“Ti amo bella, I love you Harper” he said loud enough for her to hear, she froze in her spot,
“What?” she stayed facing away, her eyes watering, she didn’t want him to see her vulnerable
“Harper please” he begged
“Liam, don’t say something you don’t mean” she shut her eyes, tears escaping
“Harper” he sighed, she shook her head and left, unable to look at him, as she waited for the elevator to arrive, she let her tears flow freely.
The elevator doors opened, she entered, she patted her tears away in her sleeve feeling foolish for crying in the first place. Checking her reflection ensuring that her makeup was still alright, she felt the elevator come to a halt.
The doors opened, she walked out to the lobby, instantly spotting Mark, as handsome as ever. She walked towards him, eyes trained on him, but heart and mind was with Liam. She smiled at him, her mind was telling her that she shouldn’t be going out on the date in the first place. She hugged him, and he hugged her back, pulling away he greeted her, “You look beautiful Harper” she blushed
“Thank you” shyly looking away
“Is everything alright?” Mark picked up on her energy, he could sense something that was wrong.
“Yeah, where are we going?” she forced a smile, they started to walk towards the main entrance.
“I had some things planned, but since you have something later, maybe we could go to a cafe down the street?” he suggested
“I’m sorry for ruining our date” she apologised, she was actually looking forward to go on a date, she didn’t have any feelings for Mark, although she found him extremely good looking and she did have a crush on him, she couldn’t see a romantic relationship with him, but she was ready to give it a try.
“Don’t worry, if you’re busy we can just reschedule?” he asked stopping, turning to her, she stopped and did the same,
“How about we just have our mini date in the lobby?” she suggested, she knew that the apartment had waiting areas for guests, he nodded in agreement, feeling relieved she smiled. Harper led him back into the lobby of the apartment, taking a seat on the available chairs nearby.
He started the conversation, and soon they fell into a rhythm, he got to know her better and she did as well, she found out that he was 34 years old, he was engaged once previously, and two days before the wedding his fiancee died, to which he admitted that he would always have a place in his heart for her. Harper was understanding of his situation as he poured his emotions out, his fiancee died from skydiving, her parachute got stuck and he was devastated by the loss, he admitted that he wasn’t looking for someone, he knew that no one could replace his fiancee, but he was trying to date now.
Mark was ready to love someone again, his first date after 7 years, he was just as nervous as she was, he had a crush on her from the moment she walked into his office. He wanted to ask her out from the moment he met her, but he knew he had to be professional and do his job.
“So enough about me, tell me about your ex?” Mark was curious as to why she was getting a divorce at the age of 25, Harper shifted uncomfortably adjusting herself.
“He cheated on me with my bridesmaid, she’s in love with him, and she’s pregnant with his baby” she sighed, his eyes widened in shock
“How long were you married?”
She bit her lips, she was slightly embarrassed by the duration of her marriage, looking down, she answered, “I got married just before Christmas last year, and I filed for divorce after my hysterectomy”
“You were only married for a month plus?” she nodded, he shook his head saying, “wow he must have been an idiot”
“Yeah, I guess I rushed into the marriage, we were barely together when he proposed, he was my first ever relationship actually”
“It’s okay, we all make mistakes Harper” Mark said as he reached over, touching her hand, attempting to comfort her, she sighed, shaking her head, “yes everyone makes mistakes, but I suck at relationships, I made bad decisions over and over again”. He raised an eyebrow, questioning what she meant, picking up his unvoiced questioned, she answered “I lost my first kiss at a party when I was studying abroad, I fell in love with someone who I barely knew, then I lost my virginity to him, then he took off without a word never seeing him again until my wedding day, fell in love with a guy who was sweet and amazing but he made a mistake by cheating on me right before our wedding and during our honeymoon”
“Okay back up, what do you mean by losing your virginity to this guy then he disappeared to reappear on your wedding day? Was he stalking you?” he was genuinely concerned, which warmed her heart
“No, he was my husband’s best friend. I hadn’t met him before, then as I was walking down the aisle I realised that it was him, you’ve actually met him before. He’s been accompanying me to all my appointments, the tall italian guy” she explained
“Yeah” she said awkwardly
“Do you still have feelings for him?” he asked as he pulled his hand away from hers, instantly missing his warmth
“I’m not going to lie to you. I don’t know what are my feelings for him, I’ve leaned on him a lot especially when I was going through the hysterectomy, he was there for me when I had no one, my ex thought that I was lying to him about my cancer, my friends had their own things to deal with, and Liam happened to be there, so I leaned on him a lot more than I usually would. Back then, I thought he had feelings for me, but turns out he was just using me, when he got what he wanted and left, I had a hard time dealing with it four years ago. Right now, I don’t know what my feelings for him are, because I know he would never be serious, he would never have any feelings for me, and deep down I’m okay with that. I think I have a special place in my heart for my ex and Liam, I will always love them” she admitted, as she struggled internally to come to terms with her feelings
“I know how that feels” he paused, he knew exactly what she meant, “I understand, you will always love your first love, are you still interested in us going out on a proper date? I would understand if you need time” he asked, knowing that his hour was ending soon.
