Julie arrived home from the office tired and cranky from the hot day and long week. What she wanted was a long cool shower and a drink. These hot, humid days had always left her drained and feeling down. Life had become routine for her, work and home, over and over, sometimes meeting a friend or seeing her sister and her family. But routine it was. She wasn't unhappy, in fact she was a joyful person, but there was something missing, and that was a special love. She wanted to find someone special but she never really did anything about it, so life continued as is for her. Gathering her things she drew a heavy sigh and made her way along the walk to her front door, as always stopped to enjoy the flower gardens along the way. They needed tending she noticed; perhaps that was a good thing, for it would fill part of her weekend.
Arriving at her door she noticed a note in the box, from the nearby florist, simply called "The Florist". She knew the owners, Peter and Linda, for she was a flower lover and bought flowers there a few times a week. They knew her tastes well and usually had something new for her too. They had become friends over the last year and had a few friends in common too. The note was from Peter letting her know she had a delivery and asking her to call if she would like him to return with the flowers that evening on his way home. She couldn't imagine who had sent her flowers; she would call Peter and accept his delivery offer.
Julie entered her home, feeling the coolness right away, smiling to her self for being insistent with the builder about having central air conditioning. He thought it a waste since the sea breeze was enough for most people, but she insisted, she just hated the heat, so coming into this nice cool home made her smile and feel damn good about winning that struggle with him. The house was a lovely contemporary cape cod style set on a lot overlooking the Cape Cod Canal, see could see both the Sagamore and Bourne Bridges from her home.
The land had been in her family for years and left untouched. Her parents were going to build a home there but time ran out for them and the land sat empty as she and her siblings figured out what to do. They all had homes and families of their own, she was single with no children, had a great business and a plan for building a home for herself. They were thrilled for Julie and were excited about the house and of course had designs on being there for summer weekends. It seemed each day one of them would call and say, "hey what about doing this....". Some of the ideas were great and some she laughed at with them. But all in all it was wonderful for the family, they felt this was what their parents would have wanted as well.
The plans were drawn up and her architect had a builder in mind. The builder had a great reputation and Julie visited several homes he had built, she like them all very much. The builder himself however was another story all together. Their first few meetings were very business like if not a bit contentious too. They seemed to clash but it was subtle, nothing overt but there was something she couldn't put her finger on. But she liked his work enough to put that aside and hire him for her house. They spoke on the phone almost daily and met each week a time or two. There was always some undercurrent between them. One call in particular made her want to scream at him. It was late in the day and she just didn't want to deal with one more decision. Her phone rang and grabbing it up quickly she said "Hello?"
"Hi Julie", she knew his voice by now for certain. "Did you decide on the lighting for the baths? We need to know today so the product is here for the install next week. The schedule is getting tight."
"Hello Nick" she responded with a heavy breath. He was the last person she wanted to talk with now. "Yes, I called your office and left all the specs. Donna said she would place the order today, have you spoken with her?"
"No, I haven't. I've been out at your house all day and my cell battery died. Its' been one of those days." He too had a heavy breath in his voice. "Sorry to bother you, I will call there now, thanks." He hung up before she could respond. She just wanted to scream!
That was the way it had been with them for the last few months, always a tension between them. Actually that tension was there from the beginning she recalled. She thought about him at the oddest times and in the most unusual ways. Thinking of this now, as she headed for the shower, she felt that sweet stir in her depths. "What the hell was that she thought? Just from thinking about Nick? No! That man drives me crazy!" Then she realized she was grinning, ah, but wasn't that a tantalizing thought, just what kind of crazy did she want? No, it couldn't be that, stepping into the shower; she tried to dismiss it all, he built her house! That was all he is to me, the builder! Damn it.
When she finally moved into the house she was surprised to find so many little extras that she hadn't thought of or expected, they were not in the plans, and lord knows, they went over those plans thousands of times. It seemed each day she found some new treasure in her home, she had only been there a month now, and already it was home, no longer just a house. And like it or not, Nick was a part of her home. Each time she came across these little extras she thought of him. So many thoughtful additions that only a builder would think of, but she hadn't asked him to do that. Damn him, he is everywhere; in my house, in my thoughts, and worst of all, she was feeling him in her body. Late at night she would lay in bed looking out the skylights and thinking of him, no, feeling him. It was as though he was there and that this was his home too.
Feeling refreshed from the shower, she put on a new sundress she had found at the boutique in Sandwich Village. It was a lovely pale blue halter dress, it made her blue eyes bluer and was very becoming to her figure, it reminded her of the color of the morning sky. She felt so much better now as she made herself a drink. What luxury she thought, and headed for the enclosed porch with her drink and laptop, just a few emails and that was it for the week. When she heard the doorbell ring she made her way to the front, knowing Peter was due with her flowers. She was excited, for she hadn't had someone send her flowers in so very long.
Her eyes about popped out of her head and her mouth dropped open, there in the doorway with the most beautiful arrangement of flowers was Nick, her builder. Stunned into silence, she tried to regain her composure, but Nick was more capable that she was right now.
"Hello Julie" he said, almost softly, she imagined.
"Nick, I didn't expect you, Peter never mentioned, ah, please come in." Still in a bit of a shock, she added "Those are gorgeous, thank you for dropping them off, you didn't have to do that, had I known Peter couldn't, I would have gladly picked them up myself."
