The next morning, I headed to work. I had, meticulously, chosen a dress to wear that day. It was for business wear, but had a flirty look. The dress accented my curves, but not too much. It had a low square cut front. The dress hugged my waist and followed closely to my knees. The shoes, I picked, were closed front with a strap on the back. The heel was mid height, not too low, not too high. I had decided to let my long hair down. I usually wore it up to the office. I applied make-up to complement the look. I wore a small necklace to match the dress. The look was complete. I wanted to look professional, but with a bit of flirtatiousness. If I was to meet Arturo, I wanted to look perfect for him.
Even though I went through the trouble of looking right for him, I was not sure if I could go through with it. The thought of meeting him alone, after what he said, thrilled me, but the thought of his impending wedding terrified me. I did not want to interfere, but I needed to find out what he had to say. I needed to find out how he felt.
I was busy that morning. At work, I was promoted a month earlier. I no longer wrote the announcements. I, now, wrote for the fashion column. I wrote articles related to latest fashion trends, and designers’ clothing lines. The job required a great amount of research and I had to keep up. My mind was distracted, and I found myself daydreaming. I tried to get Arturo out of my thoughts, but I was not successful at it.
Before i realized it, lunchtime arrived. The Cafe, Arturo chose, was only two blocks away. I could walk there. Hesitantly, yet filled with anticipation, I headed to the Parisian Cafe. It was a sunny day, not a cloud in the sky. The temperature was 70 degrees, perfect to eat outdoors. The Cafe had tables outside, just like the ones in Paris. The food there was delicious. They served the best croissant sandwiches in the area. Their variety included plenty of healthy choices. My favorite was the white chicken breast club sandwich. They served it with a choice of salad or soup. I continued thinking about the Cafe, so I would not have to think about Arturo. The walk was short, and I was able to occupy my mind the whole way there.
I was only a few steps away, when I spotted him. He was wearing black slacks, a white long sleeve shirt, and a grey colored tie. His hair was brushed back. He was smiling. The sun was on his face and exalted the blue of his eyes. He looked dreamy. I was melting inside. Just one look and I was in fantasyland. I slowly walked over to him. He extended his arm and surrounded me with them. He was holding me close to him. He reached over and kissed my cheek.
“I am glad that you decided to meet me. I was not sure that you would, but I had to take my chances.” He was whispering in my ear as he continued to hold me close.
I did not fight it. I let him hold me. I liked the feeling. For that second I pretended we were a couple. For that moment, I pretended he was mine.
“Arturo, I am glad to be here, but you…” I was speaking to him, but he interrupted me.
“Do not say another word.” He continued to whisper.
He grabbed my hand and led me inside. He said he had a table ready for us. We walked to the farthest part of the dining room. He had picked a booth that provided privacy. I had thought we would sit outside, but he wanted to sit inside so we could talk, without distractions. The waiter took our order, and left us alone. Arturo was looking at me and had a smile on his face. I am sure I was doing the same thing. I wanted to think, but I could not.
“Genevieve, I am sure that you know why I asked you to meet me. Ever since I saw you a few months ago, I cannot get you out of my mind. The last three months, you are all I can think of. I needed to see you, because I have many doubts about my love for Maritza. How can I love her, and think of you at the same time.” He was speaking in a very soft voice.
As he spoke, I noticed he was shaking.
“Arturo, you are shaking. Are you all right?” I asked.
“I have been thinking of this moment, and now that is here, I am nervous. Not because I am here with you, but because I am having feelings that I have never experienced before. I see you and I tremble inside. I think of you, and a warmth enters my body. I touch you and all my senses come to life.” He continued.
“Genevieve, do you think I am a fool?” he asked.
I chuckled. “Why would I think that?”
“Because, I have known you all my life, and not until recent, did I see you, differently. I always thought of you as a little sister, but now I see you as a grown woman. You have awaken a passion in me that I never thought possible. So, do you? Do you think I am a fool?” he asked again.
“I do not think you are a fool. I understand what you are feeling. I feel the same way.” I barely could say the words, but I continued, “Arturo, I have had feelings for you ever since I can remember. First, I had a little girl crush, then a teenage crush. I dismissed them as foolish and childish. When I saw you again, the night you came over to the house, I realized that the foolish, childish feelings were real.”
I looked at him and saw the look. The look that I always wanted to see. Arturo’s eyes showed desire, love, and passion. He was looking at me the way I had always dreamed of. Here he was in front of me. Seeing me, talking to me, and wanting me. This was real, but wrong.
“Arturo, the feelings I have for you are real, but the reality of the situation is that you are about to get married. I cannot interfere with your plans. We need to forget about this. You need to continue with your plans, and I will continue with my life.” I said with sadness in my voice.
“Genevieve, I needed to tell you how I felt, because I am not going through with the wedding. Maritza and I have our differences. I am going to…” as he was continuing, I interrupted.
“Think about what you are saying. Do not make a decision today.” I interjected. “I need to go back to work, soon. Let us eat our lunch, and continue this conversation, if it needs to continue at a later time.”
The waiter approached the table with our food. Neither of us, could eat. We stayed quiet the rest of the time. As much as I wanted to be with him, I knew it was the wrong thing to do. Not soon enough, we finished, paid the waiter, and left the restaurant. Not much else was said on the way out. I had stayed quiet, and so had he. We both knew this were dangerous waters and needed to think things through.
We walked together to the sidewalk, and, with much hesitation, we said goodbye. I headed back to the newspaper. I walked, slowly. I needed time to think. My mind was preoccupied with thoughts. The thoughts were provoking. I had fantasized and dreamt for years past that we could be together. All I had to do was say yes. How could I? In my heart, it did not matter that someone else would get hurt. In my mind it did. I felt as I was probing the questions with regard to someone else’s happiness, not my own.
I thought and thought. If Arturo has doubts about his love for Maritza, will he be happy if he marries her? If they get married, can they overcome their differences and still be happy? If they separate, she would hurt, but only for a while. My thoughts were so many that they stopped making sense.
My phone rang; I was about to reach the newspaper. I looked to see who was calling. It was Arturo. Why is he calling me? We just saw each other. I was curious.
I answered the phone, and heard him say, “Look behind you.”