A tent sits alone in a large open field below stars. What’s it doing here? I stare at one of its windowless, doorless sides. Slowly, I move left around the ten-by-ten cube and find the material of the next two sides to be solid as well. The final turn, however, reveals a single square window cut into the material of the fourth and final side.
At first I frown. The color of the tent as I’d walked the parameter had been a dark brown, as though no light could be present inside. Now, though no lamps are visible from my vantage point, light illuminates the whole of the tent’s interior. But that anomaly doesn’t hold my attention for long.
My heart is too busy doing an unexpected flip. Series of flips, actually.
On a tall, square end-table – the only object inside the walls – sits a gorgeous man; one I haven’t seen in far too long. Not in person at any rate. Seeing him now… and the way he’s looking at me – shock, heat and something deeper swirling in an expression he is either incapable of or doesn’t bother hiding…
I feel certain the expression on my face must match his. My hand closes into a fist and slowly raises to the center of my chest in a feeble attempt to slow my frantic heart. It’s not the reaction I would have expected to have toward this man, but then, I never expected to run into him either. It’s been half a lifetime since I last spent time with him. We were friends in that past life. Did I ever feel more for him? I can’t remember. Regardless, what I feel for him now is deeper, much more intense, and equally unexpected. I stumble backwards…
… And fade.
I drift again.
Hours have passed since that moment. Drinks and food line tables throughout a large room and people stand, mingling as if it were a crowded bar on a Friday night.
The gorgeous man who was once no more than a friend is looking at me with eyes that have my heartbeat quickening once more, my stomach fluttering and my skin heating. As he had in the tent, he sits on the edge of one of the many tables in the room, only now no tent walls stand between us. I stand facing him, cradled between his thighs, his arms around my waist. The close proximity – his touch, feel so right.
“I have feelings for you,” I admit. “Strong ones. They were there the second I saw you in the tent tonight.”
The short time we’ve spent together today has me nervous to say what I just did, but I can’t help it. He has to know this isn’t just a physical attraction or fun night for me. And I have to know, does he feel what I feel?
Expression blank, he glances down at my right hand and asks “are you wearing my ring?”
I gape at him puzzled. Did he not hear me? I’m not sure what I expected him to say, but his response is so left-field…
Rather than address my obvious confusion by the non-sequitur, he smiles at me and the punch of it arrows straight to my belly, hot and liquid. My heart gallops faster and my knees feel weak, but I hold my ground and his gaze another minute. His smile, not mocking yet unreadable holds steady as well. When he arches an eyebrow, I finally cave and glance down at my right hand.
Sure enough, I wear a ring on the ring finger of that hand. It’s upside down and I slowly twist it so that pearls set in vines of silver rotate to the top of my finger. I laugh. No, it is not his. This overly-feminine ring was a gift from my late grandmother, but when I open my mouth to say as much, “I’d like it to be” comes out instead.
I’m stunned. Absolutely stupefied.
Did I just tell this sweet, funny, gorgeous man I’d like to wear his ring? It’s the wrong hand but… it’s the right finger for an engagement ring! …As in wedding ring? And I’m speechless. The moment I found him in the tent was mere hours earlier. And yet… my heart confirms it.
I’d like it to be.
My eyes are wide with realization as I look up at him. His gorgeous lips curve up in agreement and pure male satisfaction… as he fades away.