A walk to remember – II

After their first encounter, Jean would habitually come to the library to issue books for herself and chat with Dave for a few moments. She would often join Dave for lunch since their lunch times coincided. With every conversation that happened and every meeting they had, Dave started falling for her more and more. He would often bring her chocolates and hide them in his bag under the counter so that no one would notice it. And when Jean would come he would promptly give them to her and help her in finding the book just to be close to her.

Dave would always compliment her beauty, but Jean would turn it down out of her modesty or change the topic. She would describe herself as ‘just another ordinary looking girl’. How Dave wished he could explain to her, how spellbinding her beauty was. But he could not explain it to himself, let alone explaining it to the woman herself. Once while conversing, Jean told Dave about the bracelet which she wore every day to work. It was gifted to her by her mother who had passed away and so as a token of remembrance, Jean would always carry it around with her.

It appeared as if Jean too liked Dave, but he could not be sure and the thought of asking her directly terrified Dave as it could harm their sweet budding relationship. Dave thought about waiting for the opportune moment. That moment did arrive a couple of weeks later.

Dave’s best friend Raul was throwing his birthday party on his apartment’s terrace. Raul Rodriguez was a diminutive man about 5ft 5’, had brown hair and matching eyes. He spoke with a slight Spanish accent since he lived in Andalusia before moving to the States. Dave and he graduated from the same college and eventually became really good friends. Dave never hid a secret from Raul while Raul told Dave all about his short-lived affairs. So, keeping in line with that tradition, Dave told Raul all about Jean and his feelings for her. But he made it clear to Raul that Jean should not know anything about this. Raul agreed on the condition that Dave would someday ask her out. Dave did not turn it down immediately as always but did not say yes either.

It was as if she didn’t just arrive, she descended from another planet.

A week later, while having their usual conversation about novels, Dave and Jean were interrupted by the arrival of Raul. Dave knew Raul would try and set up Jean for a date with him but he could not think of any way of stopping it. And without fail, Raul seized his opportunity to do just that. Jean got up to leave when she was interrupted by Raul.

“Hey Jean hurrying somewhere?” quizzed Raul.

“Yeah, I am late for a movie. I told my friends I would join them at the theater directly.”

“Oh that’s great, enjoy. By the way, you are coming right?”

“Coming where?” asked Jean with a quizzical look. Dave signaled to Raul to keep quiet about the whole going out thing. Raul winked at Dave but he was confused as to whether he was safe or in trouble. He did not have to wait long.

“I am throwing a small party at my apartment’s terrace this Saturday. It’s my birthday and would be delighted if you and Dave could come.”

Dave’s face was one of a man shot in the chest at point blank range. He could not believe that Raul had blurted it out. But all was not lost yet. Dave intervened before Jean could answer.

“Raul, I don’t think that Jean…”

“Yeah, I am free Saturday night. In fact, I would love to get a change from my routine. What about you Dave?”

Her reply seemed to have dumbfounded Dave. He could not believe that Jean had agreed to go out with him. It’s not a date,’ his conscience told him, ‘she is just going to a party with you.’ One part of Dave wanted to thank Raul while the other wanted to knock his stuffing out.

“Y-yeah I am free t-too” stuttered Dave unable to get words out of his mouth. ‘Get yourself composed young man’ his mind admonished.

“Great then I will see you both on Saturday. Goodbye” said Raul and winked to Dave on his way out.

“Finally, something worthwhile to do on a Saturday night” beamed Jean. “I better get going now or my friends would eat my share of the popcorn too” Jean’s face was one of pretentious anger. She seemed even cuter while doing this. Cuter than is humanly possible, at least according to Dave. But one could hardly blame a guy who had such a gorgeous looking friend, let alone that she was now ready to go out with him. ‘Just a party, you fool!’

“Bye Dave see you on Saturday”. After she left Dave was left to ponder upon the exciting turn of events in his previously mundane life. He only wished he did not wake up from this fairy tale dream where he was happy with his fairytale girl.

Saturday arrived and brought fresh expectations for Dave on the day that was to follow. He got through his daily work with as little fuss as possible, though it was impossible not to think about the evening he was about to have. Raul’s apartment was a couple of blocks away from the library so Jean and Dave had decided to keep the library as their rendezvous point. At 7, Jean arrived at the library.

It was as if she didn’t just arrive, she descended from another planet. Jean wore a knee length dress with a floral pattern. The purple color of the dress seemed to afford her complexion an even lighter tone. She wore minimal jewelry and her only makeup was a dark shade of purple lipstick. She had let her long hair loose and they seemed to ruffle about in the cool September breeze blowing around. Her mother’s bracelet embellished her clear and smooth skin. A pair of high heeled shoes completed her dazzling attire.

Along with Dave, almost every passer-by stopped to admire this inhumanly beautiful woman standing before their eyes. It was as if a fairy had picked out planet earth to visit and see how other human beings paled in comparison to her beauty.

Dave was at a loss for words. “You look stunning” he managed to conjure up somehow.

“Thanks, Dave. But I see that you are not yet dressed.”

“I-I-I got stuck in some work but I promise I will be ready in 5 minutes. Meanwhile, you can sit at the table over there” he said pointing to a table just hidden from the door’s view. While having her wait inside afforded her more security, Dave also did not want unwanted people laying their malicious eyes on her. Dave quickly grabbed his bag and headed for the back room, while Jean busied herself in the surroundings, oblivious to the astounded and amazed looks of people around her.

Within 10 minutes, Dave had changed and came back out still trying to pat down a strand of hair which refused to lie down. He wore a black shirt and faded denim jeans. He had applied his best perfume and wore as expensive shoes, as his paltry salary could afford. He wanted to look good, not for himself but for Jean. “How do I look?” he asked fidgeting around his collar.

“You look handsome Dave. Now shall we?” she asked. Dave hesitantly offered his arm and Jean accepted it. Dave let out a sigh of relief.

They reached Raul’s building in 10 minutes. From the frantic pace of lights and music on the terrace, they assumed that the party had started.

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