Quinn returned balancing two paper coffees cups and his travel gear with his usual charismatic flair. He is exactly as I imagined. His smile, with so many different flavours, that filled my heart with joy. His sunburnt-blonde hair that makes him look so young and handsome. An intriguing sparkle behind his eyes that radiates his personality. There isn’t anything about him that I haven’t already seen.
“I brought you a muffin as well. You look dreadfully white.” He sat with the goodies, passing mine over towards me. Then he looked right into my eyes. “Are you sure you’re alright Cathie?”
He cracked open the lid on his coffee and proceeded to dump several sugars packages in.
“Um Quinn ... can I ask you something?”
“Please don’t get all weirded out though, okay?”
“Do I look like the kind of guy who gets weirded out?” He offered a stellar smile.
“No, but ...”
“Trust me. I won’t go running for the hills yet. In fact, you have piqued my curiosity too much to leave.”
Great. That doesn’t sound like grounds for a budding relationship. I took a deep breath to slow my heart’s staccato and ventured in. “I need to talk to you about Anna.”
All evidence of a sunny disposition left his face. His shoulders stiffened, pulling himself away from the table more. I guess I had my answer. Instead of a look of lost confusion or a simple ‘who?’, Quinn’s protective walls go up.
“You know about Anna?” He shook his head and closed his eyes. “Did Mitch tell you about her?”
“No.” I couldn’t admit I had never heard Mitch utter the name Quinn or Anna before. “I can’t really explain how I know. I just do.”
Quinn looked into the passing crowds. The muscle along his jaw twitched. “You just ... know?”
I nodded without thinking. “I know more than that too.”
Now his eyes were on me. “Go on.”
“I need you to promise that you won’t walk away until I am finished. It won’t take long.”
He studied me for a period of time. “This is about Anna, though?”
“Well ... yes. And Dean and Jane and-“
His chair scooted back but his body came closer. I jumped back from his approach. I imagined being grabbed by the scruff of my collar – maybe if I was a man.
“How do you know them? Mitch never would have known them. What is going on here?”
With my bets attempt at a peace-making smile I said, “You said you wouldn’t get weirded out.” Perhaps my comedic timing needed work, because Quinn stood and started to walk away.
The image of his back moving further down the busy walkway choked my air supply. Yet, I had nothing to offer him that made any sense. I had nothing tangible to hold.
After he had progressed several feet he stopped and ran his fingers through his bouncy hair. I could see the tension in his shoulders as he awkwardly turned back towards me. His eyes fixated on mine as his feet carried him back to our table. As he stood over me I suddenly felt afraid. What if the genteel man I met in my dreams was just that – a dream.
Then without a word, Quinn squatted before me trapping me in his presence. One hand lay firmly on the table and the other hand gripped the back of my cafe chair. “I need to know what you know. I promise I will listen as objectively as I can but from the looks of things I cannot guarantee my response.”
That seemed the best offer I could receive. I nodded and he slowly stood, returning to his own seat.
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