– 2 –

With memories of that night still fresh in her mind, it took quite an effort for Rose to come out of her reverie. The dusk had started to engulf the world, and Rose could see the red winter sun going down to the sea. She was sitting on the sill again.

‘The party ended and I came back. I couldn’t sleep that night and kept thinking of Jack and how his piercing eyes followed me wherever I went. I had never been gazed at the way he did that night. There was unmistakable lust in his eyes, but not the ordinary lust you see in most guys’ eyes. It was like… for him there was nobody else in the entire world. Not even Kate. I could feel that in spite of physically being with Kate, he wasn’t with her.’

‘He sounds to me as someone extremely lusty. Someone who would use, abuse, and leave innocent girls like y…,’ snarled Linda.

‘He’s not all that bad, Linda,’ Rose cut in irritably. ‘You make him out to be this monster that he’s so not. Caroline was telling me he picked up that fight with those goons because they were being mean to some young fellow and teasing his girlfriend.’

‘I don’t say there’s no good at all in Jack. I also heard about him patronizing some poor people living near his apartment. So he does help weak and helpless people. But that aside, it all boils down to one thing. Does he treat you good? And do you think Peter is not capable of doing those things? I think Peter is capable of infinitely better deeds than Jack…’

The sound of someone entering the front door interrupted them.

‘Did someone just come in? Jack?’ The anticipation of seeing Jack always stirred something up in Rose.

Peter entered the room instead, ‘Hey girls.’

‘Oh! Peter…’ said Rose with disappointment so obvious in her voice even a six-year-old couldn’t miss it.

‘I forgot to tell you, Rose. I was expecting Peter here,’ informed Linda. ‘My car is with the mechanics and Peter, chivalrous that he is, has come to pick me up.’

‘Yes! Always there for damsels in distress,’ confirmed Peter.

‘Rose is in even greater distress, Peter. You should help her out as well,’ said Linda sarcastically.

‘She only needs to say it once, Linda. Anything for her. Heck, I’ll even let them put needles in me for her. And you know how I hate needles.’ He turned to Rose, ‘what is it, Rose?’

‘I don’t know what she means by that, Peter,’ said Rose, obviously annoyed with her bosom friend.

‘You know what!’ Linda looked Rose square in the eye.

‘Oh Linda, come off it,’ said Rose impatiently.

‘Am I missing something?’ Peter chipped in. By this time he’d become curious enough to.

‘Nothing Peter, she’s behaving curious this evening,’ said Rose.

‘Let’s leave, Peter. She’s very touchy on that topic,’ muttered Linda, grabbing Peter’s arm as a mother would her child’s.

‘What topic?’

‘See you, Peter,’ smiled Rose, all too glad to have Linda off her chest finally.

But Peter wanted more… more of Rose. His Rose.

‘Umm… sometimes I get confused, Rose,’ said Peter, gesticulating to excuse his arm off from Linda.

‘What about?’

‘Is it your smile or is it your laugh?’

‘I don’t get it.’

‘Which one of these two is better? You look gorgeous when you smile. And when you laugh, it’s a feast to my eyes and ears. It’s like some musician is playing his best melody by the mountain spring with flowers all around.’

Rose laughed even louder, ‘Thanks for the complement, Peter.’

Peter and Linda leave for the door. Peter stared at Rose lovingly, and Rose, like was customary of her, maintained her gaze and then lowered eyes.

‘What is it, Linda? That topic…’

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