Chapter Two

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"I... I uh...That wasn't meant for you," Angelique stammered in surprise. She could hardly believe after four years, John was standing there staring at her.

"That much is obvious," John said, walking further into the room and shutting the door behind him without waiting for an invitation to enter.

He thought he could handle this. He's been preparing for this meeting for weeks, but now that he stood face to face with her he realized how foolish all his attempts had been. Nothing could prepare him to see her again.

Outwardly, she hardly changed. Same blue eyes, same ash-blond hair, although it appeared to be significantly shorter from the last time he'd seen her. The length barely brushed her shoulders. Exactly how long was hard to distinguish because she currently had it pulled back in a haphazard ponytail. Her body remained the same, perhaps a little thinner than before, but it was the vagueness in her eyes that struck him most. Their brilliance was diminished somehow. She looked older and tired.

Regaining her composure, Angelique blurted out the first thing that came to her mind. "What are you doing here?"

John grinned, straight to the point as always. "I'm fine. Thanks for asking."

John moved to stand across from her at her desk. The small wooden structure hardly seemed adequate distance between them for Angelique so, she stood and crossed the room.

"Coffee?" she asked, thinking it a good excuse as any to back away without looking too cowardly. Besides, she needed something to keep her busy until she felt sure she could face him without making a complete idiot of herself.

"No," John replied turning to look at her adding as a last-minute thought, "thank you."

He sat on the edge of her desk, waiting for her to be still. Having no other choice, Angelique turned to face him and so she did. She positioned herself at the furthest point in the room from John and close enough to the door if a retreat were necessary.

John's stomach tied in knots, as Angelique focused those intense blue eyes on him. She looked scared as a kitten and as ferocious as a tiger all at the same time. Although she looked like she'd prefer to flee, she didn't. She stood her ground.

"I've come on business," John explained.

It struck him again at how exhausted she looked. Was she playing when she mentioned a lover or was she serious? The idea of someone in her life, touching her, kissing her, caressing her made John feel things he thought long ago died. Why should he care? She didn't take a vow of chastity and he certainly had his share of women come and go since, but it still bothered the hell out of him.

"Business?" Angelique looked at him confused.

What business could he possibly have with her? As she locked eyes with him, John's eyes became guarded, no longer the windows to his thoughts and emotions. Instead, they held only a cool indifference.

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