If you haven’t read Part 2, you can do that here.
Abigail stood looking at herself in the full-length mirror of her bedroom. The casualties of her indecisiveness lay strewn about the bed. This was the second time she had tried on the navy-blue dress. The solid dark blue material that touched her skin was soft and silky. It went from sleeveless shoulders to plunging V-shaped neckline and a hem that stopped halfway down her thigh. By itself it would have been far to revealing for her to be comfortable but, it was accompanied with a navy-blue lacy overlay on the top half that gave her tiny sleeves and met at the waist to dissolved into a waistband attached to the same color blue sheer that made up her tulip skirt which stopped right above her ankles. The additions provided a little bit more modesty and the skirt flowed. With the right shoes this dress could be considered casual or dress attire. She would wear her black strappy sandals with barely any heel. That should pull of the more casual tone and oh… how she was overthinking this.
She sat down on the edge of her bed annoyed with herself. She reached for the shoes to pull them on refusing to spend another second on her appearance. She looked at her phone and pulled up the directions for an approximate duration for the trip. It was only 10 minutes away, if she left now, she would only be 5 minutes late.
She double checked her makeup in the mirror, fixed a few errant strands of hair – that would no doubt be back to where she started before she made it to the restaurant – climbed in her car and put it in drive as she checked the time again. Okay, so, 10 minutes late. Still not bad for her.
As she followed the navigation system to Bella Luna, her brain tried to imagine how this next encounter would go. Hopefully, better than the last. How had this even happened? She was only going to that garage for answers. If he didn’t remember her, fine, she could move on with her life because she deserved better. If he did, well, then she would be in his arms right now, not alone in her car.
Driving with one hand on the wheel, the other played with the small pendant that hung over her chest from the dainty chain around her neck. She wondered if seeing him again was worth it. The hope she had felt when he had asked if they knew each other only magnified the crushing blow to her heart when he backtracked the question. Then he hid under the car like a coward. She never knew him to shy away from confrontation. If he couldn’t stand to look at her, he shouldn’t have asked her out.
Her hands were back to gripping the steering wheel so tight her knuckles started to turn white. One thing was for sure, he was hiding something. He never was a good liar, not with her anyway. At least somethings didn’t change. No, he may not remember her but, he was keeping something from her, and she was going to find out what that was.
Scott sat on the bench outside one of the two nicer restaurants in town. Bella Luna’s wasn’t technically 5-star but, they had real table clothes, amazing food and best of all he could afford it. A large chunk of his pay went to Ray for rent and utility bills for the apartment they shared. Ray never asked for any money but, Scott insisted. Ray had done enough to help him and the least he could do was pay his fair share.
He looked down at the clean white long sleeve shirt he had just bought to go with the one pair of black suit pants he had. He only wore the pants once when Ray finally convinced him to go to the hot new nightclub almost 30 miles from their apartment. It was loud and flashy with tons of beautiful woman and men who wanted to be with them. He tried enjoying himself. He stayed for a full 20 minutes. He even tried talking to a lady in a very skimpy black strapless dress when she sided up to the bar next to him and smiled at him. But he couldn’t block out the noise all around him and eventually left her and Ray at the bar. He texted Ray from outside that he was going to catch a cab, since Ray had drove them. He was halfway home when Ray had texted back the words, she might have a sister, with a picture of the blonde woman he was dancing with, she had pouty lips and large fake breast squeezed into a tiny red dress. He didn’t text back. That had been an expensive cab ride but, worth it.
Sitting on the bench, with the sun setting, he pulled out his phone and looked at the time.
She was late. Maybe she wouldn’t come. He should have offered to pick her up. He could have borrowed Ray’s SUV. What kind of mechanic didn’t have their own car? He’d have to work on that.
Three minutes really isn’t late. It was his own fault for being here 20 minutes early. He was anxious to see her and wanted to be able to walk into the restaurant by her side. He wasn’t sure why he needed people to know they were together. He only knew the older lady who ran the restaurant, and she didn’t care. Well, maybe she did a little but only because she seemed to want him to be happy. It was possible she knew he’s story but, he’d never told her. From the first time he’d come in alone to eat because he loved their pasta, she was at his table striking up a conversation that put him at ease. She teased him about being alone saying it was a shame. If she were 40 years younger, she’d leave her grumpy old husband and run away with him. He’d seen her husband he was grumpy as she called him but, never with her. Only the customers who thought they knew how they wanted their food better than he did.
Scott made it a point to always order as it was on the menu and had yet to be disappointed. He knew he never would be.
Maybe she wasn’t coming. The thought hit him harder than he thought it should. He couldn’t stomach the thought of never seeing this woman again. Never getting lost in those sapphire eyes or seeing that light brown hair spread across his white pillowcase. He’d wait here all night just in case she showed.
As he leaned back onto the bench ready for the long haul. He heard footsteps on the sidewalk. She was a vision coming toward him in a blue dress that billowed and caressed her calves occasionally revealing the smooth skin on her legs as she walked. As he’s eyes made their way up her body, they were caught by hers. Had he thought her eyes sapphires. No, not sapphires. In the dimming daylight with the waves of her dark blue dress they were a storm. An ocean storm that excited his pulse and warmed his blood as she got closer and never dropped his gaze.
