“I think I’m in love!” Ada said excitedly when Jenny sat down at the table between them. She’d been waiting patiently for Jenny to arrive for their lunch together, and the news had sat on the edge of her tongue the whole time. She couldn’t wait any longer.
Jenny smiled weakly, but said nothing until she sat down and settled herself in the stiff chair. She scooted the metal chair closer to the table. Pedestrians walked by the sidewalk café in a constant stream near them, but Jenny kept her eyes on Ada who smiled broadly and eagerly anticipated a response from her best friend.
“With Shane?” Jenny asked. She failed to hide her bewilderment.
Ada softened like a balloon that had a slow leak. “Yes, Shane. Who else would I be talking about?”
“It’s just that you’ve only been back together for a month. Don’t you think it’s a little soon to call it love?”
“No, I don’t, Jenny. Love doesn’t follow a schedule. It just happens, and it has happened to me. I thought you’d be happy.”
“I am happy, Ada, but I don’t want to see you get hurt.”
Ada had stiffened in the bright light of Jenny’s skepticism, but she leaned back when she understood her friend’s concern. “It’s different this time. I know it in my heart.” She tapped the left side of her chest with her fingertips for emphasis.
The waiter weaved in and out of their conversation delivering their drinks and plopping a basket of bread between them, but they mostly ignored him until he announced himself and asked them for their orders. They obliged, barely taking their eyes off each other as if they didn’t want to break the connection between them. Finally, the waiter trotted off to the kitchen to make their order.
Ada remained silent as she busied herself with a piece of bread and a dabble of sumptuous butter that she spread sparingly on the warm slice. Jenny watched her as she sipped her water.
Jenny broke the temporary silence. “How is Shane?”
Ada smiled. “He’s wonderful. He’s the most caring man I’ve ever met. We spend so much time together that I’m seriously considering moving in with him.”
Jenny sat back in her chair, stunned. She couldn’t believe the turn of events. Barely a month ago, Ada had sat in her apartment crying hysterically because Shane had grabbed and threatened her, and now she was singing his praises and considering moving in with him. She wanted to raise her objections. Even with her flighty relationship history, she knew that you didn’t move in with someone after only two months. She couldn’t believe what she was hearing.
“Are you sure you want to do that now?” Jenny asked. She couldn’t help herself.
Ada stopped mid-sentence and looked at her friend. Jenny couldn’t tell if she was surprised, hurt, or angry.
“I’m not entirely sure, but it feels right,” she said finally. Jenny was relieved that her response was more rational than emotional. Her friend usually wasn’t very pragmatic when it came to relationships. That had been the case the entire time she’d known Ada since they first met in college.
“If I were you, I’d wait.” Jenny didn’t mean to be so blunt. It just came out. She grimaced a little as she said it.
Ada paused and looked at her friend before taking another bite of bread. She seemed to be thinking as she chewed her food. Jenny took a nervous drink of her water.
“You’re probably right,” Ada said. Jenny sighed internally.
“If it’s the right thing to do, you can always do it later. He’ll understand if he loves you.”
Ada smiled. “He does love me. He tells me every day. Yesterday, he sent me flowers for no reason at all.”
Jenny couldn’t help but smile at Ada’s goofy grin. She’d seen her friend this head over heels in love before, but she didn’t mention this fact to her. She just hoped that this relationship turned out well for Ada. So many of her other relationships had come and gone like the seasons, and every time, she found herself comforting Ada in the depths of despair until she was well enough to begin anew. She loved her friend, but she wondered how such a whip-smart woman could end up in so many desperate relationships.
What concerned her most was the whole moving in part. Ada had never taken that step before, and certainly, she hadn’t moved so fast in her other affairs. They had simply burst onto the scene, burned brightly for a brief while, and fizzled into a night of crying and binge eating in Ada’s townhouse.
Ada noticed Jenny had said nothing for a bit as she had rambled on about Shane and how great he was. She had explained that their fight was just a misunderstanding and that he had reacted that way because he had realized he loved her so much.
“You okay?” Ada asked pausing for Jenny’s response.
“Oh, I’m fine. I’m very happy for you. You certainly deserve this after all you’ve been through.”
Ada looked at Jenny for a moment trying to ascertain how she really felt, but Jenny betrayed nothing. Ada smiled.
“I do deserve this. For once in my life, I’ve met a man who will stop at nothing to show me how much he loves me.”
The waiter poked his way into their conversation with their food. He put the plates down in front of them and asked if they needed anything else. Neither of the women requested anything. The smell of pasta basted in marinara sauce and lemon-drenched salmon wafted between them. They ate in silence reflecting on their conversation. Jenny tried to digest what she had just learned, while Ada lost herself in the excitement of her relationship with Shane. She couldn’t wait to see him later that evening. She couldn’t wait to tell him that she would move in with him.