by Doreen F.

I had a new neighbour, but I had not seen much of him yet although he had moved in a few months ago. He had come by to introduce himself after he moved in, but since then we had never spoken again Ė not even a quick hello. From what I had seen - I was not watching him -, but there are things one notices, I was sure he did not have a girlfriend and he was not gay either. I assumed he had to be about my age and he seemed to be working a lot and he was out of town often. How did I know that? Well, he had someone to come by his place, when he was not there.

I got used to not seeing my neighbour, so I was really surprised to meet him on the way to my flat one day. I had been doing the groceries and he came along and offered to help me carry one of the bags. So it only felt natural to invite him for a cup of coffee. He accepted and we chatted quite nicely. I told him a bit me and I got to know some things about him. First of all his name, it was Ricardo and he worked for the FBI and that was the reason why he had move to my city; he had been promoted or whatever the feds called it. Ricardo said that he job sounded more exciting than it was. I could not believe it, but maybe chasing criminals was not that much fun after all or maybe he was not one of those field agents, but he did not go into detail. To someone like me, who worked for as a head hunter, FBI seemed really cool. Besides I got a really good look at him. Ricardo looked much better in close-up than I had been able to judge from afar.

After some time he thanked me for the coffee and I thanked him for helping me with the groceries. Then he left and went to his own flat. Some time passed and Ricardo was out of town several times. Then one Friday there was a knock at my apartment door. Ricardo was standing in front of my door with a bottle of champagne.

"Hi, nice to see you?"

"Hey! This may seem a bit out-front, but itís my birthday today and none of my friends lives in this city. Theyíre gonna come for a party Iím throwing next weekend, but I felt really alone and then I saw that there was light at your place. So I thought maybe youíd like to celebrate with me. You were rather nice the other day. So, what do you say?"

"Well, Iím really surprised to see you here, but, please, come in, I donít mind. Letís celebrate your birthday!"

"Thanks, thatís really sweet of you."

We sat down on my couch and drank the bottle of champagne. It was really nice and we got along extraordinarily well. I felt somehow attracted to him and it seemed mutual. We moved closer on my couch and after some time we started to kiss. It felt so natural and so good that I did not want to resist it. After some more vine one thing led to another and we ended up in my bed together. Ricardo was really gentle and we had a great time. Exhausted we fell asleep and I did not hear Ricardo leave, but when I got up in the morning he was gone. On my table there was a note stating: "Thanks for the great night. Iím sorry I had to leave and I did not want to wake you, but I couldnít have spent my birthday any better way."

How should I treat him now? Was this the right thing to do? Was I really in love or had it just been a one-night stand? I had to talk to Ricardo. I got dressed and walked to his door, but he did not open. Maybe he was still asleep or he had already gone to work Ė I knew he worked on weekends quite often.

I spent the day with my sister and told her about my night with Ricardo. She was married and past these problems, but she had always been the one to give me advice about my love life. She had seen Ricardo from my window and had envied me for having him as a neighbour.

"If heís still interested, you should take him!"

"I know and I really want to, but what if he had only thought it was a one-night stand. We donít really know each other that well. I know about his job and he told me about his ex-girlfriend, a fed who had ditched him for his boss in Miami, but thatís it."

"Be patient. I donít see any reason he shouldnít want you. Maybe heís not sure about it either."

"Youíre right. Yesterday everything happened really fast, but neither of us objected. Heíll be thinking about it too."

On Sunday afternoon I saw Ricardo. He was arriving with a suitcase Ė maybe he had been away to celebrate his birthday with his family. Before I could find the guts to go over to his place he was knocking at my door.

"Hey, come on in!"

"Hi, Iím sorry I had to leave, but I had to visit my parents. They live in Richmond and wanted to see me for my birthday."

"You donít owe me any apologies."

It felt kind of awkward at the beginning, but after a while we got along like before and after some time I approached what had been avoiding.

"I donít want to appear pushy or anything, but do you think there might be something more between the two of us than the other night? I just want to know, if thereís a chance, you know?"

"Iíve been thinking about it and Iím sure you did the same. Iím not sure Iím able toÖwell, fall in love again just now. I havenít told you about one girlfriend I had. We havenít been an item for a long time. She was an agent and she was shot on a mission. I had been supposed to cover her, but it had been impossible. So she died and I got transferred. Thatís why Iím not sure, you know, but if I did it would definitely be you. Iíd say we just wait and see, alright?"

