En ny Borjan Ch. 02byAddicted2Writing©
Thursday went by too damned slowly, and I barely made it through work. I told Lisa I had a date on the weekend, and she kept fussing and teasing me. I had never gone out on a date since I'd known her, so to her it was a big deal, not that it wasn't a big deal for me, as well. I was just trying to deal with not throwing up on my desk from nerves. Every time my phone rang I'd think it was Alex, but it never was. I wasn't disappointed, well, maybe a little. But he told me he'd call me that day. So I had no doubt he would, well, maybe a little.
I rushed to my apartment and listened to the two messages I had. Neither was Alex. I forced down dinner. I checked my phone to see if it was working. It was.
Eight o'clock rolled around. The phone didn't ring. I put on my sweats and t-shirt and watched a bit of TV I checked the phone. It worked.
The evening news came on, then off. David Letterman came on, went off. Craig Ferguson went off. I didn't bother checking the phone before I headed to bed.
Who the hell am I kidding anyway? Just when I think I can let someone in after what Steve did to me. I should have known better. I had a little weeny cry and had just dozed off to sleep when the phone ringing jerked me awake. I didn't want to get it. I wanted to get it. I wanted to roll over and pretend it wasn't ringing. I found myself pick up the phone. "Yeah?" I said curtly.
"Hildie. It's Alex. I am so, so sorry it's so late."
"Yeah?" It wasn't a yeah as in 'really? How horrible for you.' It was a yeah as in 'You'd better give me a damned good reason.'
"My flight was delayed, and I didn't get in until this morning. I've been in a meeting most of the day and then went to dinner with ... It doesn't matter. I just didn't realize how late it was and almost wasn't going to call you but I promised you and, so ... Hildie?"
Well, Alex did keep his promise, and it was a good reason. Besides, I was the one with the 'no expectations' rule. "I was waiting for you to finish," I chuckled. "It's fine, Alex, really. I took tomorrow off so it's okay. No harm done."
"Oh, thank god," he said, letting out a small breath of air. "I was afraid you wouldn't even answer the phone. So, let me tell you about Saturday ..."
Needless to say I got very little sleep Friday night. Saturday morning I had a few errands to run, and because of traffic I got back to my apartment later than I planned. It was just after one, and I started to panic because Alex was to pick me up at 5:30. So I set about getting ready for him, hoping I'd have a little time before he arrived to have a couple glasses of wine just to calm my nerves.
I finished early, two hours, actually. I held off putting on the sundress so it wouldn't wrinkle. That's what I did on Friday, besides making three dozen cookies for Alex, look for the perfect dress and shoes to match. I finally found one I really liked, after trying on more than ten. It was dark blue, but not because I'd read it was one of his favorite colors, but because of my dark blonde hair and fair skin that the color would make my blue-gray eyes look bluer, not the colorless gray. The dress was fitting, but not too tight; the hem lay barely above my knees. I didn't want anything too flowing because he'd mentioned walking on the beach. Below the breasts the material gathered and criss-crossed, giving my 33 year-old starting-to-sag-a-little boobies a little perk up. I picked the dress specifically for the fact that it didn't show too much cleavage. The shoulder straps lay on the edge of my shoulders, making my broad shoulders look narrower. The open-toed sandals with two inch heels were a darker shade of lavender but still matched the dress.
So, I wrapped a robe around me, sat on the couch with a bottle of wine and a glass and drank two glasses. By then my body started to shut down, and I got drowsy ... The next thing I remember I heard the doorbell chime. I jumped with a start, cursed when I looked at the clock that read fifteen minutes to five, tightened the robe more so as not to answer the door naked, stood at the door, took a deep breath and opened it.
"Hi, I'm sor--" His eyes flew open, a single eyebrow rose, his friendly smile turned into one of amusement. "I know I'm early." Then I noticed he was holding a bouquet of purple roses, white roses and baby's breath.
"It's okay. Come on in."
"Thanks. I hope you are planning on dressing a little more formal," he chuckled as he walked in and handed me the flowers. "I had to ask the florist what color flowers I should get for a woman to pay her back for knocking her over."
"You did not!" He shook his head. I blushed then laughed. "Aw, that was sweet. Thank you. Sorry I'm not ready. I fell asleep." I had to stop myself short of giving him the rundown of what I'd been doing the past day and a half. "Let me put these in a vase. I've got Corona if you'd like one."
"That'd be great, sure."
