Charm of the Moon Rose - 4 (UNEDITED DRAFT)
“Do your cheeks hurt yet?”
He pointed to his own face with a smile. “You haven’t said a word or stopped smiling since we pulled away from the curb back near the museum.”
She looked back at the car when he locked it. Even in the moon's growing light the mechanical masterpiece looked like an inorganic creature from some distant planet. “I need to get me one of those.”
He laughed. “One of the most enjoyable purchases I’ve ever made.”
“Purchase? You drove it down here from San Francisco?”
He easily slid his hand over hers and started walking them toward the building.
There was enough light to see the building was made mostly of glass on the upper half and the lower half shared metal and brick as it’s facade. It was difficult to tell the color of the materials.
“I thought you lived in the Bay Area?”
“I do. I own a home in Malibu as I’m in L.A. quite a bit for work and play as well.”
Her eyebrows raised with surprise even though he wasn’t looking at her.
“Oh.” It made sense. He was worth millions maybe even billions.
“If you’re down here so much why don’t you live here? Move here permanently?”
“Well, my company is in Silicon valley which leaves L.A. as my escape pod away from work and the stresses that go along with it.”
“Hmmm. I would think you’re so busy that you wouldn’t have much time to enjoy the luxuries.”
He shrugged. “I make time for what I want.” He squeezed her hand.
She frowned finally tearing her eyes away from him long enough to notice him leading her down some dark illit path.
“Where are you taking me.”
He chuckled. “The night garden is back here.”
She pulled closer to him uncertain why she was suddenly scared. A million truths started racing through her head some including how little she knew about the man, she really just met him the day before and briefly at that. If you would call two hours of mindless chatter in a coffee shop briefly. For all intents and purposes he was a myth that she’d heard about and not--
Her thoughts fractured and a giddy joy pushed through her body when her eyes took in the marvel in front of her.
She looked up at him.
“I was hoping we'd get here to see the flowers open up.”
“This is so beautiful. I’d read about midnight flowers of course but--” She stopped speaking and closed her eyes inhaling the air.
She hadn’t noticed that she abandoned Lex until she heard his light amusement caught on the current of the wind. She looked over her shoulder at him and smiled. The air was filled with the fragrant flowers mixing and blending in an olfactory orchestra of scents. She gasped and made her way over to a flower. “Brugmansia! Oh look at her delicate blossoms hang.” She fluttered over to another flower, which looked like the previous one, but with a round rather than trumpet-shaped bulb. “Moonflower. How fitting.” She glanced back at Lex who was strolling after her with his hands tucked neatly in his pocket. “And of course, the Japanese Wisteria. I smelled her at the entrance.” She spun around like a child might. “This place is pure magic.”
More light laughter. “I’m glad you liked it. I come here often to think. It’s where I wrote most of my speech for the Gala.”
“Yes,” he stretched out the word. “It’s what the host is expected to do.”
“Okay, let’s hear it then.”
“I don’t have the speech in front of me, so let’s see how much I’ve committed to memory.” He cleared his throat. “Ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for...” She closed her eyes and let the fragrant flowers fill her lungs and the deep undulations of his voice filled her ears.
Contentment settled on her and allowed her to relax her shoulders. Her mind felt at ease for once in a long while. So long she couldn’t put a date or time on it.
“So what’s your feedback?”
She opened her eyes and shrugged. “It’s, uh, nice.”
He laughed. “Nice? Ok, what does that even mean.”
She shrugged and kept walking down the path. “It’s a good speech.” Her breath caught when she felt him coming up beside her. So close, so tall. He looked even taller with the shadows of night exaggerated his features. “That’s not what you said the first time.”
“I’m not criticizing it. It’s a good speech.”
“But it could be better.”
She shrugged annoyed at the simple motion. “We can make most things better.”
“Okay, Doctor. Tell me what I might do to make it better.”
She frowned and focused her attention on her feet. One foot in front of the other was so simple yet it could take you so many places. “It’s missing something.”
“Like--” she looked up at him the moon capturing the outline of his full lips. She swallowed and licked her own. “Like, you.”
He frowned down at her. “Explain please.”
“There’s nothing personal in it. It’s just building up the organization which is great, but there’s no why. Why are you, Lexington Law, sponsoring this particular event?”
He exhaled and his gaze averted to his shoes, but he was silent.
They kept walking hand in hand in silence and she started questioning herself. Had she said too much? Did she offend him? Some people say they want feedback when all they really want is assurance. She didn’t see Lexington in that light, but--
They stopped walking and she brought her attention to the man. His brows were furrowed and exaggerated in the dim lighting. He glanced up at her. “I never told anyone this, not even close friends, but I’m dyslexic.”
The news, for some odd reason hit her like a gust of wind. She wasn’t sure why she was so surprised, she knew the statics about dyslexia.
“Growing up I spent most of my time trying to hide it. I was ashamed felt dumb.”
“Where do you fall on the spectrum.”
“It’s not so bad. Some letters get jumbled up in my head but audio books were my saving grace. I liked that all your content even magazine publications were in audio format.”
“I’m glad I decided to do that.”
“I didn't know then, but spending so much time with you I can now know that you narrated all of them.”
She made a move to continue their stroll. “It was a pain in the ass, but I wanted it to be authentic, like I was talking directly to people.”
“You have this calm, soothing voice. You can just hear the intelligence, the precision of word choice and inflection in your voice. You should narrate nature documentaries.”
She laughed. “I’m not sure I’d make a career out of it.” She pulled her hand from his and slid it around his waist pulling close to his side. He put his arms around her shoulder and allowed her to rest her cheek on his chest. She could hear his heart beating under her ear, the scents from the flowers, the feel of the breeze. That moment, that memory solidified itself in her mind.
She opened her eyes knowing what she wanted her next book to be about: Making Memories. It was fascinating. A topic she didn’t spend too much time in, but if she thought about it more she realized it was worth pursuing.
The insistent splashing of water brought her attention to a small waterfall and fountain appearing in front of them. They slowed and he pulled away. He faced her and glided his hand around her falling in the dip in her back. Her hands slid up his shirt, around his neck and rested there as their eyes tangled around one another. There was more light in that area and she could make out his facial features better.
He stroked her jaw with his thumb and wrapped his finger around the nape of her neck gently stroking the sensitive skin there. “I’ve been to this place many times before and yet it’s somehow changed.”
Her fingers stroked the fine hairs on the back of his neck and she felt a shiver move through him. His eyes fell to her lips and hers to his and he descended to claim them.
She exhaled and leaned into him as his hands slid up her back and pulled her close against him. She angled her face and their tongues met as if they’re danced that dance before.
“Excuse me. The park’s closing in five minutes.”
The interruption was enough to pull them from their trance, but not enough to startle them out of their daze.
“You said you had a house in Malibu?”
He nodded. His thumb was stroking her jaw intently.
“Is it on the ocean?”
The corner of his mouth lifted. “Naturally.”
“I’d like to see it, please.”
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