Elaine eventually gathered the courage to ask Brad out for coffee a week later. Brad thought this was funny.
"I work at a coffee shop! Let's go out for dinner instead." He said with a smile. They ate a place called Led. It was Elaine's choice.
At dinner, they talked about Brad's dreams his desires. He'd always wanted to be an interior designer and had started working at Blacktrail while he was in school. He eventually left school to continue working at Blacktrail.
"They have benefits." He told Elaine.
Eventually Brad asked Elaine about her life. Did she have any siblings? Had she always wanted to live in Vancouver? What high school did she go to? Elaine kept her past details very simple, not bringing up why her and her family hadn't talked in 13 years.
After dinner, Brad asked Elaine if she wanted to come over to his place to have a drink. Elaine accepted his invitation.
Brad had two room mates; Donnie and August.
"A lot of people, especially my parents bother me about still having room mates, but I like it." Brad said with a laugh.
Elaine understood because soon, Jenny Carlo was going to move in with her. Jenny had just gotten out of an abusive relationship and needed a place to stay.
At Brad's place, the four of them sat and drank wine they talked about politics, romance and music. Brad played the blues switched it over to jazz then to classical rock.
Donnie was an owner of one of the largest local fruit stands in the area. He was 35 and played in a band on Saturday evenings with his other friends Brad played tambourine in the band as well. This was a joke amongst the two. Donnie was divorced with one child named Sarah who was 11. Her mother had full custody and was a lawyer. Donnie liked travelling and said this is what tore him and his wife apart. "I wanted to see the world, and she wanted to see her office."
August was a nurse who worked odd hours, but liked her job. She was 29 and met Brad on Craigslist, saying he was desperate for a room mate. August grew up in Mexico, and said the only thing she missed was the warm water. Her family is spread through out the United States. August had never been married never had a boyfriend never had a girlfriend. "I love people. I think the human race can be beautiful, but I feel happy when I'm alone."
The four of them stayed up talking to each other until four in the morning. Finally, Elaine told them she had to go home and sleep. She had to work at 9 and didn't function well when she was tired.
"Oh I didn't know! If I had known, I wouldn't have kept you awake for so long." Brad looked concerned.
"I had a wonderful night, so I really don't mind."
Brad walked Elaine down the stairs to front door. They said good night to each other. Brad said he would call her.
That night, as Elaine walked home, she thought to herself that Brad was the one. He was cultured and had a sense of reality that Elaine thought was beautiful. Then the thought of her operation took over her mind. Elaine was comfortable in her skin, but always hesitated when it came to relationships because she was shy. She knew that she would have to tell Brad eventually that she hadn't always been a female, but she didn't know how to tell him. This wasn't something she had rehearsed. This was something that stayed on her mind till she fell asleep.
Elaine worked at a phone company, as an operator. Elaine liked her job because the pay was good but she found it a bit dull. The work was dull.
That day at work, Elaine's cubby buddy Jannette told Elaine that her daughter had recently acquired a new girlfriend.
"When did she tell you?"
"Well, she didn't exactly tell me. I went through her journal." Pause "I know, I'm a horrible mother but I thought there was something going on and I knew she kept everything in there. So, I checked. Christina mentioned in it a girl named Mary. So when Christina got home from school, I asked and she came clean. She told me not to tell James, but James and I tell each other everything. That's what you do when you're married, it's just what you do. But is she gay? I mean, she's always expressed an interest in boys."
"Why don't you just ask her?"
"Because I don't want Christian to resent me. She's been very moody lately and I know she would lash out at me. Maybe not. Who knows? Maybe I should call Mary's parents. Maybe not." Jannette sounded frustrated. "I don't know what to do. I mean, if Christina is gay, that's fine. I don't have an issue with it. James might. He's always thought the gay's were gross."
Elaine hated Jannette because she talked too much.
"What do you think I should do, Elaine?"
"Just wait till she comes to you."
Jannette went on for another three hours until Elaine had her smoke break.
She went down the long building in the elevator 15 floors crossed the street and went to the park. She sat at the same bench she had sat at for the last seven years watched the same people who jogged past every day smoked two cigarettes of the same brand she had always smoked drank coffee with two sugars and sat.