He occupied the back corner of a French restaurant tucked into a Washington, DC suburb, watching the world go by one diner at a time. Swirling the glass of Perrier in his long, tanned fingers, he allowed his interest to focus on one particular patron. Incredibly, she’d wandered in about twenty minutes ago, accompanied by another woman.
At first he’d done a double-take. So many times over the last six years, he’d seen her – or at least imagined that he’d seen her. In a dozen different cities at a dozen different times, he’d trailed after her only to find that –once again – it was his imagination.
He initially assumed this was yet another instance of overactive imagination, but the closer he looked, the more familiar the woman seemed.
She and her friend had been talking animatedly ever since they were seated, their lilting laughter drifting back into his secluded corner. He leaned back into the leather booth, thanking the stroke of luck that seated her facing him. Because, now convinced that it was really her, he couldn’t tear his eyes away.
A tiny sprite of a woman, she had a long coppery braid and pert, upturned nose. Her full, bowed mouth was a dusky shade of pink and freckles dusted across her porcelain cheekbones. He couldn’t see them from here, but he knew her eyes were the color of Irish whiskey.
And she was just as beautiful as he remembered.
That was a relief in and of itself. One couldn’t always be trusted to remember things clearly after a night of indulgence.
But you didn’t indulge.
No. He hadn’t indulged. Not that way. The only thing he’d taken advantage of was her sweet nature and a lot of alcohol.
In retrospect, he was glad. It would be haunting him, even now, if he had taken that kind of liberty with the sweet little leprechaun. There was still a debt owed in her favor, but it wasn’t because of some sleazy hookup with a drunk.
This girl – woman – didn’t deserve sleazy. She had a good heart, and he was determined to repay his debt.