Passion Abroad

By: J A Fielding

“Before I even ask my next question, is Emilio the only waiter here?” she asked.

“I like him. He is the one who usually serves me plus he kind of gets me,” he said. “So, what do you have in mind? What was your question?”

“It’s about the food. Do you always eat something local every time you visit a new country?” she asked.

“One time I was in Singapore and one of my business partners ordered me a Sambal stingray dish. It sounds great but when you look at it, it’s like a bunch of ingredients slapped on a banana leaf but it is heavenly,” he said.

“You make it sound like it is some disgusting thing,” she frowned.

“Well, when you look at it, you might be inclined to throw it out but the first taste is truly everything,” he said, a faraway look in his eyes. He almost looked like he was reliving a romantic moment. She smiled and shook her head. “Trust me, Erica Hayes, you need to live a little,” he added in a low voice.

“What makes you think I haven’t lived at all?”

Daniel leaned in and a few strands of his thick mane fell out of place. He looked at her through the hair strands and smiled.

“Something about you tells me that there is more to this trip than you are letting on,” he said.

“Are you a mind reader now, Mr. Reese?” she leaned back in her seat and forced a smile.

He looked at her and smiled. “Maybe,” he said in a low voice.

She looked into his eyes and shrugged.

“Maybe you are reading into the wrong things,” she said as Emilio came back with their order. Daniel smiled at her as Emilio put their food on the table.

“You are going to make me work for the intel, aren’t you?” he asked.

She took a sip of her juice and looked at her plate. She had to admit, it did look inviting. She put the glass down slowly and picked up a fork.

“You have no idea,” she said before she took a bite. “Oh my dear Lord, this is actually really good,” she said taking another bite.

Daniel smiled as he took a bite of his own food.

“Hate to say I told you so, but I told you so,” he said with a cocky smile.

“So,” Erica started as she looked at him. “What is the story with you anyway? I just met you less than twenty four hours ago and all I know is that you run a company of home appliances and that you probably came out here for business and decided to stay on an impromptu extended vacation.” She took another bite and looked up at him.

Daniel looked at her and smiled. “There isn’t much to me really. I run a company my father founded and I have learned the hard way that every so often I have to make a little time for my personal time. And maybe that’s why I decided to take a few extra days after the deal closed,” he said.

She looked at him and raised an eyebrow.

“Now I have to ask,” she said. He looked at her and she smiled. “And I know how ridiculously hypocritical I sound right now.”

“Okay. I will bite,” he said as he took a sip of his coffee. “This time,” he added.

“That’s more like it,” she said with a smile.

“Okay, this is what happened. I was trying to make everything work out, you know, at work and at home. And I guess I somehow leaned too much into the corporate and forgot all about life at home. So one day I got back home from work and I was all alone,” he said. “I waited for a few weeks and my girlfriend didn’t show up and she wasn’t answering my calls either. I just put two and two together when she came as my business partner’s date to one of my parents’ events.” He took a bite of his food and looked up at her. “So that’s the story of my life. The sad, lonely story of my life,” he added as he looked up at her.

She took a sip of her juice and smiled sadly. “Your story is really sad. Does it get you laid much?” she asked as she took another bite.

Daniel smiled and then laughed. “What would make you say something like that?”

“Well, I have worked with enough big players to know that Rolex on your wrist is the real deal and you are a good looking man, a rich good looking man. So there is no way you can convince me that you have never dropped that story just to get laid,” she said.

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