A Memory…. And a bottle of Wine.

“James Byron Thomas?” He raised an eyebrow at her. “I found your book of poems; well a friend of mine found it and brought it to me. I’m a writer as well and,”

“I am not a writer,” he mused, pushing his papers in a neat stack. Kelly about fell over when she heard him speak . His accent made the fantasy even better. It was enchanting just to hear him speak. “I am merely someone who lives to write.” He took the book from her hand. “I have been looking for this, Thank you.” He bowed his head slightly in thanks.

“I hope you don’t mind but I read some of it. It’s very good.”

He stared at her in amazement. He seemed to look over her for an instant as if he were sizing up the competition.

“I’m Kelly.” He smiled holding out her hand. She almost forgot her words when he grabbed her hand. “Kelly Nate. May I sit with you?” She lowered her hand, motioning to the cushion next to him. His eyes twinkled with an ember glow as he pulled the cushion closer to him.

Thank you for your kind words, Kelly. I am sorry for my pause. I am not use to people reading my work.” He leaned in closer as she sat down. “I have to say you are my first.”

“I don’t know why you are a marvelous writer?”

“Really?” Was he blushing? That made him all the more attractive. Kelly was running over how to describe him in her head.

“Yes. Your poetry is passionate. Your stories are touching, enchanting even. I only wish I could write like that.”

“Don’t you?”

“Write as well as you? No.” She looked down to her lap. “Nothing that would make any one feel, the way I did when I read your work. It’s stimulating.” Kelly looked down feeling her face get hot. She felt that was a polite way to express her hard core lust that bubbled at his words. “What inspires you to write like that?”

“My memories. At the end of the day that is all we are. A product of the best times which shape our minds into something either very wonderful, or truly horrible. ” He picked up the bottle he had stashed next to him. “Would you like a glass of wine? Stay a while and I will show you what I mean.”

“I’m walking home tonight,” or tomorrow she thought evilly. “Sure.”

He began to pour the bottle into a glass in front of her. Odd, she thought, I didn’t even see him put that glass there. The red liquid flowed into the glass, the aroma of it rose to meet her like a sweet dream. It was a Merlot, the slightly bitter smell gave it away instantly. She had drank enough of it to be an expert.

“Memories, both good and bad, are usually the reason why people write.” He put the bottle back beside him.  “Sometimes memories are all we have. We hold them so tightly that they consume our souls till there is nothing left of us. Some forget not to lose themselves in a distant past and end up not remembering anything but pain. They remain forever in the life they have lived, never realizing there is more out there to experience.”

Kelly drank her glass of wine as he talked about fond memories. His attention to detail captivated her to listen carefully. He never took his eyes off her. He took special care in filling her glass whenever it became empty as he did his own.

She stared at him for hours as he looked over his glasses at her. She felt warm feverish. She felt a strong feelings she had not felt in a long time. A desire she had not felt since David had been in her life. She blushed biting her lip slightly as he watched her. She wasn’t sure if it was the wine or him gazing at her like that, that was doing it.

“Look at you. You are so beautiful.” He whispered leaning in closer to her.

Intoxication, Desire, lust for his touch; these were things she felt for him this very moment. The wine radiated through her as he pored another glass. The bottle never emptied, a waitress never came, and his stories grew softer, more romantic, like a bizarre and wonderful dream. He traced her finger with his, rubbing gently the skin on her hand. It was a mind numbing high.

“How can a memory affect you like that?”  She had said when he talked of love. He shook his head.

He sat back breaking his spell on her instantly taking a drink of his wine. It was only a momentary relief. Once his glass was empty his eyes had captured her again. The hair on her neck stood as he moved in even closer than he had been all night. “How can your memories leave you wanting like this? Memories, especially unforgettable ones, open up pathways to magical places.”

“Magical?” Kelly chuckled slightly looking at him with a touch of doubt.Why choose those exact words? She smiled at last, more than eager for a debate on true love. “Magic isn’t real, Byron. It’s just and illusion.”

