A/N: No flames please... I wrote this in an attempt for closure. It seems to have helped; we'll see. Constructive criticism is welcome. Thanks ~Nelli
Ellie was shaking in nervousness. Her hair was done to perfection and she was wearing a sexy little black dress. She sighed, checking the time on her little watch. A quarter to seven. She smiled down at her sons, both just changed into pajamas. They were sweet boys, one age three the other a year and a half. They were at grandma's house for the evening. Ellie was going to her ten year high school reunion.
"Be good boys and Mommy and Daddy will come get you in the morning." She kissed them both and they hugged her tightly.
"Love you, Mama."
"Love you, my darlings."
She went out to the car to wait on her husband. Dan was in the bathroom fixing his hair. He was more of a girl than she was. Finally he walked out the door and smiled at her. He had deep set honey colored eyes and a smile that could stop traffic. He was so handsome in his black dress shirt, khakis, and blue striped tie. Ellie's heart flopped in her chest. After eight years together, he still drove her crazy.
Dan slid in the front seat next to her and nuzzled her neck. "Mmm, you smell nice." He nibbled her ear, his hand sliding up her thigh under her skirt.
"Honey! Come on! Beth and Will are waiting for us at the school. We're running late."
"Okay, okay. I don't see what the big deal is. Beth and Will are the only people you talk to from high school anyway."
"That's not entirely true. I talk to a bunch of girls from our grade. I want to see some of them who are living out of state. We don't have to stay long. Then we'll all four go out to dinner or something."
They drove the ten minutes to their old high school and parked in the lot. Dan helped her out of their car and looped her arm in his. He smiled at her. "You look amazing, Elle."
She smiled prettily, giving him a kiss on the cheek. Tonight wasn't so important to Dan; he'd been in her grade at the school, but had dropped out sophomore year to get a job. His friends had all been older anyway. Ellie really just wanted to show off how amazing she looked now; she had been a wallflower with glasses and a bad perm in high school. Now, she was a MILF.
As planned, Beth and Will were waiting right inside the door for them. Beth was a little bit bigger then Ellie, but they had been friends since junior year and had gone off to college together. Ellie had been Beth's maid of honor and Beth had been Ellie's wedding photographer; Beth and Will were Ellie's kids' godparents.
Ellie smiled at her friends. "You look so pretty, Beth." Beth did look very nice; she was wearing a long skirt and a nice sweater set; Will had on a dress shirt, blue tie, and khakis. Both had dark hair; Beth's eyes were hazel, while Will's were dark. "I don't think you've worn a skirt since your wedding day."
"You would be correct. I avoid it if I can." Beth stole Ellie's arm away from Dan. "You look kinda slutty."
Ellie laughed and hugged her friend tightly. "My friend, so good with subtlety."
The men did a complicated handshake and the foursome headed off down the hallway to the old gym. Dan had never gone to school in the new wing, but had been in it during his nieces and nephews' holiday programs, so he led the way. He and Will were discussing their crummy jobs, while the girls were talking about Beth's new position at a school in the state capital, teaching in the art department.
They entered the gym and glanced around at all the decorations. The committee in charge of the event had blown up pictures of the class in high school and again now. Beth and Ellie squealed in delight when they found a picture of the two of them together in high school, followed by one of them at Ellie's second baby's baby shower, which Beth had thrown. Dan pulled out a camera.
"Want a get a picture with your pictures?"
The girls laughed and posed between the two snapshots, a rarity for Beth who hated being in front of the camera. Will laughed at the two of them and collected his wife, leading her off to find something to drink.
"I'm going to go get a glass of something. Want me to bring you anything back?" Dan asked, wrapping his arms around Ellie.
"Whatever you find will be good," she murmured, giving him an Eskimo kiss.
Dan grinned at her and walked off in search of refreshments. Ellie walked slowly around the room, taking in all the pictures. It appeared as if everyone in their graduating class had at least one shot, even Christopher, who had died in an automobile accident senior year. Ellie stopped at Chris's photo. He was her kind of boyfriend: they liked each other but neither had had the guts to say anything. She bit her lip to hold back tears. She missed him still, after all these years. Dan knew about Chris and took it in stride. He understood that Chris was her first love, but that he, Dan, was her true love.
