“I’m okay. Just needed to get away for awhile. Don’t text me again.”

I turn my phone face down on the bedside table.  I’m just not ready for the confrontation I know is simmering between me and Eric. Not yet.

Sam steps out of the bathroom.

“Does he know you’re here?”

“No, I didn’t tell him about us, if that’s what you mean. Should I?”

“What about your life back home? Are you here for good?” He deflects my question with inquiries of his own.

It would be easy enough for Eric to flip through the pages of my journal I left behind at the house. To read about my feelings for Sam. The desires I’ve been harboring over the past year. Shit. My journal.

“I don’t know yet. I haven’t thought that far ahead. A lot depends.”

“On what?”

“On you.”

“You know my situation now, Stacey.”

“And you know mine.”

“What are you prepared to do? Are you saying you have left him?”

“I’m not saying that. But I’m not saying I won’t. I’m here. What does that say to you?”

He rubs his forehead, squinting like he has a headache. He gives me a grave look.

“You know I love you.  I wish things were different. I wish I had met you in another time, maybe twenty years ago. But, Rachel and the business.”

“Ah, Rachel.”

“I know, I told you before there’s no love between us. Simply convenience. And the business, of course. But it’s not something I can just walk away from. I have too much invested.”

“I know, and I’m not saying you have to leave them. That’s why I am here. You can stay  here, you can keep your business interests—and we can finally be together, full-time.”

I realize I sound like I am pleading, almost wheedling.

“I thought we were past this. You were the one who ended things between us.”

“But, God, I never wanted to. I just couldn’t manage wanting to be with you all the time and feeling like there was no way it could work. But I think it can work. I am willing to take a chance on this. Are you?”

He buttons his shorts and slips into his loafers.

“I need a couple days to sort this out. You have taken me by surprise, Stacey. I never could have imagined you would do this.”

“Why are you punishing me? I thought this is what you wanted!”  I snatch a sundress and a clean pair of underwear from my bag and head toward the bathroom in a huff.

“I didn’t mean to upset you. Give me some time.” He grasps my shoulder from behind and brings me in for a hug.

“I missed you, Sam.” My voice is muffled against his shoulder.

“I missed you too. But, why are you really here? What is it that you really want?”

To be continued…