A Series of Love Scenes (1–3)
“When should I quit?”
He looked up at her. “When should you quit?”
“I mean, today or should I wait until Monday?”
He smiled at her as she continued thinking out loud.
“How long after I quit will you quit?”
His eyes widened and creased around the edges in amusement.
He spoke calmly, delighting in her audacity. “What, you think that I am so –”
“No.” She was earnest, unafflicted by his jesting emotion.
She looked out the train window, peering down at Harlem speeding by at fifty miles per hour. The sun painted her brightly as she swayed her head in thought. She blinked gently, her eyelids at half-mast.
After a minute she looked back into his eyes.
“What if…” she began with an enthusiastic beam. “…we got a studio apartment together in the city? And I quit my job. And started writing. And you-“
“And I stayed at work paying your rent for you?” He smiled.
“No.” She was calm. She spoke and thought simultaneously. It was a trait of hers that resulted in divulging too much, too soon, and all of the time.
“I can afford my own rent. I have savings. I would get a part-time job.”
His eyes absorbed her softly. Maintaining a faint smile, he paused for a few moments, consumed by her presence.
She looked out the window again as the train carried itself over the 138th Street bridge, over the waving green water beneath the bridge. She peered down at this and then straight back where she could see the tail-end of the train wrapping around the tracks toward itself, like a game of Snake she thought.
“Hey.” He nudged her leg with his and she jerked her head back to lock in his gaze.
He paused, holding her attention.
“You know you just suggested that we move in together?”
He paused again.
“And that doesn’t scare you?”
“It’s not like we haven’t lived together before…” She rolled her head away from him, this time to the left, and centered her eyes on the passengers sitting beside them.
After a moment, she returned her gaze back at him.
“Does it scare you?” She was gentle, and not all that curious.
He smiled broadly allowing creases to form by his eyes again, then bent down to rest his hands on her knees. “Slightly. Yes.” he said, breaking into a skittish laugh.
She examined his face and smiled impishly.
She gave him a casual shrug and returned to the open book in her lap, his hands still on her knees and his eyes still locked on her face.
“Were you being serious?” He paused. “Or were you joking?”
They were walking on the lower level of Grand Central.
“I was not being serious.” She paused. “But I was also not joking.”
“Because if you were being serious –”
“I wasn’t not being serious.”
“ — then I would have to actually put some consideration into the idea.”
She half-shrugged as they stepped onto the escalator.
She shifted to the right side, stepping onto the stair above him. He put his arm inside her coat and rubbed her back as she turned to face him.
He grinned nervously. “I mean do you actually want to live with me?” exaggerating the words in jest.
“It’s not like we haven’t lived together before,” she announced factually to him and to the other escalator passengers.
“I know, but that was different.”
“What’s different, we wouldn’t have a roommate living with us this time?” She stepped off the escalator and reached back for his hand.
He started thinking.
“Should we just get a three bedroom place and find a third roommate?” He spoke with hesitation.
Their pace quickened as she expertly led him through the boutique-speckled, crowded corridor of the terminal.
“Why, so one bedroom could be empty all the time?” She dodged a woman’s oversized handbag. “Or would that be for when I get mad at you every time you accidentally share nude photos of me with your friends?” She shot him a smirk and raised her eyebrows.
He chuckled. “I knew you were still mad about that!”
She squeezed his hand, still smiling. “Of course I’m still mad. You should know that by now.”
“Of course I know… I know you.”
She held her mischievous grin and kept her fingers locked with his, only releasing it twice — once to enter into a revolving door and then finally once they were one block shy of the office.