Ellie was wiping a tear away when someone walked up behind her and tapped her on the back.
"Elle?" a soft voice called. "It is you! Ohmigod, you look a-ma-zing!"
It was Liza, an old friend. Elle wouldn't call her a real friend; just someone who popped into her life now and then and tried to be nice. Liza had been the most popular and beautiful girl in their class; she was nice in a superficial way so everyone loved her. She'd recently moved back into the area, and she and Ellie had had conversations about getting together, which neither knew deep down would never happen, but it was fun to plan the rendezvous all the same.
Ellie embraced Liza when she made the move for a hug and stepped back. The major falling out between them was that Liza was always a leader and expected her friends to be like lemmings, following her everywhere. Ellie had gotten tired of following and decided to do her own thing. The result was Liza and Ellie not seeing as much of each other as they would have…if Ellie would have stayed in line.
"Liza, you look beautiful as always." Liza was thin, and blonde, and had a perfect smile with big blue eyes. Ellie was similar, but not as close to supermodel perfection as Liza; Ellie had curves on her average sized frame and a smile with a few imperfections, but her blue eyes definitely out-sparkled Liza's. "How have you liked living around home again?"
Liza scoffed. "It's okay. Never thought I'd be back here that's for sure." Liza had married a man in the army, a graduate of this same high school. They came back a couple years ago when his tour was up. They seemed happy, being close to their families.
"I hear you. We only live a half hour from here, but it still feels too close." Ellie and her husband had migrated to a nearby town; Dan worked as a mechanic here and Ellie commuted to the nearby city for her job at an art gallery.
The two girls chatted, commented on pictures and outfits, then said their goodbyes. Ellie scoped out the room and saw Dan over at the bar, especially built for the occasion. He was smiling and talking to some of the guys they had been in school with, laughing at something one of them said. He caught Ellie's stare and smiled, waving sweetly at her. The other men looked over to her, grinned wickedly, and went back to talking, clearly about her by the way Dan was pushing them around playfully and winking at her. She shook her head; Dan could make friends wherever he went.
Ellie smiled at people as they walked by, and continued her tour of the memories of yesteryear. She noticed a picture on the wall with her in it, taken at the prom. She was sitting on the lap of another ex-boyfriend and the two of them were hugging and making funny faces at the camera. Donnie. Donnie had been a quick fling, the dating lasting only a few weeks. After they broke up, they remained very good friends, teasing each other and talking on the phone into the night. He had joined the Army and had become a Ranger. She had written to him while he was in boot camp and they had had another small fling when he returned from camp, before starting his first tour in Afghanistan.
If there was one man who could have made her forget Dan, it would have been Donnie. He'd joined the military to get money for college; he'd wanted to be an art teacher. He had an amazing amount of talent and she'd enjoyed watching him work in their seventh period art class senior year. He loved J.R.R. Tolkien and she'd purchased several books he hadn't had for presents for him over their friendship. He had been the kid who dressed in clothes from Hot Topic and jammed to metal rock on his radio; but, he also liked to watch romantic comedies and had been the one who introduced her to the film Mean Girls in his basement bedroom. He'd worn Nautica cologne that made her melt, and his voice was as smooth as melted chocolate. They'd lost touch for a year, but when he'd gotten phone privileges overseas for the first time, she had been the one he'd called first and they reconnected.
Not long after that, she'd met Dan. Donnie and Dan had a history and they'd dated the same girl- not at the same time, but it made them sort of rivals. Donnie found out how serious things were with Dan and began to share all his intimate stories with Ellie, making her unreasonably jealous. He'd talked of a girl he'd proposed to, how she became crazy and how he'd had to break it off. Ellie had laid into him, telling him she'd warned him and to grow up and get serious. The whole thing ended with a huge fight, which Ellie now could barely remember, except that she had been the instigator and she alone was to blame for the rift between them. She'd tried contacting him a few times to extend the proverbial olive branch: she told him when she got engaged to Dan, and then when they got married, and one last time after each of them had had their first child. He never responded, and Ellie didn't blame him. She missed Donnie terribly, but had no one to blame but herself.
