View 7 – Clique for Two – Peter & Julie
“Have you decided?”
“What you really mean is ‘You will organise, edit and help me launch my new book of poetry won’t you Peter dear?’ The question being not only understood but also rhetorical.”
Julie laughed. “Of course.”
“That being decided let’s eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we scribble and squabble, mildly…”
“Of course.” They chuckled, comfortable in their long-term camaraderie.
“Mmm.” Julie let the red wine linger in her mouth.
“Not that you deserve it.”
“No. Don’t mind if you do. Looks…”
Julie made a moue with her lips. “Better?”
“Tease!” He growled.
“I’d prefer you… Thor… but not…”
Julie choked. “God Peter! That joke’s older than both of us put together.”
“I’m not that old.”
“I’m not that young.” She countered.
Julie broke open her roll. Opened its delicate fleshy centre the way Peter would like…
Definitely lovers, the waiter decided, noticing how they looked into each other’s eyes when they laughed.
“Am I being unscrupulous?”
“Hmm?” Peter’s thought were elsewhere. Visions of strawberries and cream. He could almost taste… Vision interrupted.
“Unscrupulous? The way I flirt with you.”
“You were quite scrupulous about our arrangement, thank you.”
“After? There wasn’t any after.”
She sighed at Peter’s raised eyebrows. “After I realised I was behaving naively. Stop making this difficult. I can’t help it if I sometimes act like the stereotypical…”
“You are never stereotypical. Difficult indeed! Lunch with Whatsit was a waste of good wine.”
“Oh dear! The ultimate insult. Fixit fixed.”
Peter looked blank.
Fixit! Elise. You’re being deliberately abstruse. Paying me back.”
“Serve you right.” More laughter. “Fixit eh? Appropriate. Not nice but appropriate.”
“When did I ever pretend I was nice for God’s sake?”
“You didn’t. I still think you are despite…”
“You think me nice?! Damned with faint praise. Nice!”
“In the true sense. Dainty. Refined. Scrupulous in other words. You require both tact and discrimination. You’re also attractive. On the whole, considerate – forbearance forbids me punning on the hole!” Julie applauded silently. “And I would suggest, in fact bet my leftie, well-flavoured. Like this wine.” His imagination flipped a few gears.
Julie’s eyes were alight. “Antiquarian. But lovely. I thank you kind sir. And please leave your family jewels intact. Matching sets shouldn’t be separated.”
“How do you know they match? Don’t, you know. Besides, I am antique.”
“In the true sense. Highly valuable. Priceless in fact.”
“Touché! And thank you!”
Their glasses raised simultaneously and toasted each other.
“The Mutual Admiration Society of Two is hereby declared open.”
“Peter! You make everything sound as if it’s a sexual overture.”
“Oh for the main aria! My dear Julie, as I’m buying you a particularly sumptuous lunch, accompanied by an equally fine wine – red – your specifications, you can at least allow an old fogey his few illusions.”
“You may, one day far into the future, become a ‘dirty old man’, but never an ‘old fogey’.”
“I give up.”
Julie shrugged expansively, her breasts moving invitingly under her silk blouse, entirely oblivious of its effect on either Peter or the watching waiter.
“If only! Why couldn’t you be a bloody boring left-wing feminist?”
“I tried it.” Julie smiled wickedly. “They don’t like men.”
Peter groaned and reached for the comfort of the red.
View 8 – A Momentary Flash
Driving home Julie wondered why she hadn’t slept with Peter. Her frown deepened. Elise would like to. She’d made that clear. “Mightily attracted”. Julie doubted Peter would be flattered. Thinking of her own reasons the word cowardice came to mind. An element of that. He was too damned understanding. Julie strangled the steering wheel momentarily as her eyes stung.
“Bugger, bugger, bugger, shit ‘n’ hell.”
Peter’s assurances to the contrary, she wasn’t nice. What she was, was afraid. Afraid she’d fall in love with him. That’s why the age mattered, though she’d refused to acknowledge this before now. He’d die and leave her. Been there. Too painful. Enough scars already. A real friend was harder to find than a lover. Especially a temporary one. However marvellous.
“How do I know you’d be marvellous?” She asked the traffic lights. They blinked a green response.
It was in his eyes and the way he appreciated… things. Unspecific, this sexual attraction stuff. Unclassifiable. Defying logic, age, appropriateness.
(Next instalment – View 9 –Geoff ‘frames’ Jules)