"Nolita, where have you been? I can tell you're lying to me" Luke was furious. I hadn't come home last night and I had taken my time coming home this morning. Luke was dressed, his blonde hair flapping around his forehead. His glasses almost steamed up. He was in a rage.
"I came home, and then went to the office alright? I am a grown woman, I do not have to explain myself to you" I was standing up for myself for once, it seemed to make him angrier. His fists were contracting. I was a little scared. I had just stepped out of the shower when he arrived.
"I am going out tonight...it's a work meeting with Gemma"
"Who's Gemma?" Luke asked. I was looking through my wardrobe...Corbin wanted me to dress sexy?
The dress I picked was dark red velvet. It was long, and cut backless, and it dipped low and elegant. Luke's eyes widened as I pulled it onto me, I had not been brave enough to wear it before tonight.
My breasts were lifted instantly; the dress was long and floated down to the floor, covering my feet.
"That's a little...Err- sexy for a - for a work meeting"
I had turned my back on him, to pin my hair up. I wanted to show off my back, and needed my hair up.
An assortment of pins lay before me, and curl after curl I twisted up to the back of my head.
I didn't answer Luke, what would be the point. He continued to watch me for a moment then huffed loudly and walked out.
I was able to breathe comfortably in his absence. Smooth music played softly behind me. I was trying to get into the mood, I was incredibly excited. I hadn't felt this way in a long time. I knew I would be kissing Corbin so lipstick was a no go. I brushed blusher over my cheekbones, giving me some color and then applied thin flicks to the corners of my eyes. I blinked mascara on and lightly sprayed Chanel on my neck, it seemed to be his favorite place to kiss me; I thought sending a tingle of pleasure through me.
I took my black long purse and walked through the house quickly, wanting to get out. Luke was standing near the door.
"There's a car waiting for you. But the driver will not tell me who sent the car...that sent that car?"
"Gemma...I asked her to. I didn't want to drive tonight" I answered quickly. Corbin was brave to send a car for me with Luke here.
I turned the corner as I answered, fiddling with my bag. Luke opened the front door slowly.
"Have a good night" He said then slammed it shut behind me. He knew something it was certain. He was probably wondering why I never dressed this way for him.
The driver got out of the car and walked towards me.
He stopped inches away from me and said "Corbin sent me...don't worry I didn't tell the hubby" He winked his brown eye at me then looked me over.
"Crickey...you look...very, very nice" The driver laughed "I'm Barry, a friend of Corbin's. So don't worry, this...err" he gestured to me and the car as if it signified Corbin "is totally hush hush as far as I'm concerned"
He started to usher me towards the car.
"Is he in there?" I asked before I got in.
"No, we're going to his now....the man takes forever to get ready" He winked at me again, and I giggled. I was starting to like Barry.
We drove for a few minutes in silence. Then Barry cleared his throat.
"So...what's your husband like? I mean if he found out about this, what would he do?"
"You know what Barry, I don't even know." I sighed "How do you know Corbin?"
"We were buddies back at school and we were in the navy together" Barry said proudly. The car rumbled to a stop. "And here is our stop...I'll be taking you to the restaurant but I won't be picking you up, so whilst we have this moment in private I want to tell you..." Barry cut the ignition and turned in his seat. His chubby fingers curled around the back of the seat and he fixed his gaze on me. "Corbin seems pretty smitten with you; I mean who wouldn't be..." I cleared my throat as his eyes ran along my body.
"Barry behave yourself" I laughed, a little flattered.
"Right, right" Barry shook his head from side to side. "Anyway, I know it's none of my business...I mean your husband might be right dangerous or something, but if you care about Corbin maybe you should consider leaving your husband?"
"I've thought about it Barry, but I'm afraid"
"Oh, I forgot he wants you to wait outside the car...I guess he wants to see you properly or something...anyway get out please ma'am" Barry gave me a goofy smile.
"Thanks for the chat, Barry" I said unenthusiastically. I got out and felt the warm air caress my back. I walked around to stand on the pavement.
My back to his front door.
I was fiddling with a piece of fluff stuck to the zip of my purse when I heard a door close. I stayed with my back to him, hearing his footsteps on the stairs down to the car.
When the footsteps stopped I turned slowly. Corbin's fingers tickled my spine up and over my shoulders as I turned.
"Hello" I said, smiling widely at him. His hand brushed my cheek and he kissed me adoringly, it went on and on until he stopped.
"You are beautiful" he said simply. I smiled and looked him over. He wore suit trousers and jacket over a white shirt, the buttons again were low. He was clean shaven.
His handsome face was set in a smile.
We got into the car, listening to Barry's latest stories.
"...And then all we could do was waiting at the airport like idiots...no jokes guys, we were there for hours" Barry and Corbin chuckled, whilst I let out a little laugh. I loved that Corbin had a friend like Barry but when we arrived at the restaurant, I was all too eager to get out.
"Thank you, Barry" I said smiling at him.
"You are welcome ma'am. You two have fun" He emphasized fun too much for my liking but before I could ask, Corbin had shut the car door.
We were outside "La Mounge" a French restaurant.
I had read about the restaurant many times, it was high class, only the richest people came to it. Corbin took my hand confidently and led me into the restaurant. Heads snapped us as we entered and the women watched Corbin eagerly.
"Look at everyone watching you" I whispered into his ear. He cast an eye around at them, and then he smiled.
"If you look closer, you'd see they are looking past me to you"
The waiter bowed at us and told us to follow him to the table in the far corner. It had been booked by Corbin obviously. Corbin's hand moved from mine to delicately rest on my back. We sat and the waiter poured us a bottle of red wine.