There was the sound of someone clearing their throats behind her, and Ellie turned around, expecting to find Dan. The man behind her was nearly six and a half feet tall, much too tall to be her husband. He had dark hair and ice blue eyes, and quite possibly, an even sexier smile than her husband's. "Hello, beautiful," he murmured in his deep, soothing voice. He tightened his arms around her. "Long time, no see."
Ellie bit back a sob and hugged him back. "It's so good to see you." She pulled away and let him lead her away from the main party, back into a dark corner. "I didn't think you'd be coming."
His smile brightened. "Of course. I wouldn't miss seeing you for the world."
Ellie smiled, then something dampened her spirits. "You never responded when I messaged you." She pulled her hand free and sank onto a nearby bleacher.
"Well, I was upset you were marrying Dan. I still had feelings for you, you know. I met Tiffany, and she's amazing, but she wasn't you. She was only supposed to be a rebound from you, but she has this habit of not giving up and I kind of fell for it." Donnie sank onto the bleachers next to her. "I'm sorry."
"That explains all those years ago, but what about a couple years back when I congratulated you on your baby?"
Donnie looked confused. "You did?"
"Yes. I had been having all these dreams about you and I couldn't get you out of my mind and I thought maybe I needed some closure, so I tried getting ahold of you again, and you ignored me. Again."
His smile returned, looking devilish. "You were dreaming about me?"
Ellie smacked him. "Could you be serious please?"
He shrugged his shoulders. "Okay. Well, the only thing I can think of is Tiffany saw the message and deleted it before I had a chance to see it. She has a really annoying habit of logging into my Facebook and deleting my messages."
Ellie raised an eyebrow. "Doesn't trust you, huh?"
Another shrug. "What can I say? You make her nervous. I was honest with her in the beginning about wanting to get over you."
"That worked well, I see." Ellie laughed.
Donnie's eyes sparkled in delight. "I've missed your laugh. And your smile. And your pretty blue eyes." He took her hand in his. "I can't believe I let you get away."
Ellie flushed, enjoying the attention, but feeling guilty. "I've missed you too. You were my best friend."
Donnie's spirit sank a little. "You didn't miss me for any other reason? Just as a friend?"
Ellie sighed, pulling her hand away. "Donnie, I don't know. This is confusing enough. We're both married. We love our spouses. Isn't it wrong to talk about old feelings and how we screwed it all up?"
Donnie turned so his whole body was facing hers and grasped again at her hand. "I think not talking about it is more wrong." He ran his free hand through his short hair. "I'll admit, I do love Tiffany. But I'm not in love with her." His eyes earnestly locked onto hers. "Can you honestly say you're in love with Dan?"
Ellie was about to respond in the affirmative when someone came storming over to them. "Excuse me!" a snotty voice called out. A woman with blonde hair and eyes a shade lighter than Ellie's stopped in front of them. She crossed her arms across her chest. She was wearing black pumps and a blue sweater with leggings. She was glaring at Donnie and Ellie's intertwined fingers. "Could you please let my husband go?"
Donnie sighed and rubbed his head irritably. "Tiff, I have a hold of her. Not the other way around. We were talking."
"Uh-hunh. Let's go back to the party, now." She pouted in what Ellie assumed was supposed to be a flirty manner and held out her hands to Donnie.
He turned his attention back to Ellie and pulled her close, his mouth finding its way to her far ear. "I'll find you later and we'll talk. I have a lot I want to discuss with you." His lips brushed her cheek softly and he stood up. "Good seeing you, Elle."
"Yeah, you, too." Elle looked in confusion after the couple. Donnie's face was scrunched up in irritation and Tiffany looked to be pouting. Ellie noticed a slight resemblance to someone, but she couldn't put her finger on who. She shook her head and stood, going back to the main area to find Dan.
