She was peeking at me from under her pillows, smiling and blinking her soft brown eyes slowly. I touched the tip of her nose, traced her lips and chin then held her soft hand.
"Good morning Rachel" I whispered. She broke into a small smile and said "Good morning Jonathon".
I got up from our bed and put another log in the fireplace and stirred the other hot coals around. Rachel sat up with the sheet wrapped around her,
“Put on another log and come back to bed”. I smiled looking into the fireplace,
“Nothing would thrill me more angel, but we got to get up and get ready for the morning regulars that I am sure already have their morning paper and ready for your morning pick me up brew.” She playfully swatted me with her pillow.
“You’re no fun…” she said in a giggling voice
She turned on the shower and dropped the white sheet to the floor. She had on my favorite nail polish (red) painted on her pretty little feet. I just sat on the edge of the bed and looked at her beautiful silhouette stepping into the shower. She drew the shower curtain and her slow seductive “woman dancing in rain” show had started. She always knew I was watching as she raised her long arms up and squeezed the water soaked sponge over her head. I took a deep breath exhaled, and partially made up the bed and headed down stairs to get the morning coffee pots started for the soon coming customers.
I heard her coming down stair stepping slowly to make sure I was going to be watching her approach. Her wet curly hair and simple smile was always the best part of starting my day.
“Coffee?” I asked. She pursed her lips
“Of course. Are you going to sweetin’ it with a kiss and smile?”
I kissed the cup, put in her hands and put my hands around hers, smiled and said “from my hands to yours this cup I give, without you I could not live” then kissed her hands, both her shoulders, her nose, then slowly her lips. She closed her eyes and smiled.
Our waiting customers broke out into applause from outside the doors. We both looked at the door and waved to them. I grabbed the keys to the door as she turned on the open sign and the lights. Our morning had started as it always had with a cup of coffee and kiss.
It was how we met, she a small coffee café owner and me an artist and musician just stoppin’ by for some coffee. I had strolled in one day with my guitar, laptop, and notebook under my arm and was in the mood for some good hot espresso. She came over to my table.
“Coffee?” I was spell bound for the first few moments as I looked up at her.
“Ahhhh, yeah” was all that could get out.
“House brew, espresso, or latte?” she asked.
“Espresso, double shot please. O’ and do you have WiFi?” I asked.
“Double espresso coming up and yes, we have WiFi. Just select Coffee Talk when you see it” she said.
I watched her sashay away with her apron wrapped around her delicate waist and coffee pot in hand. “Wow. What a girl” I thought to myself as I flipped open my laptop, laid out my song book and pen. She showed up with my espresso in hand, a smile and saucer of little morning cookies.
“Just in case you need a little something to nibble on” she said.
Our hands touched slightly as I reached for my espresso and morning cookies. Our attraction was slow and simmering like April flowers reaching for the sun’s warm morning rays. I smiled.
“You’re welcome, I am Rachel the owner and you are?”
“Hi Rachel, I am Jonathon and I am glad to meet you.”
“I assume you play music?” She asked. “Yes I do”.
“Well tomorrow afternoon I have poetry readings and if you want you can play a few songs”
I was nearly speechless again but did manage to say “I would like that. I have some great material and some standards”.
“Good, then we have a date” she said.
A date I thought to myself. She didn’t have to ask me twice.
“What time should I be here?”
“Five O’clock works for you?”
“Five O’clock works for me”. “Very well, I’ll see you tomorrow I hope” she said with a shy smile.
“I’ll be here at five Rachel, I promise”…
Part 2 – “I’ll play music for you”
I woke up in great anticipation of today’s gig at Rachel’s Café. I knew that this afternoon was “our date” I smiled to myself while looking in the mirror and shaving. I went through some of my best material in my mind to play for her. I slipped on some jeans, sneaks, a Tommy Bahama shirt, and spritzed on some Calvin Kline “MAN”, grabbed my laptop and headed out the door to see Rachel and have a cup of espresso.
Her café was a nice five blocks away. Not too close but far enough away so I wouldn’t be tempted to go there every hour on the hour to sneak a peek at her. It was a sunny day with a high of seventy five according to the weather forecast. It took me about fifteen minutes to walk to her shop.
I could see it just a block away. It was white with pink and purple trim around the window and door frames. Her sign was the same colors with the name “Rachel’s Café & Poetry Shop”. I was standing on the corner waiting for traffic to go by before crossing. I could see Rachel through the window with her pink apron on and coffee pot in hand pouring cups and talking to customers. Her curly hair was in a pony tail with a couple of pencils darting out. She was just darn cute.
I made it across the street and opened the door. The little bell above the door chimed and announced my entrance. Rachel looked up as I was closing the door behind me. Our eyes met and as our smiles united. She made a small hand wave at me like a little kid and gestured coffee holding up the coffee pot in her hand and raising her eyebrows. I nodded and point to a two chair table in the corner near the side window. She smiled back and formed the word "okay" with her lips. We said so much without saying a word to each other.
I weaved through the other tables to get my mine, sat down and opened my laptop. I could see Rachel coming towards smiling with a fresh pot of coffee.
“Hi Jonathon” she said in a bright beaming voice.
“Good morning Rachel”
“Regular or Decaf”
“Regular” I said. She poured me a cup slowly looking at me the whole time.
“So do you know what you are going to play this afternoon?” she asked after stopping her perfect pour.
