Julian pulled Eve close, not wanting to let go of her. “Eve…” he breathed, his voice low and full of emotion.
“If you’d rather be alone…” She turned but didn’t make any attempt to move out of his arms.
“No!” he cried, almost desperate. “Don’t leave.”
Eve smiled. “I saw you come out. I am sorry I missed you at the hospital.”
“Oh, I had things to do. You were busy with Whitney. I didn’t want to bother you,” he lied, avoiding her eyes.
“You are on a date with Rebecca then?” she asked curiously.
“I guess so. I didn’t feel like coming here alone so I asked her,” he tried to explain. “It’s nothing serious.”
“I could tell by the tone of your voice when you thought I was Rebecca.” Eve smiled.
Julian grinned. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to snap at you.” He released her when he heard footsteps approaching.
“Pookie, Pookie… Oh, there you are.” Rebecca came into view and stopped short when she saw Eve standing next to Julian. “Dr. Russell, I didn’t know you were out here.”
Eve straightened up and put her best professional face forward. “I came out for some air and saw Julian here. I just thought I might see what he is up to,” she lied.
“Really? I didn’t know you cared,” Rebecca replied.
“I don’t really.” Eve looked at Julian, who was stepping from foot to foot nervously. Her eyes pleaded for him to understand. “Like I said, I came out for some air. The place is quite full in there.”
Nodding her head, though slightly suspicious, Rebecca said, “Well, since you’re here, Dr. Russell, maybe you can help us out.”
Julian raised his eyebrows in surprise. “What…what do you mean, Rebecca?”
“Well, you are a shrink, Dr. Russell, aren’t you?”
“Not really, but I do try to help when I can.” Eve shifted uncomfortably.
“Well, good enough. Maybe you can tell me what to do to help my Pookie here get over this mystery woman that he is pining after. One day we were fine, having a lot of fun, playing our games…”
Julian coughed and laughed nervously. “I don’t think that Dr. Russell wants to know the details of our relationship, Rebecca.” He glared at her.
Eve’s face paled slightly. “Julian is right, Rebecca. I don’t think that I’ll be of any help to you.”
“But I think, as a woman, you might be able to help me out though,” Rebecca insisted.
“Well, maybe, but I am sure that I won’t be of much help,” Eve said.
Julian turned away from Eve in embarrassment.
“Well, just give me your opinion then. You see, Pookie and I were doing fine, and then suddenly a few days ago, he up and dumps me. Imagine my surprise, just when things were getting interesting,” Rebecca pouted.
Julian rubbed his brow as if to wipe away a sudden migraine. “Rebecca, I am sure that Dr. Russell won’t have any romantic advice for you. I ended our relationship because it had run its course.”
Hurt, Rebecca lashed out at him. “It is that damn woman, isn’t it? She isn’t even here, Julian. You are pining after a phantom. You never talk about her. You won’t say who it is…but I know she has a grip on your heart, like a death grip or something. Dr. Russell, he is in love with a woman who doesn’t want him.”
“What makes you think she doesn’t want him?” Eve asked.
Julian turned to Eve in surprise, his eyes probing hers, trying to figure out what she was saying.
“Well, where is this great love that his heart is hung up on? I don’t see her, do you?”
“What do you know about her?” Eve asked.
“Not much. He refuses to talk about her.” Rebecca stamped her foot in frustration.
“Well, maybe she has issues that she needs to deal with and can’t be with Julian right now,” Eve said as she met Julian’s eyes.
Julian cleared his throat and smiled weakly.
“Oh, so you admit that she is unavailable?” Rebecca asked him.
“Dr. Russell seems to think so.” Julian smiled stiffly. “Tell me, doctor, what do you suggest that I do? Maybe I was too hasty in ending my relationship with Rebecca. Should I give her another chance? Or should I wait…”
Eve blinked, taken aback by the question. “Well, I…”
“Yes, tell him to give her up. It is obvious to me that if she wanted to be with my Pookie, then she would be here. And the only one who is here is you, Dr. Russell. And I know you are not the great love of his life.” Rebecca laughed at the ridiculous idea.
Eve smiled. “I think Julian should give her some time to figure out what she wants to do. And since Julian won’t tell you who she is or what her situation is… I mean, she could be married and have children to think about.”
