Thursday, June 30, 2005

Time Heals All Wounds 4/44

Chapter  4

A companion story to Ghosts

In the weeks since that first meeting he'd found his attraction to Alenka growing.  Where once he had delayed going to the church until the Mass was almost ready to begin, he now found himself going early in hopes that he might get a moment to talk to her before the service.  Likewise he no longer was among the first to flee the church at Masses end, and instead he found himself looking forward to the casual conversation that would accompany the coffee and snacks served in the Rectory.

He would never know the moment he knew he wanted it to be more, and so it was one Sunday after Mass that he sought her out as she was pouring herself a cup of coffee. 

"Alenka?"  He spoke quietly as he approached her.

"Luka."  She offered a warm smile before picking up an empty cup and filling it for him.  "You look like you could use this, did you work last night?"

As he took the offered cup he nodded, surprised that she had noticed.  "My shift ended at six."  He lifted the cup and took a sip.

"Don't you think you should be heading home to get some sleep then?"  She took a sip from her own coffee before letting her eyes sweep over him.

Sliding one hand in his pants pocket he let his eyes drop to the cup he held in the other before raising them to her again.  Why was he so nervous about this?  He took a fortifying sip of the coffee.  "I wanted to see you..."

In the moment that passed before she spoke they might very well have been the only two people in the room.  Her face flushed slightly as she first dropped her eyes to her own cup, then raised them again at his scrutiny.

"And now you have."  She offered a shy smile, unable to suppress the butterflies that she was sure filled her.

"Alenka...I wondered..."  He found himself stumbling over the words as if he had never spoken to a woman before.  "Would you let me take you to dinner?" There he had done, if he could only remember to breathe while he waited for her to answer.

The flush to her face deepened as did her smile before she nodded.  "I'd like that."

That they would take things slow was never voiced, but seemingly mutually understood and over the weeks that followed they both relaxed considerably and soon became almost inseparable.  Knowing what he did of her past Luka had made no attempt to kiss her as yet and the similarity to his courtship of Danijela was not lost on him.

As the cabin lights dimmed to mark the start of the movie Alenka rose, pulling one of the airplanes blankets from the overhead bin before covering Luka and Maja as they slept.  That her husband didn't stir at the action revealed just how tired he really was and with a smile she touched his face before returning to her seat.

She had never thought she would find anyone who stirred the emotions in her the way Damir had, or that she would know again the feeling of holding a child to her breast, She slipped her arm around their son as he seemed to sense the change in her and leaned comfortably into her. 

"Mama?"  Juraj pulled his attention from the movie to her for a moment.

"I'm fine....just thinking, watch the movie."  She squeezed him to her before releasing him again.  The film immediately drew him back into it and with a sigh she leaned back and closed her eyes, hoping sleep found her as easily as it had Luka.

It was the first time she had invited him to her house and she was nervous...nervous, no, she had passed nervous more then an hour ago, what if she made a fool of herself.  For the umpteenth time she checked her appearance in the mirror and debated whether she should change from the simple plaid skirt and dark sweater she wore.  What if he expected something dressier...or something more revealing?  She was too old for this... it had been different when she was a young girl and had met Damir...then she had her whole life ahead of her. 

She brushed the thoughts of her husband from her mind and instead returned to the kitchen, turning her attention to the pot of bean soup simmering on the stove.  She had decided to make their meal one of those she had enjoyed as a child...and as she stirred the soup she found her concerns fading.  Her impressions of him had always been good ones, why should she think that would change?  She withdrew the spoon and recovered the pot before checking the sausage and potato casserole.  He was due anytime..had she forgotten anything?

The sound of the doorbell put an end to her worries and she moved quickly to answer it.  "Luka."  She let her smile fill her face as she greeted him, then stepped aside to let him enter.  "I hope you're hungry..."

to be continued...

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