Those Eyes, Those Lips
copyright 2004, by Rosie the Riviter
It was a long shift, Gil was glad it was finally over. Seemed like all the night hours got longer and longer. Daytime wasn’t much better. He should be able to sleep. Still it had been five long years since he and Lady Heather last spoke. Five long, lonely years. God, where did the time go? He could still see the gentle green eyes with the fire behind them, those lovely lips, and how they tasted. Sigh, what was the sense? He beat his head in trying to make amends. She would have none of it. The flowers he sent, the florist called back and said they were refused. Going to the domain met with a polite, “Sorry Lady Heather is not available.” So now he just went thru the motions day in and day out.
Gil’s mother would enjoy the weekly trips to the Bellagio for High Tea. The crisp starched linens and the tux’ed waiters wearing white cotton gloves, while serving tea, reminded his mother and Gil of better days. When they lived in Los Angeles and she ran the art gallery. Now, Mother was gone, he was alone. Oh sure, Catherine was his best friend, but she was in a committed relationship and happy. I had so many chances there and didn’t take them. But then after meeting Lady Heather, no one could hold a candle to her. Nothing, no person, no job, no amount of crossword puzzles, roach racing, or even lectures. All he ever saw was those eyes, those lovely lips.
The waiter walked Gil over to a nice quiet table. The waiters remembered Gil and his mother. How much they enjoyed being there having tea among the art work. How Gil would sign and speak to and for her to the waiters. Soon, a lot of the waiters were learning sign. It still amazed Gil how much his mother was missed by so many people.
“Dr Grissom, what a pleasure to see you each week sir.” The captain of the waiters said. “Might I ask a favor please?”
Gil looked up and nodded. Too tired to really care.
“We are little over booked today. Might you allow a lovely young lady to share your table? She comes often and her mother is not with her today. Could I be so bold?”
Gil sighed inside ..gees I really don’t feel like making small talk. I just want to sit here enjoy a nice cup of tea and look at the paintings. “Of course, Joseph. I would be delighted.” Gil was good at lying. He managed to convince the team that he was doing fine and was happy. Sara was FINALLY getting the message. She was moving on the FBI headquarters in Virginia. That was one less thing he had to deal with everyday. Thank God for small favors !!! What a millstone around his neck since he asked her to come to Las Vegas. Now he could breathe without her under his nose all the time !!! Should have set that right long ago. For some reason now every time he thought of Sara, the song “Ding Dong The Witch is Dead” would pop into his head. Never could quite figure that out.
The waiter brought over a young lady of about 25 or so. Dressed in a knit dress that accented her flawless figure. Gil stood up as the waiter said, “This gentleman, was kind enough to share his table. I will bring the tea momentary.”
“Thank you so much. I do hope it’s not too much trouble. They seem to be getting more and more popular these High Teas. My name is Victoria.”
Gil looked up and froze. Those eyes, those lips....he shook his head to clear it.
The young lady started turning red. Gil was staring at her so hard.
“If it’s a problem, I can wait for a table. Really !”
“No! No! Please forgive me. You reminded me of someone I knew. You just ...please sit down.”
They both sat. Introductions were left to first names. After all it was just for this short time. Small talk was about all Gil could muster. He kept looking at her. Finally, the young lady said.
“Please forgive my rudeness, but tell me about her. The lady that broke you heart. I’m a good listener.”
“Well, I er ... “ Gil was normally under complete control. This young lady was so much like a young Lady Heather. She completely threw him.
“Oh forgive me! I didn’t mean to pry. I’ll just talk about the art work. I studied in college back East.”
“No, please forgive me. I haven’t spoken about her to anyone in a while. I’m not accustom to talking about myself.”
“Think of me as your bartender. Only with tea. My mother always makes tea for troubled times, for special occasions. Mother’s cure all.”
Gil chuckled. “Same here. Mother and I would come here every week, until she passed. She loved the artwork here. She had a gallery in Los Angeles before we moved here. I think this place made her happy. That’s why I still come here,. I still need to know she’s watching me.”
“The lady? If I’m not being so bold? Was she pretty? What did she do? Where did you meet her? Oh, I’m sorry I want you to talk and I’m going on and on! Please.”
Gil sipped some tea, sat back and sighed. “It was oh, five years ago....” His eyes glazed over. “I met her thru my job. The electricity in the room when we met was..... All I could see was those eyes and those lovely lips. We had one glorious night before my job interfered. I chose my job over her. And I tried for months after that. She wouldn’t have it. I cut her too deep. And there hasn’t been anyone since. My job is my life now as it was before her. I’m wondering if maybe I should have tried harder. I wonder what my life would be like now. Surely not so empty.” Gil looked down at the tea cup. “But then, I wouldn’t be here talking to you and being the envy of every man in this room!”
Victoria blushed. “Oh Mr Gil, that was sweet. I think maybe she was the one making a mistake. You seem to me an old fashion gentleman. And there are not many of them left in the world. Oh, I’m sorry that didn’t come out quite right !” She was blushing again.
Gil’s one eyebrow raised and he started to chuckle. “No, no it’s ok. I totally understand what you meant and thank you. My mother would have been happy to hear that.”
They continued small talk for another hour or so. Gil realized how wonderful it was to just talk to someone about anything. He could do that with Lady Heather. Oh, how he missed that. But this young lady....there was something about her. He was looking at her again, but not really hearing her.
“Mr Gil....you are staring again.”
“I am so... forgive me. It’s been a long time since I just sat and enjoyed a pleasurable couple of hours with a lovely woman. Thank you. And again I am sorry for staring. You just remind me of her so much.”
