Monday, September 04, 2006

Second Chance at First Love – Part 4

Welcome back to our ongoing story. If you are just joining, see Part 1. Here we rejoin Bill as he sees the visitors approaching the baggage claim area.

Airport Confirmation

The escalator carrying the group of four descends at a snails pace. Carl has started to approach the bottom of the escalator attempting to make eye contact with Clawson. Bill is hanging back, still trying to identify the fourth visitor. Finally the group reaches the floor and quickly walks out toward Carl. The fourth person steps to one side and is suddenly in full view of Bill. She is in fact ignoring the introductions being made between Carl and her associates and is starring directly at Williams!

Fifteen-years older, a tad bit taller, a few pounds heavier, different hair style, the strains of adult life starting to show around the edges; but the probabilistic speculation is over – she is most definitely Camille, his Camille, his first love!

They stare at each other for what seems an eternity but could only have been a few seconds. Bill vaguely hears Carl’s voice: “…and this is William Baker …”

Snapping back to reality Bill responds: “Hello, Mr. Clawson, welcome to the Motor City”. He sees Clawson tentatively reach out to shake his hand and realizes that he must have an odd expression plastered on his face and quickly tries to compose his countenance into a more business-like pose which just makes him look even more ridiculous. Bill awkwardly turns toward Maria followed by Michael and continues the round of introductions.

Then his eyes re-focus on Camille. He hears Carl rattling off: “… and this is Ms Sanders.”

Bill responds: “… ah … Hello Ms … Sanders” as he shakes her hand. Their fingers stay intertwined for an extended period of time, eyes mutually boring into each other’s souls. The touch is instantly familiar and evokes memories jumbled upon each other like a pile of toys in the corner of a child’s room. The days of walking hand-in-hand in the park, or just going to the store or school; the slow dances holding each other tight; of playing doctor all intermixed with one another. From their mutual expressions, each could tell they were experiencing shared memories.

However, Bill and Camille smile in a business-like manner and exchange pleasantries. Taking Camille’s lead, Bill doesn’t let on that they have a shared past to the group. His mind, on the other hand, is calculating on when and how they can get some time alone!

Finally, Carl interrupts their reminiscence giving Bill an odd look and espouses: “Shall we go over and see if the bags have showed up on the conveyor belt?”

As they all start walking over to where luggage is being disgorged from a gap in the wall onto the waiting moving belt, Carl pulls Bill aside and says: “Hey buddy, pull yourself together!”

Bill turns to look at Carl, his mind still calculating and attempts a weak smile and shrug of the shoulders.

In the van, Clawson commandeers the shotgun seat relegating Bill to join the other visitors in the second row. He manages to sit next to Camille and keeps fidgeting about until his right thigh is pressed up against Camille’s left one. He keeps his eyes focused on the passing sites and Camille keeps staring forward. However he feels her leg pressing back up against his! Carl is babbling on about the record of the Detroit Tigers verses the Yankees engrossing in friendly banter with Mike. Clawson is dawdling with some notes and Maria looks like she is taking a catnap.

The pressing of thigh against thigh reminds Bill of a time long ago in a roller coaster line at Edge Water Park on Detroit’s northwest side. Camille’s backside had been pressed snuggly up against him and his arms were wrapped around her waist. It seemed that there was some kind of mechanical problem with the ride and the waiting line had really backed up. It felt so good standing there with Camille in such an intimate embrace that he had hoped that the coaster would never get fixed! Now the slight touching of our calves yields the same innocent pleasure – “let the van ride go on forever” Bill thought!

However, in times past, whenever we got into a too intimate situation, we would both back off from the point of no return. As underage kids that had been a good and proper reaction and served us well. But now it still seemed to prevail, to override any raw, untamed emotions trying to evolve between us. An uneasy feeling falls like a dark curtain on Bill’s lusty thoughts: suppose this is just a huge build-up to a big letdown? Can some type to passionate encounter ever live up to the hype? Can their past intertwined innocence successfully morph into lust?

“In a word: No”. Bill thinks.

As nonchalantly as possible he adjusts his position to put some air between his thigh and Camille’s. Camille may also be experiencing similar feelings as she also makes a slight seating shift increasing the space a few additional inches. They venture a sideward glance at each other and seem to connect with similar doubts.

“What to do, what to do”? Bill sighed to himself as he turned back to stare out of the side window just in time to see a sign proclaiming: “Welcome to Detroit”.

Back to the office

The van group heads back to the same conference room used for the morning staff meeting. The boss and a few others join for another round of introductions and “blah, blah, blah”. At least that’s all that Bill hears. He is still brooding about his relationship potential, or more to the point, lack thereof with Camille. The mere act of immersing himself into self-pity and wallowing in his own misery brings its own healing affect upon his soul. Bill seems to be coming to terms with letting this fairytale opportunity just slip through his fingers. However: “we must at least have some quiet time to talk to each other face-to-face”: Bill muses.

“… and what about the project to develop a statistical analysis of the last customer survey Bill?” The words of the boss are gnawing at the outer boundary of Bill’s consciousness as he feels his ribs being prodded by Carl’s left elbow under the table.

All eyes had turned upon Bill as he attempts to gather his thoughts and focus on the projection screen where a set of charts is currently being displayed.

“Uh. Yes.” Bill stammers. A few beads of sweat pop up out of nowhere making his forehead glisten.

“I’m still awaiting some additional data from the western region, but, …, ah the view so far points out several areas of concern.” Bill’s voice became more even and confident has he continues to talk, like an old-fashion locomotive starting to slowly chug, chug, chug before building up a head of steam. After a couple of more sentences, Bill has gotten into his rhythm and presents an acceptable status update on his major project. The boss’s initial frown has turned into a smile, and he then moves the discussion onto the next topic. Bill allows himself a silent sigh of relief and absentmindedly wipes his brow with a nearby napkin.

“Way to go buddy”. Says Carl in a low voice as the meeting breaks up. “I thought you were in the deep stuff without any boots for a while”.

“Well that’s it for today. We don’t want to wear you folks out before we really get started.” Said the boss to Clawson. “Carl and Bill will drop you all off at your hotel and we can get back together first thing in the morning. Oh, keep tomorrow night open, I’ve got tickets for all of us to attend the ballgame!”

Carl muttered: “damn, the time is late and I have a hot date tonight!”

Bill frowns slightly, attempting to hide the joy he feels at the potential chance to be alone with Camille and responds: “oh, don’t worry Carl, I can take care of getting our guest to the hotel. My schedule is clear and quiet.”

“You’re a real trooper or whatever” responds Carl as he gives Bill a pat on the back and with a slight wink tosses the van’s keys.

Bill wonders: “Hmmm, was that wink for his own anticipated conquest or for mine”?

Bill remembers a small snack lounge located near the pool in the hotel where the visitors were staying. He confirms this fact by querying his computer back in his cubical. He logs-off the system, and proceeds to wrap-up his business day. Then he pens a small note:

Obviously we need to talk. I can park the van, and meet you in “The Hut” a small snack shop off the back of the hotel’s lobby by the pool.

Love, Bill “

After also including his cell phone number on the note, he folds it twice then places it in his right pants pocket.

As he meets back up with the visitors to arrange to take them to the hotel, Bill feels like a little kid in class as he palms the message and discretely passes it to Camille. After a quick smile and acknowledgement by her, the plan is set!

Be sure to join in next week for Part 5: The Hotel Rendezvous!


Post a Comment

<< Home