Hazel excuses herself to go to the restroom now, leaving me to explain. As soon as she has left, Lucca reaches for my hand again, brushing his thumb over my wrist. “Are you okay?” he asks.
“Yes, I’m confused, I guess, and overwhelmed still.”
“Do you regret meeting me or sharing a meal with me even?”
Do I? I don’t think I do.
“No, I don’t. I said before you have every right to be here, and dinner was lovely, unexpected, but nice.”
“Do you mean the food or the company?”
“Doc, I would like to be honest with you, and I would hate for you to walk away tonight before I told you how I feel. I was hurt to fuck earlier when you were distressed, and I am honoured you agreed to eat with me. I know this is a lot for you to take in. When I asked you out to dinner at the clinic, I meant every word. One look at you in that clinic and I was hopeless for you. I admit that I intended to go back to the clinic to try and persuade you to go on a date with me because I have never wanted anything more. Tonight is not how I imagined it would go, or dreamed we would be doing this, here, so soon, but I am delighted we are. I would be lying if I told you otherwise.” He sighs, takes a drink of wine, then continues.
“I know this is not a date, but in a way it has meant more to me and has been most enjoyable.” I must look puzzled because my pathetic sobbing earlier was not my idea of enjoyable.
“You seemed closed and opposed to the idea of ever seeing me again. Tonight was a pleasant surprise because you eventually softened and relaxed, and that is endearing … to watch you flourish. You never shut me out and gave me a chance. When I held you in my arms, it just reinforced everything I have been feeling and thinking since yesterday.”
“Oh?” He has been thinking about me?
“I do not want to let you walk away, Lexi. I want you to agree to a proper date. I want to hold you in my arms and wipe away your tears. I want to get to know you, caress and comfort you. I would love nothing more than to kiss you, taste your sweet lips and cradle you in my arms until you peacefully fell asleep in my embrace. And for the record, about the rescuing … I would love to be the one to rescue you … protect you … treat you … make you feel … show you life through new eyes … teach you to value yourself … make you feel alive.”