 
So, instead of responding, I smiled and shrugged, hiding my true feelings.

 
He leaned in and grasped my hand.  “Do you think you could forgive me for my poor judgment?  Is it possible that we can put together a relationship after all?”

 
“Maybe.”  I finally managed to form the tentative response that didn’t really promise much, but offered up the possibility.

 
Apparently satisfied, he began talking about how much he enjoyed the space I had recreated for him.  How guests always asked who his designer was, and how he was so happy to be able to refer many others to me.

 
I started to loosen up, and when the server approached, I ordered a martini.  Not one of my usual additions to a midday repast, but one I’d been enjoying from time to time.  My favorite, a Pomegranate Martini, was soon placed in front of me.  By then, Zach had his Scotch, so we toasted.  As if this were some kind of celebration.

 
Not completely won over, I began to come around.  Or maybe it was the second martini that turned my head.

 
Later I would ask myself how I could have succumbed to his charms…again!

 

But I was withholding judgment until more information was available to me.

 
We walked slowly to the parking lot afterwards, which reminded me of how this whole thing had started months ago.  That moment when he’d leaned in to kiss me.  Would he do that again?  I felt nervous, as if I were waiting for a first kiss.  My insides trembled.  But I thought I should act as if nothing would happen.

 
So I unlocked my car door and started to slide in.  But he leaned toward me, capturing my gaze before he placed the most spine-tingling kiss ever on my waiting lips.  Had that happened?  Had I been waiting for this, despite what I’d been telling myself?

 
He grasped my hand, held it gently, and kissed me again.

 
“I’ll call you,” he whispered.

***

 

Front Cover-resized again

***

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