It had a been a couple of days since Helena’s dinner party and she still hadn’t seen much of her new neighbor. He kept odd hours and she hadn’t seen anyone visit him. She was in the office she had built in the back of her house working with a previous client on a new project. She enjoyed the freedom and flexibility being a graphic designer under contract. She hadn’t worked as a salaried employee in 5 years and it was great. She had clients all over the Pacific Northwest and few throughout the country but she liked working for folks closer to home. Her business did graphic design for books, magazines, and web content. It was Goddess Graphic, Peggy had suggested it from her nickname. Helena loved it and it had been growing. She had a part time assistant now and had designed and built an office in the backyard. She wanted to seem more professional and not have clients traipsing through her home.
She was meeting Logan Gilchrist, he was young, but smart and had his own hip magazine, Sea-town Trends. Helena wasn’t hip anymore but she could still fill the bill for his request for their upcoming issue. He was cute in a little boy kind of way, blonde hair all streaked and poking up in different spots. He was in good shape but very casual as most young people were in Seattle. He was bouncing ideas off of Helena when she heard a slightly familiar voice.
‘Excuse me,’ it said from the doorway of her office. He was knocking very lightly as he said it.
It was her neighbor, he looked rough, like he was rode hard and put away wet but surprisingly as haggard as he looked he was still handsome.
Helena got up from the table where she and Logan were sitting.
‘Yes, hello. Can I help you?’
‘Umm I’m your neighbor from across the street.’
Helena nodded ‘yes I know,’ she said flatly. She hadn’t forgot how rude he’d been to her a few days ago and she was not going give that a pass.
‘Uh…I was wondering if you have some laundry detergent. I’m trying to get things set up and I can’t find mine and I don’t want to go to the store, you know.’
Helena’s eyes narrowed a bit and he seemed to notice her annoyance. He knew he needed to apologize for the other night and this was the only way he figured he could do it.
‘Sure, I do it’s in my house. Follow me in and I’ll get it for you.’ She turned to Logan and said ‘will you excuse me for a moment?’
‘Oh yea sure, take your time. I’ll just be looking at what you sketched up here.’
She walked toward the office door and he moved to the side to let her pass. She turned to look at him as if to say, follow me and he nodded in acknowledgement and fell in behind her. He watched as she walked, it was mesmerizing he felt like he was going into a trance. She had on a skirt that showed her perfect shape and pair of stilettos. He was shocked she got so dressed up just to sit out in an office in her backyard. But she walked like she was everything and knew it. Her watched as her ass as it switched from side to side, she did have a nice butt. He’d dated a black chick in college. Her body was dynamite and he remembered that. He shouldn’t be thinking like this he admonished himself. He shouldn’t be thinking of any other woman but her, not this woman, not this Helena McDermott she wasn’t what he wanted. At least he thought she wasn’t.
Helena turned as she got to her back door, he was staring at her almost mesmerized. The look caught her off guard because he wasn’t trying to conceal it. When his eyes met hers, he blinked and straightened up. She opened the door and invited him in.
‘I’ll be happy to help you…uh what is your name?’ She turned and smirked at him since he’d been so nasty the other night she hadn’t even got a name.
He looked embarrassed then as he should have.
‘Umm it’s Jacob Galanos but my friends call me Jake.’
‘Well Mr. Galanos, I’ll put some detergent in a Tupperware and you can take it home.’
‘Oh I’d wish you’d call me Jake.’
Helena looked at him curiously, she just couldn’t figure this guy out. The other night he had the manners of a jackal today he’s Mr. Rogers scraggly twin.
‘Okay if that’s what you want.’
Helena took a disposable plastic container and filled it with detergent and handed it to him. As she did their fingers brushed, she felt a spark and as she looked she saw his eyes searching hers in a knowing way, he’d felt it too. She pulled her hand back and gave a weak smile. She needed him out of her now.
‘Is there anything else I can do for you?’
‘Yea, will you have dinner with me?’
‘What, Mr. Galanos?…I’m sorry I mean Jake.’
‘Dinner. You do eat?’
She looked at him completely confused by this sudden change of heart.
‘Well, yes but…’
‘Oh I’m really dumb, you got a boyfriend or husband?’
She was still eyeing him cautiously, ‘well no I don’t but the other night when my friend and I came over you didn’t seem eager for company.’
Jake blushed embarrassed because he knew he’d been wretched to her and her friend the other night and he just wanted to make it up to her. Yes, that was this would be just a nice gesture.
‘I’m sorry for my rudeness that wasn’t due to you I’d just gotten some bad news and didn’t really feel like being bothered. I can take you to dinner to make up for it.’ Jake knew that story was a complete lie but it was better than telling her the other story, the one where he was drinking a bottle of Jack Daniels trying to forget his heartache over his wife and son’s death.
‘Okay, I guess that would be okay.’
