“Wine comes in at the mouth
And love comes in at the eye;
That’s all we shall know for truth
Before we grow old and die.
I lift the glass to my mouth,
I look at you, and I sigh.”
After finishing the entire bottle of wine, the stars started to blur a little across the pitch dark night. The fire crackled in front of us and Evan was flooring me with his incredible memory of the most romantic poems on the planet. I was feeling good as I leaned back on my elbows in the sand with the blanket over my legs. He was so close to me, his crisp, light blue, long-sleeved button-down getting sand blown all over it along with his khakis. He was dressed too nicely for the beach. His glasses were in his hand and the light from the fire flickered against his face. I turned to him, touched his prickly chin with my fingers and said, “I can’t believe after what happened today, you have managed to make me feel so good. Everything bottomed out but you completely came through for me. I’m so lucky to have you.” I moved my thumb across his stubble, pretty much batted my eyelashes at him and expected him to kiss me. I was quite excited at the prospect. He smiled but he didn’t even flinch. I was feeling brave from the delicious Beaujolais Red so I said, “You can kiss me if you want.”
It was one of those perfect nights, where I had been scouped up from despair and was now basking in his gorgeous poetry and the roar of the ocean. He put his head down so that my hand slipped away and said, “You don’t even know how badly I want to kiss you right now, but I’m not going to mess this up.”
I looked at him confused. His eyes were so dark and expressive. He put his glasses back on then sat up more and leaned with his arms on his knees and looked at the fire. I flopped my head back on the sand and looked at the stars. They were spinning a little.
“Mess what up?” I said, and giggled. “I didn’t think we had anything to mess up.”
“I don’t want to be the next Jake,” he said. “I want to do this right. I’m going to be your friend and I’m going to be here for you, even if you end up back with Chris, which we both know is what you want. But if you don’t end up with Chris then maybe something will happen between us when the time is right. If we have a drunken makeout session on the beach right now, Chris will hate me and I don’t want that.
“Ugh!” I cried. “Why does everyone care so much about what Chris thinks? What about me in all of this, don’t I count?”
“I care about what Chris thinks because I care about you. Chris is always going to be in your life no matter what because of Zoe. If I’m going to be there too I don’t want him hating me.”
I sat up and looked at him. “You’ve thought this through, haven’t you?”
“It doesn’t take a brain surgeon” he grumbled defensively.
“Are you planning on being around for the long haul?” I asked, mesmerized by this declaration.
“Why do you like me?” I asked. “I mean, I know this is fishing for compliments but I really could use the validation right now.”
“Why do I like you?”
He scratched his hair that was getting a bit messy in the wind and he took off his glasses and rubbed his eyes then put them back on again. “I don’t know, Odette” he said, and laughed a little.
“Come one, you’re the words guy.”
“But its true, I really don’t know,” he said. “I mean, you are spoiled and dramatic, scattered, odd and sometimes cruel. You are very pretty though. So I don’t know.”
“I don’t think I like your one reason for liking me” I said, suddenly feeling very depressed.
“OK. I can do better than that.” He picked up a stick and started to prod the fire, not looking at me at all. “You make me feel good when I am around you,” he said. “And when I’m not around you, I want to be. You are funny and silly and kind, usually. You are passionate and beautiful, and everything I have ever wanted in a woman.” He turned his head and looked at me while still prodding the fire, and smiled.
I was stunned and my heart was racing like crazy. “Are you sure you don’t want to kiss me?” I said.
“When the time is right.” He sighed, tossed the stick in the fire, covered his face with his hands and rubbed it. “You’re killing me.” Then he got up and walked off.
“What if we die tomorrow?” I called after him.
“Then I’m an idiot” he said, heading off to the house, leaving me alone next to the fire, smiling. Wow, I thought. Life is kind of amazing sometimes.