Alexis walked by the waterfront, William at her side. Her windbreaker, a tame blue and purple, was tight and warm against her body. The cold air, some vestige of a short-lived winter, reddened her cheeks.
Will was braving that cold in shorts and sandals, as if impervious to it. His black leather jacket gave him the look, to her, of an archetypal Hollywood love interest. Tall, dark enough with the evening shadows, and undeniably handsome.
That made her nervous. Alexis felt inadequate walking beside such charisma. He claimed it was a hint of Ukrainian in his blood that gave him such sculpted features, allowing light and darkness to frolick around his features, his sharp nose, his sunken eyes and his pronounced cheek bones.
Or is it vanity? she wondered at his absence of modesty. Should I be so taken with one so bold? Yet she found it refreshing. And she could not deny or disagree with anything he said about himself. Only listen as admiration grew.
They walked along the dock pier in silence, exchanging only smiles. Then, when they reached the end, he pointed with the hand that was not edging close to hers.
"Look," he whispered.
Where he pointed, in the dark water, were two swans swimming side by side. They paid their onlookers no attention, and made not a sound.
"Are we prettier?" he asked, as his hand slid gently into hers.
"Perhaps," said Alexis. "I cannot speak for myself."
He grinned widely at the implied compliment. Then he spoke, when words finally came to him, as they sat down upon a bench at the end of the pier. "Do you not know?"
Her eyes met his, blue staring into grey-green. Then she let out a sigh, not of her own volition. And with her next breath, she said to him, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder."
"I am your beholder," said Will. "And I see much beauty here."
Alexis blushed, smiled awkwardly, and closed her eyes. When she opened them, he was planting a kiss upon her forehead. And she liked that. She liked mattering to someone in this new and intoxicating way that sometimes left her speechless and, at other times, thoughtless, but full of such feelings she scarcely knew before.