It had been nearly four years since Angela had left him. When she had at first he had been confused, sad, and yes a little angry. How could she leave him? How could she leave them? They could have worked things out. He could have gone home with her and searched for jobs in Connecticut or New York. But he didn't. He stayed in Iowa to live out his three year contract. After that was up they offered him one for five. it was to good to be true so he had taken it. He knew that she was right about things. If he had gone back with her he would have ended up resenting the fact that he had given up a great job. As she had said that day in his office: "What waiting for a break? A break of a lifetime which you already have here?" What would have happened to their relationship then? Would they have drifted apart? Would he have resented her when he was unable to find a job? What if never found a job like Wells? No, his relationship with Angela was to important to end up resenting her or she him. He would rather be her long-distance friend then live in the same house and resent each other and eventually end up not even speaking. But still he missed her like crazy.
So he had stayed. He still kept in touch with the family seeing them on special occasions such as Sam's College graduation and Jonathan's High School graduation. Or when Sam and Hank had their first child a boy; Nicholas Thomopoulos. He thought Sam's name was a tongue twister! But other than that and birthday and Christmas cards they sent each other he and Angela gradually lost touch. Maybe it was for the best. Maybe it was for the worst. He didn't know. What he did know is that he had to be the one to tell Angela his news. He didn't even want Sam to do it. No, it had to come from him. He owed her that much. So now he stood at her front door. He took a deep breath and rang the doorbell. It opened revealing an older woman wearing an apron.
'Yes? May I help you?"
"Um yes. Is Angela home?"
"Yes, Ms Bower is home. Is she expecting you?"
"No actually she isn't. But could you please tell her that Tony is here?"
She looked him up and down. "Very well. I'll go tell her. Please come in." With that she spun on her heels to Angela's study. Tony closed the door behind him and looked around the living room. It still looked the same. It had been so long since he been here but everything was still the same. He sat down on the couch and waited for Angela.
Angela heard the knock on her door and shouted: "Come in!"
"Ms Bower? There is a man here to see you. He says his name is Tony."
"Tony?!" Angela nearly fell out of her chair when she heard his name. It had been so long since she had seen him. Except for family functions; like the kids' graduations or the birth of Sam and Hank first child who was now a fun loving 2 year old they had barely kept in touch except for the exchange of Birthday and Christmas cards. So what was he doing here now?Was he possible coming back because he missed her and wanted to be with her? Could her dream finally becoming true? After four years were they finally going to be together again? She knew she shouldn't get her hopes up but she couldn't help herself. After she had left him in Iowa she had had this fantasy of him coming back to her. Not right away of course. Perhaps a few months or maybe even a year later. Yes, she knew she was being childish and unfair. But she couldn't help herself. She loved and missed him so much! Maybe he had found a job here in Connecticut or New York and wanted them to try again.
"Ms Bower? Are you okay? Should I tell him to leave?"
Angela shook her head. "No. I'll see him. Thank you Claire. Would you please tell him I'll be right out?"
"Yes Ma'am." Claire left and went back into the living room.
"Ms Bower said she will be right out."
"Thank you." Tony smiled at her.
"You're welcome. Now if you'll excuse me. I need to go start dinner." She nodded at him and went into the kitchen.
Tony looked up when he heard her voice. She still looked beautiful. She was wearing a skirt and blouse her hair cascading around her shoulders. She smiled softly at him.
She shivered at the sound of his voice. His husky voice that always turned her into jello. He still looked good. Hell he looked amazing! He was wearing jeans and a dark blue button down shirt. She wanted to throw her arms around him but held back. She would wait for him to make the first move. After all he had come home to her right? So it was obvious that he wanted to go first.
"Hello. So what can I do for you?" She walked over to him and sat down beside him.
"There's something I need to tell you. Something you needed to hear from me. Sam knows but I told her that I needed to tell you. I owe you that much after everything you have done for me."
"Tony what is it? Are you sick?!" The mere thought caused a cold chill to run through her body.
He shook his head. "No, I came to tell you that I'm getting married."
The room began to spin around her. She felt her heartbeat quicken. Had he said what she thought he said?!
"Married? You're getting married?" She must have heard him wrong. He couldn't possibly be getting married!
Those two words caused Angela's heart to drop. "I don't believe it!"
"Actually neither can I."
It was true. He never in a million years thought he would fall for another woman after Angela. When Marie had died he thought for sure he was done with love and then he fell in love with Angela. When he and Angela had split up he again figured that was the end of any romance for him. But to his amazement he had been wrong.
"I'm sorry Tony. I don't mean that another woman can't…. or that you shouldn't…" she grasped for things to say.
Tony took her hand in his. "I know Angela. I know what you're trying to say. And believe me if things were the other way around…. But I know that if they were you would give me the courtesy of telling me in person."
