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I close my mouth, unable to look in his eyes. Of course I’m freaking aroused, asshole. Not that I’m going to admit that to him, not now. “I… I don’t…” I stammer, searching for any words that don’t betray how desperately I want him to put those strong hands back on me, whether that’s crazy or not.

“Your flight was canceled too. I was behind you in line,” he explains. “So we both have twenty-four hours to kill.”

I wait for him to say more, but he doesn’t. He waits, watching me with those eyes, those analyzing, piercing eyes that I’m suddenly sure see straight through me. I can say whatever untruths I want, but this man knows. He knows how he’s affecting me. As much as I hate to admit it, even the logical part of my brain is betraying me. After all, I do have the week off work, so it’s not like I have anywhere to be. Why pass this up–whatever this is.

“There’s a conference room,” he says, guiding my eyes with his index finger to a hallway of closed doors. “Second one on the left. It’s unlocked.”

Without another word, he stands, brushes the wrinkles from his pants, and heads toward the hallway.

I watch after him, mouth hanging open. I look around, half-expecting to see grinning faces watching because I’m part of some cruel prank. I only see bored people waiting for flights with expressionless faces lit by phone screens.

I stand, still holding my bag close to my chest. To my right, I can see the doors that lead out of the airport, back to my little red car with a dent on the fender that someone kindly left me in a parking lot while I was getting groceries. My car, that will take me back to my humdrum little hamster wheel life, where I’ll keep plugging in hour after hour so that maybe my year of work can buy me a few days of happiness. But that door is also safe. I know what happens if I walk through it. I’ll listen to the radio on the way home, maybe pick up a gallon of ice cream and some wine, and I’ll try to make the best of my week off from work, even if it’s not in Bermuda.

To my left…

That door scares the hell out of me. I hear the distant click as he pulls it closed behind him and I wonder how long he’ll wait for me. To a guy like him, casual sex probably is no big deal. He probably just wants to go through the motions, pass a little time, and then never see me again. Me though? I’ve never slept with a guy if I didn’t think there was a good chance our relationship was going somewhere, but I’ve been left dissatisfied every time. The sex has been uninspiring and the conversation equally bad.

Between guys who can’t last more than a few minutes and the ones whose idea of foreplay is digging around my vagina with their fingers like they’re looking for spare change, I haven’t had a whole lot of motivation to get back into dating lately.

The man waiting inside that conference room struck me as a profoundly different breed than any man I’ve ever been with before. The calmness and surety of his movements radiated confidence and experience. The way he read my body so clearly makes me think he’d know exactly how to satisfy me.

I realize I’ve started walking toward the exit, hands squeezing even tighter around my bag. It’s so easy. Just one step after another and all the uncertainty and fear I feel about that door to the conference room gets farther and farther away. Every step takes me closer to the comfortable, if depressingly boring, life I’m used to. I can go back to my old life and suffocate on comfort and routine just as easily as taking a few more steps. Or…

The warm air rushes against my face when the automatic doors open, but I pause at the threshold. Somehow I know if I make that final step from the airport to outside, I’ll never turn back. It could become another disappointment to add to this ruined vacation.

I put my hand on the glass beside the door before turning to take one last look toward the hallway where the man is waiting. A woman brushes past me irritably, trying to make her way outside. I watch her go. Like me, she’s probably on her way home to steal a few hours of idle entertainment before diving back into the rat race.

I suck in a deep breath and turn back toward the hallway with the conference rooms. My heart beats violently and I can’t seem to catch my breath, but I keep moving, knowing I can’t stop or my resolve will crumble.


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