He was late. I didn't want to glance at my phone again. I didn't need to. The waitress had already come by twice asking if I wanted to order a starter while I waited for my guest. I shook my head no and asked for another glass of wine. I was on my second glass. I'd had to drink slowly to make sure I wouldn't overdo it. Please let him be on his way. Please let him not be in an accident or stuck in another meeting. My mind was already rationalizing the reasons he wasn't here.
I was at the last possible one—he forgot—when my phone beeped. I swiped the screen.
Running late—there in 15 minutes. XOXO.
I typed in "OK" and took another sip of my wine. He was on his way. He hadn't forgotten me. But then the minutes crept by and fifteen minutes bled into thirty minutes. I texted him but received no reply. I waited a few more minutes and tried not to let my spirits fade. I knew how he was when he was at the workshop. He could get caught up in a project, new ideas would come to him, seducing him away from thoughts of anything else. I tried texting again but he still didn't answer.
It was over an hour now. I flagged down the waitress, made a ridiculous excuse that I was certain she saw through, and paid for my drinks. When I walked out of the restaurant, I'd hoped I'd bump into him, but he was nowhere to be found on Store Kongensgade. Though it was nearly nine o'clock in the evening, the sky wasn't dark. Summers in Scandinavia were magical like that. The white nights...the strange, disconnected feel from the rest of the year. I tried to stay focused on this as I walked the route that would take me to his workshop. There was no point in going to the hotel. If he'd forgotten about the restaurant, there was no way he'd show up at the hotel.
That old familiar feeling? Where I felt beautiful and sexy and desirable? It was seeping away, taking with it every morsel of my self-confidence. Was I so easy to forget? Even when I'd told him I needed him... I nearly began sobbing as I waited for the traffic light to go from red to green. I blinked the tears back. No, I would not cry. I was not going to be one of those women who became hysterical in public, even if my stomach was twisting in knots and my eyes burned. Fuck! This was embarrassing...
By the time I arrived at his workshop, I'd talked myself down, told myself I could forgive him for forgetting about me as long as he was creating something beautiful. His passion for his craft was one of the things I loved about him...even when it meant his craft was more like his mistress. I put on a practiced smile, reminded myself that there were worse things that could happen... I'd nearly convinced myself that I was no longer angry when I finally pushed open the door and took in the scene. The atmosphere was more party than meeting... Music blasted from the ceiling speakers. The main area—what they usually used as a showroom/consultation area was crowded with bodies... Somewhere in here was Mads. I eased past the unfamiliar bodies, until I saw him...leaning against the farm table they jokingly referred to as their roundtable, beer in hand, and laughing at something the woman with him was saying. At first I didn't recognize her but then it clicked—this was the infamous Benny, the bombshell Jonas spent ages swooning over when we'd had a barbecue in our apartment building's communal garden. She tossed her hair back and reached out—her hand lingered on his arm. Move, Mads, I wanted to scream. Don't let her touch you! But he took a swig of his beer and let her hand stay perched near his elbow. She took a step closer to him—his eyes traveled the whole length of her and then lingered on her chest.
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