I check my make up and outfit one last time in the hallway mirror and glance over to the clock next to the wardrobe. Five minutes left until he'll be here. I take a deep breath and think for the umpteenth time that I should've chosen something else to wear. But it's too late now. I shake my head at my reflection and ask myself why I really agreed to meet him. Why I even called him? But then I remember that warm feeling just touching his hand again gave me those few days ago and I realize once more that Owen is right. I have to take this second chance and see what really is behind all those mixed emotions I am feeling.
I had slept badly the night after Owen's visit, his words still remaining in my thoughts. But not only those about Peter and what I had to lose by calling him. Was he also right about my relationship with Will? Had I tried hard enough to make my marriage work or was I just throwing in the towel? He was right that we've had problems before and it had always been the same topic: Me wanting a family and he telling me to wait until the firm worked properly. I had swallowed it for the longest time as Will had never given me the slightest indication that he never wanted kids. So I really had been thrown as he revealed that he didn't want a family ever. But it had not been the fact in itself that shocked me the most but the way he said it with this grave voice and that cold stare that made the hairs on my back stand up. Even now thinking about it I can feel a chill and I do not ask myself for the first time if he ever really loved me. I am doubting his feelings for me 'cause I never made it a secret that I wanted kids right from when we had dated for a while. Thinking back now I realize he had just always nodded but never voiced the wish for a family himself. I feel the tears well up in my eyes but swallow them as I hear a knock on my door. Damn! Peter is right on time. I glance once more at my reflection before I open the door.
"Hi!" I greet him and just the sight of him sets a few butterflies in my stomach free and I know I did the right thing by calling him.
"Hey!" he smiles at me and I can see in his eyes he is as nervous as I am.
"You want to come in?" I step back to let him in but he shakes his head.
"I made reservations in half an hour and it's a bit of a drive." he says apologetically.
"Okay." I smile at him and turn to grab my coat and purse before following him to the elevator.
The drive to the restaurant he picked passes nearly in silence as we both seem to be aware of the fact that we are strangers. But weirdly the silence doesn't feel uncomfortable, it rather feels like we don't need words to understand each other.
"So, how is working at Stern&Lockhart?" he asks me once we have sat down at our table and the host has left. "Is Diane Lockhart as cutthroat in the office as she is in the court room?" he adds with a smirk.
"Well, I have yet to see her in court but so far I witnessed nothing to confirm this reputation." I chuckle and the butterflies in my stomach make another appearance as I see the smile reach his eyes and I cast down my glance to keep myself from blushing.
"But she warned me about you." I tease him just before the waiter makes his appearance to take our drink order.
"So, Diane warned you about me?" he picks up the conversation after the waiter has left us alone again.
"Yes, and ironically she used the term 'cutthroat' as well. So she was very pleased that I got my client out on electronic monitoring." I see a hint of surprise in his face as I reach for a menu and flip it open.
"Well, you didn't see me at my best at that hearing. I was a little thrown by opposing counsel." he also reaches for a menu and smiles warmly at me.
"If it's any consolation, I was distracted by the prosecutor, too." I peer over my menu, smiling shyly at him.
The conversation flows pleasantly through dinner as I learn his dad passed a few years back and he has a younger sister who is married with two kids but lives in Florida and he regrets that he sees his nephews too seldom due to the distance.
"My mom hates it, too. So she constantly urges me to get married." he chuckles while putting his coffee down.
The smile fades from my face. We have arrived at the topic of marriage. I had hoped we could skip that for now but I already feel the unspoken question linger in the air.
"So, what does your brother do?" he changes the subject after a few moments of silence and I look up surprised.
"He works as a teaching assistant but he's looking for a job elsewhere right now." I smile at him thankfully for sensing that I felt uncomfortable with the direction the conversation went before and wonder how he can read me that well.
"I'm separated from my husband." I tell him, suddenly realizing I owe him to be honest about this and am astonished how easy the words pass my lips. I watch him, searching for surprise in his features but he just continues to smile at me.
"I figured..." he stops himself when the waiter appears to serve our dessert.
"How?" I ask in a low voice as soon as we are left alone again.
"Well, I noticed that you reach for your ring finger quite often and withdraw your fingers again like realizing a ring that's used to be there is missing." he explains me softly while he glances at my hands that lay on the table before me.
"Oh!" a surprised sound escapes me as I never realized doing this but now thinking about it I have to admit he's right.
"Well, it's not been that long." I grab my fork and take a bite from my dessert trying to keep myself from talking.
"It's okay. You don't have to tell me if you don't want to." he still smiles at me and I can only smile back thanking him silently once more for seemingly understanding me without words.
"May I?" his smile widens as he lifts his hand and reaches for my face. Before I have time to say something he softly swipes some frosting from the tip of my lip. I twitch back as his fingers touch my skin and a small electric jolt hits me again.
"You felt it, too?" he looks at me a staggered expression on his face. I just nod as the butterflies in my stomach swarm again and I wonder what it means. Owen's words of 'love at first touch' from years ago ring in my head. Was he right?
We speak of other things while we finish our dinner and on the way back to my apartment, but I can sense that he is thinking about it just like me.
He parks the car in front of my building and walks me to the door.
"This time I got to walk you home." he teases me.
"Yes, you did." I chuckle and search for my keys in my purse.
"Will I see you again?" he whispers and I recall that he used the same words ten years ago.
I just watch him in silence for a few seconds and I can see the hope and insecurity battling in his eyes.
"Yes." I whisper back as I lean in and brush his lips briefly with mine before walking towards the door. Once inside I turn to look at him through the glass and he still stands in the same spot, watching me smiling.