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Six a.m.... the alarm clock wails for her to wake up. It's time for work. She had been overworked. After her daily morning regimen she heads for her armoire, french pressed coffee in hand. Her sense of style was a combination of different looks: romantic, structured, and classic. To Elise, fashion was a way to play and have fun, even a way to be a different person, a way to explore.
Today would be a half day at work. She had begged for some time off, even a half day was appreciated. After work she'd have time to pass by the farmer's market to get some last minute ingredients and some fresh flowers. She was having company over. She hadn't spent so much time with Julian. Of course constant texting of daily occurrences and random phone tag did occur.
The evening called for their cooking dinner together, as always. She made his favorite dessert, chocolate soufflé. Deep down inside she knew Julian only rendered chocolate soufflé the title of his favorite dessert because it was difficult for her to make correctly on her first try. Her kitchen had never been so messy as it had that day.
She had left everything ready in the morning. She placed the flowers in a vase in the middle of the table. Elise fumbled trying to light candles, her nerves were taking over. "It's so strange how being away from someone so long can cause you to act so foolish," she thought to herself.
There was a knock at the door. There he was. Julian was tall, good built, well dressed. He had lush brown hair, shorter on the sides and textured on the top, not too long. He had deep eyes, she could loose herself in his eyes. They were warm and caring.
"This dinner is long overdue," he said as moved in for a kiss. Once Elise saw Julian, she felt tranquil. It felt like if she had never left.
He chopped the vegetables as she put the roast in the over. Their conversation and laughter masked Francoise Hardy in the background. Hearing stories about their Los Angeles friends, the mishaps of the previous year brought her laughter. Besides Julian, Elise hadn't had time to catch up with anyone else. She'd text Hani, her best friend, every so often. Their work ethic was on par, each understanding that you cannot have fun all the time. They respected and loved each other immensely.
The dark stained wooden table was setup eclectically, just like the rest of her apartment. She covered it with a white frail lace. The french watering can in the middle of the rectangular table held the aromatic peonies she bought. The array of serving dishes with the variety of food they had made together caused one to salivate.
After dinner, she brought out the soufflé. "I haven't even been near a soufflé since you left, I promise," he said as he took the first bite. Elise brought out a medium sized package from her room. It was wrapped perfectly, held together with a black twine. Julian carefully unwrapped it. Being Elise, she couldn't have just gotten him a generic touristy gift. The box held items with inside stories behind them, the reason for her purchases. It held a handmade knit tie, vintage cuff links from a small antique shop in Paris, some records, and a first edition Fahrenheit 451... his favorite book. Items that kept her memory of him vivid that past year. His facial expression at seeing it was the best "thank you" she could have ever received. After her tales of how she acquired every item, the dinner ended. His embrace was a perfect ending for the night.