Shedding The Shell, NOW complete Image

Shedding The Shell, NOW complete

Part 1-Shedding the Shell: It had been an extraordinary Spring in New Orleans as to weather. In general, the skies had been clear, and the temperatures during the day in the low 80s. Emily had pulled out her assortment of sun dresses to replace her sweaters and sweats. Her wardrobe was now trimmed well above the knees and hung loosely and provocatively from her sholulders. This was her favorite time of the year in that she felt the most sensuous given that she dressed in the most casual way without undergarments. While she was not striking in a glamorous sort of way,  she was quite so in a fashion not normally associated with seductive women by male chauvinists. She had been a swimmer competing in high school and through college which explained her trim but muscular, broad shoulder physique.  This alone was somewhat intimidating for the males she associated with socially. But it was her mental presence of total independence and confidence that seemed to be too difficult to deal with for many guys she met. As such, she was still quite uninitated as to truly appreciating her sexual being with men. It would take an extraordinary male to move beyond typical female misperceptions to fully appreciate the physical and mental beauty of this young woman.

Graduating with a degree in Architecture from Tulane in New Oreleans after 5 years of study, she was on her own to find her way in the world.  She did't have very close relationships with either males or females having focused on her education those years. The entertainment draw of New Orleans had not attracted her prior to graduation. Her parents had supported her through her college years, but they knew little of who their daughter truly was.  Not that they were not loving parents, but they were the stereotyped, conservative types from Vermont that honored her independence without serious interference, as they would see it. Unknown to them was that In her most private, intraspective moments, she resented this lack of involvement on their part by not providing the embracing love that she so desired. The result was that she ignored this most important  requirement while under their direct involvement. Graduation bought an end to that mindset.

Moving from her residence on campus after graduation, she took an apartment in Mid-City bordering the French Qtr on the way to Lake Pontchartrain. Her parents offered to support her living expenses for a time as she sought a job.  What they didn't know is that she had no short term objective of seeking employment at that point. Rather, Emily decided instead to explore New Oreleans initially and then onto travel in Europe for a humber of months. 

Her first night on her own in New Orleans to liberate herself from her ridgit college regiment would be to go to Tipitinas on Topachuates that she heard about from a number of her classmates during labs. This particular evening was a sweltering one. This was a night when couples would dance with total exhariation followed by exhaustion with the sweat of their bodies together delivering total abandomennt to their sexuality. While on her own,  her unguarded consumption of wine resulted in her dancing to the Cajun music on the floor by herself. She was totally loose in her movements and just barely aware of herself at that point.  (NOTE: Such freedom of individulism is universally  acceptable across New Orleans.). She was determined in shedding her conservative shell that evening that she had maintained and protected throughout college.

Beau, the lead of the band on stage, could not help but notice Emily on the dance floor near the far bar.  He signaled his band that he would be back shortly and left the stage to ask this radiant, freeflowing beauty to dance as the band continued without him.  She accepted his invitation without resistance at this point, and he held her closely when swinging her around as the music demanded.  She at first thought she was out of control, but Beau would wisper in her ear when he would swing her out and back as 'to hold tightly onto his hand.'  This was her first time in letting a man to be in control of her physically,  as innocent as it was. So as to return to the band, he left her on the floor after the first dance requesting that she wait for the band's break in 10 minutes, at which point he would catch up with her on the balcony.  She responded automatically,  "Of course my Shining Knight!" He glared at her for a moment given that response and returned to the stage.  

At break, he left the stage and joined her overlooking the first floor. He started, "Thank you for the dance. My name is Beau." "Emmmilllly"  she responded with slurring. "Are you seeking a shining knight, Cher?" he asked with a whimiscal smile. Her wine consumption was kicking in some more.  "Welllllll!, now that I think about it, maybe I am.  Hmmmm, a Freudian slip on my part I guess."  With that she pulled her long auburn hair back over her right side exposing her tight facical features and casually propering her head up with her right hand on the rail. This was a classic Katherine Hepburn move that she recalled from the movie Pat and Mike with Spencer Tracy as the male lead. She adored the persona of the actress, and she would attempt during social gatherings to present herself as she thought Ms. Hepburn would do.  Afterall,  she thought, "Am I not much like that woman - independent, athletic, and quick witted?" For Beau her move was a bit fatuous, but it was clear to him that wine now had the best of her. Fortunaterly, Beau was not one to take inappropriate advantage of this, but rather to 'roll" with it.  He perceived that this was a serious woman to deal with properly. So, he took her right arm gently, and asked that she join him at a vacant table in the far corner of the balcony to escape the crowd.  She nodded. 

