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Months after the "skateboarding incident", Henry was hanging out in Eliza’s apartment, after she had invited and convinced him to experience a weekend Tom Cruise-athon with her. He protested (too much, as far as Eliza was concerned), but he was quietly happy to spend the hours, watching … Eliza. And occasionally, he’d turn his head and watch the movie to catch up. 

She sensed a change in the room, and she turned to find him gazing at her, openly, without reservation. She’d sense a big rush of the feels, and turned away, blushing furiously.

On a break between movies, Eliza was in the kitchen making tea for them both. He stood up from her couch and stretched, when something on one of her shelves caught his eye. 

He approached, and staring back at him was a framed photograph of Eliza in a light pink dress, her hair in a long braid, and a lighter touch of makeup.  He lifted the frame, and held it in his hand, unconsciously smoothing over the glass with his other fingers. Although she wasn’t smiling, she looked beautiful; this Eliza spoke of something more, something deeper, thoughtful, caring; a woman he wanted to know. 

And sure enough, he had come to know her. And love her. First, as friends, and now, something more.

Eliza returned with two mugs into the living room, and from across the room, she admired the view, of Henry staring at her picture, a longing yet hopeful look on his face. She put the mugs down on the end table next to her couch, and quietly padded over to Henry. He hadn’t noticed her at all.

With one hand gently yet firmly on his waist and her other hand on his upper arm to steady him, she leaned over his shoulder. “Like what you see?” Her question spoken like light breaths, tickling his ear and cheek. 

He was surprised but he had felt her presence in the room before he knew with uncanny certainty she had walked up behind him, right up to the moment she reached out and touched him. “Yes,” he replied gravelly, full of emotion. “I do. Very much.”

He didn’t think it was possible, but she leaned further into his ear. “Do you wanna do something about it?”

He turned around to face her, and she adjusted her position with her arms looped around his neck. With her photo still in his hand, he held her with his free arm. “That day I was foolishly indirect, as you were quick to point out.”

“Ohhhhhh … and now?” She asked with a knowing grin.

“I’m calling it as directly as I see it, and I’m sorry to have made you wait for me to say this. Eliza Dooley, you’re beautiful.”