It was a vague glance, a subtle snort of laughter as he downed the crystal glass of wine. His glasses were near the tip of his nose, probably because he was sweating. Underneath the sun's burning gaze we were shielded by an umbrella twice our sizes, sitting at a small table meant to be an intimate space shared between lovers or friends: he was neither.
"My company is focused on books sales" he spoke, tapping his long legs a few times. "We have every book imaginable...what are you into?"
Lin smiled as she devoured the mint chocolate chip ice cream in front of her with surprising speed. The crunch of dark chocolate chips and the smooth creamy taste of the concoction was almost distracting. "I prefer thrillers...or a times romance when I'm in the mood for it." she nodded. "Where did you find this place anyway? This is best dessert I've had in weeks."
He laughed at her delight. "It's great isn't it...I used to go here as a kid during the summer.
Lin smiled taking in his stature. He stood at six foot one and held a soft layer of fat around his stomach. He wore a black shirt with khaki's bearing hairy legs. He had a sweet and goofy grin. He was safe by all indications, a mixture of soft glances, a presumably shy exterior, and a name that was intelligent enough to mirror his degrees.
"I really enjoyed our time Milton, movie next week perhaps?" She smiled before standing to toss her ice cream cup into the garbage bin, before brushing off invisible dust particles from her maroon dress.
"Let's do this again yes" Milton smiled rising awkwardly from the table, his hand stuck in one of his pants pockets. "It's good...." he stopped "It's good that you took a chance on me"
Lin's heart raced against her chest, the pour soul thought she was out of his league. She glanced at her reflection off the windows of the shop. Her dress was a cheap imitation of a dress she'd seen in a magazine. Her black hair was pulled upward into a tight bun. She reflected the appearance of a worn out librarian. She was slightly above average, noting the fullness of her lips and the soft roundness of curves.
Milton surveyed her body and suddenly she felt a rush of self-consciousness.
"May I walk you to your car?" he asked.
"I took the bus" Her voice came out light and timid, and she bit her lip , imitating a shy adolescence.
"Well to the stop then?" he urged. She looked into his eyes and saw a hint of expectation in those green orbs. "Yes...that would be nice" she smiled. The bus stop was merely a few blocks away. They walked in silence, breathing in the life around them. Several shops were packed tightly together in anticipation of enticing customers. Lin had barely recognized that Milton had began speaking. He was pointing at a small coffee shop in the northwest corner of the street. Its aroma was a blend of Arabian beans and pastry dough.
"Didn't know it could get so hot" Milton smiled, wiping a bead of sweat off his brow, amusingly Lin believed his sweaty exterior had little to do with the sun.
"Hot as an oven yes" she laughed, stopping as they neared the bench to the bus stop. Milton grabbed her hand boldly, "You sure you don't want me to wait with you?
Lin only shook her head, before blushing. Milton to a step closer, his eyes glancing down at hers with a urge of tension. She stood frozen on the sidewalk, her feet unable to move as if they had melted into the concrete. She closed her eyes on instinct as his lips pressed against her softly. She sighed against them, his lips were effortlessly intoxicating. There was reassurance of compatibility as she slowly followed his motions, her body pressing against his in effort to taste more of him. Once he parted her lips begged for more...but it was over all to soon.
"I remember that kiss..." he spoke. "Remember that night...remember that night you saw her and I together...the look on your face...the sheer anguish"
"I told you I never wanted to hurt you...but I fell in love...for the first time in my life..."
Lin opened her eyes in confusion. "I love her Lin..."
Lin gasped as she lost the ability to breathe. Milton's face had merged into a face that had been etched into her heart for years. She feared for her sanity as she backed away from him, her eyes wide and alarmed.
"You can't get over me...can you..." he then let out a howl of laughter. "How pathetic...move on Lin..."
MOVE ON!" he roared.
Lin opened her eyes, gasping for the air around her, her sweating body vibrating against the dampened sheets. Her heart hammered in her chest, so much that she felt the nausea rise in the pit of her stomach. She looked around the slightly darkened room, the only light source being the stream of steady moonlight. She was in her room...her bed. Lin took a few soft breaths to try to gain control of her breathing. The dream had to stop. She had the dream three times in a row, each with the same outcome. No matter how much she dreamed it, it still rattled her to the core of her being. Not so much the dream itself, but the dream of him. She groaned before glancing at the clock. An angry red blur of 4:00a.m. stirred her into sitting position. She grabbed the pillow next to her and hugged it tightly.
"No...not the tears..."
Lin refused to cry again, not again.
"I need to see him..." she thought, opening the drawer of nightstand.
She pulled out a locked and worn diary, fishing for the key in the drawer. Once found she unlocked it, hearing the satisfying click before shuffling through the pages. She stopped on a news article she had tapped to inside of the pages. On the article was a young attractive woman, smiling exuberantly next to the man she knew by her heart and soul. He was extremely attractive in the photo, his smile almost bursting in happiness. His brown eyes looked completely glazed in the throes of love and self awareness. It was then that the tears flowed for Lin Kingsley. She read the inscription underneath: "Willa Henry (29) and Milton Wimbsy (32) are ecstatic to announce their engagement. The beautiful couple are expecting a summer wedding in Glenn Gardens.
Lin shut the diary firmly, wiping away any lingering tears that had formed. She had kept the newspaper clipping for two years. Two years and 3 months to be exact. It was time. Lin then opened the diary, and with unexpected fury, she ripped the newspaper clipping to shreds. Her heart pounding as she threw the pieces onto her bedroom floor. The feeling of relief washed over her. Maybe that was what was causing the dreams? This omen of a picturing looming nearby at her bed stand night after night for two years. She sighed before realizing one vital and important detail. Today was 30th birthday...and today was the day she would finally make the dreadful call.