I saw you with a lady that had red long hair at that little Italian restaurant downtown. She looked into his eyes, awaiting his reply.
Matthew thought for a long moment and recalled the dinner he had had with his cousin that had came into town for a quick layover on her way to London. He could not believe that she was talking about the innocent dinner he had with Victoria. And, to think that this was the reason she cut him off so coldly and matter-of-fact. In one moment he was mad because they had wasted so much time apart and at the same time he wanted to laugh because it meant that she was possibly in love with him at that time.
Trying not to laugh or smile too hard, Matthew calmly told her that the woman with the red hair was his cousin named Victoria.
Now, it was Alani’s turn to look at him with shock. “Oh”, she replied.
Her friend, Casey, had implored her to talk to Matthew back then and ask him directly and she had been too proud to do so. She should have listened to her.
Maybe, they could have worked things out.
“I didn’t realize that she was your cousin. I guess my mind had run away from me because all that I could think of was that she was the real reason for all of the time you spent away instead of only working”, said Alani.
Matthew slowly walked up to her and encircled her with his arms. She looked up into his eyes and he smiled. He said, “Listen, I should be very angry with you, but I am not. I have to leave so that I can get home to change and go to work. How about I pick you up later and we go out to dinner?” How does that sound to you?”
She thought for a moment and replied, “That will be fine”.
“Okay, that’s settled then.” said Matthew. He tipped her chin up and gave her a quick kiss on the top of her nose and walked back into the bedroom to gather his things.
She quickly gathered the coffee cups and washed them. As she turned around to meet him, he was entering the living room. Alani walked to the door and met him there as she opened it. “So, how should I dress tonight?” (Alani asked him because she knew that dining with Matthew can be an experience within itself because he enjoyed both the very casual atmosphere and the formal one).
Matthew smiled and replied, “Be sure to dress up all the way. I’ll see you later then.”
“Okay”, and Alani watched him as he walked down the driveway and get into his car.
She had to rush to get ready for work because now she was running late.
Alani got into her car and started driving to work. She called her friend, Casey, right away.
“Hi”, said Alani as Casey picked up the phone.
“Hey, you”, replied Casey. “How are you?”
“I am fine”, said Alani with the biggest grin on her face.
Immediately, Casey caught that smile in her friend’s voice. “Okay, you, what gives?”
Alani said, “Well, whatever do you mean?”
“You know, you have the biggest smile on your face; I can hear it in your voice. Come, give it up.”
“Okay, okay. You’ll never guess who I ran into last night and do you care to guess?”
“Was it David?”
“Was it Eric?”
“I give up, tell me already!”
“Okay, it was Matthew.”
“Where, when, what happened?”, asked Casey.
“Give me a chance to answer your questions”, said Alani as she laughed at Casey’s response.
“Well, you remember I went to the gathering for the charity function that my job supports?”
“Well, apparently his company is one of the sponsors also. I could not believe that I was seeing him and then he looked over at me from across the room and walked over to me. From there we started talking after our initial shock and it was as if time had not elapsed.” Alani further explained to Casey how the conversation continued through dinner and how they made arrangements for him to follow her home in his car. How they had settled onto her couch with a bottle of wine they shared. One thing led to another and before she knew it they were in each other’s arms.
“WOW! That is definitely crazy”, said Casey.
Alani continued talking to Casey as she made her way into the building and into her office.
“So, what are you going to do now that he’s back?”, asked Casey
“Well, we’re going out tonight to dinner”, replied Alani.
“But, what about the girl you saw him with that day? Did you ask him about her?” asked Casey.
“Yes, I did and I feel so stupid. It was his cousin, Victoria.”
It was all quiet on the phone. Casey had no response.
“I know, I know”, said Alani.
Casey told Alani that maybe this time it will work out for her and Matthew; that this was a second chance that they both deserved. They then hung up as they both had many things to do.
The day passed in a blur for Alani. She stepped outside of her office to warn Jackie, her assistant, that she was leaving early. “So, be sure to get out of here early also to take advantage of this time to enjoy”, Alani told Jackie.
Matthew drove to Alani’s house to pick her up. He parked the car in the driveway and made his way to the door. He rang the doorbell and waited.
Alani walked to the door and took one more look at her reflection in the mirror before opening the door. She had on a long red dress that contrasted well with her long dark hair that spilled onto her shoulders. It was form fitting and had a sweetheart neckline with cap sleeves. She opened the door and was pleased to see his jaw drop.
“WOW! You look stunning”, said Matthew.
“Thank you. You don’t look too bad yourself”. Actually he was so yummy-licious that it took her a minute to realize that he was speaking again.
“So, are you ready?”, asked Matthew.
“Yes”, she replied and gathered her wrap and clutch.
They got to the restaurant and she was surprised to see it empty. Walking inside, she noticed the lone table set for just the two of them. She turned to him with a question in her eyes.
Matthew smiled as he took her wrap and handed it to the Maitre d’ and pulled her chair out for her. Alani sat down and waited for Matthew to sit down also.
“I must say that I didn’t expect this. How did you arrange this?”, asked Alani.
“My friend, Oscar, is the owner and chef of this restaurant”, said Matthew.
At that moment, Oscar appeared and introductions were made and then their meal was brought to them as Matthew had pre-arranged everything.
The food was delicious and their whole dinner conversation was stimulating and good. Alani was reminded on how well they got along before. Later, everything would be a blur.
But, as it would happen, Matthew chose that time to propose to her by surprising her with a ring and getting on one knee.
“Will you do me the honor and marry me, Alani?” asked Matthew.
“Oh my goodness! Yes, of course, I will marry you” replied Alani.
“Good because I love you so much, Alani, and I don’t intend to lose you a second time”, said Matthew.
“I love you too, Matthew”, replied Alani.
“I was going to wait, but I rather spend tonight and the rest of my life with you. It’s my fortune that you are single and I can’t take another chance that someone else may come in and sweep you off your feet. You’ve made me the happiest man on earth”, said Matthew.
“And, you’ve made me the happiest woman on earth”, replied Alani as she beamed with happiness.
Six months later, the couple was laying on their chase lounges on the beach in Hawaii watching the waves coming in closer and closer to the shore. They were on their honeymoon and held each other’s hands as they thought of the love they shared for each other and the life they would have together going forward. They were confident in that love and they knew that they would be able to handle anything that life threw at them as long as they were together.