Beautiful soft music filled the restaurant. Corbin watched me as I sipped the wine; it was strong and had a heady perfume that evaporated on my tongue.
"Barry tells me you were in the Navy" I whispered, I placed the glass back on the table.
"Yes...I'm - I was a pilot"
"Did you quit?" Corbin frowned as I asked, but I knew there was only one way to find out more about him. I had to ask.
"I was deemed mentally unstable to continue work..." His voice was deep and harder than I'd ever heard it.
"What happened?" I reached my hand across the table as he did. Our fingers linked together has he spoke. Thankfully, the waiter had not returned for a food order, we had not even opened our menus.
"Barry and I, were working on cargo charters flying to Malta round to Cyprus. On our third day, a man claiming to be security insisted we carry large crates over to Thailand. He had official papers, signed by our boss. So we took them..." Corbin's eyes were watering, I wanted to be closer to him, to hold him, tell him everything was alright but the table loomed between us. "...half way through the flight we heard screams and cries coming from inside the crates. Barry put us into autopilot and went to check on them. We had no keys and we replied to the cries but all we got were screams. They were screams of women..." He swallowed and I gasped. "Barry took everything he could to the crates to get them open; there were screams and movement coming from within the crates continuously. When we opened the crates, the sight we saw was..." Corbin's voice broke and his hand tightened in mine. "Thirty or so women in just one crate, naked, dirty, bloody. Some were already dead. We helped them out, gave them water and food and some clothes but we didn't know what to do. We opened the rest of the crates which were full of drugs. We guessed that they were being used in some trafficking scheme..." Corbin shook his head in disgust.
I started to cry silently, Corbin wasn't looking at me anymore.
"What did you do next?" I mumbled.
"We changed course, we landed in Bulgaria. We let them go. We abandoned the aircraft and refused to speak of it to anyone" Corbin sniffed, and then took a long sip of his wine.
"That was...so..." I sniffed away my tears "...so good of you" I lifted his hand in mine and kissed it.
"Let's talk about something else before I ruin our evening" Corbin returned my kiss and smiled through his wet eyes. "Tell me about you"
"Where do you want me to start?" I could have gone on and on, listening to him. But his hand had only just stopped trembling with grief. I wanted him to forget about that for now.
"Where did you grow up?" He sipped again at his wine and released my hand to look at the menu. I wondered whether he would be listening to me as I spoke, but when I started, he looked up, ignoring the menu instantly.
"I was born in England, but my parents moved us here when I was seven. What about you?"
"I was born in Cork, Ireland" Corbin said proudly, "...But moved here with work...Barry and I always fly together." Corbin fumbled for a moment, on the corner of the menu. My stomach rumbled loud enough for us both to hear. Corbin chuckled, I grimaced.
"Shall we order?" I suggested, he nodded in agreement.
We ordered olives, bread, soups, and lobsters. Anything that was on the menu, we ordered it. Corbin really knew his food, he knew what I would like and what I wouldn't.
"My cousin is a chef here" He shrugged looking more relaxed. Slow melodious music started to play; the atmosphere was so calm and quiet. I closed my eyes to savour this moment, Corbin's hand in mine rested on the table, the sound of the music, wave after wave of melody, the low cacophony of clinking glasses.
"Shall we dance?" Corbin asked suddenly. I was a little nervous, no one else was dancing. There didn't even seem to be enough room to dance but before I could answer he was standing, lifting my hand with him.
We walked to where there was the most room, and he held me tightly to his chest, one hand was placed on the small of my back, the other still holding my hand. I was looking at his face, his serene angular features set in content. He bent his face low so our cheeks brushed each others as we swayed. This was heaven to me.
The music continued to sweetly play when suddenly Corbin lifted his face to look at me, a slight chuckle coming from his throat.
"I thought that I'd have been able to keep you at table’s length but I couldn't" he chuckled again, holding me closer so I understood what he meant.
I laughed quietly. Couples from their tables were watching us, as we gently swayed to the music. Corbin bent his head again and we continued to dance.
Our food arrived just as the song ended. We sat and tucked into everything. The olives were soft and salty the taste was delicious in my mouth; I kept eating them until Corbin chuckled.
"Are you going to steal all of those?" his voice was so serious and as I looked up startled, he laughed louder than I've ever heard him laugh then pushed more towards me. The wine started to taste sweeter to me, and soon we had drunk two bottles.
The restaurant had quietly started to empty itself of people. Waiters were clearing tables and the music stopped.
"It looks like we might be getting kicked out" Corbin sighed, looking over my face again. "...we should go"
I stood up and collected my purse; I smiled at the waiters thanking them as Corbin paid. He refused my offer to pay for anything and took my credit card playfully slipping it into his pocket and winking at me.
When we were standing outside the restaurant I asked him the question I had wanted to ask all night.
"Corbin..." I took hold of his arm and turned him to face me "If I left my husband. What would you do?" I regretted asking it immediately. It brought us home, it made reality too real. He looked down at me for a moment, I didn't even know if I wanted his answer anymore.
"Do you love him?" he asked apprehensively. His voice was wavery and weak.
"I think it's quite obvious who I love" I whispered. I hadn't realized it until tonight. Corbin made me feel wanted and beautiful; he was kind, considerate and exciting. The hunger and connection we felt between us finally made sense. Of course, I loved Corbin.
"Do you love me, Corbin?"
"Oh yes" He stepped closer to me then, his thumb brushing my cheek, that small smile pulling at his lips. It was all I needed to hear.