Kingston was questioning the sense of his administrative assistant when he first pulled up to the address she had given him. From the outside it looked like a condominium complex. In fact, he’d looked at a few places nearby when he first moved to Little Rock before he decided to pursue his current condo in the downtown River Market. As he stepped inside he saw an elevator and a sign that said Brave New, Floor 1. “Well, at least she got me to the right building,” he thought as the elevator strained and bumped its way up one level. Turning left, he walked toward the sounds of voices and found the entrance to the restaurant. It looked very crowded and he hoped that he hadn’t made a mistake by not making a reservation in advance.
A hostess approached him and asked where he would like to sit. Kingston scanned the inside once again not seeing an empty table. He noticed that there was and outside patio and thought that he might have more luck out there when his eyes found another pair of eyes staring back at him that knocked the air out of his lungs. “Eva…” the name slipped softly through his lips. The hostess tried to see what was stealing away her new customers attention and notice that he was staring at the Drs. Barnett. “Do you know the Barnetts, Sir? They are amazing and come here often. I can lead you to them if you like. Honestly, the balcony is probably your best bet for a seat if you don’t want to wait for a table to free up inside,” she said.
Kingston tore his gaze away from Eva quickly assessing his choices and said, “Yes, I’d definitely like to try the patio.” He followed the hostess through a windy path of tables and chatter and stepped through the door to the outdoor eating area. Upon reaching their table, Kingston slowed to allow the father of his ex-fiance stand and extended his hand in friendly greeting.
“Dr. Barnett, it’s good to see you, Sir. It’s been a long time.”
“Kingston, what a pleasant surprise. What brings you to Little Rock?”
“My company decided to bring me back to the States and plant me here. I must say, I’m surprised by how much I like it here now,” Kingston turned and moved toward the still seated Eva who was clutching the iron handles of her chair as though her life depended on it.
“Eva, it’s so good to see you,” he said as he leaned his 6’2″ frame downward and kissed her briefly on the cheek. She managed a weak, “Hi, Kingston.”
“Join us, Son,” Richmond said suddenly. “We were just about to place our order.”
Eva’s head snapped in the direction of her father with wide eyes, “Daddy, I’m sure Kingston came here to enjoy his meal in peace,” she began.
“Actually, I’d love to join you both,” Kingston jumped in smiling as he pulled out an empty chair and sat down at the table.
Eva seriously thought she was in danger of fainting. Never one prone to those types of behaviors, this entire scenario was increasingly bothersome. She could still smell the lingering scent of his cologne from when he kissed her. She fought the urge to raise her hand to the cheek he’d branded with his lips. There were too many feelings threatening her equilibrium, she needed time to collect herself.
“Please excuse me, I need to visit the lady’s room. Dad, if the waiter beats me back, just tell him I’ll have today’s special,” she said as she grabbed her purse and headed inside to the bathroom. She walked as steadily as she could manage, knowing that he was watching her. She could feel his eyes surveying her retreating form until she rounded the corner and the wall brought her relief.
Eva quickly made her way to the bathroom and starred at herself in the mirror. Her skin was flushed. Grabbing a few paper towels, she fanned herself trying to cool her blood and knowing that nothing could stop this burning. Ten years, and he could still make her blood burn with just a touch. She noticed that Whitney Houston’s “All the Man That I Need” was playing softly through the speakers, “Very funny, Whitney,” she said out loud to the empty bathroom. How in the world was she going to make it through this lunch…
To be continued…