His first book tour and I wouldn’t miss it for the world. I can’t miss it. I have waited so long for this moment…for this chance to meet him, face to face…in the flesh. The possibilities that cross my mind make me blush.

I arrive early to secure a place at the head of the line. My heart beats out of my chest and my knees threaten to buckle as I glance around, wondering if anyone notices the frantic expression of expectation on my face.

I try to act casual when our eyes meet and we smile at one another. But he rises for a broad gesture—walking around the book table, and embracing me warmly. Like an old friend. And I guess that’s what we are, after all.

But, we can’t just leave it at this. And I don’t care what his situation is…whether there is another woman waiting somewhere in the wings. I just don’t care. This may be my only chance and I’m going to make my play.

“So, um…do you have plans when this is over?”

He smiles.

We meet for dinner at a quiet Asian restaurant near his hotel. Perfect, I think to myself.

Settling into a corner booth, we open the large, red menus, laying them flat on the table to study the offerings.

“Well, here we are. How very civilized.” I look up, with a wink.

“You clean up pretty well, old friend.”

He laughs at the cliché, knowing I am prone to bad puns and general silliness. Especially when I am nervous. Yes, he knows this about me…how I default to joke-making when physical intimacy becomes an imminent possibility.

“Thank you. I have to say you are even more lovely in person.”

“You are too kind. I am so happy we could meet like this.”

There is so much more I want to say, but I just smile demurely, suppressing the words I fear will tumble clumsily from my mouth and without censor if I allow myself full disclosure.

How I would express my strong desire to be in his arms, right now, lost in his kiss…the heat of our bodies pressed together, the insistent strain of his erection through his trousers, hungrily anticipating the inevitable discovery of our passion, in full bloom.

But it’s too soon. I need to pace myself. The night is young.

I order a light dinner of miso soup and a vegetable sushi roll. I require very little to sustain me as the adrenaline sets the pace for my energy on this evening. I do order a small Saki, just to bolster my courage to say the things I want to say…to finally do the things I have wanted to do for so long.

He orders the Yakisoba noodle dish. As the server turns to leave I lean across the table and quip, without thinking:

“So, this must be your cheat day, yeah?”

His face takes a serious cast and he raises an eyebrow. I sink back in my seat and we are both silent for a long, awkward moment. He suddenly bursts into laughter at my attempt at a joke, and then laughs anew at the evident relief on my face when I realize the awful faux pas I just made.

“Ah, such a way with words, Jillian. Your timing is exquisite, as always.”

He reaches across the table and takes my hand, looking me straight in the eye.

“There is nowhere I would rather be right now.”

“Me, too,” I say. And I really mean it.

I begin to relax, taking a deep breath as I settle into the quiet comfort of being with him. At the same time, the excitement in my body, the surge of blood and energy, is an ever-present companion– an imperative, urging me forward into the next moment. Into the next frame. Where we can finally be alone together.

Really alone.

To be continued…