“Yes. I have three songs picked out”
“Don’t tell me. Surprise me. I know they’ll be good.” She said.
“I hope” I said with a little concerned voice.
“Don’t worry Jonathon. I can see the musician in you” she said tapping her fingers on the table before walking away.
I took a deep breath and watched her swaying blue jean hips fade back into the crowd of customers.
I knew exactly what songs I was going to play. I saw a white piano near the area where I would perform. Rachel didn’t know it yet, but I played piano too. This was going to be the perfect surprise for her. I am going to play “How to save a life” by The Frey. This was a song I heard on Grey’s Anatomy one of my favorites TV shows. It was the perfect opening song. Then I would follow it up with “The nearness of you” by Nora Jones. Then the final song I’ll play on my guitar is “Fields of gold” by Sting. I really thought long and hard on my selections and knew they would be perfect to tell her in three songs how I am falling for a girl that just walked into my life with a coffee pot and a smile.
She came back to my table and stood next to me and nudged me softly “warm up?” she asked. I looked up from my laptop, nudged her back, and held out my cup “pour your heart and soul into until it over flows with you”. She smiled while filling up my cup and said “Say when?”. “Never” I said smiling and looking into her eyes. She nudged me again with her hip. “What I am I going to do with you?” she said smiling and walking away.
I finished my second cup of coffee, closed my laptop picked up the bill and walked to the register. She was smiling at me when I was standing in line second customer back. “Do you take kisses for tips?” I asked. She broke into a blushing smile “Store them up for me. My day isn’t over yet.” I paid her and blew her a kiss as I stood in the door way to leave. She threw her hands up in the air and pretended to catch it as we waved good goodbye to each other.
Part 3 – Pillow Talk “The performance for Rachel”
It was four thirty when I looked at my watch. I finished off the last few bites of my sandwich, packed up my guitar, grabbed my laptop, notebook and headed out the door to Rachel’s. “This is it. I’ve got one good chance to let her know how I am beginning to feel about her” I thought to myself. I walked almost with a sprint. My excitement was building the closer I got to her shop. I stopped on the corner across the street from her café. I took a deep breath and walked slowly across the street and up to her front door.
People were sitting at tables sipping coffee, peering into laptops, and reading. I opened the door and the little bell rang. Rachel was walking back to the register when she heard it. She stopped, turned around slowly and began to smile when she saw it was me standing in the doorway with my guitar in hand. I smiled back. She looked more beautiful to me now than she did this morning. I gestured “I am ready” by lifting up my guitar case to her. She formed a thumbs up sign to me and winked. It was amazing how we could say so much to each without uttering a single word.
I walked over to meet her at the register.
“Well I am here and ready” I said.
“I’ve been waiting all day for arrival” she said putting down a coffee pot.
“Can I set my guitar by the piano?”
“Yeah, it’ll be safe there. Want a coffee?”
“You bet. Double shot espresso please”
She smiled and went to espresso machine and began working her magic over the brew that would soon be touching my lips. She knew I was watching her as I stood there admiring her.
“Here you go.” She said holding out the cup to me. Our hands couldn’t help but touch.
“Thank you” I said looking into her eyes.
“You’re welcome” she said gazing back at me then went to the counter to get a pastry for a customer.
I took my espresso over to a table near the little stage where I would be performing. One by one poetry readers came up and recited great works of poetry. More and more people began showing up and soon the café was full to capacity. Butterflies began to circle in my stomach as I was going over my songs in my head. Rachel came up to me.
“Are you ready?”
“More than you’ll ever know Rachel.”
She walked up to the little stage, went up to the microphone .
“Without further dew I present a man and his music… Jonathon.”
I took a deep breath, and went up to the stage, open my guitar case and adjusted the microphone.
“Hello everyone, I’ve been looking forward to this all day and hope you will enjoy the music I have selected for you.” I said looking out over the crowd then at Rachel. She smiled and winked.
I started playing “How to save a life” by The Frey. I felt my heart pouring out to Rachel with every strum of my guitar and every word. I flowed effortlessly into “The nearness of you” by Nora Jones. The crowd was looking up at me with approval as Rachel just watched me with a smile, clutching her hand towel swaying to the sound of my music. My heart was pounding with great joy as I looked out at the crowd then over at Rachel again. I faded out of the song I was playing then got up and walked over to the piano. I changed my mind about playing my guitar on the last song.
The surprise on Rachel’s face was priceless. She looked at me with the biggest smile ever and began walking over to me at the piano as I was lifting up the keyboard cover.
“You are an amazing man” she said in a soft whisper.
“You are walking in my fields dreams Rachel and I am glad you are part of one of the most important moments in my life.” I said looking into her eyes as I started playing.
She kissed my cheek and went over to a table and watched me play. The moment was incredible. I had accomplished what my heart had set out to do. Just as I was about to finish playing the song, Rachel got up and came up to the stage, picked up my guitar and started playing “Fields of gold” with me. Small tears welled up in my eyes because I could not believe what was I was seeing and hearing. I washed them back as we both began to sing in harmony.
The crowd started applauding and standing up. They could see the magic of our affections for each other began to form through our music and our voices singing as one. Rachel and I looked at each other as we slowly ending “our” song. We stood up and bowed to the crowd then slowly walked towards each other and embraced, then kissed deeply as they continued to applaud.
And that’s how it all started, over a cup of coffee and music between two artists. By the way… the sign on the front of the café now reads “RJ’s Café & Poetry House.