It was a warm Spring day when she walked down a familiar path with her childhood friend at her side. He kept telling her about this man that she had to meet, and she’d finally agreed to meet him.
“What makes you think that this man is so perfect for me?” she asked him, again.
“Because I know the both of you extremely well.” he told her. He wouldn’t meet her eyes and seemed nervous.
“Why are we meeting him out here?” she pressed him. It was the path that led to a spot on the pond, just down from where they had lived next door to each other. Leaves were blooming and she could smell the honeysuckle in the air. “This is where we camped as kids.”
“Trust me and all will be revealed,” was all that he said.
She had always trusted him. The only time they hadn’t been in each other’s lives were the years they had spent in college in separate states. When they had both moved back home their friendship had taken up where they had left off.
She’d been complaining that there wasn’t anyone interesting to date in town when he mentioned her supposed perfect match- handsome, funny, and smart. Since then, he’ brought this man up every time they spoke. Needling her until she gave in.
They arrived at the small clearing, near a small dock, she looked around. The signs of Spring were everywhere with the singing of the birds, sounds of other animals moving in the trees and bushes.
Under the oak tree, where they would set up the tents, was a blanket spread out with a small bucket and picnic basket, but not the handsome stranger she’d been promised.
She stopped on the perimeter and turned to him. “Where is he? Did I get stood up?”
“Of course, not.” he said in a rush, then paused. Taking a deep breath, he continued, “Everyone is here that’s supposed to be.”
She looked at him, trying to understand, but there were no answers to be found there. His brown eyes were wide and his lips then. There were also wrinkles on his forehead as he awaited her response.
“I’m not sure that I understand.”
Putting his hands on her arms he told her, “Come have some Merlot with me and I’ll explain some things.”
Nodding her consent, she allowed him to lead her over to the blanket and sit down. First, he pulled out containers with some cheese, crackers, and fruit. Then the gasses he’d brought for the wine, and filling them before passing her one.
After taking a sip she remarked, “This is good.”
“It’s from Bright Cellars Merlot.” he told her. “I appreciate the flavors plum and raspberries.”
“Is that a hint of black cherry?”
He nodded. “But I brought you here for a confession, not to discuss wine.”
He ran a hand through his dark hair, ruffling the locks, and showing just how nervous he was. Then he took a gulp of wine, and his eyes finally met hers. “I’m sorry. I’m not sure where to start.”
She smiled at him. “I didn’t think that there was anything we couldn’t say to one another.”
He chuckled and shook his head. “You’ve always been able to put me at ease.”
“Well, you’ve managed to do the same for me often enough.” She sipped her wine. “An advantage of knowing each other so well.”
“We do. And I thought it would be a problem but now I think it would be an advantage.” She was about to speak again before he held up a hand to stop her. “I promised you an explanation, so here goes.”
“When I came home, the first thing I did was come here. I wasn’t sure why the desire hit me the way it did, but I went with it. I didn’t expect anyone, but you were standing out on the dock. The moon glinted off of your golden hair as it blew in the breeze. When I approached you, I caught the scent of your perfume on the breeze and my heart starting racing.
“I didn’t understand why I was having these feelings when I’d known you all of my life. I told myself it was just the thrill of seeing you again after so long. But as we got to know each other again, I started dating and I realized that I was comparing them all to you.” He drank the rest of his wine, and poured some more.
“But more than that, I told myself that none of the men you dated deserved you. They didn’t understand you the way I do. When you started complaining about none of them being right for you, I decided it may be time to open up about what I’ve been feeling.”
“That you’re in love with me?” she asked, wondering how she hadn’t seen it. Sure, she had heard the rumors, but she’d thought it was just talk. She could see the small things now- how he didn’t hug her any more, the times she’d caught him looking away quickly.
“I remember that night.” she told him. “I’d been home a couple of weeks and I decided to come and see it was the same. When I got here, I found myself thinking about you, and missing you. Then I turned around and there you stood, like a dream and looking so handsome. I have to confess that I’ve found myself asking why the men I’ve dated couldn’t be more like you.”
His eyes widened and he spoke in disbelief, “Are you saying what I thing you are?”
She raised her glass toward him. “I’m saying we should make a toast to our first date.”
Their glasses clinked and they both drank before he took hers and put them both down. Then she was in his strong arms and being kissed by the one man she never thought she would.