“And we’re here,” Xavier said as he parked Charlie.
We’d driven for almost half an hour exact out of town. We passed almost everything I knew to be around, the malls, the beach, the highway itself. All I did was trust Xavier and get more excited the further we drove. So after one hour, we parked in front of a restaurant. The valet appeared and he was about to come get my door.
But Xavier stopped him, saying, “That’s alright. I’ll get it.”
I had just finished smoothening my dress when he came around to get my door. He held it open for me, giving me a hand. I stared up at him and he smiled down at me.
Xavier knows exactly where to be what. On the streets, he’s the Lord you don’t wanna mess up with. And here in our date, in a place like this, he’s the gentleman you have no idea he is.
I breathed, took his hand and got out of the car. He closed the door behind me and let me towards the steps.
He gave the car keys to the valet standing beside and then asked me, “Shall we, my beautiful Mongrel?”
Staring at the restaurant whose style and beautifulness I was foreign to, I smiled, “Okay.”
We climbed up the porch-like entrance. From the look of the outside, the restaurant looked like a small wooden cabin adorned with white lights. But so they say, a house is always bigger in the inside than from the outside.
When we walked in, a wider hall greeted us and I suddenly felt like I was walking in a new planet. This place was too pretty. The style was a mixture of country and modern. From the outside, it looked almost country but the interior designing and the way tables were set was an undeniable touch of modern likes. The lighting was a soft touch of orange glow perfectly complemented by soft music.
From where I was standing, I peered across the room and my eyes focused on the balcony with railings wired with lights. And from the balcony, you are sure to be overwhelmed with the view of a wide lake reflecting the glow of the full moon on the water. I was still standing there at the entrance but just by the very first sight of the view, I knew I was falling in love with this place. I couldn’t wait to go over there and grab a table and enjoy the view as we sit and talk. And what in the world can be better than sitting there with your special one.
A neatly dressed waiter approached us with a well practiced smile, “Welcome to Café du Claire de Luna. Mr. Arquette and...”
“Mrs. Arquette, of course,” So saying, Xavier glanced at me and smirked. I couldn’t hide the grin that broke on my face.
“Indeed. This way, Mr. And Mrs. Arquette,” the waiter smiled again.
Xavier nodded and then, the waiter lead us towards my desired spot; the far end near the water, just next to the lighted railing. Xavier guided me along the way by placing his hand on the small of my back. How little he knew my knees were becoming weak and my heart was going wild like a zoo animal with the skin on skin contact.
In a place like this, for my very first date, my feeling was a perfect mixture of nervousness, excitement and flattery. As I walked beside Xavier, I constantly prayed in my mind that my knees wouldn’t buckle from his touch or either sprain my ankles due to the heels and fall. But to be feeling his securing touch on your back, you can’t help but feel completely okay and cozy, like you belong there.
The evening breeze of the water greeted us when we reached our heavenly spot. Before the waiter could help me in my chair, Xavier gave him a decent nod, signalling him not to and instead, he helped me in himself.
After we had settled, we were left alone. I looked around. The place wasn’t too big or too small; like a bigger version of gazebo. It was just perfect and this part of the restaurant where our table and few others were, was somewhat like a balcony without roof. Most of the light we got were from the moon; silvery and very, very romantic. The soft music was coming from the live music on the right hand corner. A black woman with a soaring voice was singing an amazing song.
“I love this place,” I told Xavier with a pleasing smile as I felt the need to compliment and of course, also because I really loved it.
To be out for our first date in a diner, I could almost imagine just how nervous be he must be on his part too. Maybe not as nervous as I was, judging by his confident demeanor but still. As human beings, we need to hear affirmation for our efforts. And as advanced species of animals, I should have the decency to thank my special someone for the efforts he’d put in in making our first date happen in the best way he could.
He looked pleased as his eyes brightened and he settled more comfortably in his chair.
“I’m glad you do,” he answered, smiling calmly, “It’s my first time here too. This place opens only at night and it is said that there is nothing like their full moon special. I hope it’s true.”
