From the beginning of Love Unfeigned
Sight was no longer physical. She paused, her dark, questioning eyes now on an unmoving search for something unseen and meagerly remembered. What was it, and what had triggered its arousal? She had the sudden urge to call out a name, to get something’s—someone’s—attention, but she wasn’t clear on what name it was that she should be calling.
She might have stood there for an instant too long if her own attention hadn’t, at that moment, been seized by a vehement shout somewhere behind her, issued by an identifiable, masculine voice she hadn’t heard in years.
Her head inclined toward the shout just prior to her looking up in time to see a car coming at her, apparently braking but still approaching too fast.
Mercy. She was in the street.
A panicked blaring of the car’s horn sounded before she felt a hand grab her arm, and she was yanked back onto the sidewalk. Her footing was precariously shaken, due to the vigor of the pull on her arm and the narrow heels of her ankle boots, and so began the quick, awkward shuffling of hers and another person’s feet, in lieu of a fall, until she was stilled with her back pushed up against a department store window, one of her shopping bags on the ground and both her arms now tightly gripped as she looked into the close, alarmed gape of sepia eyes facing her. Sepia eyes that she knew.
She didn’t hear the frantically irate expletive yelled at her through the window of the passing car that had nearly hit her, nor did she notice when she dropped another bag as she stared at the young man holding her against the department store glass, the mists of their equally short and heavy breathing against the wintry air mingling between their faces. Her eyes moved almost wildly down to the man’s full lips and smoothly bearded jaw and then flew back up to meet his gaze, which she did not know had taken an especial note of the contour of her nose.
“James,” she declared in a winded murmur.
His anxious grip on her arms slackened while he eased her off of the window, but he did not let go of her. His hands slid up to her shoulders, giving them a slight squeeze, enhancing the warmth that was already enclosed inside of her wool coat and scarf, and then his hold eased downward, stopping at her wrists. She was the only one near enough to see that he jolted when the space between the end of one of her gloves and the sleeve of her coat came into view.
An unbidden sigh escaped her mouth. Recollection, unbounded by time, ensued.
“Everything didn’t have to turn out perfect. I just wanted you there.”