"Marry me, Amanda."

Even as he heard the words he had just spoken, he was cursing himself for being every kind of a fool. Not that he didn't mean them, never that, but he hadn't meant to blurt it out in the middle of a conversation. He knew Amanda too well, he knew she would run.

Now he stood staring into Amanda's eyes as confusion, fear, hope and despair flitted across her face. He could have sworn love had appeared there briefly, but maybe that was just his hope playing tricks.

"It would serve you right if I said yes", she said lightly.

As he opened his mouth, she touched her finger over his lips and shushed him. "I am sorry, but I have to go ... an appointment I nearly forgot." She kissed him briefly and walked away. He couldn't do anything but stare after her, entranced, even as he wished there was something, anything he could do to keep her from leaving.