My first date with Mason happened almost six-years after I swore never to speak to him again. Oh, yes... and almost 5,000 miles away from home.
We worked together in New York years ago. Both of us held high-pressured positions with a wine distributor. Doesn't sound very high pressure? Well, it was!
We were dealing in the world's most expensive wines, selling to some of the most exclusive clients. It could be a cut-throat business and, let's put it this way, I thought Mason was VERY good at that part of his job.
The details of our fight six-years ago were complicated and involved a Hollywood actress who would definitely sue if I mentioned her name, a New York politician who would also meet me at the courthouse if I mentioned him, and a restaurant owner who has cooked for queens, presidents, sheiks, and Pablo Picasso. It basically involved Mason trying to weasel his way in on my turf and I wasn't having it!
Not long after our fight, I left New York for California and, although I told the horrific 'Mason Felder' story at parties for a laugh, he completely fell off my radar until I saw him again six-years later in Scotland.
I finished my education at the University of Glasgow and lived in the UK several years after that, so I travel to Scotland every chance I get whether it is alone or with friends. This trip I was solo. It was spring and the sun was giving us a special treat with a full blanket of April warmth. I was walking up Buchanan street, just past the library, where the fellow stands with buckets and buckets of beautiful fresh flowers, when I heard a voice say, 'Libby?'
When I turned around it was Mason.
My surprise turned instantly to embarrassment and I felt my face flush. 'Mason… What are you doing here?'
He held up a bag of groceries. 'I live here. Headed home to cook dinner.'
Mason looked good. Even though years had passed, I thought he looked even better than he did back in New York. His dark hair was full and curly and even a little messy. He'd grown something of a beard. I couldn't help but notice, there under the bright Glaswegian sky, how green his eyes were. I wondered, had he always been this handsome?
In my awkwardness, I took a few steps away and said, 'Well, I'll let you get along then. Enjoy your dinner.'
His expression changed. 'Libby, stop it. What are the chances of us meeting like this? Don't tell me you're still mad at me. Let me cook you dinner and let's bury the hatchet once and for all.'
I tried to act coy, as if I had no idea what he was talking about. 'Mad about what?'
We walked in mostly silence back to his apartment which wasn't very far away. He lived in a beautiful flat in the West End. Decorated himself, that's what he claimed. He wouldn't let me lift a finger to help with dinner either and when he started to offer me a drink, he shied away from the wine and said, 'Let's have a beer, shall we?'
I sat on the counter and watched him work. The conversation flowed and the kitchen filled with the most amazing smell of stir fried vegetables and pan seared prawns. As he cooked he explained how he moved away from New York when the pressure of the job became too much for him. He was born in Scotland, something I'd never known about him.
We laughed. We laughed and talked all through dinner. And then we laughed some more as he put on his favorite music and danced me around the room in exaggerated fashion. At one point he pulled me close and said, 'You know the fight?'
I felt disappointment rush through my body. 'Don't. Don't talk about that. You'll ruin this perfect night.'
He pulled me even closer. 'That night you thought I was trying to move in on your ‘turf' as you called it, the only thing I was trying to do is get to know you better. I was desperate to get you to notice me. Rita and Mitchell, Johnnie too… they were all in on it. I was in love with you. Didn't you know?'
No. I didn't know.
But you'll be happy to hear that, I know now.