“Don’t forget to wear your mask,” Melissa says over the phone to Don.
“I know. See you soon.”
Thirty-five minutes later Don pulls up in an UBER in front of a brown cottage. It’s well kept. An extravagant vine encasing its sides up to the wood roof. The wide bright green grass is cut perfectly around its landscape. Its door is colored forest green. After he steps out of the car, he sees Melissa standing at the entrance. The weather is warm, sunny, a little breezy. The car service pulls away.
He walks up to Melissa. They smile at each other.
“Beautiful out here.” He says.
“Maybe we can take a walk to the lake nearby.”
“Sure. We have the weekend.”
They kiss on the mouth as he enters the cottage. She locks the door behind them.
“Any bears in here?”
“Ha, ha. I’ll take that.” She takes his jacket and hangs it up in the nearby closet. “You can put your sneakers over here.”
He does so.
“Anything to drink?” She asked.
“Sure. Nice fireplace.”
“This place is awesome. How long you and Mark had this?”
“You mean how long have I had this?”
“He hasn’t seen it?
She shakes her head. “Not until he and I get married.”
“End of August.”
“He’s looking forward to you being there.”
“Cool. So, what do you have to drink?”
“Come in the kitchen.”
He follows her.
“So how long did it take you to build this?”
“You’re full of jokes today, uh?” She pours him a glass of orange juice.
He just smiles, revealing his dimples.
“My grandmother left it to me.” She hands him the glass of juice.
“Thanks. It must be good being the only grandchild.”
“Not bad.” She grins. She puts the carton of juice back in the refrigerator.
He drinks while looking at her nicely shape body in her fitted jeans. She turns to him.
“I’ve been here for the past couple of days. Jogging, cleaning, reading, enjoying nature. I needed the peace and quiet, you know. I have time to spare since Mark is in Las Vegas for like two weeks.”
“Good for us.”
She smiles, “Yes, good for us.” She walks up to him and kisses him on his wet lips.
“You know, I always thought if I was younger maybe you would have dated me in high school.”
“Age had nothing to do with it.” She says. “We’re only a year apart. And I must say, you were the only cool guy I’d date in your class. I see you still have the class ring.”
“You know it, Class of ’99.” He holds it up. He continues, “You know, Mark wasn’t a good athlete, an okay looking guy…’
“You still fell for him.”
“He was cute and charming.”
“He still is.” She says.
“Then why am I here?”
“Because you’re cute and charming.” She smiles and they kiss again.
He puts the glass of juice down on the table, wraps his arms around her thin waist.
“I’m much more than that.”
“No, follow me.”
She takes his hand and they walk into her bedroom.
“Hey Don, isn’t that Melissa’s boyfriend over there?”
Don looks over his shoulder, sitting at the bar with his friend Jax.
“Yeah that’s him.”
“You look better than him, man. I don’t know why she dates him. It looks like a truck ran over his face.” Jax laughs, but he sees Don doesn’t crack a smile. “What’s up with you?”
“Melissa introduced us last week at a party she invited me to.”
“Did you tell him that you wanted to bang his girlfriend?”
“No…no I didn’t. He actually turned out to be a nice guy.”
Don waves the bartender over to him.
“See that tall guy with the light blue shirt on over there? Tell him next round of drinks is on me.”
“Are you serious?” Jax looks at him with disbelief.
“It’s my money, what do you care?”
Some time later Mark walks over with a couple of his football buddies to the bar where Don now sits by himself.
“Why didn’t you come over to our table?” Mark asked.
“Didn’t want to intrude.”
“No worries, man. Thanks again for the drinks.”
“Want to come with us?”
“To a club. Melissa and some of her friends are going to be there.”
“Um…I guess, sure.”
“Cool. You can ride with me. Come on.”
In the club Max dances with one of Melissa’s female friends. As he dances with her, he catches Melissa looking at him as she dances with Mark. He looks away and then back at her again, she still watches him and grins. They all get drunk except Mark. He drinks a lot but still doesn’t get drunk. Everyone envies him for that.
The moonlight lights up the starry sky. Melissa lays under the sheet, tired. Don walks in the bedroom with a bowl of ice cream.
Melissa looks at him and laughs.
“What’s so funny?”
“That robe looks small on you.”
“It’s the first thing I grabbed in the closet.”
“What you bring?”
“You don’t want any?” He sits by her.
“I meant to throw the rest out.”
“Trying to stay in shape.”
“A little bit won’t hurt.” He feeds some to her.
“That’s it. You have the rest.” She says.
“Yeah, let me get fat by myself.”
“You’re nowhere near fat.”
He eats. He looks at her as she lays on the fluffy pillow, her long wavy brown hair spreads out around her head. Her pale skin is exquisite in the moonlight. She looks up at him.
“I’m happy you’re here Don.”
“Me too. But tomorrow evening will be a different story.”
“Don’t remind me. Let’s just stay in the present.”
He smiles at her.
“You want to watch a movie tonight?” She asked.
“Movie? There’s no TV.”
“Um, it’s 2020, cell phone, duh.”
“Wait, you still have a TV?”
“Yeah. It still works, so it stays.”
“Man needs his big screen.” She gets up out of the bed, naked. She continues. “So, what do you say, movie or TV show?”
He’s infatuated by her look. “Um…not sure.”
“Well, make up your mind.” She walks to the clothes dresser and takes out a clean pair of underwear.
“Where you going?”
“Taking a shower.”
Just when she reaches the bathroom door, which is there in the bedroom, he calls her.
She stops and turns.
“This might be hard to stop.”
“What, what are you talking about?”
“You know, this…you and me.”
“Don, you’re not…c’mon, this is not…it never was that.”
“It was never what?”
“Well, you make it sound like you might be catching feelings.”
“Of course, I have feelings for you. Don’t you?”
“I mean like, you know, deep feelings. Like falling in love kind of feelings.”
He puts the empty bowl on the nightstand and looks at her.
“Forget I mentioned it.”
“No, wait I thought we were clear on – “
“We are, I was just talking silly. After your shower we’ll watch something tonight.”
“Okay, cool. Won’t be long.”
She goes into the bathroom, closes the door behind her.
Don looks at the moving curtains. He hears the shower turn on. He gets off the bed and walks to the open window and closes it. He pulls the curtain slightly back to look out to what is mostly darkness. He sees small lights slowly blinking off and on in midair. Lightning bugs.
‘Just enjoy the moment Don.’ He thinks to himself. ‘What a jerk I must be. To be with my friend’s woman. What is wrong with me? She is beautiful. I couldn’t have her then, but I do now. And all we have is now.’
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Thank you Sarah, I appreciate it!