He talked too much. He talked too much for her taste but she had to begin to dispense with the comparisons and simply go with the flow. He wasn't anything like Gabe. This one was a peacock. She was sure he had preened himself to dreadful perfection in front of his mirror. Narcissus. That's who she was with. Friggin' Narcissus. And her friend was going to pay dearly for this.
She was on her third drink and he still didn't look remotely attractive. He could've come gifting diamonds and pearls and she still wouldn’t be interested. That he was an idiot added insult to injury. She was tired of trying to find topics of conversations that he might know anything about or be interested in but all she received were vapid, confused stares, probably some sort of faulty brain synapse from the stress of trying to understand big words. The man was a moron and one step above monkeys and apes. Actually he was an insult to the primate community.
The waitress came to get their drinks order. She asked for a shot of hemlock much to the confusion of the waitress and Narcissus. How her friend ever thought this idiot of a date was good for any woman was something she was going to have to explain. Perhaps she was suffering from some sort of neurological problem she hadn't confided in. She hoped that was the case, otherwise, she was as good as dead.
She excused herself to go powder her face. Narcissus was too busy looking at himself on the polished knife to even notice she had spoken. Just as well. Perhaps she should just walk right out the front door.
Passing the bar she noticed Gabe was there. Her heart skipped a beat.
She was about to turn around when he looked up and they locked eyes. She had no choice but to approach.
"Hey," she quietly said. She hated herself as soon as the word came out because it sounded too intimate.
"Hey," he responded in same. He put down his drink and looked at her, taking her in. That was the thing about him that unnerved her, his ability to totally absorb her in the moment and make everything so sensual. Right now, she felt they were the only ones in the room.
"Fancy meeting you here," he said.
"Fancy. What are you doing here?"
His eyes had a hint of sadness and she felt like a slug because she knew she was the cause. She had ended things with him a month ago.
"I had a meeting up the block and, well, this seemed like a good place to eat."
"So you're waiting for a table?"
"No, I'm eating here at the bar. Waiting for my food. And you?"
"I'm here with Marcy and Harry and a friend of theirs." She pointed to the table where Marcy, Harry and the Peacock were sitting.
He followed her gaze and saw her friend Marcy with her husband and another guy. He began to laugh. "Please tell me that's not your date."
She stuttered through an explanation but it proved useless. His laughing got the better of her and she got a strong case of the giggles.
He wiped the tears from his eyes. "Oh God, he's precious."
"Gabe, please." She tried to stifle a laugh.
He downed the drink, placed money on the counter and grabbed her hand. “Come on.”
She tried pulling her hand away but it was all in vain. He was gonna make a scene. Dammit!
“Gabe don't. Let go of me. You have no business in this.”
“Darling, you wanna leave me that’s one thing. But I can’t have you prancing around town with this ….this….well, I don’t even know what to call him! I’m saving you the embarrassment of having to wake up with yourself tomorrow and realize you’ve made a very big mistake. Believe me, you’ll thank me for this.”
“Gabe, let go of me.”
He walked to the table and met everyone's gaze.
"Evening folks. Just wanted to stop and say hello. Hello. And goodbye. Oh, and I'm taking Emme with me."
Emme was mortified. He was a man that could never be tamed. She was not into making scenes and so she went with the flow. She saw Marcy's eyes smile. She always liked him and thought Emme a fool for having left him.
The peacock began to stand up to protest but Gabe grabbed him by the shoulder and sat him back down again,
"Relax little fella. Ain't nothing for you to act so offended about. You have no claim here."
Marcy grabbed the peacock's hand and shook her head signaling him to let it go.
He turned to Emme, "Ready, darling?"
She stood quiet, trying not to lose it. He was a big man with big gestures, a big life, and a big smile. At times he could be overwhelming and blind to his actions. Like now. And when he asked her to marry her, she had panicked and left. A failed marriage behind her, she was afraid of another in the future.
"I know what you're thinking."
"No you don't."
"Yes I do. And I'm not him Em. I never was."
He was referring to her former husband, the bastard that had cheated on her from day one. He let go of her hand. His smiled waned to a more intimate one. He pulled her close and spoke to her softly, all the while looking into her eyes,
"I'll take it down a notch Em. I know I can be too much at times and I know that's one of the reasons why you left. But not the main reason, is it? I'm not him Em. I never was and never will be. The first time I laid eyes on you you stole my heart. And you still have it Em. And I'm not asking for it back. I don't want it back. It will always belong to you."
Her eyes were watering and she hoped a tear would not trickle down. She needed to stay strong.
"If you give me another chance, I'll prove to you that you were wrong about us. Because we're right. We couldn't be more right. And the only thing I want right now is for you to believe me and believe in us. Leave with me Em. Come with me. Cause darling, I swear I can't take much more."
He pulled in close to kiss her. She responded in kind. His soft lips and body felt like home. She inhaled his cologne and could imagine falling asleep in his arms tonight.
Marcy's mouth now joined her eyes in jubilation. Peacock looked confused and offended. Marcy's husband just looked resigned.
He pulled away waiting for an answer. Still she said nothing. His smiled faded into a look of defeat,
"Well, okay. I guess I have my answer."
She had never seen him so sad. And as he turned to walk away, she quickly grabbed his hand, "Yes. The answer is yes."