Andrea waved merrily to the hyper figure hurrying through the gale to the small café in the center of Lansdale town, in which Andrea was warmly seated. Lucas waved back with both hands, his face wildly expressing his joy at being there.
“It’s terrible how the weather has turned, isn’t it?” He said as he entered, glancing at the bell as it tinkled, and giving a nod to the girl behind the counter as he shrugged off his coat.
Andrea tried to appear serious but couldn’t stop the grin that was spreading across her face, and the sparkle that burst into her eyes.
“Sit down, Lucas. Can I buy you a drink?”
“Not for now; I’m just here to talk to you, dear. Although, I had to battle through that terrible storm…”
“Lucas, I didn’t come here to talk about the weather. How British; how drôle.”
“Well, we are British; we should live up to Patriosity!”
Andrea laughed without realising it.
“Is that even a word?”
“Probably not.” He paused, “I’m good with making up words. Anyway, let’s get down to business:
Good afternoon, I’m Lucas Gorge, I’m in my mid-to-late-30s, I’ve recently graduated from an Upper Lansdale University, and am a teacher at St. Anne’s Girl’s school. I’m single and have been looking for a long-time relationship for about a year. I use the newspapers’ ‘connected’ section to advertise and there is this one lady who seemed perfect when she left her number with me. I should have phoned the lovely lady sooner, but, luckily, I’ve managed to get in contact with the beautiful woman. Now here I am, almost on a date.”
Andrea giggled; she felt as though she was in secondary school again, being coaxed into the arms of the Sixth Form charmer. There was no doubt that Lucas would be able to charm even a snake or a tiger.
“Lucas,” Andrea teased, “This isn’t a date and you know it. Besides I’m not very beautiful…”
Lucas gazed forward towards Andrea, leaning across the table, head resting on his knuckles, and elbows upright in the center. Andrea leant in too, eager to be near him. When their noses were 20 centimetres apart, Lucas lifted up his right hand and carefully caressed Andrea’s cheek. Having been mesmerized purely by his personality, Andrea found herself falling into the pool of his eyes; she tried to pull away but found her movement frozen.
Saying nothing, Lucas tilted his head and leant closer to Andrea. Their eyes flickered from one to another…
Suddenly Andrea’s mobile rang and she sprang back from Lucas, as though she had just realised how much her actions would hurt Keith. Her mind was still fizzled; no thoughts floated through, and yet, so many feelings and expressions would not stop moving about.
Almost robotically, Andrea moved to her phone, wordlessly. Even if she knew what to say, her lips would not part. Finally, she took a deep breath and received the call.
“Andrea! It’s Alexis! If you don’t come into work soon, I shall have to plan your birthday celebration all by myself!”
Andrea blinked a couple of times and watched as Lucas’ smiling face came in and out of focus in the distance.
“What? Oh, it’s not that important.”
“Work, you mean?”
“No, my birthday! It’s not until a couple of weeks yet!”
“Okay…but you should be organizing something now; restaurants are always hard to book at short notice. Seriously, all this business with Keith has driven you to distraction. I think I liked you better when you were single.”
She doesn’t know about Lucas yet…
“Hey…” Andrea tried to be annoyed, but she knew her friend was right, “Look, Alexis, I don’t want to talk about it at the moment. I promise, promise, promise you that I’ll come to work tomorrow; maybe we can organize something then, but I don’t want anything special.”
“But…It’s your birthday!”
“Alright, it’s my birthday, but I don’t need-”
“Oh, come one! I gotta go now (to deal with Alzheimer patient, Mrs. Carton), but you will be having a celebration.”
“Alexis… Okay, okay… Bye…”
Lucas observed the way Andrea slumped back to her seat, and ran her hands through her thick hair.
“Problems?” He grinned at her, “Oh, and did I hear right: it’s your birthday?”
“Not today, but in a couple of weeks…” She mumbled.
“And you’re not excited?” Lucas frowned innocently.
Andrea looked back across the table at him (she had not, since the phone-call, had the guts to face him), but she didn’t seem to be as frustrated as before. In fact, her eyes had their mischievous sparkle back.
I hope Lucas is not a bad influence…
“You seem to be the type of man who would enjoy the random spontaneity of good wine, pizza, pie, and other odd sorts of foods.”
“Don’t forget dancing!” Lucas winked at her, “Oh cheer up, dear. The sun’ll come out tomorrow…”
“Oh, be quiet,” Andrea playfully swiped at his hands. Sparks leapt between the acquaintances, already well on their way to becoming great friends, and they shared a knowing smile.
“Right, Lucas. I’ve got a busy week ahead… I’m sorry, but I must leave you,” Andrea muttered, awkwardly shuffling out of her seat. She tiptoed to the door whilst Lucas followed like a puppy. He smiled civilly and courteously opened the door for her to step through.
Andrea shook her head, confused.
"I'm sorry, Lucas. I am... But I- I'm..."
…busy moving in with my boyfriend…