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Sorry for being MIA this week! On top of all the craziness that comes with this time of year I've gotten a cold, I had an uncle pass away, my friends mother passed away and a little boy at school has his father get killed in an accident. It's been a tough week!
I do have the next part of the novel for you to read. It's kind of long and I hope you like it.
I spotted him as soon as I walked into the restaurant. He was sitting at a table for four wearing a dark suit and drinking red wine. He was alone for the moment, but he looked perfectly content. He also looked perfectly handsome. I don't think he was nearly this good looking as a teenager. He definitely grew into his looks! I said a small prayer to the revenge Gods and hoped that while he looked good on the outside, he was somehow completely miserable on the
That was when he noticed me standing there and smiled. He stood up and waved me over just in case I didn't recognize him. I kept my purse over my butt and walked to the table hoping that I looked sexier than I felt.
I was almost at the table when some guy pushed his chair back causing me to trip on the chair leg. I stumbled forward and Ben had to catch me before I fell to the ground. He managed to help me into a chair and when I looked around to see if anyone else in the restaurant had noticed, I saw people turning red in the face as they covered their mouths to keep from laughing out loud. Apparently, Ben was the only one in the place that hadn't gotten a good look at my pink polka dotted underwear through the rip in my dress.
"Well, you certainly know how to make an entrance. Are you OK?"
"I'm not going to die of embarrassment ...yet, if that's what you mean." I took another quick look around the restaurant, daring anyone to say something about my underwear.
Ben gave me a strange look and said that he was glad to hear that.
"I hope I didn't keep you waiting long. I had the hardest time deciding what to wear." I lied and smiled as I did.
"No, not at all. I really just got here myself. I was held up at the hospital. Besides, it gave me time to have a glass of wine and unwind from my day."
"Hospital? I hope everything is alright. You aren't sick are you?"
He chuckled at the thought of being sick and said, "I wish I could get sick! I could use the day off. But, I'm actually Chief of Surgery at Mecklenburg Memorial."
My heart fell to my toes. "You're a doctor?"
"Yes. Well, I'm a surgeon. We surgeons like to think of ourselves as being more than just a doctor."
I picked up the glass of wine he poured me with one hand and used my other hand to grab a passing waiter and order a Margarita. I then proceeded to drain the wine glass and held it out for Ben to pour me some more.
"Wow, have you had a bad day or something?" Ben questioned as he reached for the wine bottle.
"You can't even begin to imagine." I rolled my eyes and waved my hands in the air as I answered.
He poured my glass of wine then held his glass up in a toast, "Here's to better days for both of us."
I mumbled something and finished off my second glass of wine just as a waiter was putting a salad down in front of me.
When did I order a salad?
"Ginger, I hope you don't mind but I took the liberty of ordering dinner for both of us. I have a long day ahead of me tomorrow and need to make an early night of it. Besides, this restaurant has the best prime rib in all of North Carolina."
"That's great. Thank you for being so thoughtful."
I don't want prime rib!
That's when the waiter brought my Margarita and I wanted to jump up and kiss him of the mouth, but I managed to resist. Mostly because I was still trying to hide the rip in my dress.
"So, I guess you never left Charlotte after high school?"
"Actually, after college I took a year and backpacked around Europe before going to medical school in California."
"Your parents must be so proud of you. Are you married? Do you have any kids?" I wasn't sure what answers I was hoping for, but I held my breath while I waited for them.
"Mom passed away from cancer my junior year in college. My dad and I had a huge fight before I went to Europe and we haven't really talked since then. He's living somewhere in Arizona now. As for a wife and kids, well, that just wasn't in the cards for me."
"Are you one of those guys who is married to his job?" I joked.
Ben shifted uncomfortably in his chair and leaned forward, "Not really. My heart was just in other places."
Ben looked like he wanted to say more, but stopped himself.
I began to feel very hopeful at that moment. Even though he was handsome and successful he must be lonely. He must have never gotten over me and hasn't been able to move on because of it.
"Your heart lies in other places? Don't tell me that there is some girl from your past that you haven't been able to get over." I starred at Ben hopefully.
I leaned forward on the table and waited for him to tell me that he loved me. That he had always loved me. That he would always love me and only me. That he had spent years searching for me. That his life was now complete because I was part of it again. That he wanted and needed me to stay with him forever.
Imagine my surprise when he said, "Ginger, I'm gay."
I was still trying to register what he had said when the waiter took my salad and placed my dinner in front of me. I asked him to bring me another Margarita. The waiter patted me on the shoulder and whispered that he understood and that he would bring me as many Margaritas as I wanted.
Ben put his hand on mine and squeezed it a little to draw my attention back to him. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to blurt it out like that. I thought you already knew. Once I came out in college word spread fast around here."
"I haven't really spent much time here since high school and I lost touch with everyone we went to school with a long time ago."
"Well, you're here now and I think it's great. We'll have to do a better job of staying in touch from now on." Ben smiled and went back to eating his dinner.
"Yeah, that would be great." I tried to sound excited.
I didn't even let the waiter place the Margarita on the table. I just took it right from his hand.
"Ben had started eating his dinner and he watched me with a weary look on his face. "Ginger, can you take some more news about my life?" Ben watched me for my reaction.
"Sure, that would be great." I drank half of the Margarita and prayed that I would be able to listen to whatever he had to say without actually bleeding from my ears.
"Do you remember Preston Noel from high school?"
"Sure, I dated him for awhile after you broke up with me." Thinking of Preston made me smile. I would have to look him up next.
Ben stared at me without smiling and waited until I caught on.
"NO!" People in the restaurant turned to stare at us. Once they realized it was the underwear woman screaming they started laughing again and went back to their dinner.
"We've been together, officially, since college. We went to Europe together. That was actually what caused the fight between my father and myself. He just can't face the fact that his only son likes men."
I downed what was left of my Margarita and handed the glass to the first waiter I saw. "I need another one, NOW!"
I turned my attention back to Ben, "Let me make sure I've got this right. My first boyfriend and my second boyfriend are a couple? You've been together since college? You even went to Europe together?"
Why hasn't anyone ever taken me to Europe? I want to go to Europe, too!
"Ginger, are you going to be alright? Do you want some water?" Ben had completely forgotten about his dinner and was sitting there looking like he wanted to be anywhere else.
"No...and no! I think I'm going to throw up." I saw the waiter running toward our table with my Margarita in his hand. I stood up and met him halfway, took the drink from his hand and walked out of the restaurant. I didn't even try to cover up my polka dotted underwear.
I almost made it to the elevator before I started crying.