Nothing Like the First Time(6)

By: Keren Hughes



We had arrived at a local restaurant, but it was empty. We walked in and were greeted by the manager. He shook hands with Grey and a waiter seated us at a booth in a cosy little corner. He poured us each a glass of water and left the jug on the table. We looked at the menu and I decided on the lasagne. Once we ordered, Grey told me more about his job as a freelance photographer. He’d managed to see and do a lot of things and ten years apart was a lot to catch up on.

We ate and swapped stories—for a little while I forgot he had a fiancée waiting somewhere for him. Oh well, there was plenty of time to feel guilty later.

Grey paid our bill and we went for a walk. He took my hand in his as we walked, and for a moment it felt like the good old days. I didn’t want anyone to see us holding hands and tell Maggie, but I didn’t want to let go because it felt too good.

As we walked and talked, it felt good to tell Grey about my life. I was proud of my achievements and he was happy for me, oohing and aahing in all the right places. He told me about the places he had visited and the people he photographed, including some celebrities. I was jealous he had been to so many beautiful places but happy that he was finally doing something he loved so much.



***



Grey drove me home, and when he parked outside the house, he took my hand in his and looked at me with that amazing smile I loved so much.

“I missed you, Carls. I know it was my own fault for leaving, but I missed you so damn much. I wanted to come home so badly.”

“You pursued your dream. You should be proud of how far you’ve come. I know I wasn’t very understanding when you left, but time has passed and I’m so happy for you,” I replied. It was true, I had been furious and beyond upset when he left. I had thought we were forever and had held on until the very last minute.

“I never stopped loving you, Carls, not for one second,” he said quietly. Then he took my face in the palm of his hand and brushed a soft kiss across my lips. My lips felt like they were on fire. I still loved Grey so much and for him to be here now felt amazing—the only thing was Maggie. He was engaged and shouldn’t be kissing me.

“I have to go,” I said as I opened the door and bolted from the car.

“CARLS—WAIT!” Grey shouted and rushed to get out of the car.

I put my key in the lock and managed to shut the door before he made it to me.

“Carly, please… I’m confused… open the door and talk to me… what’s wrong?” I sank to the floor behind the door and put my head in my hands.

“I can’t talk to you, Grey. Go away. Go home. Go and be with Maggie,” I replied on the verge of tears.

“Maggie?” he asked softly.

“Yes, you know, the gorgeous girl with the long legs, sleek hair, manicured hands and great dress sense. Oh, and not forgetting THE ENGAGEMENT RING on her finger!” I shouted in frustration.

“I’ll talk to you when you’re making sense, Carls.” I heard his footsteps retreat to his car. He started the engine and drove off—that was when I allowed myself to cry.





Chapter Two





I worked hard all week and didn’t hear a peep from Grey, and I’d managed to avoid bumping into him or Maggie—I silently thanked my lucky stars for that. I wasn’t sure I could manage seeing them together again, not when I wanted to be the woman by his side.

I was working my Friday shift at the restaurant when my luck changed.

“Excuse me, Miss?”

At the silky voice behind me, I turned with a smile on my face, ready to greet the customers. “Yes?” My heart slammed into my throat when I came face to face with Maggie and, of course, Grey. My smile quivered, but I managed to keep it in place.

“We’d like a table for two, please,” she practically purred.

“Sure thing, follow me,” I replied in my brightest voice, even though my heart thumped hard and my eyes began to sting. Why did they have to come here on my shift?

I navigated around the tables, smiling politely to the few customers that sat eating their meals and making small talk, until I found a table on the far side of the restaurant. Once they were seated, I gave them menus, avoiding any eye contact with Grey. I decided that I’d only speak to him if he spoke first. Was I being stubborn? Perhaps, but I felt entitled to be annoyed with him after he’d kissed me even though he was engaged.

I felt annoyed with myself for letting him and even more annoyed that I’d enjoyed it and wanted more.

I inhaled deeply to rein in my emotions and plastered on my fake smile. “Can I get you something to drink?” I asked as politely as I could manage.

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