Darius hesitated and felt awkward for a moment.
He looked at her and politely smiled a nervous grin and said, “Well, maybe one of these days.”
The two continued their meal. The first few things that were ordered were brought to the table; some crab and cheese wontons along with some Thai Shrimp skewers. Darius changed the subject to what Allison had been up to, and she explained that she had been hitting all of the major fashion events. Milan, Toronto, Dubai, viewing the next season’s dresses and determining what her employer should order. They chatted about life and family and all sorts of regular chitchat, and they had a delightful time. At one point, prior to the dessert coming, Allison got a bit somber and nervous.
She looked at Darius and said, “There’s something I have been wanting to tell you.”
Darius wasn’t sure what to expect, so he said, “ok, go ahead. I’m sure whatever it is I’ll be able to handle.”
Then Allison said, “I really have been working on improving my mental health. I’ve been going to counseling, and I’ve gotten a lot of treatment. I have made a lot of progress, and I’m turning my life around. I’m sorry that you ever had to see me like that and I want you to know that I’m doing it because of how much losing you affected me. If I hadn’t had that final wake-up call, I wouldn’t have gotten my life together. I don’t blame you for leaving me, and I just hope that we can be friends again.”
Darius was flush with emotion. He felt like it was genuine. He still couldn’t just accept it though.
He looked at her and said, “I’m really glad to hear that. I honestly hope that it is true, and you have made great progress, but you need to know that if I ever experience another one of your outbursts or rages, that I will cut off all ties with you.”
Darius was apprehensive after he said it because in the past, from his experience, telling Allison that you wouldn’t put up with her shit meant that Allison would heap a lot of shit at you in a giant, childish temper tantrum. To his surprise, that didn’t happen.
Without skipping a beat, Allison looked up at him and said, “of course, I totally understand and I wouldn’t blame you. The way I have treated you in the past was wrong, and I wouldn’t expect you to put up with anything like that again.”
Darius thought and said, “Well, I appreciate that, thank you.”
In the back of his mind, he was very impressed with the progress Allison had made. He looked at her, and he saw the woman he first met years ago. He saw how beautiful she was and how good she looked in a dress that fit her form in the best of ways. Allison noticed and chuckled. She played with the straps on her dress and pulled it up a little bit.
She said, “Geez, don’t you know how to make a girl blush? I just came out for dinner. I didn’t realize that you were going to undress me with your eyes.”
Darius chuckled and felt a flush of embarrassment, along with heat, in his face and other places, urges that were stirred up, that he had not entertained in a long time.
He apologized. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to.”
“Don’t worry about it,” said Allison. “There is a reason I wore this dress” and she laughed as well.
When the waitress came to the table, she asked: “Would you like any coffee?”
They looked at each other quickly.
Before Allison could say anything, Darius took the risk and said, “no that’s ok.”
He looked at Allison and said, “want to have coffee at my place?”
Allison grinned and said “sure.”
It was settled, the same way the bill was when Darius insisted on using his credit card. In just a few short weeks Darius had gone from not spending a moment in the day thinking about the woman he had removed from his life to inviting her back into his life and new home. He was a mix of emotions, but the apprehension he should have felt was replaced by those urges he had repressed for so long. Primal urges had been awakened by the curves and form of Allison in that dress. A white dress that hugged every curve and every supple part of her body in the most perfect way. In a way that told him that she wasn’t wearing a bra and that if he knew her, if there was still part of the Allison he knew in her, she probably wasn’t wearing any panties either. It caused a rush of excitement at the core of him. Even though he knew that nothing might happen, even though he knew not to push for anything because of their history, even with the pain she had made him endure in the past, he couldn’t help himself.
He even offered her a ride in his new car, partially so that he wouldn’t have to give her his address and partially so they could continue to talk so he could keep himself distracted from some of the thoughts he was having. Allison left her Hybrid in the parking lot at the restaurant and climbed into Darius’ Escalade. The closer they go to his home, the more the conversation turned to a flirtatious nature. They teased each other until they got into the driveway. Darius pulled in, exited the car and opened the back gate, letting Henry run through the yard and meet Allison. Henry stopped and stared at her for a moment and gave her a low grumble.
Surprised, Darius said, “No Henry!”
Henry looked at his master shamefully and complied with what he knew he should do, which was greet the stranger and allow her to pet him. Darius turned and walked toward the front door, then opened it. Henry strolled in right after him.
At the doorway, Darius turned to look at Allison, who was still hovering at the threshold.
He spread his arms in a grand gesture and said, “Well, this is it. This is the place.”
He took the keys out of his pocket and set them on the side table in the foyer, where he always set his keys. He began to slide off his jacket and move towards the hook that he would hang it on. Allison still stood at the wide-open door, looking dumbfounded.
“Well, are you going to invite me in?” She said very sternly.
Darius chuckled and thought about all those standards of manners and social customs of ancient cultures that he researched.
“What are you, a vampire or something?” he asked, jokingly.
Suddenly Allison’s face turned into a scowl, a scowl that Darius recognized from the past, from times that weren’t as good as the night they were having tonight.
“How rude are you?” Allison said, suddenly very angry. “You think you’re funny? You can’t even do me the courtesy of inviting me into your home?”
Darius was taken aback, he was startled and nearly apologized, but something was wrong.
Before the apology could slip out of his lips he thought, “who in their right mind would be this upset?”
He felt he had made quite an obvious indication that she should enter, although he didn’t specifically invite her in. Any normal, sane person would have just come in. They had been building up an incredible flirtation. Who would risk ruining that vibe if they were truly interested? Maybe she was just playing with his mind?
“So invite me in already.” She said.
Darius thought about all the pain he endured in the past with Allison and felt suddenly trapped. He didn’t respond. He wasn’t going to put up with her shit again and if he had to close the door in her face to prove a point he would. Just to test things out, so she would get the point that her behavior was not going to be accepted, just like he told her at dinner. He stared directly into Allison’s eyes, his wide and wild like a crazy person. While staring he slowly closed the door in her face. He walked over to the small hutch beside the kitchen with the liquor cabinet and poured himself a shot of whiskey. He quickly downed the potent amber fluid in one gulp. He intended to go back to the front door and have a frank discussion with Allison, possibly on his front porch, prepared to take her back to her car at the sushi restaurant.
When he turned, Allison greeted him. She had somehow gotten through the gate and into the backyard. She was in the window of the back door that led to the pool and patio area of the back yard. She was glaring at him, her face distorted, brandishing her teeth. Her features were twisted and disfigured by intense anger and her eyes glowed. She was hovering several inches off the ground. Her hands and nails were claws, gripping the edge of the window.
“Let me in, you son of a bitch!” she said.
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