Jess wasn't sure what to expect.
There Slater was with his friend, and of course, Irma, as if she'd found a new band of friends to hang out with.
Jess was never that comfortable in her own skin. Still, she was meek and ordered an iced tea without anything sweet. The rest ordered coffee and hot chocolate.
She wanted to stare at Slater for a good long while, and say nothing. Yes, he looked just as beautiful as she remembered, but then she had to remember..that was not enough.
There was not enough ..for it to matter.
He was telling her about teaching little kids about discipline in the martial arts. He said he'd learned a lot from Josh.
She slightly nodded as she gazed at Josh, momentarily, but wished she hadn't.
If only she had some enthusiasm. But truth be told, she was a hibernating elephant. She'd migrated nowhere. Except to the library and back and lived on protein bars, for the most part. She pressed a smile, wanting to say she was proud of him, but she didn't.
A lump lodged in her throat, as she grew a bit weepy. This was no time to shed emotions, but she couldn't help it. Maybe he wouldn't notice. He never did, before.
"You're looking well," Slater told her. "You, haven't changed a bit."
She nodded, hardly able to clear her throat. She couldn't look at him. Not anymore, but when she looked up, he smiled at her.
"I've been thinking, all this time, I might never see you, again." His voice cracked. "I wanted to see you. I really did. I..I just didn't know how. I'm sorry. I should have written. Its just, I was never any good at writing."
She sniffed the tears then.
"It hurts my fingers." His smile was open.
She smiled too. She could breathe well now..when his hand, full of warmth, took hers..like she'd always wanted him, too.