Maria was hurrying home because she did not want to miss her favorite reality program. It wasn't so much the program that she liked as the co-hosts, two handsome, talented successful men, one of the hosts, Fernando, was a young man that had grown up in the same city as Maria, in fact, they had attended the same schools and even dated a couple of times in high school but had never formed a serious relationship.
After high school, their paths had gone in different directions. Fernando attended an ivy league college and received his degree in business, after graduation he started a business in the food industry, that soon grew internationally. Fernando also enjoyed a measure of success in other areas such as entertainment, music, and sports.
Maria attended a local college, received her degree in healthcare, and advanced in her profession to a place where she was able to live comfortably. Neither Fernando nor Maria had married although they had had relationships with other people over the intervening years.
As she watched the program, Maria saw an advertisement inviting people to apply to be contestants on the show, she wrote down the information so that she could go online to find the application and instructions for applying.
The next day, after work, Maria sat down at her computer to look up the information about the program. Reading the application requirements, she realized that according to the instructions she was qualified to be a contestant. She filled out the application, hit send on her computer, and settled in to wait to hear from the producers.
The day came when Maria checked her email and found a message from the producers inviting her to the interview/audition, they supplied available dates and times, Maria responded with the date and time that would work for her. To her delight, she received an email the next day confirming her appointment.
On the day of the interview, Maria arrived at the venue with time to spare, not long after she arrived, her name was called, and she was escorted to the interview room, she was surprised when she entered the room to see that the panel of five included the two hosts. She overcame her shock in time to complete the interview and the audition with confidence.
Days later, Maria received an invitation from the producers to have lunch with the hosts and her fellow contestants so that they could become acquainted since they would be spending a lot of time together over an extended period.
At lunch, Maria was seated next to Fernando, as they talked the conversation turned to their hometown, Fernando was surprised to learn that they were from the same city, had attended the same high school, and had even dated. Even though Maria was disappointed that Fernando did not remember her, she was not surprised.
She was not surprised because she understood that years had passed, both of them had been in relationships during the interim, and she knew that Fernando had to be focused to achieve the level of success that he had. As they talked, she thought of the crush that she'd had on Fernando over the years and decided that she would not tell him about her crush since he did not remember that he had ever known her.
Fernando was a remarkable young man, not because of his achievements, Maria found him to have qualities that showed him to be a man of integrity, he was kind and considerate as he gave attention to the contestants that were present, he was apologetic that he did not remember her. Maria wondered why Fernando had not married, while, at the same time, Fernando wondered the same thing about Maria.
During the filming, Maria and Fernando found themselves spending a lot of time together and in spending time together, they were able to get to know each other better, they shared a lot of information about one another that caused them to grow closer. Maria found Fernando to be easy to talk to no matter what the subject, they experienced those silences that come from being comfortable with one another. They were careful to be discreet as their relationship grew, the producers were aware of the relationship and decided that it would not affect the show.
Fernando wondered how he could have forgotten Maria, he found her to be a beautiful, intelligent woman who was able to converse on any subject, he enjoyed spending time with her and found himself thinking about her a lot, most of the day in fact. At first, he tried to distance himself from her but found he wanted to spend time with her to get to know her better, he decided that he wanted to pursue a relationship with her.
After the filming of the show was completed and the participants were dismissed, Fernando invited Maria to have dinner with him before she returned home. At dinner, he told her that he wanted to discuss the future of their relationship, Maria was happy, she had thought about and wondered what would happen when the show was over. She felt encouraged to know that Fernando had the same thoughts.
Fernando shared his feelings with Maria, he held her hand as he told her that he wanted to continue their relationship and to spend more time with her, Maria agreed that she also wanted to take their relationship to the next level, they agreed to make their relationship exclusive to one another so that they could concentrate on developing it without distractions.
They explored their feelings for one another, Maria decided to tell Fernando about her ongoing crush, and he confessed that he was attracted to her when he saw her at the interview but wasn't sure how to pursue his interest. They decided that, despite years of separation, they were destined to be together, and could not ignore the fate that brought them together again.
As they were leaving the restaurant, the following exchange took place:
Fernando: (placing his hands on her shoulders and looking deep into her eyes) "I want to kiss you"
Maria: (hands on his chest and looking into his eyes) "Do you need permission?"
Fernando: In fact I do, my mother taught me that I should never assume that because I want a kiss it means that the lady wants one also, I should always seek permission.
Maria: (moving her arms around his neck) "In that case, permission granted."
Fernando: "Are you sure?"
Maria: "yes, I am sure, now stop talking and get on with it."