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Now that I'm sitting with Christina at the hotel bar, it's fairly absurd that I didn't notice years ago that she resembles Justine

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Now that I'm sitting with Christina at the hotel bar, it's fairly absurd that I didn't notice years ago that she resembles Justine.

The long legs, of course, but a lot of women have long, sexy legs. No, it's something in the shape of the eyes, and the way she flicks her hair. And maybe how she looks at me, all serious and questioning.

"I'm here in Madrid helping my sister plan her wedding," she explains as the bartender brings us drinks.

I'm actually glad there are no available reservations for dinner because this means we're limited to only drinks at the bar. I figure I'll have a couple and then cut this night short. We're at a high-top table in a secluded nook of the bar. It's a little too low-lit for my liking; the candlelight and the slow lounge music give this the appearance of a date, and that's the last impression I want to give.

I nod. "I've been swamped with this high rise. And hey," I say, looking sheepish, "I wanted to apologize."

"For what?" Although she reminds me of Justine in some key ways, there's no mistaking the fact that Christina's heritage is uniquely European, and even though she's ten years younger than me, she carries herself with the reserved grace of an upper-class woman.

She's got the tawny eyes of her Dutch mother and the raven hair of her Spanish father. Her skin is usually light, but I'm guessing she's been somewhere on holiday because she's now an even bronze that most women would envy. I think she's also done something to her eyelashes because they look longer than I remember.

She's pretty, but not one inch of me is attracted to her. Funny how that works when a man is in love.

I lean in and shoot her a little smile. "For how we ended. I felt terrible about it, and I was a coward in how I handled it."

Nodding, she laughs softly, almost to herself, as if I'm not in on some joke. Now that I'm around her again, I remember that she used to speak so softly, so delicately, I'd have to lean in so I wouldn't miss a word.

She hasn't changed, and when she's finished laughing, I grin. "I couldn't help but say Justine's name in my sleep, because — and you've probably guessed this — but she's the woman I consider my soul mate. We've spent a lot of time together recently, and we've worked out our issues. So I'm planning to ask her to marry me. When I get back to Florida next week."

I grab my beer bottle, my mouth watering. God, I love Spanish beer. I also like these salty chips they serve in the bars. Maybe the waitress can bring more. Justine once tried to make her own potato chips. They came out pretty good. Maybe she'll make them again.

While I'm thinking about Justine and food, Christina takes a deep breath, and I instinctively lean toward her so I can hear her soft voice.

"Well. I think you need to know something before you propose to your sweetheart."

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