He was still at the bar, holding a champagne flute and a tumbler of an amber liquid. His eyes brightened when he caught sight of her. "Got sick of waiting?"
The other guys turned their attention to Elle and began catcalling and whistling at her. She laughed and smiled. "Thanks, guys. Mind if I kidnap my husband?"
There was a murmur of consent. Ellie accepted the champagne flute, took Dan's empty hand and led him to the dance floor. She sipped the bubbly champagne and smiled at Dan, wrapping her free arm around him. He pulled her close and the two of them danced to songs from their childhood. A good many people were staring; Elle didn't know how to not dance provocatively, but she didn't really care. She was enjoying her time with her husband, away from their sons. She drained the flute and felt her skin get warm. Someone was watching her and it wasn't just an occasional appreciative glance. She looked around and noticed Donnie, holding Tiffany with her back to Ellie and Dan, staring directly at her. His lids were lowered seductively, and his eyes kept grazing up and down her body. His smile started lazily, turning predatory. Ellie gulped loudly, almost in nervous fear, turning her attention away.
"You okay, honey?" Dan whispered in her ear. "You just went a little rigid."
Ellie nuzzled into him. "Yeah, I'm fine. Just got the feeling someone was watching me."
"That's because they're all watching you. You use me like a pole any longer, we'll have to make a trip to the parking lot."
Ellie laughed out loud. "You're ridiculous."
"Yeah, but I'm yours." Dan smiled at her and kissed her head. "I'm gonna go round up your friends and we'll get out of here. Sound good?"
"Yeah, sure. I'll return the glasses to the bar. I have to use the bathroom too. I'll meet you outside in fifteen minutes, okay?"
"Okay. See you then, baby girl." Dan pulled away and squeezed her hand before walking away toward Beth and Will. He left his empty tumbler with her before heading on his way.
Ellie walked the empty glasses over to the bar and placed them on the table top. The bartender winked at her, smiled slightly, and nodded his thanks. Ellie smiled back and headed toward the exit. All the guys grinned at her, their wives raising eyebrows questioningly. Ellie smiled nicely at everyone and walked into the hallway. Beth, Will, and Dan were no where to be seen, so she headed toward the ladies' room as quickly as she could.
Ellie reached the door and as she pushed it open, someone pushed up behind her, letting themselves in after her. She turned to tell the person to get some manners, and saw Donnie behind her, scooting her inside the bathroom. He shut the door after them and flipped the lock. Ellie backed away from him, confusion filling her up.
"Donnie! What are you doing? What if someone has to use the bathroom?" She gasped and looked around under the stall doors. "What if someone is in here?"
"I had someone look in here before you headed this way, on the off chance we could get a moment to talk." He seemed to fill the entire room as he walked away from the door toward her. "And there are other women's bathrooms up the other hallway so it's no big deal. I just want to talk to you." He closed the space between them.
Ellie gulped nervously. "You're eyes say you want to do more than talk and that's not good."
"I'll behave. I really just have some things I want to say to you."
Ellie crossed her arms across her chest, leaning back against the sink. "You have five minutes. Go."
Donnie seemed to deflate in front of her. He put his head in his hands. "I don't love Tiffany."
There was a long silence between the two of them and Ellie shuffled her feet around, not sure what to say. Finally, she broke the silence. "What do you mean you don't love your wife?"
"I mean, I only stayed with her because she reminded me of you."
"Excuse me?" Ellie's mouth was hanging open.
"She looks like you. She puts me first like you did. Her sense of humor is similar to yours." Donnie sank to his knees. "I knew it was wrong to lead her on that way, but I just couldn't risk being away from you for good. And I couldn't lose you. And I thought if I didn't see you, I could love Tiffany. But when I saw you tonight, standing in front of our picture, all these old feelings came back." He looked up at her from the floor, pain covering his features. "I need you in my life, Elle."
"That's sweet, but the only thing I can be to you is a friend. I love my husband and my children. I wouldn't do anything to jeopardize my family."
Donnie smiled softly up at her, crawling to his feet, taking her hands into his. "You're so good. Much better than me." His arms wrapped around her and he crushed her into him. "I can handle being just friends. Just don't leave me again."
