Wednesday, February 22, 2017


After dinner, Garrett and I sat on the balcony with more wine. The night was filled with stars, cool breezes, and a view into the woods. I made small talk, waiting for Garrett to initiate the desired conversation. I had dressed for dinner in a white low cut dress with my dyed red hair down around my shoulders and was aware of the appreciative looks but pretended not to notice.

Our chairs were close. Perfume was wafting in his direction, encouraged by my flicking my hair more than was necessary. Hoping his inebriated state kept him oblivious, I put my hand on his arm.

"Garrett, this is so pleasant, just the two of us. H never indulges my romantic side."

A slight smile graced his face and he took my hand in his. I had to concentrate on my objective despite his good looks. Damn, he was handsome.

"Bella, I knew when I met H, he was a controlling man. I hope this doesn't upset you, but I have to admit that the offer to be "his eyes" with regards to you is tempting. He and I have a lot in common... appreciation of a beautiful woman, ambition, and a common ancestry."

My eyebrows shot up. Encouraged by his revelation, I took the naive road, "You're Italian?"

"Yes." He chuckled. "My mother was Irish and I have her coloring. My father... one hundred percent Italian."

That certainly explained the instant rapport between him and H. Taking a large sip of wine, I waited a minute, appearing to consider what he had told me. "I wondered what you two discussed. What have you decided to do with his request?"

He kept my hand in his and held my green eyes with his big baby blues. "Bella, you're a grown woman with your own mind. What you do is your business." Taking a breath, he added, "And to be honest, my interest in you is more than friendly."

Inwardly punching the air, I remained calm, smiling with what I hoped was reserved appreciation. After all, I didn't want to jump him on the spot but wanted the door to be open to all possibilities. "That pleases me, Garrett. Let's give it time, and we'll see where this relationship goes."

The rest of the evening was spent telling family tales and drinking another bottle of wine. When he finally left, we were leaning on each other as I walked him to the door.

The next morning, I sat on my balcony with coffee, remembering what H had asked Garrett to do. Although not explicit, I knew what he had meant. This set my jaw on edge. My first reaction was to tell H what he could do with himself, but I had to consider that I wasn't employed and depended on him for my existence. What I had learned from Garrett, however, set my course for the future.