Twenty Years Later, Part Two of Three

She had arrived at the gathering alone. She did most things without her husband these days as they rarely got along. She said hello and hugged everyone. Certainly there would be tears as well as laughter today. She was standing on the curb just outside the entrance when she saw him pull up with his family. She assumed he’d be there, why wouldn’t he be? So why was she so surprised to see him? Or was she just anxious to see him? And why? Her stomach flip-flopped and she quickly stepped out of sight behind the wall at the front.

Breathe and act normal. It’s no big deal, she told herself. Now if only she could make herself believe that. This was what not what she had anticipated for the day.

She could hear his boisterous laughter on the other side of the wall as he approached the entrance. She had forgotten how much she loved that sound. As he stepped around the corner, his eyes caught sight of her as she tried to look casually in another direction.

“Well, damn,” she heard him say, and when she glanced in his direction, she discovered that his comment was directed at her. She smiled. “Well, hello,” she replied as he stepped forward and gave her a one-armed, side hug of sorts. It was very different from the last time she had plastered herself all over him, but they were not those kids anymore and everyone was there. At least she could tell he was pleased to see her this time. She was sure of that.

Everyone was asked to come inside, and as they all filed in, she made sure she sat on the opposite side of the room, with no line of sight of him. She didn’t want anyone to catch her staring at him, and she knew she wouldn’t be able to help herself if she sat where she could see him. She listened as various people spoke and momentarily forgot he was there as she remembered the reason she was there.

When it was over and they all walked outside, people separated into various groups, chatting, reminiscing, crying, and celebrating life. She stood on the curb again, waiting to hear where they would all go next.

As she stood there, she hid her eyes behind her sunglasses so she could watch him walk toward her without looking obvious. He stood in front of her and asked her how she had been. She was a few inches taller than him that way, but she hardly noticed. All she noticed was how very attractive she found him.

As she formed an answer, he suddenly grabbed her by both arms and began to pull her off the curb as he stepped up on to it. “That’s better,” he said as he was now the one who was a few inches taller. His hands had only touched her upper arms, but she felt a current race through her body. He still had it like that. She hadn’t felt that alive in years.

They chatted briefly before walking back to the parking lot. His vehicle was parked right next to hers. She imagined herself holding his hand the whole way, though she obviously didn’t. As she got in, he pulled the handle on her car, activating the automatic door behind her. She laughed and called him stupid. He winked at her. He was flirting with her. She could hardly contain her pleasure at the thought.

 

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