Authors: Cordelia Baxter
had been tempted to call him many times, but always stopped herself. Even though she made improvements in her self-confidence these past three months, she still was afraid to call. She was afraid seeing the anger or rejection in Gabe's eyes, or worse yet, the indifference. That more than anything would crush her. Besides, it wasn't fair to Gabe for her to drop back into his life after going so long without a word. He might have moved on by now, and she didn't want to dampen his happiness by calling out of the blue. So she had decided to move on with her life too.
Claudette had set her up with a friend of hers. It was the first date she had gone on that she didn't meet online. That scared her.
At least online she could chat with the guy and get to know him before hand, but now, she had to go by Claudette's word that he wasn't a creep.
couldn't help but think about the last time she went on a blind date. Then she felt
nervous anticipation. She didn't have much hope for tonight. As long as he didn't embarrass her or bore her to death, she would call it a successful date.
Monica arrived at the restaurant and strode towards the bar and ordered a drink. Turning around, she scanned the
trying to pick out her date. He told her he would be wearing a tan colored suit with a purple tie. She didn't see anyone who fit that description and glancing at her
she was 15 minutes early. She relaxed and leaned back against the bar and watched the door waiting for her date to arrive. Monica tapped her toes to the beat of the familiar
jazz song that the band was playing and took a sip of her martini. She surprised herself by feeling none of the nerves that she normally battled on first dates and smiled to herself.
The familiar voice froze Monica in place. He was standing behind her, so close she could feel his breath on her skin. She shivered involuntarily.
"Gabe," she whispered. Her heart was beating so fast she thought it would pop out of her chest. She tried to keep her face neutral as she looked at him, but couldn't help sucking in a breath. His tall muscular form was complimented in a fitted black suit that never failed to send Monica's heart racing.
She waited for him to speak, but he stood there staring at her with his intense gaze.
"How have you been?" she finally managed to ask.
"I've been okay," he answered. "And you?"
Monica had so much she wanted to say to him, and thought this was her chance. She might never get another opportunity to speak to him again.
"Listen Gabe," she began. "I just wanted to apologize about how things ended between us."
Gabe looked surprised by her admission. He continued standing there staring and fidgeting with the drink in his hand. Monica noticed he seemed different tonight. It was like he was nervous. He ran his hand through his hair and looked like he was struggling to say something.
"I never wanted it to end like that either," he finally said. "There's so much I want to tell you..."
"Monica? You must be Monica Jordan, right?"
Monica had to stifle a curse
at the interruption
forced herself to turn around
and saw her date standing before her. She was frustrated at his timing, but gave him a quick smile holding out her hand.
"Yes, and you must be Rick," she said.
"Wow, you're even prettier than Claudette described," he said. "I hope you haven't been waiting long."
"No, I haven't been waiting long," she answered. Monica felt uncomfortable and guilty. Even though she was no longer with Gabe, she felt like she had betrayed him by going out on a date. Turning back to Gabe, she saw
him stiffen as he maintained an impassive expression.
"It was nice to see you again, Monica. I hope you enjoy your date," he said coolly, before walking away.
Monica was tempted to run after him. To tell him she didn't care about Rick. She wanted to hear what he was going to say before they were interrupted. But he was gone just as quickly as he had come. And she wasn't going to abandon her date. It would be extremely rude, and Claudette would never forgive her. Breathing out a sigh, she resigned herself to Rick's company for the night.
If it weren't for Gabe's appearance, she would have found Rick handsome and charming. But Gabe put every guy at a disadvantage. She knew it wasn't fair for her to keep comparing the two, but she couldn't help herself. What made it worse was that Rick seemed genuinely interested in her. She hated to disappoint anyone, but knew there could never be anything more with him.
"Well, I had a nice time tonight," Rick said at the end of the evening as they were standing outside the restaurant waiting for valet to bring Monica's car around.
"I had a nice time too," Monica replied.
"Maybe we can do this again sometime?" Rick suggested.
She didn't want to give him the wrong impression, but she hated to lead him on.
"I'm sorry Rick," she said. "I think you're a great guy, but I think we'd be better off as friends. I don't want to waste your time when you could be looking for someone you can really connect with."
"I see," he said. They stood there awkwardly until Monica's car arrived.
"Thanks for letting me know," Rick said, holding out his hand. "I think you're a great girl, but hey, sometimes the chemistry's not there, right?" he said kindly.
"Yeah. I really did have a great time tonight," Monica said giving him a hug. "I'm sorry I can't give you more."
"Don't worry about it," he told her, closing her door for her. "Take care."
Monica shook her head, once she was alone in her car. One of the rare times she finds a nice guy, and she turns him away.
When she got home, she
kicked off her heels and rubbed the back of her neck.
It had been a trying evening; one that wreaked havoc with her emotions.
Seeing Gabe again brought back so many
and stirred feelings in her that she thought she'd never feel again. She couldn't believe it had only been three months since Gabe came into her life. It felt like a lifetime ago.
