Chapter 1 - The Return
Getting out of the hotel on a Saturday morning and breathing in the air of New York was something I have never done before. While I haven’t grown up in NYC, this city was home during my university years, and this is where my career took off. I know the ins and outs of living in NYC, but I abruptly realized I knew nothing about being a visitor.
Alex decided to look around, figuring out if she wanted to go for a short walk or straightaway to the cafe. She got her sunglasses out of her bag and tried to use them as a shield to tame her long, wavy hair. The sun made her blonde locks look like sand, playing in the air, as a warm breeze circled her body. She felt a tremor and couldn’t figure if she was cold or just nervous.
It was the 2nd of May, and while the city was starting to get back to life on a Monday morning, this was Alex’s first day of a month’s long holiday in NYC.
She turned around and saw herself in the windows. The woman looking back at her seemed fresh and well-composed. Her pale skin and deep green eyes showed no signs of tiredness, even though she has just changed timezones and suffered from terrible jetlag. Her outfit, on the other hand, seemed to betray the last five years of being away. Her previous stint as an ex-pat in Asia indeed made an impact on her style. She wore high waist washed blue jeans and a powder pink velvet top with a small lace embroidery marking her cleavage. She always had a well-proportioned body but today her jeans helped, even more, marking her waist and elongating her body. Nobody could guess this body had delivered a baby less than a year ago. Her heart sunk a little and she shook her head thinking that today of all days sadness won’t pull her in. Today was supposed to be a day of celebration.
As she gazed at herself for one last time, she involuntarily thought of Sebastian. They were supposed to meet in less than half an hour and even though she had not seen him in the last five years, the thought of him made her stomach flip. This type of nervousness might have been explained if he were an old lover, but then the reality was that nothing ever happened between them.
Alex met Sebastian when she was 14 and visited her family on a summer holiday. Sebastian her cousin Ben's best friend and use to spend every afternoon at Ben’s, playing video games or skating. He was three years older than her and both Sebastian and Ben were quite the heart robs, or so it seemed at the time. He had dark silky hair that looked playful and probably would curl a little if he would let it grow longer and deep blue eyes that you could easily get lost in. He had an olive skin complexity and his nose and lips were bringing together a very masculine and God-like look. But while he was always hot to look at, this wasn’t the reason why she never quite managed to stay away from him. Sebastian was always fun and his level of energy filled up every room.
She vividly remembered how Sebastian made her feel and decided that it’s time to get moving. She walked, passing by the National Theatre and moving to the left side of the park, and reached a cozy, quiet cafe called Cafe Rome. She couldn’t really believe that nothing changed in all these years since she’s last been here.
She noticed Sebastian hasn't reached yet and this gave her a sense of calmness. She was happy to reach first and although the two of them chatted a week ago after she posted she’ll be visiting NYC, she never actually expected him to message her. In the end, they never spoke in the last 5 years. She also did not expect herself to reply and ask him to meet for breakfast once she reaches the city.
And although this had an element of novelty, her heart was at ease. Until she felt the electric touch of a hand on her shoulder and she turned her eyes, looking at who was standing next to her table. Once her eyes reached him, she involuntarily let out a sigh. He looked like the manliest man she’s ever seen and at the same time, his eyes flickered with tenderness. She felt a wave of heat going through her body and she instantly blushed.
- Seb! Oh Lord, I can not believe we are actually getting that coffee together! It took us 15 years, each a partner and a kid, and finally, finally, I am the one asking you out! Alex said in a jokingly manner.
- Alex, you look fantastic! I’m happy we’re doing this. While his tone was excited, Alex could not help hear a creaky voice. Come on, Seb continued, let’s hear about you miss Singapore. How has it been? Are you back for good?
Alex followed Sebastian’s body from head to toe while he was taking a seat and couldn’t help feeling they should have done this fifteen years back. She would then get to sit in those fabulous arms of his that she was now just gazing at.