She moved her head closer to his and he moved his closer. She placed her hand at his back close to his neck. Their faces got closer and closer and sharing a kiss seemed so inevitable.
“Oh!” Henry sighed terribly and released Sheila off his grip. “No no no,” he shook his head. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t be doing this.”
Sheila stared at his face in shock and total disappointment. “Why?” she asked in a weak voice.
He continued to take short steps backwards, still shaking his head slowly.
“I’m sorry Sheila, but I can’t.” Henry apologized as he stepped back and reached for his crutch resting against the chair. He walked hurriedly past Sheila in direction to his room, feeling greatly embarrassed.
Sheila let out a sigh of frustration as she watched him walk away, now using his walking aid to support himself again.
She closed her eyes and inhaled deeply after he was out of sight. She felt her knees buckle and felt the need to sit urgently. She reached for the dining chair and sank into it, resting her right hand on the table and her left hand clinging to the top of the chair’s backrest.
She wondered what was happening to her. It was obvious that she had fallen in love unconsciously with Henry and the harder she tried to fight it, the stronger the feeling grew.
Maybe Henry did not feel the same way about her, she thought. There was no other way she could explain why Henry did not kiss her. Or did he think she wasn’t good enough for him? She asked herself. She probably wasn’t as beautiful as his late wife.
A thought popped into her mind and she remembered that they had gone close to sharing a kiss on two previous occasions when there had been an interruption. But in the scenario that just played out, there was no interruption, neither was there any reason for them not to kiss. If it had happened earlier, she would have thought Henry was afraid of starting anything intimate with her since he wasn’t sure of who he was yet but happening now meant there was something else to it.
She swallowed in and let out another breath. She closed her eyes tightly, she had never felt so dissappointed.
Henry laid in his bed, sleeplessly. He kept staring blankly at the ceiling with several thoughts running through his mind. He could not deny that he had developed some feelings for Sheila even though he did not want to agree with himself that he was beginning to fall in love with her. He chose to believe that his closeness with her had caused the feeling and that it would soon fade away once he left for Bethanna.
He remembered the look on her face when he did not kiss her. He realized she must have been expecting him to and must have felt bad that he left her hanging. He also felt bad and wished he had just kissed her, even if it was just to make her feel good and save her from the heartbreak.
He folded his arms across his chest as he imagined what kissing her would have felt like. The imagined taste of her lips felt so sweet and soft. He found himself licking his lips and saw himself not just kissing her but having his fingers run through her whole body and sensitive parts.
He suddenly stopped and cautioned himself from going deeper, he shook his head to wave off the thoughts. He realized that his regret for not kissing her lips was not just because of her disappointed look but also because he lusted for her body. He concluded that the only way to stop this was to keep her out of his thoughts totally and stop getting physically close to her. But he also recalled that it wasn’t his first time of making that decision after which he had still ended up coming close to kissing each other just few minutes ago.
Another thought struck his mind and he questioned himself on why he had not kissed her. It was obvious he was lusting for her but he had stepped back when he had the opportunity to consume his lust. He closed his eyes to recall the moment again.
He was so close to her, feeling her soft body against his and her hand at the back of his neck, their lips so close that they could feel the breath coming out. At that moment, the only thought on his mind was covering her lips with his but thoughts of his late wife had suddenly popped up in his mind and he totally lost the urge to kiss her.
He had felt a sudden pain in his heart and he had felt like he was about to betray his wife’s love for him. She was dead but her killers were yet to be punished, therefore her soul was not resting yet.
Even though he was surprised to find himself believing that her soul was not at rest yet, it made him feel better and also fanned the flame and urge for him to get revenge for her and his child.
He took in a deep breath and stretched his hand forth to pick the pillow, he covered his face with the pillow and released out air from his mouth into it.
The Next Day
She found it difficult to concentrate at work the next day. Thoughts of Henry kept crawling into her mind even as she tried to focus on work. She knew she had to get him off her mind to work effectively but there was no activity at work that day that carried the power to take his thoughts completely off her mind.
She paused her work for a moment to think of what she could do to take him off her mind. She concluded she needed some distractions, distractions strong and probably exciting enough to make her totally forget him. She couldn’t think of any at that moment but was positive she would get something.
On a second thought, she considered forcing herself to get another distraction would be chickening out so easily. She knew what she wanted and could go for it instead of finding a way out. And even if she was going to find a way out, it must be after Henry had said it to her face that he did not want her.
She decided she was going to open a conversation with Henry about the last night when she got home that day.
