Samantha could look at Jonathan unobserved from her corner desk. Jonathan was busy on the laptop, preparing the shopping list which goes out on Fridays for the Saturday market. His fingers flying across the keyboard, like a pianist. They were long and beautiful. And soft, she remembered.
Annie, her four year old bumbled into the reception waving a paper which had colorful crayon scribblings. Samantha made her sit on top of the desk.
‘See my dlawing Mommy,’ Annie lisped. Samantha kissed her and cooed about her drawing.
‘Look Jon, my dlawing,’ Annie passed on the paper to Jonathan.
He had been watching them and thinking about how wonderful they looked together. He was tempted to be part of their life. This cottage inn ‘in the sticks’ had given him a lot more than his comfortable city job. But, it was time now to leave, before it becomes too difficult.
Samantha was staring at Jonathan as she watched him talking to Annie when he looked up at her. She felt sheepish on being caught staring. He winked at her and kissed Annie’s forehead. Annie ran off to her room.
Samantha pretended to be busy as that wink had let loose butterflies in her stomach. She willed her hands to not tremble as her cheeks felt hot.
‘Stop blushing. Stop trembling. ‘
She walked out of the reception. She needed him to manage the inn. Jonathan had tweaked the workings of the inn and it had worked like magic. But he had to leave. Surely, this small inn could not hold him back forever.
After dinner, Samantha lay down on her bed with a book in her hand. Samantha tried to read her novel. But her mind wandered off after a few sentences. It was back to Jonathan again, his soft hands, his smile and now, his wink. She shook her head to shake out his thoughts from her mind.
‘Read the book, Samantha. Jonathan will go away soon. ‘
Earlier, she had written out a note looking for a Manager and stuck it on the notice board at the marketplace. She closed the book as she was going nowhere with that one. She put on the dim light which Annie needed and pulled on the quilt over her. Sleep was elusive in direct proportion to the intrusive thoughts of Jonathan.
A soft tap on her door startled Samantha. She walked to the door and opened it slightly. Jonathan stood there in his striped pyjamas, hair tousled, smelling of toothpaste.
‘Ummm are you sleepy? I saw the lights on and decided you were awake. Are you up for a short walk?’ he asked.
She stared back at him. The last time they were out together it had ended up in a fight. A fight between her heart and her mind to stay away from him. Her heart will surely break when he leaves. But, today she will go with him and make more memories to hold on to for future sleepless nights.
I am writing this story for a flash fiction contest Shades of Love. My story is inspired by Devika Fernando’s Tantalizing Temptations.