Chapter 1 – The Beginning
I sighed heavily, placing my pencil down onto the table. Reaching for my cup of coffee, I glanced outside the window of the café to my left. I dreaded winter. “Excuse me. . . Is this seat taken?” A voice charmed out and startled me of my thoughts. I turned my head to gaze at the owner of the voice and felt my heart skip a few beats when our eyes met for the first time. “N-no! Please! Feel free!” I scooted over and shuffled my drawings into a pile to make room for the guest. She gave me a warm smile as she patiently waited. “You draw often?” I again paused and looked back into her eyes as she took a seat beside me. “U-uh, oh this? Ha! They’re really not that big a deal. Just an eye sore, really.” I scratched my cheek and closed my eyes with embarrassment. It’s a habit I tend to do often.
She grabbed a few and quietly grazed through them. “You know . . . I was thinking about getting another tattoo. I have tried going to other artists for the design I had in mind, but no one seems to have the talent to draw it just right.” She lowered the papers a bit, almost setting them back onto the table as she turned her head to look at me. “Oh I’m sorry! I forgot to introduce myself!” She puts down the paper in her right hand instantly, and holds out her hand to me. “I’m Milli.” “Aishavari. You can call me Ai.” I took her hand in mine and shook it in return. She gave another warm smile.
I studied her face for a minute before bluntly speaking my mind. “So, are you from out of town? I haven’t seen a gorgeous face like yours around here before.” I noticed the light rose petals dancing on her cheeks from the compliment, in the dimly lit place. “Well you see, I moved up here with my partner.” She dropped her head and looked into her lap as I sat there a little dumbfounded. “Oh . . . ” I turned my head back out toward the window and quietly started arguing with myself in my own mind. “OH? THAT’S THE BEST THING YOU CAN SAY!?”. I smacked the side of my head to the window. It hit a little harder than I had anticipated. I quietly stayed in that position, wishing I could rephrase my answer. I prayed for a minute, hoping she didn’t hear the loud thump.
“So . . . how long have you been living here, Ai?” I heard the female’s voice go soft as she spoke. “I’ve been here my whole life. I live a few blocks from here actually.” I slowly lifted up my head to glance at her as I spoke, but my eyes dropped down toward the warmth that suddenly engulfed my hand in reassurance. “You should smile more often.” I felt her hands slide off mine as she got up from the table. I watched, feeling a little dazed from what just happened. Glancing down at my hand, I heard the jingle of the bells as she opened the door to leave. I stood up suddenly wanting to follow, only to notice she had disappeared into the night’s winter storm.
I woke up the next morning feeling groggier than usual. “I think I had too much champagne last night . . . ” My eyes flickered around the room in a blur as I waited till they adjusted just enough for me to squint and locate my glasses. “Looking for something?” Her sweet voice chirped in the partially empty apartment. The female gently slid the glasses onto my face and kissed my forehead. “Thank you, Elise.” Cupping my cheek, she eased it up and swooped into a soft passion-like kiss. Oh how I loved tasting the vanilla flavoured chapstick from her lips.
Grabbing the lapels of her blouse, I fell back onto the bed and pulled her down with me. She broke away from our kissing and gave me a rather new seductive smirk. “Mymy~. Someone is in a mood.” She chuckled fixing her position above my body. Elise teasingly placed her knee up between my thighs. “Maybe tonight, after my husband leaves for the weekend? I will gladly fill your hunger.” My heart sank a little in guilt and jealousy. I’ve been chasing Elise for as long as I can remember, but society would look down upon us for what we were. I took her cheek in my palm and let out a heavy exhale. “One day I’ll be a boy, and I WILL make her mine.” I thought.
* * * * *
I entered into the café from last night and curled up into my favourite booth in the back by the fireplace. “Can I get you the regular, Ai?” Harped a man’s voice from behind the counter. “Please.” I slipped off my coat and pulled out my drawing pad to start a sketch of Milli. “Dammit . . . what do your eye’s look like?” Bells above the door jingled their familiar tune behind me, as a customer pledged their goodbyes for the day. “I knew I’d find you here!” I jumped startled and quickly slapped my drawing pad shut. I watched the buff fellow slip himself into a spot across the table from me. “Oh for heaven’s sake Kane!” I glared coldly at the man. He calmly reached over and rubbed his massive hand around the top of my head. “Haha, don’t blame me, kiddo. You’re pretty practical to guess!” “Practical?” I snapped back with a smile. “Look who’s talking!” Kane sat back down with his usual dork-like smile and waved off my comment with a couple flicks. “Oh now, now. No need for the attitude Ai.”
