Suzan felt elated when Ellen agreed to have dinner with her and Davis on Sunday evening. Wanting to look her best, she wore her new teal halter dress along with the chocolate diamond pendant and matching stud earrings Davis had given her for Christmas. For a special touch, she took the time to twist her hair up in a chignon and used the curling iron to create tendrils down her neck. When she appeared in the living room before they left the apartment, Davis whistled in appreciation. “Wow, you look terrific, darling.”
“Thanks, I appreciate the compliment.” Actually Suzan needed one from the man in her life to assure her that she remained attractive to him—and vice versa.
Tonight Davis looked quite dapper in a pastel blue shirt, sienna slacks and a lightweight tweed jacket. “Now where are we going?” he asked.
“The Bombay Bicycle Club, a new restaurant that received an excellent review in the paper, their menu an eclectic mix of Middle Eastern, South American and European cuisine.”
“What, no Pacific Rim?” Davis chuckled as he turned off his cell phone but kept it on vibrate just in case he received an emergency call. He slipped the phone in his jacket pocket. “Well, just give me an old-fashioned steak dinner and I’ll be a happy camper.”
When the couple arrived at the restaurant they found Ellen already there and sitting in the reception area.
“I hope you didn’t have to wait long,” Suzan stated with a ping of guilt.
Ellen smiled sweetly. “Not at all. In fact, I just arrived. By the way you look lovely, doctor.”
Despite herself, Suzan blushed. “Why thank you. And you look fabulous.”
“You’re too kind, Suzan.”
Of course, Ellen looked terrific in a pink floral strapless dress with a matching wrap, her shoes gold sandals with stiletto heels. A black velvet choker featuring a rainbow opal in an antique gold setting circled her neck.
When Suzan made introductions she glanced at Davis who donned a look of object appreciation for the stunning blonde woman before him. Suzan had made a reservation and they were immediately escorted to their table for three. Like the menu, The Bombay Bicycle Club offered an eclectic décor of art and objets d’art from all over the world, including a collection of antique high-wheeled bicycles.
After the trio ordered the evening special—flaming Argentine steak kabobs with vegetables on saffron rice—Suzan asked Ellen how her interview went with Detective Mears yesterday afternoon.
“A bit sad,” Ellen answered with a wistful look. “I can’t imagine what prompted Autumn and Taylor to go off and not let their parents know what happened to them.”
Suzan quickly filled Davis in on the missing teens who took music lessons from Ellen.
“I found Autumn’s android phone,” Ellen revealed, “in the well of the piano. She must have arrived before I returned home from running an errand. She left an unfinished text with no recipient tagged. Her message stated that she was going to the Justin Bieber concert in Toronto. Of course, she didn’t say how she planned to get there.”
She paused to take a sip of the Pinot Noir wine Davis had ordered. “I assume she met Taylor at the house and they went off together. Autumn’s parents came to see me last night when I called and told them I had her phone. I assume Autumn accidentally left it on the piano and perhaps knocked it into the board of piano wires.”
“I’m sure her parents are frantic with worry.” Suzan stated.
Ellen nodded with a grim expression marring her lovely face. “Oh, very much so. Mrs. Chen can’t believe that Autumn would simply go off without saying a word, especially to a concert in Canada. The Chens don’t know Taylor or the Holloways, and Autumn never mentioned her interest in any boy let alone Taylor.”
“And what about his family?”
“His parents are divorced, and he lives with his mother. She called me last night. Unfortunately, I didn’t have much to tell her, at least any pertinent information that would help ease her mind other than Taylor told me he enjoyed all sorts of music and wanted to go to a concert sometime, be it rock, classical or jazz. Well, he never showed up for his piano lesson.”
Ellen sighed regrettably. “Again, I assume he met Autumn at my house and they made plans from there to attend the concert together. Detective Mears has notified the authorities along the route he thinks they took. In fact, he believes that they probably hitch-hiked. The customs officials at the border remain on alert as well.”
“Teenagers,” Davis commented as he sipped his glass of wine, “tend to be egocentric and hedonistic. They don’t mean to be irresponsible but their eagerness to embrace life and experience all there is gets in the way at times.”
“Thank you, Dr. Spock,” she said tongue in cheek. Davis had very little dealings with children, in particular teenagers, his orthopedic patients usually adults on the older side.
He donned a small frown. “Who?”
Suzan laughed. “And you call yourself a knowledgeable doctor!”
“He was an expert pediatrician,” Ellen explained for Suzan, “who wrote several books on how to successfully rear children. Parents in the 1950s and ‘60s took his advice to heart. Let’s just say he was the Dr. Oz of the diaper set.”
All three laughed as their first course of chickpea salad arrived.
Suzan wanted to ask Ellen if she had children, but found the query a bit too personal at the moment. Perhaps, as they got to know one another better, she could broach more than just the question of marriage, kids and parenthood, but a whole slew of queries concerning Ellen’s past, where she came from, her likes and dislikes, and the number of lovers she had before Charles Lambert. For some reason, Suzan really wanted to know the last category. Since meeting Ellen, she realized she had been examining her own sexuality. To her knowledge and persuasion, she had always enjoyed men, not that she had many before Davis—and she never thought about making love to a woman until Ellen came along. Is this how it worked, Suzan wondered, that when a woman finds another woman attractive it may be a sign of a latent lesbian tendency? Perhaps she had it all along and never knew it, and she a doctor for Chrissakes!
Now as she glanced at Ellen, Suzan caught the vibes of sensuality and passion that the woman emitted. A tingling sensation formed in the pit of her stomach, a sign that she had become excited with the prospect of being alone again with Ellen, even intimate with her.
Picking up her wine glass, she took a long drag of her Pinot Noir to dispel such thoughts. As Davis began to discuss the latest art exhibit at the Smithsonian, she adroitly and eagerly turned her attention to her partner and lover. Think male, she told herself, think of Davis naked, think of his lovemaking. But the image never really materialized.