Juliet pushed open the door of the café, and the sultry atmosphere and heavy aroma of coffee beans eddied around her in stark contrast to the clear crisp day outside. She felt out of place in her business suit, but she had arranged for Marty to pick her up here, and she wanted a coffee.
'Just a flat white please,' she said to the girl presiding over the gleaming metal monster hissing quietly to itself.
'Jules?' said a voice from behind her.
She froze. Though she hadn't seen him since that day over twenty years ago, she recognized his voice immediately. If rich dark chocolate had a voice it would sound like him, and that voice had run through her nightmares for years. She took a deep breath and turned to face him.
He had half risen from his seat. 'It is you,' he said at last. He pulled a chair out and nodded towards it.
The intensity of his gaze disconcerted her, and although she would have preferred to turn and walk out of the café she found herself sitting down. She placed her trembling hands on her lap out of sight, and looked over at Luke.
She swallowed hard. 'What are you doing here?' He shrugged as if not wanting to answer. His shoulders were broader and the figure slightly fuller, than the skinny youth she had known. The olive complexion that always looked tanned was the same, as were the dark blue eyes only now lightly creased with lines. 'Do you still live in Christchurch?' she asked.
'No, occasional visits that's all.'
The waitress placed the coffee on the table and Juliet nodded her thanks. She picked up the cup and took a sip of the hot liquid.
'I've searched for you over the years,' said Luke.
'I hid myself well.'
Luke frowned. 'The last time I saw you, it wasn't the best. Wasn't what I wanted to happen.'
'It wasn't the best,' she repeated. 'That would get my vote as understatement of the year.'
His jaw tightened. 'Where are you living now?'
She was silent for a moment, and then as if the answer were being dragged out of her muttered. 'Auckland.'
'Same,' he replied. 'I've tried tracing you.'
'I didn't want to be found.' She sighed, and then straightened as a car pulled up outside the café and a man in a suit got out from the drivers seat. 'I have to go now.' She picked up her bag and walked to the door without a backward glance. It opened and closed before Luke could reply.
Marty smiled as Juliet came out of the café, but instead of getting into the passenger side she walked around the car towards him.
She whispered in his ear. 'I'll explain later, but kiss me.'
Before he could reply her lips were on his. As they pulled apart a moment later she touched his cheek and smiled. 'Take the shocked expression off your face, and I promise I'll never do that again.' Then she moved around to the passenger side and got in the car.