Romance Fiction posted September 7, 2016

This work has reached the exceptional level
love unrequited

Are you the one?

by mfowler

Trevor points. 'Watch the little blue bird. He'll sit on the stem and wait. His claws are adapted to sitting high on vertical surfaces.'
As she clings to Trevor's arm, Skye watches the tiny creature. 'Hold onto me, Trev,' she whispers. 'I want to see what happens.'
The wren dives in among the flower's petals, emerging with an insect in its beak.

'She's so quick,' enthuses Skye. 'One minute waiting as patient as a nun, and then zap, she's got her food.'
'That was the male, Skye. Much brighter plumage than the female. They love those Yellow Flag blooms. Attracts their favourite bugs.'
Trevor gently pulls Skye back onto the grassy embankment away from the creek's edge.
'You always make these picnics so interesting.'
Trevor blushes, turns away. 'Thank you, Skye. I love catching up. You know we both love nature ... Do you realise that since high school finished we've only managed three picnics?'
Silence follows. Skye pours a Beaujolais into a plastic flute. 'Hope you like this with the brie?'
'Brie ... à la perfection, jeune fille ... Wait till you try the wine with the jellied ham and parsley ... jambon persillé.'
Skye throws back her head laughing. Sunlight penetrates the blondeness of her swinging hair.
Like gossamer, thinks Trevor.
'Come on, Trev, where did you learn to talk all fancy-schmancy? Love it. I will enjoy my  Beaujolais with jambon persillé ... That sounds so delicious. I hope it is.'
'It's lovely if you let the flavours mingle, sit on the palate deliberately ... Oh, yes, the French. Roger and I went backpacking across France for months last year. The reason you and I didn't catch up. Picked up so many tips about cuisine and French wines. My French is rustic at best, but it impresses you Aussie sheilas.'
Skye sips the wine, and samples the food. Trevor watches closely.
'Mmmh! Oh, boy. That's mildly orgasmic,' she says. Then giggles as if the non-existent bubbles have tickled her nose.
'Great. The food, the wine are perfect. Now tell me what's been going on in your life.'
Skye clasps the flute tightly. 'I was hoping you wouldn't ask. I've finished three years of my degree, but you know that already. I've also finished with Anthony. Eighteen months of my life wasted on that bastard.'
Trevor fusses with his food, hastily pours another glass of wine.
'Why that look, Trevor? So pensive. It's okay--Anthony was a loser and I'm well rid.'
'Just worried for you, Skye. Remember, you've cried on my shoulder every time you've seen off another loser since we were fourteen years old. You take the dive deeper than anyone I've ever known.'
Skye leans across the corner of the tablecloth, kisses Trevor's right cheek. He feels the softness of the kiss on his skin, tastes the tang of her warm breath, exhales.
'That's for all those times, my friend. You are the world's best agony aunt. And I love you for it. But, don't worry, I've had time to get Anthony's betrayal out of my mind.'
A sudden twittering among the creek side bushes startles them.
'The wren's harem is back,' says Trevor. 'They love their showy mate.'
Skye sighs. 'Trevor ... do you think there is such a thing as a perfect mate? You know, like Mr Wren in there. Even with all my experience, and what I've learned in psychology, I still have this silly romantic notion that there's a special one out there.'
'The wren has lots of mates, so maybe, maybe there's a string of people who could be called the one. You've just got to hope your eyes are open when they come along.'
Skye lies across the corner of the rug, touches Trevor's hand. 'You are so damned wise, my friend. Anthony was the one, but he found that bimbo, Robyn in Applied Mechanics, and that was that. I guess my next number one is out there waiting for my eyes to open.'
The afternoon sun slips behind the tall gums. Shadowed lines divide the space into green-grey, horizontal patterns.
'You never know who's there for you, Skye. Just waiting in the shade ... ready to emerge.'
Skye sits upright. Her perfect almond eyes widen. 'It must have been like that for you and Roger before you went backpacking in France. I knew he was keen on you. The girls at school all said you were made for each other. I'm so pleased to hear you finally made it with him.'
Roger stands. His lips tighten and heavy facial lines betray his mood. 'Not Roger,' he murmurs. 'Not Roger.'
Skye attempts to rise, but kicks over the Beaujolais bottle. Sweet red liquid bleeds out across the rug, saturates the cheese, the breadsticks ... all in its careless path.
'Oh, no,' she cries out. 'I've ruined everything. I'm so sorry, my darling.'
Trevor looks away, stifles a tear.
'I'll fix it,' says Skye, busily sopping the wine with a napkin. 'I can fix this.'
'There never was a Roger and I, Skye. The holiday was a last hurrah before he married Sophie Hauser. You remember her, mousy little thing in our English class ... last year at school.'
Skye ceased her busy panic. 'You mean ... Roger and Sophie Hauser? He's not gay? You poor darling. What a good friend you were to him.'
The picnic dies a sullen death as the couple pack in silence.
As Skye turns the key to her Suzuki, she kisses Trevor on the cheek. 'Bye, darling. Sorry about the mistakes ... you know, the wine, Roger and you. Be good. Your wren will be out there somewhere. You'll know him when you find him.'
The scooter putters as she pulls the helmet over her head. She waves gently. 'Next year, my friend.'
Trevor smiles wanly. 'I'm not gay. I love you,' he mouths.
Skye pulls away from the kerb. Trevor hears a muffled I love you too as the Suzuki splutters off.
The Autumn's early this year. Trevor watches from the window of his flat. Flickering yellow-white lights absorb him as the poplar leaves tumble willy-nilly from the baring trees.
Time for dinner, he ponders, Steak and kidney pie for one, Mother Hubbard style. Oh ... gotta wash these micro-waved meals down with a good wine.
The fridge is empty bar two other Mother Hubbards and a half-finished Beaujolais. 'Maybe Skye would like to share this?' he says, closing the fridge with a bitter nudge.
The doorbell rings. A po-faced courier stands on the landing.  'Trevor Tibbs?'
'Yes, why?'
'Package for you. Sign here, and here.'
The package is small, marked FRAGILE in red-stamped lettering. 'Hmmh! A package from an admirer. Probably one of Roger's birthday gifts. He's always finding something interesting for me,' he says softly.
Turning, Trevor enters the main room, stops and tugs at the wrapping. A small parcel sheathed in bubble wrap emerges. A tiny card, sealed.
'So what have we here?' A tiny painting. Two small birds. One pretty in electric blue, the other plain and hiding near a bush.
The card reads: Your wren was out there somewhere. Just too blind to see.
'Skye?' he says, his face warming at the sound of her name. 'What? ... I have to call her.'
'You called,' says a voice from the doorway. 'You know I can always spot the losers among the princes, but never the good ones.'
She moves to him, wraps her arms around his neck and kisses deeply. He feels the softness of the kiss on his lips, tastes the tang of her warm breath, responds.
'How did you know?'
Skye smiles. 'I heard you as I drove away from the picnic. Your words stayed with me for days. But, I didn't rush. Not like I always do. I needed to think, remember ... and then I saw the painting in a gallery. That was it ... Trev, are you my one?'
'Always have been, always.'


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