Eli and Annie are sitting on a small balcony about five stories up in a boutique hotel in the Le Marais neighborhood of Paris. They can see the Pompidou from this vantage point and the sun is setting over the rooftops. They finished a quiet and romantic dinner and are snuggled together sipping wine. Eli sits up from his lounging position forcing Annie to shift so they are facing each other. He lifts his glass of wine.
“To our last night together!”
Annie’s romantic smile turns suddenly to a frown. “Oh, right. Cheers.”
Eli pulls his glass away, “you don’t want to cheers to that?”
“It sounds final.” Annie says doubtful.
Eli takes her in for a moment, watching the glow of the sunset on her cheek. “To our last night together in Paris.”
“Ah yes, much better.” Annie cheerfully clinks Eli’s wine glass. “Maybe you could visit me?”
“In LA?” Eli asks.
“Or Phoenix.” She responds.
“Right.” Eli ponders without visibly showing interest.
“Or not, look, Eli…” Annie attempts to ease the awkwardness.
“I would visit you in a heartbeat.” He interrupts.
“Oh! Great.” She says relieved.
“What are you going to do in three months when you’re done with your job? Do you know where you’ll be? Or thought about that at all?” He asks reluctantly.
Annie studies him before responding, “I guess, I’m hoping to come back to Europe.”
Eli perks, “Okay.”
“You’d… would you, uh, shit Eli. I really like you.” She says.
“I know.” He replies confidently. “I’m having the time of my life with you and I’m too old to know that this doesn’t come around often.”
Annie inquires “what is ‘this’?”
“Us,” he gestures, “it’s sorta magical isn’t it?”
“Absolutely.” She agrees.
“Feels like fate,” he adds. “If you believe in that sorta thing.”
“Seems silly,” she offers.
“You don’t believe?” Eli says inching closer to her.
“I want to.” She says putting her hand on his cheek.
“Can you believe that I’m in love with you?” He asks quietly as he puts one hand gently around her neck.
“You are?” She asks through a catch of her breath.
“Madly.” He says kissing her gently as the sun fades down over the horizon.