He followed me into the small, narrow kitchen and leaned against the counter as I silently put the roses in a vase, got his beer and turned to hand it to him. That was when I noticed how damned hot he looked. His thin, blonde hair was neatly combed, lightly greased back with a few wisps of hair over his forehead. He had on a black, thin blazer with an off-white shirt -- the top two buttons were opened -- and the pants were also black.
He thanked me as I handed him the beer. "Make yourself comfortable, Alex. I'll be right back."
"Don't you have something else for me?" His tone wasn't seductive.
"Oh, um, yeah. Sorry. I wasn't sure if I was supposed--" I sighed, stood on my tippy-toes as high as I could and kissed his cheek, or attempted to. Because he was a foot taller than me I almost kissed his chin.
When I pulled back he said, "I was referring to the cookies on the dining table, but thanks."
"Damn it! Why do you keep doing that to me?" I said in surprise, a little louder than I meant.
He frowned then grinned, his voice light. "I didn't do anything, Hildie. And there's nothing wrong with a kiss on the cheek."
"I know, I know. It's just ... I'll just go change." I flew out of the kitchen into my bedroom, closed the door, slammed it, actually. "Idiot! Idiot! Idiot!"
I slipped on the dress and was about to slip on the sandals when Alex hollered, "I can't believe you have a drum set! You play professionally?"
"No," I answered as I walked into the room. He was sitting on the stool with the sticks in his hands. "It's more for stress relief than anything else."
But then he was silent, sat there looking at me, his eyes wide, a smile slowly rising on his face. "Wow."
"Ah, no biggie. I find it helps--"
"No," he said then stood up and walked toward me. "You look amazing." He bent down and kissed me softly on my cheek, and I swear to this day his lips remained on my cheek for an hour.
The tomato red blush returned, instantly spreading across my face. "Thank you. Well, I'm ready."
"Are you feeling well? Your cheeks feel hot like you have a fever."
No. All the blood is rushing to my head because you're hot as shit and all I want to do is jump your ass and fuck you all night long. "I'm fine, really. I just need some fresh air." After what I was thinking I needed an ice-cold shower.
"Well, let's get going," he said as he placed his hand in the small of my back, leading me out of the door.
The drive to the restaurant went quickly, as we talked about basic things. When we pulled into the parking lot he shut the car off then turned to me. "I remembered how nervous you said you were about being in the public eye. I hope you don't mind we'll go through the kitchen. Mike has a little set-up for us that's private."
"That's thoughtful, Alex. Thanks. A little weird but thoughtful," I said with a smile.
He made a quick phone call, telling Mike we'd meet him at the side door. He opened his door, and I had just put my hand on the handle when he plastered his face to his door window. He mouthed, What are you doing?
"Getting out of the car, unless we're eating in here."
"You stay right where you are." I watched him walk in front of the car to my side and open my door. "You won't let a gentleman be chivalrous and open a door for his date?"
Stepping out of the car I told him, "I've never had a man open a door, period. Steve sure as shit was no gentleman." I mentally kicked myself in the ass for even bringing up his name. I wanted to be there with Alex completely, thinking of no one else.
He led me to the building, which was more of a beachside shack. He must have felt me tense with his hand again on my back. "I know it's not much on the outside, but I told you they have the best seafood."
"Wha'? No, it's fine. I trust you." Trusting another man, one I hardly knew for that matter, was beyond comprehension for me. I wasn't quite sure what that meant.
We met Mike at the door and followed him to a little patio at the far end of the building, totally unseen from anyone. The tablecloth was a dark sand color; the table setting was pretty fancy, more so than I would think a beachside restaurant would have been. The view was perfect. The sun had a way to go before it set since we were so early. Smelling the salty air and hearing the waves lapping at the shore instantly set me at ease.
Alex ordered a beer for him and wine for me. While we waited for the drinks he told me, "Hildie, I have to be honest. I did get in early this morning, but the reason why I called you so late Thursday was because I hadn't heard back from Mike about the plans for tonight. By the time I spoke with him I wasn't able to call you. I had to shoot the damned scene three times; I couldn't say the word agitate."
"Alex, I told you it was fine. You didn't have to go through all of this."
"I wanted to. I haven't been as nerv--" He was interrupted when the waiter brought our drinks. He seemed relieved.
