Josephine Bradley gazed at her shoes. She admired the way they made her feet look awkward against the white pavement.
“Whatchya lookin’ at Joze?” Edward asked.
She glanced up at him; his eyes sparkled in the sunlight.
“I was oddly enthralled with how my shoes looked against the ground. I’m not sure why though.”
Edward smiled an odd, half-smirk in adoration, and took her hand to go.
“Where to, my dear?” Josephine asked.
“We should get going now, the party starts in a couple hours and I know how long it takes you to get ready.” He nudged her gently in the side with his elbow.
Josephine giggled. “Oh, do you now? Ok, you’re right, let’s go.”
They walked hand in hand across the old concrete platform where the city park used to be. Josephine admired the old park, and went there often to sit and read. This time she had brought Edward with her, to show him how wonderfully solitary it was.
Edward stared at the break lights of the car in front of him, zoning-out into the beams of red. He thought of Josephine, and for a brief moment, he thought of his future with her. He knew he wanted her in his life for a long time. The thought caused an all-too-familiar stab of anxiety in his stomach, but just before he could fully recognize it, the beams of red dissipated and he hit the gas.
After parking his car, Edward stepped up to Josephine’s apartment door, but hesitated before knocking. He looked down at his cheap suit and brushed some lint off the front of his pants.
He took a short, deep breath, and lifted his hand to gently tap on her door; knock, knock, knock.
Josephine answered the door quickly, and they stared in each other’s eyes for a brief moment, smiling in elation.
Edward had never seen her look so beautiful. She was wearing a coral-colored dress that was cinched at the waistline and flowed elegantly to her knee. Her golden hair was neatly pinned back, and only a few curls fell upon her porcelain skin.
“You look magnificent Josephine.” He whispered.
“Well, thanks Eddie.” She paused for a moment. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard you use that word before. Magnificent.”
Edward shrugged, “It’s just the first word that came to mind. Like describing a masterpiece of sorts.”
She threw her head back as she laughed. “You’re wonderful.”
He grabbed her hands and pulled her toward him. He held her tight in his arms for a moment, and then he pushed her head back gently and kissed her soft lips.
As they stood in the doorway, their arms around each other, Edward said, “Shall we?”
“Yeah, we don’t want to be late.” Josephine tore away from him and grabbed her purse.
It was snowing outside. Josephine watched as the giant flakes fell under the light of the street lamps.
As they walked up to the restaurant where the party was, Josephine remarked, “I hate being a girl sometimes. I’m getting snow all in my shoes. Damn these high heels!”
“Yeah, I couldn’t imagine having to wear shoes like that. I commend you!” They walked in silence for a moment, and then Edward spoke up, “It’s kind of silly though, isn’t it? Why do women even wear shoes like that?”
Josephine thought for a minute. “Well, they are pretty. But yeah, it’s a little silly. I don’t know, I like wearing em’ sometimes. Only on special occasions like this. It just adds a little extra something to my look. Don’t ya think?”
“I guess so.” Edward murmured.
Edward stepped in front of Josephine to open the door for her. She walked inside the restaurant out of the cold. Edward stepped in behind her. They headed straight to the bar.
The bartender handed them a couple glasses of white wine and they took their drinks and found a small table to sit down at.
Josephine sat sipping her wine, looking around at the restaurant. Half of the walls were made of brick, and they each had built-in wine racks filled with all sorts of bottles of wine. There were gigantic paintings on the walls of famous people, and there was jazz music humming in the background.
Edward looked at Josephine and remarked, “Remind me to find William and thank him for inviting us to his party. Do you see him anywhere?”
She glanced around. “No, I don’t.”
“Oh well. I’m sure I’ll find him. You want another glass of wine?”
“Yes, please.” She smiled.
Edward stood to return to the bar, and Josephine watched him as he walked away. She loved the way his broad shoulders looked when he walked. Plus, she never got to see him in a suit, and she wanted to make the moment last.
“Here you go.” He said, and set the glass of wine down in front of her.
“Thank you so much, you’re so sweet.”
“Not a problem. A pretty lady like you shouldn’t be without a full glass of wine if she wants one!”
They both smiled, and Josephine brought the full glass to her lips and drank. The wine was cold and refreshing.