“Well then Mr Gil, would you allow me to be so bold as to ask if you will be here next week? I come on Wednesdays usually with my mother. But she’s out of town for a month on a vacation. And I really enjoy my tea time. I would love to talk with you again.”
“I will look forward to it. Until next week. Please allow me to take care of the check.”
“Really, I couldn’t, you were so kind to..”
“No, please. You don’t know how much I enjoyed this.’
“Well...thank you. And I will see you next week, same time?”
“Adieu, parting is such sweet sorrow. Adieu. Until next week.”
As she walked away, she turned and smiled one last time at Gil. He waved back...those eyes, those lips.
For the next three weeks they met over tea. Never going past first names. It was safer that way. She mentioned her mother as a strong, successful business woman who ran an internet site. Gil didn’t ask too prodding a question. Just enough to sound interested and polite. She inquired about his job not too much just enough. They just enjoyed spending time together. Like father and daughter. On the fourth week, the young lady mentioned her mother was coming home and she would love it if she would be allowed to bring her next week to tea.
“I think you two might find you have a lot in common. Mother wouldn’t feel like it’s a blind date nor would you I hope. Just chat over tea and sandwiches. Would that be ok? Please?”
Gil smiled. He really didn’t want to share this time with anyone let alone with this young woman’s mother. She would probably think him an old kook, after some sweet young thing. When really it was just nice to have someone to talk to.
“Well, if you mother agrees then ok. But it’s not a date! I’m just not interested. Ok?”
Smiling, she surprised Gil by giving him a peck on the cheek. Her perfume lightly tickling his nose. I KNOW that perfume....where???? No it couldn’t be... He looked up and she was gone.
Gees, a whole week! Well, got plenty of work to keep me busy. Funny, he felt little antsy. Strange it’s NOT a date. Just tea.
Gil did his usual job, spent mornings listening to music and trying to sleep. Tuesday night’s shift came around pretty quick...Gil seemed a bit antsy. Started biting few heads here and there.
“Gil...what is your problem tonight?” Catherine asked. “You’re like a thousand light years away. Where are you? I know it’s not PMS. But you sure are acting like it.”
“Sorry Cath. Just got something I want to do. Would you mind if I left early? Can you cover for me?”
“Well, sure. Are you ok? “
“Fine! Fine! Really, I just have something I am doing today and want to go home first. Thanks Cath” Gil picked up his current reading material, clocked out and left. Driving home to Henderson he found himself humming. Chuckling... I feel like a school boy...this is NOT a date.. Then why am I so antsy? Go home, shower, shave, put on a suit and head back to the Bellagio. Nice tea and company and that’s it. It was nice while it lasted. I know her mother will say... “You are not having tea with that old geezer again” He would probably never see Victoria again. Shame he was actually happy for the first time in five years....those eyes, those lips. Whoa, look at the time get a move on.....
Gil was sitting at the usual table when he spotted her. Funny I don’t see anyone with her. Just as well. Maybe she decided not to come. He stood up and was looking at the two single roses one pink and one red. Pink for Victoria and red for the mother. Nothing fancy just a nice little something.
“Mother will be here shortly. She’s in the powder room” Victoria sat down opposite of Gil. Gil handed her the pink rose. “Oh Mr Gil, you are so sweet !! I know Mother will love you too!”
Gil’s back was to the room he didn’t see the mother coming. “Ah, here we are. Mother this is Mr Gil. The man I’ve told you about.”
Gil started to stand and froze. The perfume. There was electricity in the air. He had the rose in his hand to present it to her and he stopped. His mouth slightly opened. He finished standing and turned. A slight gasp rose from Lady Heather. She shook his hand and took the rose. Both trying not to look so startled.
“Thank you, Mr Gil. My daughter for some reason never mentioned your name.” Lady Heather looked at her daughter, green eyes with fire behind them. “She said she has enjoyed the last month having tea with you.. I thank you for taking good care of her for me”.
“Are you two going to sit or stand all afternoon?”
Gil sheepishly held the chair for Lady Heather. As she sat, he took in a deep breath of her hair. How he remember that hair spread over the pillow in the morning. She still looks the same. Those eyes, those lips. God please!! Make this afternoon last forever!!!
He could hear some of the things Victoria was saying. But all he could see was Lady Heather. She was making a statement here and there. Gil served the tea.
“No sugar, right?” as he poured Lady Heather’s cup.
“Now HOW would you know that? Mr Gil you are amazing. You knew how Mother takes her tea. See, I said you two would hit it off? Oh dear, I just remembered, I have an appointment. I best be off. Mother I’ll see you at home. Bye Mr Gil!” She fluttered off like a butterfly. Gil didn’t even notice. All he could see were those eyes, those lips.
“Well, ‘Mr GIL’, how have you been? It has been a while. I hope you are well.”
Gil swallowed hard. “I’m ok. Been fine. Working hard....I ah....oh who am I kidding Heather my life has been hell since I blew our relationship. I’ve been for the last five years, wandering around like a man in a desert. Dying of thirst. Heather please. Can we at least talk?”
Lady Heather looked down at her hands. The last five years were lonely for her too. Only thing that saved her was her daughter coming home. Lady Heather got out of the business and was just doing the website side of it now. She found she just didn’t want to do as much after THE MISTAKE. “Well Mr Grissom....”
“You used to call me Gil. Please Heather”.
“Well, shall we start with a cup of tea and see where this goes?”
The biggest smile Gil ever had in his life spread across his face. ”Anything you say Lady Heather. I will do anything you say”.
Lady Heather smiled. Inside she was thinking... “I’m still in control...”
copyright 2004, by Rosie the Riviter