The First Time, For The Last Time


During the next two hours, over food and drinks which neither could later recall, Kyle and Diana found themselves ensconced in a kind of time warp. Their talk was all of their shared past - their conversations, their fights, of his marriage, her marriage, their children, their lives. But they studiously avoided touching each other, and the tension grew between them, till by the time dessert was served, Diana was as tightly wound as a corkscrew, and Kyle was on a knife edge.

Diana excused herself from the table and hurried to the ladies' room, where she collapsed in one of the stalls and let out all the pain that had been gathering in her chest all afternoon. She did not make a sound - anyone coming into the room would never have known she was there. And yet her eyes spilled over, and she had had to cover her mouth to keep from howling. When the door opened again, she pulled some toilet paper from the roll and wiped her eyes.

"Is there someone named Diana in here?" The unfamiliar female voice sounded concerned. "Kyle says to tell you that he's worried. Are you okay?"

Diana sniffled, and blew her nose. "Yes, thank you, I'm fine. Tell him I'll be out in a minute." She felt her embarrassment growing, and the love she had not been able to tamp down bloomed inside her. She washed her face, repaired the makeup that her tears had muddied, and walked back to their table. She knew her eyes were red and puffy, and she knew he would know what she had been doing.

"Diana, are you really all right, hon?"

"You know I'm not, Kyle!" she answered. Struggling for calm, she continued, "I think I'd better go!" She gestured for the waiter and asked for her chocolate cake to be packed away. She waited numbly while Kyle paid the bill, and allowed him to escort her to the front, where she retrieved her coat. Without waiting for him, she walked into the late afternoon sunshine, the increased chill in the air making her shiver.

"Diana!" She turned blindly away, trying to escape the need she heard in his voice. She didn't want to feel this agony again. His hand on her back shocked her like electricity. "Diana! Please, let me take you home!" Was his voice breaking just a little?

"You don't need to," she replied, holding herself stiffly, not wanting to feel the warmth of his touch, not wanting to hear the pain in his voice, not wanting to see the love in his eyes.

"I WANT to, baby! Please!"

In the end, they shared a cab, and when they stopped outside her gate, she reached for her purse to pay her part.

"I've got this, Diana!" he said, and spoke briefly to the cabbie, before following her out.

Diana was aware of him behind her as she walked under the archway, overgrown with ivy, which hid her front door from the street. She reached into her purse and withdrew the key, but her hand was shaking so badly that Kyle had to open the door for her.

"Where's everyone, then? Hubby? The kids?" He was clearly trying to inject some normalcy into their last few moments together, and she loved him for trying.

"The kids will be home soon," she told him, "and James gets home late most nights." The silence stretched between them like a live wire.



"You go first!" she said.

"No, you first, hon!" He stood, his hands in his pockets, and waited.

Diana took a deep breath, and asked, "Why did you come, Kyle? We were fine. No pain, no need, no desire. Why did you stir it all up again?"

"You know why, Diana! You've always known!" He reached across the space between them, and slid his hand up her arm to her shoulder, where he cupped her and squeezed gently. "I was wrong not to meet you before. And none of what I felt the first time we chatted has gone. I needed to let you know."

Diana looked up at him, and she could not mistake the love she saw on his face. She wondered if he saw the same thing in hers. "Well, it was lovely finally meeting you, Kyle," she said with false bravado. "You're every bit as gorgeous as your pictures. Norah is a very lucky woman!" She turned away, feeling the tears rising again, and found herself being turned around.

"You used to tell me you wished you could kiss me, even one time," he said gently, his hands hard on her arms. "I'm here now!"

Diana tried to pull away from him, but he would not let her go this time. She raised her eyes to his face, and knew he would not go till he had kissed her. She didn't think she could handle being kissed now by him , and not in the front doorway of her house. "Do you think this is wise, Kyle?' she whispered, hating herself for wishing he would say yes.

"I love you, Diana! I don't know if we will ever see each other again. I don't want to be wise now. Later, not now!" The growl in his voice shook her, and when she felt his lips on hers, her knees buckled. He held her easily, and said against her mouth, "Last chance, baby! Open for me!"

He kissed her again, and when she whimpered and opened her mouth, he swept in, deepening the kiss, not touching her anywhere except on her shoulders and in her mouth. The kiss went on and on, each of them forgetting where they were. The kiss carried all the weight of seven years of longing, of lust, of love. It carried all their dreams, and echoed every passionate word they had ever said to each other. It spoke of love lost, of desire unquenched, of hope crushed. It raised the heat between them. When Kyle began to tremble, he raised his head.

"I have to go now, Diana!" He cupped her cheek in his hand, which was still trembling slightly. "Thank you for seeing me. Be happy, my darling!" He turned to go, then turned back to say, "I love you, Diana!"

"I love you, too, Kyle!"

Diana watched him walk back to the waiting cab. He got in, raised a hand in a sad salute, and was whisked away. Her dream had walked away again. But this time, she had the memory of a real man, flesh and bone, and of a kiss that she would hold to her heart forever. Stepping inside her front door, she dried her eyes...

...There was no return address. The letter had been hand-delivered to her office. While it made her angry that she could not reply, could not tell him how he she felt, Diana knew it was better this way. This was his gift to her for loving him for all these years without ever once showing her the full depth of his feelings. They could never be together, but now there was truth between them, full disclosure...closure.

She clasped the handwritten pages to her heart, turning her face up to the darkening sky...

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