It was the third bottle of wine he had opened, but the only one they would actually drink. Back in the day, three bottles of wine would be par for the course, but the world had moved on.
He filled two wineglasses and looked out into the living room, a whirlwind of activity and noise somehow beautiful nevertheless. She looked up as he handed her the glass, and his brown eyes crinkled at the corners as he smiled his little boy smile that caught the attention of most women.
She took a sip, deemed it far more acceptable than the two bottles unceremoniously dumped down the sink because they tasted so foul, then turned back to the task at hand. She was on her stomach surrounded by bits and pieces of children’s games. The three kids—two of his, one of hers—played animatedly. She played with them, a game meant for two, so the one watching—“You get to play the winner,” he called at each hint of tears—sat in her lap as the others duked it out. He marveled at how comfortable she was with his children, the immediacy with which they reached their arms out to her.
She said, “I’m going to sit this one out, but I’ll be right back”, stood, and walked into the kitchen. He couldn’t suppress a smile as a few drops of the bubbly golden liquid sloshed out of her glass and onto the floor. She quickly wiped it up with a paper towel, laughing at herself.
Her innate clumsiness was endearing and perhaps the most charming thing about her. She was a pretty girl (woman, he corrected himself)—prettier than she realized—although there was no question that she had aged in the years since he’d tried to pick her up as a fresh-faced college girl at a party nearly fifteen years ago. There were lines on her face that hadn’t been there when he’d last seen her, and she’d put on weight. Her eyes were the same, though, her laughing blue eyes that reminded him of the sky from a mountaintop ski lift. Her eyes and nature, he thought to himself. God's real.
As though reading his thoughts, she looked at him, a wide smile on her face. Her parents had money, so her teeth were perfectly straight. “You been drinking already?” he teased as she threw away the moist paper towel.
“Nope, just a klutz. Some things never change.” She looked at him and wondered if he realized what she was really saying.
His hair had streaks of gray in it, his forehead lightly creased with lines, but his eyes were the same and so was the magic thing that happened to them when he smiled. Fourteen years since they’d met, over ten since the nightmarish misunderstanding, and there was still a connection between them, still a karmic aura that surrounded them when they were together.
His smile seemed enigmatic to her, but his words warmed her heart. “Nope. Some things never do.”