Monica decided on a whim to sign on to her instant messenger. She didn't know what to expect, but part of her hoped Gabe was online. Sitting at her desk, she typed in her username and password. When the program started, up Gabe's username was offline; Monica felt a little foolish. She honestly didn't expect him to be sitting at his computer waiting for her to sign on, but she still hoped all the same. Monica was about to sign off when the sound of a door opening caught her attention and she saw Gabe had just signed on. Monica's heart jumped in her throat; she didn't know what to do.
fingers were poised over her keyboard, debating whether or not to message him.
A message had popped up onto her screen. It was Gabe.
Monjo: Hey there yourself.
It was all Monica could think of as a response. She pressed send and waited with baited breath for Gabe's response.
Gabe345: It was really great seeing you tonight. You looked beautiful by the way.
Monjo: Thanks. It was nice seeing you too.
Gabe345: Did you have a good time on your date?
Monica froze, not sure how she should answer. She didn't want to hurt him and try to make him jealous by playing up her date, but she didn't want to seem desperate either. She finally decided on the truth.
Monjo: I did. He was a nice guy, but there was no chemistry, unfortunately.
Gabe345: I see.
Monica couldn't stand the wait. What was she supposed to say to "I see"?
Gabe345: There was something I wanted to say to you tonight before we got interrupted.
Gabe345: I don't really know how to start. It's kind of awkward over instant messenger.
Monjo: I see.
See how he likes that, Monica thought.
Gabe345: Would you meet with me sometime this week? We can go to Rousseau's again. I'd really like to see you in person.
Monjo: That would be nice.
Gabe345: Great! How about Saturday, say at 7pm?
Monjo: Sounds good.
Gabe signed off soon after
leaving Monica sitting there contemplating what just happened. For months, she had hoped for this, and it
. Even if Gabe had no intention of working things out between them, she wanted the chance to apologize and clear the air between them. She would finally hear his side of the story and apologize for how she cut him out of her life. If there was some part of her that hoped he would beg her to come back to him, she didn't dwell on it.
There was a strange feeling of
vu when Monica walked into the restaurant that evening. She was back at Rousseau's meeting Gabe. This time, she was more confident as she searched for his familiar form. When her eyes spotted his tall figure standing with his back turned at the bar, she smiled to herself. It reminded her of the first time they had met in person. At the time, she couldn't believe he had been her mystery blind date, but when he turned around and held out that red rose and smiled at her with his crooked grin, her heart had melted.
Monica took a moment to admire him from behind. He looked dashing in his customary black suit. She noticed he had let his hair grow longer, brushing just past the collar of his white dress shirt. As she was contemplating these changes to his appearance, he turned around. Gabe spotted her immediately and gave her an
grin. He walked over to her holding one hand behind his back.
His eyes sparkled as he looked at her.
"Admiring the view?" he asked, raising his eyebrows.
"Yes, I've always loved the view here. You can see over the whole city," Monica replied, pretending not to understand his meaning.
"Hmm, I'll have to agree with you. I'm certainly enjoying the view as well," Gabe flirted,
his gaze unwavering
. He brought his hand forward from behind his back and presented her with a single red rose. "You look exquisite," he said as he handed it to her.
She blushed at his compliment. It was so like him to remember their first date and the red rose.
"Thank you," she said.
"Shall we be seated?" Gabe asked holding out his arm for her.
"Yes please," Monica answered.
They followed the waiter to a table by the back. It was the best seat in the house with views overlooking the city in a private corner of the restaurant. It was the same table they sat at on their first date.
"You know," Monica began, "I'm beginning to feel a bit of
vu. This was the same table we sat at on our first date."
"Oh you remembered then?" Gabe replied smiling at her.
"Yes, I remember everything about that night," Monica answered.
"I remember everything about that night too," he said, holding her gaze. Gone was the teasing smile, in its place was a serious expression. Monica was surprised by the intensity of his
. It felt as if he was
right into her. She had to remind herself to keep breathing.
"You...uh...said there was something you wanted to talk about?" Monica asked, finally breaking eye contact.
"Yes, I did. What I said the other night, about us and not wanting it to end like it did... I meant it. Ever since you left, it hasn't been the same," Gabe said haltingly.
"What are you saying?" Monica asked.
"I miss you," he replied simply.
"Oh Gabe," Monica said. Those were the words she had hoped to hear. She wanted to get up and throw herself into his arms, but something held her back. Though she had already forgiven him about the past, she still needed answers.
"I've missed you too. But why did you wait so long to say anything? Why didn't you contact me sooner?" she asked.
"Why didn't you contact me? And why did you wait so long to say anything?" Gabe countered.
I guess you're right. We've both been pretty stubborn." Monica admitted.
"To tell you the truth, I had hoped you'd call me. I didn't want to make the first move because I didn't know if you'd even want to talk to me after you caught Carla and me that night," Gabe replied. "Then when weeks went by and I still didn't hear from you, I got a bit angry. I couldn't believe you could walk away so easily, especially when you didn't even give me a chance to explain."
"I'm sorry. You're right, you know. At the ball, I overheard these women saying you were pining for Carla and how you were just using me to make her jealous. When I saw the two of you together kissing, I was so hurt, I couldn't even look at you," Monica explained. "Then, when you never called, I just thought you had gotten back with Carla."