Red 1.1

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In he walked, trousers all wet from the nasty rains in New York. Ill need to get these dry-cleaned surely. Blasted thing these rains are. Creep up behind your back when you least expect them, he thought. His apartment wasnt pretty by any stretch of the imagination. But he was expecting to move into a better place, or maybe even buy his own when he could afford it. Be that as it may, the flat had everything he needed. Including enough place for his culinary tools.

John had just been promoted at the restaurant that he worked at. He was the Sous-Chef de Cuisine. Second in command to Anatole Reno, the celebrated gourmet chef.? The Big Man. And for John that meant the added responsibility of keeping things in check in the absence of the Big Man. And the Big Man prided on things being in perfect order. The boss made life hell for his employees to make sure his patrons went home happy. He had a reputation and an ego befitting a man of his stature. At times John thought to himself, If I could get away with it, Id skin him like a turnip and hang him out to dry.

***

Just as he was about to turn on water and climb into the shower, his phone rang. It was Am?lie, the girl he was dating currently. They had been going out for some time now. She worked under him at the restaurant. She was smart, sensitive and caring, but a very quick learner. He had to watch his step lest he lose his job to her. ?He was madly in love with her, though. But he hadnt told her yet, for he wanted to wait for the perfect moment.

Hello, I thought we were meeting today, John said answering the phone.
Of course we are, she said.
Okay pick you up at eight. We have a reservation at The Wok
Okay, cant wait to meet you.

He smiled as he hung up. This was the indeed the perfect time to let her know. Yes.

***

That was a splendid dinner, said John pulling the car out onto the street. They were uncannily deserted for an evening such as this.
Oh I wouldnt disagree. Though I daresay, I indulged in?the wine too much. Drank a glass or two more than I should have, Am?lie replied.
Just what I had hoped for, John said to himself.

He pulled in close to the pavement outside his apartment.

I thought you were going to drop me home, Am?lie said.

John replied, I thought you might fancy a night cap.

Okay then. But one drink.Then I have to be off. Long day tomorrow isnt it?

The two of them walked into his apartment. He switched on the lights and led her towards the couch.
What would you like to have?, John asked after Am?lie had settled herself.
Just a bit of sherry please. Not too much mind you. I am drunk enough already.

John poured himself a stiff scotch and poured Am?lie a sherry- a little more than she had asked for.?He handed Am?lie her glass and sat down beside her.

I think a little music might set the mood, John said sipping his scotch. A little jazz, if you dont mind? I bought this disc few weeks back and have been waiting to listen to it for some time now.

As the first few notes of the track poured into the room, Am?lie looked around her. She noticed some knives?hanging on the opposite wall.

Quite a collection?youve got there, she said looking towards it.

Ah yes, I am quite the hobbyist. I have been collecting a few for some years now, said John.

And at the risk of sounding pompous, I would say am a bit of a knife thrower too, he added.

Well that is interesting. You know my uncle told me a story about this knife thrower he had seen once. Apparently, he could undress his accomplices standing at the far end of the stage by simply flicking knives at them she said.

Well, I trust my fingers more than my knife-throwing abilities, flirted John.

Oh come now. Lets just dance for starters shall we. And if you keep up with me, we can think about it, Am?lie said with a laugh.

She then pulled John up from the couch and put his hands around her waist and planted her own on his shoulders and said, Follow my lead.
The two of them started swaying slowly to the tune of the music. John was a little clumsy at first but then started enjoying himself thoroughly and that seemed to shake his nervousness off.

The music picked up tempo. Their bodies moved in sync with the notes as if their movements were the rhythm itself. They joined and parted in a single motion. Smooth, beautiful and sensual. As if the two of them hadnt known such happiness. And it was in this moment that they drew close and their lips yearned for the touch of the other.

Their lips joined as the music reached its crescendo and it was pure ecstasy. A joy unknown to anyone but them. And he saw the look on her face. She was euphoric. He smiled. Perfect, he thought.

She was looking so beautiful in red. Ah the irony

****

He pored over his diary. He had to make an entry. In his neat cursive hand he wrote

Entry 203

There is an uncomfortable silence between us. Your eyes wish to tell me something. But the gap between us is still unbridged. The ice unbroken. Yet.

I have known you long enough. Do your thoughts echo mine? Or are you thinking of something else? Or someone else? ?Maybe it is just my imagination. But I cant be really sure.

I can read everyone. I thought I could read you. But I couldnt. Youd beat me at poker easily.
I fidget uneasily, looking around in my brain to say something. You look beautiful in red. How ironic. Should I be telling you that?

But it is time to go home now. Yes it is time. And I forget to say goodbye.

*****

Entry 204

Oh how I hate the mess the blood makes on the carpet and on my shirt. I still havent gotten used to it. Hazards of being on the job one might say.

The dry cleaner, daft as he is, still hasnt caught on that I am not a butcher. Or am I? Hahaha

Mental note? Have to buy more of that carpet cleaner when I go out next. Dont want to be cleaning off dry stains. That would break my back.

*****


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