“Sorry, I’m late.”
“That’s ok, I just got here.”
“Really?” She asked, not believing him for a minute.
He just smiled. A smile that reached his hazel eyes and pierced her heart like an arrow. He just smiled and this is how her body reacted. This date was probably a bad idea.
“You look beautiful.”
“Thank you,” she said, her voice sounding breathy having released the breath she didn’t know she was holding at the same time she spoke. She recovered quickly pretending to look him over for the first time. She had already done that from afar before he found her eyes.
“You clean up nice.” That was an understatement. The shirt fit him perfectly. Not too tight. Not too loose. From memory she recalled the muscles hidden underneath.
“Thank you,” he held out his arm, “Shall we?”
She slid her hand through the bend of his elbow. She was close enough now to hear his breath hitch when her knuckles swept along his rib cage. She gently placed her hand on his wrist feeling the jolt of electricity charge the nerve endings where their skin touched. He had probably meant for her hand to be on his elbow but, now their arms were entwined, biceps molded close together. She was going to have to remember not to take such liberties with him even though it felt as natural as breathing. She made the motion to pull her arm from his and apologize but, his hand caught hers to hold it there and they started walking toward the door.
The restaurant was stereotypical Italian restaurant. Red and white checkered tablecloths, wooden furniture, and wall accents. This restaurant had a homey feel as if it had been around for a long time and hadn’t changed much. Abigail wasn’t aware of much else regarding her surroundings. All her attention was on the feel of his arm against hers, the feeling of disappointment when he disconnected them, then the acute awareness when his hand was gently placed on the small of her back to allow her to proceed him in following the waitress to their table. She found her pace slow as she walked to savor the feel of his hand through the thin fabric of the back of her dress.
When they sat down the waitress asked what they wanted to drink, and she didn’t hesitate when she ordered a glass of red wine. She desperately needed a drink to calm her nerves. Scott asked for a water. For some reason she wasn’t surprised. She wondered if not drinking had something to do with the immortal aspect of his life. Could he even get drunk?
They hadn’t said anything yet and when she looked up from the menu, he was looking at her with hazel eyes glowing like embers in a fire. She knew that look. She’d seen that look dozens of times in her memories. That look made her absently bite the side of her lip.
Abigail was beginning to suspect that he knew exactly who she was, and she opened her mouth to say so but, closed it when a gray-haired woman appeared beside their table.
“Ecco il mio bellissimo uomo” She greeted Scott in Italian. There is my beautiful man. He stood and kissed her on both cheeks.
Abigail could not stop from smiling at the exchange.
“Oh, you flatter me, bella signora.” He replied hugging her.
“I only speak truth.” She said to him and looked toward Abigail, “Who’s this? You finally bring a bella to my restaurant and make this old woman jealous?”
“You know you’re the only woman for me Amalia.”
She swatted him on the shoulder with her hand and turned her attention back to Abigail. “This one, he always tells me, ‘no, no woman will have him’ but we know the truth don’t we bella. Men like him and my Marcello need special woman like us to keep them happy. Don’t they?”
Abby smiled at her. It was impossible not to. Her good nature was contagious.
“Marcello is Amalia’s husband. He’s the cook here.”
“Well, of course he is, the man is too stubborn to let anyone take over. No matter how many of his nephews want to help. Stubborn man.” She said looking past them toward the kitchen shaking her head.
“We were just about to order Signora…”
“No, need. I have Marcello cooking you both up something special. No sit. Sit.” She waved him back to his seat, “You two enjoy your quiet night.” She winked at Abigail as she walked back toward the kitchen, no doubt to help Marcello.
“She seems sweet.”
“Amalia, is the best.”
“Have you really never brought a date here before? I didn’t think you had many options for places to go in this town.”
Scott shrugged, “The idea crossed my mind but, Amalia, makes me feel at home when I come here. It never really felt right to bring just anybody.”
“You brought me.”
“It felt right.”
The intensity of his gaze held her. She felt mesmerized by the sound of his voice, the movement of his lips. Neither of them spoke for a moment. Her brain should have been arguing over how what he said sounded like a real good line for a first date but, it didn’t. All she could feel was her heart clenching around his words and how genuine Amalia’s reaction was to him. She was happy to see him with someone. Was he lonely? The thought of him with someone else made a jolt of anger pass through her but, the thought of him lonely tugged at her heart.
She was saved from her inner ruminations and the growing heat between them when the waitress dropped off their drinks and took the menus.
Abigail gripped her wine glass and took a big gulp resisting the urge to look at him again. She had to regain composure. She had questions that needed answers and she was going to get them tonight.
She took another sip of her wine and set the glass back on the table. When she looked up at him again, he was watching her. He looked like he was about to say something then she blurted out, “Do you really not recognize me?”
He pulled himself backward and sat upright, as if she just slapped him.
~~To Be Continued~~