With Alisha’s file in hand, he went to locate the officer waiting for him.
Hayden entered the waiting room and found the tall, blonde officer still looking out the window. Overcome with shyness again, he opened the file and read over it as he approached.
“Hi, I’m Dr. Summ—”The officer cut him off as she turned to face him.
“Hayden?” she asked, her voice filled with surprise and a hint of what sounded like excitement.
As he lifted his gaze from the file, he read her nametag and took in her face, both familiar. Her light hair tucked up at the nape of her long slender neck showed off the angles of her smooth jaw line. Her indigo eyes, large and friendly. Her heart-shaped face held petite features with high, sharp cheekbones and full lips. Remembering her as a child, and how pretty she’d been did little to stop him from being captivated by how beautiful she’d become. An aroma of raspberries surrounded him.
“You don’t remember me, do you?”
He detected a hint of disappointment breaking him from his hypnotic state. “Of course I do, Mabel.” He offered a friendly smile. “I’m surprised to see you. You’ve grown up.”
“I wasn’t that young when you left.” She grinned, filling out her fuller bottom lip.
His heart beat like a jackhammer. “You’ve still changed.”
Mabel's eyes took in every feature of the face she’d loved through her entire teenage years. He hadn’t changed at all. His wavy hair brushed his collar like it always did. Warm chocolate eyes surrounded by long, thick lashes. His chiselled face still as she remembered it and the cleft in his chin begged her to run her finger over it.
“You haven’t changed a bit,” she managed to answer. Her surprise at seeing him again left her lost for words. Infatuation resurfaced and heat crept into her cheeks surprising her. Coy wasn’t something she usually experienced. “How long have you been back?”
“A few months. I think the weekend my sisters insisted on having a welcome home party you’d gone away with a friend.”
“Oh…” She'd been away on a training exercise for IA but told her family she'd been away with a friend.
“Maybe they forgot. It doesn’t matter.” He shrugged, and a hint of colour kissed his cheeks. Still shy and reserved.
This pleased Mabel more than she anticipated. “Yes it does! I missed you,” she blurted before she could stop herself.
“You’re being nice,” he mumbled, much to her delight.
A demure smile followed, the smile she’d had a fondness for since the first time she’d seen it, now caused her pulse to race. Mabel composed herself; she’d better do her job first, even though the idea of spending the remainder of the night with him appealed to her.
“Um, perhaps we should go over Alisha’s injuries. Maybe we can catch up another time soon. I’d love to hear about Africa.”
Something in his expression changed and his usual reserve disappeared.
“What are you doing tonight?”
“Um, I’ll probably have dinner at mum’s or something. I usually drop in and get fed somewhere.” Mabel rambled, much to her chagrin. The old teenage crush had surfaced with a vengeance.
“Maybe we could have dinner and catch up.”
Her breath caught and her cheeks flushed again. Did he just ask me on a date?
The day she’d dreamed of over and over again could become reality.