We quickly looked over the menu. Alex ordered the lobster, I got the shrimp scampi. We settled in and chatted some more, ordering a second round of drinks. The food came. While I ordered another glass of wine he changed his drink to bourbon. I didn't know if I should take that as a compliment that he was getting comfortable or he was bored to death. Regardless, considering I was at the point of tipsy but not quite drunk, I switched to iced tea. He, on the other hand, had two more bourbons.
By the time we finished eating it had gotten a little chilly, as the sun was beginning to reach the horizon. "Are you ready for that walk now?" he asked as he finished his last drink.
"Oh, yeah, definitely." His eyebrow rose curiously. "No, no. I just meant if I sit here any longer I'm going to fall asleep."
"Oh, good. I thought you were just bored with me."
"Bored? Hell, no," I stammered. "I'm not boring you?"
"Hell, no," he chuckled. "I mean, I was ... Have been--" He sighed. "Hildie, when you overhead me talking to Bill, he was teasing me because I was ... nervous talking to you."
"What the hell for?" I was in total shock at his admission. I would consider myself pretty, or cute, but stunningly beautiful as to a man not being able to talk to me? Never.
"I have no fucking idea," he chuckled, which put me at ease. "Come on. Let's get out of here. Stay here. I'll be right back." Watching him stand up I noticed he swayed a little before he got his footing. I knew right then I'd be driving home.
When he returned we went down to the beach, ending up on a stretch of sand blocked from the restaurant's access with an old fence to keep others out. Before we got on the sand I removed my sandals, and a gust of wind reminded me how cold it got at night on the beach, even as the sun was going down. I wrapped my arms around me. "Here," Alex said, taking off his jacket then opening it for me to put on.
"No, I'm okay. You need it. I should have brought a jacket."
"I'm Swedish. I'm used to the cold." After I slipped it on I got a whiff of his cologne, and I made a mental note to never forget it. "Mike said the beach is private for a mile, and a little further from here is a surprise."
"A surprise? No!" I gasped, placing a hand on my heart. "Not another surprise! My heart can't take it," I said, using a playfully dramatic tone.
"Dear, do not pursue acting," he said seriously but wore a grin.
"Oh, shut up!" I laughed.
As we strolled the beach slowly -- three of my steps to his one -- I told him how different the sand there was from the east coast, and I'd never seen a sunset from the west. "Really? But you've been here for a while. Why not?"
"Because it wouldn't be any fun alone."
We walked some more in an awkward silence, a silence I was getting tired of. I had just opened my mouth to say something when Alex said, "Hildie, I don't mean to pry, but are you having a good time?"
"Yes, yes, I am. I'm just ... nervous."
He stopped, gently grabbed my arm, forcing me to look at him. "I'm not going to lie to you. I like you. Forget who I am and what I do for a living and stop being so nervous. You've got this damned wall up around you I can't break through."
"Alex, stop. You're right." I sighed, gathered up all the courage I could. "Look, Steve was my childhood sweetheart, and everything was great until we got to college. He started being controlling and suspicious of me dating other guys, which I never did, and by the time I graduated he was verbally abusive." I was surprised how much control I had of my tone as I told him.
"Oh, Hildie. I am so sorry."
I walked away and continued talking. "Within a year he was beating me almost daily."
"How did you get away from him?" There was so much concern in his voice I was touched.
"I didn't. He finally went too far."
We were just coming up on some rocks so I rushed over to them, glad for the break in talking about such a sensitive subject. I jumped up on a rock that was a foot high; Alex stood right by me, keeping his hand out just in case I fell. I wasn't worried. "You'd better be careful."
"Oh, please. I'm an expert at--" I spoke too soon when my foot slid a little. I lost my balance, my arms flailed, and as I twisted my body I faced Alex, who caught my hand just as I was about to fall off. I ended up with my hands on his shoulders, his hands holding me tightly at the waist, our bodies pressed together. What made me stop breathing was the fact that his lips were an inch from mine. I looked at him with surprise, catching something I hadn't noticed before. "Your eyes are green."
"They were the last time I checked."
"Funny. I thought they were blue-gray."
"Hildie, why is your heart beating so fast?"
I knew how heavy my heart was pounding, strictly because there was something I had to do. Considering I'd never see him again I figured what the hell. "Alex, can I try something?"
He chuckled. "As long as it's legal."
I smacked him on his shoulder. "I need to find out ... can I kiss you?" He nodded. I took a deep breath, looked over his face more thoroughly as my lips moved closer to his. Our lips touched lightly then my bottom lip brushed against his a few times before I lost my breath completely as our kiss grew. I broke the kiss first as I pulled away. "Fuck," I mumbled.
