‘I think he might just want to spend time with you. From what you’ve said, he seems to be the gentlemanly type. I should know. I’m one.’
‘Ha!’ Melody teased her brother. ‘Seriously, Ethan, what do I do if he does just want to—you know, hang out.’ She’d only been telling herself just that morning that she wasn’t going to get involved with George on anything other than a professional and platonic level, yet even at the thought of George being in her apartment, Melody’s body had ignited with desire. The memory of being held close against him, the way his mouth had melded perfectly with her own, the way he could make her forget about absolutely everything when he stared deeply into her eyes…
‘What if I get hurt again, Ethan?’ she blurted out before her brother could answer. ‘I mean, yeah, it’s great that I’m putting myself out there again, but do I really want to? Should I? Can I trust my judgement? Is that actually why I’ve fallen for George, because I know he’s unavailable and therefore it’s as though I’m doing a pre-emptive strike on getting hurt? Emir didn’t want me, so why should George? What if I’m destined to only fall for unavailable men?’
‘Oh, sis,’ Ethan empathised. ‘You’re not doing any of those things and Emir was a fool. So was Ian. Both were idiots because any man would be lucky to have someone as awesome as you.’
‘You have to say that. You’re my brother!’
‘Perhaps but you’re actually being much braver than before and it does sound as though this George Wilmont guy—who I’m going to investigate online as soon as we’ve finished this conversation—is a decent fellow and if there’s one thing you definitely deserve, it’s someone decent.’
Melody forced herself to calm down. ‘You’re right. And, besides, he might just want to have a platonic evening of watching surgeries.’
‘Because we surgeons are quite boring like that,’ he joked. ‘Look, you like him so use the opportunity to get to know him better. Ask him the burning questions that are no doubt churning through your mind even now, or just let go and enjoy wherever the evening takes you.’
‘But he’s still in love with his first wife.’
‘And he always will be, but it’s not a love that’s based in the present. It’s a love that’s based in the past and sooner or later he’ll realise that living with ghosts may be detrimental to his health.’ Ethan’s tone was soft. She knew he was speaking from experience, that he would always have a love for his first wife, but he adored his present wife.
‘OK. So I should just enjoy where the evening takes me.’
‘I think I can do that.’
‘And remember—forward is good. You told me that.’
‘I did, didn’t I?’
‘Take your own advice, sis. I’d better go. I can hear Lizzie-Jean grizzling for attention.’
‘Ooh. Give her a big kiss from her aunty Mel.’
‘Will do. Love you, sis.’
‘Love you, too, Ethan.’
After she’d ended the call, she sat at her desk and mumbled, ‘Forward is good.’ She was still telling herself that as she unlocked her front door a few hours later. She’d heard no word from George, so obviously he’d decided not to keep their—their what? Appointment? Date?
She hurried to her room and kicked off her shoes, pulling the clip out of her hair at the same time. Well, if he wasn’t coming round, she might be able to finally get that bubble bath she’d promised herself yesterday evening. At least there was no dinner to attend tonight. Still, she’d give him another hour and if he didn’t turn up she’d break out the bubbles. Melody changed out of her work clothes into a loose flowing skirt and top, taking time to brush her hair before heading to the kitchen for a drink. She eyed the choice of soothing herbal teas in her cupboard while she waited for the kettle to boil and eventually chose chamomile. She checked the kitchen clock—seven thirty-seven.
‘Oh, stop it,’ she told herself as she ran a hand through her hair, but the words were easier said than done. She was anxious and on edge. Would he or wouldn’t he come? Perhaps she should call him?
When the doorbell rang she jumped in fright, then remained glued to the spot for a whole ten seconds. Was it him? With her heart pounding rapidly, she smoothed her hands down her skirt, telling herself there was nothing to be concerned about, and forced her legs to carry her towards the door.
She opened the door to see George standing there, holding a bottle of wine. ‘Hi.’ He was wearing a navy polo shirt and the same denim jeans she’d seen him in the other night—the ones that fitted him to perfection. Melody simply stood and stared at him for a long moment, completely forgetting her manners. He was here. ‘Can I come in?’ he asked slowly, and she finally snapped out of her trance.