Monday, March 24, 2008

The fireworks of love

The story of how Adam and I met and fell in love is filled with fireworks. He is one of the rare men left in the world that understands that the way to a woman’s heart is through romance.

When I finished college, at the tender age of 23, I decided I need to take a break from writing. My two-year journalism degree left me feeling creatively empty. I serendipitously took a job as a waitress in a new restaurant in town, Café Francesco, to restock both my financial and creative banks. This café employed only two cooks and two waitresses to run the show (along with a very colourful owner who tried his hand at both of these things when the mood suited him). My partner in waitressing drudgery was a striking young woman named Virginia. She was still in high school and earning some money for college, where she wanted to become a nurse.

Virginia and I became fast friends. We relied on each other every day to juggle the many demands of a small operation. When business was slow, we divided our tips equally to balance out the good and crappy tippers. When business was overflowing, we passed off making salads and bussing tables to keep the flow smooth for the customers. (Now bear with me – Virginia plays an important part of the romantic tale.)

Every morning, a member of Virginia’s large family (4 kids) would drive her to work and drop her off. On one particular morning, her brother followed her into the café to sample our delicious but expensive coffee. He was dressed in grass-stained jeans, a dilapidated hat, a ripped and stained shirt and his face was bristling with a weekend beard. He sheepishly ordered a coffee from me and was back out the door without so much as a glance (though he did leave a dollar tip on a $2 coffee). I noted his gorgeous blue eyes and buff build but soon got busy with the demands of opening for the day.

About two hours later, a clean-shaven, impeccably dressed, drop-dead handsome man entered the café. He ordered a coffee and we exchanged some flirty banter before work got in the way. He left with a smile and a wave and I immediately reported the incident to Virginia. I had no idea who he was – which was rare in our small town where everyone knows everyone. She assured me that she would keep a look-out for this hottie.

Later that afternoon, the café phone rang and Virginia answered. I could tell by her tone that it was someone in her family calling. With an exasperated voice, she bantered back and forth on the phone for a few minutes before hanging up. With a smirk, she turned to me. “I know who he is,” she proclaimed. Then added almost disgustedly, “It’s my brother.” I was happy to know the identity of the mystery man and also pleased to know I had an inside scoop as to who he was. Before I could ask her anything, Virginia placed a hand on my shoulder and assured me “I told him you weren’t interested.”

Now at this point I was flabbergasted. She knew I thought he was attractive, why would she kibosh this potential summer fling? Granted, I had just come out of a rather serious three-year relationship where I was badly burned. Perhaps she didn’t want her brother to be my “rebound romance.” Virginia didn’t wait long to explain, “I know you just broke up with someone and you’re vulnerable. My brother is a complete dog. He’s a love ‘em and leave ‘em kind of jerk. He’s had so many girlfriends over the past year that I can’t keep count. And he never keep them around for long.”

Perfect! I thought. All I want is a bit of loving to boost my self-esteem. The last thing I was looking for was any semblance of a relationship. This “jerk dog” sounded like just the kind of medicine I was looking for to help to mend my wounds. Virginia was truly hesitant and must have told me a dozen stories of why I should avoid her brother at all costs. Despite her arguments, she relented and revealed that he was calling to find my number as he wanted to take me out that night. Virginia insisted that we double-date so she could keep her rogue brother in line.

Adam picked me up in a dusty, stick-shift sedan later that night. He came in and met my parents (a rule in our house – even for a co-worker’s brethren) and surprisingly, made my mother all blushy and giggly with his banter (this is a woman who can see cow-flop from a mile away and treated most of my potential dates like they had just escaped from prison). He opened my car door for me and was a gentleman right from the start. Given that I knew about his “jerk-dog” history, I kept an ounce of scepticism about this chivalrous behaviour. We stopped for gas and while he was paying, I took a moment to look around his car for clues to his personality. I found no rogue panties from past conquests – check. Found no porno mags peeking out from under the seat – check. And hmmmm....what's this book left on the back seat – A JOURNAL. Now hold the phone Alexander – this boy writes for pleasure?! We may have something here. Being a writer myself, I was caught off guard by this random find. The scepticism took a step back.

Adam returned and we soon picked up Virginia and her beau. We drove to Toronto, and I have to admit that Adam’s rather aggressive driving (which hasn’t changed by the way) had me white-knuckled the whole way there. We parked about a block from Ontario Place and sat on a patch of grass to watch the Benson and Hedges Fireworks Display. It was breathtaking. We could just hear the music and had an amazing view of the sky. At some point during the night, Adam took my hand in his and I noticed how strong and large his hands were.

When the show was over, we piled back in the car and drove back home. Adam dropped off Virginia and Darren and we continued towards my house. He asked if I’d like to go and get a drink somewhere but I declined. When we pulled in my driveway, we sat for a few minutes chatting. I could tell he was sizing me up for a kiss, so I leaned over and kissed him on the cheek (and I couldn’t help but notice just how wonderful he smelled and how smooth his skin was). I said goodbye and left him without having even taken a base. Mama didn’t raise no fool and I knew that to truly hook that fish, you had to leave them wanting more.

It worked. We went out the next night and two nights after that. On our third date, we returned to my house and sat on our back swing until the morning birds started to chirp. We talked about life, love and our wildest dreams and desires. I was snuggled closely to him for warmth and to breathe in his scent. As the sky began to lighten, we exchanged our very first kiss. It was a toe-curling, novel-inspiring, electrifying kiss that lasted forever and yet, not long enough. He was gentle and firm, holding my head tenderly in his hands like the leading man in a chick flick. It was the second time in our short romance that I saw fireworks.

The rest, they say, is history. But it’s my history. The pages of our love story are filled with these tender moments and tear-jerking crises that make us who we are today. From many Valentine’s days, birthdays and everydays filled with thoughtful gestures that would make Harlequin quiver, to the day he proposed in the most perfect and lovely way, Adam has made my life one fit for a fairytale. Indeed our wedding day was exactly that. But that, my kiddies, is a story for another day.

No comments: