Aaron sat at the desk in his office. It was after six o’clock in the evening on Wednesday evening; his last patient had long since left and his staff had gone home. He was reviewing patient files and working on his computer. The ringtone from his cell phone signaled a text message. Aaron reached for the phone that lay on his desk and swiped his finger across the screen.
Just landed in Baltimore. Going straight to the hotel. Soooo tired.
Aaron smirked at Julia’s overuse of the letter ‘o’ as she elaborated the word so.
He typed a message back.
What, no Baltimore crab cakes tonight? Get some rest.
He set the phone aside and turned back to the computer. A few minutes later the ringtone let him know another message came through.
Aaron read it.
Maybe a room service burger. Tired AND hungry. Night.
Aaron typed out a quick message and hit send.
His fingers lingered over the letters on the screen for a moment then he typed again.
He hit send quickly and set the phone aside.
Julia had been gone on a trip since the day after they had come from the cabin. It had undoubtedly been a couple of quiet days; a quick text or phone call from her here and there. What Aaron hoped would be a long, romantic weekend at the cabin together had turned out to be a real bust. The last day they had been there had been a weird one. The dynamic between them had gotten better after he had offered to talk, but she then said she was fine. The drive home was fairly uneventful as were the few minutes it took for him to help her unpack her stuff when he dropped her off at home. Julia had kissed him good bye in the foyer of her house and said she’d call him. He’d sensed something was up ever since that last day, but he didn’t want to press it. He’d decided to back off and let her work out whatever it was that was bothering her. He had the patience, he just needed to use it. Aaron did miss her, though, that was a fact.
Aaron leaned forward on the desk and stretched his back out. It had been a long day and he was nearing calling it quits for the night. He was supposed to meet John at Riley’s bar soon so he sorted the last of the paperwork and input a few more details into his computer. He tidied his desk quickly, grabbed his phone, keys, and jacket, then locked up the office and was on his way.
“Another round?” John motioned to Aaron with his pint glass.
“Sure.” Aaron said with a nod and John scooted back from the table and set off for the bar.
It was a slow night at Riley’s; only a couple dozen people were there to eat and drink and do whatever it was that people do in bars. Aaron and John were at a table, both having just finished a meal of greasy bar food and a beer. John came back a few minutes later with two fresh drinks in hand. He slid one over to Aaron and sat back down.
“So, Julia’s gone right now you said?” John asked as he took a sip.
Aaron nodded. “Yeah, she’s in Baltimore. She’ll be back tomorrow night.”
“How was the cabin? Has it changed much up in that area? Gah, I haven’t been up there in years…” John shook his head.
Aaron took a drink from the glass. “No, it hasn’t changed much at all. The cabin we stayed in was nice; we had a good time.” Aaron purposely kept his answer short and sweet, not going into all of the details.
“So, she can hang in the woods then, huh?” John said with a laugh.
“She can! She absolutely can.” Aaron reached up and ran a hand through his hair as moments from their weekend came back to his mind.
“Well, good. That’s good. If she survived the woods and spending the weekend with you, then she must be a keeper.” John razzed him.
Aaron just shook his head and laughed. “Yeah. Must be.”
“Let’s plan something for the next couple weeks. Amy just said the other day that she hoped we could all do dinner or something.”
“Alright, yeah. I’ll talk to Julia when she’s back and we can work it out.” Aaron agreed.
They both talked for a while longer and finished their drinks. Aaron headed home afterward and checked his phone before going to bed. There was a text message from Julia, which surprised him. He figured she had already gone to sleep earlier with Baltimore being two hours ahead of Denver.
I miss you, too.
Aaron smiled and then set the phone on the bedside table.
It was Friday morning, Julia sat with Holly at a small table inside one of their favorite cafés.
“What’s going on? How ya been? Who’ve you’ve seen? Where’ve you flown?” Holly spoke a mile a minute as she cut through the huge muffin on the plate in front of her.
Julia had returned from the long weekend with Aaron on Monday afternoon and she was thankful she returned to work on Tuesday. She welcomed the time to distract herself and distance herself from the love situation; literally and figuratively. She had been on a three day trip and had gotten home late the night before.