“Ah, spoken like a person who has let the enchantment in her life slip from her sight.” He gazed over his glasses at her, as if it had been ages since his last debate. He was more then happy to challenge her.

“Enchantment is for children and their imaginary games. For the adults of this world we must know things to survive. Live by rules that children do not know. We have no time for enchantments.”

“Ah, I see.” She watched him smile. “What do you write about?”

“Excuse me?”

“You write, do you not?”

“Yes.” She smiled a moment. She knew where he was going to go with this.

“I understand. Do you turn on soft music that speaks of love and drink wine to dull your senses to the real world in order to have a few moments of blissful imagination? Or do you try and create enchantment inside of a dreary disenchanted world? What is your genre?” He lifted the bottle once more to fill their glasses. “Do you write women literature? Fables? Fantasies?” His eyes sparked a little as he guess her genre. “Romance?”

Kelly could feel her cheeks grow hot. She felt childish not wanting to admit she did these things. It was like he could see into her very heart.

“Romance. I write romance.”

“Of course you do. So you live in the real world and yet try to write of the dreams you have no time for. No wonder you cannot write. A disenchanted world is no place for faerie tales, or for love. It is a sad day indeed when the light of love leaves the world that fashions your dreams and leaves you in misery.”

“How did you know I wasn’t writing right now?” The hairs on the back of Kelly’s neck stood upright as he spoke.

“Because only a woman seeking inspiration, seeking love, could find me here.” His voice was soft and lingering. It must have been the wine, her senses hypersensitive, picked out a hidden meaning in every word.

“Have you never been to a magical place before, Kelly? A place you’ll never forget. A place where extraordinary things seem to happen to you.” He put his hand on hers, picking it up and kissing her finger tips. “A place where the impossible is so real you can touch it. Even thought you know it isn’t there.”

Kelly’s heart began to race again. “Not in a long time. When I was small, there were lots of places that held magic for me. I found it everywhere, but, not anymore. Things are so much easier to believe when they are real.” She gazed up at him, tears welling in her dark brown eyes. “I have lost the belief that magic exists, I think.”

His eyes looked down. He looked as if the words shocked him, or worse, broke his heart.

“Then you have let love leave your heart. Let it leave you to save your heart from being broken. A broken heart which holds to love and is not defeated by being broken. It will always carry enchantment within it, no matter how old you grow.” Still holding her hand he pulled closer to her. “Haven’t you ever really been in love?”

She began to think that the wine was making her mind readable.

“I thought I was. But, it was not magic. That was Oxycontin in my body causing the symptoms of what love is suppose to be. It’s chemistry, infatuation, lust. It goes away; love is not supposed to go away.”

“Then you have never truly been in love.” He bent his head forward looking at her over his glasses once again. The ember fires of his eyes made them dance seductively. “Not death, or distance; Not time nor dimension can destroy a true love. It lives on a plain all its own and breaths life into death. It is a force of nature.”

“Then tell me.” She felt under his spell once again. “What does it feel like to be truly in love?”

He moved closer to her almost to the point of kissing her. Instinctively she closed her eyes focused on his every word, listened to his every breath.

“Wonderful,” He slid his cheek up the left side of hers as he whispered. “Sensual,” he repeated the swift fluid movement of his other cheek up the right side of her face. “Unforgettable,” he whispered brushing his lips carefully against hers. He paused for a moment looking at her, and then waited for her to open her eyes. She gazed at him with the desire for him burning from deep within her heart.

She waited breathlessly waiting for something else.

“Painful.” This next word made her blood stop racing. His sadness emanated from him. She could feel it reaching from inside his soul to cradle her gently in its folds. “Love is more painful than death. More satisfying than anything in life. It holds more sorrow and more joy than the world could hold on its own.”

“Who is she?”

“Who?”

“The woman who your heart pines for? Who could have hurt you so deeply to make you long so completely?” It seemed so impossible that someone could hurt this wonderful man.

He sat back to look into Kelly’s eyes deeply, she had thought for a moment she was mistaken. Byron sat back smiling slightly.

“I will not bring you into my sadness, Kelly Nate. You could not live in my world. I have no heart, only a hole where it use to be.”  He picked up his wineglass and finished it quickly.

