Outdoor patio. Vodka cranberry's chasing the salad. Amber was crumbling. Jenn and Thom were chatting away as she filled her mouth with lettuce. Her eyes danced over the foiliage that decorated the beautiful California day. But she would not look at him. Not at his eyes.
Jake adjusted his glasses. He willed his hands not to shake as he slurped his soup. Thankfully his hair was hanging a tad long so as to hide her from his view. Why is she here? Jake wondered if she was as striking as she was in that dive East Village bar nearly a decade ago. Or did the years and travel craft her into that woman he wished that girl to be?
"Jake, remember that girl we met at that reading for that off-Broadway show? The blonde who played the mistress?"
"Um. The, uh, one that invited us to the rooftop party?"
"Yeah. What's her name?"
Jake swallowed hard and slowly turned his head towards the one person who ever loved him. The silly, sappy, crybaby that always had to get her way with a pout and a scrunching of her nose. Those damn pajama pants and the pint of Phish Food. Stevie Ray Vaughn playing in the background. She drove him crazy but here she was, blossomed into such an amazing woman that he didn't even deserve to look upon.
His goddamn eyes, Amber screamed.
"Right," snapped Thom, "Amber Mills. Anyway this chick is perfect for the part..."
Amber felt herself melt inside. Behind those lenses, blue-green memories. I hate him. I hate that he makes me feel this way. Amber had shuddered when she heard her name come from his lips. Those damn lips. Lying bastard lips that sold her on a life that she didn't have. Amber closed her eyes and pinched the bridge of her nose.
"You okay?" Jake had leaned in and near whispered.
"Fine. Just allergies." Amber dropped her hand to her side. She kept her eyes down. She could see his hands.
Jake reached up and took off his glasses. His lips parted slowly as if he were about to say...
Amber excused herself from the table as Thom and Jenn chattered on about location. Jake watched as she made her way to the restroom.
"New York is the way to go. You lose a certain...feeling if you switch it up."
"I'm telling you San Francisco is the heart of it. I know it'd work perfectly."
Jake made a small ruckus as he stood up and squeezed through towards the bathroom. As he rounded the corner Amber burst out of the bathroom. A near collision had set them both back on their heels. Caught off guard, they reach for their chests in a gasp to catch their breaths.
"Jake." It felt like an exclamation in her head.
"Listen, Amber...we should talk." He reached out for her arm. She felt familiar. Friendly.
Amber shirked back subtly from his outstretched hand. She shook her head in defiance and to clear her head. Who was he to be like this now? After all this time she felt a twang of resentment that rattled her.
"Forget it Jake. You know how this goes down between us. Why are you here even?" Amber looked away as she went to walk past him.
Jake grabbed her forearm in a caressing grip. Firm and confident. This isn't Jake. Who is this? Another bastard full of empty promises. Above Jake's fingers his eyes ran along her veins, pulsating with the rush of blood. "Don't. Please. We..."
Amber pulled her hand free and used it to fuel her anger. The anger at herself. No, at him. He broke your goddamn heart Amber. How could you forgive him? How can you forgive yourself for letting him in?
Jake turned away. He knew her. He should have gone a different way. Said something different, been different. I should just leave her alone. It's just pathetically selfish to want something from her now. After all this time. She was different. She was the same as ever.
"Forget it Jake. Forget what happened. It's history. I'm going back to the table."
She began walking away immediately as if to punctuate her statement. Jake's head swung around low and lonesome. She felt his cuteness behind her. She knew how he'd be using those damn eyes to get to her. Amber felt Jake's stare as if it were his fingers sliding through her hair, rubbing down her back, brushing against her neck.