Edmonton. Sherwood Park. March 23, 2019. Saturday.
“Why are people looking at us?” I ask Dylan as we prance out of the airport terminal, ferrying our luggage along.
“They’re not looking at us, Ace,” she replies. “They’re looking at you. Like, how Rahul was desperate to figure out which famous celebrity you were. And then — they see me — figuring out when I’m supposed to do your laundry or clean your house.”
“I feel insulted each time you do this,” I brew up.
“Well, it’s true,” she yelps. “I still don’t know why –”
“Dylan, stop it! Or I’m compelled to break the rule and kiss you in front of these people right now!”
“Let’s have breakfast,” I say.
“I still feel dizzy,” she groans, feeling her head.
“You need something warm. C’mon.” I drag her into a burger bar that serves breakfast, and she browses through the menu without a particle of appetite that she pokes her cheek — to and fro — with her fist. “Veggie omelette and coffee?” I ask.
“Okay,” she moans — Once our order is served — “Ace, my parents wouldn’t believe — us — at all,” she sweats. “I mean, I’m out, but they wouldn’t believe that you’ve — you know –?”
“That I’ve fallen in love with a diva potato?”
“That a miracle has rocked into their daughter’s life.”
“Dylan, good parents have sound instincts. They would know right off the bat if I were for real or just a sham. Besides, what we have is not a miracle. It’s a metaphysical universe click. So please — enough of bobbling my nerves around already. Clinched?”
“Claimed. It’s just that — I feel like — drowning into all the world’s seas and oceans here. It scares the hell out of me. Like — I can’t even breathe anymore.”
“This walnut will always win, babe,” I snap. “I guarantee you that. Stop brewing now, and get your appetite to work. Eat.”
Two timid pretty women take their seats next to our table, and an instant curiosity whooshes over to me, along with an anxious smile. Dylan is strung out of their presence, and pops in a piece of omelette. “You’ve just frightened my appetite out of your wits,” she says.
“Good.” I set my plate and cup of coffee in front of me as my peripheral vision catches a sight of the two spectators devouring my walnut, with their absorbed eyes. “Do you still feel dizzy?”
“A bit,” Dylan replies and sips her coffee.
I take a bite of vegetable omelette. “Those two girls are looking at us.”
“They’re not looking at us, Ace,” she yelps. “They’re looking at you, wondering why you’re branched up so closely with your housekeeper.”
“Dylan, don’t make me break the rule right now.”
“It’s just another which celebrity guessing game. Which would haunt you down all over Sherwood Park, and then they would demand for a book of explanations and anecdotes from me.”
“I just find it — bizarre that I get this — much dotty attention around here when I can just waltz around Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa without this awkward clown horrifying my stomach — regardless of how many pairs of eyes maggot me off along the way.”
“You don’t waltz around here, Ace. You run.”
Her adorable charm arrests my senses. “Can I kiss your nose?”
“Nope.” She swirls her head away.
“C’mon, babe. Just nose.”
“Just a little smack.”
“Please, Ace. Don’t. Or I’d break the rule myself. So bug off about it.”
“You can’t even give me your nose for a split-second?”
“Our thing is sacred in my books, okay? I don’t plan on ruining it anytime soon no matter how much my screaming insecurities tempt me to escape.”
“You know that I’d still find a way to capture you, right?” I hit back. “So clinch it up, Dylan. ‘Cause I won’t let that happen at all. Ever.”
“What if your world would be way too much for me to take on, though?” she grumbles. “Then I’d be terrorized, and I’d end up with ugly puffy eyes everyday.”
“Dylan, my world is this potato right here. Would you please be kind enough to believe that?” I grant her with a luring grin, then she forks in some omelette and delivers it into my mouth. I savor every ingredient like never before, with a confronting desire to press my lips against her — Okay, just nose — FOR NOW!! Argh!! “My one and only LUSH,” I say, holding her hand, “may I take the pleasure of — kissing your nose?” She smiles. It’s a YES! Woohoo! And I endear the opportunity to remedy my cramps with a nose-kiss!
“All I got was the omelette!” she laughs.
“How dare you!” I guffaw, then sip my coffee. The snoopy eyes from the other table melt into the twilight zone after witnessing the delectable display mooned off by baby carrot and potato. “You know what?” I say. “I totally forgot about our audience. Now that’s a good sign. Don’t you think?”
“You’re coming out of it, huh?” Dylan replies.
“Amen to that,” I confirm. “Why is it taking so long for their order to arrive, anyway?”
“Maybe they haven’t ordered yet,” she assumes, “‘cause you’ve hypnotized them dead on.”