“But, your poetry is so passionate. Like you are still in love, like you are guided by that feeling of new love. A feeling so new and strong, it has not had time to grow old and unfeeling.” She shook her head quickly. “The love seems unending. Are you married?”

“No, my beautiful lady.” He whispered picking her hand up again. “I long to love again. But, it is a love past, that gives me that longing.” His playful gaze began to test her. “Don’t you long to feel like that? Loved, wanted and desired?” He brought his long slender fingers back down across her arm. He stroked his slender fingers across her skin. “Don’t you long for the irresistible attraction for another person?” She knew it was hopeless to love again. That said, he had her under his spell once again. “That desire to breathe them in and never let them go. That unmistakable pain from being away from them like you won’t live through it.”

Kelly looked down at his fingers. She did long for the feeling of love. It was her strongest desire. But, something inside her was afraid. It terrified her to love one person so much. If she loved and began to write such touching poems, what would become of her when it went away? What happened when the love left here again and left her empty and lonely? She would be back to not knowing what to write next. It was too much of a loss to think about.

for now, she just wanted to feel his touch. She caressed his hand gently and put it to her cheek. It was so cold and sent a shiver of excitement through her. She wanted to be, needed to be, completely in this moment.

The room seemed to have gone silent during their conversation. It was if they were the only two people in the room. He stood from his cushion and pulled Kelly to her feet and into a long passionate kiss. She wasn’t sure who was watching or how long they stood there kissing. As he backed away, she was reluctant to let that moment in time be surrendered easily.

“Don’t let me go.” She said as he smiled at her.

“Come with me.” Byron whispered, leading Kelly to the front of the table. Her head swam a bit but she followed him obediently. Just beside the table where they had been sitting was a set of narrow stairs leading into darkness. The stairs opened into a large flat above the café itself.

A fire roared in the fireplace in front of them with a plush couch just to the left. Another one of the bizarre tables sat in front of the fireplace with papers scattered everywhere on it.

“More of your writing?” Kelly asked making her way to the table.

“Yes.” he sat down producing two more glasses from nowhere, and poured wine into them.

“I have a tendency to write about anything I feel, anything I see that holds something of beauty to me.”

“Do you find so much to write about in your everyday life?”  He acted as if her some what objective, grown up view on life was humorous.

“As I said to you before. Life, Kelly, is full of love, full of wonder, full of magic. It is also full of pain and sorrow.”  He picked up her hand once again and put it to his chest. “You must take the good and the bad for love. The extraordinary will stand out from the ordinary and demand to be noticed. Life must have you and your memories, to keep it enchanted. All of it is waiting to be savored, enjoyed. It will show you wonders, if you only know where to look.”

She felt his arm wrap around her waist and wanted nothing more then to get lost in this moment. He was in her mind, the almost perfect man for her. His mind was beautiful; his thoughts made her want like never before. Byron leaned down and kissed her. Kelly could feel her heart leap she wanted nothing more than this kiss. It filled her so completely, so perfectly. This man was all she had ever wanted. The perfect fantasy. In his arms was the magic she had almost lost.

She let him move her down on the couch and was lost to the magic he created between them. Love was finally hers.

Kelly Nate awoke some time later to Byron’s half dressed form standing in front of the loft windows. As she dressed she had a sense of balance to her, but, also a sense of loss. He was so tender with her. With one night of passion, he had restored all the magic to her soul, it was unforgettable. Something down deep made her think this was all she would get of him. One night and no more.

Kelly shivered. Not from the cold of the promised dawn, but from the betrayal she felt from her mind. For a long time they kissed till she finally put her head to his chest wishing she were alone to cry.

“If it were another time, another place, I would take you away from this reality.” Gently he ran his fingers through her hair. “I would have let you steal my pain and heal me. We would have healed each other. I would have taken you for my own, Kelly Nate.” He whispered with such understanding. Kelly smiled back, one more thing that made her love him even more.

“Do not let the world take love from your heart. Remember this,and think of me.”

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