Ellie laughed and pulled away. "Deal. Now let me go. You're crushing my lungs." He released her. She smiled up at him and stood on her tiptoes, kissing his cheek. "I'll email you next week, okay? I have to go now."
He grabbed her arm as she tried to leave. "That's not soon enough. I'm sticking around for a little while. My mom needs some help with some remodeling. And Tiffany is leaving tomorrow. Can we get together and get coffee or something?"
Ellie smiled. "Yeah. Okay." He handed her a pen out of the inside pocket of his jacket, and she wrote her number on his hand. "We'll get together next week when I don't have the kids." She handed the pen back. "See you then."
She walked out the door and went to join her husband in the car.
It was a little after 10 am on Tuesday morning. Ellie walked into a small diner and looked around. She was wearing her work clothes: black dress pants, black heels, and form-fitting blue sweater. She found Donnie, his large frame filling the entire side of a booth, waving at her from the back of the room. She smiled and went back, placing her bag on the seat and sliding in.
"Hi! Am I late?" She pulled her phone out of her back pocket to check the time.
"No, I was early. I couldn't wait." He smiled widely at her. He was wearing dark washed jeans and a cream colored sweater that showed all his muscles off. "I was so glad when you agreed to see me so soon."
"Well, yeah. The boys go to the in-laws on the mornings I work so I can clean house and run errands. I didn't have a lot to do this morning." Ellie smiled and leaned onto her crossed arms, her hands tucked by her elbows. "So, how's your mom's remodeling project going?"
Donnie shrugged. "Good, I guess. She wanted to plant some trees and lay some brickwork for a patio. She needed me for some heavy lifting because Dad can't do it anymore." He reached over and took one of her hands, his smile widening. "You look really nice."
Ellie shifted uncomfortably, pulling her fingers back. "I have to dress business casual for work. I work at a gallery part time."
"That sounds interesting. What do you do?" Donnie pretended not to notice her shuffling, although his eyes saddened slightly.
"I help set up exhibits, guide tours, answer phones. Anything they need me to. Eventually, I'd love to work at a real museum, developing programming for children."
"Sounds like you have it figured out." He leaned back in the seat, his knee grazing hers under the table.
Ellie slid back in the seat so their knees no longer touched. "I hope so. I went to school for that so I could eventually do what I want." A waitress came up and took her order. After she left, Ellie crossed her arms. "How about you? Sticking with a military career?"
Donnie sighed, rubbing his eyes. "Yeah, I think so."
"What about becoming an art teacher?" Ellie was shocked. That had always been his dream, and now he wasn't going to do it?
"Well, I know that's what I always said I would do, but I like what I do now. And besides, can you see a big guy like me teaching kids about colors and art styles? I'd scare the crap out of them." He smiled at her jokingly.
The waitress brought a huge plate of food for Donnie and a glass of orange juice for Ellie. As Donnie began to cut into his food, he looked up at Ellie. "You sure you don't want something to eat? My treat."
"No, thanks. I ate earlier today." Ellie took a sip of her juice. She watched Donnie eat, her mind reeling. He had changed a lot since high school: he was more muscular, had a bigger appetite, and seemed more sure of himself. She looked for traces of the sensitive, insecure boy she used to love, but she couldn't find any sign of him.
Donnie looked up and caught her staring. Her face flushed. He was still handsome, that much was certain, enough so to make her have a few impure thoughts. But she didn't know this man in front of her, and to have him staring at her so earnestly was a little unnerving.
Donnie wiped his mouth with a napkin and pushed his plate out of the way. "What are you thinking about?" He rested his elbows on the table top again.
Ellie gave him a half smile. "You. How you used to be. You've changed so much."
Donnie grinned. "You haven't. You've always been so sure about what you wanted. The goals may have changed, but you've always been so dedicated and driven. And you always like to smile. You have a great smile."
Ellie's smile widened. "Thank you." She looked down at her phone. "I think I should be going. I have to get to work."