“So, have you been working on any writing lately?” Josephine asked.
“Actually yeah. I’m writing a story.”
Josephine’s eyes widened, “Oh, really? What about?”
“Well,” he paused, “it’s about a man who’s on a quest to realize his full potential as a person. Since he was little he’s known that his views on life were not the norm, and he has struggled to march against the masses.”
Josephine was intrigued; she furrowed her brow and asked, “What sort of life views do you mean?”
“He wants to be the best. He only accepts the best. You see, my main character is a chef and he’s trying to run his own restaurant. He’s a ruthless businessman, but he’s honest. He’s a really caring person; people just don’t get him.”
Edward continued, “My character-I think I’ll call him Nathaniel- has never sacrificed his determination for the mediocre, and everyone calls him names like ‘egomaniac’ and ‘pompous’. But, despite the ridicule from others, he’s on this epic journey and he’ll never give up his convictions because he knows they’re true.”
Josephine watched his mouth as he spoke. When he finished, she sat back in her chair and uncrossed her legs. “That sounds great, Eddie. How far along are you?”
“I’ve written about ten pages,” he said, “it’s hard because I want it to be a short story, but there’s so much to fit in. Maybe I’m getting in over my head.”
Josephine shook her head, and looked into his green eyes. “You can do it. Just be concise, no fluff.”
“You’re right.” He said. “Oh! There’s William! Excuse me for a second, I’ve got to go talk to him.”
While Edward was gone, Josephine began to think about the character in Edward’s story. She thought about her own life, and wondered if she was living up to her potential.
I try my best. Every day. She almost said it aloud.
She was excited to read Edward’s story when he finished. Then, she thought of Edward. She admired him. She had always admired writers, and Edward was a fantastic writer. Josephine knew, from the past four months of dating, that Edward had the mind she wanted in a man, but for some reason right then, she fully realized it. And it hit her suddenly.
I love him, she thought. I love him! She wanted to scream it; she felt she either needed to bury it deep inside, or immediately ignite it for the world to see.
Josephine glanced around with only her eyes, not really looking at anything in particular. She asked herself, what do I do now? She had to reason with herself; I’ve loved before. But Eddie’s different… He’s different.
Edward returned and sat down hastily. “That William, he’s a great guy.” He said.
Josephine smiled and simply said, “I’m glad you’re back.”
After the party was over, Edward and Josephine headed back to her apartment. When they got there, they opened the bottle of white wine that Josephine had been saving for a special occasion.
Josephine changed out of her dress and into some pajamas almost immediately upon arriving to her apartment.
“I just can’t stand to be in a dress for too long.” She laughed while she said it.
Edward watched her as she stood in her t-shirt and shorts pouring the wine. “You know how I said that you looked magnificent earlier?”
“Yes.” She replied, almost in the tone of a question.
“Well, somehow right now, in your pajamas, you look extra-magnificent. You topped yourself!” He paused, and smiled. “And if I wasn’t a bit tipsy, I could probably think of a better word than ‘extra-magnificent’.” He chuckled in self-mockery.
Josephine giggled. She was blushing. She handed Edward his glass of wine and sat down next to him, laying her head upon his broad shoulder. He had taken off his suit jacket.
“Joze, thanks for coming with me tonight.”
“No, thank you for inviting me!” She exclaimed. “I know you aren’t big into fancy parties, but I loved seeing you in a suit and having a fancy night with you. You know, I’m not a ‘fancy party’ kind of gal either, but I had a great time.”
He turned to her and touched her face with his fingertips. “I know you aren’t Joze, that’s why I like you. You’re a excellent human being.”
Then it hit him. He loved her. She was everything that he had ever wanted in a woman. She was smart, and beautiful, and she was real. His earlier anxiety became irrelevant, he loved her and he wanted her.
Josephine took the wine glass from his hand and set it on the floor. She took his face in her hands and kissed him, moving closer to him with her body. They stood up and went into her bedroom holding hands.
They stood for a moment, looking at each other, saying nothing. Their eyes were locked together.
Edward took a deep breath, and smiled the biggest smile she had ever seen.
“I love you Josephine.” He said.
“I love you too Edward.”