Once at the table, he told the waitress nearby to bring a Wild Turkey on the rocks for himself and a club soda with ice for the lady. Emily suddenly became indignant "YOU ordered me a clubbbbb soda?" He grabbed both of her hands with his. " Yes, Cher!  You are beyond you right now, and I am your Angel tonight to get you home safely." Even more Indignantly she started "REALLY!, that is your job, ANGEL Beau? What makes you my Angel?" He let go of her hands and sat back on his chair and then stated forcefully, but in a compassionate way. "Emily, again, you are beyond yourself right now, ..... and I already know that I want to know more about you ... and you about me.  But, NOT tonight Cher.  I have already told staff to call Tip's special yellow cab minutes from now, and you will be home soon". With this, she shumped down slighly in her chair, and he caught her to keep her from falling to the floor.  After swallowing his Turkey, he slipped his business card into her purse and guided her down the steps to the main entrance.  The trusted cab had arrived. "Cher, where do you live?" She had come about enough to provide her residence in Mid-City.  Beau turned to the driver "Juan, make sure she gets inside the front door." as he slipped him $20.  Juan knew the routine, "Yes Sir! Boss." and off they went. With her departure, Beau returned to the stage for 2 more sets finishing at 2AM.  Emily was on his mind, but he trusted that Juan would ensure her safety withn her home.  He had done the same before for other single women who had gone beyond themselves at Tips.  But, there was something special about this woman that he perceived that he wanted to know more of. But, maybe he was wrong,  He had been wrong before.

The next day Emily awoke in her apartment on her couch still dressed from the night before. Attempting to recall her visit to Tips the night before,  she was somehat confused as to what had actually taken place in her first time there. There was this guy Beau that she had danced with, but the rest was quite cloudy ... and how did she got home? She really was a babe-in -the-woods as to such experiences,  and she was suddenly scared as to what may have happened.  BUT, she was home and by herself. Whatever, she had not made any horrible mistakes, apparently, on her first excursion into New Orleans night life.  She showered and dressed casaully in one or her favoirite summer dresses and headed for Cafe Degas for a croissant avec jambon & fromage (her favorite) and a double shot of expresso.  To pay for her service, she reached into her purse and noticed the card that Beau had left the night before.  She stared at the card.  "WTF", she said aloud to the cashier as she presented her payment and headed for the outdoor seating.  Once there, with the caffeine kicking in from the expresso, she pulled out her ever-present notepad and in caps she printed "MY LIST" at the top. The following hour of consuming her breakfast and an adfditional expresso would be her first time of focusing on and listing her desires and expectations as a "freed woman" going forward.


Part 2-The List: The concept of creating a list of what she wanted in a relationship came about when   watching the TV show Family Fued that she did occasionally during her final-finals. During those two weeks she kept to her room to study, but desired a simplistic break ever so often. In one show the result of a poll was presented to the contestants. 'What does a woman most desire of a man in a serious relationship?' Now starting her own list, she recalled that show noting that of the top responses listed by the show No. 1 was a sense of humor followed by some order of physical characteristics such as body, hair, muscles, etc. - all of which were not that important to her. Such a difference alarmed her at first, but she then rationalized that she was actually quite an individual that most men would not appreciate due to what she assumed to be their chauvinistic expectations of women. But then again, she had yet to have that first serious awakening as to her sexuality with men. So on her second expresso she got into creating her list.  At No. 1 was loving (embracing) given her parenting, followed by intelligence, creativity, empathy, selflesness, charitable, athletic, travel, and finally fine cuisine. When finished, she emailed the word document she created to herself to have it available wherever she was with her Iphone. That list would change somewhat in the very near future.  

