Delia looked at Rylie.
"What are we going to do then?" She asked.
Rylie looked at her with a far off gaze. She had seen that look many a time. Whenever he was working on a project or on a test or studying, Rylie would have that look.
"Delia, I'm not really sure yet. My first impulse is to wrap you in my arms and run away. To throw everything I've built away and ask you to run away with me to some far-off place where we can be together with no interference."
Delia nodded. She felt the same way.
"But the other side of me knows I can't just walk out on another person and abandon them. That's never been in my nature. And I've been through breakups before. This wasn't the only time I've lost someone I loved on account of my parent's irresponsible nightmare."
Delia agreed. Nodding, she looked toward the plots on her right.
"I guess we're going to have to take things slowly. I've been single since the day you disappeared. I went out on a few dates, but I hadn't had the time to fully commit to relationships. Having had the experience of mourning a death over you, it took me a little more time to get over the circumstances." She paused.
"And to be honest, I still haven't. It's like you came back from the dead. My love for you never really went away. I can't really express it anymore than that."
"You don't need to." Rylie smiled.
There was a peaceful silence that followed. The air was chilly all of a sudden. Delia checked her cell phone. It's getting late, she thought.
She hated to leave, hated to call the night to an end, but Delia had to get up early in the morning and go to work. She was a receptionist at an orthodontics office. They opened at eight o'clock sharp.
She met Rylie's penetrating gaze. "Sweetheart, I have to go. I have to get up early in the morning and head to work."
Rylie's gorgeous smile relaxed. Looking away to hide the mere shadow of disappointment, Rylie said ok. Rylie got up first and went to Delia. He engulfed her in a big hug. Delia had her arms around his mid-section. Rylie caressed her hair in between his fingers, not really wanting to let go.
"Ok Delia. We can talk more later. I realize we can't just stop our lives completely. But remember something for me. I will be thinking of you. And I sincerely believe, one way or another, things aren't completely over between us. I just need a little time to figure it all out."
Delia gasped. She wasn't expecting that. Then she responded.
"Ok Rylie. I will remember that."
He pulled back to look into her eyes. Then, reluctantly, he kissed her full on the lips. It was a beautiful kiss. One Delia would think of all the way home to her dorms. Rylie had that kind of impact.
Delia wanted to call her parents and her friends and tell them she had found Rylie again, but then she remembered he was supposed to be dead. What Rylie and his parents had gone through had to be some nasty business. Was it over? Did those dangerous criminals ever get caught? Did Rylie still fear for his life? Has he even told his fiance?
A lot of questions lingered in Delia's mind. She even worried about her own safety being around Rylie. If she remembered correctly, whoever those dangerous guys were had obviously followed her and Rylie into the city that late September month they had moved out, and then later, had unsuspectingly kidnapped Rylie. Delia lingered on that a moment. That November night when the doorbell rang, her and Rylie had had a playful argument on who would answer the door. She could've easily been the one that had opened it. Would they have kidnapped her as well?
Delia thought about that all the way to work the next morning. She drove an hour to work every morning, because it was outside the city.
She arrived promptly at eight, set up her desk, then began to get to work.
People started showing up at eight thirty for appointments on their braces, and then her day lasted until six that evening. Delia got an hour's lunch break every afternoon, and she even considered calling Rylie around then.
When her lunch break came, for some reason, Delia couldn't bring herself to make the phone call. She kept thinking about his fiance. What if he was with her? What if he was at work? She never asked him what he did for a living now. Or if he lived on campus and relied on a scholarship. He had several when he graduated her high school. The two of them had planned to attend a college together, until his disappearance anyway.
When six came, Delia bade farewell to her colleagues, then made her way to the local bar.
She walked into a place called the Barion. Her and several of her girlfriends went there often. Usually they came after a hard exam to unwind. This particular evening, Delia needed a drink, so she went in alone.
She remembered that fateful night when Rylie had been taken. She had gotten drunk on champagne and had been reading a fashion magazine. She had lost track of time.
Bizarre. The sudden memories she had of him and her! He hadn't been on her mind in over a year. Now he was back! And she had no idea what it was she wanted, or needed, to do!
"Yes, I would like a screwdriver please."
The guy behind the counter recognized her as a regular and said hi and immediately went to making her drink.
Well, I'm not getting drunk tonight, she thought to herself. Those days were long gone. Delia didn't even touch alcohol again for two years after Rylie went missing. Funny how things worked out.
A whole week passed by and Delia heard no word from Rylie. From having to work, attending other classes, and periodic study sessions with friends and going out afterwards, Delia's schedule was pretty packed. She checked occasionally to see if Rylie called, but didn't obsess over it. Plus, she knew Rylie was engaged. She didn't want to intrude. I'm sure Rylie has a lot on his mind as well, she concluded.
So Delia waited.
Delia walked into her art class just as she was wrapping an umbrella and tucking it into her school bag. Delia's hair was slightly wet, and she was worried about her grade on the bowl she decided to go with during the pottery making last week.
The teacher had not yet arrived to start class. Delia looked at her watch. She was ten minutes early.
On her way to her art station, once she got to her stool, she noticed Rylie. He was thumbing through a small magazine and sorta turning around on the mobile turning stool. Awe, he looks cute, she thought. A little touching, he was waiting for her at her station. Delia braced herself. She hadn't expected to see him for at least another twenty minutes.