When the elevator doors opened I was immediately aware that something was amiss in my hallway. There was a large box leaning up against my apartment door. I looked up at John who was still on the phone. He was eying the package and was now regarding my reaction. I wasn’t expecting anything and the pit of my stomach started churning at the thought of who this was from. Usually packages where picked up from the doormen. I was struggling to fight a feeling of dread for this moment that I knew was coming.
After I settled into the apartment and put my bags down I went to open the box. It was a large vase with a dozen long stem lavender and pink roses. My heart stood still since it couldn’t sink and soar at the same time. There was no note, but I knew who they were from. I put them on the counter and went to the fridge to grab a water bottle silently offering one to John who was wrapping up his phone call. He headed towards me accepting the water and eying me expectantly.
“Sooo, who is your admirer? That is one heck of an arrangement.”
He was so hard to read sometimes, but common sense told me there was some jealousy and concern to be dealt with here.
“I would love to tell you, but there wasn’t a note.” I gulped my water hoping the chill would help cool my internal stirrings.
“No note? Well, shouldn’t it have been left with the doorman?”
No amount of water was going to help me.
“Um. Yes, packages are usually left with the doorman.”
There was an awkward silence as he pulled away from me and loosened his tie.
I watched really in suspense, because I didn’t know how he would react. I didn’t want to lie but I knew my evasive answers weren’t going to cut it either. He picked up the box examining the exterior.
“Well there is no label, no note, and it wasn’t left with the doorman which is usual protocol. Pink roses mean happiness or romance, and lavender roses mean adoration or love at first sight. So, Jade, either you have a stalker or you are not telling me something.”
He put the box back down and walked over to the chaise, lying back with his hands supporting the back of his head.
Grow a pair and have this conversation already!
I followed him over to the couch.
“I think it’s the Dark Knight.”
There I said it.
I didn’t do anything wrong and needed to stop acting like I did. He nodded in satisfaction that his hunch was correct and that I told the truth.
“Are you still seeing him?” There was no expression in his tone.
“Really? When would I be doing that? I haven’t seen him since the last time you saw him so this is equally weird to me. As far as I knew he was out of the country so…” I replied.
He didn’t ask any more questions so I walked back to the kitchen to unpack my groceries so that I could get started on dinner and my light house work. My thoughts raced as I wondered if Julian was really back. I felt the stirrings of panic at the thought of one of his emotional confrontations.
Would I be strong enough to resist?
As I was putting my eggs and bacon into the fridge, John came up pushing the door closed from behind, pinning me up against it. Lost in my own thoughts I jumped at his sudden presence behind me. I didn’t even hear him approach me. I could feel the intensity of his emotions and it made me tremble as he played with the loose tendrils of my up do.
“Jade, I asked you if he was your guy and you said he wasn’t. If there is something more going on please tell me. I hate finding things out,” he finally responded.
I shuddered from both the soft touch of his fingers as they lightly caressed my neck and the strange darkness that lined his words.
“John, there is nothing going on that I am hiding from you. I met him before you and he was interested in me. Very interested but for some reason unexplained to me he had to go away for business and I haven’t seen him since nor have I heard from him.”
My voice sounded like a small child. I turned around to face him not being able to stand the torture of being cornered anymore. He placed his other hand on the fridge trapping me in his prison. We stared at each other wordlessly, me because I didn’t know what I should say and him because he wasn’t sure what he could say. He had to trust my words and any further questioning would indicate a lack thereof. He also had to know that I couldn’t stop another man from wanting me.
I anchored my hands onto the side of his navy blue dress shirt wanting desperately to break the silent impasse between us. It was almost as if he didn’t want to take off the armor that he just put up but I didn’t want him to slip away from me.
“John? I love you.”
He leaned down pressing his forehead against mine. His body trembled and I knew he had to be afraid because I was too. Even if it was for different reasons.
I turned my face up to his in an offer, leaving it up to him to decide how far he wanted to go, and rubbing my cheek against his. His eyes were closed tightly as he slowly let his lips find mine. We both whimpered with the need to make things right between us and he began to kiss me hungrily. I curled my arms around his neck grabbing onto the hair that barely grazed it. His breathing heightened as his kiss became more aggressive and his hands grasped at me as if they couldn’t decide where to touch first. I felt so fragile as if I could shatter at any moment.