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Hayes gives me what I want which is to start my new job in Regina while he continues living in Saskatoon – two plus hours away by car. He isn’t happy about it but I made a commitment and I’m going to follow through, not toss it all to the side on the chance things work out between us. Besides, I have a job in Regina – which means an ability to pay bills and the rent, so it isn’t a difficult decision. New city, new job, new apartment – a new life. The only constants are of course – my family – it doesn’t matter how far apart we are, they’re never more than a phonecall away, and… Hayes.

I stopped calling him Mr. Matthews right after I agreed to regular facetime ‘dates’ once I was settled in my new place. We ‘meet’ one another at our tables every Friday night at seven and have a dinner date over our phones and have been doing so for nearly three months now. Us living a distance apart, I believe, worked in our favour – relationship-wise. By only having our facetime conversations instead of actual physical dates we’ve been able to focus on the emotional side of our relationship – because we do nothing but communicate. We’ve seen one another twice since I moved here, but both times were brief because Hayes was in town for business so we met for quick lunches before he was gone again.

Not tonight.

When the Thanksgiving long weekend rolls around, neither my sister or I will be travelling home – so I will be spending Sunday facetiming with the family but tonight and tomorrow it’ll be me and Hayes. He is coming to town to spend some personal time with me – no work, no distractions – just us. It’ll be the first time since we started anew and I couldn’t be more excited about it.

The Hayes I’ve been spending my Friday nights with is caring, charismatic, kind and gentle – but it is easy to put on a good front for two hours once a week. I have my faults too and spending this much time together, Hayes is going to see them all – see me for what I am, ‘warts’ and all.

God, I hope we still like each other after this weekend.


Driving to her place from my hotel, I contemplate everything I want to tell her tonight – everything I hope to express. By the time I arrive to pick her up, I’ve determined my approach but know that when it comes to matters of the heart – nothing is ever set-in stone. As a businessman, I like an action plan – an agenda – and I like to follow it. As a man in a relationship, I know that all I can do is hope for the best.

Sophia looks stunning – as she always does and my pants instantly feel tighter than they did before. I open the door for her to get into the passenger seat before walking around to the driver’s side. Re-tracing my journey, I take us toward downtown.

“If I’m not being too forward, I have a reservation for the restaurant in my hotel –“ I glance at her quickly. “Please don’t think I’m planning anything – it simply comes highly recommended as one of the best in the city,” I swear, attempting to reassure her. Because I’m afraid of making her uncomfortable or afraid, I always feel like I’m walking on eggshells when it comes to sex or anything in relation to sex. I glance at her again to see if she is freaking out or not.

“It’s okay, Hayes. I trust you – the restaurant will be great, I’m sure,” she says calmly, reassuring me – I’m not sure how things always get turned around with us. We chat casually until we get to the hotel, using the valet service to park the car. I offer her my arm which she takes and together we walk inside and toward the restaurant, where our table is waiting.

We’re seated in round armchairs which increase the sense of privacy between the tables in a half-darkened diningroom designed for romantic encounters and intimate liaisons. I hold her chair for her while she sits then take the seat opposite her, the candles on the table reflecting in Sophia’s eyes.

We’re quiet as we browse the menu and while the waiter takes our order. The sommelier brings our wine and after a lovely presentation, leaves us to enjoy it. Taking a chance, I reach across and take Sophia’s hand in mine. I hold it loosely in case she wants to pull it back but instead, she tightens her grip.

“Sophia, I wanted to tell you how much I enjoy our date nights – they’re what get me through the weeks sometimes, looking forward to them,” I tell her honestly and it is true. Even when my days are at their shittiest and craziest, I know I have Friday night and Sophia to look forward to and it always gets me through. She smiles broadly.

“I enjoy our time together too, Hayes – a lot,” she says as if confessing a secret indulgence. It forces a smile out of me and gives me the courage to do what I’m going to do next.

“Sophia – I care for you,” I want to say how I really feel but I’m scared to. I’m afraid I’ll chase her away by saying the ‘L’ word too soon so I’m dipping my toes in the romantic waters instead. Frighteningly, the smile disappears from her face and a frown appears in its place.

“I care for you too, Hayes,” she says, her voice serious. I go from scared to death to happier than I’ve ever been in a split second. Between each course our hands meet in the middle by unspoken agreement, parting only when the food is on the table. Conversation continues easily, as it always seems to do.

We both pass on dessert.

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