Kendra looked out over the brown lazily moving Thames. It was a perfect day, blue sky with storybook cotton clouds floating by. She watched the human statues along South Bank painted silver and gold. They stood absolutely still until an unsuspecting person walked by then suddenly moved and gave them a fright.
She was early, Asra wouldn’t show up for another ten minutes, but that was okay because she wanted time to get settled before he arrived. She couldn’t believe how nervous she was. They’d agreed to meet near the London Eye but there were crowds of people around and she wondered if he’d find her. It had been almost a month since they were in El Gouna and they’d only had that one date. She hoped he hadn’t forgotten what she looked like. She was positive she’d know him when she saw him. His image had been living at the front of her mind ever since that kiss.
Someone sat down on the bench next to her. She turned to see who it was and with a shock she saw it was him. He smiled and said, “Hi Kendra.”
He handed her a single chocolate wrapped in gold foil. “This is for you.”
“Thanks,” she said suddenly shy. There was something very sweet about the understatement of a single lovely chocolate; he wasn’t trying to impress her, just trying to show he’d thought about her.
She opened the chocolate and bit it in half and held the other out for him. He leaned forward and she popped it in his open mouth.
“Nice,” she said when the first taste erupted in her mouth. But this chocolate was something else. It had layers of tastes, coffee, then macadamia, some coconut. “Wow! This is quite fabulous.”
“I made it for you.”
“You made this chocolate?” Kendra couldn’t believe it. What was up with this man? Every thing she learned about him just made her like him more. How does one make chocolates?
“Yes, my parents have a restaurant and my mother was well known for her homemade chocolates, she taught me.”
Kendra could really get to like this man. “Another thing to add to your growing list of attributes.”
Asra smiled. Kendra had forgotten the power of that. His face became so open, she could see the happy young boy he’d been in that smile. She pictured him in the kitchen next to his mother making chocolates. She remembered he’d said his mother had died. The image became bittersweet when she remembered that.
“Shall we walk?” Asra asked.
They stood and walked down towards Tower Bridge. Asra carefully took her hand in his. “Are you close to your family then?” Kendra asked.
Asra rolled his eyes, Kendra laughed, it seemed out of character and very silly. “Too close. They’re forever in my business. It’s just my father and my sister. My father, waiting for me to leave flying and take over the family business and my sister, determined to see me married to an Egyptian woman. Between the two of them, sometimes it’s too much. It’s part of the reason I never stay anywhere long. I don’t want them to catch me. Family can be too much sometimes.”
“It sounds like it.”
“And me?” Kendra asked.
“Your family, are you close?”
“Like you, too close. There’s only me, my mother and Fred, her boyfriend, kind of my step dad. And their dogs, I guess those are my siblings- Larry, Curly and Moe.”
“The way my sister bosses me around I think I’d prefer dog siblings.” They laughed easily together and walked in silence for a while. Kendra was pleased that it was a contented silence, one she didn’t feel the need to fill.
“You know I keep thinking about that night in Egypt, our date,” Kendra said. “I can’t figure out how that date gave you the idea you’d like to see me again. I was horrid- awful- the textbook example of the worst date ever.”
Asra’s eyes twinkled. “And how is old Will by the way? I feel I almost know him.”
Kendra laughed. “Stop it! Please. Honestly, I’m mortified when I think about it. Absolutely no Will talk today. None. I promise.”
“I’m crushed.” Kendra could see he was not yet through with her. “Perhaps you’d like a drink then?” he asked.
“Oh god! Please! I’ve apologised. I really am not that woman. I’m not some pathetic, alcoholic loser. Really.”
Asra stopped. He turned to her and she looked up at him confused. His expressive eyes were no longer twinkling, they were solid and clear. He took her hands in his, the first touch and she felt the tingle up her arm, through her body. “Of course you’re not, I’m only teasing you. You tried hard to hide yourself that night but I’m a pretty good detective. I found you and the person I found was someone I knew I wanted to get to know better.”
He took her face in his strong hands and brought her lips to his. He kissed her softly covering her lips with tiny gentle kisses. Then her neck. She leaned into him and he took her in his arms and kissed her again, this time it was neither soft nor gentle and she was back under the desert night sky, a sea breeze in the air and she wished it would never end.