The dark restaurant temporarily blinded Diana when she walked out the doors into the bright sunlight. It was too early to head back to the B&B, but too late to visit any of the sites. She thought about going back to Ian and Sandra's pub, especially now that she'd faced Alex and survived. How much less embarrassing would it be to run in to Mitch. She didn't make a fool of herself in front of him. And after listening to his message on her phone she wasn't really that upset. But it was a cold splash of reality.
There really was no sense in getting involved with someone she'd be leaving in a few weeks. No matter how charming or good looking. Friends, that's what she should be striving for; just friends that can chat on the phone and perhaps visit again, nothing else. She still had her life in the states to go back to and even though it felt like all the doors were shut, it was still home.
As she turned towards the pub she heard the door behind her open, but decided not to look to see if it was Alex. She walked with purpose. She had explained herself and was at peace. Whether he believed her or not didn't matter. She was determined not to let him ruin the rest of her vacation. And it was a vacation. She had to stop looking at it as an escape and see it for what it was. A wonderful opportunity to visit with old friends, research her history and see some of the most beautiful country side she'd ever seen. She was going to make this work.
"How was dinner?" Ian tossed a rag behind the bar and gave her a quick hug. "Sandra told me she sent you to that fancy French place a few blocks over. What did you think?" She hugged him back, waved over at Sandra who was taking an order and told him about her dinner including the full bottle of wine she consumed and her meeting with Alex. When he didn't react to Alex's name she knew that Sandra hadn't told him anything. And why would she? She didn't know anything yet either.
When Sandra greeted her minutes later she raised her eyebrows, "Well, how long do I have to wait." "Wait for what?" Ian asked. "Diana, spill the beans now or come back to our place tonight and explain what happened with you and Alex." Ian was further confused. "What happen with Alex?" A voice from behind Diana asked the same question. Oh heavens, please, please, please don't be him. Diana dropped her head in her hands just as before.
"What did I miss? Did something happen to me?" Ian gave him a handshake while Sandra handed Diana a glass of wine and asked Alex if he wanted a beer.
"You sure you're up to another glass of wine? I just watched you drink a bottle at the restaurant."
Ian and Sandra exchanged knowing smiles; "So you two had a date?" Ian asked.
Diana choked on her wine, the second time that evening. Through her coughing fit she managed to answer, "NO! We just happened to be at the same place. Not a date."
Alex winked at Ian, "She wouldn't let me pay. But we did share a few drinks."
"We did no such thing. I ate alone, you drank alone. We were just in the same room." Diana was talking too loud and too fast, but she was shocked by what Alex was saying.
"That's not how I saw it. It was just the two of us in that room."
"But we weren't even at the same table."
"Yes, but we did share a drink at the same table. We also talked about you coming over last night and how I wanted the evening to last longer."
Diana turned around to face Alex squarely and was just about to chew him out when she saw Mitch, out of the corner of her eye, opened the pub doors and wave to their group; "Oh for heaven’s sake, now what!?"
Alex followed Diana's line of sight, turned back to face her and smirked. "Do I need to fight for my woman's honor?"
Ian and Sandra where talking with Mitch and didn't notice the exchange between the two. "Your what?!"
"My woman of course; sad to think someone as young as you has a hearing problem."
"I believe it's you that has a hearing problem. We aren't an item. We decided to avoid each other."
"We decided no such thing. I told you I wanted more. You just needed time to think about it.” Alex paused long enough to take a drink; “Your time is up." He then presented her with a smile that would have surely knocked her off her seat had she not been so upset with him.
"You can tone down that gorgeous smile of yours and direct it towards someone who's interested. I'm not getting on that ride." She did her best to keep her body language in check and finished off the last of her wine. What she wanted to do was jump in his arms and pick up where they left off last night. What she had to do was appear calm and uninterested.
"Gorgeous smile you say? I'm taking that as a definite maybe. How about a proper dinner and movie tomorrow, I'm paying this time. I'll even pick you up and make it an official date. What do you say?"
Was this man for real? He just told her he didn't want to have a fling, but nothing had changed. She was still leaving in a few weeks so anything they started would be futile. "I don't understand. Why would we go on a date?"
"I was going to ask the same thing." Mitch put an arm around Diana's shoulder and gave her a squeeze. "I still owe you one. You did get my message didn't you? I'm so sorry I couldn't make last night. Let me make it up to you tomorrow night."
Diana's mind was going 90 to nothing. What on earth just happened? Five minutes ago she was dumped by 2 guys and tonight she had 2 guys asking her out. With a look of confusion on her face she silently begged Sandra for help. And like a good friend she did; "Diana and I have already made plans for tomorrow. I was going to ask Alex if he could help Ian at the pub while we have a girl's night. Would you mind?"
Alex looked just as confused as Diana did seconds ago, but graciously accepted. "I'd be happy to. Make sure you show her a good time. I'm afraid the past few days haven't been as she'd planned." Was that ever an understatement?
"So maybe lunch and a few sites tomorrow?" Mitch asked. "I can drop you off here afterwards so you two girls can go out." Mitch looked from Diana to Alex as if challenging him to say something. Didn't they know each other? Or did they? Sandra said something about them, but she was too caught up in the current situation to remember.
Alex looked deflated and finished off his beer. "Perhaps another night then?" He didn't wait for an answer, just said his good-byes and left. Diana was surprised by her reaction. She too felt deflated. Just seconds ago their banter had her shocked, but also excited. She was actually considering taking him up on his offer of a date, but was stopped by Mitch... whom she also liked, but was there the same attraction? He was just as good-looking, perhaps even more so if you compared them to Hollywood's standards. But Alex had a physical pull she was hard pressed to deny.
Mitch squeezed her shoulders again and brought her back to the present, "How does that sound to you?" She had missed him telling Ian and Sandra about his plans for tomorrow, but figured she'd find out soon enough. "That sounds great. I'm looking forward to it." And she was, but she also longed to see what would happen if she and Alex had a chance to go on a real date.
Oh Diana, what have you gotten yourself in to?