“Ah, it is the lovely couple. Why has it been so long since you come here?” asked Alberto. He was the jovial owner of Rosa’s. He had, like every good Italian boy would do, named the restaurant after his mother.
“No, no, Alberto. We’re not a couple anymore,” said Beth. She waved her hand from side to side and displayed an embarrassed smile. From the corner of her eye, Beth could see that the comment didn’t strike Rory in the most positive way.
Alberto looked at Rory with a questioning expression, his dark eyebrows bowing down toward the center of his nose. “What she mean?”
“Alberto, Beth and I haven’t been together for a couple of years now.”
“Now I have no faith in love anymore. You two. Oh, bellisima! So perfect! But, I suppose you know best.” He pulled the chair out for Beth.
“Miss Beth, you look very beautiful tonight. We have your favorite…mama’s lasagna.”
“I don’t know about you, Rory, but that’s what I’m having. And, Alberto, please bring me a glass of Merlot.”
Rory sat down at the table and started to lift up the menu. “I’ll have the same as the lady, Alberto.”
Alberto took the menus from the table and walked to the kitchen, leaving the two alone.
“I forgot how great this place was,” said Beth.
“Yeah, me too. Came here once after you and I broke up. It just wasn’t the same.”
Rory took his napkin off the table and laid it on his lap. When he lifted his eyes from his lap, he locked into a stare with Beth. Those blue eyes had made him weak so many times. At one time, those fiery sapphires could deceive with innocence, anger and passion. Her eyes were what first captivated him and held his attention six years ago.
He met her at a barbeque at a friend’s…Greg’s house to be more precise…in Austin. She was out from Los Angeles, visiting her sister, who turned out to be Greg’s fiancée. Greg introduced Beth with a short anecdote about a fishing-trip-gone-wrong the day before. Greg was showing her how to cast and she hooked an elderly gentlemen parked in a lawn chair right next to them. The man wasn’t upset about the ripped shirt, but the beer he spilled when he jumped up with surprise. The problem was remedied when Greg gave the man two beers to replace his one.
The entire time Greg related the story, Beth’s face was colored with various shades of pink and her laugh floated on a cloud to his ear. Delicately, she covered her mouth as she giggled. It was endearing. It reminded him of the Japanese women he met when traveling in Tokyo. More than just her laugh and her beautiful pixie-like face was her sparkling eyes. Their color instantly brought an image of the blue belles in his Aunt Pamela’s garden. They also brought to mind the perfect azure sky on a summer’s day in Wyoming.
Greg left after his story about Beth, leaving them to talk for the rest of the day and into the evening. At 2 a.m., he found himself sitting next to her on a swing at the park across from Greg’s house. He could smell her gardenia perfume on the wind. It intoxicated him.
“I know we just met today, but, Beth, can I kiss you?”
No Camp Pies for Whiners
2 weeks ago