We met in a wine bar, ostensibly an arranged encounter. Mr Henry and I had cast our net wide, trawling for possible compatibles, and had succeeded in landing one very interesting-sounding party.
We’d arranged to meet him at a popular local place, where it was usually quite busy. This generally helped rather than hindered, since the thrum of voices and smoke contrived to provide a sympathetic backdrop to what was essentially a very personal interview. For all parties involved.
It was a crisp, clear and freezing winter night. Mr Henry and I arrived in plenty of time, and found ourselves a corner booth.
“You get the drinks. I’m exhausted,” he said plaintively.
“Call yourself a gentleman, ha!” I laughingly chided him, and made my way through the busier-than-usual throng to the bar.
I placed my order with some difficulty. Since I’m not the tallest of women, to put it mildly, I was wearing heels, as I always do. Tonight was a very fetching pair of soft Italian leather boots, with a tapering heel of around three inches in height. As I stepped back away from the bar, I felt the unmistakable softness of toe beneath heel, and heard a yelp, and a throaty curse.
I whirled around, bubbling over with apologies, and came face-to-face with FS. Dancing grey eyes met my soft brown stare, and held it. He smiled, and extended his hand.
“FS,” he said. “And you are …?”
“Juno,” I replied, feeling shivers course through me like electricity as he took my hand in his.
“You’re Juno?” he said appreciatively. “It’s you I’ve come to meet. You and… Mr Henry, isn’t it?”
I nodded, looking him straight in the eye. He returned the look unflinchingly. His large cool hand still held mine, and I didn’t want him to let go.
I cast my eye over him rapidly, in the way that only a woman can. Subtly appreciative and almost imperceptible to the naked eye. I was only paying scant attention to the conversation, unable to tear my eyes from his, until he said something that penetrated my fog and we both began to laugh.
We stood there talking and laughing for about twenty minutes, oblivious to our surrounding. Suddenly Mr Henry appeared over FS’s shoulder, and looked at me quizzically.
“Having fun, angel?”
I handed him his forgotten drink, and smiled at him lovingly.
“Darling, this is FS. I trod on his toe, and he’s been making me laugh.”
FS finally released my hand, and shook Mr Henry’s.
“Glad to meet you, Mr Henry.”
He looked at us thoughtfully for a moment, and then turned and addressed me.
“Juno, darling, that was the office. I need to go in for a few hours… something urgent for the Sri Lankan account. Can I meet you at home later?”
I looked him square in the eye. I knew what he meant. This was our private code.
“Of course, baby. I’ll see you there later. Kiss me?”
He took me in his arms, and kissed me slowly, gently teasing my tongue with his. His lips lingered on mine for as long as he could, before he pulled away regretfully, only to pause by my ear and breathe:
“Be as magnificent as you always are. And have fun. Tell me everything, and show me the proof later.”
He disappeared into the crowd, leaving FS and I together. Neither of us spoke for a moment, and then I took his hand in mine and met his gaze once more.
“It’s just us now,” I said.
“I hope that’s alright with you?”
Another nod, more fervent. And then:
“Can we go somewhere quieter to talk? This place is heaving tonight, I can barely hear myself think.”
I smiled at him.
“I thought you’d never ask.”