His blue eyes rose up from the table and stared crisply into my own. He leaned over with his elbow up on the table, chewing on his gum like he owned the place. “Who’s this girl you were talking to last night?” I calmly leaned over the table; one arm bent under my chest just like his. I looked around trying to make this seem like a top secret thing. He believed me as I looked into his eyes to notice the hunger to his curious answer. We sat like this for just a moment longer before I calmly leaned my back against the booth and rose my arms up behind my head with closed my eyes. “I got no idea. Just some stranger saying “hi” I presume.” I opened one eye and noticed Kane’s stern face. He wasn’t going to believe this so easily. Straightening myself back up, I took in a sharp breath and lowered my arms onto the table. I gestured with my hands as I spoke. “I’m dead serious, Kane! She came out of nowhere and sat next to me!” Then it hit me. “Wait . . . how do you know this? I didn’t see you here at all last night. I thought you were on duty?” His smile grew ever bigger as his hand stretched back across the table and met the tornado mess of hair he created previously. “I’m a detective, mate. It’s my job to know everything.” His expression went serious and cold as his arm dropped once more onto the table. I scrambled to take that moment to fix my hair.
“I worry for you, Ai. You know when the time comes, I may not be able to bail you out if you get caught.” “I know, I know!” I hissed. I finished and looked around the room noting how empty it was. My voice dropped to a whisper. “You say the same thing all the time, Kane. Nothing is going to happen. I bring them home. No one can see through my apartment windows. I’m on the twelfth floor for crying ou—” I was interrupted by the counter man as he handed me my usual order. “Here you are! One large coffee and a raspberry white chip cookie.” “Thank you sir.” He gave me a smile and continued on. Kane watched as the man turned around to leave. He pointed his finger in the direction the man stood in not too long ago as if to say “See! I told you! That could have ended badly if he over-heard.” I waved my hand and pulled out my sketch pad again. “You’re attempting to draw her, aren’t you?” He shook his head grabbing my coffee and taking sips from it. “You’re attempting to pay for that . . .aren’t you?” I looked up and gave him a sarcastic remark.
“Gee Ai. I never knew how sneaky you women were, until I met you. It’s like you have two different personalities.” He chortled before I gave him a good kick to the shin. “Cop or not, you deserved that you pansy!” I smirked yet again as he sat there trying to endure the pain in silence. “You know, that was assault to an officer.” He pulled out his book and pen with a smile. “OH MY GOD!! KANE!!!” I jumped up to grab the book away from him before he could get a chance to file a ticket. “Please Kane, I don’t have the money for it . . . ” I sat back down giving up against the power struggle between an elephant of a guy and flamingo. I pouted out my puppy face, knowing full well that he wouldn’t be able to resist. He looked at me for a moment as he wrote and stopped part way through. “Alright, you win this one. Only because I know you’ll kick my a** for it later.” He let out another laugh and stood up to leave. “Ai, you take care of yourself, and please for the love of girls stay out of trouble.” He readjusted his collar and stared at me. “******** you.” I smiled sticking out my tongue. “I love you too darling.” He laughed and made his way out the door.
My attention wondered out the window to my right this time, as I sat across the seat from where I normally would. “Why is it illegal here? I don’t understand.” I broke a piece off my cookie and nibbled on it. “I’m going to have to be a lot more careful since the last outbreak a few days ago . . . ” She shuddered at the thought of their deaths. “It’s forcing people to switch genders just to be with someone they love. True, the government is making a boat load more money having laid down this law only a month ago, but what’s the purpose behind it all?”
“Ai?” A familiar voice eased its way into my ears and snapped me out of trance. Her small frame slipped into the spot across from me with ease. “I thought that I may have found you here. I heard you’re a regular.” My heart quickened with every word she spoke. “Oh. Hello there, Milli.” I could feel the warmth radiate off my cheeks and I knew for certain she could see it. Her eyes glanced down at my open sketch pad. “Drawing someone? Looks to be a girl.” She went to reach over out of curiosity and in an instant I quickly closed it. “It’s um . . . nothing of importance.” She looked a bit taken back by my sudden actions and let out a chuckle. “Well, alright. If you say so.” I held my pad close against my chest.
“Hey Milli, are you . . . busy tonight?” I looked back out the window keeping a saddened gaze as I prepared for the worst. “Not at all. Are you needing the company?” I stayed motionless for a while before giving out a little nod. “A little. Your partner wouldn’t mind last-minute plans, will they?” “Oh no, no, no!” She smiled pulling out her phone. I figured she was texting by the quick fluid motions of her thumbs pounding away furiously at the buttons. Slapping the phone shut she looked up at me and smiled more. “I am all yours, Ai.” My face had begun to burn up again and I knew she could see right through my act of reservation.
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