Scarlett checked herself one last time in the car mirror. She decided everything looked good.

Today was the day she would finally see Mason again. It’d been far too long since she last saw him — maybe four, five months?

She took a deep breath. It was a moment Scarlett never thought would happen. Sure, she had hoped deep within that he would come back, but she thought he was gone for good.

Yet, for some curious reason, Mason was back in town visiting. What was even more mysterious was that he agreed to meet her today.

She shook her head at that thought. She’s not sure how she managed the courage to reach out to him. Perhaps the fear of not seeing him was greater than the humiliation she might have received if he’d said no.

Her nerves today not only came from the thought of seeing him again. She decided that this would be the day she told him how she felt. Maybe not the depth of her feelings, though.

After another deep breath, Scarlett finally got out of the car to head to the coffee shop. No, she couldn’t tell him everything. Like how much she thought about him. Or how she fell for his compassionate heart. And how silly he could be, and that he laughed along with her. That she greatly admired his ambition and desire to join the military. How she felt a connection with him that she couldn’t explain.

No, those were the things she’d keep locked within her heart.

Scarlett stepped into the coffee shop. She spotted Mason at a table. He looked up at her and all her thoughts disappeared as she gazed into those piercing blue-gray eyes of his. His tall, muscular frame stood up from his chair. She went up to him, thrusting out her hand. He shook it as they said hello. She then kicked herself as it must have looked like they were having a business meeting.

They exchanged pleasantries and walked up to the counter to get in line to order. She hoped that she wouldn’t run out of things to say.

“Have you been writing much?” he asked.

Scarlett couldn’t really hide the surprise on her face. She might have mentioned her writing once, and yet he remembered.

“Yes, I have here and there, but not as much as I would like,” she answered. It was her turn at the counter, so she placed her order. She watched him as he ordered his coffee. She noticed how the barista looked at him. Mason had a real charm to him, but it was in a reserved way. He didn’t feel the need to command the room, but people still noticed him.

Scarlett could recall her first time meeting Mason. They met through mutual friends. She was so nervous before since she had heard so much about him. Seeing those warm eyes and that inviting smile had melted her heart. He noticed her in a group of people, even though everyone else had been talking. He was better than she’d imagined. She liked him from day one, and that’s never happened for her.

“So, what about you?” Scarlett asked Mason as he approached her. “How has it been getting into the Army?”

“It’s been harder than I expected. Less people have been getting in lately, so I’m just hoping I make it in. At this point, I just have to wait and see.”

“It’s so hard to wait. But I’m sure you’ll get in!”

“Thanks. I really hope I do.”

They get their drinks and go back to the table.

“Would you say that’s your dream?” Scarlett asked him as they sat down.

“Wow, my dream? I don’t think anyone’s really asked me that before. I guess I would say that I just want to serve because I love this country. So, maybe serving the country is my dream. What about you, what’s your dream?”

She laughed. “I’m not too sure. I guess it would be to write a novel one day.”

They discussed different kinds of genres in novels. They shared some of their favorite stories. She appreciated that he was taking an interest in her.

“That gets me thinking, though,” Mason said. “About dreams. I’ve just thought I’ve wanted to help people and serve this country. I’m not really sure what else I want to do besides that.”

“It’s a daunting thought. I think we have different dreams though at different times. For you, this may be your dream now. And I hope you get there.”

“Thanks. I hope we can both get our dreams.”

Scarlet smiled. “If not, I may find myself living under a bridge.”

He laughed. “Don’t you know? It’s better to live in a dumpster. Then, at least you can get free stuff.”

They laughed and chatted a bit longer. Soon enough, it came time for him to go. Suddenly, Scarlett realized that she had gotten caught up in the conversation and never told him what she wanted to. This would be the last time she saw him before he left town. Her heart began to pound as she prepared herself to say something.

She looked into his eyes, and there she saw a kind soul with a strong heart. He would do anything for anyone. She felt she would do anything for him. Most of all, she wanted what was best for him.

They walked out the door toward their cars.

“It’s been great talking to you,” Mason said.

“Yeah, I really enjoyed this!” she said.

They went in for a hug. She held on to him and had to consciously fight back tears.

She was taken back to their last goodbye. There was a look in his eye, like he wanted to say something but couldn’t find the words. He had that look now.

“I wish you all the best, Mason,” she said.

“Thank you. To you as well. I’ll see you around,” he said. He headed to his car.

Scarlett didn’t realize she hadn’t moved since he walked off. She knew she couldn’t get in the way of what he most wanted. “I love you, Mason,” she whispered. “And for that, I hope you achieve all of your dreams. Even if it’s not with me.”

Aspiring Author. Communication Student.