Caleb reached out and touched Lisbeth's cheek with the back of his hand. It was an innocent gesture, and yet there was such an intense undercurrent of electricity between them, even the purest of motives became lost. She pulled away, her face flushed with the heat of sudden desire.
“I don't think this is a good idea, I think you should leave.” She looked down at her hands when she said it, and Caleb nodded his head in agreement. She twisted the diamond ring on her finger.
“I'm sorry, it won't happen again.” He got up from the sofa, leaving her suddenly chilled and a little exasperated at herself for allowing him to affect her in such a way.
“You just call me when you're ready to move the rest of the boxes into the basement, and I'll send Billy or one of the twins over to help you, okay?” Caleb who was now a single dad had lived next door with his three sons for almost 10 years. He'd send them to help Lisbeth pack up James' things. He decided that he wouldn't come back though, it would just cause her more pain.
“Caleb...” Lisbeth stammered. “that... um...that would be very helpful. I...I'm really sorry. It's just... It's too soon... and I...” her voice trailed off, and she hung her head. She was crying again. That was how Caleb had ended up sitting with her on the sofa. She'd been crying when he came in; he'd sat with her and held her hands, and then he'd put his arm around her. Then she had stopped crying and she looked up at him with her sad brown eyes, and he'd wanted to kiss her. But he hadn't. Instead he had reached up and touched her face. He loved her. He had loved her for years, but she had been married; married to his best friend. And now she knew he loved her, because she just felt it in his touch. And then she'd asked him to leave. It was over before it had even begun.
Caleb and James met Lisbeth the same year. For Caleb, it had been love at first sight. James had only been interested in Lisbeth because he knew it would irritate Caleb; and it had. But it was very clear which of the two Lisbeth had been interested in; it had always been James. They were married just two years later, and Caleb, although heartbroken for a while, got past it and married a couple of years after that. They had all remained close friends, and now, 15 years later, James was dead. Caleb had lost his best friend, and Lisbeth had lost her husband. Three weeks ago, Lisbeth had come home from work and found James dead on the kitchen floor; at the ripe old age of 34 years old, he'd had a heart attack.
“Lisbeth, are you going to be all right?” Caleb stood at the door, watching her sob into her hands. She choked a little and got up to come see him out.
“Yeah, I'll be fine. I just need some time to adjust, I can't seem to focus on anything Caleb. I'm really sorry, I am just so lost now. And... I'm all alone.” She was standing too close to him, crying and frail. He pulled her to him, holding her tightly as he stroked her hair.
“Shhhhhh, everything's gonna be fine, just fine.” He wanted so desperately to take away her pain.
She looked up at him, and moved her lips to say “thank you” and suddenly his mouth was upon hers, years of restrained passion let loose, and for a moment, she was kissing him back. For a moment, she was no longer alone, she was safe and loved, and she knew everything really was going to be okay.
He pulled back from her, expecting her to be angry with him, expecting the tears to return, or for her to send him away. He was prepared for anything other than the look of sheer love that was in her eyes, and the wistful smile upon her lips.
“You're gonna be okay Lisbeth... I promise, you're gonna be okay.”
He kissed her again.
©2012 Garden Summerland