Chapter 5: Oud & Rose Temptation
It was a brisk Autumn morning, Lola felt refreshed by the cool breeze softly brazing her cheeks. Her favourite little coffee shop was in sight, Ellen’s Cafe which was delightfully situated in the heart of her borough, Brompton Road. She could feel her spirits lift at the thought of sitting cosy with the inevitable choice of a pumpkin spiced latte whilst she had that much over due catchup with her best friend, Chloe. Lola always loved this time of year, she felt enwrapped in the Autumn love as the leaves gracefully fell to her feet from the towering trees surrounding her path. Their beautiful palette of colours had this magical way of enriching the season feel.
She felt a sudden warmth welcome her on entering the coffee shop with the familiar chatter of people sat at their little tables. After placing her order, Lola sank into the sofa in the corner of the coffee shop. She was early, and after a unrestful night’s sleep she felt she deserved at least two latte’s to re-energise her today. Coffee was forever her vice. She saw a message flash up on her phone, her friend was running late. No surprises there she thought to herself.
Lola gazed out the shop window, she loved people watching as they got on with their daily routines. Her mind felt restless though and as much as she kept trying to distract herself, it kept wandering back to her surprising summer encounter. It was an encounter she simply couldn’t wait to re-account to Chloe…
There they were, soaking in the beautiful rays of sunshine as they watched the the day’s spectacle unfold whilst admiring the horses in action as they gracefully took to the course. To make it more special, holding her hand was her love, Darcy. Gosh does he look fine today, she thought to herself as she admired him discreetly. A light breeze awakened her warm skin teasing her beautiful floral maxi dress to move subtly as it gently passed capturing the essence of her soft fresh elderflower fragrance. The distinct floral print on her dress against the white evoked a beautiful flower like quality about Lola. “Shall we?” beckoned Darcy tilting his head in direction of the bar. “If you insist” replied Lola with a cheeky grin. Relief surged through Lola on entering the marquee, she savoured the hot weather although today’s heat was a little too much to bear. On approaching the bar, Lola noticed Darcy’s relaxed expression suddenly solemn whilst peering at his phone. He looked up at Lola apologetically, “Im sorry but I have to make a call, its work….again.” Before she had a chance to reply he swiftly exited the marquee. Her annoyance was quickly calmed by her innately patient nature. Something she had always been thankful for.
As she turned to the bar, a sudden intensity captivated her senses. It was a scent embodied with a presence that was all too familiar. Overwhelming Lola with a wave of nostalgia the oud scent enriched with a musk, spicy undertone suddenly sent her emotions in turmoil. There was only one person she had known to posses such a distinct and alluring presence. Confused by her curiosity and anxiousness, her reflexes took control compelling her to turn and face the bearer of this richly enticing scent.
Her eyes met with those of intensity and darkness almost capturing the depth of the scent with their gaze. The solemn expression of the handsome face instantly softened breaking into that contagious smile that Lola knew. There he stood tall and handsome with a demeanour that innately evoked charm with a commanding presence. An encounter with her childhood sweetheart and ex boyfriend was the last thing she expected.
As he stepped in closer, she felt her senses overpowered by his fragrance. Unable to think straight she frantically urged herself to hold composure which she hoped was masking her confusion. “I was hoping I would see you’ he said holding his unnerving gaze on her. She stepped back cautiously, “We have no reason to see or meet each other. I thought you had moved away?” She could see a sudden hurt glaze over his eyes at her abrupt response that caught her with surprise too. “I have been thinking a lot about you zahra. I thought many times of contacting you. And today it looks like fate was on my side.” His vulnerability softened the deepness of his voice. He had always called her zahra, it meant beautiful flower in arabic. His olive complexion glistened every now and then as the sun rays shimmered through the side of the marquee.
“I am in a relationship, I live in London too now, a lot has changed for me.” Lola felt her strength resurface claiming calmness on her composure once again. Without a moment’s thought she briskly turned and walked with what she hoped was a discreet urgency. “It doesn’t end here, we will meet again, and very soon.” His voice was cooly shadowed with his enticing fragrance that made Lola feel as if it was almost holding on to her.
A sudden noise of a distinctly loud car engine jolted Lola, bringing her right back to her present. She looked out the window, the loud noise belonged to a particularly beautiful black McLaren that was graciously being parked by its owner. And there much to Lola’s relief, Chloe appeared waving apologetically through the window. Yet at the back of her mind, his voice echoed lingering with a dark presence as the fragrance did on her senses.