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Topic: The Right One by Jules Dixon (Read 126 times) previous topic - next topic - Topic derived from Should Have Been

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The Right One by Jules Dixon
The Right One by Jules Dixon
Even after not seeing her for almost ten years, I knew the woman standing next to me was the one.

Her body had the same curves, just a little more of them. She carried herself with an effortless air of confidence that was still so attractive, but she acted like she didn't even know the special quality radiated from her like sunshine. And her laugh, which brought back so many special memories, tickled my ears in exactly the same way.

Her originality had circulated through my mind on numerous occasions through the years, especially when I saw a woman who had one but not all of the qualities. Over time, memories had morphed into returning craving dreams, but sitting here with her next to me, it was clear that the reality didn't disappoint.

Everything was perfect. She was a stunning woman who still affected me the same as all those years ago.

She leaned against the bar, sharing a pleasant smile with the bartender. His grin included a blatant up and down of her womanly form.

"What'll it be, sweetheart?" he asked, wiping down the glassy surface. His pet name raised my blood pressure ever so slightly.

"Shot of tequila, blanco, the good stuff, with salt and lime, please."

I could have guessed that, same favorite as in high school.
The bartender grabbed a bottle of what was okay, but because I'd had the opportunity to travel, I judged the one next to it was the better choice. Not that either was the epitome of perfection, but the same could've been said about life in general.

The bartender grabbed a shot glass. "Rough day or week or...?"

I spoke up to stop his blabbering. "I'm sorry for interrupting, but she might enjoy the one to the right of that bottle more."
The bartender's form fitting black shirt stretched as his chest puffed up. "And how exactly would you know what she might like?"

I stared him down. "Because, I was her first boyfriend and I know her."

Elle's head spun to me and her eyes widened. "Karson Walker?" Her eyes searched my face. "It is you," she whispered as she clenched the edge of the bar.

She could have easily walked by me and not recognized me. I wasn't that gangly young boy anymore. I was a filled out man, with less acne, ample confidence and my own style in clothes and hair.

"Hey, Elle." I stood and pulled her into an embrace. I wanted to imagine she didn't stiffen under my arms, but she had and it scored another moment of regret into my heart.

The bartender cleared his throat and he held up both choices. "So, which will it be, his or mine?" 

"I'll go with my friend's suggestion." She might as well have been saying "garbage man's" or "tax accountant's" suggestion by her emotionless response, but she took a seat next to me. Somewhere inside, I craved to believe her pleasant action was a positive move.

"I'll take one of those, too, please."
The bartender grunted at me, but filled two shot glasses.

"Do you live in Denver now?" She was always a cut-to-the-chase kind of girl. I missed that.

"No. Well, not yet. I have an interview tomorrow morning with a start-up company around the corner."
I set cash on the bar top for the drinks. The bartender took my bills without returning change, even though the two shots and my glass of whiskey didn't cost forty bucks.
I examined safe topics in my brain. Family? No, her brother had died of cancer five years ago and I didn't attend the funeral because I was out of the country on business. Hometown? No, that would just bring up remembrances of the insensitive jerk I had been in my younger days. Weather? Safe and boring. Plus none of those topics were what I really wanted to know--her dating status.

I settled on, "Where are you working, Elle?"

A rosy blush of happiness filled her cheeks and a smile lifted the corners of her beautiful lips. "I'm fundraising for a non-profit, The Bark Avenue Canine Home. They take in shelter dogs whose parking meters have expired and give them a long-term option for planting their wagging tails without expectation of leaving. We have raised enough funding to continue our work for almost five years with a hundred dogs in the kennel."

"That's impressive. Congratulations. I remember how you used to take in every stray in the neighborhood."

Her eyes sparkled. "Mom and Dad still have Jinxie, Tom-Tom, and Brownie."
"You have a dog?"

"Not yet. Someday. I see a dog like a man. When the right one catches my eye, I'll know it."

I lifted my eyes to meet her pale green globes. "Was I the wrong one, Elle?" The question slipped out. Her cringe widened the regret in my heart. I wasn't the same impulsive kid, but being around her made me want to jump all in.
She smirked, sprinkled salt on her hand, threw back the shot of tequila and sucked on a lime. She licked the corner of her mouth where a piece of salt remained and my eyes stayed on her lips. "Karson, you and I were good together, but back then, you had a lot to learn about how to treat a woman and how to be a genuine man."

I leaned over to her. "I know what an ass I was back then. Elle, I regret too many things to even list. Only words, but if you can believe me, I'm really sorry. Can you forgive me?"

"Maybe." The word was spoken quietly, but she had said it with commitment.

There were lots of things to regret when I was younger, but I didn't cheat on Elle and I didn't abuse her. However, I never truly appreciated her either, and besides loving her, which I did, that was one thing that I should have done.

"Is there someone in your life right now?" I threw back my shot of tequila. The burn was like penance that I deserved to receive for inquiring.

