lunch-with-chelsea

Read Between The Lines (8)

Chapter 7.2

Chapter 8


ROMAN

There was something refreshing about waking up in my own bed. Fresh sheets. Comfortable bed. Familiar space. And just the sheer thrill of being in my own space. No one to bother me about this and that.

But there was someone else in my space, and I loved it. There was something refreshing about waking up to a woman who wasn’t a one-night stand, a friend with benefits, or a regular screw.

There was something else refreshing about waking up to a woman you had deep feelings for. A woman who with one glance can make you weak at the knees, can wake the butterflies in your stomach, can make you just want to smile, make you feel happy and make you want to give her everything and anything. A woman whom with one touch of a hand could undo me.

She was sleeping peacefully and well relaxed, and I couldn’t help but stare as I thought. I felt at peace with her, comfortable with her to be myself, everything was effortless and felt natural. For the first time in a while I felt happy. Truly happy.

I wanted to wake her up so I could indulge in her presence, hear her voice, hear that laugh, see her smile. I wanted to see her stroke her neck when she was smiling shyly or nervously, her eyes crinkle when she laughed, her eyes widen enthusiastically when she was excited or telling me a story with fond memories.

But I couldn’t. She’d crossed enough time zones within two days and deserved the rest. We got to Pensacola in the evening last night, hungry as hell and ended up eating whatever occupied the cupboards. I’d suggested take-out but she was both too tired and hungry to wait for it. So cooking was out of the question too. We stuffed our faces with Oreos, gummy bears, chips, and Nutella spread on everything. My trainer would have a heart attack if he saw me at it.

The least I could do was get breakfast sorted, so I climbed out of bed, showering and got dressed, she was still sleeping. I made a run to the grocers to restock the fridge. When I returned, I found her sitting on the couch, legs tucked under and in my shirt, browsing through the TV.

“Hi,” she said the moment I walked.

“Hey beautiful, you’re up,”

“Yeah, a full 12 hours of sleep! I’ve never done that before. I feel brand new,” she said cheerfully.

“Good, I need you energised,” I winked at her then I realised it’d come off as an innuendo. Definitely not my intention. “I got food, I’m making breakfast, I know you’re hungry,”

“I sure am,” she said standing up, adjusting the shirt self-consciously and following me into the kitchen. “Can I help make it?”

“Mhhh-mmmh,” I smiled and walked over, pecking her lips and opening the fridge behind her to store away the items. “Hi,”

“Hi,” she said getting embarassed, hiding her face and stroking her neck.

“You’re not doing anything today, you’re gonna sit and relax, I’ll cook,”

“Don’t poison me,” she said pulling out a stool and slid onto it.

“I’ll have you know that I’m a good cook,”

“Oh yeah? You rub me off as a take-out kinda guy,”

“I would if I could, I’m not allowed to eat 90% of that stuff. It’s a sad life really,”

“It really is, no burgers? No fries? No ice cream, no nachos, no hot dogs, oh my - no waffles…coffee with cream, you might as well be a vegan!”

“Keep going you’ll be making your own breakfast,” I turned around to look at her.

She pursed her lips and mimicked zipping them.

But then she spoke again, “So what’s for breakfast chef?”

“Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon, pineapple and mango smoothie,”

She went silent and made a worried face, “I’m allergic to pineapples and I’m lactose intolerant,”

I mirrored her expression, in full panic mode. How had I not even thought to ask her? I started looking through the bag desperately, looking at the ingredients to see what I could make spontaneously.

“Okay, no problem, we can work around it-”

“Roman, relax,” then she started laughing. “I was just joking,”

I pursed my lips this time and just looked at her blankly.

“I’m sorry,” her laugh escalated. “Your face though, it was worth it,”

“Ha-ha!” I threw a sachet of the hollandaise mix at her.

“You jackass,” she cried, smoothing out her hair. “I need to have a shower, can I borrow a towel pleeaase?”

“Take everything from me why don’t you? You’re already wearing my clothes, speaking of, heard anything from the airline?”

“No, I called and they still have no update. So, I’m gonna need to go shopping because it could be a while until it comes back,”

“Y'know, we don’t have a problem with nudity here in Florida?”

“Yeah, I’m sure you don’t,” she rolled her eyes. “So what’s the plan for today?”

“Up to you, what do you fancy?”

She thought for a few seconds before replying. “Umm, well I need clothes so a bit of retail therapy, then I kinda just wanna relax, then maybe go out for dinner?”

I nodded, “Up for relaxing at the beach?”

“You’re really trying to get me naked aren’t you?”

