A Love Beyond The Sky
A fresh rain enriched the colors of the Diner: deep red bricks glittering in the sunlight, the gold and green of the sign shimmering, darkened grey revealing every imperfection of the sidewalks surrounding and leading to the historic restaurant, and the vibrant greens of a willow swaying in the cool breeze. On a normal day, these occurrences of color and mood would dampen the spirits of passersby, but something about the sunshine persisting throughout, the crisp breeze rushing down the lanes, the time of day (not yet noon), and one particular couple made the atmosphere joyful and renewed. Besides, it wasn't like rain was uncommon in spring.
On this particular moist day, Alan and Yvonne were meeting at the Dancing Leaves Diner on the southeast corner of Gale Avenue and Willow Way. A coincidence? Not in the slightest: the current owner of the Diner happened to be the great-grandson of the city planner in charge of redesigning the layout of Adoreton after the great earthquake during the hurricane which caused the disastrous fires which decimated everything except this famous Diner. The owner back then was the city planner's mistress and bore his only child. She kept the name of the Diner alive and coerced, with her womanly wiles, the street names out of her lover. This was the reason Yvonne loved the Dancing Leaves Diner; well, its history and the fact they were the only place which served a decent French Cappuccino in town. Alan loved it because Yvonne loved it.
At 11:32 Yvonne arrived, early as usual, and grabbed a table in the window looking at the willow. She wasted little time explaining Alan's arrival so she could order her cherished beverage. Yvonne knew she had to finish the first one before Alan got there in order to avoid the condescending patronization associated with extreme caffeine consumption. Alan was quite the stickler for health, which Yvonne respected to a point; but she came from a long line of French descendants and thus loved her caffeine beverages. When she received her French Cappuccino at exactly 11:40, Yvonne immediately cupped it in her hands, feeling the warmth through the little ceramic cup, and began sipping the bitter and sweet concoction. Vanilla Chantilly and classic Lavazza espresso: smokey with a hint of pine nuts and cinnamon. The first cup was finished by 11:51, just in time to see Alan crossing Willow Way with a long, dark brown trench-coat and a dark blue scarf fighting a gust of wind. The sky above the buildings behind him had become a beautifully bright blue after the early morning rains.
After he disappeared from view behind the wall, Yvonne waves down the waitress who blushed slightly and hurried over. "Can you take this away, please? I don't want my friend to know I already started without him..."
The look Yvonne gave the waitress caused the effect it was meant for, and the waitress, whose name happened to be Emily, smiled with rosy cheeks and said, "Of course, miss. Can I get you another then? Or should we wait for your boyfriend?"
The game was set. Yvonne smiled and said with her voice just a notch away from sensuality, "Oh, he's not my boyfriend, that's for sure. But I'll wait for him, nonetheless." Emily walked away towards the back of the Diner as the door opened.
Yvonne glanced to the front and noticed an older gentleman entering, his hat in hand as he unbuttoned his jacket, flushed face looking nearly desperately around the Diner for someone or something. His balding head reflected the florescent lighting from the ceiling and seemed to give him a halo in his grey hair. Yvonne thought he looked late for something very important, and the suit and tie underneath his long coat seemed to prove his businessman rush to find his lunchtime appointment. See, this gentleman was an attorney who had set a secret meeting with his opposition for the case they were fighting. Lunch was the only time they could meet this week; but the rains had made this attorney 25 minutes late. The apprehension and distress displayed across his face grew worse by the minute as his mind decided the appointment was off due to his tardiness. Unfortunately, his lack of psychic prowess nor gut intuition denied him the understanding that his date was laying in a hospital due to a car accident caused by the rain. He sat down to get a quick bite, hoping through all odds that the same traffic that slowed him down had caused a similar lateness in the meeting.
After the gentleman had sat down, Alan walked through the door, similarly windswept and red faced but lacking the sense of panic just mentioned. He quickly caught the eye of Yvonne and made his way over to her table in the window. His smile was perfect, his eyes were perfect and blue, his hair was perfectly spiked (slightly messy though) and blond, his facial hair short and stubbly. Yvonne felt herself shy away slightly at her friend.
"I figured you were already here," he said as he sat, unwrapping his scarf. "And I also figured you'd have already ordered a drink..." Alan's intense eyes bore into Yvonne.
