Story: Last Straw (Part 6 of ‘Phone Call’)

That was the last straw. He watched as the charmer leaned in from behind and gave her shoulders a squeeze. “I presume that’s for me,” he breathed less than an inch behind her ear, and reached before her chest to retrieve the sandwich in her hand.

She spun around, her hair falling to shield her eyes. It had been five months since he had seen her. She had been abroad on a work assignment, and he knew little about her life except from the occasional texts she left for him.

That was the last straw. He thought he saw her flinch on his touch. He was certain she had deliberately drawn the distance between the man – the man in a black silk shirt, with flecks of silver dancing in his deep blue eyes, and a cheeky smile set perfectly against his angular jaw. The man who thought all women should swoon over him. The man who was married, but couldn’t keep his hands off the ladies.

He took a few steps closer. It was in part instinctive, in part curiosity. But for the most parts of it, he was protective of her against the man’s advances, even though he was certain she could fend him off on her own. He had hardly contained his discomposure during her absence. He did not have the heart to ignore her; he could not disregard his emotions, and finally he succumbed. He hid his affection behind a few terse texts of “you’ll be ok”, “tell me all about it”, and “stay safe”. He hadn’t wanted to freak her out with a heartfelt “I’ve missed you”.

That was the last straw. She backed away from him just that little bit more before shaking her head intently. “No, it’s not for you,” he watched as she mouthed. The charismatic man feigned a grimace. It had been eight months or more, he said, that she had bought two sets of breakfast. “Darling, after all this time. If not for me, who, then?”

He was invading their personal space – but he couldn’t care less. He had to know if this was the loser she was seeing. Or had stopped seeing. Either ways, he wouldn’t judge; he could see why women would fall for this suave, intense lover. But it didn’t stop him from caring for her.

That was the last straw. “Someone,” she had replied curtly. Her voice was resolute like a blade, yet warm like the flames at a fireplace. The man laughed and gave her nonchalant nudge. A friendly, casual nudge; not one of seduction, passion or sensuality. The handsome face had asked almost in disbelief, if she was still looking at – or for – that someone.

There was someone else, he thought he heard them say. Someone else whom she was getting breakfast for, he reckoned she had whispered.
Someone else she cared for, he surmised from the quiver in her voice.
Someone else who was watching her and made every wrong right again, he strained to listen.

Drawing a ragged breath, then slowly letting out a shaky sigh, she nodded, “Someone who-” she paused momentarily  “-who would do me no harm.”

That was the last straw.


This is Part 6 of a story about two strangers.
Start back at Part 1 to see what this cryptic talk about breakfast and harmless beings is all about.
Part 1 is here and the rest are linked up at the end of each post.

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