The first time Victoria had looked in his eyes, she knew they’d be close. There was a calming majesty in Robert’s gaze. They were, at first, off-putting, his light green eyes, a subtle green like raw peeled chestnuts, with a yellow sunshine brightness. Since then, they spoke often. They shared meals, shared confidences, shared sunsets and hugs and bottles of Merlot. They had become close as they went together to the gym for yoga, as they danced to live music on the deck of the Rudder, as they laughed and smiled and enjoyed life.

But there was something lacking, she convinced herself repeatedly these past three years. She kept him in the box marked “Friend” on her office shelf. Victoria told herself that he was kind, intelligent, footsure, and trustworthy, but there was simply no chemistry. She didn’t feel that oozing and invading fire set aflutter as she had with John, with Henry, with Ralph and François. She loved Robert but was not, and would never be, in love with him. This was what her sleepy voice told her each night as she drifted.

But was it true? Wasn’t it possible she was simply staying safe, red flags raised high in the cold March wind? It was April now, full spring, she reminded herself, and as seasons are apt to change, might how she thought of Robert change as well?

Robert was not John. John had clearly been a mistake. She’d lost most of those four years but gained the lesson. Arrogance could not be melted.

She’d revealed to Robert all her secrets, save one, and she considered working up the courage to open that last box. For as long as she could remember, she thought herself quite average. There was a near constant whisper, telling her she would never amount to anything beyond the pleasant mundane of mediocrity. Robert changed that, she realized, as she began to see herself through his eyes. She saw a woman who was lovable, unique, and precious. He sparked a belief in destiny, in her simple, yet true value.

Unlike John, who exuded a constant masculinity, Robert held only a subtle strength, a strength that need not overpower but simply knew. Knew what? That the world was not a place with which to do battle? Yes, she felt safe with Robert. Not in a protective sense but in the quiet and supple security of the flowing and unconditional caring which was the utmost gift he bestowed. Simply, she felt accepted. And worthy of that acceptance.

Robert was the sweet song on a rainy day, the melody of wind, drop, light shining, rainbows forming. He was the ever-repeating dawn, the landscape, the slowly rotating earth.

It was a simple epiphany—that she was completely and unabashedly grateful for the perfect gift of his unfaltering acceptance. She realized in that moment that she loved him, was indeed in love with him. And at that moment she decided she would make him love her, too.