"What was that all about?" he asked frowning.
"I wanted ... had to know if ..."
"Hildie, tell me. Talk to me, please." His eyes pleaded and bore into mine.
"I had to find out if what I'm feeling for you is because it's you or Eric Northman. Stupid huh?" My confession came out fast.
I finally breathed and chuckled. "I really wasn't expecting an answer."
"Okay. There. Do you feel better?" he asked as he helped me down.
"Hey, I'll race you," Alex challenged, thankfully being playful.
"You're joking, right?"
He raced away from me, but I didn't even bother chasing him. I picked up a foot and yelled, "OW! Damn! Alex, hold up!"
He immediately stopped, turned to look at me then came back. "What happened?"
"I ... I twist--" I ran off.
"You little ..." He hollered after me the entire six steps it took him to catch up with me. "You lied to me!"
"Hey, us short people need an advantage over you giants!"
"Yah, yah. Come on ... cheater."
When we finally reached my little surprise I smiled at the big, thick blanket lying in a little alcove, a champagne bucket with a bottle sitting in ice beside it. The shades of the sky at the horizon held every color imaginable, emitted from a huge fireball of the sun as it sank further and further into the depths of the ocean.
I had heard my name a few times already, but I was too captivated to reply. "Huh?" I turned to look at him. He had the most ponderous expression on his face. "Oh, sorry. It's just so incredibly beautiful."
"It is, isn't it?" His voice had changed, as if he weren't talking about the sun. "Come sit."
"Oh, right." We stepped to the blanket, and I stood there trying to figure out how I was going to sit down gracefully without showing Alex my crotch. "I, um, my skirt."
"Hmm. Give me your hands." Without hesitating I did so. "Okay, I'm going to slowly lower you. Trust me."
"Absolutely," I answered without even thinking. It was nice.
I got settled as he sat down beside me, handed me the champagne glasses, uncorked the bottle and began to pour. "Champagne for m'lady," he said in a British accent.
"Why, thank you kind sir." I attempted an accent as well, although I failed miserably. "Okay, another reason why I shouldn't go into acting, right?"
When he laughed he let a little too much pour into the glass, and it bubbled over. "Damn. I was trying to make this all ro--perfect."
Romantic? Was he about to say romantic? "It is perfect, Alex. Everything has been perfect."
"Yeah, it has." I handed him his glass, which he raised, so I did, too. "Here's to a new friendship."
I smiled widely. "A new friendship."
We watched the sun set as the wind slowly picked up, the warmth slowly dying. The wall around me was completely down, my nerves gone. By the time the sun had disappeared he had me laughing so hard I was crying. He was telling me about the first time he'd driven in the States. He swore he'd get a driver when he was here.
"Oh, do I know what you mean! On my first trip to England I sat in the car for fifteen minutes getting used to it, and praying a lot. God knows how I got out of the airport."
"You want the last of this?" he asked, tipping the bottle toward me.
I only had the one glass, which I still hadn't finished. "No, you finish it."
"Allllrighty, then." He poured the last of it, drinking it down in one shot. "You said first trip to England. How many times have you been there?"
"Three." I shivered from the cold. He wrapped his long arm around my shoulder; I didn't push him away. "The first time I drove 1200 miles, just the lower part and as far West as Tintern; the second was a week in London; and the third was as far north as Perth, just over 2000 miles for that one."
"Really? You guys must have had a great time."
"I went alone, mainly becau--"
"Alone? Are you insane?" he asked then chuckled.
"Yes, but that's not the point. I didn't have anyone that was fun to go with."
"Well, kudos to you. That was very brave."
"I loved it over there. The sites were incredible, and the people were so nice. Have you been somewhere where you fit in, I mean really fit in, like you don't ever want to leave?"
"Yes," he replied quickly. "When I'm home."
My heart broke for him a little. "Alex, haven't you ever thought about staying in Sweden and acting there? Don't you regret being away from home for so long?" His face flinched with a bit of pain. "Oh, that was too personal. I shouldn't have asked."
He turned toward the water, his voice low, deep and sad. "No, no. It's okay. Yes, I have thought of staying home. But the movies there aren't ... I like the travel, I need a challenge. I'm the oldest, the big brother. And yes, sometimes I felt like I wasn't there for them, but--"