Of course, Sasha’s entrance to the wedding party had caught David’s attention. Of course, his heart fluttered at her physical beauty. Of course, visions flashed through his mind of the two of them engaged in lovemaking.
David’s efforts all summer to unsettle the now-established romance between Leo and Franny had yielded little. To tell the truth, he’d become a bit bored with his machinations, a bit tired of manipulating, a bit sick of himself. Escaping into Sasha’s waiting embrace tempted him deeply. He could, for a few hours, experience the pleasure of being desired, something that it appeared only Sasha could offer.
Their history told him those few hours would, indeed, be pleasurable. Sasha knew him well, and was a willing and capable partner. And her willingness brought out the generous lover in himself, as well, something he could not explain, but being able to give pleasure added to his enjoyment. No reason, really, to turn Sasha’s invitation down.
Something new grew small tendrils inside David. Observing his father find a new life partner, watching Franny and Leo establish their identity as a couple, David found himself craving not just adoration, not just attraction, but something his history had never allowed him to experience fully.
He craved honesty.
David made up his mind in that moment, the moment when the notion of honesty came to him so strongly that he nearly lost his breath. It was the same moment Sasha turned to him, her face shining with triumph at her impact, her beauty never more powerful.
“David,” she said. “It’s so good to see you. I’m here with Kassandra, but I can’t seem to find her.”
We will never know what might have happened between these two past lovers if, in that moment, Sasha had also chosen honesty. If she’d said, “David, I’m here because I love you, and I want you in my life.” If she’d said, “I know we’ve had our issues in the past, but maybe if we start over, we can get there.”
These words, or something like them, spoken out loud in a lovely garden full of people celebrating love and commitment, might have had an incantatory effect. They might have spoken a relationship into being.
Instead, Sasha chose to stay with her cover story, and David’s heart enclosed its new, fragile tendrils of honesty inside a wall.
He turned away from Sasha without a word of response.