Four hours and twenty dollars worth of cappuccino later, all feelings of hesitancy and nervousness had dissipated, and Finton was beginning to feel as though he were talking to an old friend and he found her indefinably better than he ever could have dreamt or what she made herself out to be. He’d heard once that true love required not with loving a perfect person - but loving an imperfect person perfectly. He had to agree.
“....but they still had an affair at the end,” Clio said, bringing Fintons mind back to the conversation. She had taken off her jacket long ago and had draped it over the back of her chair, revealing a low cut, Boyce Avenue band t-shit underneath, and she now sat leaned back in the steel café chair, sipping her coffee.
She insisted that in a recent movie they had both seen, Bill Murray had indeed had an affair with Scarlett Johansson by the end of the film, and Finton insisted on persuading her otherwise.
His left leg crossed over his right, Finton set his coffee down on the small glass table top that separated them.
“Ah, but that’s exactly the point of the film- they didn’t have an affair of the conventional sense. If that would have been the case, at the end of the movie it would have ended with a traditional sappy cliché: they both discover they’re madly in love with one another, leave their respective spouses, and make a life with each other to live happily ever after.”
“But they had an emotional affair. Which is even worse - it doesn’t have to be physical to be cheating.” She took another sip, squinting her eyes at him and nodding with wisdom. “Ah, right, right?”
Finton scooped up his own coffee and also took a swig, shrugging as he swallowed. “True enough. But like I said, that’s really not what it is about. At its core, it’s about those relationships that develop in the most unlikely of places, with the most unlikely of people - and while they may be short lived, they will last a lifetime in memory and forever change who we are.”
She squinted her eyes slightly with a sense of understanding as she sat her coffee down and simply replied with, “Well said.”
They stared at each other for what seemed like days before a voice broke the barrier of Fintons and Clios own world of discussion, “Hey you two! We’re closing early today.”
Clio glanced at her watch, “But it’s only 8”
“Sorry miss, the manager decided to take the day off, so I guess we all have to” Clio and Finton nodded in understanding, finished they’re coffee and gathered their things leaving Starbucks, Finton leading the way.
“Well that could’ve been better” Finton stated in hope that their day wasn’t ruined because of a dumb manager.
She chuckled, “It’s alright, these things happen. I have to go to work at 9 anyways, perfect timing eh?”
Finton breathed a laugh. Great. Now what would he do the rest of the day?
“So, I’ll see you later Clio?”
“Yes you will.” She said looking at him through the top of her eyes again, he took that as some sort of a sign of affection, and began making her way down the street toward, what Finton thought, was her house. He didn’t know where she worked but he thought no honest place of business would allow they’re employees to dress so casual. But maybe he was wrong, he planned on asking her the next time they met, which Finton didn’t know when that was to be, but he took her word that they would. Soon he hoped.
Clio had a nice walk, smooth and relaxed, upright and seemed to be staring forward, as if afraid of loosing her balance. He watched her walk down the sidewalk then decided if he stood too long, the late-risers would think he was one of those creepy old guys or that she had just ended a relationship, so he shoved his eyes back in his head then started for his apartment.
Finton had nothing planned for the day other than going to Starbucks, which he didn’t think would be accompanied by a beautiful woman he wished would bare his children, so when he walked into his apartment, he plopped onto the couch, turned on the TV and daydreamed about Clio.
He kept filling his head with questions of doubt, “How would we see each other again? She doesn’t know where I live. Should I change? Would It be this evening? Tomorrow?” he kept asking himself over and over again, all of which he made a legitimate excuse on why she wouldn’t have called or couldn’t come over, all of which pointless considering “she could already have a boyfriend or married, or kids….”
“Fuck” he said quietly as that thought quickly came and left.
He let his mind wonder and eventually he got caught in an episode of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, a show he enjoyed profusely on occasion during one of those lonely nights he wasn’t spending at Starbucks or a friend’s house.
Olivia Benson, a character in SVU that Finton thought was rather attractive back when her hair was shorter, was arresting a suspected child molester when there was a knock on his door.
At this hour? Everyone on his block was usually still sleeping. Ruth, the receptionist downstairs, would sometimes bring Finton his morning paper with a cup of coffee she made herself. Those were the best cups of coffee that Starbucks could never mimic. However, he thought it hadn’t been Ruth, she would’ve gave him his paper when he left earlier, but she was old and sometimes forgot.
He opened the door, it indeed was Ruth, but she had no coffee or paper in hand. “Sorry to bother you dear…” she trailed off opening the flap of her purse, searching for something. “…a young lady dropped of something for you earlier.” She finished pulling out a small envelope. “I thought not to open it”
“Thank you Ruth, you’re too kind. Did you want to come in? I can make tea”
“No thank you dear” she said tapping Fintons hand, handing him the envelope. “She’s very pretty” she finished turning and walking away.
Finton smiled, he had to agree. She was certainly more beautiful than any woman he’d previously been with. He closed the apartment door and glanced at the envelope. It had no name or anything on it. He slid his finger under the edge that wasn’t sealed and popped it open to view a small piece of paper.
It was a paper with Clios number on it. And under her number she wrote, ‘Use it’ He smiled. He would, he would indeed.