“An engineer, you say?”
“Yes, ma’am.” Michael answered feeling foolish that his hands were all sweaty because for the past fifteen minutes, he’d been chatting with Olivia’s mom. He’d tried to avoid it, so as not to get Olivia in trouble for bringing a man who was not her boyfriend. Surprisingly enough, Sylvia Beckett, equally breathtaking as her daughter, had not regarded him with dislike or come to demand what he was doing here with her daughter.
On the contrary, after she’d introduced herself, they’d fallen into a very comfortable conversation. She’d told him a little about where she lived and what she did for a living, although he’d known since Olivia had mentioned at dinner at his house, that she’d decided to become a history teacher because of her mother. Michael was mesmerized by the woman’s poise yet by her down to earth demeanor as she described her lifelong relationship with the Lowells, Tracy’s folks and the beautiful friendship that had blossomed between their daughters.
Unfortunately, Sylvia Beckett, in her role as mother, hadn’t waited long to become the person asking the questions. So far he’d given her harmless information, like his name, how he knew Olivia, about Camie and his brother Jerry. They moved now to what he did for a living.
“Interesting. And you work in D.C.?”
“Georgetown, actually. We used to have our offices near downtown but after our company was bought by another one, they decided to move to a different area. We still focus most of our projects in the D.C. area. We do renovations, whole new constructions and right now we are working in developing an intelligent building for a food distributing company.”
Michael felt like he was giving this woman his qualifications to pass the test to be with her daughter, even if she was unaware of that fact. Although, technically, another man had beat him up to that. But, Michael, thought, he’s not here.
“So you said you’re the uncle of one of Olivia’s students?”
“Yes, Camila Hurst, well Camie. She and her dad just moved in with me last week. Jerry just got divorced and it seemed the most logical thing to do to ask them to move in with me. My house is big enough and it was better than to have them go through the process of moving into a strange house.”
And because you love them both unconditionally, but Sylvia kept that to herself.
It was then that part of the conversation she’d had with Olivia back at her kitchen popped up. So this was Michael. Well, Sylvia mused, I can tell now why he makes my girl so nervous. Her eyes did a quick scan of the man, admiring his strong features which blended perfectly with the kindness and laughter evident in his honey-green eyes. As her students would say, Mr. Hurst was way too hot for his own good.
But beneath the good looks, Sylvia saw a man worth getting to know, maybe another of the reasons Olivia was having a hard time keeping calm around him. If she knew her daughter, Sylvia could bet anything she was torn between curiosity and her loyalty and fear of hurting another man in her life, Noah.
Was that why Olivia had refused to talk about him the other day? While she recalled Thanksgiving dinner, Sylvia could no longer assure that Michael had caused the fight or argument between Noah and her daughter, but he definitely had shaken Olivia’s peace of mind.
I wonder if Olivia has picked up on the way Michael looks at her? There’d been definitely more than just attraction radiating from this man during the entire time he’d been with Olivia. Not sure how to feel about it, Sylvia had noticed the same coming from Olivia. One of the reasons Sylvia as a concerned mother had taken advantage of her daughter’s absence to come talk to this man.
Only before Sylvia could dig deeper into this man’s intentions toward her daughter, Olivia joined them at the table they’d been sitting at, breathless from her fast walk from the other side of the room.
And there it was, painted all over her beautiful face, the struggle of keeping what she felt for Michael against her responsibility and reluctance of hurting her ten-year boyfriend. Olivia was failing miserably at keeping it under wraps. Her motherly instinct worried her daughter might get hurt by having to choose between what she thought was right and from what she thought was wrong.
“Honey, everything okay?”
“Yes. Sorry,” she turned to Michael, “apparently my job covers far more things than I bargained for. But now I’m back. So you want to get back to that dance floor Mr. Hurst?”
Before her mother could object, she dragged Michael back to the dance floor, worried about what had been said between the two of them while on her absence.
Just before Michael wrapped his arms around her, Olivia caught the expression in her mother’s face. It wasn’t an upset one, but one that certainly implied she could talk to her mother about anything. Because as much as she’d been trying to keep it contained, Olivia was sure that if anyone knew of the battle going on inside her, that was her own mother.
“I’m sorry it took too long.”
“Don’t worry about it. Your mother is a very nice lady, and if I may so, a gorgeous one, too.”
Turning up to gaze at him, Olivia said.
“Why Michael, I leave you alone and you start hitting on my mother. Shame on you.”
“You can’t blame me. You’re both breathtaking women.”
That made her stumble in her step. Maybe she should remind him that they’d come here as friends. How else could she remind herself of the same if he kept throwing all this compliments her way?
But he twirled her away and when she was back again facing him, Michael took a step back. He let his eyes let her know that he meant to keep it casual but that she should remember how he felt about her.
“Tell you what. Why don’t we play a game?”
“What game?” She inquired, puzzled.
“The next song the DJ plays, I’ll dedicate it to you, to us.”
“Yes, a song to remember we had a good time today. What do you say?”
She wanted to say hell no! However, her subconscious betrayed her as all she could think of was yes, I want to remember this night, too.
Not trusting her voice would come out steady, Olivia only nodded her head in agreement.
“Okay, so the next song that plays will be ours, agreed?”
Friends, do this right?
Again, it would’ve been reassuring to hear Emilia’s opinion about it. It made Olivia question her mental sanity, the confident woman in her had become much too dependent on what a dead woman thought.
Olivia was too worried about the blurry lines she’d thought of before, friendship, right and wrong, that she failed to notice Michael signaling the DJ with his head.
In that instant. Michael Buble’s sweet and romantic music filled the room and his latest song and one of her favorites, Haven’t Met You Yet, suddenly had several people joining them on the dance floor as well.
“Oh my God, that’s…..”
A different Michael gave her only a brief warning before he began moving her all around the dance floor, twirling and making her feel free. No matter where she moved, every time she came back to him their eyes met and it was like a bolt of lightning making her entire body buzz with electricity and making her move with more energy on the dance floor.
Then, as the song progressed into a more upbeat rhythm, Michael did some strange maneuver with his arms. All of a sudden, instead of going back to him, she was dancing with Trevor and Tracy with Michael. Tracy’s laughter matched her own and after a series of movements, Trevor twirled her yet again, only this time the arms that caught her were familiar and she couldn’t help but smile when they brought her closer to Michael.
The song reached the part were it slowed down a bit. She didn’t mind when her body and Michael’s began to sway, as Olivia put her arms around his neck while his held her securely by the waist.
Out of the blue, Michael’s voice vibrated closely in her ear. And not precisely the Michael Olivia and Tracy had seen perform in Manhattan, but the Michael who several hours ago had claimed he was going to be her date for tonight.
“And someday I know it all turn out, and I’ll work to work it out, promise you kid I’ll give so much more than I get……”
As soon as she felt the lyrics brush her skin, Olivia couldn’t suppress the shiver that ran through her entire body. Forgetting about everything, even the people around them, she let herself get lost in the moment. As if her ghostly friend had been standing there next to her, she heard the faintest echo of her voice saying, damn the consequences.
Or maybe it was her own, what she did know was that never again could she listen to Michael Buble and not think of Michael Hurst.