An old friend? Is that what Jordan was? Yes. As much as a friend that I could have.
I smiled and got off the bar stool. “Okay, meet me in the lobby in fifteen. I need to get cleaned up and change clothes.”
“Okay. But I like you the way you are.” He winked at me.
“Ha-ha,” I said dryly.
“I’ll see you in fifteen.”
It took me exactly ten minutes to wash my face and change into my ‘go to’ black tank dress I wore to anything these days and added a few gold necklaces to make it nicer.
When I came out of the elevator, Jordan was talking to the manager at the reception desk. I double checked myself in the mirror. Was I put together enough for dinner on a summer night in DC?
He turned around and my heart sped up. His eyes were darker in the lobby light and he smiled with an approval.
“You look amazing. Are you okay if we walk? Unless you want to take a taxi?”
“No, I like to walk. I just don’t normally do it at night.”
His hand slipped to my lower back, warm, charged, and I moved closer to his body, like a magnetic pull. He pointed to the back entrance to the hotel, and we walked out.
“You know, I asked you out a few years ago, and I regretted I didn’t ask you again,” Jordan said.
“You might regret inviting me tonight,” I teased and truly hoped that he didn’t regret it. I liked Jordan.
He laughed, and the dimple on his right cheek formed. I gazed at his face, marveling at his silvery blue eyes. God, he was fantastic looking.
We strolled down the street, and one man in a darkened suit sprinted by us. Then two men followed the man, running faster than humans normally do unless they are running from the law. Jordan pulled me out of the way. My body pressed against him on the smooth wall behind us. Then a police car right flew by.
“You okay?” Jordan asked as I leaned on him while we watched a few more police cars zoom by. Red and blue lights flashed, reflecting on his face as he watched me. His arms wrapped around my back, protectively. We were so close, our faces inches away. Moments passed, each of us breathing in each other’s air. The heat of the evening prickled on my neck, my forehead, and then a breeze brushed by my skin, waking me up from my daze.
“Oh, sorry.” I placed my hand on his hard chest and pushed away from him.
“Are you okay?” As he spoke, his breath on my cheek tickled, moving my stray hairs. He moved away from the wall, dropped his arm from my waist, and took my hand instead. It had been a while since someone had held my hand. Exactly four years, five months, and three days.
“Come on. If we move quick, we won’t get stuck on this side of the White House with whatever is going on. Let’s get to Sam’s restaurant.” He pulled my hand to his chest, drawing my body closer as we strolled.
We crossed through the Black Lives Matter Plaza, passed I Avenue and turned on 16th Street.
“How have you been since I’ve seen you last? What have you been up to?”
His question was innocent enough, but the only thing I’d been doing is working. That’s not what he’s looking for. He wants to know more about me. My friends, what I normally do on the weekends, but I had nothing to report. Nothing within the normal social realm.
“Nothing much.” I squeezed his hand. “I’ve just been busy with work. What about you?” He stopped walking for a moment and looked down at me. Jordan searched my face, looking into my eyes. He knew I wasn’t telling him anything. He gave me a small smile. Was this his way of calling bullshit on me or maybe letting it go?
“I’ve been painting. A lot. I was inspired by a muse a few years ago.” He chuckled and pulled on my hand. “My show tomorrow has taken a lot of my time. I never knew it was so time-consuming to put an art show together.”
He fell into an ease of telling me all about the challenges of his show. Mostly it was the organizing, like a big party. His manager did most of the work. He must do really well if he had a manager.
We arrived at the restaurant after walking for another ten minutes. “Sam’s.” The neon sign said. A small place that served American Fusion. I had no idea what American Fusion was.
Jordan still had his hand in mine. I pulled him close to me. “What’s American Fusion?”
“It’s where they take American cuisine and fuse it with something else. My friend Sam owns this place. It’s superb. I came to their soft opening. They stole the chef from the Willard.” I’m sure that should mean something to me but I didn’t know much about restaurants. I wasn’t a foodie.
We sat at the bar until they could seat us. It was dark with delicate yellow lights. The cream-colored walls were accented with a beautiful, cherry wood bar. Soft table lights made everything seem romantic and quiet. There were a few people at the bar either waiting for someone or drinking on their own. Jordan ordered us two drinks, and they were a perfect blend of sweet, salty, and refreshing.