“Hughie, what are you doing here? Wasn’t today your date with Liz?” asked Kelly.
Hugh sank on a couch in Kelly’s living room and grimaced, “For the tenth time, Kel, it wasn’t a date. We’re friends.”
Kelly laughed, “Have you told her that?”
Hugh’s brow wrinkled, “She already knows that! I mean, she’s hung up on Whitman. Oh god, that’s why I’m here, Kel. Remember I told you what Tim found out about Whitman? Well, I told Liz that today, and she didn’t take it well. She looked like she was going to be sick, Kel. I’m very worried about her. I could gladly wring that man’s neck, come to think of it. He’s as bad as Damon. He’s broken her heart, Kelly. I don’t know if she’ll ever recover.”
It was Kelly’s turn to frown, “She isn’t hung up on Whitman anymore, Hugh. And hasn’t been for some time now. She told me she turned him down when he asked her for a date. She said she let him down tactfully, asking for a raincheck instead of outright saying No. But that if he asked again, which she’s certain he won’t, she’ll tell him she isn’t interested, once and for all.”
Hugh had been in the act of pacing the room, and stopped midway, “She what?”
“Said no to him when he asked her out,” said Kelly patiently.
“But! Why did she look like that when I told her the news then?”
“Did she say anything?” Kelly asked quizzically.
“Well, she asked me if that was the reason I asked her to meet me, and I said yeah.”
Kelly sighed, “Really, Hugh. For a smart man, you can be so dense sometimes!”
“What do you mean?”
Kelly sat back in an armchair, “Well, the last time we spoke, Liz was asking about you. She told me you two were meeting. She told me she was going to wear one of the outfits you two bought together, though I’m not quite sure what that means. I’m guessing she was all dolled up today?”
Hugh nodded. Liz had gone all out and she’d looked sensational for it.
Kelly said, “Well? Can you connect the dots? No? Alright. She was coming to meet you, Hugh. To talk to you, about you, and possibly, about the two of you. She wasn’t there to talk about Whitman.”
Hugh stared at Kelly, “Are you saying what I think you’re saying, Kel?”
Kelly asked, “What do you think about, Liz, Hugh? Before you talk to her again, I want you to think carefully about that.”
“I think I’m in love with her, Kel. She’s as close to being perfect for me as anybody could be.”
Kelly smiled broadly, “Atta boy, I think you two would be so good together, Hughie. Go tell her!”
Liz was in her bedroom, sprawled like a starfish on the bed, staring at the ceiling. She felt a little sheepish at having rushed out of the restaurant. How would she ever face Hugh again? If they ever met again, that is. What reason did Hugh have to meet her again, anyway? She shook her head, and buried her head in one of the many soft pillows.
There was a knock on the door. Liz sat up, her heart beating faster. She knew there was simply no way in the world it could be Hugh again. But that didn’t stop her from hoping. She walked slowly to the door, willing herself to let go of the hope of it being Hugh.
It was Hugh. Looking magnificent as ever, and holding what had to be the prettiest, biggest bouquet of flowers she’d ever seen. Liz stepped aside to let Hugh in.
Hugh handed her the bouquet and gave her a kiss on her cheek that made her pulse race.
“What’re you doing here?” Liz whispered.
“I had to see you.” He was gazing at her with so much intensity that Liz lowered her eyes.
“Why?” she asked.
“To tell you that when I asked to meet you today at the restaurant, it wasn’t just to tell you about Whitman. It was so I could see you again. Because looking at you makes me feel calmer, happier. I could spend the rest of my life looking at you and hearing your voice and I’d never get bored.”
Liz blushed, “What’re you saying, Hugh?”
Hugh stepped closer. He raised her chin with one hand, pulling her closer by the waist with the other.
“I’m saying I’m in love with you, Doc. You’re the sweetest, rudest, smartest, and prettiest woman I know. Do you think you might be starting to like me a little too?”
Liz smiled brilliantly at that, “I’m in love with you too, Hugh! I do like you a lot too. I’m sure it works better that way!”
Hugh grinned, “When you turned so pale at the restaurant, I assumed it was because you were heart-broken over what I’d told you about a certain smarmy doctor. But then Kelly said he asked you out and you turned him down through a fake raincheck, even before I could tell you about his shenanigans with Mrs. Taylor. Why’d you do that?”
“Well, because I realized his teeth are indeed a little too perfect, just like a special someone told me once.” Liz grew serious, “But mostly because said special someone was who I kept thinking about, long after he’d checked out of the hospital.”
Hugh murmured in a delicious whisper, “Is that so?” He leaned forward and kissed her, his lips seeking hers urgently. He circled her waist with both his arms and pulled her closer.
Liz placed her hands on Hugh’s shoulder, then moved them caressingly to the back of his neck and then into his hair. She pulled him closer, feeling a million emotions cruising through her as their lips met — ecstasy at his touch, relief to be with someone as sweet as him, euphoria over their feelings for one another being completely reciprocated, and finally, peace that their love for one another had been built on respect, understanding, and friendship.
When they came up for air, Liz spoke, her eyes filled with wonder, “That kiss! I’ve never been kissed like that, Hugh.”
Hugh held her close, “Neither have I. That calls for another one.”
“I agree,” breathed Liz, as his lips came over hers.
- The End
Thank you for reading the book. I hope you enjoyed it!
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