‘Good. I’ve roamed the neighbor and there’s a great little Italian place within walking distance, The Green Olive. Have you heard of it?’
Helena knew The Green Olive well, he had pretty good taste in restaurants.
‘Yes, I know it. It’s a good place.’
‘Okay, then how about this evening at 7 or so?’
Helena smiled and said ‘sure. Seven sounds great but I gotta get back to my client now.’
‘Oh yea I’m keeping you from your work. Sorry and thank you again,’ he said as he held up the detergent he borrowed.
‘You’re very welcome. Jake.’
He smiled and left. As the back door closed, Helena wondered why she’d agreed to go out with him tonight especially with such rude behavior a few days ago. She was sure he felt the sparks between them as their fingers touched, it was pure electricity. She couldn’t help but feel a little nervous about being this attracted to an absolute stranger. She hadn’t been with anyone in the biblical sense since Scott’s death but something about Jake had her thinking if she could be, he’d probably be the one.
Jake was in his bathroom brushing his teeth, he was a nervous wreck. He hadn’t been this giddy…well since Connie. He stopped for a moment and thought of her sweet face and a tear came to his eye. He knew she’d want him to go on with his life but he hadn’t felt much like living since he’d lost her and little Dylan. Not until now, not until this goddess out of a dream rang his doorbell. He’d been shocked when he heard it and more shocked when he opened the door to find smooth cocoa skin, deep dark beautiful eyes and full luscious lips staring back at him with a body built for sin. He was absolutely awestruck and also at that moment he felt overwhelming guilt like he was betraying the memory of his family by lusting after a stranger. He wasn’t sure he should do this but he couldn’t help it. He hadn’t stopped loving Connie or Dylan but he couldn’t let his life come to a standstill. He’d decided to go casual, jeans, t-shirt and nice sweater. It was Spring and was actually rather warm tonight here in Seattle. He’d put on a pair of tennis shoes and looked at himself in the mirror. He touched his chin, he’d been pondering shaving his beard but it was too late now he’d have to think about that later.
Helena set on her sofa trying to sneak peeks from behind the curtain, it was almost 7pm but she’d been ready since 6:30 she never remembered being this nervous about seeing someone. Not even Scott, she couldn’t figure out why she felt so much like making a good impression on Jake. He certainly had not made a good one on her but today in her kitchen he seemed so sweet, vulnerable and sincere. Something about him had drawn her to him. She didn’t know what his story was but she knew something about it was tragic. She really should avoid guys like him but not only was drawn to his vulnerability she was drawn to his male beauty. Although sadness shown in his eyes, there was also a mischievous twinkle in those sea green orbs too.
Lost in thoughts of his handsome face she didn’t hear the doorbell ring. Helena shook herself from her fantasies of him and looked out the window to see him standing in the porch with flowers in his hand. He looked adorable, jeans, converse tennis shoes, t-shirt and sweater. He was a bit of a conundrum but it wasn’t as if she wasn’t curious to solve it. Ah her curiosity, it always got her into trouble. She got off the sofa and headed for the door to greet trouble.
Jake was standing there trying to be calm about the circumstance, he wasn’t sure if he was doing the right thing, he didn’t want to hurt anyone or be hurt but his vexing neighbor made him want to take the risk. He hadn’t risked anything in a long time and the act made him feel alive. Helena opened the door with a bright smile on her face, she looked beautiful, her dark skin glowing in the evening sun. She was an absolute goddess her eyes were bright and curious, she looked so sweet, he couldn’t help but be drawn to her.
Helena had decided to wear a floral dress with blue, yellow, and hot pink throughout she’d bought recently, she was waiting for summer to wear it but it was surprisingly balmy spring night in Seattle. She had on a Mary Jane shoes in blue and hot pink wrap, all matching the colorful dress. She wanted to look girly, she’d also put on some dangle hot pink earrings and lots of bracelets and bangles. He probably heard her coming from a mile away. But she didn’t care, tonight she wanted to wanton and frilly. She’d just been working hard since Scott had passed, no real fun, no real interest in any man she’d met but there was something about Jake.
‘Hello,’ he told her. His smile was tentative but eventually it widened. Helena thought he had the most beautiful smile, she hadn’t seen much of it but she wanted to see it more.
‘Hi there,’ she blushed a little not that he’d be able to notice but she felt like giggling.
He was looking at her in awe and longing, it was starting to make Helena heat up. A heat she hadn’t felt a long while.
‘Oh these are for you,’ he presented her with the most beautiful boutique of Gerber daisies. She loved those.
‘Well thank you, I should probably put these in water,’ she turned and headed to the kitchen to get a vase and set them in water. When she returned he was still standing in the open doorway. ‘You could have stepped in, Jake. I don’t bite.’
He smiled again sort of embarrassed, ‘it’s okay I was fine. You ready to get going?’
‘Yea I’m ready, I’ve been looking forward to this all day.’
‘So have I,’ he said, ‘so have I.’