"No, but that doesn't mean I need someone either. I'm doing well figuring out life on my own."
"Good to hear."
"Since you're willing to come clean and asked for forgiveness, I'll be honest. You get that job here and I'll forgive you, but I don't know as if there will ever be anything more than friendship between us."

She squeezed my hand and I held on.
"And if I'm being honest, I'd love more if you decide you're ever willing to give it another try, but to know you could trust me again and to have your friendship back would mean a lot to me." I squeezed her hand back.
The job was a sure thing, but I wasn't going to tell her that. The company had found me, not the other way around and tomorrow was only a formality. I hadn't planned on running into her at the bar around the corner from my hotel, but I was happy I had.

Our time together in high school had left an imprint of her love and friendship on my heart. Heading off to college, I'd said a final goodbye, more to force her to move forward, not help me to do the same. Without regret, I hadn't had a girlfriend since her. I'd focused all of my energy into becoming the youngest Chief Information Officer ever at a Fortune 500 company. I'd heard through friends that Elle was still single and hoped maybe there was a chance. She wasn't saying unequivocally there wasn't one.
She introduced me to several of her friends. We had an entertaining evening of reminiscing about our youth, and reliving stories we probably had never told another person. Things that shaped us into the adults we'd become. She teased me about my horrible attention to detail. I was always forgetting names, special dates, and more than once my own birthday, but I had made effort to change that behavior. After Elle, I had realized attention to detail was important in a relationship. I changed old habits by treating my employer with the respect and devotion any woman deserved, promoted for my loyalty and commitment, but there was always something missing. I commented on Elle's inability to lie about anything, getting her in trouble with her parents after we took a long weekend at a lake a county away to share our first time together. That memory made us both stop talking and just stare at each other.
At the end of the night, I asked if she lived around the bar and she said a few of blocks away. Fate could have been so cruel. To know she was that close and we might not have crossed paths.
"Can I walk you home?"

She smiled timidly. "Sure."
At her door, I wanted her to invite me inside and I could see her struggling with the same instinct, so I leaned down, kissed her cheek, and backed away. I watched her get inside the keyed door entry. She turned around and gave a quick wave. 

As I was walking away she opened the door and I spun to her voice. "Karson, I really hope you get that job."
"Me, too, Elle. Good night."
The interview went exactly as I had anticipated. An offer was extended and I accepted. Then my future was clear. I paused before pushing the buzzer on Elle's apartment to tell her the good news, but Elle deserved more than a surprise visit. She needed to see my commitment and I needed to be fully committed. I flew back to Chicago that afternoon and packed up only what I really wanted to take with me. Driving non-stop across the Midwest, I made it to Denver late Sunday evening.

In the shadow of my vehicle, I buzzed her apartment. There was no answer. I didn't want to believe that my chance had only been a one-evening, chance run-in and reminisce at a bar.
She was the right one for me and I'd always known it. I just wanted a chance to tell her.

I started back to the truck.
"Karson?" Her voice called from down the block.
Elle walked toward me with her hand wrapped around the taut leash of a bulldog that thought he was walking her, not the other way around.
I met her half way and bent down to the dog that bounced around more like a cat than a dog. "Who is this?" The animal stopped at my voice and let me pet him.

"Wilber, meet Karson. Karson, meet my new dog Wilber."

I stepped close to Elle. She strained her neck to look up at me. "Is Wilber the right one, Elle?"

"Wilber is the right dog. Now I just need the right guy, Karson."
"I took the position here. I packed and drove all night to get back to you, Elle. I'd love to hear you forgive me and I can be the right one for you, because I promise, there has never been another right one for me. You are my right one."
Her eyes filled with tears. "I forgive you and you are the only one for me."
I wiped the slick trail of tears away and brushed over her plump lips with my thumbs.

Setting my forehead to hers, I wanted to remember how fate and the love of my life had been so forgiving. Elle, on the other hand, didn't want to wait. Her lips brushed mine and I wrapped my arms around her to commit to never letting go.
"Um, I don't actually have a place to stay," I said when we parted.
"Yeah, you do. Come on. Wilber won't mind sharing the bed with you." She tugged on my hand and glanced over her shoulder. "And neither will I."

Love addict with a sarcastic pink glow. Martini connoisseur, fuzzy sock collector, baseball fanatic & pro-dandelion. And an author--I always forget that one.

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Re: The Right One by Jules Dixon
Reply #1
Really enjoyed this story. This is quickly becoming my favorite area of the forum

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Re: The Right One by Jules Dixon
Reply #2
Thanks +VividDreams. Appreciate the feedback. I'll post another short next week. :-) Jules
Love addict with a sarcastic pink glow. Martini connoisseur, fuzzy sock collector, baseball fanatic & pro-dandelion. And an author--I always forget that one.

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Re: The Right One by Jules Dixon
Reply #3
Any time! Looking forward to it  :)