While talking to a group of potential buyers about a piece, I became distracted. My heart dropped to my stomach. My eyes have to be deceiving me. There was no way Dean is at my art show. How did he even know about it? I looked over at Grant and Ivy who are busying themselves with one another to notice my evil glare. I told Ives a long time ago to stop trying to reconnect us. For the past year, I have been trying to purge this man from my heart. I did all I could to rid him from my mind and soul. And I still haven't entirely gotten over him. This was my second time seeing him this month, and it was too soon. The past year I managed to limit my interactions with him. If Grant and Ivy had an event, and I knew he would be there, I would either leave early or not show up at all. So seeing Dean at my art showcase made me feel...shit, I don’t even know.
He finally found me after looking around the room for a few seconds. When we locked eyes, he let out a sigh of relief with a small smile as he made his way over to me. I ran my hands down my dress while taking in deep breaths. After excusing myself from the group, I slowly met Dean halfway. This man had butterflies moving through my stomach and my heart beating rapidly. I internally shook my head at the hold he still managed to have over me, over my heart. As we walked towards one another, I found myself taking the time to appreciate the man before me. Dean wore a white long sleeved button down shirt and a pair of dark wash jeans. Thanks to running track in high school and college, his athletic stature was still prominent. He wasn’t overly muscular, but the definition showed in his arms and thighs. My favorite feature is his height, at 6’3 he towered perfectly over my 5’6 frame. His freshly cut hair and trimmed beard caused me to salivate with desire. His almond-shaped eyes showed the excitement his face was trying to mask.
“Can we talk outside for a minute?” He said, gazing into my eyes intensely.
I wanted to say no but, “Sure” fell from my lips before I knew it. I led Dean through the back of the coffee shop and strategically placed a rock in the door to keep us from being locked out. For a moment we stood in the alley in silence. The silence wasn’t awkward, it allowed both of us to find the right words to say to one another, my eyes wandered everywhere to avoid making eye contact with him.
“Congratulations on your art show Chu-” he cleared his throat. “I mean Autumn” Dean’s smooth deep voice was better than my favorite song playing on repeat. A part of me wanted to hear him say the name he’d given me while dating. But I know that would have brought back memories... memories that I have been trying to erase. He handed me a bouquet of lilies, and a card then moved closer to hug me. Skeptically, I accepted his hug and melted right into him. I felt so comfortable in his arms I forgot where I was. Feelings that didn’t need to arise made me break our embrace. His left hand grazed my arm, and I shivered.
“Thank you. You didn't have to do all this.” I said earnestly. I took another step back and leaned against the brick wall, being this close to him had me feeling some type of way.
“Of course I did. I have to support you because that’s what friends do right?” He retorted with a sly smile. The emphasis he put on ‘friends’ made me smile, but the smile quickly faded when I realized the reality of our situation.
We were anything but friends.
Friends talked frequently.
Friends hung out occasionally.
Friends got invites to events held for and by one another.
By no means were we friends. The reality of our situation caused a wave of sadness to come over me.
I smelled the lilies before responding, “Right,” while forcing a smile. We had to end this conversation before I said or did something I would soon regret. I’m usually one to use logic over emotion, but when it comes to what the heart truly wants all logic goes out the window.
“I’m proud of you. Everything looks amazing, and I can tell you spent a lot of time working on this series,” his eyes brightened before a smile tugged at the corner of his mouth.
My heart fluttered wildly at the sight of his smile.
“Thank you, I appreciate that,” I looked down to hide the fact that I was starting to blush. Get it together Autumn, I yelled internally. “I have to get back to my guests if you see anything you want to let me know. I will give you a good deal.” I winked and opened the door to head back inside. He grabbed my hand to stop me.
“I already know what I want.” The seriousness in his tone had me stopping in my tracks. I wanted to turn around and say my rebuttal. Instead, I pulled my hand out of his and walked away. There was no way we were about to have this conversation again face to face. Over the phone, I can keep it together. But seeing the sadness in his eyes and feeling the warmth of his body near mine would have me falling back into his arms without a second thought.
From the moment Dean laid eyes on Autumn he knew she was his soulmate. But after finding out he was going to be a father, Autumn pulled the plug on their relationship and cut him off. A year later, Dean is still coming to grips with the fact that Autumn no longer being a part of his life. He now focuses on being the best father he can to his baby girl, Yara, and a successful business owner. Memories of him and Autumn’s brief love affair frequently invade his thoughts throughout the day. He said he would respect her wishes and stop pursuing her, but seeing her at a birthday dinner has him re-considering everything.
Is it true that if you love something let it go and if it comes back it's meant to be?