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Penny tried to concentrate, but all she could think of was William’s departure. She pictured him saying goodnight, turning, walking away, out of her life. It saddened her, yet, was inevitable.
When she actually heard the words, they startled her. She wasn’t sure if she had imagined it or if he truly said goodnight. Then he took her hand, bending low, kissing it softly. She felt the skin below his lips glow. He waited for her to unlock the door, get into the car, and start the motor. Then, with a smile and a wave, he turned to go.
She watched him as he walked away, all grace and balance, not even realizing the tears were falling, until one hit her hand. She looked down in surprise, just for a second. When she looked up again, he was gone.
Penelope scanned the entire area, but he had disappeared. She felt the goosebumps on her arms and neck, wondering where he had gone. She waited a moment, then put the car into gear and drove home, slowly, reliving the entire evening. The music pounded in her head, the all-consuming love story running through her mind.
At home, she removed her finery; beautiful lingerie no man had ever seen. “Let’s face it, Penny, no man ever will!” she said out loud. She slipped into her soft running shorts and loose t-shirt, removed her make up and crawled into bed, again reliving the evening. She fell asleep with visions of William walking through the crowds, heads above everyone, carrying wine to her, smiling at her, looking at her.
In the morning, she laughed at her whimsical thoughts. She reminded herself it was a chance meeting…ok, two chance meetings that really meant nothing. Her life would continue as before. She had her life, dammit! She had Katherine and Robert and sweet Meg. She had her work. She had…ok, that was enough! She was content with her life, she always had been. She knew other women found their happiness in some man, but that wasn’t her. She was a woman who stood alone, didn’t need all those silly emotions clogging up her days. She really didn’t have time for flights of fancy or mysterious men who came and went at will! She shook her head one more time, for good measure, clearing it of all romantic love stories and chance meetings with charming men. And she set out to continue her life.
At first, despite her best intentions, she looked for William everywhere. He might be parking near her car or going to the same drugstore. But he wasn’t. He might be buying groceries for dinner. But he wasn’t. He might decide to pick up some great chinese food for dinner. But he didn’t.
Over the next few days, her expectations of seeing William slowly dwindled. Finally, one day, she forgot to look for him, she forgot to hope to see his smiling face and beautiful green eyes. It was a cool, sunny afternoon and Penelope left the office early, intent on getting out into the fresh air. There was a lake near her office, in the center of a beautiful, lush park. From her high office window, she often saw people walking around it. Some were very serious walkers, with heads down and legs pumping, circling the perimeter, oblivious to the beauty around them. Some were young lovers, so involved with each other that they were oblivious to everything, beauty or otherwise. casino şirketleri And some, the ones she longed to join, circled and observed, enjoyed the greenery and the clear water, the bright blue sky, the fresh breeze. Those walkers always made her want to be with them. She had even brought some comfortable clothes for her walk, but had never really found the time to leave work and just enjoy the afternoon.
Today, though, the day she gave up on William, was the day she decided she needed to go, needed to join the people who enjoyed life and savored it completely. She wanted to be one of the people who embraced it fully. Today, she would walk. She locked her office door and changed into her ‘walking’ clothes. She left instructions for her assistant and walked away from all her concerns. She planned to slip away quietly, to just go out and enjoy the day and the lake. She succeeded, riding down in the empty elevator, almost giddy with happiness at her unexpected holiday.
She energetically strode across the park, feeling her muscles begin to stretch and burn slightly. She breathed deeply, enjoying the scent of freshly-mown grass and the clear, pure air. When she reached the edge of the lake, she paused, just inhaling the absolutely perfect day. She turned to begin her walk and nearly tripped over William, who was standing next to her at that very moment.
All her vows flew from her head. She was so delighted to see him again, to look into his beautiful green eyes and feel his smile warm her, that she totally forgot that she had dismissed him from her very full life. She smiled tentatively, caught once again in his orbit. He reached out, touching her arm, happy to see her as well. They didn’t speak, but turned together and began walking, side by side, keeping perfect step.
Penelope was sure she could recognize his scent, although the air was redolent with nature’s smells. She could feel his warm skin near her, feel his aura surrounding her, keeping her safe. Still they didn’t speak. If she saw a particularly beautiful flower, she only had to look at it and knew that William had seen it too. They walked in unison, as if they did it every day and were used to the other’s rhythms. They circled once around the lake at a comfortable pace, neither feeling the need to talk. As they reached their starting point, they slowed. They stopped at the edge of the lake, both entranced by the beauty of the amazing day.
William spoke first. She closed her eyes to inhale his smooth voice, so she could feel it in her soul. He spoke as if they had never spent time apart. He asked about her days, about her work, about things they had mentioned before. It flowed so smoothly. Again, without comment or plan, they turned to walk away, toward a hotdog stand in the shade of the trees. William took her arm, helping her over some uneven grass, then kept his hand there, warming her entire body.
