Allie sat on the bench, foot tapping in irritation. "Where are you?" she muttered under her breath. She had been waiting for over an hour, and though she enjoyed the scenery at the park - the beautiful flowers, the fountain, the happy families - she really just wanted to go home. She wanted to wallow and wonder where the hell she went wrong in life. Preferably with a pint of mint chocolate chip ice cream.
She glanced at her watch and decided to give it 5 more minutes and then she was leaving. She closed her eyes behind her sunglasses, glad that no one could see the disappointment in her eyes. She knew better than to trust his promises. She knew that he wouldn't show. Why did she bother? She stood up and gathered her belongings. She'd go home to her cat, Dinah, she thought. The one being that loved her unconditionally and never let her down.
"Al, wait." His voice sounded urgent, but even so, made her heart flutter. God, if she could only get him out of her system. But she tried. And tried. And tried again, never succeeding in breaking that tie.
She slowly turned and looked at him. The only man she had ever loved. "Hi, Tim. I won't bother asking why you're late. I'm actually surprised that you showed up at - "
He didn't wait for her to finish, he grabbed her hand and started pulling, and she was too flabbergasted to do anything but follow. "Tim. Where are we going? Tim! Slow down. What is going on?"
He turned back and glanced at her for a moment and kept walking, his rabbit tattoo peeking out from under his sleeve. "I'm late. We gotta go. Like, right now, " he answered.
"Late? Late for what? Can you please just tell me what's going on? Stop dragging me, you're hurting my arm."
He cringed, concern flashing in his eyes. "I'm sorry, Al. Are you OK? Just trust me, please. We have to go right now. I promise you, it's important. A life or death matter, even."
Allie relented and walked with him silently. She had never been to this particular part of town and had wondered why he wanted to meet at that park. But she had never seen him like this before, so she knew it really was important to him. Whatever "it" was. They walked, block after block, some times turning this way or that.
Finally, Tim stopped and said, "We're here." He took a deep breath and composed himself. Allie eyed him nervously and then looked at the sign on the door of the vacant storefront. It had faded and she could barely make out the letters. "Derland? What does that mean?"
Tim didn't answer and pushed open the door. He motioned for her to go inside. "It's called Wonderland," he replied and shut the door behind them.
To be continued....