William tugged on my dress when we stepped into the Café Parisien. “Can we eat here every day?” he asked, his eyes big in amazement.
I put a finger up to my lips, embarrassed that someone might have heard. However, William didn’t mind my lack of response; he was too busy staring at the room, his head snapping from one end to the next.
My cousin’s excitement was quite justified, and I gazed around the fancy dinning room as well. The tables, some circle some square, were arranged a perfect distance from one another like pieces on a chessboard. Every single one was covered in a cream cloth, and the lace ends dripped over the edge of the table like icicles.
A long line of windows ran along the west wall letting the afternoon light spill in, which made the china sparkle a golden yellow. Out the windows, a breath taking view of the Atlantic was visible. In the far corner of the room sat a man in a tuxedo. He was playing a pleasant melody on his violin that drifted softly through the ocean air coming in from outside.
“It was designed to resemble a sidewalk café in Paris.” Jonathan announced in a knowledgeable tone. I looked down at him, pleasantly surprised with a smile on my face which he seemed to accept as encouragement. “Note the French Trellis-work on the walls, the wicker furniture, and the ivy and other creeping plants.”
“Well aren’t you well-informed man of the day,” I giggled, “I should start spending all my time with you. Maybe you could give me a tour of the ship?”
Jonathan blushed as I praised him.
“Where did all that come from?” Sam asked, as we waited for someone to seat us.
“This is mothers favorite room on the ship. She spent all day in here yesterday, reading her book and drinking tea. I had to sit with her for two whole hours!” Jonathan complained as if he suffered through some great misfortune.
“Oh no,” Sam gasped in mock horror. “How awful.” His younger brother just nodded his head.
“A table for four today?” A host asked, suddenly appearing. He guided us to a window seat, a stack of menus in his hand. The man flashed me a smile, but before he could pull out my chair, Sam was there pulling it back and guiding it across the wood floor like the gentleman he was. This earned him a small frown from the host, but he didn’t seem to notice as he settled himself in his own seat, and placed a napkin on his lap.
A server filled each of our glasses with ice water and a freshly squeezed lemon as we poured over the different lunch choices.
“Our daily options are listed below,” the host said pointing to a spot on my menu.
“And what are the specials today?” Jonathan asked without looking up. He sounded like an important businessman who always demanded respect. Sam and I exchanged quick smiles over the tops of our menus.
“Today we have a tomato basil soup with garlic rolls or ham and cheese on a fresh croissant. And of course,” he said turning back to me, “if there is something you care for, but can’t find on the menu just let me know. I will see what the chef can do.”
With one last smile in my direction, he bowed and walked away to leave us to our decisions.
“Well,” Sam grumbled and glared at the man’s retreating back. “He didn’t mention that yesterday.”
Nibbling on the end of my sandwich I watched William with careful eyes, as he scooped the melted remains of his ice cream out of the dish.
When the waiter came back to take our orders, I had decided on one of the specials. Something about the simplicity of a golden croissant just out of the oven made my stomach rumble.
Much to my horror, my cousin decided to order an ice cream Sunday for lunch. I glanced up at Sam, scared to see judgment in his eyes, but he surprised me. With a great booming laugh, he put down his menu an ordered the same thing. “But hold the peanuts,” He directed the waiter, “I’m allergic.”
The food was delivered shortly after, and I prayed that not a drop of chocolate wound up on Williams shirt. After he put down his spoon, wiped his mouth, and sat back contently, I allowed myself a breath of relief. That had been a small miracle.
Sam as it turns out, was even more of a sweetheart then I had imagined. Jonathan realized a little too late that the chicken he ordered was not what he wanted. He started longingly at his brother’s dish as it was placed on the table. Without being asked Sam switched his beautiful pile of cold cream, chocolate, bananas, strawberries and toffee, for his brother’s grilled chicken topped with a mushroom sauce.
The door to the dining room rattled as another guest stepped in. “Mrs. Morley, how nice to see you.” I heard the host greet over the tune of the violin. Curious, I lifted my head at the familiar name.
The woman standing at the door was tall and bony; the sharp angles of her face making her look malnourished. At one point in her life she must have been beautiful, but now she looked wasted away.
The dark navy dress she wore hung loosely around her shoulders and made her skin look as white as the gloves she was wearing. Fastened around her neck was a ruby drop that glittered in the sunlight streaming through the wall of windows. I was curious as to how any woman could wear such a jewel and not feel like she was going to fall over, especially Mrs. Morley. It looked as if it would snap her neck.
“Table for three.” She said without even looking at the host.
Samuel looked over his shoulder and turned back to me with a groan. “Mother,” was all he said.
My eyebrows shot up in surprise. No wonder the name sounded familiar. As Sam and Jonathan’s mother walked closer, I could clearly see the similarities: the bright red hair, and tall lanky limbs.
Then, I noticed a girl who had hurried in behind his mother. It was the same beautiful girl that Sam had escorted onto the ship, the same girl that had been at the back of my mind this whole afternoon. Who was she? Surely Sam wouldn’t have spent a carefree afternoon with me if this girl meant anything to him. Would he?
As they neared the table, I slouched in my seat, trying to hide. My palms became sweaty as Sam did the same, hoping that his mother wouldn’t notice him. Jonathan pushed his dish away as if it were on fire, fear flashing in his eyes. Now I could feel my heart fluttering in my chest. They looked just as afraid as I did.
Peering at their mother, I watched as her gaze swept over our table. “Samuel, Jonathan!” Mrs. Morley squawked when she recognized them. “Where have you two been?”
YOU ARE READING
The Junk DrawerRandom
This is a collection of stories that, at the moment, I do not have time to finish. Either I have lost interest in them or I have hit a wall when it comes to writing them. Hopefully I will be able to finish them in the future... This collection also...