Become a Fan
It Could Have Been Love
By Victoria Valentine
Monday, January 28, 2002
She stood at the airport gate, staring thru the glass at the setting sun, apprehension fluttering amidst the emptiness within. Her cheeks felt hot. She prayed they did not display the flush that was racing thru her slender body. She must be perfectly beautiful at their first meeting! Pulling from her blue suede jacket pocket a rose colored lipstick, she moistened her lips for the 10th time in an equal number of minutes. "First meeting" she silently mocked her rising emotion. She had known him for almost a year - the last six months of that beautiful time spent falling in love, and then suddenly he was gone! She said she would never forgive him for that heartless act. Just when their relationship was beginning to smolder – or so she thought - how could he……… She had not heard a word from him until last week, when she received his overseas phone call announcing his arrival today. She offered to pick him up at the airport. After all, favors should be returned…
The round gold face on her black-strapped wristwatch, told her the International flight would make its appearance within moments. Although she was on fire, a chill chafed her skin. "I can't believe he's coming home....” Two months - it felt like a lifetime. The lifetime she had spent alone - loving love – craving love - waiting patiently for him to love her the way she had loved him from the first moment she watched him stride across the bridge as he headed toward her stalled car. A tall, broad shouldered young man with a full head of dark hair that swayed with his steps and the breeze on the late spring day, with the fragrance of lilac blossoms from a nearby grove sweetening the air.
“Hi,” his voice flowed huskily. “Need some help?”
The depth of his brown eyes caught the breath in her throat, trapping her words. She stared. He smiled. She felt warm. His grin broadened. Her eyes left his only long enough to watch his soft lips gently curve their fullness into a wide smile, baring perfect white teeth.
“What’s wrong?” he asked as he leaned nearer her open car window. “Besides being stuck here - Are you okay?” his amusement was apparent, and she was certain he knew she was stunned by his masculine approach.
She uttered one word, “Yes…”
“Well now that we have that out of the way,” he laughed. “Let’s get your car off this lane before traffic builds.”
“Okay,” she whispered for she still had not found her voice. “I don’t know what happened… I was driving, and suddenly my windshield was drenched with some kind of green fluid…”
“Antifreeze – probably broke a hose. Smell it? No big deal.”
No big deal! Thank you car!!! twirled again and again thru her mind as she admired the way he took control.
“Put it in neutral and don’t brake until we’re on that patch of grass over there,” he spoke with confidence.
She watched the muscles of his tanned forearms ripple beneath the rolled up sleeves of his form-fitting cotton shirt. His fingers grasped the steering wheel, guiding the car onto the roadside field. As his arm brushed her shoulder, she stifled a shudder. He did not appear to be a man who made his living with his expert hands, but rather with an experienced mind.
“There-- all set. Lock it up. I’ll drive you into town and you can arrange for a tow.” He led her toward his black Audi, where it was parked in quiet idle across the road.
“Okay,” all she seemed to be saying was ok! Couldn’t she come up with anything interesting to add to the conversation? “Beautiful weather, isn’t it….” The only words she could think of tumbled stiffly. She winced.
“Sure is. I took my boat out on the Sound today. Was great. The bass were hungry…” as they drove off he glanced at her and smiled.
“Ah – a fisherman…?”
“Well – not really. I just like the ocean. Best place to be when…” his words trailed off with a hint of tension, she sensed.
“Oh I love the ocean - so calming…” she replied and beneath her breath murmured, “I could use it now! God -- he’s gorgeous.”
She felt his stare and turned toward him. His face questioned. Had he heard her mumbling???
“The Sound at sunset is fantastic – would you like to take a ride?”
She sighed, suddenly wondering how she was going to pay for the car repairs, as she nodded yes.
“Great - there’s a service station at the marina. We can have them bring your car in - I know the guy who owns it. By the way - I’m John.”
“Elizabeth,” she smiled, at last relaxing into the seat. As they sped down the highway ocean air seeped through the car windows, ruffling her long blonde hair. She inhaled deeply, enjoying every moment of the drive with him. Make it last - she warned herself. Remember this evening -- For it may never happen again…..
Nosing thru the red tinged sky the Boeing jet dipped toward the runway, bounced and glided to a halt. Her heart raced! Just as it did that very first night. They had walked the beach for what seemed endless hours, and when the chill rolled in with the mist he had slid his arm around her shoulders, drawing her nearer to him for warmth. She had the same feeling then that she now experienced. Love -- she loved him but he did not love her. He had never told her he loved her. Fondness - God she hated that word!
