Laura spent the rest of that afternoon, and the evening at work, telling herself that it was best she didn’t see Sean Fenton any more. She had to get on with her life, find another waitressing job, and continue teaching the kids. Maybe it was time to start living a little again though. Perhaps she would accept some of those invites to go out with some people her age. She felt a little happier having decided what she was going to do, which was in fact much the same as she was currently doing, nice and safe, but maybe slowly she was ready to start opening up to new possibilities.
So if she was so content, then why did she feel so empty? Laura wondered. Of course she knew why. When Sean Fenton was around, that was when she felt truly happy. In time she supposed she would forget him. Letting him go was the right thing to do, and after all, that was what Laura did, the right thing, not, heaven forbid, the fun thing, the unexpected, the adventurous thing, or any of those things that she and her mother had done together and dreamt of doing. But oh how she longed to let herself go instead and run after Sean Fenton, chase the happiness he brought to her life, and not worry about what happens next.
“Laura, I think someone is here to see you,” Pedro said, breaking her train of thought. She turned around and felt her heart soar up into the clouds. There, climbing the steps to the restaurant was Sean Fenton. He was smiling directly at her, his perfect white teeth contrasting with his tanned face, the slight dimples at the sides of his mouth just adding to the warmth of his smile; and his black eyes smouldering an invite across the restaurant that was unmistakable to Laura. He had come for her! She stood still, quite incapable of movement or speech, her mind turning that thought over and over in her head. Sean Fenton had come for her!
Sean had driven up the coast to a larger town to look for a present after leaving Laura that afternoon. The drive had helped him clear his head and think of a way to continue seeing Laura, who was now in his blood, like a drug that he did not want to give up. He had decided to ask her to come with him. He walked across the restaurant towards Laura now, and handed her the large bouquet of flowers he was holding, “Happy Birthday Laura” he said, and kissed her gently on the cheek.
“Thank you Sean” Laura managed to say as she took the flowers. She smiled as she saw they were yellow roses, remembering he had asked her favourite colour that afternoon in the English lesson.
“You go and sit down with Senor Fenton,” Pedro said, “I’ll bring some drinks over for you both.
Laura floated over to a table carrying the flowers and sat down opposite Sean. Moments later, Pedro appeared with two iced Mojacars and set them down on the table, before heading over to check on the last few remaining restaurant guests.
Laura was still dumbstruck. She felt as if she were in a dream, Sean appearing like her knight in shining armour, to rescue her from the small little life she had emprisoned herself in following her mother’s death. This was her chance to be set free. Just seeing him here now, and the desire on his face, filled her with so much hope she felt she would burst. She took a sip of her drink, and looked over at Sean, still not quite trusting herself to speak, not wanting to do anything that might disturb this perfect moment, and her perfect dream.
Sean was the first to speak. “Laura” he began, “You are a beautiful woman. I wanted to get you a present that was worthy of your beauty.” Sean then handed Laura a black velvet box, tied with a yellow ribbon.
Laura looked at the box, and with trembling hands pulled the ribbon and lifted the lid. Her eyes widened and she drew in her breath when she saw the dazzling diamond necklace that sat on the velvet cushion inside the box. She had several items of jewellery with sparkling stones in them, none very expensive, she just liked the sparkle and shine of them. But she had never seen anything sparkle quite like this necklace did. She knew at once that this was what real diamonds looked like. Real diamonds, she thought, mesmerised by the dancing light shining up from the box. Finally she looked up at Sean.
“I don’t know what to say,” she said.
“Say you’ll come with me” Sean replied, grasping both her hands and looking into her eyes.
Laura looked into Sean’s smiling face, taken aback by his sudden offer. Go with him? Where to? “Yes” she wanted to shout, wanting to abandon all sense but something held her back, as her perfect dream flickered uncertainly for the first time.
“What do you mean go with you?” Laura asked, her mind unwilling to move from the simple fact that he had come for her, and look at the reality of the situation.
“The restaurant will be closing soon, you won’t have a job to keep you here, I want to get to know you more Laura, and I know the attraction is mutual. I’m not ready to say goodbye to you yet. Come with me,” Sean replied smiling. He was sure he had found the perfect solution for them both.
Laura stared at Sean stunned. She wasn’t exactly sure what he was offering, but the perfect dream scenario she had created in her mind with Sean as her handsome prince was beginning to seem somehow slightly less perfect.
