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"Iris". . . A Novel By Tina Adkins

Chapter 7

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We walked down North and caught the metro to downtown. There were no open seats on the bus, so John and I stood in the front end next to the doors. He stood quietly, his arm tightly around me and looked out the windows. We got off in Lafayette Square and made our way toward Niagra Square.

"Where are we going?" I asked.

"The Oasis. It’s a caf. Come on." He led me down a no name street to a small shop. We entered the dim lit caf. The cold air conditioning sent a message to my mind.


"What?" he asked.

"I left your jacket at home."

"Well, I don’t really need it right now, do I?"

"No, I guess not."

The caf had a "forest" theme. Everything was neutral and green. There were fake as well as real trees everywhere. Vines were hanging around windows and the bar in front. It seemed as if no one ever came here. No one but the workers were there.

John led me to a table where a candle was lit. He pulled out a chair for me and I sat down.

"Hold on," he said. He walked over to the jukebox set between two trees and put a quarter in. He punched in something and came back to sit down.

"This is too much," I said taking his hand.

"Shh. Listen." In the silence I heard something familiar. Yes, I knew this song. It was "Surfer Girl" by the Beach Boys. "Wanna dance?" he asked, standing.

"Why not?" I followed.

We went to the middle of the caf, close to the jukebox. I put my arms around his neck while he pulled me in close. I placed my head on his chest. I could hear his heartbeat. It was so calm, and I knew mine was racing. I felt him rest his chin on the top of my head. He softly rubbed my back. This man was amazing.

The song ended but I didn’t want to let go. I forced myself to and we walked back to our table.

"You know, I spent all morning planning this," he stated.

"You planned all this?" I was flattered.

"Yeah. I know the owner. I used to be a bar back here. He let me use this place for a while."

"John," I stopped. "I don’t know."

"I couldn’t stop thinking about you last night. You were tearing at me all night."

"Sounds painful," I laughed.

"No, I just had to do something to show you how I felt."

"Well, you know. I couldn’t stop think of you either." I took his hand. "I held your jacket last night just so I could smell you."

He let out a little sigh. "I have another surprise for you."

"What?" I asked curiously.

"I wrote something...a song. It hardly took me an hour to write it. It’s like I already knew what I was going to say." He reached into his pocket and pulled out a sheet of paper. "Here." He handed it to me.

I took it and unfolded it. It was called, "Iris".

"Are you gonna sing it?"

"Um. Sure. I guess." He jiggled his leg. "Only under one condition. You have to turn around."


"I’m not used to singing in front of people that much."

"You’re kidding right?" I raised my eyebrows.

"No." He looked serious.

"What about on stage?"

"Well, there’s the lights in my eyes, and my best friend next to me,’s just different."

"There’s no way I’m gonna miss seeing you sing this," I laughed. "I’m sorry."

He paused for a second. "Ok. Fine." he got up and went over to the bar, to the guy behind it. John said something and the guy reached over and pulled out a guitar. John held it up and began tuning it, but not in standard tuning. He returned to the table and sat down adjacent to me.

"This is so much different than anything I’ve ever written." He cleared his throat and began playing the first chords. I held my breath. Then came his beautiful, unmistakable, haunting voice.

"And I’d give up forever to touch you, Cause I know that you feel me somehow, You’re the closest to heaven that I’ll ever be and I don’t want to go home right now, And all I can taste is this moment, And all I can breath is your life, When sooner or later it’s over, I just don’t want to miss you tonight."

He stopped and looked up at me eagerly waiting for more. He began to laugh.

"What?" I asked.

"It’s embarrassing."


"Well, it is! People are always down there and you’re right here. I can see how amused you are and it’s really different. It’s about you and you’re right here..." His words trailed off. He straightened himself and the guitar and continued to play.

"And I don’t want the world to see me, Cause I don’t think that they’ll understand, When everything’s made to be broken, I just want you to know who I am."

I watched him playing that guitar like it was nothing at all. I was flattered to know that he’s wrote a song about me, and it was so moving. This guy was in love with me already, which made me worry. What if he was a clinger? I’d been involved with one of those and it wasn’t a pretty site once I tried to tell him I wasn’t into him anymore. The only thing I could do was give John a chance and see what happens.

"And you can’t fight the tears that ain’t coming, Or the moment of truth in your lies, When everything feels like the movies, And you bleed just to know you’re alive."

He stopped and put down the guitar. "Then it just repeats the chorus and shit like that," he said, smiling.

"That was beautiful John." I gazed at him for a moment.

"You want a coffee or something?"

"Yeah. I’ll take a cappuccino."

He made his way back to the bar with the guitar and told the guy what we wanted. He quickly made them and John carried them over to the table.

"Here ya go!"

I watched him sit and take a drink of his coffee. I let out a sigh and took a sip of mine. I glanced over and noticed him in a daze, staring at the wall. He looked so harmless. He was in a daydream. I then looked around the caf. I got up and walked over to the jukebox. I looked through the songs, but there was nothing worth playing. I’m guessing that the guy behind the bar played something, because music came dancing out of the speakers. It was a slow, playful song, like something I’d hear on our college radio station. I sat my cappuccino down on a nearby table and motioned for John to come over. He stood and met me halfway. I took his coffee and sat it next to mine, then took him by the hand. He leaned against the jukebox and I rested myself against him. He was so short to be a guy. He stood just a few inches taller than my 5'5" figure. I looked into his eyes and he returned my smile.

"Come here," he whispered. He reached up and gently placed his hand behind my head and kissed me.

I wrapped my arms around his waist and shut my eyes. This all seemed like a dream. I felt like I was going to pass out, my knees were weak. I’d never actually had a boyfriend before. All the guys that liked me were losers, so the only guys I had ever liked, and kissed, all had girlfriends. So there was never a "love-interest" like this.

He unlatched from me and stood back, looking at me. "I have somewhere else I wanna take you. I know you’ll love it."

I followed him over to the bar, where he gave the guy a twenty and thanked him. We then exited the caf and walked down the street.

"Don’t you have a car?" I asked him.

"Nope," he laughed.

"How come?"

"I flunked the last two times. Almost passed last time, but...not hardly."

"What happened?"

"During the driving test with an instructor, I was...going a little too fast. And I couldn’t park. I couldn’t help it!"

"Are you gonna try again?" I asked.

"What’s the use? There’s the metro. It can take you anywhere you wanna go."

"Well, I guess you’re right."

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