met four times in the last few weeks. Randomly, by chance, never
preplanned or set-up. After months of never crossing paths, somehow
four times, late at night while the rest of the city was still,
two wandering souls had found each other.
He wandered the city hoping to escape the demons his mind could
and would not let him forget. Hoping that somehow he would find
the peace of mind he craved but had never been able to attain.
With Kristina tucked soundly in bed at home, under the watchful
eye of her nanny, Alice, she found that these walks were just
the release she needed. She walked to reflect on the happiness
she now had, that, until just weeks earlier, had been missing
from her life for far too long.
The first time had been at the park. Neither said anything.
He was vaguely aware of footsteps drawing nearer on the North
path. He heard the noise grow closer but didnt pay much
attention. It was only when the footsteps stopped, just a few
yards behind him, that he turned around to look.
He immediately wondered why she was out by herself so late. He
was surprised to see her. The look on her face said she was equally
surprised to see him.
He wanted to speak but had no words.
After everything that had happened, the hurt, the pain, the betrayal
he knew they both felt. Neither had ever wanted things to turn
out this way. But that didnt change what had actually happened,
what had been said, the threats that had been made and the help
they had both refused to give.
What could he possibly say to her after all this time?
Nothing. There was nothing.
So, he remained silent.
She left seconds later, equally silent, head hanging, as if she
hadnt even noticed him.
The second time was on the docks. It was awkward. She offended
A storm was coming.
The usually calm water crashed violently against the pier, the
volume so loud that it was hard to concentrate on or hear anything
else. She normally took these walks to reflect and think, and
to plan for the day ahead.
Tonight nature seemed to have other plans.
All conscious thought ceased as the sounds washed over her. The
water roared, unsettled and turbulent. Standing on the edge of
the pier, in the middle of it all, she was totally at peace.
The noise was so loud that she didnt hear him coming. Not
that it mattered.
She felt him instead. The power and strength of him always preceded
his arrival. He was his own force of nature.
Their run-in one week earlier had left her slightly unsettled.
It was awkward. They were little more than strangers to each other
now. The pain of realizing just how far they had fallen was nearly
She hoped he would pass by without stopping. He couldnt
possibly have anything to say to her. Not after last week. Not
after everything else that had happened.
Of course, he made his way to the end of the pier and stopped
just next to her.
Hey. His voice was light and soft against the harsh
backdrop of crashing waves.
Hey. Her voice was the same, light and steady, though
her stomach was mirroring the choppy motion of the water.
Its a little late for you to be out here alone, isnt
it? His concern was genuine. He was trying.
Not really. She hadnt meant to sound so cold.
Well, I guess Ill leave you to go about your business
then. He was offended. More than that, he was hurt.
The voices in her head warred say something to him
versus just let him leave.
By the time she made up her mind, he was nowhere in sight.
The third time was outside of Kellys. This time they talked
a little. And they laughed.
The quaint, little diner had been closed for hours. But she
sat there anyway, deciding that sitting and reflecting was just
as good as doing so while walking.
It had been a full week since their encounter on the docks.
Shed spent most of the last week thinking about him, about
the way shed spoken to him, about what she wished she had
said instead. Mostly, she wondered when she would see him again.
She wanted to see him again. And that scared her.
And then, like clockwork, he was there.
He rounded the corner and strode toward Kellys. She was
the only thing on his mind. He knew he had hurt her, and hurt
her badly, two summers ago when their friendship fell apart.
He wanted to fix the hurt. To fix the heart he had broken by taking
the easy way out and going back to his old life.
And then, there she was. Sitting at one of the tables outside
She looked up before he even made a sound. Though, he couldnt
be totally sure he hadnt let out a slight gasp at first
site of her.
He waited. He would follow her lead.
And then he saw the most beautiful site his eyes had been privy
to in months.
She looked up at him. Tonight, the first move would be hers.
So she smiled at him. And held her breath while waiting for his
He smiled back, the full, warm grin that she had missed so much.
She couldnt help it. Her smile turned into a laugh.
So did his.
She asked, jokingly, Are you following me?
He laughed again, a hearty, full laugh this time.
She laughed again, shook her head slightly and pulled her lower
lip between her teeth. You have to admit, this is a strange
coincidence, us running into each other. Again.
Coincidence. He mulled over the word in his head.
No, it wasnt coincidence at all. But he couldnt voice
those thoughts. Yeah, its somethin like that.
She laughed awkwardly, for lack of a better reaction to his remark.
He stood silently, watching her.
Do you want to sit down? She motioned to the chair
next to her.
Thanks. He didnt hesitate, covering the distance
in only three steps.
Then there was silence. Extremely awkward silence. Neither
knew where to go from that point.
She spoke up first. Last week, on the docks, I apologize
if I was rude to you.
No, no, you werent... He didnt want her
feeling any more guilt because of him.
She cut him off. I know what you look like when youre
mad and when youre offended. So, please, just accept my
I cant fool you, can I?
Well, then, I forgive you for hurting my feelings.
His smile spread from ear to ear.
They talked a little longer, light, casual, nothing important,
nothing too real, nothing that would remind either of what they
had lost when the other walked away.
She stood up first. It was getting late. She said had to get home
to Kristina. It was the first either had mentioned their family.
She said a quick goodbye.
He just kept smiling.
Earlier tonight had been the fourth time. One word said it all.
Their bodies did the rest of the talking.
It was a risk, a total gamble. But one he had to take. Their
late night run-ins had lit a fire in him, a fire stoked by thoughts
of her, by the feelings for her he had tried to bury inside for
He wasnt leaving anything to chance. He had to see her.
He had to have her. And it had to be tonight.
So he waited. He leaned against his car, for a change he hadnt
walked. He waited for her to exit her apartment building. He would
wait all night if he had to.
She left him waiting only twenty minutes.
There was no going back now.
She came outside bundled up tightly to combat the winter air.
Shed never looked more beautiful in his eyes.
She was surprised to see him standing there. The surprise lasted
only momentarily. She knew that somehow she would see him tonight.
She was just surprised hed made it so easy.
He kept his distance, staying near the car. He'd made the first
move by showing up. It was clear the next move was hers.
Shed thought all week about what she would do the next time
this happened. She never doubted for a second that 'this', whatever
these meetings were, would happen again.
And after shedding countless tears, shed decided that there
was no going back this time, no running away. She would follow
her heart and the feelings she had denied for so long.
She smiled and walked forward, closer to him. He took a few steps
from the curb, closer to her.
They reached each other. Both stood silent, looking into eyes
nearly replicas of their own.
Her palms found his face. His lids blissfully lowered under her
His hands found her hips.
Their lips touched, lightly at first. Hunger and desire followed.
They parted only for need of air, separating just what was necessary,
hand and arms never loosening their grasp.
Again their eyes met. There was no need for words this time, no
explanations, no small talk. But one simple utterance, barely
above a whisper, escaped the back of his throat.