Luanne smiled up at Christian as she wrapped her scarf a little tighter around her neck. He was talking about soccer again, something that even after weeks of dating she still had yet to develop an interest in. But she did have a strong interest in Christian, regardless of what he was talking about or doing. They had returned from Nice only a few weeks ago and things had been progressing rather well, at least in Luanne's mind. Christian would introduce her to people as 'my gorgeous Luanne,' or 'my wonderful Luanne.' She had never dreamed that someone as amazing as Christian would have ever fallen for her. She stared at him and wondered when he would tell her that he loved her. She hoped it would be soon because she was almost certain that she was in love with him.
Luanne reminded herself that she needed to focus on his story, not just stare at his face, so she wrapped her arm around his and struggled to listen, his voice sounding so seductive. She could get lost in his voice and had often been caught not actually listening to his words, just hearing his voice. Christian would always smile and laugh at her playfully, saying how silly she was for such a smart girl.
"Luanne?" A new voice entered her conscience and she stopped dead in her tracks as she tried to place it.
"Luanne, is that you?"
She dropped Christian's arm as she turned around, facing the cold wind that was blowing through the streets of London.
"Gavin?" She recognized his face instantly and smiled at her old friend. "Oh my God! What are you doing here?"
She took a few steps toward him but he was already on his way to wrap her in a warm hug. She buried her face in his jacket, appreciating the temporary protection from the cold.
"I should ask you the same thing," he said, pulling away so he could look at her but keeping his hands on her shoulders.
"I'm studying abroad for the year," Luanne said with a proud smile. "I've been hear nearly two months already."
"Two months and you haven't called me?" Gavin teased.
"I didn't even know you were in London. How long have you been here?" She couldn't shake the smile from her face. Seeing Gavin was a surprise, to be sure, and she couldn't get over how much he had changed. His hair was shorter and he looked incredibly handsome and grown up in his business suit. A vast improvement from the cargo pants and t-shirts she had seen him wear during their days writing for the newspaper.
"I've been working for the US Ambassador's office."
"That's amazing! Congratulations."
Gavin smiled, always one to be modest. "It's nothing, really. Just writing press releases and running errands mostly."
"Still, that's a pretty big deal," Luanne insisted.
"It's a change from the Yale Daily News, that's for sure," Gavin said with a wink.
Luanne smiled up at him, still amazed and shocked that he was actually standing in front of her. Gavin had been so amazing during those few months after Will had left the paper. Not only had he been her only friend who wasn't angry at her, he was also a great mentor, helping her write to the best of her ability. But he had graduated that year and the two had lost touch as her school work piled up and he started his career.
"Are you going to introduce me to your friend?"
"Oh, gosh! Sorry," Luanne said quickly, turning to see Christian giving Gavin a peculiar glare. "Gavin this is my boyfriend, Christian. Christian, this is my friend, Gavin. He was editor of the newspaper my freshman year."
"Hey, how's it going?" Gavin asked with a warm smile, extending his hand to Christian. He hadn't expected Luanne to use that term, boyfriend. A sharp and unexpected pang of jealousy shot through him but he recognized it and tried to move past it. Yet looking at Luanne, it wasn't that easy. She had grown into a woman since he last saw her, her bright red hair was now longer and framed her face beautifully as it hung straight below her shoulders. Her face was no longer as round, her cheekbones more defined but her eyes were still as eager and excited as ever.
"Fine, just fine. You?" Christian gave a short answer, reminding Gavin to stop staring at Luanne. His friend's boyfriend didn't look or seem all that pleased to be meeting him and released his hand quickly, looking at Luanne with an annoyed expression. But Gavin didn't mind, he wasn't interested in impressing the boyfriend because he knew Luanne's personality and was certain that she would make time for an old friend.
"Great now that Luanne is here." Gavin nudged his friend and she smiled back at him playfully.
"I'll just bet you are," Christian made the smug remark almost inaudibly and Luanne tried to cover it up as quickly as possible.
"Laila is in Paris," she told Gavin.
"Yeah?" He glanced at Christian who was starting to tap his foot impatiently. "Is she still with her boyfriend?"
"Sterling? Yeah, he's here in London with my program."
"He's actually the reason Luanne and I met," Christian stated and tugged at his girlfriend's arm.
"Right on," Gavin said and smiled as best he could at Christian. This was getting rather awkward and he knew that he wasn't helping anything by steeling so many glances at Luanne. But she had just taken him by surprise. He had never expected her to grow to be this beautiful.
Apparently Christian thought so as well. "Look, I hate to break up this reunion but Luanne and I have dinner reservations and we are going to be late if we don't get moving. Gavin, such a pleasure to meet you. Luanne, shall we?"
"Of course," Gavin said, still looking at Luanne. "It was so good to see you."
"You too," Luanne grinned and hugged him again. "Can I see you again? I want to hear all about your job and what you've been up to."
"Yeah, I've still got the same email address. Just send me your number."
"Okay," Luanne said, a little sad she had to leave him. "I just can't believe this. It's so great that you are here."
"I'll see you later," Gavin promised with another wink and Luanne turned back to Christian who had already taken a few steps away from them. She reached for his arm and he pulled her to him, rushing her along the street and turning the corner before slowing down again.
"Who was that guy?" He asked, his voice no longer peaceful.
"I told you when I introduced you. He was the editor at the newspaper. We used to be good friends."
"Yes, only friends. Why would you question that?" There had been something in his voice which had struck Luanne as odd. Christian had rarely shown her any emotion other than carefree and happy. Concern, doubt, jealousy, she couldn't tell what she had just heard.
"It was just the way he was looking at you," Christian replied quickly, glancing over his shoulder.
"He was just happy to see me. It's been a while."
"Should I be worried?" Christian hated that he even needed to ask that question. This was Luanne and she had been practically obsessed with him since the first day they met. He had introduced her to countless numbers of his friends and she had practically ignored all of them, giving her full attention to Christian. But her friend, this Gavin person, Christian could tell that he was different. The two clearly had some sort of past together and from the looks he had been giving her, Gavin clearly imagined some kind of future. And the way Luanne had so casually asked if she could see him again - and right in front of Christian, the man she had just introduced as her boyfriend - it was enough to drive him nearly insane. But if Luanne truly did see Christian as her boyfriend then he knew he shouldn't be jealous. A smile and a kiss would be all she needed to quickly forget about her friend.
"Of course you shouldn't be worried," Luanne smiled at him. "But I'm flattered that you would think to ask."
Christian grinned and slowed his steps until they came to a stop. He softly took Luanne's face between his cold hands and gently kissed her lips. "I guess I'm just not used to the idea of someone like you actually wanting to spend time with someone like me."
Luanne blushed. Christian was always saying things like that and it hadn't gotten old. Though she didn't feel as if she deserved any of his praise, she still enjoyed the attention.
"You know that I really care about you, Christian," she said in a moment of honesty, forgoing her flirtatious act in the hopes of having a real moment with him. "I've never felt this way about anyone before."
Christian smiled at her and pressed his lips to her forehead. Luanne closed her eyes and enjoyed the moment until Christian pulled away, a proud smile on his face. "You're the best, Luanne. The absolute best."
Luanne smiled back and took his hand, urging him to keep walking to the restaurant so they could get out of the cold.
A/N: Another short chapter, I know :( I'll be in Europe for the next three weeks and I won't be able to update but I'll post again the second I get home! Thanks for all your comments :) Much Love, Pink