By the time I was compos mentis everyone was back at the table, although Archie was still standing behind Cora, one hand on her shoulder.
I found myself sitting in the lap of the total stranger that I knew so well. That makes perfect sense if you’re me. He was holding me upright with both arms, one around my waist, the other around the back of my shoulders.
I looked up into these smoky, blue gray eyes, sparkling with humor. Over his shoulder, the very concerned green eyes of Sharon watched me.
I managed to sit up, looking around, trying to remember what happened. I had never fainted in my life although I had slipped out a few times during chemotherapy. I was surprised to see everyone staring at me.
“What happened?” That has to be the most original question ever asked. The arm supporting my back gave me a little boost, helping me to sit fully upright and gain my balance.
Sharon looked at Cora, who looked at Archie, and so on, around the circle of friends.
Tim took the lead. “I think you stepped out for a few minutes. You’re back now.”
I signaled my desire to get up. Tim hooked another chair with his boot and pulled it up beside us, then helped me ease into it, keeping a hand on my back.
“How are you?” Looking at Tim I was flabbergasted. It was all I could think to say.
“I’m good, Muse. How about you? Feeling better?” Tim’s concern was obvious, as was Sharon’s.
Then they were all talking at once, Sharon the loudest. It was like high tide on a short beach, where you can’t pick out the sound of one wave over the roar of the surf. “Are you okay? What the hell happened? Who is this guy? Do you want some water? Where the hell is John?”
I shook my head a couple of times. Tim was still there, right next to me, one hand warm on my back.
How do you like that? The supposed, by me, stalker that had been following me, this gorgeous hunk of a guy that had worried me for weeks, was in reality the figment of my imagination. In the flesh. Now, that, by golly, is weird, I don’t care who you are. I may give up the argument and put crazy on the resume after all.
Before tonight I knew Tim by the blue flash inside my head and the smell of ozone. Tonight, no flash, no ozone. This guy smelled great and looked incredible.
Everyone was still staring at me – my friends and Tim.
“We need to talk,” I told Tim.
“Agreed.” He grinned at me, the corners of his mouth turning up. “We most definitely need to talk.” Those eyes sparkled and danced looking into mine.
“Tee!” Sharon was getting louder and sounding desperate. We had been friends since the playpen.
My head cleared somewhat. “Sorry, Sharon. This is my friend, Tim. It is Tim, isn’t it?”
Tim nodded and gave my fingers a squeeze.
I looked around the table again. “And, yes, I think I would like some water.”
Archie turned and headed for the bar while Sharon pulled another chair around and sat beside me. She took my other hand, patting me like I was a small child. I realized she was concerned and confused, but hey, so was I.