“Well, for starters… I’m in love with Aaron.” Julia squeezed the juice from a lemon slice into her tea.
Holly almost choked on her muffin. “Julia!” She screeched through a mouthful of the breakfast pastry. “Could you at least warm up to that?! Not hit me with it right away!” She took a drink of her coffee.
“Well, you asked!” Julia said in her defense. She sipped from her tea cup and rolled her eyes.
“Holy hell, Jules. You damn near gave me a heart attack.” Holly put her hand to her chest dramatically.
“Oh, quit it. You’re fine.” Julia reached across and plucked off a piece of Holly’s muffin and popped it in her mouth.
“Love, huh? That’s a big word. One you don’t use often…” Holly let the sentence hang and took another drink of coffee.
Julia nodded in agreement. “Sure isn’t.”
“And…,” Holly pressed on.
“Aaaaand… It’s eating me aliiiiiive.” Julia sat back in the chair, exasperated.
“So… you haven’t told him, I take it.”
“No! Of course not! We haven’t even been dating for that long! I don’t want to be that crazy girl that tells a guy she loves him and then scares him off.” Julia ran her hands down the sides of her face.
“Does he know, though, I mean already?”
“I don’t know. He knows something is… wrong with me, but I keep freezing up and shutting down. It’s awful.” Julia slowly stirred her tea with a small teaspoon.
“Sounds like you’re better off just getting it over with. If you love him, then tell him. Or you might end up pushing him away, Jules.” Holly said with a nod.
Julia groaned in agreement. “Yeah. I suppose you’re right. But I’m just so… you know…. Scared.”
Holly smiled. “Of what, Jules?”
“Of being this girl. The one who falls in love unexpectedly, and opens herself up to being vulnerable. I don’t do this, Holly. You know that. It’s been a long time since I’ve done this.”
“I know, but I think you’re overthinking this. Just try to go with it. You love the guy, so what?”
“Ugggggh,” Julia groaned again. “I do. I totally do.”
Holly leaned closer to Julia over the table. “Look, I’m sure you are scared. There’s nothing wrong with that. And seriously, when have you ever let that stop you from doing something?”
Her friend was right and it was just what she needed to hear. Julia stole another bite of Holly’s
Aaron wheeled through the aisles of the grocery store with a handbasket on his lap. It was early Friday evening and he had left work not long before. He was shopping for ingredients that he would bring to Julia’s for dinner. She had called him earlier in the day and they had set a plan for him to come over and he offered to cook.
He suggested that they have fajitas and Aaron made his way through the store, grabbing things as he went and tossing the items in the basket. In the produce section as he selected some fresh vegetables, something caught his eye. A woman was standing with her hands on the push handle of a shopping cart with a young boy at her side. A man at the display of bananas turned around and knelt down to the boy’s level. It was obvious that they were a family. Aaron couldn’t help but watch for a moment as the man let his son put the bunch of bananas in a clear plastic bag and then he reached up, stood on tip toes, and dropped them into the cart. Aaron smiled to himself as he picked up a few peppers and put them in a bag. As he pushed toward the onions, Aaron watched the family again from afar. The dad pushed the cart and the young mom had the little boy on her hip.
They look really happy.
He watched them disappear around the corner. Then, suddenly, Julia flashed across Aaron’s mind and he caught himself wondering what it might be like for them one day; to have a life and a family. He dwelled on it for a moment.
Whoa. Stop, Evans. Get the onions.
He shook himself from the thought and pushed to retrieve the remaining items he needed. He added those to the cart and checked to see that he had everything, then made his way up to check out.
Julia. Family. Children…
Julia heard the knocks come from the front door. Aaron must have arrived. She crossed through to the door and took a deep breath before opening it.
Aaron was there, a sack of food on his lap, and a sly smile on his face.
Oh god, I did miss him.
“You don’t have to knock anymore, you know…” Julia said with a small laugh as she stepped back and invited him in.
Aaron nodded and popped the wheels of his chair up over the threshold. “Shall I go out and come back in?” He asked through a laugh.
