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Part Four

“OK,” said Megan. “But I pick the restaurant.”

James' smile faltered. He had big plans for tonight. Of course he did, and Megan knew he would. A romantic, candlelit restaurant with an extensive wine list and decadent desserts. This way, she could control the setting and, thus, the tone of the conversation. Megan stared him down until he finally conceded.

“Fine. Just make sure they have a good selection of vegetarian options.”

Megan simply nodded, already looking forward to his face as she tucked into the rare steak he used to talk her out of ordering. She reluctantly gave him her new number, reasoning she could block him later, and left the cafe. It took thirty seconds for her to regret her decision as the first of a stream of messages started to ping through.


Eight-seventeen. Eighteen. Nineteen. She knew he’d be late. She considered doing the same herself. But being late was just not something Megan could do. Part of her wouldn’t be surprised if he just didn’t show up. Wouldn’t be the first time. A commotion at the door of the restaurant pulled Megan out of her memories. James was dishevelled and sweaty and struggling to explain to the hostess that he had a table booked. His eyes locked on her and he faltered. She looked stunning, of course. Megan considered dressing down, putting her hair in a lazy messy bun and leaving the salad dressing from lunch encrusted in the corners of her mouth. But when it came down to it, she couldn’t. She was determined that this would be their last encounter, she wanted to look her best when she finally said goodbye.

He gave her a sheepish smile as he pushed past the hostess and headed over. She didn’t bother to get up, but he tried to greet her with an awkward over-the-chair hug anyway. Yes, she thought, a tingle running down her spine, this was definitely a mistake.

She half-listened to his excuses as he explained away his lateness, noting that there wasn’t a single apology within the tireless monologue. Next on the conversation menu was, of course, a critical assessment of her restaurant of choice, comparing it to the place he’d have picked out. It was a stark reminder that their entire relationship was not built around talking.

He frowned at her order but managed to keep his mouth shut. With gratitude for the brief silence, Megan started the speech she’d spent the day planning. She got three words in before he interrupted her.

“I’m so glad we’re doing this. I missed you. I can’t tell you how much I missed you.”

Interruptions weren’t part of the speech. It threw Megan off enough to let James take her hand as he reached across the table. It was warm. Comforting. Electric. Alarm bells began to ring. This is not going as planned. Megan was standing at a precipice. The man was insufferable and a big part of her just couldn’t stand him. But he was also irresistible. She needed to do something now before she fell into that abyss again.

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