“I paused again, glanced from his handsome face to our beautifully plated dishes and back to his crystal blue eyes.
It was now or never.
“I need to tell you that…”
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“What’s wrong Katie? You’ve hardly said two words since we got here. If you don’t like it, we can go somewhere else.”
Galen and I were sitting seaside at the Lahaina Heights Bistrot* waiting on our drinks and appetizers. It was an absolutely gorgeous evening to be dining al fresco with the ocean only a stone’s throw away. From the brief exchange between Galen and the hostess, I quickly realized that Galen had reserved a special table for us that was more secluded and away from the rest of the upscale crowd.
Having sneaked a peek at the restaurant’s reviews, I knew that it was a popular hot spot for locals in-the-know and that reservations were always required in advance, which meant that Galen had planned for this night. I was also secretly happy that a dress code was required because I finally got to see what Galen looked like in a dinner jacket and slacks. Dressed up, he was no less than scrumptious and from the way the hostess and other women turned their heads as we were shown to our table, I wasn’t the only one having those thoughts about him.
“No, I love it. This place is beautiful.”
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“So why do you look unhappy?” Galen searched my eyes as if he were trying to read them.
I should have been thinking about how romantically sweet the venue was and looking forward to what would surely happen when we returned to the complex but instead, Meghan’s unspoken words about telling the truth kept reverberating in my head.
Tell him. You need to tell him the truth. Tell him.
There was no doubt that Galen would see me differently if I told him. I would no longer be Katie the woman he was attracted to, whose company he was enjoying and who he wanted to bed. I would be Katie, the dying woman who he would feel sorry for and wouldn’t want to touch. It would ruin everything. What if he gets upset and storms out leaving me here?
“I’m sad and wishing that we had met the first week that I got here. Instead of having one week left, we would have had two weeks together. And if I had never gone to Oahu for my first week, we could maybe have had the entire month together.”
Galen reached for my hand and kissed it like a gentleman.
“I’ll be honest Katie. I’ve thought a lot about how amazing it would be if you stayed here in Maui longer…or if I could follow you home like a puppy…because I would if I could.” Galen kissed my hand again. “But I have to believe that there’s a reason for everything. If you had come to Maui first, maybe our paths would never have crossed and we never would have met. Going for a swim at the pool at that time of the day when we met was not part of my normal routine. And if you hadn’t gone to Oahu for that first week, you never would have met Jennifer and Joshua who gave you my number. And from what you told me, you never would have trekked up Diamond Head with that older woman you met.”
Galen was absolutely right.
Why was this man always right?
“How is it that you can always see the silver lining to every situation? I can’t even be sad when you say things like that!” I laughed, rolling my eyes at him.
“What can I say? Looking for the “good” in life has become a part of me. I guess when you make a habit of looking for the “good”, it comes naturally after a while.”
I forced a smile but he wasn’t buying it.
“So…what I’m seeing written on your face is only about leaving next week?”
“Yes,” I half-lied.
Galen reached out and stroked my cheek. “I haven’t met someone like you in ages. Like I told you the other day, I felt a strong connection with you from the moment I saw you and there is a rhythm to us when we are together. It feels like we’ve met in a past life or something. But Katie, I still get the feeling that there’s something else that you aren’t telling me. What is it?”
Say it Katie. Just tell him and get it over with…
“How are you able to read me like that?”
“I’ve gotten to know you pretty well I guess.”
Galen looked at me expectantly and I took a deep breath.
“Uh, okay. I do have something to tell you. I probably should have said it before but…” I paused.
“Don’t be afraid. Just tell me.”
I held onto his hand and squeezed it nervously.
“I need to tell you that…”
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Before I could get the words out, the waitress arrived with our entrées. My moment of relief disappeared just as quickly as the waitress had appeared because Galen promptly took hold of my hand again.
“Tell me,” Galen coaxed, looking straight into my soul.
“I need to tell you that I…”
I almost jumped out of my seat when a teenage girl popped out of nowhere at our table with a basket of frangipanis.
Saved by the bell.
Maybe I wasn’t supposed say anything. Maybe I should take this as a sign.
“Such a pretty couple! How about a pretty flower for your pretty lady?” The girl’s attention was laser-focused on making a sale to Galen.
Before Galen could accept or refuse, the girl was pinning a flower into my hair. Galen chuckled, pulled out his wallet but before handing her a few dollar bills, he frowned, motioned at my head and made a sweeping motion.
“Oh, I’m sorry Sir,” the young girl said, promptly removing the flower and placing it above my other ear.
I grabbed my cell and handed it to her.
“Could you take a picture of us please?”
Galen scooted his chair, put his cheek to mine, we smiled for the camera and the girl obliged.
When she drifted to the next table looking for another sale, Galen grinned and I looked at him curiously.
“Uh, what was that about? Why did you make her move the flower?”
“Above your right ear means that you’re single, available and approachable. The left means that you’re…taken.”
It took me a second to get the message and when I did, my fingers found their way to where the flower sat above my left ear. My face flushed with shyness.
Galen took my hand and kissed my palm. “You look so amazing that I wouldn’t want anyone in here thinking that you were available.”
His words and boyish grin took my breath away.
“You’re too smooth for your own good Galen,” I rolled my eyes again and we laughed.
“Only with you Katie. Now tell me what you were going to say before we were interrupted…twice.”
I paused again, glanced from his handsome face to our beautifully plated dishes and back to his crystal blue eyes.
It was now or never.
“I need to tell you that… I want you to take me home. Now.” I kept my voice low and my eyes on his sweet lips.
In that moment, I was choosing “never”.
Galen took one long look into my eyes and immediately knew what I wanted. He quickly turned and signaled the waitress who came over quickly.
“Is something wrong with your meals Sir?” The waitress was concerned that our plates sat untouched.
“No, they look delicious. We just need for you to wrap these up for us and to bring the bill – as quickly as possible. We need to leave.”
Confused, the waitress looked at us but upon noticing the smiles on our faces, she got the message loud and clear and tried not to giggle.
The air was thick with anticipation and the rhythmic chemistry electrifying us was beyond palpable as we hurried out of the restaurant, into the car and sped home for dessert.
Continuation – S is for “Shaka”
©2017 Marquessa Matthews.
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