"Iím perfectly happy with that, but you made me really sad saying that your girlfriend had died."

"Itís part of the job. Well, not mine anymore. Now Iím working in an office as a consultant. Itís so boring, you donít wanna know about it. Iíll tell you another day."

"Yeah, okay Ö err, listen. Would I ask for too much, if I asked you to go to the cinema with me tonight? Iím gonna go there anyway, but together it might be more fun."

"Certainly, Iíd love to. I havenít been to the movies in ages Ė I only had time for DVDs Ė you should see my collection."

"Great. Iíll pick you up at seven, okay?"

"Great, see you."

We had a fantastic evening at the movies and the film was great too, although I found myself watching Ricardo quite a lot too. Afterwards we went to a cocktail bar and had a margarita each. It got late far too quickly and since both of us had to work on the next day, we did not want to stay up for too long. So we gave each other a good night kiss and that was it. I did not see him again until Wednesday. He had invited me over for dinner and I was really surprised at how delicious the food was and I told him so. Ricardo told me about his birthday party which was going to take place on the weekend. He had invited some friends and asked me to come as well. I could not say no, could I? I also offered to help him prepare the party and he seemed glad to get some help. Most guests would stay at a hotel nearby. His brother and sister would be staying at his flat which was not was bigger than mine. I told him that he could stay at my place in case there was not enough space in his flat. Ricardo said it was really nice, but he could not expect me to do that. After some time we agreed that he would stay at my flat and the others at his.

We prepared everything to be ready on Saturday afternoon because that was when the guests were supposed to be arriving. Ricardo had moved some of his stuff my flat to have more space and around six the party started officially. His friends were really nice people and we had a great time. None of them took himself too seriously and we played some games. It was a lot of fun and lasted until very late. Ricardoís brother and sister were already tired so we moved the party to my flat to let them go to bed. They had to catch an early flight on the next day to get back to their families Ė Ricardo was the only one unmarried in their family. Around five the last guests returned to their hotel thanking us for our hospitality. I was starting to feel a bit tired too, but I tried to clean up as much as possible meanwhile Ricardo was in the bathroom. I opened the windows to get some fresh air and laid the beds. While I was putting some dishes into the dishwasher Ricardo emerged from the bathroom and went to bed. I followed soon after that. He was still awake when I lay down.

"What time do you wanna get up?"

"I donít know, I donít have any preferences."

"Okay, letís see when we wake up. Iím really tired already."

"Yeah, me too."

In the morning I woke up because Ricardo was moving.

"Morning, did I weak you?"

"Morning, yes, but never mind. What time is it?"

"I donít know, but probably close to noon."

"I think weíd better get up, shall we?"

He turned towards me and kissed my forehead. "Alright, but staying in bed sounds really tempting too, doesnít it?" He smiled.

"Yeah, but Iím getting hungry, what about you?"

"Honestly I could eat Ö I donít know, but now Iím getting really hungry."

I got out of bed and went to the bathroom. In the bedroom it had been really dark, but the rest of my flat showed me that it was already noon. Ricardo came out of the bedroom and into the bathroom as well.

"Wow, itís quite late already", he said.

I had been washing my face when he had come in and when I turned to look at him I saw that he was wearing glasses. He looked good.

"I didnít know you wear glasses."

"Well, usually I wear contact lenses throughout the day and glasses at night, but now my eyes need a rest."

"They suit you."

"Thanks. You know I really donít mind wearing them, but in the FBI theyíre so picky. As a field agent your vision has to be near perfect. I passed the test back then with my brotherís help, but my eyes got worse and I had to wear contacts. Now my visionís not good enough for a field agent and the Bureau found me this job."

"Think of it like that. Without it we wouldíve never met."

"Youíre right, but without it Chris might still be alive. I had lost one contact that day and wasnít much of a help, but I couldnít tell anyone. She knew, but the Bureau didnít believe it. Itís part of the job, the risk, but Ö"

"Hey, itís okay, you donít have to justify anything. To me youíre great the way you are", I said and gave him a kiss.

We had a really nice breakfast with the leftovers from the party and then I helped Ricardo clean up his flat and he helped me clean mine. After that we went to my bed for a while and had a really wonderful day.

Sometime during the day I asked Ricardo why I had never seen him in glasses before. He told me that he hardly ever wore them for work and usually only at home. I told him that this was a shame since he looked really cute in them. He smiled and gave me a really gentle kiss.