I reluctantly pulled away from him the world around us shifting back into focus.
“Hey it’s almost 9:10pm, our movie starts in a few minutes. Do you want to grab a quick snack and head in? We can have dinner after if you’re game?”
He took his right hand and lifted his cap a few inches, using his long tapered fingers to run across his Caesar hair cut. I don’t know why this move made me want to swallow him whole. I clenched my jaw. Hard. Damn. He didn’t make it easy.
He gave me look I couldn’t read and replaced the cap on his head nodding.
“Yeah that sounds like a plan.”
I turned around to head for the concession stand deliberately giving him an eyeful. The dress left nothing untouched. It draped every curve and I damn well knew the effect it would have on him.
A random girl brushed past us but not before I caught the amused look on her face as she glanced up at Imtiaz.
Girl who is you playin with? Back that thang up. You’s a big, fine woman, won’t you back that thang up.
Just give me a chance tiger. I will give you whatever you want.
He fell in step behind me resting his hand lightly on the curve of my waist. Weird that everything between us felt so natural when it was anything but. I didn’t question. I was a kid who once again believed in magic.
I took my place on line. He was so close I could feel the outline of his chest behind me. He worked construction, was skinny but his shoulders were broad, veins ran along his defined forearms he was a little less than half a foot taller than me and though there wasn’t much of him, his arms, chest and shoulders were chiseled from stone. I couldn’t help but contemplate what else on him might have been rock hard.
What a wicked game to play. To make me feel this way.
He put a hand on either side of my waist and twisted me sideways so that I could see him. For such an intimate move I was neither surprised nor ill at ease. He hadn’t asked permission with his words or body and yet I consented all the same.
By God I know you.
I felt like Mina floating in Prince Vlad’s arms across the amphitheater with this stranger that felt like home.
“What would you like Catrina? Some soda, chocolate, nachos? Get whatever you want?”
The tenor of his voice made my eyes heavy with surrender, with the wanting of him. I knew how I felt about him from the jump but now that he was here in front of me control seemed so unimportant.
“I’d like a large water and Peanut M&M’s.” I smiled, enjoying the feel of his light fingers on my waist.
“No come on, that’s all you want? Please I want you to get everything that you want?”
Those ordinary words – why did they make me feel like a princess? Was I crazy? Foolish?
I smiled and looked at the ground before shyly bringing my eyes up to meet his.
“You’re so sweet. No but really that’s all I want. We’ll eat dinner after the movie.”
He nodded as I turned back to place the order with the awkward kid behind the counter whose AMC name-tag read “Gary.”
“What are you gonna have?” I asked turning slightly to the right.
Even though he’d switched his position and planted himself beside me, he still kept one hand lightly resting on my hip.
I was giddy. If Godzilla attacked I wouldn’t want him to move an inch.
“I might just sip on your water. I don’t want anything else.”
How intimate. If he was anyone else I would be like sip some of whose water? But of course he was like no other.
You two are like magnets. When he moves you move. It’s that undefinable Edward and Bella thing.
The theater was dark when we entered and previews had already begun flashing across the screen. There weren’t that many stellar seating choices since we were so late.
“Where would you like to sit Imtiaz?”
He smiled at me. There was an impression of a lone dimple embedded in his right cheek that I wanted to trace with my fingertip. And I knew instinctively that I would at some future point.
He shrugged his shoulder. “I’m good with wherever you want to sit Catrina.” He smiled and his eyes glistened in the darkness.
He had a slight hint of an undetermined accent. Many foreigners tend to enunciate certain words more carefully than Americans and he was no exception. His G’s and T’s were more pronounced.
Hey Bengali, what would you say if this American GT told you where she really wants to sit?
Foolish, incoherent thoughts were colliding inside of me.
So we would not have to break our neck I found a cozy spot far enough from the screen back toward the end of the aisle. There was a couple of the Caucasian persuasion to the left of me. The guy was sitting beside me. He spied us coming and his eyes went a little wide once he got a load of my dress. You’re far from alone there ChuckE!
I sat down and crossed my legs angling my body toward Imtiaz. He opened the water dropped in a straw and offered it to me. Hmm, such a gentleman. I dug it big time. I couldn’t help but wonder if I looked ridiculous sitting next to this young young man who was 17 years my junior. I know I looked young but damn even magic eraser couldn’t make us appear equals in age given this gap. I glanced over at him to try and detect any discomfort or mockery in his demeanor or behavior. I saw no hint of anything but a man who’s attention seemed nowhere else but on me. It was nothing short of intoxicating. Our conversation was light and easy as the previews were playing. The chemistry between us was off the chain. I looked over at the couple sitting beside me and even they looked like they were straining to hear and capture some of what we had going on. No one around us was looking at me like I should be holding up a scarlet letter so I started to relax, let go and enjoy every moment on a deeper level. I would feel, not think.
The movie began. ScarJo was kickin’ ass and takin numbers as Lucy. At appropriate intervals we were both doing our loud “oh shit, Ooooh, Yooo, Nooo.” We touched each others forearms and shoulders expressively every chance we got. I can’t lie, it was refreshing to be able to be myself with this cat. He didn’t shush me or give me looks to convey that my expressions might have been considered unladylike. I felt so unrestricted in his company. There was a marked difference between my usual and him that I would appreciate now and analyze later.
During one part of the movie I tore my eyes from the screen to look at him. The lines of his face were so beautiful that before I thought too much about what I was doing I took the back of my hand and gently brushed it across his cheek. He didn’t miss a beat and caressed my hand, gently prying open my fingers to plant a kiss on the inside of my palm before placing it back on his cheek and holding it in place.
For the rest of the movie we were thus connected. I wanted this moment, this feeling to last a lifetime. I had never experienced such natural instant familiarity, tenderness and synchronization of emotion with anyone. What is it like to know a stranger as intimately as you feel you know yourself? Impossible right? And yet, here we are, the two of us alone in a crowded theater feeling things we should not feel and doing things we should not do.
And as he held my hand to his cheek, his words floated up to me: “you think we can just be friends, have dinner, watch a movie and you don’t want anything else to happen?”
I closed my eyes and answered all with my fingers upon his face.
No Imtiaz. I’m a liar. I want everything to happen. Make it happen tiger.