Talking to Lucia
After my encounter outside the lift with Lucia, I went to my room, called Maggie, and then went down to the bar to find Lucia sat waiting for me. I bought drinks and we found a quiet corner to sit.
I started by asking if she felt a little better now, but I could see she didn't. I then went on to say that she had taken me by surprise. I hoped to get her talking.
After a while she started to explain that she had strong feelings for me, which she attributed to my being kind and supportive to her in recent weeks. She had assumed my behaviour toward her demonstrated that I had similar feelings toward her.
I didn't deny this.
She told me that her husband was the most loving of men and completely devoted to her. She spoke of her guilt and a fear that she had 'screwed' everything up. She called herself a 'bad person'.
For a while we tried to speak of other things. The tears came back though, as she asked if I'd ever had the same feelings for her.
I am not proud of my reply. I could try to pass it off as weakness, but in truth I was keeping my options open, already regretting a lost opportunity. I said that I did. Then explained to her that as her colleague, friend and boss, I'd had to keep my feelings under control.
Very early the next morning, I left the hotel, on my way to Hong Kong.
In my excitement about seeing Maggie, I forgot all about Lucia. Lucia and I didn't meet again until the second week in January.