He reached for the flower. “It has a lovely fragrance, does it not?” he asked, inhaling and closing his eyes for a moment. She nodded and watched, transfixed, as he traced the petals with one finger. “And the touch of color along the edges looks almost as if it will spill down the petals, as if it cannot be contained.”
Dana took another sip of wine to cover how much he affected her. Who was this man? He set the rose back on the table and returned his attention to her.
“It is how I see you, Dana.”
“What?” she asked, stunned, her knack for witty responses once more leaping to her aid. Would she never stop acting like a fool around him?
“And it is why I wrote the poem. You have an air of, well, of many special things, truly. You are intelligent, independent…” A small grin crossed his lips. “And studious. I imagine you in a library or perhaps a small shop, surrounded by musty books, glasses perched on your nose, deeply engaged in uncovering some puzzle from the past and engrossed to the point where you sometimes need someone to pull you back.”
“You imagine…” Her comment drifted as words failed her. The man could put romance into anything, apparently, if he imagined research as he described. Fortunately, she managed to contain a comment about only wearing glasses for distance before it became too embarrassing.
“And when that someone pulls you back,” he continued, his words growing softer, a little slower, somehow reaching right into her. “That man will find your passion is reserved not only for the history and deeds of others, but for him as well… and if I am not mistaken, for him alone.” He reached out and brushed back a bit of her hair, and then lightly brushed the back of one finger against her cheek.
The small touch went straight down the center of her body. Dana was sure she must have melted into a puddle though her mouth had gone suddenly dry. She took a sip of wine. His ability to unsettle her was itself unnerving, and the wine didn’t help her express her thoughts any more clearly than they felt inside her head. “Gregory, the way you, I mean, you don’t know me, and… don’t you think this is a bit much for having just met?”
He took the glass from her, set it on the coffee table, and then took her hand in his once more.
“Sometimes, time is not required to know someone, to know the true, inner person. Then learning the whole,” he said, tracing his thumb in a small circle on the back of her hand, “is an extended pleasure.”
He leaned over and lightly kissed her hand, his lips soft and warm against her skin. Dana couldn’t have pulled away now to save her life.
©2017 Mari Elise Rei. All rights reserved.