At the stand, William ordered for both of them, glancing at her for her approval. Indeed, he ordered perfectly. A foot-long hot dog with lots of sauerkraut and ketchup, cream soda with lots of ice, and a large bag of curly fries. Exactly what she wanted and would have ordered herself. They took their food to a casino firmaları bench in the sun, sitting apart and turning toward each other. They ate, talking happily about so many things. Once, William reached over and gently cleaned a little ketchup smear from her chin. The sun was setting and the park was emptying. Soon, it seemed they were the only ones there, the only ones anywhere. The vendor packed up his cart and rolled away. Still, they sat together, watching the sun set over the lake, watching the colors paint the sky, too incredibly beautiful to be real. It was an easy silence too. Everything seemed easy with him. Everything seemed better.
Penelope found herself wishing he wouldn’t just disappear again, but knowing he would. As they sat, admiring the show nature was providing, she felt William take her hand. His wonderful, capable hand, holding hers! She was looking at the sky, but picturing the two of them, sitting together, holding hands, looking content and happy. Her heart ached for this to be a true picture, not just a fleeting whimsy. As the sun disappeared, the air grew cooler and Penny shivered. William immediately pulled her close, holding her against his warmth, offering her shelter. Penny felt such happiness, she almost purred.
Of course, it had to end. Wonderful things always ended for Penelope. It seemed only seconds later that darkness completely fell and William stood, offering his hand. They walked hand in hand to her building. He waited while she took out her key and entered the building. He remained on the sidewalk, smiling into her eyes, filling her heart with warmth.
“I have tickets for a show tomorrow night. Would you like to come with me?” he asked. Penny felt her heart pound, thrilled that he wouldn’t walk away and disappear again. Her mind raced and her thoughts tumbled. Then she quickly blurted out that tomorrow night would be perfect. They arranged a time for him to pick her up for dinner and she turned to go into her building. Then she remembered he didn’t have her address. She turned to tell him….and he was gone. No sign of him anywhere on the street. He had vanished again!
She worried about it all night, wondering how he could possibly arrive at her house for a date when he didn’t know where it was. The next day, Penelope was sure that William wouldn’t show, and spent her office hours sadly looking out the window and wondering why her life couldn’t just run smoothly this one time. After work, she soaked for a long time in a vanilla bubble bath, listing all the reasons why he wouldn’t pick her up tonight. She dressed with William in mind, even though she was sure he would never see her all ‘dolled up’ for him. As she donned her pretty lingerie and second best dressy dress, she told herself she was being foolish, preparing for a date that couldn’t possibly happen. He didn’t even know her last name!
Yet, at the appointed time, he rang her bell and stood, all handsome and ….William, on her front porch. She asked him how he found her address and he smoothly told her about checking this place and calling that person. Remarkably, Penny felt it made sense and accepted it.
As they drove to the restaurant, she asked about his work. When he güvenilir casino said he was in human relations, she accepted that too. She wanted to accept everything about him. It was so easy to do. William was probably the nicest man she had ever met. She felt safe and protected with him, instinctively knew that no harm could come to her while in his company.
Dinner was fantastic. The food was delicious, impeccably served. The ambience was inviting, the company superb. They even had time for a few dances before leaving for the theater. Being in William’s arms was everything Penelope had thought it would be. He held her just right, and his hand felt warm and comforting on hers. His arm around her was perfect, just the right pressure and strength. Even the music seemed to be selected from her own collection of songs, and she happily hummed along as they whirled around the dance floor.
Too soon, it was time to leave for the theater. Penelope felt as if she was floating, walking out of the restaurant with William. They rode in silence to the theater, each lost in their own thoughts. It was a comfortable silence, though, one neither felt they had to break. They parked around the corner from the theater, walking together, hand in hand, to the box office. Penny had never asked what they were going to see and was pleasantly surprised to see FUNNY GIRL on the marquee. It was one of her favorites. It actually meant a lot to her, because she always fancied herself the ugly duckling no one would ever want.
William had great seats, the center of the orchestra section, near the stage. They moved along the row, settled in, and waited for the magic to begin. They weren’t disappointed. The actors were so good, so believable, that they both had to force themselves back to reality at intermission. They walked together to the lobby and William, once again, moved gracefully through the crowd to get refreshments. When he returned, he immediately began playing the game they had begun at the opera. He leaned close to her, listened intently, and appeared captivated by her. Penelope had never felt so special.
The rest of the play was equally enjoyable. Afterwards, William offered his arm and began to walk away from the parking garage and his car. They circled the block, totally wrapped in each other, neither wanting the night to end. But, of course, it had to.
Eventually, William walked back to his car and drove Penelope home. He walked her to her front door, holding her arm as if she were precious china. At the door, he placed his warm hand on her cheek, and leaned down to kiss her. It was a marvelous kiss, not too invasive, but very personal and intimate. Penny kept thinking that he tasted so good, so right, so…William. He held her close for a moment, and she could feel his heart beating beneath her cheek.
With a sigh, he moved away, his hands lingering on her arms. He kissed her forehead, then her nose, whispering goodnight.
Penelope closed the door, leaning against it, thinking of her dream evening. Everything had been perfect. William even liked the same song she did, singing along with her on the ride home. Slowly, she went to her room, removing her finery that once again no one had seen, the song playing in her head. “I am woman, you are man, I am smaller so you can be taller than….”
For some reason, tonight, Penelope didn’t feel like an ugly duckling. For some reason, she was beginning to believe in fairy tales…..
TO BE CONTINUED…..
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