Chapter 86 - A Taste for Vanilla...

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∞ 86 ∞



Lucius behaved so strangely when they said their goodbyes that by the time Valentina had a couple hours alone to reflect on the day, she was distressed that he didn't fancy her any more. (Well, she thought there was a chance that he might fancy her... at least it felt as if he had started to show more than simple friendship towards her earlier in the day –maybe just a little– but then when he left, it seemed as though he had changed his mind). He seemed keen on getting away when she asked him to stay for coffees, even though he had admitted he had nothing to do that evening, or the next day and he had been quite nonchalant as he left; she had even offered to make him his some blackberry crêpes. They hadn't yet been out in public together and she started to worry, in wondering if she had talked too much and been too confident, too complicated, too particular about everything, or maybe that he thought she had been a bit of a prima donna. Years earlier Valentina never would have worried like this after going out with someone, but by late in the evening she was overwrought that she had indeed somehow disappointed Lucius – turned him off.

But they knew each other well enough for him to make allowances if everything wasn't perfect. Why did she have to put on a show? And anyway was the fact that she was her own not-so-normal flavour really such a big compromise?! She liked all of his peculiarities. She thought she was quite a lovely girl and if he didn't accept all of her (even if she wasn't the most normal girl) the way she accepted and appreciated all of him (when he wasn't so normal himself) then that was his problem!

At least that's what the confident Valentina WOULD have thought. The severe emotional knocks from Rex and uneventful, only-once dates that eventually followed had shaken her confidence in her desirability as a woman. Then the catastrophic effects of closely associating herself with someone who had not only destabilised her in every way, but was a jerk that no one of any respectability or intellect looked up to, had badly shaken her self esteem. Even if 'birds of a feather flock together' didn't apply in all cases as sister Philomena said it did, maybe she wasn't good enough now to get someone 'worthy'? Maybe Luca didn't take her seriously... Maybe he thought he could do better and that she had been with such a loser was an added proof... Or perhaps she had never actually been that fabulous. Perhaps the nuns and Monsieur Thomas had been wrong. Perhaps she was just too weird. After all Rex hadn't wanted her in the end (even though he certainly wasn't the most normal person either). He thought the spray tan girl was was good enough though.

What was wrong? They had had a lovely time – hadn't they? That was the problem with men! They were too easily put off when a woman was too easy to get or she didn't fit into that box they had reserved for females in their head. Luca knew he could have her and she never fit anybody's box, so... She was screwed. People really were so disappointing. It was a problem.

Perhaps it was her asking for special things in the restaurant. He had seemed very agreeable, but perhaps he was just being polite and was inwardly perturbed by it the whole time. (The English were good at masking their true feelings like that – making a 'polite' show, when really they were annoyed or even revolted.) She couldn't help it if she was particular and sensitive to things... Oh no! She hoped he didn't find her rude or vulgar! Girls like that were awful! Oppfh!

Maybe he was put off because she had seemed (or had actually acted) different in public than she did when they were alone together? She should have seen it coming. There were several times when he was looking elsewhere and didn't even seem interested and so many other times during their conversation where, although he was looking at her, he looked totally blank. She thought at first that it was just his shyness, but realised it was probably that he couldn't wait for the day to be over. OBVIOUSLY, he left in such a hurry when they got home.

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