Text message: "Coming to town. Want to have a drink?"
"Sure. How about the Four Seasons?"
"Great. See you at 8?"
"See you at 8."
And with that, the butterflies started in her stomach. It was just a drink. Nothing to get excited about. But in the back of her mind, she hoped for more. She hoped that he would come alone, without his wife. She hoped that he was thinking the same thing that she was.
She stepped carefully on marble floor outside the bar, not wanting to slip in the high heels that she wasn't in the habit of wearing. A quick tug at her skirt to make sure that it was straight, a tuck of her hair behind her ear and a glance in the mirror beside the entrance to make sure her lipstick was still on.
She looked around the darkened bar, hoping she wasn't there first. No. There he was. Her stomach dipped, as she walked towards him, grateful for the carpeting that kept her heels steady. He stood up and reached for her hand, as if to shake it but instead drew her in to him for a hug and respectable kiss on the cheek.
His cologne almost felled her as she lingered in the embrace, perhaps just a moment too long.
"It's so good to see you" he said, and led her to the chair beside, not across from him.
"You too. You look... You look wonderful" her voice squeaked a little.
The prompt waiter came up and placed two champagne glasses on the table.
She looked at Derek quizically.
"I ordered your favourite."
And at that, the waiter pulled a silver bucked from the table behind him that contained her favourite rose champagne.
Sarah looked up at Derek: "You remembered." She wasn't surprised, really. He was a man who remembered these things, who noted the details, who knew what it meant when she bit her bottom lip and went quiet. He knew her. Really knew her. Because he was a lot like her.
"Of course" Derek replied, regaining his seat, beside her.
"It was so long ago."
"Yes. Some things you never forget."
The waiter popped the cork, causing both of them to break their gaze and look up at him, as if surprised that he was still there. They waited until he poured and placed the bottle back in the bucket.
"You look wonderful" Sarah said again.
"You already said that."
"I know. Sorry."
He smiled and then reached for the glasses and handed one to her.
"To...." he paused. "Us?"
"To us..." she repeated.
They clinked glasses and took a sip, all the while watching each other carefully.
"So how is Margaret?"
Derek looked at Sarah and sighed a little. He put his glass down.
"Do you really want to know?"
"No. Not really."
"I didn't think so. Why did you get in touch with me?"
Sarah took another sip, using some time to decide how to answer him.
"I wanted to make sure I didn't cause any trouble."
"With your blog post, you mean?"
"I don't think she read it."
Sarah was relieved, and a little irritated, at the same time. She had spent a lot of time worrying about writing what she had about her past, a past that included Derek and the awful way she had broken his heart, and her own. She worried that Margaret knew about their past and would be upset to read it and more to the point, would be upset with Derek about it, as if he had anything to do with the post being written.
"Did... was what you wrote true? You left me because your ex threatened us?"
"Yes. I didn't know what exactly he was capable of but I knew he was capable of something."
"Why didn't you tell me? Did he hit you? Ever?" Derek was getting a little aggitated.
He closed his eyes and leaned back in his chair. Sarah leaned forward then and grabbed his hand, grabbed at the opportunity of his vulnerability to make amends, something she had wanted to do for years.
"I swear to you Derek. I never would have hurt you that way, I never would have left if I didn't in my heart and soul believe that he could have hurt you, or worse. I loved you."
He opened his eyes and refocused on her face, seeing her earnestness but feeling the pain return.
"I wanted to marry you, you know."
"Do you? Do you know how much I wanted to be with you?"
"As much as I wanted to be with you, I suppose."
"Yes, if only..."
They dropped their hands and both leaned forward to retrieve their champagne glasses, both breathing in the electricity around them, afraid to say more. Afraid to not say enough.
"Some things never change", Derek almost whispered. "I still love you."
He had said it. He had put his heart on the line, once again. With every risk that it would be crushed again.
"We don't know each other anymore. It was so long ago."
"Then why did you write about it?"
"Because I think about it, and you, every single day. Because it was never over. Because..."
Derek reached for her glass and put it on the table. He put his hand behind her head and drew her close. Their lips met, at first lightly feathering but as a minute passed, more fervently.
They pulled apart slightly and looked at one another.
"Let's go", he said.
They got up as though of one mind and walked out of the bar. Derek pulled a key card from his pocked, cocked an eyebrow at her and they went without talking further, hand in hand, to the elevator.
Sarah was trembling, not from fear but glorious anticipation. What should have happened years ago was finally going to happen and she didn't care. She didn't care about the consequences at that moment. She didn't want to think about what would happen tomorrow. All she knew was that this had to happen then. Derek put his arm around her shoulder, bringing her in tight and calming her nerves a little. She felt safe in his arms. She knew he would never hurt her.
They entered the dark room and as the heavy hotel door slammed shut behind them, he pulled her to him, embracing her softly but ever so tantalizingly, drawing out her agony and desire. She dropped her handbag, her coat and freed her arms to encircle his neck, holding him tightly to her, feeling his desire. He pulled her towards the bed and they sat on the edge, still embracing, though now with all their desire spilling over to the edge of restraint. She pulled back to reach for his shirt buttons, slowly, agonizingly undoing each one and finally pushing it back off of his shoulders. She put his hands on his chest and felt his heart beating so fast, so hard. She let him pull the sweater she was wearing over her head and ran his fingers through his hair as he leaned in to reach for the clasp of her bra, releasing her breasts. He pulled it off of her and ran his fingers over her nipples, already stiff and begging to be sucked. He indulged them and dipped in to taste them, gently suckling her and driving her desire to new heights. He pushed her gently back so that she was lying on the bed, waiting for him, as it should have been, as he had imagined so many times in his mind's eye. He undid her skirt and gently peeled it off, leaving only her silken underpants between them.
"Are you joining me?" Sarah asked, a wicked grin on her face.
Derek had already kicked off his shoes and was removing his trousers as she said this, needing no prompting and wanting only to have Sarhavre himself. He lay beside her and gently gathered her into his arms, pulling her up so that he could embrace her once again, exploring her mouth gently with his tongue and slowly, drawing hers in to his mouth, sucking it gently, all the while holding her tightly against him. Their kisses became more demanding, more wild and they both knew that they needed to finish what they had started so that they could start all over again. Sarah hooked her thumbs in to his underwear, sliding them down and as she did so, she kissed then end of his penis which had jumped up, as if it was seeking her embrace.
Derek groaned and rolled Sarah over on to her back, pulling down her underwear and returning to their embrace all the while holding her to him, steady and strong, kissing and sucking that little soft spot on the side of her neck that he knew drove her over the edge. He knew because they had gotten that far years ago. But they had been careful to go no further. Now there was nothing stopping them. He pulled back to look into Sarah's face, to see his desire reflected in her eyes and then he gave himself up to her with full abandon. She reached down and guided him in to her and as he slid in to her warm well, they both gasped, realizing that they were a perfect fit for one another. He pulled back almost completely and watched her moan and arch her back in anticipation of their coming back together and as he plunged in to her again and again, and she met him stroke for stroke, they abandoned themselves to the pleasure. For the first time in her life, Sarah came with a violence that shook her to her core. Her spasming walls drove Derek to the edge and as he pumped a few final strokes, he knew that nothing would ever be the same for him again. She was his. And he was hers.