I went home that night, or should I say that morning, made myself a cup of hot chocolate and sat outside sipping it until the sun came up, thinking about what had happened, thinking about Katie. As I watched the sun rise over the horizon, all pinks and reds and oranges, I thought about her eyes and her voice, her laugh, her smile, her sense of humor. I stared off in the distance, seemingly staring into the future, wondering what it would bring. I didn't know, who does or can? While I didn't know what the future would bring, I did know, as I considered all that had happened that night, that one night with Katie was not enough. I headed off to bed with a smile on my face and nefarious plots bubbling away in my imagination.
After a few hours sleep, I woke up and went about my daily routine, ending the day with a long bike ride through the rolling hills of Northern Virginia. The honeysuckle was in bloom and the scent filled the air, the pale yellow and white blossoms a riot by the side of the road. Flowers of every color, size and type were out as if to shout, it's spring and I'm alive, see how beautiful I am! I love spring, it's filled with so much potential, a promise of things to come.
I called her after I got back from my ride and showered. Still dripping wet, wrapped in a fluffy towel. We talked for a bit and I invited her over to my place for dinner that night. We set a time and I gave her directions to my place. After we hung up I smiled to myself, putting the finishing touches on my nefarious plot for the evening.
I made a trip to the store to buy supplies, actually, several stores. Nefarious plots aren't easy to throw together on a moment's notice you know! Well, maybe if you're Superman but I'm just a mere mortal.
I arrived home a bit early, did a few chores, cleaned up the place, took a shower again, dressed and did a few things around the house to get ready.
The doorbell rang about 7 o'clock, I smiled and turned on the stereo and went to answer the door. Opening it I see you standing there, as beautiful as the night before though not dressed quite the same. No, tonight you were dressed casually, comfortably. I looked into your eyes and smiled, "Hello Katie! Come in please, me casa es tu casa," I said, as I invited you into my arms for a big warm welcome hug and a soft kiss to your cheek, smelling your perfume as I do, eyes closed, soaking up the feel of you as we stand close for that ever to brief moment.
Stepping back, I stand aside and let you pass, walking up the stairs to the dinning room, living room area, admiring the sway of your hips as you walk up the stairs. You stop at the top of the stairs and look around and I come up behind you and wrap my arms around you, my hands on your tummy, rubbing softly, inhaling deeply as I press my face into the back of your neck, kissing softly before whispering in your ear, "Feel like some fresh Maryland Crabs for dinner?"
"OooOOO," you turn to me in happy surprise, "You're joking right?"
"I'd never joke about a thing like that Katie, especially seeing as how you mentioned you so rarely get a chance to have them, I couldn't pass up the chance to make them for you." I smile, glad of my choice for dinner, even happier to have made you happy with an added secret ingredient as I contemplate the other secrets I have, just waiting to spring on you. Speaking of which.
"Come, I have a surprise for you," I quip with a playful grin, grabbing your hand and tugging you towards the kitchen.
"Ok, close you eyes!"
"What!? You want me to close my eyes, trust a nearly complete stranger who probably has nefarious plots churning around behind those blue eyes of yours?"
I pause for a moment, thinking, "Yup, that's about it!"
You look at me askance, a teasing smile tugging at the corners of your lips, before closing your eyes.
"No peeking now!" I add, as I see you trying to peek underneath your eyelashes. Close 'em tight or no surprise!"
Smiling, I open the refrigerator and reach inside, "Ok, hold out your hand." As you do so I place something in your hand, "Ok, you can look now." You open your eyes and see a single deep purple, almost black, rose sitting in the palm of your hand. "For you," I say, as I bow.
You smile a smile that seems to light up the room before giving me a big hug, I hug you back, and we hold each other tightly, drawing each other close, making it real. Finally I step back, letting you go, reluctantly. I can smell you as you stand pressed against me — clean, familiar, and distinctive.
"Is there something I can keep this in," you ask as you bring the rose to your nose and inhale deeply of its scent.
I smile and reach inside the fridge again, pulling out a chilled vase full of water and some rose food, thin, just large enough for a single rose. "Here you go!"
"You've thought of everything I see."
"Well, lets hope so!"
Setting the rose on the counter, you turn to me and ask, "Is there anything I can do to help?"
"Sure, there's the makings of a salad there on the counter if you care to cut up the veggies. And there's fresh sweet white corn to shuck."
"Corn too? Are you trying to spoil me or something buster?"
"Oh, you haven't seen anything yet!"
You look at me with an appraising look in your eyes, no doubt wondering what on earth I could be up too.
I smile mysteriously as you open the fridge to get the veggies and corn. "Knifes are there, cutting board and colander is in that one, and there's a bowl over the stove."
I watch you out of the corner of my eye as you gather stuff together, watching you work, cleaning the lettuce and other veggies, a quiet confidence apparent in every move. As you work on the salad, I work on the homemade cornbread, "Cornbread too? Wow, pulling out all the stops!"
I smile and continue working, putting two large pots on the stove, one for the corn the other to steam the crabs. I pour a beer into the water and add some hot sauce and a few other spices to the water and stir the water. Then I clean the crabs in the sink, letting the cold water wash over each one as the others scuttled around in the bottom of the sink.