"Alright, alright. I already had one. So sue me!" She laughed.
Hanging his damp jacket on the back of his seat, he turned back to regard his friend. "How are you? I haven't seen you since last week. Seems like forever."
"Oh you know, things are simply fantastic." Her smile was broad but her eyes nearly closed. She couldn't help but notice how crisp Alan's shirt looked, tightly forming to his body and hardly wrinkled from wearing a coat. "I'm certainly not going to complain."
Alan didn't believe her. "Come on. I know you better than that... and the internet tells all. I've already seen what's happened. I just want to hear it from you."
"Fine. Alicia broke up with me." When Alan refused to question further, and the silence grew unbearable, Yvonne looked at her watch to realize it was one minute after noon. She was officially ready for another drink. "Where's Emily when you need her?"
"Who's Emily?" Alan questioned with that tone indicating mischief.
"The waitress. Geeze. You think I'm that quick to recover from a break-up?"
Alan shook his head. "No, but I understand the needs of companionship and the physical necessities intrinsic to being human." He spread his hands. "We are sexual beings after all, especially at our age."
Yvonne appreciated the sentiment of understanding he was offering her, but she hadn't taken up another lover as of yet. A week was hardly enough time for her to even grasp the reasons why Alicia had terminated their relationship. All the classic lines had surfaced during her monologue and Yvonne had sat there, red eyed and broken, listening to the words but hearing only air vibrating in rhythms supposedly creating the English language. Alicia was almost completely opposite to Alan: she had hazel eyes with curly black hair down to her waste, a foreign accent and tan skin, and the intelligence of a teenager pushing to find an easy college. The only thing Alicia and Alan truly shared was a sexual appetite, something Yvonne consciously wanted but couldn't bring herself to admit nor truly desire
Her question poured out of her mouth before she had the chance to edit it in her mind. "Why can't you be straight?" It was a question she had refused to ask ever since they met each other six years ago on a panel for LGBT high school students.
Alan laughed. "Because it wouldn't do us any good. You would have to be straight as well."
Since the question was out, she just groveled in the depression of it. "Then why can't you be a lesbian woman with me?" The stupidity of the question made Yvonne laugh. She felt a few eyes at the bar next to them fly their way, the glances filled with intrigue, some with venom.
"That opens a whole philosophical conversation I care not discuss now. However, I can tell you here and now that I love you dearly. You'll find someone, I'm sure."
"Do you guys know what you want... or do you need a menu or anything?" Emily had returned to catch the last phrase of Alan's comforting quip.
Yvonne looked up at her cute waitress: round face with dimples when she smiled, brown hair loosely pulled back, gentle eyes and a soft body (full but not overweight). An entire scenario played through Yvonne's mind: several dates and a few nights of passion and just as things got serious Yvonne would say or do something that frightened Emily which would make her reconsider what she would want in a relationship. Thus it ended and Yvonne's spirits fell down again.
Alan ordered a glass of water, a healthy vegetarian sandwich ("Hold the chips, please."), and a shot of lemongrass juice if they had it ("Sorry, no..."). Emily looked down at Yvonne and smiled, her eyes twinkling with the light from the sun. A gust of wind rattled the old windows, picking up the limbs of the giant willow and making them dance to a silent symphony. "And for you?" Emily asked with extreme flirtation.
"I'll have another French Cappuccino and... whatever you recommend to eat."
"Sure thing." Emily went off with a little bounce in her step, barely perceptible to normal onlookers, but Yvonne knew how a woman's body worked everywhere.
Alan was smiling. "Nicely played. You see, you still have all the facilities to get whatever it is you want."
"She's too innocent."
His smile transformed into a confused and irritated glare. "I don't think you're giving her enough credit. She has her wits about her. She's playing you just as much as you're playing her..."
"No she's not."
"You'll see. If she doesn't come back with something red or fruity then I'm wrong."
Yvonne didn't acknowledge the bet for a second, still considering the possibility of asking Emily out on a date. "Fine... I'll buy if you're right." Saying such was admitting her loss in the matter. She knew Alan was never wrong when it came to psychological evaluations of people. He had a knack for it and used it to his advantage. If he wanted, he had a man at his side within days. He also had that man decide to leave if it didn't work out. Never the bad guy, but always the perfect man. When Yvonne bumped into any of his ex's, they always praised Alan for his generosity, personality, and body. She knew the real him, knew his conniving and gentle way of dealing with boys, and she loved him for it. He was always her straight sex, if ever she were to have it. "How's work going?"
