“So, when did you give up performing and start teaching? I thought they’d be carrying you off the stage in a box” Catherine took a sip of her coffee and grinned.
Carlos eyes crinkled even more at the edges than she remembered as he laughed “Charming! No, I had enough of the travelling around, living from a suitcase. I wanted to stay in one place for a while and here seemed like as good a place as any”
“You didn’t want to go back to Spain?”
“No, nothing there to go back too. My parents both died, my friends moved on and so did I”
“No wife? Girlfriend? Young bit of skirt? To tempt you back?” she burst out laughing at the look on his face “I’m sorry, I’m only teasing. You never considered marrying?”
“No, I never found anyone who could put up with me long enough for me to ask them” he sipped his coffee and set the cup down “You can tell me to mind my own business, but I assume since your daughter has been playing Cupid that you don’t have a boyfriend or a toy boy either?”
Catherine shook her head “ No boyfriends or toy boys no”
“Would you like one?” Carlos raised his eyebrow
“What a toy boy? No, I don’t think I’d be able to keep up with one, although my neighbour’s handyman does look rather..Handy”
“You haven’t changed a bit” Carlos grinned “More coffee?”
The coffee arrived and they exchanged sly glances as they added their choices of milk and sugar. Trying to discreetly size the other up to see exactly how much they had changed. Not that much in his case thought Catherine, still in shape, still handsome and still got that twinkle in his eye.
She hasn’t changed a bit thought Carlos, still those remarkable green eyes and legs that just didn’t end. Although those eyes looked a lot more haunted than he remembered. He would have to change that regardless of what happened between them now. Or in the past.
“So what have you been up too that keeps you so busy?” Carlos asked.
“Well Dylan is a full time job, I look after him whilst Susanna & Mark work. I also sit on his school committee, and one or two at the University. And gardening. I love gardening, I can get lost in my own world for hours out there”
“Wow, you certainly keep busy, I wonder if a toy boy would be able to keep up with you!”
“Only if he was very fit..” she replied with a smile.
“What about a boyfriend?” Carlos looked her right in the eye when he said it although a part of his mind had begun to wonder what on earth his mouth thought it was saying. Oh well, in for a penny in for a pound he decided.
Catherine sat back slightly in her chair and returned the gaze “Are you offering?”
“What if I was? Would you consider it?”
Catherine really had no idea what to say and it showed on her face. She knew she’d agreed to a date, and she’d secretly hoped something would come of it but for some reason she was still surprised that he’d asked her outright.
Carlos’ mind had finally caught up and had gone into a spin. I’ve offended her, I shouldn’t have asked like that. When will you ever learn to think before you speak Carlos. She’s a widow, she was yours once but she married someone else. Just because he’s gone doesn’t mean you get your second chance. Idiot. “I’m sorry..” he began “I didn’t mean..”
Look at the poor man Catherine’s inner voice started to say, he thinks you’re offended, thinks he should have kept his mouth shut. You were young before but who’s to say it can’t be different now. There was nothing actually wrong before. Tell him yes. Put him out of his misery.
“Yes” Catherine found herself cutting Carlos off mid sentence “Yes I would like a boyfriend and yes… I would like it to be you”
“Really?!” Carlos looked so surprised that Catherine couldn’t help but laugh, she reached across the table and took his hand.
“Yes, really and yes I’ve surprised myself by saying it, but yes”
Neither of them said anything for a minute or two, they simply sat there hand in hand, taking in what had just happened. It had caught them both off guard but what was the sense in playing games. Life was too short for that as Catherine knew all too well.
Live for today and sort tomorrow out when it gets here, and as for the past, well that was a long overdue discussion, and it wouldn’t hurt if it waited a little longer.
“Are you okay?” Carlos asked breaking the silence, he still had a feeling he’d overstepped a line somewhere.
Catherine nodded “I’m fine, honestly” she smiled “Really I am”
“Lets pay up and go for a walk” suggested Carlos and he motioned to the waiter to bring their bill.
They left the café and walked hand in hand towards the local park, Catherine was still very quiet and it bothered Carlos. In the end he decided to say what he thought was on her mind. “I don’t want to rush things between us Catherine, I’m happy to just take things as they happen. I’m not in any hurry for anything”
“You always did know just what to say to make me feel better”
“Well if I’m to be your boyfriend it’s my job to do that”
Catherine laughed “And if you don’t do your job properly I shall sack you”
“Oh I have no doubt about that! Now then M’Lady, would you like to come to dinner with me on Saturday night?”
“I would love to, where shall we meet?”
“Oh no M’Lady” Carlos chuckled “Being a boyfriend generally involves being a chauffeur as well. I shall pick you up at 7.30pm”
“Stop calling me M’Lady”