We finished up all the pre-meal preparations putting the cornbread in the oven to cook alongside two baked potato's I had put in a little earlier. "Would you like to sit on the deck? I'd like to let the crabs marinate in the water for a bit."
"Sure that would be great!"
"Would you care for something to drink? Beer? Wine? Water?"
You give a long drawn out wistful sigh, "Just water for now please," finishing with another sigh.
"Why the long face?"
"Oh, it's nothing, just wishful thinking."
"Hummm ok, wishful thinking you say? Ok, close your eyes and make a wish. And no peeking! I know you wimmin! Always trying to sneak a peek, use your feminine wiles to figure stuff out! Well I'm here to tell you, I'm on to your wily ways!"
You giggle your giggle that I love so much, soft friendly. "Did you make your wish?" I ask with a grin.
"Yes! Now stop teasing me!"
"Oh ho! I see how things are, never mind, no presents for you!"
You stamp your feet, "Richard! That's not fair! It's against the rules!"
"What rules? I don't remember there being any rules like that."
"Well, there are! I'm sure of it, now tell me, please!?" your voice quivers as you ask, trying to weaken me with your feminine wiles.
I grin wickedly, "Humm maybe, but close your eyes and no peeking!" I admonish sternly. "As a matter of fact, turn around, yes yes, no giving me a hard time!" I add as you start to pout and bat your eyelashes at me. You reluctantly turn around, though your head is turned slightly and I can see a smile tugging at the corners of your lips.
I reach into the fridge and pull something out. Then I take one of your hands in mine and still holding your hand, place what I am holding inside. You can feel the cold smoothness of a glass in your hand as I tell you to open your eyes.
I watch as your eyes open and see a glass in your hand, you slowly lift the glass to your lips and sip, your eyes close in contentment and you sigh again, a huge smile spread across your lips as you drink your diet WaWa iced tea.
"Well, did your wish come true?" I ask with a grin.
"Oh yes!" you exclaim, "You've no idea!" Then you turn to me and quip, "One of my wishes anyway," with a twinkle in your eye.
I hold out my arm for yours and escort you to the deck, you with a big glass of iced tea, me with a glass of wine. We sit out on the deck under the cooling night sky, listening to the crickets. I count how many chirps there are in a minute, 41, then add 29, 70 degrees. I smile softly to myself, remembering a camping trip I had taken with my dad as a kid when he taught me that trick.
We talk though to be honest, you do most of the talking and I the listening, I love the quite sound of your voice, punctuated by laughter, content to listen to the soothing sound of your voice. Listening to you as you talk about school and friends, Nicole, Ann, softball, volleyball, former boyfriends, dreams for the future, aspirations, goals, views about the world. A gentle breeze stirs the air, the hint of spring flowers still in the air, honeysuckle mixed with lilac and lavender. I always love evenings like this, where the faint aroma of spring rides on the back of soft southern winds. I love the trees and the sounds they made, listening to them helped relax me even more. Watching you talk, the way your expression changes as you move from laughter to seriousness or as your pause to recall a particular event in your past.
You pause for a moment and I give a start as the night grows still. I smile as I look into your eyes then stand, holding my hand out to you, pulling you to your feet, standing close to you for a moment, looking into your eyes.
"Let's go start the crabs and corn shall we?" I ask, "you look like your starving," I add as I tickle your side softly.
You laugh softly and squirm away then follow as we move back to the kitchen. The crabs come out of the water and go into the steamer, the corn into the boiling water. As the crabs and corn cook, we gather the dishes, silverware and crab bashing utensils and set the table. The sound of soft music fills the room as I light two candles on the table.
I refill your glass with iced tea as well as grabbing a couple of beers from the fridge and setting them on the table. The salad, and finally, your single purple rose set in the center of the table finish off the table.
Finally the crabs and corn are done, the corn still crisp, yet steaming hot, the potato's done to perfection. The crabs topped with Old Bay seasoning, the cornbread hot from the oven.
I hold your chair as you sit, then reach for the tongs and heap a couple of crabs onto your plate before sitting down myself. I watch as you start to dig into the crab, smiling at the determined look on your face as you eagerly anticipate the first taste of crab.
I continue to watch as you finally reach the soft white nugget of crab meat and pop it between your lips, chewing, eyes closed, a look of utter contentment filling your face and I smile, letting out a soft sigh along with the tension.
We continue to eat and talk, sipping beer and iced tea in turn, crab, cornbread, potato, salad mix with the sounds of quiet conversation punctuated by the cracking of crab shells or the clink of a fork on a plate.
More crabs follow more corn topped with baked potato and yet more crabs until as if by mutual agreement, we both lean back in our chairs and give a contented sigh, finally full.
"That was delicious Richard, than you so much for everything" you say softly, your hand resting on my arm, squeezing softly.
I smile deeply, enjoying your warm thanks, my hand covering yours, squeezing, "You are very welcome Katie, it was a pleasure."
I sit for a moment, enjoying myself before standing, reaching for the dishes so I can clean the table. You stand and grab some as well, "It's ok Katie, I'll get that, you relax and enjoy."