“Full moon special?”
“Yeah. They have something like that... With the food and the music,” he smiled, looking straight into my eyes.
I nodded and looked around. From this distance, I caught a glimpse of pretty waitresses huddling together and peeking over at Xavier. They immediately acted like they weren’t and dispersed like scattered beads of a necklace the moment I saw them.
So they we’re admiring my boyfriend! Who wouldn’t when he’s taking me on a date like this.
When I came back to him after looking around, Xavier was staring at my face with a soft glow in his eyes. He slowly smiled at me.
“They’re staring at you,” I smirked at him.
I signalled towards those girls with my eyes. He simply glanced at them and looked back at me.
He smirked, “But I’m staring at you.”
Flattered. I laughed a bit under my breath and folded my arms over the table.
The same waiter reappeared with a black bottle. I moved away from the table.
“Ariel for the beautiful lady.” He smiled at me smoothly as he poured the liquid in my glass.
I cleared my throat a little and said, “Thanks.”
These two boys were flattering me beyond any of my experience that I started to crimson and had to rely on the trick. I kept my eyes down (sometimes glancing at the water) because I couldn’t look at either of them. The waiter kept smiling at me weirdly and Xavier kept staring at me intently. Of all the things in the world, the one thing I really can’t take is how his brown eyes stare at me. It’s unimaginable what they do to me. It’s like he’s counting every breath that I take and I feel so eerily transparent to him; like he’s easily reading my mind and touching my soul.
Xavier softly chuckled from across the table at the way I was blushing. I looked at him. He angled his head a little to the right and smirked at me, like he always did, like a was a five year old girl in pink, frilly skirts.
See that’s what I’m talking ’bout.
After pouring Xavier’s drink, the waiter was about to take our order, but before he could do that, a young waitress appeared in the scene.
“Thank you, Felix,” she said to the waiter, “I’ll take it from here.”
She looked our age. Felix gave a puzzled look and left. Then, it was the waitress’s role to play.
Handing us the menu, she turned to Xavier, behaving like I wasn’t even there, and presented an impressive smile, “Your order, sir or would you rather go with the full moon special?”
I noticed very well that she blinked five times as she took in Xavier’s godly face in close distance.
“I’ll have my girlfriend’s choice,” he replied and turned to me, “Babe?”
My heart clenched at how he always kept me the center of his attention.
I smiled dimly, quite disturbed by the waitress’ weird attitude, “Full moon special sounds good.”
Xavier soothingly smiled back at me, “Full moon special it is.”
“Perfect,” she gave me a quick smile and a much brighter one to Xavier, “Full moon special it is.”
Xavier didn’t even bother to look at her. I handed my menu back to her.
Ignoring me again, she turned to Xavier, “If you don’t mind, me and my girls wanna make sure if you’re um... You’re Xavier from the band, Reapers, right?”
Xavier tucked his tongue to the side of his cheek with no expression and replied, “Yeah. That’s me.”
“Oh my god!” she sighed dramatically and said, “I knew it! We really looove your music. You guys are amaaazing. We try to be in every concert you guys are. We’re reeally big fans...”
And she rattled on, her voice becoming a bit high pitched and to be honest, she was starting to irritate me a bit. With the way she was batting her eye lashes at my man and fangirling over him on his face and how she wielded her weird attitude towards me, if anything goes wrong in this date, I’d decided I would blame everything to her.
“Well, thanks,” Xavier stopped her. His expression hadn’t changed since she showed up. If anything, he looked a bit irritated himself. “It’s great that you guys are listening to our music. But right now, I’m on a date with my girlfriend so I’d rather not talk about it. It’s a bit off-topic. Thanks,” Xavier said straight on her face, handing back his menu.
For all I knew, he was angry. I was sure he would’ve appreciated her if she hadn’t taken ten minutes to ramble. His blunt reply simply made my heart flutter, noting down carefully in my heart how he emphasized on my girlfriend.
“Yeah. Sure,” the pretty waitress replied, embarrassed, “I just wanted to make sure it’s you. You look great... together,” she added to make things right, glancing at the two of us.
