Melvin paced back and forth through Sabrina’s living room, thinking of all the ways this one moment could go right, and all the ways it could go wrong.
Though he chose to have faith in a positive outcome, he knew he had to be realistic and consider that her feelings just might differ from his own.
Though it seemed they’d been having a great time with one another, enjoying the company that the other provided, the entire situation could be taken two totally different ways.
What he wanted, and what she felt it should be.
He mulled over all that he could say, promising himself that he wouldn’t get tongue tied or lose track of his thoughts, that he would be clear and concise in his intentions, as honest and open as he’d been since the day they first met.
Melvin stopped, stood still for a moment before shaking his head and moving on to the next set of scenarios. He paced and paced, patiently waiting for Sabrina to make her entrance.
There was another twenty minutes, for which he was thankful. From the corner of his eye, as he paced to the left, he saw Sabrina walk in with her hands resting at her sides. There was a smile on her face, a sight he’d grown to love. A sight that brightened even the darkest of his days when he was blessed with her presence.
“Sorry that I kept you waiting so long. I couldn’t settle on a look.”
He eyed her up and down, willing himself to speak with the sense the good lord gave him. “You look wonderful in anything, Darling.”
Sabrina thanked him, offering a seat as she took one, hoping to break the awkwardness that threatened to settle around them by jumping straight into a conversation. “I was surprised to get your call this morning. As much traveling as you’ve done lately, I was expecting you to take some time for yourself before you found your way around here again.” I wasn’t expecting you to return this way at all, she thought to herself.
Melvin inched closer, speaking honestly. “I couldn’t bare the thought of being away from you any longer. To say I’ve missed you, that wouldn’t even begin to explain my feelings over the past month and a half. The loneliness seemed unbearable, until I called to mind sweet thoughts of you. They helped me get by.”
“Why me?” She exhaled, suddenly feeling the urge to speak on the things she’d heard in his absence. “You’ve got your pick of women, all through this town and the next.”
“None of them can hold a candle to you, not in any way.”
Sabrina chuckled, twiddling her thumbs as she looked down and away from the loving gaze Melvin sent her way. It was all so new, so scary. And so undeserving for a woman like her, she felt. “I don’t see how. In case you’ve forgotten, Melvin, I’m not exactly the pristine and pure type of woman most men seek. Damaged goods, if you will.”
Placing a finger beneath her chin, he lifted her face towards his, smiling warmly. “You’re a treasure, worth all that your heart desires. My only hope is that love is one of those.”
“It used to be.” Sabrina stood, refusing to face Melvin as he sat up straight in his seat. “It hasn’t been kind to me, hasn’t given me much of a reason to believe it’s something for me.”
“Yet, you still feel it taking hold of you, don’t you? Don’t you know that no matter how you try to run from a feeling as strong as love, as unrelenting as love, there’s nowhere you can hide from it. Try all you might, it finds you and forces itself into your space. Won’t you trust that it’s for real this time?”
“I’m a mess. Nothing but trouble for a good man like you. So broken that I’ll probably fight everything you throw my way. I’ll just bring problems you don’t need when you can live a simple life with a woman that will know her place.”
“Life’s full of problems. We’ll work through ours just the way we work through the unnecessary things life throws our way. And if I’m honest, there’s no one I’d want to fuss and fight with, make up with, and move forward with than the woman that has brought me so many of the happiest days of my life. No one I’d rather learn from, grow with. I love you, I’m in love with you Sabrina and I can’t keep this feeling to myself any longer.”
His words caused her to tense up. She felt the same, though she’d hoped she’d never have to say it. She banked on never having to say it, because until now she’d never gotten this far with a new man. Her only thought was, how long would his feelings last? How long before she did something to make him change his mind.
“I’m in love with you, Sabrina. And I’ll come here every day and say it until it’s understood that you’re the woman I want, the love of my life. My dream come true, and all that my future holds.”
His optimism, the joyful lilt in his voice upset her a bit. She wanted him to be like the other foolish men that came calling following the divorce from her ex-husband. To grow tired of her incessant pushing away. Unlike the others, Melvin failed to take hints. Was persistent in seeking every bit of her time and attention that he could earn, persistent in his attempts to love her pain away. Treated her with respect that others seemed to withhold when speaking to or of her. Thought nothing negative of her past or how she went about handling the trauma that came from it. He was patient, kind, a man of his word. He was fearless, relentless in playfully coaxing her out of her comfort zone so that she could learn to enjoy life again. Overly-eager when trying to show her that there was still some good in the world outside of the wall she’d built up, still a good man somewhere waiting and willing to be by her side.
It drove her mad. “How are you so sure? Haven’t you been through the worst in love too?”
Melvin nodded his head, standing. He shoved his hands into his pockets. This conversation failed to present itself in his mind as a possible scenario. He thought professing his love would get him thrown out, or laughed at before being told he was nothing more than a friend.
In her voice he heard all the doubt she threw his way, but he also heard the glimmer of hope. “Yes, I have. But, I’ve always known not to go into the next moments of my life with old hurt on my shoulder. I’ve always known not to hold someone new accountable for an old person’s actions. Just as I hope you won’t hold me to whatever your first love has done. Because as easily as I can toss out what I think you want to hear, I can also tell you that I’m not him. It’s easy to say; but I’d like to think that my actions have shown you I’m a cut above him and any other man that was too foolish to see what a gift you truly are, how special you are.”
When Sabrina turned to speak, she came face to face with Melvin. A tiny smile crept across her face as he extended his hand and waited patiently for hers. “I’ve fallen, but I’m so scared.”
“I’ll be with you, every step of the way. Won’t ever let you hit the ground.” She placed her hand in his, feeling the flutter of butterflies that swarmed the very first time she’d ever laid eyes on him. The look of love filled his own eyes, smiling wide as he pulled her into his arms. They danced to a melody that only they could hear. “Things in the past happen for a reason, to make us stronger, prepare us for the great blessings he’s already made ours. All of the pain, the hurt, it’s behind us. And if you walk with me through life and love, we won’t ever have to look back or dwell on the past. All troubles, we’ll leave. We’ll make our own beautiful memories. Will you give it a second chance… with me?”
Swallowing the hesitation that had been so strong, gathering her faith, Sabrina nodded. “Yes.” Melvin smiled, lifting her into his arms as he spun her around. “I love you.”