“Ms. Ingalls, delighted to meet you.” His voice had more the tone and cadence of an Oxford Don than a Manchester street tough.
He shook her hand politely, standing casually by Saige. She could feel the tension in his body. He wanted to bolt, but he held his ground with a smile.
“I was at Romy’s apartment. He lives in the same building as Brodie.”
“This is sudden, isn’t it?” She gestured between them.
“We’ve known one another over three years,” Saige explained. “His grandmother lives directly below my old apartment. You remember Julia Cross?”
“Oh, certainly.” Blair smiled warmly. “A delightful lady.”
“I realized after I left here, I don’t love Ben anymore. Maybe I never really did. I needed someone to talk to and decided to visit Julia, but she wasn’t home. Romy was there instead and asked me to dinner.”
“And from dinner went to his place?”
Saige and Romy nodded. He looked slightly embarrassed.
“I’ve been interested in your daughter a long time, Ms. Ingalls.”
“Blair,” she corrected as they sat down opposite her.
Saige was stunned. Her mother hadn’t let Ben progress to first names for nearly a year.
“I know she’s been unhappy quite awhile. I wasn’t in a position to do anything about it until today.” He smiled shyly, clasping his hands between his knees.
Blair gave her daughter an appraising look, examining her carefully. “And did an incredible job, I can see. I’ve never seen her so relaxed and happy. You did good!” She giggled, offering her knuckles for him to tap.
With a loud laugh, Romy tapped her knuckles, blushing slightly. “Yes, well, I do try.”
“I was prepared to be angry,” Blair admitted. “But I can see I was wrong in assuming I was being told the truth.”
“He didn’t lie, Mom. I was at Brodie’s building.”
“But not with Brodie.”
“So this business with Ben?”
“Is over. Completely, totally, unequivocally over. All that remains is to get the rest of my things before he figures out I’m not coming back and sells it all off.”
“I’ll knacker him if he tries,” Romy promised.
“I’m sorry I pushed him on you, Saige.” Blair was contrite. “I thought you were just being stubborn, or that you really loved him and didn’t want to admit it to yourself. I can see now I was wrong.”
“It’s all right, Mom. It made me realize how little we had left.” She hugged her mother, kissing her cheek. “I really should thank you. I wouldn’t have found Romy if you hadn’t.”
“Eventually,” her mother amended. “But I’m happy that your dilemma is resolved. Well, I’ll bid you goodnight. It’s late and I’m an early riser.” She hugged Romy, kissing his cheek. “I like you,” she said quietly. “Yes, I like you a lot.”
Saige walked Romy out to his car, hugging her arms against the chilly breeze.
“I thought we were in for it. Thank God my mother has sense.”
“I was thinking more along the lines of thank God your mother has you for a daughter. I don’t want to say goodnight, but I’ve got to.”
“Me too. Brodie will have a pig if I’m late. He’s such a promptness freak.”
“Yeah, he’s a freak. Shush now and kiss me.” He smirked as his lips met hers.
Their goodnight kiss lasted almost twenty minutes. Romy finally dragged himself away when his paranoia kicked in. He realized what an enticing target the two of them made out in the open.
“I’ll call you tomorrow, yeah?”
He blew her a kiss as he got in his car. He waited until she was back in the house before he drove off.
Saige felt better than she had in nearly a year. Her body was relaxed, her frown lines gone. She looked years younger when she stared at herself in the bathroom mirror. The line between her eyes that Ben called her pissed off line was erased by one evening of truly superior sex. She was looking forward to the next time she and Romy could get together. She made mental lists of things they would try.
Her phone rang as she was about to get in bed. It was Romy. She answered breathlessly.
“Hey, love,” he sounded rather tired. His voice was strained.
“Hi, you okay?”
“I’m okay, yeah. Listen, love, I have a favor to ask.”
“I just found out I’ve got to be gone for a couple days. My boss called as I left your house. Can you drop by, keep an eye on Gran for me? The lads come in at night, but if you could check on her at lunch and dinner, I’d feel lots better.”
“I don’t mind at all. Bummer. I was hoping we could get back together tomorrow night.”
His voice turned silky soft. “Me too, Saige. But it won’t be more than a couple days, I promise. Got to make a short trip. I’ll bring a key to Gran’s by the office tomorrow.”
“All right. I’ll see you then. Goodnight.”
“See you, love. Goodnight.”
© 2012 Dellani Oakes