A slow smile came across his lips. F*****g hell, those lips. They looked good, and it’d been far too long since I’d had anyone’s lips on me.
CAMERON. Olivia was right. Maya was different. I recognized her, but after a few minutes, I knew that she’d changed more than her hair and the way she dressed.
We sat in a little bistro a few blocks away from where she worked. Everyone in the place was wearing a suit. She didn’t seem to care that I wasn’t, which was reassuring because I didn’t care either. I’d watched my father put on a suit every day, and that had been enough for me. Of course Maya was probably more concerned with me showing up out of nowhere than with the dress code for lower Manhattan bistros. She hadn’t interrogated me yet on why I’d sought her out.
After Olivia told me about their run in, I’d stayed up half the night, trying with little success to push her from my thoughts. By morning I realized I couldn’t wait weeks, years, or maybe forever to run into her by chance. Something about knowing we were in the same city at the same time felt karmic. I needed to act on it—open the door, walk through it, and see what was on the other side, even if it was only friendship, or nothing at all.
“So what did you want to talk about?” She tucked her pale blond hair behind her ear. She wore it long like she used to, but the soft waves that once framed her face were sleek and straight now.
“I don’t know.” I hadn’t thought this through too well. I should have known what I wanted to achieve before ambushing her. I had no idea what to expect from her after all this time though, so I’d have to make it up as I went.
The server brought our meals, and I distracted myself with mine, grateful for an excuse to regroup. We had to have some common ground still, but as the seconds passed, the gulf between us created by years of not speaking grew wider.
We hadn’t stayed in touch. Some breakups have no place to go afterwards. I’d had no interest in watching her life take a turn away from mine, with other people who weren’t me. We cut ties, and I’d let her memory fade as much as it would. I had no idea what her life was like now.
“How long have you been in New York?” Her smile was tight and polite.
“About a year. I started a gym in Brooklyn.”
She lifted her eyebrows. “That’s great. What’s it called?”
She nearly choked. “Wow.”
“That’s a few blocks away from my apartment. I can’t believe we never ran into each other before.”
“You work out there?”
She laughed. “No.”
“Why is that funny?”
She shrugged and looked out the window. “It’s not. I don’t really have time for stuff like that.”
“That’s what everyone says. It’s the most popular cop out.”
“What about you? You like your work?”
Her gaze lingered on the busy street outside for a moment before focusing on her food. “It’s okay. Pays well.”
I could sense the gulf getting bigger. Lecturing her about working out probably wasn’t the way to go. I was totally f*****g this up. We hadn’t exactly parted on good terms, and here we were, trying to talk like none of that had happened. Like we were old friends reunited. We were anything but.
“Listen, I’m sorry for just showing up out of nowhere.”
“It’s okay. I mean, it’s nice to see you.”
“I know we never really stayed in touch. I just wanted to see you. It’s been so long.”
“It has.” She closed her eyes and took a breath, as if her thoughts might be taking her someplace else for a second. “Seems like we’ve both moved on, and you’re doing well, so that’s great.”
I tensed at the words. “You’re seeing someone?”
Her eyes widened. “What do you mean?”
“You said we’ve both moved on. I assume that means you’re with someone.”
“No, not really.”
She studied her food again. I released a breath I didn’t realize I’d been holding. Why the hell couldn’t she look me in the eye?
Her hand trembled slightly as she reached for her glass of water. A faint blush colored her cheeks, her chest rising softly under the soft fabric of her button down that hugged her breasts. I wasn’t blind to the effect I had on women. Since Maya, there’d been others, but somehow I couldn’t remember noticing how their bodies reacted in all the subtle ways that Maya’s was right now. She mesmerized me.