Cold chills went down my spine. The knots in my stomach grew tighter and tighter every second passed by. My face was paralysed with shock. My heart was racing faster than an athlete running a two mile marathon and thumping loud enough for me to hear.
I wasn’t sure if it was planned or some twisted fate that led to seeing him within a period of weeks since our last conversation. I definitely wasn’t sure what to feel about seeing him again.
I broke out of my shocked trance, slowly registering my surroundings and what was going on. “Huh?” I blurted out, still dazed.
“I asked if I could give you a lift.” He said.
“No thanks. I was just about to call an Uber to take me home.” I answered.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea to call for an Uber at a place like this in this type of weather.” He pointed out. “My place isn’t far from here. You can call an Uber from there after you’re dry and warm.”
The existing knots in my stomach resumed to tighten and churn painfully as I swallowed the lump in my throat. “You don’t really have to. I’ll be fine.” I said.
Please don’t make me go with you. I don’t want to think about Eaglesvale let alone be confronted about it. Looking at you is enough of a reminder of what happened there.
“You’re already soaked and freezing. You’re going to catch a cold.”
“Matthew, I really appreciate it but – “
“Beverley, please.” His voice, though stern, appealed. “Don’t shut me out and let me help you just this once.”
I could see the solidity in his imploring expression. He wasn’t going to take ‘no’ for an answer and he definitely wasn’t going to leave without me.
Just take the offer, Bee. He’s only taking you to his place so you can dry off. Not sleep with you.
After letting out a relentless sigh, I reluctantly walked over to his car and got in.
We didn’t say a word to each other throughout the drive for several reasons:
I was too scared to say anything,
Matthew was too cautious to say anything,
There wasn’t anything to say, and
We didn’t know what to say to each other.
So we drove in silence until we reached the entrance to Arundel Flats, an apartment complex located at the east side of the city and not very far from the preschool.
After parking his car in the garage near his apartment block, we got out and quickly jogged inside and made our way up to the floor his apartment was on.
The interior design of his apartment was simple but beautiful, nonetheless for a studio apartment. It wasn’t too small nor was it too big but it felt cosy and welcoming.
The walls were painted a light orange colour and had a few photographs hanging around them – some I assumed were from his projects; some were photographs of him in his younger years, some were family portraits. There was a small living room with a small flat screen tv on the wall and a small cabinet that had books and magazines in it, a small glass table positioned in the centre and a small black leather couch with black and orange cushions along with burnt orange curtains and a black fluffy rug to match the theme.
Next to the living room was a small kitchen with a few cabinets painted in white, each holding various kitchenware like cutlery, cups, glasses, plates and pots in them, an LG dishwasher and near the sink and an LG dispenser, a stove that connected with the kitchen island.
There were five other rooms; two bedrooms, one bathroom, one laundry room and one room I assumed was his study. Not to forget a door behind his couch that led to the balcony.
He approached me with a towel and a pair of black basketball shorts and a plain white t-shirt. “They might be a bit too big for you but they’ll have to do for the meantime.” He said, handing them out to me. “You should take a shower to warm up a bit. Be sure to put your clothes in the laundry basket so I can take them to the drier.”
“Okay.” I answered.
I stepped out of the shower as I dried my hair. As soon as it was dry enough I quickly put on the clothes that were given to me by Matthew. He wasn’t kidding about them being a bit too big for me but I didn’t mind it at all. I actually like that they were big on me.
Without thinking, I pulled the t-shirt to my nostrils and took in his musky scent, the same scent he wore that night at Eaglesvale. The same scent I liked so much. I closed my eyes, allowing myself to relive the memories of that night. Every touch, every kiss, and every feeling I felt that night.
Ever since then I often wondered if he thought about me the way I did him. If that night meant something to him the way it did for me. If he actually felt something same way I did. But often I was reminded of those words he said the following morning:
Please stay, Lenore.
“Beverley,” the knock on the door broke me out of my trance. “You done?”
“Yeah, I’ll be out in a sec.” I called, embarrassed at myself.
“Okay, I just wanted to ask if you want some tea or coffee.”
“Tea is fine.”
“Alright. Don’t forget to put your clothes in the basket, okay?”
I quickly gathered my damp clothes and threw them in the laundry basket before making my way to the door. Matthew was already stand at the door by the time I opened it. I watched his eyes shamelessly linger up and down, staring intensely at my body.
I had never felt so bare and exposed in my life and it took everything in me not to wrap my arms around myself as id he walked in on me naked. It only took one look from him to make every wall and barrier I had built around myself to come crumbling down, leaving me vulnerable and I hated it.
I didn’t mind him staring shameless at my body. I just didn’t like how his stare made me feel like a deer being preyed in by a lion.
“I’ll just head to the kitchen.” I quickly moved past him