By Valerie Twombly
Shawn pulled his old schoolmate into an embrace. Though her body was stiff at first, it only took a second for her to relax and melt into him. He buried his nose in her piled-up locks and took in the scent of coconut shampoo. He remembered it had always been her favorite. When he finally released her, he took a step back and held her at arm’s length.
“You look stunning, Jojo.” She gave a bashful smile, just like he remembered.
“Thanks. It’s been a long time.” She wiggled free. “I heard you got married and moved away. Do you have any children yet?”
He cast his gaze to the skaters on the rink and watched a couple of children tumble to the ice. “We divorced after six months.”
“Oh…” She touched his arm. “I’m so sorry.”
He looked back in time to watch her push a stray curl out of her eyes and tuck it behind her ear. God, he’d always loved her hair and had spent many nights imagining running his fingers through the silky mass. “It’s okay. We were young and the entire thing was a mistake. We both agreed it was time to end it before we ended up hating each other.” It had been a brief fling and in the heat of passion, he and Brittany had flown to Vegas and eloped. He’d never regretted anything more. Well…except for never telling Jojo how he really felt about her.
“What about you? Married? Kids?” Please say no. He’d come back home several months ago and had meant to look her up. Had even gone so far as to stalk her vlog, but nowhere could he find out if there was a mister in her life.
“Me? Nope. I’m still single. No man in my life, I’m sorry to say.”
“I can’t believe no one has scooped you up and taken you away.”
She let out a familiar soft laugh. Nothing had changed with his Jojo except maybe she’d grown more beautiful. “Well, I’m back in the city on business. Plan to be here awhile and I’d love to get together. Can I take you to dinner?”
“Oh… umm, I’m not sure. You know it’s the holidays, and I have family visiting from back home.” She took a step back and he could sense she wanted to put some distance between them. Why? He wasn’t sure. They’d always been good friends in high school. He’d wanted more, but she seemed untouchable to him. Now though… Now they were adults and he wasn’t backing down.
“I refuse to take no for an answer. If not dinner then how about coffee?” He put on the biggest grin he could muster. “Certainly you can find even thirty minutes for an old friend.”
She touched her hair and pushed it around then shoved her hands into her coat pockets. “Well… Okay. How about tomorrow, say ten? I can meet you at the Starbucks here at the Plaza.”
“Perfect.” He may not be able to wine and dine her but this was a start, and he intended to do everything in his power to make it perfect for her.