"I'm so sorry, Evie. Seriously. I feel so bad."

It was probably the eighth time Andrew apologized to her. They were back inside Samurai Sword, seated, not at the rotary bar, but at a cozy table in the corner of the restaurant. "It's alright, Andrew. Really."

"No, it's not," he insisted, his eyebrows furrowed. "It's my fault. I missed my train from Boston and had to wait for the next one. And when I finally arrived in Hartford, I gave the taxi driver the wrong directions to get here."

"Well... You never had a good sense of time... Or direction," Evie offered.

Andrew chuckled. "Some things never change, eh?"

"No, they don't," she replied. Sitting less than two feet away from Andrew, Evie could agree, however, that Andrew certainly changed physically - he grew better with age. His face had matured into nicely defined features: his aquiline nose was more noticeable, flanked by the sprinkle of freckles that appeared to have lightened slightly since high school. His remaining baby fat from that time was all but gone from his cheeks, pulling attention to a prominent jawline. His dark brown hair was styled in a clean crew cut that tied together the look of sheer masculinity he now wore. Only his eyes, which rested on Evie, still held the smallest glint of the endearing boyishness that she had known so well.

"You've changed though... But not in a bad way. You look beautiful," he smiled, reminding Evie of the dimple he had on his chin.

"Thank you." Was the heat slowly radiating through her cheeks a blush? She'd be damned. "What have you been up to?"

Andrew shifted in his chair, bringing tanned arms to rest on the tabletop. "Well, I finished up Pre-Physical Therapy last December. I'm taking this semester off to look at different Doctorate programs for the Fall."

"Wow, that's great!" Evie exclaimed. "Congratulations. So you finished your Bachelor's a sem early?"

"Yup. I loaded up on Summer and Winter classes. I've had no social life for the last three and a half years."

Evie raised an eyebrow. "You? Mr. Popularity? I don't believe it."

"It's true. It's my way for making up for high school. I admit," he raised his hands up in defeat, "I half-assed most of it."

"Now that I can believe. I remember in junior year, Ms. Capulet's Lit class, you would split up assignments with Robert and Ian to get them done faster. What did you call yourselves? The Brotherhood...?"

Andrew cringed. "You remember that? Oh god." He ran a hand through his hair and leaned back into his seat. "Yeah, The Brotherhood. But we weren't as good in English as you were. You were the best in that class, and for good reason. Look at you now."

"Do you mean a couple months from graduating with what most people call a 'dead-end degree' and $20,000 in debt?" Evie offered teasingly.

"No," Andrew replied, shaking his head in refute. "You're doing what you love. You were always writing in high school. Always coming up with these amazing stories. You had so much imagination and creativity. I really like that about you."

Before Evie could spend any time dissecting Andrew's use of the present tense in his last sentence, their orders arrived.

"So what are you in Boston for?" Evie asked, plunging her chopsticks into a new bowl of katsudon, hoping food in her belly would help get rid of the tiny flash of disappointment she was feeling at the break in their conversation.

"The PT program at Boston U is one of the top choices on my list," he said, taking a bite of grilled calamari. "And it also gives me a chance to visit my grandmother. She's been living with my Aunt."

"Oh, that's nice," Evie had gotten to know Andrew's grandmother, Nana, when they were still close during senior year. She knew that he loved her dearly, since she was the one that practically raised and took care of him. His parents both remarried after the divorce, so Andrew didn't appreciate being shunted between households every other week. Nana was his only foundation for family stability. "How is she doing?"

"She's been battling her bronchitis on and off over the past several years, but overall, she's been staying strong," Andrew replied. "You know, she still remembers you. She's hoping you'd come visit."

This was news to Evie. She had grown rather close to Nana, but after Andrew started going out with Janine, Evie sort of just faded out of the picture. Because she couldn't face seeing the blissful, new couple, she stopped visiting Nana and often felt horrible about it afterwards. Nana was truly a sweet old lady. "I think that's possible."

Andrew's face lit up. "Great. She'd appreciate it."

The two sat in silence, focused on their meals. Their chopsticks clapped with every picked-up morsel of rice and meat, and their drink glasses clinked against the tabletop. For the first time in the evening, Evie began to feel nervous. They had gotten this far into the dinner, exchanged little updates on their lives, observed the niceties. What else was there to say?

Just as the awkwardness was beginning to formulate into a tangible veil that hung in the air around them, Andrew broke the silence. "Evie?"

"Yes?"

"Remember our phone conversation last week? When I first called your dorm room?"

"Yes."

"I said something to you. Before we hung up."

I've missed you. The words echoed clearly in her mind, as if Andrew had spoken them again, then and there. But where was he going with this? "I think I remember."

"Well," he murmured carefully. She could see his red-tinged cheeks that had nothing to do with a cold evening wind. "Do you?"

"Do I what?"

"Evie!" he cried, suddenly exasperated. "You know, you make look a lot different now, but one thing sure hasn't changed: you still make it hard for a person to remain calm when talking to you."

Evie was dumbstruck. She restrained herself from over-analyzing Andrew's words; the dinner table wasn't the best place for some in-depth critical thinking. The furrowed look had returned to Andrew's countenance, and Evie was almost certain there was a shadow of worried desperation there as well. To think she'd live to see the day.

"I've missed you." There they were. Not in her head this time, but verbalized once again.

She looked down and zoned in on her emotions. Bewildered was a definite, but lingering on that was sure to cause trouble. Confused? Hell yes. Surprised was another winner (second time this week!). Yearning, longing, missing...

Missing. She wrapped her mind around it, and then allowed it to sink into her stomach. It stayed there for a couple of moments, before taking root and creeping up and out through her limbs. With it came a sensation that hadn't stirred inside her for a long time.

She gazed up and caught Andrew's chestnut eyes, still as the surface of an untouched pool. "I've missed you too."