As Stacie pulled alongside the curb in front of my hotel Quinn finally released my hand. He climbed out of his door before I had my seatbelt undone. I reached over the seat, hugging Stacie again from behind and told her to call me in the morning.
She gave me a worrisome look through the rear-view mirror. “Please tell me he is not staying overnight with you.” Her eyes begged for my answer to please her.
“He’s not staying with me tonight. I love you, Stacie. Have a safe drive and a good sleep tonight.” I kissed her cheek and winked at her in the mirror before crawling out of the back car door.
In my mind I wondered what would happen next with Quinn. He bolted extremely fast from Stacie’s car. It was unlikely he was still around. I’d seen in his eyes his interpretation of me - a crazy woman who just wouldn’t leave him alone. It broke my heart, because I was certain before tonight his eyes held love for me.
Nothing about tonight made any sense – from Quinn not recognizing me all the way to the money in Stacie’s trunk to pay off the local Mob. ‘Lord, there must be something that makes sense to You in all this. I am trusting that You are in control amidst my chaos.’
Fetching my suitcases from her trunk, I headed into the Hotel lobby with my head hung low. Somehow this day needs to come to an end with tomorrow having fresh new mercies. ‘Please God.’ That is a prayer that has graced my lips many times over the last three years.
As I pressed the elevator button I felt a hand come around my waist. I spun around right into his full embrace. “I am so sorry Cherie. I never meant to put you any danger.” He squeezed me so tight before he pushed me back to see my face. “Will Stacie be alright?” His eyes glinted with a hint of fear and remorse wrapped tightly in compassion.
“She’ll be fine. That’s if I can stop freaking her out.” There was no doubt that tonight I stand alone in my version of reality. Hopefully this universe will right itself by the morning’s dawn.
Quinn stood peering into my eyes searching into the depths of my soul. “Cherie, where did you get that money from?” His voice held no accusation.
“Quinn, I wish I had an answer for you. Or at least one that made any sense.” I could see his disappointment in my answer. “Do you believe in God, Quinn?”
He flinched and released me fully from his grasp. “Uh? Let’s just say that he and I don’t see eye to eye.” He stepped back away from me again. I watched his eyes tighten and the hard line of his jaw stiffen.
“But, I take it you believe in him?” His accent took on a new brusque tone. I didn’t like the sound of it at all.
“Well, as a matter of fact God is very important to me and He guides everything I do.” My response caused even more discomfort than my original question had. Quinn may have walked away from me if a family hadn’t arrived right behind him in line for the elevator.
He closed the gap between us, placed his hand on the small of my back and whispered in my ear. “Perhaps we could finish this conversation somewhere else?” As his soft voice reached my ear it sent a tingle down my spine. Only to be met halfway by the tingle climbing up my back from where his touch was. How odd it is, the comfortable level he has around me, yet he cannot remember me from before tonight.
The elevator door opened and just force of nature we entered without much thought. As we traveled up the flights, my internal sensor began to alarm. Although he had not been inappropriate to me in any shape or form, it appeared to me that he was planning on coming to my hotel room. ‘Lord, give me the right words to say so that I do not make a horrible mistake with this man.’
Our floor arrived before the people standing in front of us, so we squeezed our way through them and out onto the third floor. My room was at the farthest end from the elevator which gave me more reason for concern. My hesitation at the elevator must have clued Quinn into my thoughts.
“Cherie, perhaps it is best for me to bid you good night. Will you be alright?” His eyes bled kindness into his words and again made my heart shiver.
I stumbled through my fast-paced heartbeat. “Y-yes. Sure I will.”
“Well then, you head off to your room and I will wait here for you to get in safely.” He winked and gave me a small shove. “Bonne Soir. And thank you for everything Cherie. I will try to ....”
“It’s Cathie.” My voice sounded whimsical and lost in some romantic fairy tale.
A most delicate smile tipped the edges of his mouth all the way to his topaz eyes. “I do know your name and I am sorry for not using it. ‘Cherie’ is a term similar to ‘darling’.” His eyes fell to the floor as a soft pink blush filled his cheeks. “I will try not to be so personal, Cathie.”
The sound of my name sugared with his perfect tenor accent made my knees go weak. ‘Lord, I don’t understand the effect he has over me. There is no way a stranger can do this to my heart. I am certain this is not our first encounter. Lord, please help Quinn remember me. Please Lord. I am afraid my heart cannot take losing another man.”