"Just fine. The museum is still struggling for money but wants to expand regardless. I'd rather take a pay increase if they're just going to throw away money, but I'll support their decisions. An expansion would mean more space for my artifacts, which would mean more time traveling to find said artifacts, which means more experiences and discoveries." Alan sighed. "I guess I really do want an expansion..." he shook his head while looking at the table. The drinks were delivered by a waiter who didn't stop to say anything. The French Cappuccino was placed before Alan. He quickly remedied the situation.
"Well...Since you can't stop it, there's no reason to get upset about 'wasting money', is there?"
"Nope, not at all."
Yvonne changed the subject again. Something was on Alan's mind, she knew, and he was less willing to carry a conversation. This worried her, but she knew he would open if she hit the right button. There was only one other thing he might care enough about to hold back his tongue. "How's Victor?" She knew she hit it as soon as he sighed.
"I think he's going to leave me..."
"You don't want him to?"
"No... I think I may love him."
"Then make him stay. You know how."
He looked at her, his face growing sad with the passing moments. Alan had already considered using his whiles to make Victor stay. It was what he wanted more than anything right now: more than an expansion, more than traveling, more than sitting in the Dancing Leaves Diner with his best friend in the whole world about to eat a wonderful meal and discuss the beauty intrinsic to life. "I don't want to do that. I want him to want to stay with me. I want him to actually love me, not just want to be with me because I'm great and nice and hot and... persuasive..." He shuttered. Alan didn't like saying these things because deep down he didn't believe them. "I don't know what to do."
Yvonne lowered her voice to a calming, sympathetic tone. "Have you talked to him about it?"
"No... I don't know what to say." She just looked at him. "Ok, ok... I know what to say, but I'm worried it would simply 'persuade' him again."
"You listen to me this time. I don't know Victor very well. I think we've only met three times, but he seems like a decent, rational, caring, nice guy, which is why I approved of you with him. He has his head on tight, no open windows letting out the intelligence, that's for sure. A good conversation is what you need this time, not some twisted psychology. Forget all that. You've got the goods, no matter what you think."
Emily had returned with two plates. She placed the sandwich in front of Alan, just as he ordered. "I, uh, made you something special." Emily placed a beautifully crafted delicacy before Yvonne. Chocolate souffle with strawberries and a sprig of mint. All around it was a drizzle of some red gel, waving outward in a beautiful pattern. "I hope you don't mind a little sweet for lunch."
Yvonne looked up, as did Alan, and saw a perfectly purposeful smile and wink. Yvonne blushed. "Of course. Sweet is delicious... Thank you!"
Emily left to go back to the kitchen to hide. Her part was done, and now she would wait out the rest of her patron's visit to make her next move.
The rest of the lunch date went fairly uneventful, except for the increased adrenaline coursing through Yvonne's blood. Her heart was mended so quickly, all because of an individual's attempt at wooing. It made her feel beautiful again, which was much needed. Alan and Yvonne finished their meal at 1:14, just in time for Victor to make a very important phone call to Alan. He dashed outside, leaving Yvonne to wait for the tab and Emily once more.
Before leaving Alan from the story, it's important to not the outcome of this phone call. Victor had found himself worried Alan was distancing himself to find the strength to quit the relationship that he, Victor, had grown to cherish and need. As much as Alan worried, Victor worried twice as much. He knew all too well how Alan worked in relationships and still decided to give it a shot; after all, biological chemicals don't allow for misinterpretation of attraction when first falling in love, and Victor had allowed every interplay to grow this love into a full blown requirement. He called to confront Alan, to see what Alan wanted in the relationship because he, Victor, was ready to take it to the next step. By 1:39, they had decided to move in together.
Yvonne and Emily's last encounter on this beautiful, joyous Tuesday transpired with similar reactions. Emily gave Yvonne her phone number and address, stating her interest in going out to dinner and a movie. Yvonne returned in kind, and that night they met for an evening beneath the stars. The rest is left to the imagination.