I laughed and shook my head, then shrugged and paused. “Yes, but that wasn’t the point. Don’t stress, I’m your tour guide, I’ll hook you up,”

“Now you’re talking,” she perked up.

____________

JEN

We left his place a couple of hours later because after breakfast, we spent an hour in his bed, doing nothing, talking and flirting. Then he wanted to be smart and tried to come in the shower with me, even though he’d had one already. I spent five minutes fighting him off, even though I didn’t want to because I liked his weight on top of me.

I managed to pick a few things from the shops, I was only here for three more days so I didn’t need much. It was better to buy what I needed because I didn’t have a guarantee of when my suitcase would be returned. If it even did. I took it for granted that it was an internal short haul trip, so I didn’t get travel insurance.

I made sure to not consider pyjamas on my shopping list though, I needed an excuse to wear his stuff to bed, it smelt so good and felt so comfortable. Okay, aside from the latter, I loved the way he looked at me in his shirt.

“You hungry? Cos I’m hungry,” he frowned as we left Sephora with a bag of new make-up I didn’t exactly need. I’d gone in there for a concealer and mascara, girl problems.

“We just had breakfast,” I laughed at him.

“Three and a half hours ago,” he looked at his wrist watch to confirm. “You not?”

“I’m not hungry, but I could do with something cold though, this place is so damn hot, I think I’m getting a heat stroke,”

“Hey, I warned you and told you you can be as nude as you want but you didn’t wanna listen,”

I rolled my eyes at him again, puffing a breath of air and faking annoyance.

“Whilst you let that sink in, I know this place that can rival any coffee New York can offer,”

“Mhhh, I don’t know about that, I’m a coffee connoisseur, it better be really good Roman. Don’t set yourself up for failure,”

“Watch,” he took my hand and led the way.

- - - -

The place he took me to for lunch, The Chelsea, was cosy albeit small. It was very old school; had a Victorian opulence about it that reminded me of London. It seemed out of place here, but beautiful nevertheless and I loved places like that.

He ordered a kale salad with salmon and a coffee, I settled for pastries and ice cream that he recommended.

“I’m waiting for my round of applause by the way,” he said later as the waiter tidied after us.

“For?”

“For the best coffee you’ve ever tasted,”

I clicked my tongue and clapped my hands softly, right in his face. “Thank you, Roman,”

“You are welcome,”

We loitered around, talking over iced coffees; they were pretty damn good. We talked about his job and being on the road with friends turned family. How long he spent on the road and how he always missed being home; despite all that he loved it too much to leave it. He talked about his dad being a wrestling role model and how close he was to his mom. I could see where the conversation was going; it’d soon be turned on me and my family and I didn’t fancy delving into that. Not whilst here. So I diverted the conversation back to his wrestling dynasty and we talked The Rock for a while.

By the time we left The Chelsea, it was around 5 and too late to go to the beach like he wanted so we made a note to do it tomorrow. I could see why he would want to; soak up those tense muscles in the sun and actually just get a day to relax, which he mentioned was rare.

- - - -

In the evening we had a dinner date; he persisted on calling it that. I liked it. We didn’t get many opportunities to ‘date’ because of our distance and time situation. Yes we spent hours on end catching up on the phone but it’s a different ball game being in each other’s space; more intimate and realistic. You really get a feel of the person, literally and metaphorically.

“I’m so happy I packed my heels in my cabin bag,” I called out to him from the bathroom as I moisturised my hair. “I’d have lost those, and had to buy more to go with my outfits,”

“Isn’t it the same as replacing clothes like you just did?” He called back, slight humour in his voice.

“There’s an art to buying shoes Roman, you invest in them, clothes…mhhh not so much, I personally get bored after a while so I rid of them easily,” I explained, I could hear him laughing. “That’s why I don’t mind so much about that suitcase, my valuable investments are still with me,”

“That and the fact that you can wear mine,” he said.

“Yeah, they’re comfy. By the way, I’m not as shallow as I’m coming off right now,” I put the final touch in my hair and dabbed on my new lipstick purchase from Sephora.

“This is the first time I’ve ever had a lecture about the art of buying shoes,”

I cut him off as I stood by the door, “How do I look?”

He did a double-take and I saw his eyes widen as did his lips into a smile. He had a way of looking at me, I couldn’t explain it but it felt good. It was so intense but comforting and glorifying. Like I mattered, like I didn’t have to do much to hold his interest.

“Refined, wow,” he said, stopping what he was doing entirely to make the statement and focus his attention on me.

And that’s exactly what I meant.

