Tuesday, June 7, 2011

FICTION: Temptation by Lily Lord

Thomas stood beside her, not too close so others wouldn’t notice, or as close as he wanted to be. Forcing the constant space between them was excruciating. “Just tell me what you want, I need to know,” he whispered, running his hand through his golden hair. It was one of her favorite things he did and she instinctively looked away. The restaurant was full for a Thursday night, but she could still hear him over the din of the crowd. Through the chaos of the kitchen, the running water in the dish sink and the thoughts screaming at her in her head, she could always hear him. “I can’t tell you that,” she stated flatly. A part of her wanted to give in. It would be so easy to slip and fall into love with him. It had gotten to where looking at him caused an ache in her very core. She didn’t dare turn to face him or lift her eyes from the tray she had scrubbed repeatedly.

She’d already passed trusting herself and the stakes were way too high. She was married. Thomas worked for her. He was twenty. She took a deep breath and forced a smile. “You could take those urns out front, for starters.” With some relief she realized the moment had passed. She wouldn’t take a step closer to him than she already had through the flirting and the texting – all the things she loved and hated about their “friendship.” To tell him what she really wanted would cause everything good in her life to change. He stared at her with a look of disappointment that made him seem older than his years. That was always the way with Thomas. He was never what she expected. He was like all the other twenty-somethings that came and went at The Grille, but there were moments when he reached her. He’d have an insight into her that no boy could see. At forty, Eve was comfortable that nobody but her husband noticed her day or cared at all. She wasn’t prepared for Thomas or the way it felt when he paid attention. He started to speak, but stopped himself. Without a word he slipped his cap back on and did as she asked, his tall frame disappearing through the swinging door. She felt deserted when he left her side. Suddenly, the need for him swelled inside her. She had to go home. She could have gone home two hours ago. Down a crew member, she’d come in to get them through dinner. Helping with clean up wasn’t necessary. Eve raced to finish the last of the dishes and went to the office to gather her things.

She took more time than needed to check emails and next week’s schedule. She hated how much she burned for him, hoping he would come in and close the door. She’d never as much as kissed his cheek, but she’d fantasized about him so much she felt like they were involved. The hugs they somehow passed off as friendly gestures had started lasting longer than politeness decreed. Reaching up to put her arms around him and feeling his large body pressed against hers was like an addiction. Had she gone mad? After twenty minutes and Thomas’s failure to surface, she bolted out the back door like the devil himself was after her.

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