Write up to 500 words using the lyrics to the song Gold On The Ceiling sung by The Black Keys as inspiration.
Phoebe sauntered past the entrance to Le Cirque to the bench further down the block knowing Nate would be wondering if she would show up for dinner. But she had to think things through carefully before she committed to sitting down with him, face to face, having a conversation that would surely lead to the reasons behind their break up two years earlier.
Taking a deep breath, she let her mind wander back in time to their last conversation. Nate was confident and career-focused and living his dream. Had she always felt so insecure? Maybe it was a matter of trust. She trusted Nate but not herself to make the right decisions. Obviously she still had trust issues because of her wake of failed relationships. Nate was perfect. He still cared for her. She sensed that in his eyes and in his words. Mostly she hid from the world by delving into her own career. So little time for therapy, or at least she made it so. Did she really want to dig into why she avoided returning another’s love?
“I thought that was you racing past the windows outside. Always on the run…still?”
Phoebe looked up sheepishly. “Hello,” she whispered.
He offered her his hand and she accepted. Together they entered the restaurant and sat at their table that was next to the window. She sighed at her failure to ask the cab to drop her off beyond the entrance.
“You look well…happy,” she said as cheerfully as she could.
“I am,” he said. “The investment world has been good to me.”
“Obviously,” she remarked. “I can’t tell you how overwhelming it is for me to be in this restaurant with you. I feel like Cinderella at the ball. Or something like that.”
“You? Part of your life is to wine and dine clients in upscale surroundings.”
“That’s in my comfort zone,” she snapped.
“Ah. I guess that’s what I was most curious to know when I saw you earlier today. I was hoping your insecurities might have lessened. At least that’s what I had assumed was why you had pushed me away.” He reached across the table for her hand to offer reassurance but not before she withdrew her hand into her lap.
“Maybe dinner wasn’t such a good idea. We haven’t ordered. I could just slip out now. I don’t know why I came.” She spoke to her napkin in her lap never making eye contact.
“No. Please stay. I’m sorry for saying that. I never stopped caring about you. I hear you and will respect your feelings. Just two friends then. Let’s have a nice dinner with no expectations. Afterwards, we go back to our lives as usual. Deal?”
Phoebe found herself nodding as she swallowed down the tears. Damned tears. What did they mean? Maybe seeing Nate again was a sign. A sign to look past her professional façade to the vulnerable little girl who seemed take over when she let her guard down?
(Previous segments of this story can be found in blog listings. All named Le Cirque with consecutive numbers, although written for various writing challenges.)