“I would like to reschedule our first date Mark” she smiled, she knew that she didn’t need to think it through, she found it easy to talk to him, and she knew that he would take things slowly, which is what she wanted. His eyes lit in excitement, “thank you”
They continued their conversation for another 15 minutes, rescheduling their date, Mark told some jokes cracking her up, she enjoyed his presence, she felt secure. Mark on the other hand, knew that with her he needed to be patient with her, they agreed to get to know each other better before making any type of commitment, they wanted to explore their options as well as get to know each other.
They said their goodbyes, with Harper placing a peck on his lips, she made the first move, she wanted to be in control this time, he smiled, pecking her back before giving her a loving hug, watching her enter the elevator ensuring she was safe, before leaving.
Opening the front door, she took a deep breath, she knew that she needed to have the talk with Liam, she knew that she wasn’t ready for whatever he wanted to say. She saw Liam sitting on the sofa, as Ryan made food, Liam instantly locked eyes with her, his eyes were red, looked like he cried, her heart ached at the thought of him crying.
“Hey, I’m home” she greeted, Ryan nodded as he subtly gave her a look
“How was it?” Ryan asked
“It was good” she could feel Liam’s eyes on her
“Harper, can we please talk?” Liam asked, standing up, she sighed knowing that she would not be able to escape it, she nodded, “somewhere private?” he asked
“Sure, where do you want to go?” she asked
“I’ve booked the Ritz Carlton, do you want to go there?” he asked, she shrugged before nodding her head.
They made their way to his hotel, which was 2 minutes away, he checked in and they proceeded to his room. She felt butterflies whenever she was around him, her mind was flooded with things, from Mark to him, contemplating on life and how she had gotten here in the first place. She knew it was going to be a long night, she could feel it, she wasn’t mentally prepared for this, her day started off normal, and in the last few hours things took a 180 turn, he was back and he was making bold but false claims (according to her).
Liam ordered for her and himself room service, he was hungry, however he wanted to talk to Harper first, deciding to kill two birds he settled for room service. After ordering, he unbuttoned his shirt, walking around shirtless as he unpacked, with Harper watching him move around, her nerves were getting to her.
Watching him, she could tell something was different about him, she didn’t know what, but something was different.
“Smetti di fissarmi con quegli occhi grandi e belli, prima di prenderti contro questo letto” (Stop staring at me with those big beautiful eyes, before I take you against this bed) he said to her, she raised her eyebrow not understanding a word he said, he shook his head as he tried to remain composure, stalling time till the food arrives, so that their conversation would go undisturbed. Deciding to take a shower in the meantime, he told her to make herself comfortable, he gave her a shirt for her to change into, knowing that she would be uncomfortable sitting in her tight dress, giving her some privacy to change as he showered. She was confused at the gesture, she knew that they would be having a long conversation but she didn’t see the reason why she needed to change into his shirt.
Taking the shirt in her hands, she sniffed it, it smelled like him, she enjoyed his scent, instantly her hands reached for her zipper, unzipping herself, letting her dress fall to the floor as she put on his shirt, she loved how soft his shirt was on her. The food arrived shortly after, as Liam came out from the showers, he looked at her, admiring her in his shirt, he smiled as she stared at the food, getting ready to dig in.
He sat next to her on the bed, with the food in front of them, he gave her the food he ordered for her and they ate in silence. As soon as they were done, he looked at her, and asked “Are you planning on seeing him again?”
“Perché? Why?” he asked disappointed
“Why did you leave that night?”