He never knew texting could bring so much excitement; they weren’t teenagers anymore, but it still gave him a thrill he hadn’t experienced in a long time. He had much less imagined that just the thought of seeing her again after a four-month hiatus could make work days feel like a day in the amusement park.
He wasn’t sure how long he could keep up with this. He had sent a repairman and paid him extra to keep quiet. He had delivered small packages that were bursting with love, at hours more bizarre than he could imagine, just to make sure that she would not see him. But he hadn’t quite wrapped his head around why she had let her guard down and told him all that she did when he called.
But today, all that didn’t matter. Or so he thought.
Recovering fine my foot, he muttered to himself, when he saw her shuffling her feet in pain at the lift landing. Her make-up was light, her attire smart, but her lethargy could hardly be hidden. She wasn’t a catwalk model-wannabe like some of the women in the building; she wasn’t a sweet young thing either; but she was disarmingly beautiful to him, in the very fact that she was resilient, determined and…she was her.
He liked remaining unidentified. He could be in close proximity, and she wouldn’t have known it was him even as he stood in plain sight. But when they were this close, he saw her eyes settle on a man beside her; a fine body tucked beneath the jacket, with devilishly-handsome features of matching brown eyes and hair. The man caught her staring unabashedly at him, and quickly averted her gaze. He watched as she looked from one to the next, all of whom he had to agree, were very attractive. His lips turned down involuntarily; clearly she had interest in the type.
The rest of the day was like every other, except he had kept his phone in the cupboard until all the work was done and he was ready to leave for the night. He had cautioned himself not to look for or think about her, but with merely an arm’s length between them in the elevator, he couldn’t help feeling jealous that she had checked out every man but him; he couldn’t help taking in a whiff of the floral scent from her dark brown hair; he couldn’t help wanting to reach his arms out to her when he noticed her fiddling with her phone. He also couldn’t help seeing the sadness in her eyes when she stepped in, couldn’t help wondering what was wrong; and really, he couldn’t help it when a message came through and his phone buzzed vigorously.
This is Part 3 of a story about two strangers.
Part 1 is here and the rest are linked up at the end of each post.