The rain drizzled softly onto the seemingly endless pavements, visibly dotting the air beneath warm street lamps. It was a dark night yet strangely clear. She walked close by him trudging along in front of her.
She asked if he knew the song “The First Man You’ll Remember” and he smiled. “Other pleasures, and I’ve known many…” She joined in, enjoying the sound of their voices together. Suddenly, almost abruptly, she stopped. He turned inquiringly towards her and asked, “What’s wrong?”
“I can’t breathe… my heart… it’s beating so fast and hard. Suddenly.”
“Do you want to sit down and rest a while?”
“Maybe… yeah. That sounds good.”
They crossed the road towards the long flight of steps outside the empty stadium. She seemed to be feeling better and breathed easier. Reaching the steps, they climbed mid-way up. There was a landing where they could sit down against the walls.
She put down her haversack and him his satchel, and sat down beside each other. In the quiet rain-subsided moonlight, her thoughts flew back a few hours ago.
She had begun to tell him of her friend’s intentions, somewhat awkwardly. To her relief, he admitted that he did not forsee anything possible with obvious obstacles between them. They drifted to casual conversations. She listened with curiosity as he told her his brief and unusual life history. Before she knew it, she had bared hers too.
To her horror, tears welled up, forcing her to lower her head and wipe them away. Quietly, he reached into his trouser pocket, took out a pressed, folded handkerchief and offered it to her across the table. Surprised by the gesture, she took it.
“You carry a handkerchief? No one does that nowadays.”
“Well,” he mused. “It does come in handy sometimes.” Was that a wink in his eye?
She breathed in deeply and let out the air. It felt comfortable to sit and talk, and yet she had only met him barely an hour ago. Barely an hour, and I feel as though I’ve know him for a long time, she thought. Why did I say so much? Too much, she realised. But why? She was aroused from her thoughts by his voice. “I hope you are feeling better.” He smiled. Still, the twinkle in his eyes.
“Yes, thank you. I feel really good talking to you… as though we are old friends.”
He let out a small chuckle, “You’re not the first to say that.”
She had to smile. How many has he charmed with his chivalry? And his voice… his voice! It was sensual and masculine yet so gentle. On the phone, she suspected she had met her match. Conversing with him in person confirmed it. If she was not careful, she would be tempted to play the game, again.
“Well…” he hesitated to go on.
He seemed to be grappling with his thoughts as he looked at her intently. She could hear her heartbeat. She was waiting for what he was about to say, waiting to confirm it echoed her thoughts, like she knew he would.
“I feel good too… just sitting here with you.”
“So do I. I’ve never felt this way before, with anyone else. Not even with him.”
His mouth curved into a smile, his gaze not once leaving her face.
“Maybe… would you like to get away to someplace else?” there seemed to be a tinge of urgency in his voice, yet he was unharried.
“I would love to, but I’ve got to meet him.”
“Well then, you better run along now.” Like a loving father to his daughter, his eyes still smiling at her. She was surprised to hear herself say,” …but I can always meet him another day.” He too, seemed surprised, but simply nodded and said, “Well then, let’s get out of here.”
A little way off, he waited discreetly as she lied on the phone. There was finality as she hung up, turned to him and said, “Let’s go.”
He sat with her in the darkness, feeling her body breathing next to his. They could hear the tic-tic-tic as the taxi changed lanes, speeding towards their destination. He placed his arm around her shoulder. She let him, feeling warm and safe, which logically should not be. He leant closer to inhale the faint scent of her, and she felt his lips on her cheek. She turned to watch him, so close to her now she can see his smiling eyes were coloured brown and dilated. She knew his hunger as well as hers as his mouth exhaled into hers. Breaking away with a gasp, he stifled a cry as he whispered, “Where have you been all my life.” She could only hold him in silence.
She caught a whiff of his cologne – it was strong, yet not overpowering. Just like him. “Penny for your thoughts?” he enquired. She turned and looked at him with a sigh, “Just thinking about tonight.”
“That I could trust a man I just met, tell him about me, cry in front of him, and be right here with him now. It’s unbelievable.” She shook her head.
“That you trust me?”
“Why do you trust me?”
“I don’t know, I just feel… safe with you.” She could not understand herself either. Finally she gave up. “What’s to become of us now?”
“Whatever will be,” was all he replied, gazing far into the peacefulness of the night.
– End of Act One –