Donnie's smile vanished. "Do you have to go? I really would like to talk some more."
Ellie collected her purse from the seat. "I'm sorry, Donnie, but I have to go." She slid her phone back into her pocket, and went to stand. "And to be honest, I don't think it's a good idea for us to spend a lot of time alone together." She threw a five on the table for her drink and started out to her car, walking as quickly as she could.
"Hey, wait a minute." Donnie was jogging after her, shoving his wallet into his back pocket as he went. He caught her car door before she could close it. "What did that mean?"
Ellie put her fingers to her forehead. "It was a mistake to come here today."
Donnie sank into a squat, one hand holding open the door, the other resting on her shoulder. "How can you say that?"
"Because of how you feel about me." She shrugged his hand off her shoulder. "I thought you were just pulling my leg the other night. I didn't think you meant it when you said you still loved me. But in there," she motioned back at the diner. "All the touching and flirting. You do really still care about me, and I don't think it's fair for me to encourage it."
"Because you don't love me back?" His voice was sad.
Ellie nodded. "I'm so sorry, Donnie. If we'd never lost touch, and I didn't love Dan so much, maybe something could happen."
Donnie shook his head. He stared at the panel on the inside of her car door. "And you're sure? There's nothing I can do to change your mind?"
Ellie chuckled hollowly. "Change my mind from committing adultery? No, I don't think so."
In the blink of an eye, Donnie stood up and put his lips on Ellie's. The kiss was deep and his hands tangled into her hair on the back of her head by her neck. Ellie sat there, her eyes open and horrified. She was in so much shock that she wasn't sure exactly what to do.
He pulled away from her and looked into her horror stricken eyes with passion-filled half-opened ones of his own. "How about now?"
Ellie reached back and slapped him across the face. "How dare you? When a woman says no, she means no."
Something snapped in Donnie and his gaze turned dark. He pushed her over into the passenger seat and got into the car, slamming the door behind him and locking the doors. "You know, your mind may keep saying no to me, but your body sure as hell keeps telling me yes. How do you explain the dancing at the reunion, looking right at me?"
"I felt you staring while I danced with my husband. It made me very uncomfortable." Ellie hit the unlock button, but Donnie relocked the car before she could open the door.
"You met me today knowing how I felt."
"As your friend. I told you I would be your friend." Ellie tried again and got the same treatment. "Come on! This is my car!"
Donnie leaned closer to her, his face inches from her. "Tell me you aren't attracted to me. Tell me you don't want me."
Ellie closed the distance between them so their noses were touching. Her eyes were narrowed in defiance. "I am not attracted to you. I don't want you."
"Liar." He reached over and kissed her again.
"Stop it!" she screamed, pulling away from him. "I don't want you to kiss me. I don't want you to touch me. Do it again and I'll call the police and file charges."
Donnie looked at her for a beat, turned to face the front of the car, and started the engine. He threw the vehicle into reverse, then slid it into drive and took off out of the parking lot. Ellie was staring at him, mouth open in shock. What the hell was he doing?
"Um, hello? Why are you stealing my car?"
"Stealing would occur if you weren't in the vehicle. Clearly you are. And if I'm going to ruin my life, my career, everything for you, then I'm going to take advantage of it."
"Excuse me?" Ellie said, her arms crossing.
"You told me if I kissed you again, you'd press charges. Well, I want to kiss you again. I want to do more than that, I want to hold you. I want to have you back in my bed and do what I should have done when we were together in high school. And if I'm only going to get this one chance to do that before you call the cops, ruin my military career, cause my wife and daughter to leave me, and in essence destroy everything I have, I'm going to take that chance."
"I'm not ruining your life, you are. You can't let me go. I told you I didn't want to be with you, that I didn't want to be your mistress, that I could only be your friend." She sighed and looked out the window. "You're just too stubborn to listen. At least that hasn't changed."
"If I was that same guy, would you still love me?"
"I have no idea. Dan's in the picture."
Ellie glanced over at Donnie and saw his knuckles clench the steering wheel until they went white. His face was tight; she could see the muscle in his jaw tighten in anger.
