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When It’s All
Said & Done
When Michael put his arm around Leslie, she relaxed within his embrace. She’d had a wonderful time tonight, and appreciated every effort that he had put into the evening.
It was then that she decided to stop worrying about everything; especially the future and Michael moving away. She would just focus on the moment. And right now, in that moment, she felt as though she was once again falling under his spell…
* * *
Leslie heard the sound of soft orchestral music floating through the air. Her eyelids began to flutter, and when they fully opened, she saw credits rolling up the television screen. She and Michael had both fallen asleep on the couch. A cozy fur blanket had been thrown over them. Michael must’ve done that after she’d drifted off. When she shifted a bit, he stirred then opened his eyes and looked over at her.
“Hey you,” he smiled sleepily.
“Hey you. We’re two big kids, you know. We can’t even stay awake long enough to watch an entire movie.”
“Well,” Michael laughed, “We work hard, and we’re tired. But I have more of an excuse than you do. I worked all day, sent the network a ton of information that they requested, and whipped up that gourmet dinner, dessert and espresso for you.”
“When you put it that way, yes you do have more of an excuse than me. But I’ve been working hard as well. I’m writing nonstop for Limelight and my blog, and I had to go out and party with my new cohorts in the writing department before I came here. So I’m tired, too!”
“Are you too tired to have a talk right now?” Michael asked softly.
Here we go, Leslie thought. Am I ready for this?
Her mind began to race. Then she took a deep breath and paused for a moment.
Yes. You’re ready.
She sat up and turned toward Michael. “No, I’m not too tired. Let’s talk.”
He took her hand in his. “So…you already know how I feel about you. I’ve been into you since the day we met. But I know that you’ve had your reservations. You have been through a lot when it comes to dating, and I know you’re really focused on your career. But now that things are coming together for the both of us, I’m hoping that you’d be willing to giving us a chance…as more than friends.”
Leslie was silent. While she did have feelings for Michael, it had been so long since she’d been in a serious, committed relationship. Was she ready for that? Was he ready for that, especially considering he’d been through a divorce?
“Should I take your silence as a no?” Michael asked quietly.
“No…You shouldn’t, but…”
“So what is it that’s causing the hesitation?”
“Well…it’s just that we have such a strong friendship, and I don’t want to mess that up. I want to be certain that we’re both ready for this.”
“Like I said, I’ve been ready. I was just waiting on you.”
Leslie stared down at her hands, hesitant to continue. Then she inhaled sharply and kept going, knowing that if she and Michael were going to have a future together, they had to put it all out on the table.
“You’re right. I have been through a lot when it comes to my past relationships. But what about you? What about the aftermath of your divorce? And the fact that you’re moving away? How would we handle that?”
Michael took Leslie’s chin in his hand and gazed into her eyes sincerely. “I understand your concerns. But let me say this. After my divorce, I remained single for a long time and allowed myself to heal. And as for my move, I don’t think we should allow something as trivial as miles to stop us from being together. I’d rather be with you, even if I’m far away, than not be with you at all. We can work the whole distance thing out.”
Leslie allowed Michael’s words to sink in. Everything he’d said made sense. And sounded good. She trusted him enough to know that he really did care about her and sincerely wanted to be with her. And now, she was finally ready to admit that she wanted to be with him, too.
“So,” he continued, “Does that happy expression on your face mean that you’re willing to give us a chance?”
“Yes,” Leslie smiled. “It does.”
Michael squeezed her hand and broke out into a huge grin. “Good. And since we’re now both wide awake, are you up for watching another movie?”
“Why not. But we’d better watch an action flick this time. And we might need a couple more espressos, too.”
Michael hopped up excitedly and heading into the kitchen. “Coming right up!” When he returned, he sat down next to Leslie and handed her a demitasse. Then
he leaned and kissed her tenderly on the lips.
Leslie gasped slightly. Michael had caught her completely off guard. But when she felt the touch of his soft lips, she closed her eyes and allowed herself to get lost in his kiss.
Several moments passed before the pair pulled away from one another. Leslie looked at Michael, and this time saw him in a completely different light. This time, she was looking at him as the man in her life as oppose to just a friend.
Michael caressed her cheek tenderly. “That was nice. Really nice.”
“Yes it was.”
“Should we start the movie?”
“Yes,” Leslie replied, watching Michael as he selected a film. She sipped her espresso and thought about how she hadn’t felt this happy and content in quite a long time.
Once the movie began to play, Michael wrapped the two of them up in his blanket. Leslie leaned her head against his chest and exhaled, feeling as though she’d finally gotten it right this time.
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