I offered back a smile, something not so pleasing though but polite enough.
“If you need anything, let us know,” she said for the last before awkwardly going back to where she belong.
Xavier didn’t even reply to her. He was actually really angry. I could clearly see it on his face. Thinking it would be rude, I just said a thanks to her in return.
“Sorry ’bout that,” Xavier said to me.
“That’s alright,” I said, knowing that he was already having a bad mood, “I’m actually glad that you guys are pretty popular and gaining lots of fans.”
I honestly was. If only that waitress would’ve disciplined her fangirling behaviour and not been weird with me.
He scoffed at first but soon became gamely. “Yeah. That bunch of girls aren’t the only one. We’ve got lots.” He smirked. I laughed.
If this date was with any other guy, it would probably have gone downhill but with Xavier, everything is magic and fun. He never fails to make me laugh, even at the worst of situation.
Xavier raised his glass to me, “To Xavier’s beautiful Mongrel.”
“You’re making me blush,” I said.
He lightly shrugged, smiling, and sipped his drink.
“I’ve never really had wine before,” I said as I raised mine. “What’s this?”
“This is Ariel Cabernet Sauvignon. Known to be non-alcoholic,” he said, placing back his glass.
I smiled back and let the dark liquid evade my mouth. The moment it reached my tongue, I widened my eyes at the taste.
I swallowed and exhaled, “It’s smells of blueberry and chocolate. Amazing.”
He pushed his lips up negatively, shook his head, and said, “Nah. I rather taste you.” And his eyes moved to my lips.
“Uhhh??” I breathed out, swallowed and blinked bashfully, astonishingly.
My eyes wandered over to the water, avoiding his gaze. We felt the tension; the need to hold each other and kiss. But it just wasn’t the right moment.
“I like going out with you. I hope you like it too,” he said, calling me back to him. His eyes had softened.
“It rhymes,” I blurted.
At first, he looked lost but soon started laughing. He fell back on his chair and laughed so hard that everybody turned to look at us. All eyes were staring at the way we were laughing but what do we care. I just loved to listen and watch his chest and stomach ripple in laughter. It feels like nothing could ever go wrong in this world. And it’s even better when all those couples out there were smiling towards us instead of gawking at us weirdly.
Catching back his breath, he said, lightly shaking his head, “Can’t believe you said that.”
“That wasn’t intentional,” I answered with a smile, “And yes. I like going out with you too.”
His gazed deepened into mine as though he was searching for something. Satisfied with it, his eyes slowly smiled and he nodded.
Our dinner was brought to us a while after that. It was great. Awesome. And after the desert, we decided to sit for a while over champagne.
To my surprise, the beautiful Singer from the corner of the room, raised her glass to us with a kind smile, saying, “This next song goes out to the most beautiful young couple at the deck.”
Every head in the room turned back to us and applauded with admirable smiles on their faces. Like she said, it seemed Xavier and I were the youngest couple in the place. Xavier raised his glass to the woman like the absolute gentleman he was and shoved the contents down his throat in one tilt.
When the music began to play, Xavier and I both widened our eyes at each other in amazement. It was our song.
Stars shining bright above you
Night breezes seem to whisper I love you
Birds singing in the sycamore three
Dream a little dream of me
The room was quiet; listening to the song. Under the glow of the moon, Xavier’s countenance was passionate as he listened to the song. From the space above the water at our side, a stronger breeze blew towards us, wafting my hair across my face. Xavier turned to me as I tucked my hair behind my ear. There was unmeasurable affection and care in the gleam of his eyes.
“Cold?” he asked.
“No,” I shook my head.
Glancing once at the singer, he stood up from his place and came towards me, giving me his hand.
“Come on,” he said, “I don’t wanna waste this song.”
“You should know, I’m not that good,” I told him.
He shrugged, “Neither am I.”