“Gimme a twirl,” he asked and I did. “I like. I mean you’re probably overdressed for a dinner on a weekday evening but you look so good, there’s no way I’m letting you get out of that dress. Did you get that dress today?”

“Mhhh-hmm,” I smiled. “Well I’m glad you finally want me to keep my clothes on,”

“Good taste, and well, regarding that naked situation - we’ll see how dinner goes,”

Dinner was lovely. Everything came together so effortlessly. He took me to this French spot by the beach, Par la Mer, right on the cliff. We dined al fresco, at one of his usual tables, he said. It gave a panoramic view of the beach down below, the well lit city, it was very remniscent of Ocean Drive; less artsy and buzzing, more elegant and relaxed. In his words, it was ‘refined’, so we were dressed for the occasion.

Conversation was lighthearted and fun. After our macaroons and pastries for desert, he pulled my chair right next to his. We sat side by side looking down at the beach that stretched out into the distance, lit up by lamps, which looked so spectacular, especially the further they were; they looked like twinkling stars. Silence was comfortable, sometimes necessary as we took in the beauty of his city.

He ordered a glass of wine which seemed to relax him a lot more, but even before that, I could tell his guard was down. He was definitely at home.

“You’re drinking tonight,” I commented, remembering on the first night we met that he said he refrained from it because of wrestling.

“Mhh,” he said in between a sip. “I’m celebrating…what was it you said that night we met? Life? That’s it, I’m celebrating life. I’m out with a beautiful woman, at home, no work for a few days, I can do what I want, eat what I want, wake up when I want… life’s good right now,”

I had to agree, and take inspiration to relax. I too had to let my guard down somehow and not let the thought of leaving and going back to work soon haunt me. I had to live in the moment, because really we were in the same boat. And that’s all we had.

“You sure make it sound good,” I laughed, resting my head on his shoulder.

“Because it is,” he kissed the top of my head and started rubbing circles on my exposed shoulder. “Wanna try some?”

“Are you trying to get me drunk?”

“Mhh-hmm, let’s see how much you can take,” he mumbled. “I might finally be able to get you naked,”

I loved how low his voice got, rumbling like we were exchanging secrets.

“You’re a bad influence, my dad warned me about boys like you. I suppose you still are one if you have to get me drunk to get me naked,”

He lifted the glass up to my lips and chuckled sarcastically, “Boy? You’re talking like I ain’t grown,” I half-smiled at him over the glass as he tipped it into my mouth. “What do you think?“

"It’s…” I pondered, the taste of the wine lingering in my mouth. “Fruity and edgy…silky-”

“This is about the wine right?” he chuckled.

“Yeah,” I laughed, hitting him on the chest to dismiss his sarcasm. “It’s actually nice,”

“Yeah? More?” His voice perked up, and I would have damn well downed the whole glass on that basis. I declined politely. “So you don’t ever drink?”

“No, I’ve done it before but I just never enjoy it. Even if I like a drink - the alcohol aspect puts me off, and I don’t mean it in an arrogant way. It’s just that I knew this one guy we used to hang out with who used to binge drink and it got out of control. He got out of control. You could see it messing with his head and I told myself to never drink or I could be psycho like him. Because I gathered when you drink, you don’t ever know how you’re carrying yourself because it distorts your perception anyway. And that scares me, to lose control like that,”

I felt his grip tighten on me, “What if you just control your intake? Make it a thing to have one glass of say, wine every so often?”

“What if that goes out of control? You start with one, then two, three and then start trying other things and it escalates. Surely he reached a point where he craved it so much and lost control? I don’t want that, I already have an addictive personality,” I punctuated with a small laugh.

“This guy was an ex-boyfriend?”

I froze for a second, wondering how he'dd added that up. Clearly I wasn’t vague enough. I was as vague as the old cliché of people getting advice for their mysterious “friends”.

I nodded, resting my palm flat against his chest, and I thought I could fall asleep like this. Life definitely was good. He planted another kiss on top of my head and took my hand in his, intertwining our fingers; both a reassuring gesture. I was glad that he didn’t ask anymore questions about him. I really didn’t want to ruin this moment by resuscitating buried emotions and the past. At least not now.

“I would ask to stroll on the beach,” he began changing the subject casually and I appreciated it so much.

“You’re going all out tonight with the romance,” I teased him.

