***So clearly I’m going to have to change at least the time in which I post. From now on it’s the same day; any time***
“Daniel,” I said, a little too cheerily. I hopped on my tiptoes and hugged him. “Hey. How are you?”
“Not bad,” he nodded, putting his hands back into his jean pocket. Then he eyed Michael.
“Oh, Michael this is Daniel, Daniel; Michael.”
“How’s it going, man,” Michael said, holding out his hand.
Daniel chuckled, shaking Michael’s hand. “Good, good.” For a split second he angled his brows downwards.
Mmkay, so this is weird. A gap in the conversation spilled over us and we were just giving polite glances to each other.
“So, how do you two know each other?” Michael asked.
“Oh, Daniel and I—”
“—We go way back,” Daniel cut in.
“Okay.” Michael nodded. “I guess I’ll leave you to catch up then.”
I smiled, trying to figure out if that was the way to go when it was too late. Michael had already left.
“What are you doing here?” I asked.
“Stanley invited me.”
“No, I mean, don’t you have anything going on in New York.”
He sighed. “So you think I’m that sad, huh?”
“No, of course not, I—”
“—Relax,” he laughed, “I’m kidding.”
“Oh, okay,” I breathed.
“Do you want to go for a walk?” he asked.
“Umm…” I looked down and then at Janet who was waving a hand from side to side mouthing ‘go, go’. Oh, Janet. “Sure.”
“It’s so much quieter outside,” I said after we were walking in silence for what seemed like a stupendous amount of time, “usually it’s the other way around.”
“Mmm. So, Michael, huh?”
“We’re just…” I shook my head. Here we go.
“No, I mean it’s good.”
I looked up, astounded. “Say what?”
He laughed. “I thought I’d be my usual angry self but, I don’t know, seeing you two together—”
“—We’re not together.”
“Just the same. Seeing you happy made me happy.” He shrugged. “This might be weird to say but he sort of reminded me of me back when we first met. God, I remember being so carefree, riding around with my bike.”
“Having a reputation with the ladies,” I added.
He laughed, nodding and blushing. “Yeah, that, too.” He sighed. “I don’t know. Suddenly, I just wasn’t angry.”
I smiled. “I’m genuinely glad.”
“Doesn’t mean I don’t love you.”
Argh, what a blow to the chest. “Daniel…”
“Janet said you still have feelings for me so I, of course, jumped on the first plane out of there. And of course that wasn’t true.”
“I’m so sorry.” I’m going to murder Janet. And Stanley! Guarantee he was an accomplice.
“Don’t worry about it. I’m not saying it for you to pity me I’m saying it because I know seriously have to move on, but I’m starting to realise I can’t.”
“What about the girl you’re dating?”
He shrugged. “What girl?”
Wow. Just like that, huh?
“This is me,” he pointed to a car on the curb. “I’ll drive you back.”
“That’s okay, I can use the walk back.”
“Oh come on, don’t do that nice thing we’re people do one thing but really want the other,” he eyed me.
I laughed, feeling put on the spot and my cheeks burning. “No, I’m being serious. I want to walk.”
“Okay,” he grinned, opening the door and pulling out a present. “This is for you.”
“Daniel…but I didn’t get you anything…”
“Who cares? Open it.”
It wasn’t in the usual colourful wrapping paper. He was gloved in cardboard paper, tied by a wiry piece of white string. My hands were shaking and I didn’t know if it was because of the weather, or just Daniel. He uncovered the paper back and held it as I inspected the present.
“It’s an early edition,” he said.
I looked up. “Oh my God. It’s Wuthering Heights.”
“I knew you’d like it.”
“Like it? I love it!” I gasped. “How did you even…?”
“I always knew you like that.”
I held the book against my chest. “Daniel…”
He leaned in and pecked a kiss atop my head. Then, he pressed his forehead against mine and whispered, “Merry Christmas, Anna.”
***Happy New Year! Soul xo***