I took his hand and stood up. He led me across the room to the space in the middle. A quick movement of his arm that was holding my hand got me spinning on my toes, surprising me. I squeaked a little in between laughs. In a than a second, he caught me in his arms and I gasped at the sweet surprise. Our bodies pressed together, my left hand coming to his chest. With his free hand, he tucked back my hair behind my ear, caressing my face in the process. Our gazes locked and the feeling is wonderful.
I tried to compose my breathing as his left hand travelled down my bare back, the caressing touch of his hand on my skin making my knees weak, the knowing look in his eyes adding another dose of overwhelming feeling to what we were already feeling. I felt him wrap an arm around my waist and tenderly kiss the top of my head. I could just faint from how he was doing everything to me. I inhaled deeply, closing my eyes and brought my left arm around his neck, settling into the tranquility.
I started to move with him to the song, our eyes never leaving each other, our hands fondling together.
“Wanna know what’s the number one in my bucket list?”
I nodded, “Yeah.”
“Salsa with you.”
With a quick, flustered frown, I blinked at him. His lips were tightly pressed together in a line, struggling to maintain a straight face.
“What?” I asked in a half laugh.
At that, he began to laugh too. I did too.
“So, Grammy taught you how to slow dance?” I asked.
“Right you are,” he smiled. “And you?”
“Mrs. Clayton.” I smiled back.
My mind went back to the song and I said, “I can’t believe that she’s singing this song. It’s like a miracle.”
“You know what, Alana, I do believe in miracles,” he said.
“You do?” I widened my eyes a bit.
It took me in quite a surprise because, talk about me, I had stopped believing in miracles... A long time back. I prayed and waited for a miracle as my mom lay sick on the hospital bed. Nothing happened.
“I do,” Xavier answered without missing a beat, “After all, I’m dating one. I believe in you.”
I looked at him wordlessly, taking him in carefully. Our gazes locked and we found ourselves drowning into each other’s eyes as though we were craving to know more about each other. And we were. I could feel him and I knew he could feel me too. It felt as if we were floating in a different dimension away from this world... Just me and Xavier.
“I love you,” he said.
My breathing hitched. I felt a ton of feelings take me over. He said it and all that ever existed in this world for me was my Xavier and those three little words; those three little words that was powerful enough to make every speck of joy in this universe diffuse into me in one strike of a moment and send me to a space never known. Xavier had fallen in love with me.
Stars fading but I linger on dear
Still craving your kiss
People started to click on their glasses with their spoons, asking for that sweet thing. I realized we’d stopped dancing. In no time, the room was filled to the brim with the tingling sound. I could hardly look anywhere. Looking around at the people, Xavier grinned.
“I thought I wouldn’t spoil your make up till I got you home but you gotta forgive me for just this once,” he smiled and leaned into me.
Both my arms went around his neck as his hands curled around my waist and we stopped moving. Feeling him plant his forehead on the top of my head, my heart began to flutter. When he dipped his face lower into mine, his breathing becoming more significant above my breath, I breathed along with him as one. I was wearing high heels so I didn’t really need to tip toe but he was still too tall for me, so he picked me higher and seized my lips into his, tender and yet firm.
I held my breath and let myself get drowned in his kiss.
He pulled back and whispered over my mouth, “I love you, Alana. I really do.”
He was about to kiss me again but I cupped his face with my right hand, leaving my left around his neck to hold on to him, and met his eyes.
You confessed. But hold on bad boy, you haven’t heard a thing from me.
Pulling his face closer to mine, I whispered back, “I love you too, bad boy.”
He looked surprised as his eyes slightly widened.
“God!” He gasped and kissed me again.
This time, stronger and more intense. I kissed him back.
There was no doubt. Xavier was the one I wanted for this life. With him, every single breath and every single heart beat tells it’s own story.
And if we’re not fated to be together, if by the worst of fate, we lose track and this relationship breaks (which I pray would never), I doubt, I’d ever feel the same again, be this happy again. I might probably take fifty years to find another love or even never find it again. It would be next to impossible to outshine the standard he’s set.
Hi, my name is Alana Lancaster. And I do believe in miracles. After all, I’m in love with one. Xavier.