“I'm in love with you.” I blurted it out, and then stared down at my hands. “I have been for a very long time...it's just that... well, I couldn't tell you.” I didn't look up at him but I could feel his face change. I knew he had that pouty expression he always got whenever I disappointed him.
“You mean you wouldn't tell me.” He sounded irritated, and I glanced up at him.He was hanging his head and looking up at me sideways, his long lashes wet with tears. But then he smiled, in that impish way that drove me mad with desire. He had to have known.
“No Daniel, I mean I really couldn't tell you. I was married, and then...well, you know how your family feels about me...and the incident at Christmas. It's just been too much, I never really wanted you to know. It's too complicated... what I'm trying to tell you is that it doesn't matter how I feel, it just can't happen.” I tried to make him understand, but I knew he didn't, or couldn't.
“Alison none of it matters... it never has. I love you too, I have since the very first time we met.” He spoke softly and matter-of-factly, with a sincerity of youth I no longer possessed.
I laughed a little and fought back tears of my own. “ Yeah, I remember that. The laundromat... you and one of your friends had dragged that huge rug in there, trying to cram it into one of the machines.”
He laughed too. “Well it seemed like a good idea at the time. How else was I supposed to get hunch punch out of an oriental rug? My mother would've killed me you know... and you saved me, honestly you did.”
We both smiled, and I held his hand underneath the small table. I wasn't comfortable with any of it. I was sixteen years older than Daniel, and even though he said it didn't matter, I knew deep down that one day it would matter a great deal.
I sighed and took a deep breath. “Oh Daniel... how could I not love you? But telling you? That's admitting it to myself, and I've tried to deny it for so long... I just couldn't tell you. And I had no idea of how you felt, and it's not exactly like you ever said anything either.”
“Yeah, well that's because I was waiting on you to leave your husband. I knew it was only a matter of time. And well, to be honest, I knew after you did that you'd eventually end up on my doorstep. Good God Alison, it's been 6 years. I have waited for you for six long years, doesn't that tell you anything?” He squeezed my hand and I pulled it away as the waitress came to take our order. She smiled at us knowingly and I blushed. It was a small town and people were already talking. I couldn't stand it. Daniel didn't know what he was getting into. I had to end it before it got out of hand.
As the waitress left, I grabbed my purse and jacket, “Daniel, no.. I just can't.” I got up to leave, but he was faster, his arms around me, pulling me against him and I didn't push him away.
His dark green eyes were filled with the longing only youth can contain, and tears that flowed freely down his cheeks. Then his lips were upon mine and I was lost; lost in fantasy and in the reality of Daniel and six long years of denial.
I wrenched myself away and fled the restaurant. I couldn't look back.
©2012 Garden Summerland