They walked through the foyer towards the living room, the sun was setting and the brilliant colors were filling the sky, she had always loved those Cape Cod sunsets. The living room had one full wall of windows, which overlooked the canal, and as dusk settled, the room took on all the colors of the sky. It was a beautiful house; they both knew just how lovely it all came together. He had made some changes to her plans, and at first she was stubborn, but with a bit of time, she knew he was right. Now it was apparent what a wonderful difference those changes made to the feeling of the home. They both had won and lost a few battles over the months they worked together creating this special place. The end result was worth it all she thought.
Nick moved about the house with ease, it startled her at first, but then realized of course he would, he built it. But still, it was a peculiar scene for her. He placed the flowers exactly where she wanted without her saying a word, right on the baby grand piano off to the corner. It felt as if he was reading her mind, she thought. The flowers instantly brighten her mood, oh how she loved flowers. She knew Linda had done this arrangement, for her style was unmistakable. Just then she realized she didn't know who had sent them and walked over to look for a card. Nick watched her walk; his eyes followed her across the room, seeming to look through her at times. There was no card to be found. She turned to Nick to ask and she noticed he was smiling at her. What was he grinning about she thought and forgot about the missing card.
She was feeling awkward now, wondering what to do next. Julie noticed him spy her drink. With surprising spontaneity she offered him a drink, which he just as quickly accepted. They both moved into the kitchen where he had added a nice touch, a small wet bar. Nothing too fancy but just right actually, Julie was so surprised the day she found he had done that. She could tell he was happy with the result and maybe even that he was happy he had pleased her. With his drink in hand they moved to the porch where she had been working before he arrived.
"Julie, why are you sitting inside on this beautiful night? How about we sit out on the deck and enjoy the sunset? Nick was already moving that way with both drinks in his hands.
"I was working, it was cooler, well, sure okay." Stammering her words. Laughing to herself she then mentioned something about the air conditioning and just how nice it was, as a kind of dig to him and he turned and grinned at her. Now she was grinning too as she opened the French doors to the outdoor deck. It was nicer now she thought, damn, he always seems to be right and she didn't know whether that was good or not right now.
Nick placed the glasses on the small table and offered a seat to Julie. She was almost stunned; here he was offering her a seat at her own home! Somewhere inside her though she had a pleasant feeling about all this, it seemed almost natural since they had spent so many hours here together during the last months.
"So, Nick, how have you been? How is business? I'm sure with all the nice weather you are very busy, where are you building now?" Julie asked him with genuine interest.
"I am working on one here in Sandwich but it's the one in Chatham that is spectacular. You should come with me to see it sometime. I know you'd love it as much as me."
He was talking so casually as if his being here like this was ordinary and it was personal too, he knew her tastes well by now. Their conversation was smooth and Julie would have been surprised had it not felt so nice. They talked about her work too and he mentioned a friend who was in need of an accountant and could he have him call her, it was just so easy. They talked and enjoyed the sunset and cool night air. When Nick stood Julie watched him come to her with his hand reaching out for hers. Without a thought she placed her hand in his.
"I'm hungry. How about we make some dinner together?" Nick was leading her towards the door and she was letting him without any thought except yes.
They made their way to the kitchen and gathered some items for a nice meal. It was Nick taking the lead again as he made a delicious primavera with angle hair pasta while she fixed a garden salad. They took their creation to the dining room, which was really a dinning area near the porch, again enjoying the view of the canal. They had wine and conversation and both were surprised when her clock chimed eleven o'clock. The time had drifted quickly and very comfortably too.
After they cleared the table of the dishes, Julie made some tea, she knew he preferred tea to coffee; it was all so familiar between them. They sat in the living room now and that is when Julie remembered the flowers and the card she didn't read yet. Walking over to the flowers he watched her again.
"Nick, do you have the card?" She inquired of him. Still seeing that grin and feeling a very quick tension grown in her stomach.
"Well, Julie, there is no card actually." His grin turned to a smile. Now she was more than curious, she was baffled.
"Well, I'll call Peter in the morning and ask him, so I can thank someone for their kindness. Its just beautiful." Saying this as she turned to take in the scent of the bouquet.
"Julie, there is no card." This time he said it with a tone that meant he knew just what he was saying.
"I don't understand Nick, didn't Peter give you a card from the sender?" Questioning cautiously.
With that Nick moved closer to her and she froze in place. What was this, she thought. What is going on and why do I have butterflies in my stomach? Nick moved closer still and reached for her hand with his own. Voluntarily her arm reached for his too. He held her hand in his and placed a kiss upon her hand.
"The flowers are from me Julie" was all he said.
"Ah, well, thank you Nick, that was very kind of you. You didn't have to do that." She didn't have a clue why either.
"Oh, yes I did. I've been trying to find a way to see you again. Now that your home is complete we don't see or talk with each other. I've missed you Julie, more than I ever could have imagined." He was so honest she felt her insides begin to melt.
She didn't know how to respond. She knew how she felt, even if she had been trying to deny it for all these weeks. She missed him too, more than she could have imagined too. With her hand in his, he pulled her close and kissed her. There was no hesitation from either of them, Julie was kissing him right back, and the kiss grew to a hunger that included all the emotions from the months they had been so close but far away too.