Pas De Deux – A  Moodboard (Three Part) One-Shot (Part 2)

gotham-ruaidh:

@iamnottrisha​ - thanks for organizing!

@taamagams - thanks for creating this beautiful moodboard!

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Chapter 1

Chapter 2

She’d fretted all night.

What to wear the next day.

What the hell was going on between her and Jamie.

How intense his eyes had been.

How sweet the baklava had tasted when they shared it.

The heat of the kiss on her cheek after he’d walked her home from Sahadi’s.

Adso’s happy meows as he devoured Jamie’s leftover lamb.

She could barely focus on her lessons that day – and the students certainly didn’t mind when she decided to show a National Geographic documentary about whale sharks. She watched it six times with her classes, hoping that the simple purple dress she’d found at the back of her closet would be good enough.

They’d agreed to meet at four thirty – ninety minutes after classes ended.

So just as Claire buttoned up her coat, Jamie knocked on the door of her office. He was dressed nicely – black pants, dark blue button-down shirt, gray peacoat draped over one arm.

Claire smoothed invisible fuzz from her coat. “Hi,” she smiled.

“Hi,” he smiled back. “You OK to take the subway for a bit?”

She nodded, pulling her purse over her shoulder. “Lead the way.”

He did – a quick walk to Atlantic Terminal, and then they waited for the 2 train on the Manhattan-bound platform.

“When are you going to tell me where we’re going?” she teased.

The train arrived, and he followed her into the car, taking a seat next to her. Boldly he took her hand.

“We’ll be switching to the 1 at Times Square. Maybe that’s enough of a clue.”

She squeezed his hand. “Well – in the interim, can you tell me about your family?”

Through Brooklyn and lower Manhattan, he did. And she did.

His stories about Greenpoint in the 1980s – the Polish restaurants, the longshoremen, the Saturday afternoons digging in the backyard for bottles and pottery shards discarded around the old turn-of-the-century outhouse.

Her stories about Canada and Brazil and Tanzania and Australia, roaming the world with Uncle Lamb and his anthropology students.

Their stories about living in New York, and their students, and how their beloved neighborhoods had shrunk with gentrification.

At Times Square they exited the train and crossed the platform, still holding hands. As the 1 train approached they watched a man playing “Under The Boardwalk” on steel drums. Jamie drew Claire closer to his side.

The 1 train they boarded was an older model – individual orange and yellow molded seats stacked against each other. Claire squeezed in between Jamie’s broad shoulders and the sticky metal wall.

“Are you hungry?”

She turned to look at him – noses inches apart. “I can always eat.”

“No food rules I should be aware of?”

She smiled. “No. Just good food.”

He glanced out the window – the train rolled past the ceramic tiles of ships at Columbus Circle. “I know a good place. Nothing fancy.”

Claire lay her hand on his knee. “I hope you know I don’t need anything fancy. You don’t need to woo me, Jamie.”

He met her eyes then – firm and clear. “Yes I do, Claire.”

She opened her mouth to reply – but the train jerked to a stop. Jamie stood. She grabbed his hand and followed him onto the platform at Lincoln Center. Marveling at the mosaics of musicians and acrobats and opera divas singing arias on the station walls.

Five minutes later they were seated at a bustling restaurant, browsing a menu of American classics.

“We’ve got plenty of time before the show,” Jamie said softly, reviewing the wine list.

“Are you going to keep it a secret until we go across the street?” she teased.

He looked up. “Let me just enjoy the fact that I can surprise you.”

When the waiter arrived, she ordered a medium-rare cheeseburger and an Old Fashioned. Jamie smiled so broadly as he ordered a steak and a Manhattan.

“No salad for you, Claire?”

She rolled her eyes. “Rabbit food. In many of the places I lived with Uncle Lamb as a girl, if you couldn’t peel it or cook it, you couldn’t eat it.”

“And you’ve kept those habits, even though you’ve been back in the U.S. for how many years now?”

“Eleven.” She paused as the waiter returned with their drinks. “I never wanted to be one of those women who feel compelled to watch every single thing that they eat – to survive on green juice or whatever the hell they pay all that money for.”

Jamie raised his glass. “To being independent-minded.”

She clinked her glass against his. Sipped her drink.

“I assume that doesn’t bother you, Jamie?”

His brows creased. “What are you talking about?”

She swallowed. “That I’m…different. That I have my own opinions.”

“What? No, Claire.” He reached across the table and took her free hand. Caressing. “Don’t even think about that being something negative.”

“And it doesn’t bother you that I’m divorced?”

He set down his drink. “No. You can tell me whatever you want, Claire, whenever you feel comfortable, and I promise you it won’t bother me. It does bother me that whoever he was, he was stupid enough to not appreciate you in the way you deserve.”

“But – ”

“Are you trying to push me away, Claire? Because I hope you can tell that I’m trying very desperately to get to know you, and share my world with you. And I want desperately for you to do the same. However much of yourself you want to share with me, I’ll gladly take it.”

She closed her eyes. “I don’t know what it is between us, Jamie. But I’m open to it. I’m open to you.”

He released her hand. She heard his chair scraping against the floor – and then he gently took both of her hands. Her eyes flew open – seeing him kneel before her, in the crowded restaurant, not caring about the wait staff or the people gawking from neighboring tables.

“My heart is open to yours, Claire. Please know that.”

Tears slipped from her eyes. “I do,” she whispered.

He squeezed her hands. Rose. Leaned over, breath hot against her cheek.

“Good,” he whispered.

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