"I hate him. We were on our way to a reconciliation, I know it, and then he came along. And since he was here and I wasn't, he got you. I hate him."
Ellie shook her head. "It wouldn't have made any difference if you had been home or not, Donnie. I wasn't meant to be a military wife. And, besides, I fell for him first. I kept pushing to stay with him and he chose me. You and I had our time; we're meant to be friends. Dan was made for me."
Donnie pulled over at a park and slammed on the brakes. "How do you know?"
"Because I know. You're wonderful, and you and Tiffany have a great life together. Don't throw it away."
Donnie sat for a moment, staring at the playground equipment. He looked over at her, tears forming in his eyes. "I can't let you go."
Ellie, not wanting to encourage him, debated on comforting him. Her tender side won and she reached over and patted his hand. "Yes, you can. You have a good, happy life. You can forget me."
Donnie reached over and stroked her cheek. "Please. Just one last kiss. I want to have one last memory of you kissing me back. A good memory."
Ellie bit her lip and thought for a few moments. If she said no, he'd probably slip back into his rage and take her somewhere, hold her captive and have his way with her. If she said yes, there was the chance that one or both of them might not want to stop at a kiss. After weighing the pros and cons, she realized one kiss to keep her safe and her family together would be okay. He never said it had to be big and elaborate, she just had to kiss him back.
"Okay, one kiss. But after it's over, we go back to the diner, you get into your car, and we never speak again."
His eyes widened. "Never?"
"Never. It's too much temptation for you. It would be better if we didn't speak again."
Donnie sat silently debating this for a moment. He looked up at her, staring deep into her eyes. "Okay. I guess that seems fair. But I can still see your Facebook page, right, if I ever miss you?"
Ellie smiled softly. "I won't ever block you."
Donnie smiled back and turned to face her. He took a deep breath. "Ready?"
Ellie turned in her seat and took a deep breath. She closed her eyes, preparing herself for the betrayal she was about to commit. Finally, she nodded. "Yes."
They leaned toward each other. Donnie's hand instantly found her cheek, his fingers sliding into her blonde hair. Ellie closed her eyes, filling her head with images of her husband, hoping that thinking of him would make it less adulterous. Donnie's free hand moved Ellie's arm around his neck, her fingers hanging just below his hair line. His hair was almost as long as it had been in high school; he was due for a cut. Finally, their lips met. The kiss started soft and sweet: a kiss goodbye.
Slowly, on an intake, Ellie's mouth opened slightly and Donnie took advantage, increasing the pressure of his lips on hers, his tongue tenderly touching hers. The moment took Ellie back to Donnie's bedroom when they were kids fooling around. He'd always been a good kisser and this last kiss was no exception.
The kiss lasted a few more seconds, complete with some wandering hands on Donnie's part. When they finally pulled apart, Ellie's lips were swollen and her heart was racing. Donnie had that look in his eyes that he wanted more, but he used all the self-restraint he had and pulled away. Ellie smiled at him gratefully and his smile in return was small and regretful.
They drove back to the diner and got out of the car. They stood awkwardly for a moment, looking at one another. Ellie decided a hug wasn't out of the question, so she stood on tiptoes and hugged Donnie tightly. "Goodbye," she whispered. "Take care."
Donnie nuzzled into her, the smell of his cologne overpowering her and nearly making her regret just the one kiss. "You too. I'll miss you."
They broke apart and Ellie got into the driver's side of the vehicle. She started the engine and pulled out of the lot, waving at Donnie as he stood in a melancholy by his SUV. She started driving to work, hoping that soon her lips would return to normal size and she could get on with her life.
That night, Ellie got home before her sons and husband. She walked into her house and there, on the kitchen counter, was a single yellow rose and a note. Even though we'll never speak again, know I'll always love you. Let me know if you ever need anything; I'd be glad to help. Love, Donnie.
She folded the note up, not really wondering how he got in: he had his ways. She put the note at the bottom of her memory box with the picture of them from their prom. After all, now that she had closure, that's all he would ever be: a memory.