The tall young man began a brisk approach down the arrival ramp - dark hair swaying softly with his long strides, the same way he appeared that day she first loved him. Her heart ached; He will never be mine... A woman strode close beside him – an attractive brunette whose cape edged her long seductive legs, exposing a jade sheath gripping her shapely form, looking very European. In his dress trousers, linen shirt and jacket they made a handsome couple. So this was the reason for his sudden departure… Although Elizabeth had held some hope following his phone call, the truth was now obvious and so, inside she began to slowly die. She sighed a trembling breath as they neared. Suddenly, she felt under-dressed, even in her stylish short leather skirt, crepe blouse and high-heeled black boots -- and so very out of place. She fought the strong urge to bolt from a scene that could only end in tragedy – the death of her dreams.
“Elizabeth!” he called as he neared.
The woman at his side smiled and held out her hand. “I’m Kristina.”
Up close she was lovely with wide green eyes and a broad-lipped closed smile.
Elizabeth managed a stiff “Hello” and brief handshake, then turned to him.
“John,” she greeted, holding back tears, for it felt like yesterday -- memories of the nights he had held her close were overwhelming – and were over forever. Even though he never loved her - he had been gentle and passionate. And every instinct she possessed had told her that it could have been love.
“How are you?” she spoke quietly, although she wanted to say more – so much more. She longed to ask him why he had suddenly left her without a word – why when they had seemed to grow so close, had he left her? A side-glance toward the smiling young woman silenced her.
At that moment Kristina cut in, “Well, I’ll leave you two alone… Nice meeting you John,” she grinned at him and shot Elizabeth a Cheshire stare as she strolled off. John reached out his arms and scooped Elizabeth off her feet, lifting her easily above his head. He spun her around. She was stunned - speechless as that first day he had leaned into her car window with the smile that had won her heart.
“John….” She gasped. “John?” Bursting with questions, yet the words froze in her throat.
“I love you Beth.” Setting her down slowly, he pulled her to him, crushing her against his chest. “I missed you so much…”
“But why?” too confused to speak, she stared into the depth of his brown eyes, lost, struggling for control.
“A long involved situation -- Let’s just say I had a bug… but it’s over.”
“Are you alright – you’re not ill…:”
“No – nothing like that. I owe you an explanation, I know ..” he paused thoughtfully “but we have time…”
John held Elizabeth’s arm, leading her away from the confusion of the airport, toward a cozy café. Things were all happening so fast – Elizabeth’s mind raced to comprehend. And as she sat beside John, sipping a glass of Chardonnay, she listened to a story she would never forget; a story that answered her questions - a story that returned to her, her dreams.
“My company was involved in something overseas, Beth – some issues had to be dealt with. I had to deliver something--”
His face was close to hers, “Can you forgive me?” he asked pensively. “I’m sorry Beth, but I couldn’t tell you. It had to be kept quiet - It could have meant lives – and put yours in danger.” He fell silent for a moment, then grinned. “They thought they got what they wanted… when I handed over the package. So they let our people go.” John glanced at the wall clock across the café.
“So it’s all over then? And everything is ok?”
With a broad smile John nodded, "Yup, any minute now - everything should be fine..."
Elizabeth did not fully understand what had transpired, but at that moment she did not care, for he had returned to her – and had spoken the words she longed to hear. “Oh John, say it again, please…”
His mouth curled into a gentle knowing smile, “I love you….” He whispered, placing his words upon her lips.
It was about the same time that their kiss ignited, that an entire computer network exploded with a virus, bringing down an empire thousands of miles away. And now the future promised love.
Happy Valentine’s Day!!!
Site: SpinningS...intense tales of life
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|Reviewed by Shirley Cheng
|Aww, what a sweet story! I really like it. :)|
|Reviewed by Donna Maris
|very nice story.. i love the twisted ending|
|Reviewed by Bye Cya
|Vic, my dear friend and editor, I may knock your poetry and misunderstanding of the word "prose," but you show a lot of promise with stories. I very much enjoyed this read, good flow, good ending. You told me that you couldn't finish a book, how about a collection of stories? You have the talent for it...reach for the sky! All my best, Robert|
|Reviewed by William Manchee
|A neat story with a nice twist at the end.|
|very good, i love a good love story, and intrigue to boot. i love it.|