Finishing her brunch, she was off to Tulane's library. But, for the first time this visit was not for scholastic purposes. Being one very disciplined in research, she wanted to explore more about the Cajun culture which was sparked by the music at Tips the previous night. Given her discipline, she was specifically interested in Acadian architecture as introduced to Louisiana by the French Canadian immigrants that settled there in the 18th century having been driven out of what is now Nova Scotia. On her way to the library she noticed a fraternity ahead of her that was having a crawfish boil in full festive mode including a Cajun band. As she approached the house she recognized the same song as the night before and caught herself involuntarily doing a quick swing and turn on the sidewalk.  She continued, but before the end of the block she felt an arm around her waist stopping her. "Your Shining Knight is here Cher." as Beau turned her to face him. At first she gasped at the unexpected capture. However, she immediately tuned into Beau's voice and even the scent of his cologne as the night before. "Hi!" she said in a startled way. Smiling, she continued; "2+2 suggests that is your band, and in fact that last song, was to which you swirled me around at Tips last night." "Yes Cher" She continued, "And indeed, you are my Shining Knight in ensuring that I got home safely last nighi?." "Yes again Cher." She blushed somewhat as she squeezed his right hand, "Thank you so much. eehhhh Beau, right? When I thought about last night at brunch today, I did not Know how I would contact you to express my deepest appreciation.   And, here you are!." with her blush transitioning to a broad smile. "Soooooooooooooo!, thank you Sir Beau." He nodded as bowing to a Queen. "Cher, can you stay for the music and crawfish? You are very welcome to do so." "Not now Beau. I am on a mission today ... which actually is the result of last night's music - YOUR fault.   All of the time I have spent here in NOLA as a student, I really never made the effort to get into the City's nightlife in general, and even Cajun cuilture specifically.  I am on my way to do some research regarding Cajuns."   With a broad smile, Beau took her right hand and said so charmingly. "May I suggest my personal graduate course on Cajun cuisine by having dinner with my crowd tonight." She didn't respond at first as Beau explained that his real job was that as a owner/chef in a Cajun restaurant across the river in the Left Bank.  Before she could respond, he said clearly and directly into her eyes.  "Juan, your driver last night, will pick you up at 7 where he dropped you off and bring you to my restaurant.  You have no choice Emily", purposely emphasizing her name. "I would pick you up personally, but I have a great deal of cooking to do tonight to prepare my speciality, Nurtria a la Provencale.  With that, he gave her an 'la bise',  first left cheek and then right, and headed back to the band not waiting for a response.

Once at the Library, she took her favorite corner table on the third floor that overlooked the campus as well as the mansions of celebrities and politician on the guarded,  private street just beyond campus. She had heard the word nutria before, but knew nothing about this creature. With cuisine being one of the items on her 'list' she did some research on this critter. Her first reaction, and said out loud, "GOOD LORDits a  rat." "Shhhhhhhhhh!" she heard from another corner of the library. She continued with her reading to find that the nutria is a vegetarain with the meat high in protein and low in fat. They had been originally raised on 'fur farms' before escaping in the 1930s to invade parts of North America including Louisiana and California.  Also, they are considered to be docile pets. With further research, she found information of the dish Nutria a la Provencale that has been praised by well-known chefs such as Susan Slicer. Emily needed to know no more reflecting on Tobi Keith's lyrics 'I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then'. Lastly, she found a copy of a cookbook for Cajun cuisine, including nutria. Her first thought was about dinner that night given Chad's mention of the special he would be serving,  Could she make it through dinner without gagging?


Part 3-The REVISED List

Juan was at Emily's place at 7 and met her at the door. Once she was seated in the back seat, he offered her bottled water and Chardonnay. "Chardonnay would be lovely Juan.  How long of a drive is it to Beau' restaurant?" "Maybe 20 minutes, Miss Emily, depending upon the traffic across the Crscent Ciy connection that crosses the Mississippi to the Left Bank. The drive across the bridge will be impressive as to looking up and down the banks. BUT, when I return you tonight, you will cherish the memory of the city at night.