“Come with you and do what Sean?” Laura asked, struggling to understand his train of thought and where she fitted in.
“Well, whatever you want Laura. I’ll need to work of course, so you’ll have time to explore the places we go, maybe do some shopping or sightseeing, then we can spend my spare time getting to know each other better,” he replied. “It would be like a holiday for you Laura, but we wouldn’t have to wait until my next project is finished to see each other again.”
“A holiday,” she repeated. “Shopping and sightseeing”.
“Or whatever you want to do Laura, it doesn’t matter. I’ll pay for it, you don’t have to worry about that,” he smiled, sure of himself and the offer he was presenting. He was thinking how nice it was going to be to come back to Laura after working each day. Finally, a chance to explore the attraction between them.
“So you’re offering to take me on a holiday?” Laura asked slowly, “So we can get to know each other a bit better, until you’re ready to say goodbye to me. Then what Sean? I’ll just say goodbye and come back here?” What was she expecting? Why was that idea so bad? Her whole self ached to be with him, physically and emotionally. So why not take the risk, not worry about the consequences. Take a chance?
Sean frowned, he hadn’t really thought past getting to know Laura more. He wasn’t sure himself about what would happen next.
“I told you before Laura, I can’t offer you any kind of commitment, I’ve been there, done that. My work will always come first. I just thought maybe we could give ourselves a chance to get to know each other better. Surely some time is better than none at all?” Sean was beginning to worry now. Laura wasn’t as keen on his idea as he’d expected. She wanted more from him that he wasn’t willing to give. But he was determined not to give up.
“Here, let me put that necklace on for you,” he said standing up and reaching for the necklace that was still sparkling brightly in its case.
“No thank you, Sean.” Laura stood up sharply. “What you’re offering me isn’t exactly what I want,” she said carefully choosing her words. This was not being swept off her feet by the man of her dreams as he declared his undying love for her. She thought she was ready to let herself go, to have an adventure, but this wasn’t the dream she imagined. A holiday romance?
“I agree Sean, the attraction between us is mutual, but I need more than a holiday.” Looking at him now, at his perfect face, physique and clothes, Laura finally realised what it was that was stopping her from going with him. He knew who he was, he was sure of himself and what he did. As he had said, his work was the most important thing in his life, she would have to fit in around the life he had already built for himself. She thought of Pedro and Conchita discussing their dreams together, sharing their dreams, and realised that she and Sean were at different stages. He was already living his life, while she was still trying to figure hers out. To move into someone else’s life wasn’t the answer she was looking for.
Sean looked across at Laura, her long hair twisted up behind her head, leaving her l slender neck bare. Those bright green eyes framed with long dark lashes were the most beautiful eyes he’d ever seen. More than anything he wanted to sweep her into his arms, kiss her and hold her tight. Although he couldn’t offer her any kind of commitment now, he was willing to explore the possibilities, take things slow. But she needed more than that now. That was a risk he was unwilling to take. He was happy with the way his life was, and didn’t want to add another factor into that like a relationship with a woman, before he fully understood the consequences.
Laura’s realisation had calmed her mind. The situation seemed much clearer, and she was back to where she had started the evening, with her decision to look for a new job, start to build up her social life and slowly begin living again. Only this time, she felt she had a valid reason to say goodbye to Sean Fenton, and the promise of adventure and excitement he brought about in her. She was grateful he had awakened those feelings in her, but knew she had to find her own way now.
“Sean, you asked me once before what it was I want to do, if I have any dreams. Well, I don’t yet know the answer to those questions. I need to find that out for myself, not live someone else’s idea of a dream. Thank you for your offer, but I think I’ll stay here.”
“But Laura” Sean began, stepping towards her and reaching out for her.
Laura stepped back, knowing that if she allowed herself into his arms, her resolve would falter, the physical desire she felt for him was overwhelming, but she knew she had to get beyond that, to what was really important.
“No, Sean. Please don’t make this any harder than it already is. I need to find my own dream.” Her voice fell to almost a whisper as she said those last words. Then she turned and walked away, leaving Sean, and his flowers and gift behind.
Sean sank back into his chair, turning the box on the table to look at the diamond necklace he had bought, imagining how it would have looked resting on the olive skin of her chest.
The story continues tomorrow.......