Sunday, September 17, 2006

Second Chance at First Love – Part 6 (Ending)

Welcome back to our continuing story. If you are just joining, see Part 1. Here we rejoin Bill and Camille as they leave Bill’s Mom. This is the ending part of their Second Chance at First Love.

The Second Chance

Heading the car in the general direction back toward downtown, I turn slightly to Camille while managing to keep my eyes on the road and ask: “Are you getting hungry?”

I can barely hear her as she responds seductively: “Yes, I’m starting to feel very hungry for … um … for food that is.”

Her words sort of oozes from her lips and I feel a lump in my throat. She then changes her expression back to a sweet innocent look and continues: “Let me treat you to dinner, I can put it on the company’s bill since I’m in travel status”.

As I ponder her offer, a thought just pops into my brain! “That sounds very tempting, but let me tempt you back.” I say in a playful tone. “When is the last time you had some Vickie’s Barbeque?”

I could tell that her expression had changed again to one of wonder and surprise.

“You mean that place is still open? I haven’t had some of those bones in at least fifteen years!”

As I stop for a traffic light, I turn to Camille and say: “You know it’s a carryout only joint. We’ll have to take it back to my place to eat. Is that okay with you?”

Camille looks at me and replies: “It’s okay with me so long as you are not afraid that I might eat you up along with the ribs!”

Not flinching I respond: “Hey, that’s my line!”

We both laugh and continue on our way, angling toward Warren Road and a stop at Vickie’s.

While standing in line waiting to order, Camille’s body sags against mine, her eyes are closed and I can hear her deep breaths as she inhales the smells of barbeque ribs, sauce, and grease cooking up a container of thick fries. My left arm has found its way around her waist. It seems like such a normal stance, such a normal feeling. Glancing over to the side, I see an older couple sitting on a bench awaiting their order. The woman is looking at us smiling – probably reflecting upon her bygone youth.

Suddenly a revelation smacks me in the face! A shudder ripples through my body as I try and delve into the old woman’s thoughts. “Our time is here and now! In order to have fond memories of love in the distant future, we must start making them now.”

Camille also feels the trembling of my body and turns her face toward mine. Not saying a word I just kiss her lips. Her mouth responds, pressing back against mine. Our first kiss in … in fifteen years!

We are interrupted by the waitress clearing her throat and saying: “May I take your order folks?”

Stepping to the side after placing the order, I again catch the eye of the old woman who is now leaving with her husband. She smiles again and gives me a wink, then heads out the door holding hands with her husband.

Back at my place we settle in for some serious barbeque eating. I fumble through my DVD collection and pull out My Fair Lady the 1964 version starring Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison. It was the last movie we saw together before Camille and her parents moved away.

We finish the “Que” about halfway through the movie and I stow the leftovers, rinse the dishes, and throw away the bags and containers along with numerous napkins still reeking of Vickie’s famous sauce.

After washing my hands, I return to what passes for my living room to see that Camille has slipped off her shoes and her bare feet are stretched out on the sofa, toes wiggling invitingly in my direction. She looks up at me while turning off the TV with the remote control. We stare at each other for a few moments, and then I smile and say:

“I never really had a chance, did I?”

“Not after the stop at your Mom’s, no you didn’t”. Replies Camille as a smile also appears on her face.

The Endgame

“Hello, Bill, where the hell are you? It’s almost time to go and pick up the visitors!” Says Carl as he nervously jiggles the phone.

“We’ll meet you over there. You can drive the van by yourself can’t you?” Chides Bill.

Carl starts to make a smart aleck reply, but then does a mental double take and says: “We? Whose we?”

“Ms. Sanders and I of course.” I reply and hang up the phone before Carl can recover.

We got to the hotel at 8:20AM just after Carl had arrived. Walking over to the Café, I could see the other visitors finishing up breakfast with Carl standing next to Mr. Clawson.

Getting nearer to the group, I could make out their mixture of facial expressions:

Carl has a deer caught in the headlights stare across his face;
Maria has a big grin – Camille had already confided in her before meeting me last evening;
Mike has a sly smile;
Mr. Clawson, Sr. V.P. Clawson that is, was the only one that counts. He has an expressive mix of angst, and relief; standing up as we draw near to the table.

Maria had covered for Camille so the group hadn’t issued a missing persons alarm or such; however, Mr. Clawson had seemed out of sorts. But, as Clawson studies the approaching pair, he can see that it had not been just some spur of the moment one-night-stand. It is obvious that these two have history; a great deal of history and that love has certainly blossomed between them. His thoughts turn to his own son and daughter-in-law and grandchildren. His expression starts to change, his facial muscles relax, then reform into a smile conveying: that all will be worked out, all will end in happiness.

Bill and Camille could sense the change in Clawson’s demeanor and both breathe a collected sigh of relief. The last unknown has come up ok.

Love has finally triumphed after all!

The End


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