We were sitting at a fine dining restaurant off the west coast having lunch. We hadn’t seen each other in almost a year and with how close and long we’ve been friends this was a huge reunion. Nine months ago I got the offer for the job of a life time and I had to take it but it was all the way in the west coast which didn’t bother me but Dane’s life took a spin as well when his software protection company took off really well in India, so well that he’s had to move his office from Colorado to India till he finishes helping the start-up. So we departed but have been planing this trip since we left. Long movie night with plenty of junk food. A road trip, the beach, hiking and probably a lot of name calling, wrestling, warm hugs and a lot of laughter. And of course catching up. We still hung out like we were children but that’s what made our friendship so great.
Raising my wine glass to my lips I gazed across the table and saw my best friend. His face perfect in shape, dark deep eye’s and long lashes to complement them. He had thick eyebrows and dark curly short hair that he parted more on his left side. Face clean-shaven. His skin darker since we last talked probably due to more sun and who knows what kind of crazy adventures he got into while he was there. I raised my eyebrows at the thought of all the beautiful and exotic women he probably took to bed with. Or not to bed but whisked away for a few feverish moments of pleasure. Lucky dog.
Then my mind began to wander as he reached across the table and took my hands in his and I realized his hands where big and warm and his arms even more toned. His white button up fitted just right to his physique. I looked at his smile and then his lips as he kept on talking. Not hearing a word he said. And in that moment I wanted him across the table and ripping off my blouse. I choked on some water as I tried to steady myself as I realized who I was thinking about.
“Are you okay?”
I put my glass down and nodded at him. “Now what were you saying?”
He sat back in his chair and gave me a squint look and then proceeded to take a breath and came back closer to the table. “Oh Melanie its beautiful there I think you’d absolutely love it.”
I gave him a smile. “You know I would love to go to India.”
“Great so we can start planning a trip to see me.”
“Ha ha yeah but it’s gonna be longer than nine months before we see each other.”
“Or you can just let me pay for your ticket.”
“What no way.” I didn’t like for people to pay for my stuff. I didn’t want it over my head or their help and Dane of all people knew that which is why he started to brush his fingers through his hair. That was his way of getting ready to step to the stubborn mule.
“Look it’ll be considered a business trip so I am not really paying for it my company is.”
“It’s still the same thing Dane.”
“Come on Melanie I’ll pay for half you pay the rest.” He was giving me a face hard to refuse.
“No. End of story.” I shifted my head at his persistence.
“Please.” No he was getting on his knees in front of me begging attracting close observers. He started to make me blush.
“Will you get off the floor you’re making a scene and everyone is gonna think your proposing and when I keep saying no, you make me look like a dick.”
He started raising his voice “Melanie you are my one true goddess let me whisk you away to Paradise. Please join me.” he had his hand out for me to take and he was almost bowing waiting for my answer. I looked around and realized everyone in the building was starting at us. I gave him a glare as warning for payback.
“Fine. But only because I really want to see India. And you of course.” I reached my hand to his cheek patted it gently. He took my hand and kissed it with a triumphant smile.
“Yes, You hear that ladies and gentleman she said yes!” The whole restaurant erupted with cheers. I rolled my eyes aware that this these people have no idea what really happened before them. After getting off the floor and returning to his seat he slid over an envelope to me.
I looked down at the envelope hesitantly and looked around. I slowly slid the envelope towards me.
“You’re not in trouble are you? You’re not trying to take me with you while on the run. Is this code sea hawk?” I said it in hushed tones while inching closer to him. Code Sea hawk was a code we made up five years ago in case we get into any trouble and have to relocate ourselves. We don’t do anything to dangerous but you never know.
He laughed at me. “No Melanie just want my best friend to enjoy herself. The envelope has your tickets and passport.”
“You knew I was gonna say yes? And when do these tickets leave for?” I opened the envelope and looked at my tickets.
“We leave in two weeks.”
“We?” And Dane I have work there’s no way there going to let me take off work for this I’m already missing this week.” I was really worried he had gone a little crazy.
“Relax Melanie, I talked to your boss. Very lovely lady I might add. I haggled with her a little bit made her a deal she couldn’t refuse.” He was being a little cocky now.
“And what was that? Are you going to be her new toy?” I raised my eyebrow at him giving him a devilish smirk.
“Man Melanie you think I sleep with every beautiful woman I encounter?” I shrugged my shoulders at him.
“If it was able would you not take ever shot you got?”
He paused and pondered for a second.
“Okay fine but this is your boss. I did use my charm, however the deal was I give the company the first five-year of my protection software free and then at a discounted price from there on out. But I also promised you’d be back for a week to get your things in order before you leave.”
“My things in order?” I looked down at the return date on the ticket.
“Oh no Dane I think you picked the wrong return date. This one says we come back in a year. Ha you think we can change that?” I looked up at him and realized his face was serious and then realized what he meant.
“That’s right Melanie we are going on a Sabbatical.” My jaw dropped. I was stunned I didn’t have words to say anything. There were so many other things to take care of and I had to do it in a week.
“My apartment and car. I have to figure something out about that.” I felt so scrambled in my head.
“Already taken care of, your stuff will go into a storage warehouse I already set up for you. Your apartment will be rented out to someone who has already been checked out personally by me. And if you want your apartment when you get back it’ll be there for you if you wish and as for your car. Talked to your as always wonderful mother last night and they agreed to take your car and put it in the garage and crank it and check it every once in a while. Oh and your mother said we need to visit for Christmas since you haven’t seen them in two years, so I promised your mother you and I will be there so I re-routed one of our stops.” He said it so nonchalantly.
My head was about to explode. I gulped down the last of my wine and tried to get my barring. I looked up at my friend and realized my friend has changed so much since we’ve been apart. Still the same person but different. I mean I’m use to him taking me off to crazy, weird, and beautiful different places.
Once he woke me up at two in the morning so we can drive eleven hours to see a movie at a specific movie theater he loved when he was a kid. Then there was a time that Stephen Morris broke up with me in front of everyone in our Economics class in the eleventh grade, seeing how hurt I was he decked Stephen in the face grabbed me by the hand ran out the class till we reached the parking lot where he let me cry on his shoulder. Then told me to get in his car and we skipped school and drove to the beach. Boy was my mother pissed when I got home. But of course Dane explained and my mom melted in his hands like butter. Dane had a way with woman and loads of girlfriends which never bothered me, usually got me in really cool places and I made some sweet connections and it was nice to have another female around once in a while too.
I looked up at him again and looked in his eyes as he was waiting for my answer. I took a breath
“Okay we are going.” Smiling and excited that I was going to India.
As I was putting the envelope in my purse our waiter came up to our table with some champagne and two glasses.
“The gentlemen at the table across your way would like to congratulate you on your engagement.”
I started to blush “Oh you’re so sweet but um yeah he.” Dane cut me off.
“That is so very kind of him.” He waved to the nice grey haired man across the way and the waiter set the glass in front of me and poured. The waiter did the same for Dane left the bottle in an Ice bucket on our table then left.
“You are crazy.” I smiled
He lifted his glass “To India.”
I raised mine, “To India.” And with the sound of the clink my journey began.