Suddenly all her hopes and dreams went away. Tony wasn't coming back to her. He was never coming back to her. He was going to marry and love another woman. Oh God! Had she made the biggest mistake of her life by leaving him? By the shock of his news the answer was a definite: YES! She felt her eyes filling with tears but quickly sniffed them back. If he noticed he didn't say anything.
Tony noticed her eyes filling with tears but kept quiet. He didn't want to make the situation more awkward than what it was. He hated how much he was hurting her but the news was better coming from him than somebody else.
"So um who is she? Where did you meet her?"
"Her name is Theresa. Theresa Fisher. Actually she is a friend of Candy's. She introduced us a few years ago. After you… Well after we ended things." When he had first met her at the awards banquet he hadn't been looking for anybody. He had told Candy that he wasn't ready for this. He was done with romance. Theresa was-is a beautiful woman but a romance with her or any woman was so far out of his mind it was nearly impossible. They did spend time that evening talking about their respective breakups. His with Angela and hers with her husband. She was easy to talk to and thought they could at least become good friends. But loving her? As far as he was concerned that wasn't in the cards for them. But slowly she warmed her way into his heart. It was so gradual and yet so sudden he still couldn't believe it! At first they just hung out as friends. They went bowling with Dr Graham, Candy, Ned, and Rosie. They attended school functions together and helped to celebrate Dr Graham's twenty-fifth anniversary of being Dean. If he could pinpoint the exact moment when he realized he had fallen in love with her would it had made things easier or harder? He didn't know. Maybe it was for the best.
"I see." She took a deep breath. "So you're getting married!'
"Yes. Angela, I want you to know that I never expected this to happen. But, it did and I wanted to give you the respect and courtesy of telling you face to face."
"I appreciate that Tony. I really do. And you're right if I were getting married again I would want to tell you in person." The sad truth was though she had barely dated since their break-up. She had briefly started things up with Andy again but that had fizzled out. Ever since she had been all alone but still comforted and warmed by her fantasy of Tony coming back to her. Of the two of them having a second chance. Now that was never going to happen. She had lost him!
"Angela. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to hurt you!"
"Sorry? Why are you sorry? You're getting married! This is supposed to be happy news! So I wish you all the best. I hope you'll be happy!" she said her voice shaking.
"Angela stop!" he said gently. "You don't have to pretend in front of me. If things were the other way….." he trailed off when he he noticed the tears falling from her eyes. "Hey come here." he opened up his arms to her.
She went into them without any hesitation and cried. She cried for their lost romance. Their lost marriage. For what might have been. For what could have been. For what should have been. After a few minutes she felt him crying as well. Their tears mixed together on their cheeks. They held on to each other knowing they eventually would have to part. After a few more minutes they let go and wiped their eyes and blew their noses. After they got themselves under control he spoke once more.
"I um wanted to thank you for everything you have done for me. If you hadn't taken a chance on me when I showed up to be your housekeeper who knows where I would be now? Probably still in Brooklyn driving a fish truck. But you saw something in me. You encouraged me. You believed in me."
" I feel the same way about you." She smiled through her tears. "You have enriched my life in more ways than I can count. Then I could ever imagine!"
He smiled and brushed her hair back from her face. "I feel the same way." He whispered. They looked at one another for a moment then as if on cue looked away. Tony stood up.
"I'm going to go now. I'm going to go visit Sam, Hank, and Nicky. "
"They'll be glad to see you." she smiled and stood as well.
"I'm just glad to see their new house!" he chuckled referring to the fact that Hank and Sam had finally moved into a new house a few months ago. Mona of course had moved back into her apartment so fast it nearly gave everyone whiplash. With Jonathan living in his own campus apartment she was all alone in the house. Of course Mona still came around to steal food or have her laundry done and Sam and Nicky visited once or twice a week so she wasn't completely alone. However without Tony she had felt alone. Even if Mona, Jonathan, Sam, Hank, and Nicky had been living with her she still would have felt alone without Tony.
Now she would be forever alone.
They walked to the front door. He placed his hand on the doorknob and turned to her.
"Good bye Angela."
"Good bye Tony."
With a slight hesitation he leaned over and kissed her cheek. She closed her eyes reveling in the scent and nearness of him. She opened them again when she heard the sound of the door opening. He turned to her again and cleared his throat.
"I don't now if this is going to make things better or worse but I just wanted to say that I do love you Angela."
"I love you too."
"But, you were right. If I had come back to Connecticut I may have ended up resenting you. I didn't want that. So that's why I stayed in Iowa. I would rather be your friend lost distance than me coming back here and having us eventually resenting one another. "
"I wouldn't want that either. I know we have lost touch but you are very important to me. You always will be."
"You are to me too."
Without another word he pulled her into his arms once more. They stayed that way for a few minutes words unnecessary and unneeded. They broke apart and they looked at each other once more and then he left quietly closing the door behind him.