NOTE:  New Orleans is known for both Cajun and Creole cuisine.  In general, Creole people are of mixed races, whereas Cajuns are descended from the French Canadians that arrived there as noted Part 2.  As to cuisine, creole cooking is more related to tomato-based recipes and rouxs (check my posting During and/or After) and Cajun to spicier flavors.  Either way, the food is extraordinary in its true form. My favorite cookbook for NOLA recipes is The New Orleans Cookbook by Collin.


Once at the restaurant, Juan opened her car door and said "I need only 15 minutes notice as to when you want to return to your place." She reached into her purse to pay him. "Miss Emily, Beau is your host tonight, all inclusive."  He paused and then added; "I wish to note that I have known Beau for quite a while, and he is as legimate as he appears.  You WILL enjoy this evening."  With that she entered the restaurant not sure as to what she needed to do.  She was greeted first by the young hostess in Cajun French followed immediately by English given Emily's lack of response.  Emily needed onlhy to state her name. "Cher, welcome to our restuarant. I will take you to your table, and tell Beau of your arrival."  She led Emily to the far corner of the restaurant that was open to the deck.  The live music playing was a Cajun Waltz with a number of couples on the dance floor in front of the band. This was not a style of dance with which she was familiar, but extraordinarily sensual in her mind. Within minutes a waitress was at her table with a flute of sparkling wine and a plate of chocolate coated strawberries which were at their prime in Loisiana. "Cher, Beau knows that you are here, and he will be out shorly to greet you. He has chosen your entree for the evening. But here is a list of our appetizers to get you started.  I will be back in several minute. Emily immediately thought about the possibility of being presented with RAT to consume. That simply wasn't possible for her regardless of the positive notes she had read earlier that day regarding the consumption of nutria.

When the waitress returned, Emily ordered the fried soft-shell crab.  She had heard of this delicacy in her years in NOLA but had yet to order it when in season. She had attended several  of the infamous, annual Jazz Festivals but had never ordred the soft-shell crab po-boys at the kiosk that always had a long line.   Once presented with the crab, Emily asked the waitress how to eat it?  "Cher, it's all edible. Enjoy!" And she did, immediately appreciating the crisp texture and subtle crab taste.  It was indeed extraordinary.

As Emily was picking up the remaining morsels of her crab, Beau came from behind her.  "Good evening Cher. Thank you for coming tonight  This is my natural environment where I do my craft.  I hope you will enjoy this evening given your intended research you mentioned earily this afternoon as to the Cajun culture.  AND, it is my firm belief that the first introcuction to any culture should be its food.  So! tonight you will have one of my cajun specialities.."  She intertupted him before he could go on. "Beau, I must tell you that I don't believe I am capable of stomaching Nutria as you mentioned earlier today. I am SO sorry."  "Cher, I had expected that, and tonight you will have Cochon de Lait which is slowly roasted young pig, with mashed yams, and collard greens."  There was an audible sigh from her as she sat back in her chair at first and then stood quickly and kissed Beau on the left cheek. He then took both of her arms, twirled her around and sat her back in her chair. "i like the way you respond ... Again, I must leave you alone for some time so as to serve my clients. He bent and kissed her on her cheek again and headed to the kitchen.

Beau was perhaps several years older than her, but with his rugged, very tan body it was hard for her to guess his age. His black hair was short and tightly curled and of a luxiourous gloss. As tall as he was, he was not lanky in motion but with the grace and swiftness of a gymnast. It was his self-assurred, but humble,  presence that really drew her to him. She was now retinking her list of desires in a man that she had first created that afternoon,

He returned as she had just finished her meal and the carafe of rose that had been delivered to her table. Again, he bent over and kissed her left cheek and then sat down opposite of her. "Emily, you have now had your first graduate lesson on Cajun cuisine. "Yummmmm" she interrupted wiping her lips with a linen napkin to remove the gravy. "Again, I must leave you given my duties, but I have ordered a sambuca for your aperitif this evening with Juan waiting outside when you are ready to go home."  With that he took her right hand and kissed it lightly as he placed his business card on the table. "I hope you will accept my call in several days to pursue your futher education of the Cajun culture ... and perhaps one Cajun in particular." "I think ... I know that I would enjoy that. The emeal was tre bon Beau.  What a great way to start my new studies. 

