Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Dinner at Francisca's

Sasha had invited Rhys home, her new place with Francisca and Gaspard.

They were waiting for him. He suspected after seeing her text someone. Rhys hadn't expected dinner. He hadn't expected Francisca to take his breath away, either.

For the first time, he saw Gaspard and Sasha together and that made him sad. So sad that she was this happy. This content. Why couldn't that happen to him?

Gaspard put on some cds of soft jazz. He watched them speak their own language. Rhys felt left out.

"Don't bother, I haven't figured it out, either." Francisca told him as she set the table.

Rhys was at a loss for words. He didn't know why. He always had a line when it came to pulling a bird. Francisca was blonde and gorgeous. Her blue eyes were mesmerizing. So was the rest of her. She was lovely in her low-riders and an old gray sweater. He could very well get use to visiting more.

"Its stew. I don't really have time to cook." She told him she was a nurse, and her schedule wasn't exactly perfect.

What could he say about himself that seemed halfway admirable? He helped his Dad out at the shop? She didn't seem the type who'd be amused by his music. So he kept quite. Perhaps she was out of his league. This made him say even less.

What was she doing to him? Rhys felt himself melting into a stuttering idiot. There was nothing cool about that as far as he was concerned.

They gathered then around the table. Held hands together for a moment of silence. Nothing was said. It was the most peculiar ritual he'd ever witnessed. What was this? Were they religious? Rhys almost freaked.

Francisca served him first. Gaspard poured red wine. It had to be the first time in a long time that he'd been so lulled into a meal. He thought of Beth and all their snacking. This didn't really compare. He'd known Beth's intentions. But here, he felt so alone even at a table of four.

"Is everything all right, Rhys?" Sasha stared at him.

"Its lovely." Rhys nodded. "Quaint, in fact." He managed a smile. He watched Francisca dip her crusty bread into the heavy gravy of the stew. He did the same and took a bite. It was the best. He'd never been in love with any one's cooking unless a lot of lager came along with it to drink.

Her mouth moved slowly. He could have spent the rest of the evening just watching her eat. It ended so quickly. He thought later as he watched Sasha and Gaspard clear the table and clean up that Sasha would never come back to Hollyoaks, and he wasn't going to persuade her, either.

Francisca got up to go to her yarn. She was busy with something. He wasn't sure. She was far to young to be sitting there with needles making warmth. He watched. She wasn't making a sweater nor a blanket, but a hat. The tan yarn moved quickly through her fingers.

"Its the last one." She mentioned while she knitted.

"What?" He squinted with his hands in his back pocket. Rhys wanted to watch her face, but he stared at her busy fingers instead.

"I won't be making another for quite some time." She was casting off now and putting in some last touches. Her fingers moved delicately as if she could do this sort of surgery in her sleep. "Here." She tossed it to him. He caught it. It didn't seem possible to have something of hers in his hands. Rhys was awestruck. He was sure his mouth opened wide as he examined it.

"I'm tired of wondering who's it might be in the end. I'd intended it to give it to someone, but -" She shook her head, no. "It doesn't matter now. Now does it."

"Sweet." Winter was hanging on. He didn't have a hat. Especially one with flaps on the ears.

He pulled it on. It was a perfect fit. She smiled.

"Mon petit chiot." Her laugh was soft, but he felt he was breaking inside. She didn't even know him, and he knew already he wasn't good enough for her.

He felt a bit embarrassed. He took the hat off, examined her work again. "I really couldn't. Not if it was meant for someone else."

She shook her head, no. She wanted him to have it. He thanked her. Left her his mobile number. "Maybe we could have a drink, sometime." But he knew she wouldn't be coming to Hollyoaks. He wanted her number only he didn't ask, and she didn't give it to him.

He had to go. He didn't want to. He pulled the hat back on. Said goodbye to Sasha. It was hard to leave. He thanked Francisca again. When they hugged, he didn't want to let go, but he knew if he stuck around any longer, he might outstay his welcome.

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