After Samuel introduced Jackie to me I wasn't sure what to say or do. Jackie looked just as equally shocked.
"Hi Catherine, very nice to meet you." She finally broke the silence after what felt like hours. The way she said my name put my stomach in knots.
"Good to meet you too, Jacqueline."
"So, you were saying, you just got back from England?" Samuel made an attempt to further the previous conversation.
"Yes, the shoot kept getting extended. One of the other actors had a hard time getting to the set on time. I enjoy London though; Chris lived there for a few years, so we got to see a lot of his friends."
"You and Chris are still together? That's awesome, I better be invited to the wedding."
"Whoa now! We are not in any hurry." I had read rumors online that she was dating an actor who she had worked with last year. I had always hoped they were just rumors though. "Samuel, how did you and Catherine meet?"
"Daniel and Abigail set us up. She just moved into the house next to them. I will let her introduce herself."
"I just got a teaching position at UCLA for their masters program in Psychology. I moved out here from Bloomington, Indiana. I'm jealous you just got back from London, it is one of my favorite cities."
"Oh wow! Congratulations on your new job. I should get back to my friends. It was very nice to meet you, Catherine. Good to see you Samuel. I'm sure I will see you again."
"Nice meeting you as well." I said softly as she turned around to go back to her table. I sat back down slowly trying to ease myself back into reality.
"Catherine, are you okay?" Samuel asked as we started looking over the menu.
"Yes, I am good. What do you recommend?"
"The filet is always amazing. It may sound cheesy, but the truffle fries are to die for."
"That sounds really good."
"I'm Patrick, I'll be your server this evening. Ms. Kirk has already requested to buy your first round of drinks. What can I start you off with?"
Of course she did. "That was very sweet of her. I'll have the Strawberry Cobbler."
"I will have the Green Intensity." Samuel ordered his drink and turned back towards me. "Jackie is sweet like that. She's a great kid, never forgot her manners when she made it big. So, Catherine… Tell me more about yourself, any brothers or sisters?"
"Unfortunately no, I was an only child. My parents passed away when I was a teenager. I had an aunt who raised me afterwards, but she passed away a few years ago."
"I am so sorry."
"It's okay. You didn't know. It was a long time ago, I am a stronger person because of it. How about you?"
"I have three sisters, they all live here in LA and they all work in the industry. As I mentioned the other night, my father was a producer, so we all grew up around movies and TV. Did you ever want siblings?"
"Not until after my parents died. I enjoyed growing up as an only child, but it was lonely once they were gone."
Patrick came back with our drinks and took our food order. I was trying to enjoy Samuel's company but my mind kept going back to the young blond sitting somewhere behind me. My mind was swirling with everything from the past two years.
"Are you sure you are okay? You look distant all of a sudden."
"I'm fine, don't worry. Just enjoying tonight, it has been very lovely. I am having a really good time."
"Good, I'm glad. You just seem quiet."
"I apologize. I was setting my office up today, that is where I was when you called earlier."
"Oh yeah, when do you start teaching?"
"The first week in September classes begin. I have been starting to create my lesson plans and go through the curriculum a bit more. I have had quite a few students already start to email me for the syllabus for the course. It does not look good when the students are more prepared than me."
"You are going to hate me, but I researched some of your papers that you have had published."
"Oh god, no you didn't?" I said as my face turned red.
"They were great! I loved the one on the reversal of self-denial. You seem very passionate about the topic, it showed through your writing."
"Thank you." I relaxed a bit at the compliment. "It is one of my favorites, I spent quite a bit of time on that paper."
"I enjoyed reading it."
"I should be honest with you then, I looked up a few of the movies you have produced. I had actually seen a few of them already. I am not a huge movie buff, I would rather read, but there are some good movies that you have done."
"I would like to think so, thank you. Do you miss Bloomington?"
"No, my time there was over before I left. I needed a fresh start more than anything. I am really looking forward to what is to come." An hour ago this would be true.
"Me too." He smiled widely.
We enjoyed the remainder of our dinner, he was right about the food. It was incredible. As we finished our final drinks, he paid the bill and we got up to leave.
This is when he is supposed to ask if I wanted to go back to his place for a drink. I was actually dreading the moment, even though the date was lovely. I wanted to get home and freak out about seeing Jackie. I wanted to be alone more than anything so my mind could slow down.
"I have had a great time this evening, Catherine."
"As have I, Samuel."
"I would like to see you again."
"That can be arranged." I did have a good time and I really did enjoy his company. I should not let the fact that I saw Jackie ruin what could be.
"I have a premiere on Thursday if you would like to join me."
"I would like you to be there with me."
"Of course. I look forward to it."
"Good. I do too. I would love nothing more than to ask you back to my place this evening."
"But…" I continued his sentence.
"I have a conference call at five o'clock in the morning, I have to be at the office by 4:30 so I can prepare. We are proposing a budget for a new movie and the people we are proposing the budget to are in New York."
"Ahh... That's okay. We have Thursday night." I smiled, mostly because I was relieved that I would be going home.
He drove me back home and walked me to my door. I was kind of shocked at how much of a gentleman he was. Chivalry may not be dead after all.
"I look forward to seeing you on Thursday, Catherine. I had a great time tonight."
"Me too, thank you for dinner."
"Thank you for joining me." He said before leaning in to kiss me goodnight. It was a simple kiss that let me know he really wanted more, but did not want to rush things.
"Good night." He said before turning back towards his car. I opened my door and was promptly greeted by Ethan.
"Hey buddy. I had a great night, thank you for asking. I ran into an old pal of yours, do you remember Jackie?" At the sound of her name he perked up and got excited. "Yeah, I remember her too."
I walked to the kitchen and poured myself a glass a wine. After I took my first sip a tear rolled down my cheek and I had to sit down as I became overwhelmed with all of the emotions from the last two years. I moved to the living room and put the TV on as I drifted to sleep. It was almost one in the morning when the doorbell rang, I thought I was dreaming. It took me a few moments to get up and walk towards the door and when I finally looked out the window I saw a small form retreating back to the driveway. I opened the door and started walking towards the form.
"Jackie, is that you?" She turned towards me and my thoughts were confirmed. "What… How do you know where I live?"
"I shouldn't have come here. I'm sorry, I saw the light on and I thought it would be a good idea to ring the bell, but it wasn't and I'm sorry. I'm leaving."
"Jackie, stop… What are you doing here?"