Emily was a bit surprised as to the brevity of her interaction with Beau that evening, She had spent that afternoon thinking of points of conversation to engage him properly given her limited experience. But she understood his motivation and responsibilies as to his restaurant.  Sipping the sambuca, she pulled out her writing pad from earlier that day and made changes in her listl. She left a $10 tip on the table because she expected that was the right thing to do.  She exited the restaurant, saw Juan's yellow cab,  and got into the back seat. "YES" she shouted upon entering the cab, and then asked Juan to take her home. Juan smiled to himself. He had seen the magic in her as to Beau's desires. Juan once again escorted her into her front door,  and then sent a text message to Beau that Emily was home safely.


Part 4: Self-Awakening

Upon waking in the morning, Emily showered, dressed lightly, and headed to Cafe Degas as usual to start the day. She was still quite full from dinner the night before, so she simplyordered a croissant and cafe creme. Once seated at her normal table outside, she again pulled out her tablet and began to adjust the list from the day before. 'Cuisine' moved up several slots with the inclusion of 'phsyique' in the No.2 slot. 'Loving' remained at No.1 as it always would as modifications would occur every so often as she matured in her relationships with men. Finishing her second cafe creme, she headed to the library for more research, but this time she was focusing on European travel. This pursuit was sparked by a brief,  unsuccessful flirtation with a French student in one of her senior Architecture classes. Jacque's apparent intelligence in classes attracted her greatly at first. They had spent several late night / early morning disucssions in his apartment with signicant consumption of wine and stale chips with homemade french onion dip. But her interest in him as to intellectual conversation faded soon.  There was nothing there after that, but she did think often of his descriptions of various areas of France in general and of Paris particularlly.

She started her European travel research with one of those flashy travel books, e.g., France on $X a Day written 20 years earlier before the introduction of the €. The superficial text did at least get her interested in deeper research as she found and briefed travel guides for specific regions of France starting with Rhone Alpes that includes the city of Lyon. She knew of Lyon as THE center of French cuisine. She then checked out the book on Cote d'Azur which encompasses Nice and a generous portion of the French Rivera. She looked no further after that as to the other vast opporrtunities for travel in France from ocean/sea to snow capped mountains. Nice and Lyon would be her intial destinations for her first trip to France. 

Having spent the best part of the afternoon in the library,  she was preparing to leave when she noticed a book on the Wine Regions of France. She decided to check it out and proceed home before going out for dinner at Madinnas in Mid City known for their barbeque shrimp (that doesn't involve a grill) . On her way home, she went into Martins Wine Cellar to purchase a bottle of wine. One of the starff noticed her book and approached her. "Miss, from the book I think you may interested in attending our wine tastings here every Tuesday.  My name is Bob, and I would be happy to provide you with more information." "Emily., Tell me more please." "Our tasting this Tuesday is that of French Rhones, upper and lower." The difference between the 2 was not understood by her, but she said "I will be there. Please sign me up." He took her info and gave her his business card should she have any questions. Bob continued, "If you are looking for a bottle of wine for tonight, then I suggest a great red Rhone that would be a proper introduction for our tasting Tuesday." She accepted his suggestion and left the store with a bottle of Chateaunuef-du-Pape. 

Upon reaching her apartment, she pulled the cell phone out of her purse and threw the purse in the corner of the couch by the open glass doors to her private deck. She shed her loose dress leaving her naked as she headed for the shower. She didn't notice the message on her phone from Beau. She was now thinking as to her trip to Lyon and Nice as she placed the shower head on pulsing to drum on her head and shoulders. Her thoughts then went to Beau and his handsomeness, his physique, and his most comforting charm. This combination of thoughts/feelings were new to her as she proceeded to soothingly sponge her whole body and realize an extraordinarly level of sensual satisfatcion to the point of  intensiveness new to her, "Oh my God", she said out loud as she slumped to the shower's floor breathing hard. She sat there for several minutes as she regained her composure. This was her first release of her inner sensual self. After several minutes she stood and wrapped a large towel around herself and headed to the kitchen to open the bottle of Rhone wine.

