He flirted shamelessly with Angela. She was drawn to him like a bear to honey, practically tugging on my hand to come with her to see him. I don’t know what he said to her but she was smitten.
He seemed to understand Debra was with her husband, but I caught more than one moment between them. She would lean back just enough to clear her husband’s shoulder, as if taking in the sweeping vistas, only to have her eyes rest on him. Just the corner of the left side of his mouth would hitch. He was pleased with the attention. Their eyes would meet searching each other for answers to questions neither one of them should have been asking. With a sigh she would resume her position along side the man she had chosen to marry. It wouldn’t last, she told herself, passion like that is never meant to be sustained. But she felt alive in the exchange nonetheless.
Karin seemed less affected, he wasn’t really her type. They had a pleasant enough chat but it was all surface stuff, no real depth.
He mostly ignored the men.
At various times I would catch the other women in our group coquettishly glancing in his direction, head tilted, chin dipped just so, eyelashes batting. I don’t think they even realized they were doing it. As we were being educated on how the grapes grew and the quality of the soil, one or more would shift ever so slightly in his direction, some inching a little closer. He was magnetic.
The first thing he seemed to notice about me was my camera. He insisted I photograph his good side, but refused to share with me which side that was, forcing me to either figure it our or just take copious photos in every direction. He was an easy subject to photograph, stoic, almost. He seemed pleased with the attention but had little opinion about the actual pictures. It was the act of being photographed that pleased him.
Our group was being led away from the vineyard to the big, beautiful stone house where we would taste the fermented grapes our friend was watching over. It was time to leave him. There were many backward glances in his direction. Angela was the last to tear herself away, jogging to catch up with the rest of us. There was something special between them, but it was not meant to be.
He would never write or come visit. But he would be here if she wanted to stay or come back, he said. He was a summer affair, meant to be a memory. Much like the wine he protected, that memory would become sweeter over time.