Golden amsec stood smooth as morning lakes in the glittering basins of crystal flutes, reflecting smiles white as Christmas snow. John, dressed in his captain’s whites, lifted his glass and proposed a toast. “To our guest, the elegant lady Kyra, a sight most glorious in her singular grace and beauty.”

Hear, Hear resounded round the table as glasses chimed like church bells, echoes softened in the warmness of welcomed endearments. Kyra’s eyes welled as John’s words rained down upon her refulgent blue eyes. Instinctively, she leaned her head back to hold the tide and inhaled deeply, to stay a sniffle or calm her racing breath could not be said. Nor did it matter. Words, amsec, or perhaps something else, magic was magic and these moments were few and far between. Questions, she checked at the door; to be picked up later, if need be.

Together they raised flutes of golden fruit and she smiled. Not so much at him, as with him, like children on a merry-go-round going up and down and all around to the measure of laughter unencumbered by the gravity of age. And he smiled back in a gesture understood only by two in the discourse of the moment. Others were there, that night, at dinner. So the log testifies. But then again, they may as well been the trees in the forest or the birds overhead.

The table stood resplendent with the bounty of private reserves and select delicacies prepared by hand and arranged on whey linens shipboard smooth. Much came from the prowess of John’s own hands on his ancestral lands. Pure and natural, he would say, but truth be known, he needed the bond to home on these long journeys. Although John would not admit it at the time, he had advised the kitchen, in so many words, to spare no detail this night.

Not since formal Tao dinners with Papa had Kyra seen such care and attention given to an event, giving pause to reflection both melancholy and grateful. Much was eaten; much was said, little remembered. Conversation flowed from loose lips but the eyes alone rendered currency legit, a private duet waltzing to the beat of attentive hearts. Kyra wore her ruby red metalique evening gown that night and she feared the pounding in her chest would betray her longing in glimmering swells of rising metal and flickering light. John wondered how a woman could appear more gorgeous.

Kyra tried not to look, but how could one not stare at his dark brown puppy dog eyes. Somewhere was the sound of water flowing, or perhaps, she thought, just the desire to pour herself into those bottomless pools of reflected admiration, forever slipping deeper and deeper into his intoxicating charisma. She leaned his way in her reserved sultriness, almost daring him to break eye contact, a tacit dare, understood in the curve of a smile. Dessert came and then after-dinner liqueurs of azure blues and emerald greens, exotic on the tongue, familiar in the belly.

John made eye contact with his regular guests and one by one they offered their thanks and excused themselves from the table. Kyra noticed without noticing until just the two remained. (to be continued)

Categories: Story, Kyra, John Discovery

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