Chapter 7 | Brando

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I wonder if you can tell if someone is thinking about you? Does your ear burn? Do you feel a palpitation in your heart that causes you to stop for a second to make sure it isn't heartburn or something like that?

      Maybe it's the way he glances my way. Every now and then I catch him looking up from his bowl and I get this excited feeling in my stomach. I shouldn't think this because I always romanticize experiences with nice guys. That's just my daily fantasy. An attractive guy shows me a shred of kindness and we're basically getting married in my head. I can't tell you how many husbands I have had – a random guy offers me his seat on the bus and we're honeymooning in Paris with two adopted kids by the time I reach my stop.

      I stop myself from imagining a life with Daxten. We didn't get on right away, which isn't usually a good sign. We are from two different worlds and I'm sure he's straight, all the guys I fall for are. Well, apart from Nick. I fell for him but that was my own stupid fault.

      The only reason Daxten is paying for dinner is because he feels sorry for me. I also have a feeling he's kinda lonely. I want to know more about him. I want to know more about his father. I want to know why he doesn't like Christmas.

      My head is feeling a little light from the wine. I know I should stop but I don't want to waste Daxten's generosity, so I finish my glass.

      'Would you like some more?' He asks.

      I shake my head. 'If I didn't know any better, I'd think you were trying to get my drunk.'

      He finishes his own glass. 'Maybe I am.'

      Okay, so he might be straight, but he's very flirtatious. It's okay to flirt. Flirting is harmless. Maybe this is the start of a bromance. I've never had one of those before, but I assume it's just two guys being affectionate without the intimacy. I can do that, assuming he wants to be friends, of course.

      Who am I kidding? He's buying me lunch – we have to be friends now.

      He raises an eyebrow. 'Care for some dessert?'

      I don't want to push my luck and have him spend more money on me. I also don't want to decline, but before I can even speak, a woman's voice from the speaker system interrupts me.

      'Flight 143 to New York has been cleared to depart in half an hour. Boarding for first class will begin in fifteen minutes.'

      'Fifteen minutes?' I shout. It comes out louder than I wanted it to. I also didn't mean to sound so disappointed. I try to recover by turning my sour face into one of relief. 'Well, they cleared the runway quickly.'

      I look past Daxten and through the restaurant windows to the scene outside. I didn't notice the snow has stopped falling; I was too busy looking at something else. Someone else.

      Daxten's expression doesn't change that much. Just as I start to think we've made progress, I return to that feeling I had when I first sat with him in the coffee shop. I feel like a stranger again.

      He looks at his watch. 'Fifteen minutes – do you think we have time to make a quick stop? I forgot to get some gifts and I saw a store next door.'

      I nod enthusiastically. 'Yes!' I tone my voice down. 'That sounds fine. I mean, I don't have to board in fifteen minutes.'

      This is where I get silly again. I knew he would have a first-class ticket. I knew he wouldn't be sitting in economy. I definitely knew I wouldn't be lucky enough to have him sitting right next to me for the eleven-hour flight. With the sudden clock over our heads, I can't help but feel gutted that our time together is almost up. I could have done with a little more time to get to know him and maybe he would like me more. I just need a chance.

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