‘Still no wedding ring, I see…’ He said holding her left hand in both of his, before brushing it with his lips. She snatched it away. Cheeky sod.
‘Rory… how long is it since I last saw you?’ He shook his head slowly from side to side, squeezing his eyes together as if trying to solve a cryptic crossword clue. He had no idea, so she continued.
‘OK… let me remind you. Do you remember the morning you went to work and never came back? I was about to file a missing person’s report when you emailed me from Sydney to tell me you had been offered a gig out there… for twelve months.’
He averted her gaze, sucking air in through his teeth. One of his many irritating habits and something he always did when he knew he was in the wrong. He sighed deeply before looking at her again, a weak smile rippling across his face as his eyelashes fluttered.
‘Ahh, so you do remember?’ He voice sounded calm and in control as she continued. ‘Which means, you will also remember that twelve months turned into eight years… not that I’m counting… well, not anymore!’
‘Oh, Li… I’d like to think I’m a little more mature these days. And I am truly sorry, but I always stayed in touch.’ As if being truly sorry and staying in touch made things alright. They didn’t and then he had the audacity to compound his attempt at trying to be sorry by saying, ‘I’m just surprised nobody’s snapped you up, that’s all.’
‘Snapped me up? I’m not a bloody commodity waiting to be snapped up! Clearly, during the last eight years, you have forgotten everything about me, including the fact that I’m allergic to weddings and I always have been… my own anyway. I am a fiercely strong, independent woman.’
‘Hmm… looks can always be deceptive and I thought that being allergic to marriage was a guy thing anyway.’
‘Well, it’s not just a guy thing…’ She retaliated, picking up a stray pillow and swatting him over the head with it.
It was difficult to be angry with Rory for long. The combination of his off the Richter Scale good looks and charm made him irresistible to most women. She was enjoying spending time with him again, despite the banter, but there would be no straying across the platonic friendship boundary on either side. She knew from past experience he was as reliable as a chocolate fireguard and this journey was the start of her new life. She had bumped into Rory by chance and they had teamed up only because they were traveling in the same direction, he was not a part of her future plans.
‘It’s so good to see you again. You’re still the same feisty, irresistible Lisa Grant, I know and love. I asked you to marry me once. Do you remember?’
‘Yes I do and you were pissed!’
‘Well, so were you!’
‘Well, thank goodness I wasn’t pissed enough to have said yes, otherwise I would have ended up as nuts as Miss Havisham waiting for you to rock up on our wedding day.’
‘Okay, let me put it this way, I am amazed that you’re still on your own… no significant other in your life. That’s sad, Li, especially now you’r forty.’
‘Oh for God’s sake, Rory! You sound just like my mother! My mother has been a kept woman all her life and that is never, ever going to happen to me. And, what the Hell has my age got to do with anything anyway?’