With the wine opened, she poured a generous portion into a water glass and grabbed her Iphone and headed to the deck. She dropped the towel by the Chaise Longue and stretched out naked to gaze at the spectacular night. The full moon was off to her left with the lighted clouds over the French Qtr. to her right. She turned on her cell phone and saw the text from Beau.

"Emily, I truly hope you enjoyed your introduction to Cajun cuisine. This coming Friday my restaurant will have some amazing Cajun music performers with the dance floor expanded to include the outside deck. I WILL NOT be working that night, and I hope you will let me pick you up at 7 and join me in the festivities. After food, the next major point of education is that of Cajun dance."

Emily smiled as she read the text as she subconciously reached down to touch her thighs. Her thoughts immediately went beyond dancing with this handsome Cajun. Filling her glass with the Rhone she found herself overthinking,what her response would be. Finally she simply texted "Great! I will have my dancing shoes on." Several moments later she added; " I think it may be an early morning there so I will bring a change of clothes - just in case." Finishing the bottle of Rhone as she thought about previous 'romances' that led to nothing for her, she was ready for bed.  She took an Excedrin to fend off the inevitable headache she expected from the consumption of a bottle red wine - contrary to the point that Excedrin is loaded with caffeine. It had always worked before in her college years.

When she woke the next morning, she recalled that the wine tasting at Martins was that evening. Having never been to a 'formal' wine tasting, she thought about what to wear. In her mind this was her appearance as a debutant in NOLA society, although she knew not what to expect as to who the people would be attending. She decided that her normal summer dresses would be too casual .... and undergarments should be worn. Also, she needed to get her hair done as well as a mani and pedi.  She was now giggling to herself with this unexpected change in her social interest and presensce.  She spent the early part of the afternoon seeking out such services and lighted on a shop on Magazine St, given the 'coolness' of the shops there.

She arrived at Martins at 6 and was directed to the second floor where the tasting would be done. She was absolutely gorgeous with her long hair draping over her V-shape light-cashmere sweater and a quite-short skirt that emphasized both her breasts and legs respectively. Bob welcomed her there and explained the process of the tasting. "It is a 'blind' tasting  (vitner/price not identified) with 6 wines served in the glasses presented in an arch in front you. The host will discuss Rhone wines in general, including the difference between upper and lower Rhones. For 15 minutes following the introduction,  you will taste each glass at your own rate and make notes on the pad provided, including a rating of 1 to 10 on a score card.  At the end of the 15 minutes, the host will step all through each wine asking for comments. Meanwhile the score cards will be gathered and summarized by the staff. There is one rule that there IS NOT to be any talking during the 15 minutes of tasting."

SIDE NOTE: The 15 minute rule is never adherred to when Champagnes are being tasted.  Folks cannot stay quiet for more than 10 minutes as the bubbles infuse their brains, their mindsets.

It was not until the end of the tasting, and then the discussion led by the host, that the participants were welcomed to discuss amongst themselves as to social conservations. At the table which Emily sat, there were 3 couples and a 30 something year old male that sat next to her. The couples were apparently familiar with each other and had their own conversation going on. This made it natural for the fellow next to her to turn to her and introduce himself as Pierre. He had a very noticeable French accent, and he was as tall (albeit siiting down) as he was handsome. Although the total wine consumption did not exceed 16 ounces, Emily was feeling sassy and decided to pursue the game. "Bon Soir Pierre, I am Mademoiselle Emily" extending her right hand, palm down. Pierre was quick to play the game by taking her hand and kissing it "Enchantee Mademoiselle."  They both laughed.  The whilmsicalness for the evening had been set. Indeed, the game was on for her, but not for him as it turned out.  With the wines identified as to the group's rating as well as the prices, the tasting was over.  All applauded and each table stood to leave.  Pierre rose quickly and Emily remained seating hoping for an invitation to join him somewhere else. Such an invitation was quickly coming. "Mademoissele, would you enjoy me for a cocktail and light dinner fare at Upperline? It would be my pleasure to escort you there and enjoy your company."  Still in the whimiscal way, she reponded "Well Monsieur, I don't know you ... but you DO know your Rhones and that is indictative of your honorable character.  So, YES! Let's proceed." as she reached out her right arm for him to pull her up from her chair.  It was a realtively short walk to Upperline one block off St.Charles as she would sway occassionally to the right holding onto his arm. He responded each time to pull her closer into him.

