Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Minute(s) (as in time) (03/03/11)
TITLE: He Just Had to Know...
By Noel Mitaxa
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Ideal illumination for a romantic dinner date.
His heart was pumping, but he had to know…
Not content with ruffling the lake surface, a balmy breeze was also whispering through the luxuriant leaf canopy of vines that were draped overhead between the massive wooden beams of the alfresco pergola. Abetted by the band in the background, his anticipation was increasing, as the perfectly-cut long-stemmed roses drew his focus towards the beautiful woman who had so effortlessly and generously captured his heart.
He just had to know…
Playing his forefinger around the rim of his glass, he reached across to gently stroke her left hand; paying special attention to the third finger; captivated by her beauty.
In a few minutes she could surely be his forever. But he had to know…
A case containing the expensive, velvet-set ring in his pocket was beginning to emit seismic shock-waves all through his body. He only had to ask her, but another, more-immediate question was burrowing into his mind. Yes, he had to know something else first.
From nowhere, a strident, practical voice invaded his reverie - “She’ll always be out of your league. And you never buy a car under this kind of lighting!” - to be silenced by his need to know. Should I? Should I not bring this up? Will she think I’m suspicious; or just plain paranoid?
Time was standing still, though minutes were flying by. The time was surely right, but he needed to know...
In their first encounter time had not been an issue, even though timing had proved exquisite…
He had entered this same expensive restaurant, and the maître-d had escorted him to a table for one; adjacent to another table, where an absolutely beautiful, elegantly-dressed woman was dining – also alone.
He recalled how merely glancing in her direction had triggered waves of negative musing: Lady, you are so far out of my league I wouldn’t dare try to chat you up. You’re probably a man-eater anyway. Or maybe the type that plays ‘hard-to-get’ for so long that they get to ‘be hard to take!’
As his meal arrived, he'd stolen another fleeting glance. To find her looking at him! Then a sudden sneeze had dislodged her glass eye – and propelled it straight at him!
By reflex he had lifted his arm, to find the eyeball in his hand! Then, as discreetly as possible, he had carefully placed it in a napkin; reached across and returned it to her.
On accepting it she stood her folded menu on end, sheltering behind it while quickly reinserting her prosthesis. Now restored, and flashing a radiant smile, she had invited him to sit and dine with her: “Thank you for being so discreet. Could I pay for your meal, to show my appreciation?”
Not needing to be asked twice, he had quickly moved over; to experience excitement that left any flirtation in its wake. They found so much in common that minutes morphed to almost two hours. Then, as he was reaching for his wallet, she’d squeezed his wrist in warm reassurance that her promise still held. But she not only paid for him; she took him out for drinks and a live-show afterwards.
It was the launch pad for full-blown romance. She could not do enough for him, and her self-deprecating humour could lighten any tension. “I like to see the funny side of things,” she’d explain, “for with only one eye, I don’t see all of anything. So why not enjoy what I can see?”
But now, those memories and these fleeting minutes were beginning to weigh on him, and he knew that the hour – and the minute – had come.
Gazing tenderly at her, he cleared his throat and softly whispered: “I love you so much and I’d love to marry you, but I need to know why you have treated me with such respect when you surely notice how other men look at you. Have you ever been so generous with any other men that you have never met before?”
“Oh no,” she smiled, slowly shaking her head and causing her beautiful hair to lightly cascade comfortably out of place: “you’re the one who happened to catch my eye!”
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