We decided to have our meal in a place a little out of the way, hoping that we could be properly alone.
Tom holds the door open for me and slips his arm around my waist as he asks for a table. My heart flutters at the contact. This is the first time we have been properly out together as a couple. It would have felt a lot better if I knew what the people were thinking who turned to look at us. Where they just looking at Tom because of how handsome he is and how amazing he looks in his suit or are they judging him? Judging us?
The man behind the front desk guides us to a booth in the middle of the restaurant.
"Have you got a table a little more…private?" asks Tom. The man looks at him in silence for a while. I nudge Tom so he looks at me.
"This table is fine. Let's just sit here," I say.
He scans the restaurant cautiously. "I just thought if…y'know?"
My heart sinks. I did know. He meant that we should hide away just in case someone else wants to harass me. Hiding again? I thought we were over this.
I smile at the waiter. "A more private table would suit us better, actually."
He nods. "Sure."
He guides us to another table at the back of the restaurant against the wall.
"Is this table more to your liking?" he asks.
"It's perfect." Tom smiles. "Thank you."
The man nods and places two menus on the table as we sit. "Would you like something to drink?"
"Vodka tonic with a squeeze of lime, please." Tom smiles, his brilliant white teeth are shimmering as his well-polished shoes. The smooth elegance of his voice makes my insides quiver and flutter.
The waiter writes it down on his pad and turns to me. I blink up at him, returning to Earth.
"Disaronno and cranberry juice for me," I say.
He nods. "I'll be right back," he says before leaving.
I scan the people around us, no one is looking. Something warm touches my hand and I start a little, spinning my head round. Tom's eyebrows are slightly furrowed as he holds my hand, tracing circles with his thumb on my skin.
"Are you okay?" he asks softly.
I half smile. "I'll be fine. I'm just a little…on edge."
"I can see that. But everything will be fine. Let's just enjoy tonight, okay? It's just me and you."
I smile wider and squeeze his hand. "Okay."
Minutes later, our waiter returns with our drinks and writes down our meal choices before leaving us again.
A silence falls between us but it is serene and peaceful. I study the gorgeous man sat before me, feeling like I'm in a dream. He decided not to wear a tie so his top button of his shirt is open. I almost start to salivate just looking at his long, slender neck and the pronounced V between his collar bones.
He takes his glass and sips his drink, making his Adam's apple roll up and down. Suddenly, I realise my mouth has been hanging open for the last few minutes. I quickly shut it and gulp, clearing the dryness in my throat.
"You look beautiful tonight," says Tom, placing his glass back on the table. The light directly above him casts his cheeks in shadow so his cheekbones look even more spectacular. It also darkens his beard that is starting to grow back. I feel myself blushing. I had done the best I could with what I had at the flat. All my dresses were still at home but the blouse I found manages to display my breasts in an obvious yet classy way. My small breasts need all the help they can get. And when I catch Tom's shining blue orbs glance down from my eyes every so often, I know my blouse is doing its job well. I had also let my hair down from its usual messy bun so it falls down my back in waves.
"Thanks." I smile. "And you look as handsome as always." I study him and shrug. "Okay, maybe even more handsome than usual."
He lets out a soft, modest laugh and looks to the table, slightly embarrassed. You would think a model would be used to being called good looking but it still manages to bring pink to his creamy complexion.
Our waiter swoops by and places our plates in front of us. "Enjoy your meals." He bows his head a little and leaves.
"Sure is nice being the one waited on for a change," I muse, studying my food.
Tom laughs a little and digs in.
We share a few laughs and talk about our day, skilfully sidestepping anything that could lead us into unwanted territory. And by that, I mean topics that involve my mum. I felt bad about pretending she didn't exist but she seems to be doing the exact same thing to me so what the hell? I'm going to enjoy my night with the man of my dreams.
But moments later, we were given a reality check when Tom reaches over and holds my hand, only for the woman on the opposite table to look and curl her lip with revulsion. She turns to, who I'm guessing is her husband and whispers, "I can't believe they have the gall to go out in public," but loud enough for us to know that she wanted to be heard.
My gut knots and I feel Tom's hand slipping from mine but I clutch it tighter. He looks at me warily.
"Don't listen to her," I say, trying to sound strong but I feel like I'm dying inside. His jaw sets with determination and I release his hand so we can keep eating.
A silence falls over us like a blanket, still and cold. I open my mouth to speak but my words turn to dust. I notice Tom glancing at the woman every so often and my neck prickles whenever she looks back to us.
"How could someone do that to their own mother?" she continues, leaning into her husband. He looks directly at me and seethes before looking to Tom. They lock eyes. I can tell that Tom wants to look away, not wanting to make a scene, but he doesn't.
"I know," says the man, his voice thick with venom. "And as for him." He scoffs and turns back to his wife. "I guess he just fancied trading in for a younger model."
What feels like a block of ice sets in my chest when I hear Tom growl his irritation under his breath. His eyes narrow to the couple and his knuckles turn white as his grip on his fork tightens. His body seems to have coiled up, his muscles have tensed as if he's ready to pounce. My heart is in my throat at the image of Tom launching himself across the table and grabbing the man by the scruff of the neck.
But that doesn't happen. Instead, he let out a steadying breath, cricks his neck and shifts his gaze to the table, relaxing his shoulders. I let out a sigh of relief. Thank God Tom is a gentleman and not a brute that likes to start fights with strangers to prove his masculinity.
"I didn't know Sharon knew this many people," he murmurs, mopping the gravy up from his plate with a potato.
"News travels fast, I guess," I reply hollowly, wishing this night would hurry up and end.