"I don't want to see you anymore." Louisa said.

Martin cringed as the utterance struck his chest. Her words were so final. So firm. So absolute. So without hope of redemption. Their impact left him stunned, with no breath remaining in his lungs for mounting a protest when she whispered goodbye and exited the car.

Their evening started with much promise. He was on time, as was his way, dressed in a cotton suit and silk tie, newly purchased from a men's clothier in Truro. Great pains were to close the surgery on time, turning away drop- ins and leaving the patient file updates for the next morning. The mobile, which only left his person when he slept, he placed purposefully on the chest of drawers in his bedroom, with a newly recorded message directing his patients to the trauma centre in Wadebridge.

When he arrived at her home, she did not disappoint. Waiting at the entrance of her cottage, she stood stunningly draped in a classic, knee length black dress. Her dark hair, pulled to the back of her head in a fashionable French tuck, which softened the lines of her face and emphasized the delicate curve of her neck. She smelled of Kenzo Flower.

Martin paused to take in the beauty of her. Pleased she chose him to be her escort for the evening. At the same time he wondered what she saw in him that made him so worthy of her attention. So very thankful she had taken such an interest.

The quartet they went to hear proved reasonably accomplished for an amateur group. However, neither took notice of anything besides the dance being enacted beneath the outstretched canopy of the elder English Elm where they sat. Louisa's part of their dance moved her closer to his side in hopes of placing her head on his shoulder. Martin's part involved gazing at the outline of her face for as long as he dared before her unease forced her to turn her head and graciously smile. They performed this waltz until the program ended, and the crowds made their way to the car park. Their lengthy dance emboldened him with the courage to take her hand in his. She in turn, guided him to a secluded stand of Alder where she kissed him.

This was where he knew things went irrevocably wrong. This was where he prattled on and on about pheromones and her mood swings, distilling her feelings for him into nothing more than biological and chemical interplay. Disregarding and minimizing entirely the free will choice she made to allow herself to fall in love with him.

He made an attempt to stanch the bleeding of the incision he unwittingly made, by apologizing. Saying he hadn't been criticizing her; he was truly interested. The proffered apology was too little and far too late.

The end of the evening found him inside his idling car, watching the woman he longed for, disappear behind the finality of a closed door.