Alex sees me watching him and cocks an eyebrow.
“You okay there?”
“Just admiring,” I grin, and he actually looks embarrassed. “Have you really been a bachelor for a long time?” I blurt out. I trust him of course, but I can’t get my head around the fact that a man who is so…well, manly doesn’t have a string of women falling all over him.
He shrugs “I’m fussy. And I had never met the right woman…until now. I’ve dated of course, and I had a longer relationship in my twenties, but honestly? Perhaps I always knew deep down that I was meant for someone special.”
I can’t help but blush at his words. “Didn’t you get lonely?”
I see pain flash in his eyes.
“I never used to. I’m a workaholic for a start, and have only really started to get more of a work-life balance recently. But when my parents died last year…well I understood what loneliness was then.”
“I’m sorry,” I say, feeling a pang in my heart at his obvious grief. “It must have been really difficult.”
“Yeah. I’m not the best at dealing with emotions. Most of my grief came out as anger…”
He stops short and I sense he was going to say something but thought better of it. He suddenly seems really interested in his laptop screen and I wonder what it is that he’s avoiding telling me. I want to know because I want to know all of him, every secret, every feeling, but I sense it’s not a good time to push. Instead I just smile sadly and wait for him to resume talking.
When he does, he completely changes the subject. “So, shall we go for brunch when you’re ready? It’s a beautiful day, and there’s a nice breeze around the dunes that calms the sun down.”
“Yes, let’s,” I say, hopping out of bed. “I’ll go and get ready. We can form a plan of action as to how we tackle my Dad. He should be here this afternoon.”
“Do you think we should wait until tomorrow at least? I don’t want to spoil your time together tonight watching the Fourth of July fireworks at midnight. I’ll bow out and say I have a headache or whatever.”
He really is such a good guy.
“Yeah, that would be nice.” I always look forward to the Fourth of July fireworks at midnight here, whenever we can celebrate it here.
I go and get showered and dressed and then we walk towards the dunes. I haven’t come across the café he was talking about before so it must be new. It definitely wasn’t here this time last year.
It’s a small, white wooden building, with the smell of fresh fruit and bread coming from it. We order avocado on toast and fizzy fruit drinks and sit on one of the small tables outside. Alex reaches across and takes my hand and we gaze into each other’s eyes.
“Two Tropical Bubblers,” chirps a waitress, coming out with a tray in hand. She is pretty, with curly red hair and an impressive pair of boobs, which she’s pointing rather obviously in Alex’s direction. As she puts the drink on the table she bends over with an exaggerated arch to her back, her eyes on Alex, sweeping the length of his body in a way that shows her obvious admiration for him. I bristle all over and my face feels hot and prickling with jealousy.
Alex doesn’t even seem to notice her, instead nodding his thanks for the drinks without even looking at her and continuing to stroke my hand. She flounces off with the tray as I shake my head at the sheer audacity of her. Still, I suppose if I’m going to be with Alex, I’m going to have to get used to the way women react to him. Watching him be completely oblivious to it and only have eyes for me makes me feel good though. Even so, I’m glad when a male waiter comes out with our food.
I’m tucking into my avocado on toast when Alex’s phone rings. He pulls a face.
“Work. I told them not to disturb me. I’ll be as quick as I can.” He takes his phone around the back of the café and I carry on tucking in. The sun is beating down but the breeze Alex mentioned tickles my hair onto my cheek. I drop my fork as I tuck my hair behind my ear and tsk at my own clumsiness as I bend down to retrieve it. As I straighten up, I see three guys standing between me and the entrance to the café garden.
It’s Brad and his friends. As Brad realizes it’s me, he sneers unpleasantly.
“Well, well, look who we have here? Little Miss Stuck Up who thinks she’s better than everyone else.”
I glare at him, angered by his words.
“Hardly, I’m just not interested in you, Brad. To be honest your description sounds more like yourself.”