Within minutes of pulling my curls into a coherent mass, I heard the hotel door close. With each heartbeat a footstep closed the distance between us. When I opened the bathroom door my Prince Charming stood at the bedroom doorway leaning against its frame.
This time when he saw me his eyes didn’t dance and swirl with desire. I told my heart that was a good thing. Only a soft, sweet smile altered his mouth that soon led a revolution all the way up to his eyes where a vibrant twinkle crept into his eyes.
“You look ‘magnifique’.” He shook his head gently as he breathed in deep. “May I escort you to a party tonight?”
“Yes. I would like that. Sorry if this wasn’t what you were hoping for.” I indicated my ‘less than party’ outfit.
He held out his hand to me. “I have to admit the emotions I feel now are nothing like the ones I had earlier.”
“Oh.” I tried to hide the disappointment from my voice as I stared at his offered hand with trepidation. I told my heart to be prepared for this.
“No, I don’t think you understand. The red dress or the black dress or whatever dress you tried on, made me wish for touching you. However this outfit makes me wish for something else. Now I wish for the chance to feel you. Close to me. I never realized the difference until now. May I please take your hand?”
I hadn’t accepted his offered hand yet, but I did now with a slight blush. He took my hand in his and kissed the top of it. “Dance with me little Stranger?”
Then again like a dance move right off the ballroom floor he swirled me around and somehow amidst the swirling and whirling I found myself on his other side nestled tight in the crook of his elbow. I don’t know how he does that but every time he does it leaves me reeling for some measure of reality. I have to admit I feel like Cinderella or something else very wonderfully surreal.
We headed for the door when he slowed to a stop. “Do you suppose that is a sin too?”
“Wanting to hold you, dance with you and basically be near you?”
“I don’t think so.” I chuckled at his naive question.
“It’s not just that, Cherie. I may not want to let go.”
Nuzzling closer to his arm, I knew exactly how he felt. He opened the door for me and we left the hotel room with my arm resting nicely on his. And my heart resting fearfully in his grip.
Thankfully there was no conversation between us until the elevator opened on the main lobby. It gave time for me to process everything. God was showing me something very profound in my life. I wondered what he was doing in Quinn’s.
“Did you ever do this with your husband?”
I cringed at his words without meaning to. I think he felt it because his elbow squeezed me in closer. “Do what?” I asked.
He spun me into his arms and waltzed me to the centre of the lobby.
With a laugh, I managed to free my hand and cuffed Quinn on the shoulder. “Stop doing that in public. People are watching.”
He righted me by his side. “Well, I will take that as a no, then.”
“He wasn’t a dancer like you, but I did walk arm in arm like this with him.”
“Does it bother you if I do it?”
“No.” I miss it.
“Have you been divorced long?”
Despite his grip on me I wiggled free. He stopped walking and we stood toe to toe at the spinning entrance doors. Instantly, it felt like we were alone in the hotel. All I could see was Quinn. All I could hear was my heart pounding against my breastplate. All I could feel was pain.
However something was different. The pain wasn’t strangling me. It was definitely there, but it felt manageable. I looked into Quinn’s now worrisome eyes.
“He passed away three years ago.”
Quinn’s facial features relaxed. His elbow reached towards me as his smile soothed over my rough emotions.
I crawled back into his welcoming hold on me and my heart. My emotions swirled and dipped like his dance manoeuvres as I revelled in the strength and safety of his presence.
“I am sorry to hear of your loss.” He said as he tucked me inside his car parked near the curb.
I was thankful that the conversation ended there. Quinn never asked any dreaded questions. I didn’t have to tell him it was Mitch that died.
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