“No!” She said with a smile and she closed the door behind him. Julia took in his appearance. All of a sudden, the three days she had been gone had felt like longer. She realized how much she had actually yearned to see him.
Holly’s words from earlier in the day ran through her mind.
Or you might end up pushing him away…
He looked so good right then sitting in front of her. She figured he hadn’t changed after leaving the office; he had on navy blue pants, and a light blue shirt, and a gray coat. Putting all her mixed up emotions aside, she went to him and took his face in her hands. The kiss was slow and deep and Aaron brought a hand up behind her head.
When they pulled away, he kissed her cheek. “Good to see you.”
“You, too.” She agreed.
“I should get started on this,” Aaron looked down at the sack in his lap.
“Oh. Right.” Julia followed him as he quickly pushed to the kitchen island and placed the bag of food there.
“What do you need?” She asked.
“Um, a cutting board, a good knife, and a skillet.” Aaron unpacked everything and crumpled up the plastic sack.
Julia got out the requested items and laid them out.
“Thank you.” Aaron shrugged off his coat and laid it over the back of a kitchen chair. He unbuttoned the sleeves of his long shirt and rolled back the cuffs a few times, exposing his forearms in the process.
He looked up at Julia and cocked his head. “You’re hovering.” He chuckled. “Sit down; I’ve got this.”
“But I…,” Julia started to protest.
“Sit, Julia. I told you I would cook.” He smiled that smile of his.
She did as requested and took a seat on a stool at the kitchen counter. She watched as he moved around the kitchen with ease, having been more familiar with where things were after spending more time at her place. He got to work on preparing dinner.
My very handsome boyfriend is in my kitchen cooking me dinner. Maybe this isn’t so scary after all.
After dinner and the subsequent cleaning up, Julia and Aaron migrated to the living room. Both feeling full and quite happy, with their shoes kicked off, they lay together; stretched out along the length of the couch. Julia lay in the nook between Aaron’s arm and chest and he had his arm around her.
They were quiet for a while, then Aaron pulled Julia closer to his side. “I missed you, you know.”
Julia looked up at him. “Good, because I missed you. And I’m glad you’re here now.”
“Me, too.” His voice was low and smooth.
They were quiet for a while longer and Julia looked up again at one point to see that Aaron’s eyes were closed; he must have dozed off. She laid her head back down and closed her eyes. A short while later, Aaron moved a little bit, adjusting his position. When Julia lifted her head again, Aaron was looking at her.
“I fell asleep didn’t I?”
She nodded. “You did.”
Julia moved so that he could move and he did.
“Will you stay tonight?” Julia said suddenly.
Aaron shifted his upper body and turned more toward her. “If you want me to, sure.”
“I do.” She said.
“Then I’ll stay…”
“Bed?” Julia suggested.
“Yes.” He agreed through a chuckle.
Julia climbed over him and planted her feet on the floor before standing up. Julia went around the room and turned out the lights one by one.
Aaron grabbed the back of the couch and pulled into a sitting position before setting his legs over the side. He reached forward and pulled his chair closer before transferring quickly.
They met in the bedroom. Julia had already started undressing and Aaron headed into the bathroom. Julia left just a camisole and panties on and crawled into the bed. Aaron came out a few minutes later, with only his undershirt and boxer briefs on. He wheeled to the other side of the bed and began the transfer. He got settled quickly and turned over on his stomach to face Julia. He held himself over her easily and dropped his head to kiss her. She knew where this was going and she welcomed it. They hadn’t slept together since before going to the cabin. They kissed for a while, their arousal growing slowly. Julia pulled Aaron’s shirt over his head before he removed hers.
Right now. Say it. Tell him.
“What is it? What’s wrong?” Aaron asked, looking down to see if something was wrong.
“I have to tell you something.”
“Tell me…” His breath was heavy.
It just felt right. The need to say it was overwhelming. She had to go for it.
“I think that I might have… well, uh…fallen in love with you. A little.” Julia shrugged her shoulder and crinkled her nose. She waited for his reaction while inside, her heart began to race.
Still holding himself above Julia, Aaron blinked a few times. His mouth opened but no words came out.
As always, comments appreciated. Until next time!