Courtney let the warm water wash over her with relief. She felt like a huge burden had been lifted from her shoulders, but she was still a little sad.
She hadn't told the girls what she had told Tarick, that she wanted someone to love her. Not Ben, after his mix-up she knew it wasn't him, but she longed for the magical feeling that she had let overcome her last night.
She sighed as she rinsed her hair out and stepped out of the shower into a warm towel. She'd better hurry, she wasn't sure what time Tarick was planning on coming by to get her, but she had been a long time all ready.
Tarick. He had wanted her to figure something out, she suddenly remembered, "You'll never get it, will you?" he had asked her. But what was she missing?
She closed her eyes and fingered the necklace he had given her, the small wisteria shaped charm reminded her of the day he had put the flowers in her hair. That had been a good day, he had told her she was gorgeous. She blushed a bit, he had told her the same just before the party, "But Courtney, I love you." The words came back to her with a startling new impact.
She scolded herself for being so dumb as she quickly dressed in some dark jeans and a pink t-shirt. What else had he said? "Come find me if you figure it out." That was it. She fingered the necklace one more time, she knew exactly where he'd be.
She flew down the stairs and through the front lobby of the lounge as fast as she could. She wasn't sure why she was in such a hurry, but she felt like she couldn't reach him fast enough. A couple of the dancers turned to stare as she brushed past them without a word, but for once she didn't care what the others thought.
She didn't stop running until she got to the park. She'd been right, Tarick was sitting on their bench. His back was to her and he was throwing pebbles into the pond. She'd been in such a rush to get to him, but suddenly now that she saw him, she froze where she was. What was she going to say to him now? What did she want from him? She almost turned around and left before he saw her, but she couldn't do that either.
She should apologize. She must have hurt him somewhere in this mess. She remembered how upset he'd been after she'd agreed to go with Ben to the party, and how he'd decided not go at all. Yes, she'd hurt him. The thought brought tears to her eyes, and the tears brought a realisation that she loved him too. She took a deep breath and stepped towards him.
She moved forward until she stood right behind him, but he didn't look up. She summoned all her courage and spoke, "I-I figured it out."
Tarick's head whipped around, and she could see he was surprised to find her there. He hadn't thought she'd really come, but how could she have stayed away? She moved around to the front of the bench so she could sit beside him. "I figured it out," she repeated because she couldn't seem to get anything else out at first, but then she took another deep breath and continued, "I'm sorry, I, you have every right to be upset with me. I'm sorry, I blew it. I shouldn't have gone to the party with Ben in the first place, and you had to miss it because of me."
Tarick didn't respond. Not a word, not a gesture. He just stared at the pile of pebbles in his hand and then went back to tossing them in the pool. But Courtney knew why, she saw that his own eyes had started to water and that he was afraid he'd cry too if he answered, so she didn't push him. Instead, she sat quietly beside him, waiting.
When he had thrown the last pebble into the pond he turned to her, "Took you long enough," he said, brushing a piece of hair from her face. "I'm not upset with you."
"I came as soon as I realised. I almost ran away again once I got here, but I couldn't do that to you. It wasn't that I didn't love you, it was just that, I didn't know what to say."
"Who said I wanted to talk?" He leaned forward and gently kissed her.
She immediately put her arms around his neck and slid closer to him on the bench without breaking the kiss. Then, after a moment she pulled away and rested her head on his chest.
"I love you," Tarick told her for the second time that morning, kissing her hair as he did. It meant more to her this time.
"I love you too," she responded earnestly, looking up to meet his eyes with hers. "I didn't know it before, but I do now."
He kissed her again. "Now what?" he asked her, smiling.
"Now, we go for that brunch you promised me."
He nodded and took her hand and they walked away from the park and the wisteria tree and back to the lodge, together.