“You may be on to something there,” Rebecca said. “Is she right, Julian? Is this great love of yours married?”
Julian sighed. “I told you, Rebecca, this is one part of my life that I keep to myself.”
Eve studied him quietly. She admired the way he was determined to protect their relationship. That was so different from the young man he used to be, who was so easily swayed all those years ago. Turning to Rebecca, she spoke to Julian, “I think that Julian should give her some time. If she is with another man, then he should give her time to work through her feelings… I mean, to see if she wants to be with Julian or her husband. I am sure that love will win in the end. Love always finds a way for two people who should be together, to actually be together. I have heard that is especially true when it is your first love.” Eve turned her eyes, seeking for him to understand.
“Whoa, you are something else, Dr. Russell. I mean, you may have nailed it right on the head, providing that is actually what is going on.” Rebecca stared at her in amazement. “But what if she can’t stand him? I mean, since Julian here won’t say…what if she hates him?”
“Oh, no; she doesn’t hate him!” Eve exclaimed.
Julian and Rebecca gasped in surprise, both for totally different reasons.
“Eve…” Julian started.
“How do you know?” Rebecca asked.
Feeling foolish, Eve stammered. “I…I mean, I am sure that if she hated Julian, he wouldn’t be struggling over her like he seems to be.”
Rebecca thought for a moment. “I guess you may be right,” she replied.
Julian exhaled in relief. “Enough of this, Rebecca. I think we had best be getting back to our table. Did you get us those drinks?”
“Oops, they must be ruined by now,” she said. “I’ll go get us some fresh ones. I hope that you get over this woman soon, Julian,” she said as she turned to leave. “Dr. Russell.” She nodded.
“I’ll be right there,” Julian called after her.
“I guess I had better go too,” Eve said, loud enough for Rebecca to hear, but not until she was well on her way to the club. “TC will wonder where I am,” she said as she turned back to Julian.
“Let him wait,” Julian growled as he pulled her into his arms.
Eve almost shrieked when she fell against him. She began to protest, but stopped when his lips descended on hers. Mesmerized, she watched as they drew closer. Finally, she sighed with pleasure as his mouth covered hers in a sweet intimate kiss that left her breathless.
As her heart pounded in her ears, he kissed her with such love and passion that she almost started to cry. Her arms crept up into his hair and around his neck, pressing him closer to her. Their bodies, pressed together, formed a silhouette of one in the evening moonlight.
Julian pulled back slightly, not wanting to let her go. “I love you, Eve,” he whispered. “I wish that I could be with you like this forever.”
“I know,” Eve whispered. “I just need some time, Julian. I have a family. I need to put their needs into consideration too. I’ve invested twenty years in TC and the girls, and he seems to have had a change of heart and wants to work things out. I just can’t throw it all away.”
“Is that what you want, Eve? To work things out with him? To go back and make a life with him, knowing what we share?” His eyes were full of pain at the thought.
“Julian…” she breathed. “I know this is hurting you. I don’t want to hurt you.” She pressed her lips against his and kissed him as tears ran down her cheeks. “I love you too much.”
Hugging her close, Julian cried as he pressed her body closer to his, his lips pressed firmly against hers. After a moment, he released her and stepped back. “You do what you have to do, Eve. I’ll wait as long as you need me too, even forever. Just as long as you always remember how much I love you.” He wiped a tear from her cheek and brushed a stray hair back from her eye.
Eve reached into her pocket for a Kleenex and touched the memo from Kate. Her hand froze. She had completely forgotten about it. “Julian…can you do me a favor?” she asked.
“I’ll be happy to,” he said with a smile.
“I need you to meet me at the hotel suite you let me stay in later on tonight. There is something that I want to show you,” she said, and then laughed when his eyes lit up with obvious pleasure. “Get your mind out of the gutter, Julian. I just want to talk.”
He leaned over and kissed her. “I hardly consider making love to you as being in the gutter. More like Heaven, if my memory serves me correctly.”
“I’m serious, Julian.” She pushed him away. “I’ll see you later then?”
“I wouldn’t miss it for the world,” he teased.
Eve shook her head. “I have to go.” With that, she raced up the dock and returned to the club.
Julian looked longingly after her. “Someday we will be together, Eve. Somehow, someway, I promise we will be together,” he said as he made his way back to the club.