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"Hi, pumpkin! You look so familiar. I feel like I know you from somewhere."   She looked up into pale gray eyes and sandy colored hair. Nice figure in blue jeans and blue denim shirt, filled out nicely. A red hanky dangled from his hip pocket.  He gallantly swept his cowboy hat off his head and smiled.
"You look bewitching today.  This seat taken?" She suddenly realized she hadn't spoken yet. He looked so familiar and yet she couldn't remember where or when they'd met.

"Oh, I'm sorry, I'm saving that one for my girlfriend. She's taking this class, too." She turned as he moved to the seat a row away. The witch's costume she'd put on for the class Halloween party suddenly seemed much too bold and daring.  She spoke to take his eyes away from cleavage.

"You just get your computer too?"

He nodded as he settled in the seat.  "Kinda late entry for the computer revolution. My name is Paul Swindle ... I don't, though." He said it and laughed in one breath. "I'm used to the last name. It bothers some people, so I try and make a joke out of it. It's easy to remember, though."

She nodded, trying to fit the name to something between them in her past, but having to give it up. He was a puzzle with some of the pieces missing. It felt like deja vu throughout the hour long class. She felt like she'd been here before, said the same words of greeting.  She felt his eyes on her back the entire time, building her awareness.  It surprised her when he let it go and disappeared through the door as the class finished, rather than staying to get better acquainted.

"You know him?"

"Who? Oh ... Paul?" She turned to her friend, Margie Kinsworth. "No, why?"

Margie pressed a business card into her hand. "He wanted me to give this to you." There was an ornately scrawled message on the back asking her to call him. He remembered where they'd met.  She tapped the card against her teeth as she thought about him. Margie was still standing there staring at her expectantly, "Well?"

"No ... I don't know him at all. He does look familiar, though." She dropped the card into her purse and decided to forget about it. She didn't have time to get involved in a new relationship. She was working overtime as it was, trying to get ahead in the new business she was starting up.
He kept coming back into her mind. Those piercing eyes and the way he looked in those jeans.  He wouldn't let go of her even from a distance. It was past midnight and she knew it was too late to call him, but her hand kept reaching for the phone anyway. By 2am, she'd had enough. She let it ring eight times before hanging up and feeling more silly than she had since she was in school.  Fifteen minutes later she was at it again. This time, he answered.

"Hi, Paul? This is Shelly Worthmore." Her fingers played with the dangling phone cord while she took a deep breath.

"I know it's late ... or early, I'm sorry. I just couldn't sleep wondering where we'd met. You can hang up if I'm bothering you." She finished breathlessly. Her heart was hammering in her chest and she was finding it hard to breath.

"Who?"

"You know ... from the class yesterday? You said you remembered where we met." She sounded desperate to herself and turned her hands into fists while she tried to calm down. It was all so silly. Why was she acting this way?

"I'm sorry, this is Paul's brother, Tom. He's not here right now. Can I have him call you?"  She gave him her phone number and name, feeling almost giddy with relief that she hadn't made more of a fool of herself. It still took her an hour of pacing before the TV set, and occasionally staring at the old Cary Grant movie, before sleep carried her into bed. She barely felt her head hit the pillow.
He was there in the dream... holding her so gently she felt she could float away in his arms.  "Sorry I'm late..." Paul was whispering against her ear. She smiled as she realized this was where they'd met before. Her fingers traced the rugged
outline of his square jaw, before she leaned up to kiss him quiet. "It's okay. What's important is you remembered."
She usually didn't remember dreams. Seeing him in real life during the day had done something to her, made her know him for who he was. "It took me awhile to find you." He was saying as he lifted her up in his strong arms and carried her to his bed. Every detail of him was the same as it had been in real life. She couldn't wait to see him the next day in class.  He soon made her forget, though. His kiss was deliciously slow, stilling the moment into a quiet warmth with him.



"Hi."

She couldn't help blushing. She remembered him in exquisite detail, but still it had just been a dream, hadn't it? He hadn't called her during the week like she had hoped, and she hadn't been brave enough to call him back. Any man receiving a phone call at 2 am in the morning would call if they were really interested, wouldn't they?

"Hi, Paul... isn't it?" He nodded with that strange;y familiar smile that brought the corner's of his lips into dimples. He was looking at her like he had in the dream... as if he knew all of her to the deepest core.

"Your friend coming tonight, or is she always late?"

"Oh, Margie is like that... last minute for everything." She found herself shaking his hand.  The moment was like watching a movie while being in it... everything going in slow motion. His fingers were warm against her pulse as he squeezed her hand gently before letting go.

"I just found the note you left my brother before coming tonight, or I would have called to tell you."

"Tell me...?"

"Yes. That I remembered where we had met ..."

She was blushing in spite of herself. "What do you mean?"

"...We met in a fragment of a dream... that's where I remember seeing you before...." He was blushing too. It made her feel giddy and at the same time more sure of herself in spite of how impossible this conversation sounded to her.

"I know... I remember too." The class was starting. Her pulse was throbbing against her throat as she pushed her way into her seat. She felt his eyes on her the entire class, building the tension. The class felt just dreamy and she knew why
.

-=|=-

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Revised March 9, 1999. Copyright © 1999
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