“I, 2, 3…” Henry muttered under his lips as he turned about a point, with the gun in his hand raised and targeted at imaginary obstacles.
He was in his room with the empty pistol and was trying to refresh his knowledge and art in the use of guns. As he changed the focus of his pistol from point to point, he saw pictures of unidentified terrorists in his mind and he imagined getting the bullets to pierce through their heads.
A knock sounded on the door and distracted him. He glanced at the door and also glanced at the wall clock. He widened his eyes in surprise at how time had been far spent. He quickly turned back and walked to the drawer to hide the gun in his hand. He turned back quickly again and looked around to check if everything in the room was in place.
“You may come in,” he said after few seconds and then walked slowly to the bed. He sat down beside the point where he laid the crutch.
The door opened gently and Sheila stepped in. She stopped just behind and closed it.
“Hey!” She greeted in a soft voice, almost in whispers.
“Hey!” Henry greeted back. “How was work?”
“Fine,” she replied and forced on a smile.
There was silence for some seconds, with both of them staring into each other’s eyes uncomfortably.
“We need to talk,” Sheila finally said.
“Yeah…” Henry’s voice faded in.
“Can we talk here?” Sheila asked.
He stared at her for some seconds and then nodded more than twice in response.
Sheila stepped further in. Henry created some space beside him in the bed for her to sit but she walked past him and sat on the footstool beside the bed instead.
She crossed her legs and faced him, he also turned to face her. They stared at each other in silence for a while until Henry spoke.
“I’m…I’m,” he stuttered. He paused to clear his throat before he spoke again. “I’m sorry… I mean, sorry for what happened yesterday.”
Sheila stared at his face without blinking. He felt her eyes piercing deep into his and he felt some kind of guilt. He knew she expected him to keep talking and then explain why the reason for his action but he was short of words to speak.
‘You don’t need to be sorry,” she spoke after one long minute of silence. “You didn’t do anything bad.”
Henry stared at her for a moment. “I know you felt hurt yesterday, I’m sorry for making you feel that way.”
“No, you didn’t do anything.” She insisted, letting out a painful smile. “I think I was just expecting much more than I was supposed to expect.”
“I actually wanted to…”
She squinted at him when he refused to complete his statement. “You wanted to do what?”
“Nothing,” he replied sharply and shook his head. “I’m sorry, I can’t just explain what happened to me.”
“It’s okay, I’m sorry for wanting more than I should.”
There was silence for another long moment. Different thoughts ran through the minds of the both of them. Sheila realized that apart from apologizing to each other, there had been no discussion yet.
‘Henry,” she called softly and looked up. He looked at her face in response. She heaved a sigh, “I know this may seem weird to come from me but I really have to say it because I can no longer hold it in anymore.”
She stopped talking briefly and stared back at him as he stared intently at her face.
“I do think I am beginning to develop some feelings for you, i can’t explain but It’s just weird. I’ve never felt this way, not even during the years I was with Tom.” she forced on a smile.
Henry closed his eyes and drew in a breath. He wished he could say the same to her.
“Sheila, we’ve been close to each other for some months now and it’s natural to develop feelings towards each other. It’s a normal occurrence between people of the opposite sex,” he stopped and shook his head. “I would not lie, I have been developing some feelings too but it’s just because we’ve been so close together and I’m sure it’s going to fade away very soon like it never existed. We just have to be careful not to let ourselves get carried away by what we feel which is temporary, so that we do not do something we would regret.”
Sheila closed her eyes and shook her head. “I don’t think this is going to fade away, I’ve tried to stop feeling this way but the feeling just never goes away… I’m not a kid, I know what I feel and I know when it’s temporal.”
Henry heaved a sigh. “I’m sorry Sheila, I don’t feel it’s going to last. I can’t keep feelings for any other lady yet, I still love my wife very much.”
“Your wife?’ Sheila raised a brow. “Your wife is late!”
Henry closed his eyes deeply and shook his head. “I can’t get her off my mind, I can not get her pictures off my mind. i just can’t see myself being with another woman who isn’t Sarah.”
Sheila breathed out gently. She nodded gently as if she understood him.
“It’s okay, I guess it will truly fade off like you said, I just have to hope and believe that.” She forced on a smile, feeling heartbroken and shattered inside.
“I’m sorry Sheila…” Henry said, looking at her face. She kept her face down, her eyes closed and her fists clenched.
She rose up to her feet at once. “Goodnight Henry,” she said in a calm voice and proceeded towards the door immediately.