“I’m a gentleman,” he argued. That was granted. “But those shoes don’t look very suited for the sand,”

“Oh these bad boys?” I lifted my legs in the air and rested them on his lap, flaunting my knee-high gladiator heels. He put a hand over them and held my legs in place. “Yeah, not very beachy. Their flat counterparts would suffice,”

“They’re very pretty and unusual,”

“Thank you, they are a symbol of my pledge of allegiance to the Roman Empire,” I’d been dying to say that in a cohesive sentence since the day I bought them. I saw his face light up but he hid a smile from me. His face flushed pink.

“I like that. You are officially my Empress,”

I wondered what that meant; for us. Was it a joke? Or was it his way of declaring that we were something serious?

“Yes!” I balled up a fist in excitment. “The ten minutes it took to strap them up was definitely worth it,”

He laughed, thinking I was joking. He stopped when I didn’t join in. “Oh, for real? Well, if it’s worth anything, I think you really look beautiful tonight,”

“Thank you, and yes, it’s worth it,”

“I’m glad,” he rested his head on mine.

“Come on Romeo, let’s go get that sand stuck between my toes, I’ll take the shoes off,”

“Just as I get comfortable?”

“Yes! Come on, you did want to go to the beach remember?”

“Mhhh,” he agreed. “One minute, let me just take this all in,”

We must have looked a sight to onlookers, like lovesick puppies. I hated seeing couples like that whilst out. I never got why they could never sit opposite each other like humans and keep their hands off each other until they were in privacy. But in that moment, I understood why. I was one of them. I was in the moment. Lost in it. He was the only person that mattered.I didn’t care what anyone thought, they didn’t feel what I felt in that moment. They’d never understand. I was truly happy in myself too. And that to me, was priceless.

________________

Chapter 9

"The Big Bang Theory"-Star Melissa Rauch wird zu Chelsea Clinton

Die amerikanischen Präsidententöchter bekommen ihr Fett weg! Für die politische Satire “The Secret Lunches of Chelsea & Ivanka” werden die Serien-Stars Melissa Rauch (37, “The Big Bang Theory”) und Zosia Mamet (29, “Girls”) in die Rollen von Chelsea Clinton (37) und Ivanka Trump (35) schlüpfen. Das einmalige Bühnenstück soll sich mit den Geschehnissen vor der Präsidentschaftswahl im November 2016 beschäftigen und dabei die ungewöhnliche Freundschaft der beiden Frauen und ihre unterschiedlichen Ansichten beleuchten, berichtet “The Hollywood Reporter”.

Das Ganze soll am 24. Juli in der Bar Joe’s Pub in New York über die Bühne gehen. Alle Einnahmen kommen der Organisation Planned Parenthood zugute. Melissa Rauch und ihr Ehemann Winston lieferten das Drehbuch dazu ab.

In einem gemeinsamen Statement der beiden heißt es, dass sie dem Rat von Meryl Streep (68) gefolgt seien, “ein gebrochenes Herz in Kunst zu verwandeln”. Ein Rat, den die Oscar-Gewinnerin in ihrer schon jetzt legendären Rede über US-Präsident Donald Trump bei den Golden Globes gegeben hatte. Die Freundschaft zwischen den “First Daughters” habe Rauch schlichtweg fasziniert. Durch diesen Filter wollten sie die “epische Achterbahnfahrt” vor der Wahl im November fiktional aufarbeiten.

Foto(s): F. Sadou/AdMedia/ImageCollect

Milestone Mash-Up

Thanksgiving has been one of those oh-shit-it’s-here holidays that I’ve done six ways to Sunday since Alberto died.

The first year, I fled to London alone, spread his ashes in Hyde Park and took E with a stranger. In the November Thursdays since, I’ve fed the homeless in California, feasted at the Standard in Meatpacking with a boyfriend, and taken a 97-year-old neighbor to lunch in Chelsea.

Last year, I finally returned to Alberto’s family’s table in New Jersey, but without contributing the signature dish I’d always brought when I was his wife.

Thirty pounds of potatoes are boiling on all four of my burners tonight, and it isn’t until I call my mom with a question about my grandmother’s recipe that it occurs to me that I haven’t made garlic mashed potatoes since I became a widow.

What startling beauty is found when you’re halfway done with a thing you’ve subconsciously avoided for the last five years?

You didn’t overthink: you just accepted a Thanksgiving invitation to the loft of one your gays and a fancy NYC chef.

And instead of agonizing about who was or wasn’t alive the last time you boiled this many potatoes on a November Wednesday, you just agreed to bring a side dish.

And instinctively knew which one it would be.

(Mostly because it’s the only one that you—the family vegetarian of more than 20 years—have managed to perfect.)

Doesn’t matter how or even when you finally arrived at this stove that’s firing on all cylinders.

You and your apron are here.

On your own volition.