Emily decided to pursue the possiblity of her trip to Lyon and Nice with this French man given his knowledge of the country,  But as she did so, she was increasingly attracted to his accent and wittiscism in their conversation. Pierre was not being aggressive as to prusing her,  but rather responding to her questions as a tour guide would do. Emily, subconciously, was looking for aggression on his part.  She wanted to compare Pierre to her new found feelings for Beau that she had experienced in the shower that morning. That wasn't happening.   Pierre started: "Cherie, I would love to assist you in your travel to France, especially Nice. I have an apartmrent there with my partner, and we both would welcome your company."  "Oops" she said to herself. "Are you gay Pierre?", she said bluntly, but not offensively.  "Yes Dear," he responded, "Sorry, I hope I didn't mislead you. I just loved enjoying the wine tasting with you." Emily sat back, "Thank you Pierre, you have taught me an important lesson by your presence. Indeed I did misunsderstand you, and I was foolishy looking for a reason, a means, to reject an individual to whom I have been just recently introduced,  His culture is not mine, and I am striking out against it, but not being rational as to his individual characteristics." Pierre responded placing his left arm around her shoulders. "Not perfectly clear as to what you are saying. BUT, I perceive that you are trying to escape your inner feelings for some guy. To be candid Dear, I think you are too inexperienced in handling your emotions. Experiencing life is about taking chances, but with the inner strength to work through mistakes.  Do you have such strength? That is your decision, of course..... I DO sense that strength in you for whatever reason that I cannot explain. But, i am very experienced in reading personalities. Whatever you do, please stay in touch me, expecially if you wish to visit us in Nice."  He gave her his business card and departed Upperline making sure she was comfortable going on herself.  She stood at the exit and sent a text to Beau.  "I would really like for you to join me this evening, if you can ... or send Juan and I will join you there.  Your Cajun-dancing foolsmiley"

Beau did not see her text until 10. Cajun reataurants, as in Paris, don't kick in until 8 PM, and even much later if a live band is present. Beau texted accordingly; "Juan will be there at 10:30 if you agree.  Do bring clothes should it be a long night. If so, you will have a room to stay in tonight. Lots of dancing tonight and meeting my family."  Emily smiled and texted "I agree. See you soon Cher". Emily really didn't realize yet how much she had transitioned from who she was 1 week earlier.


Part 5: A serious step forward

As suggested by Beau, she grabbed a pair of jeans, a loose blouse, and a pair of sandals and placed them in her Tulane utility bag. She added some basic cosmetics and a hair brush and headed to the shower for a quick rinse before dressing in her cotton sweatshirt and capri pants, along with some loafers for dancing.  Juan was of course at her door at 10:30 and she proceeded to exit her apartment. "One moment Juan, I forgot something. I'll be right back."  She rushed back to her bedroom and grabbed her light green, satin teddy and her Fraganard perfume. "Just in case." she said out loud as she locked the door and entered the cab smiling broadly. "My oh my Cher!, you seem to be in an extraordinary mood this evening." Juan stated as she took shotgun. "Yes Juan, is it that obvious?' she said in a most charming way. 

Within 20 minutes, they were at the restaurant. Again, she reached into her purse to pay for the ride. "Cher, remember, you don't pay when you are a guest of Beau. He will contact me whenever it is your time to return home. I mean whenever. By the way, the pan perdu for breakfast is tre bon." he said with a wink.  "Good evening Cher." as she grabbed her bag and exited the cab to head to the restuarant's entrance. There was a sizable line waiting to enter with several dancing on the patio as the Cajun music could be easily heard.  The hostess from the previous time there was regulating the entrance of those in line and noticed her.  She came out, took Emily's hand and simply said "Follow me." Heading for the back entrance by the kitchen, the hostess directed her to a table with 6 people already seated.  "Folks, this is Emily, Beau's guest for the evening." the hostess said to the group and then she headed back to the entrance. The most senior gentleman stood. "Welcome Cher. I am Beau's Dad, Pierre, and these others are his direct family." The 2 younger men then stood and introduced themselves as to name and being brothers. The father then introduced the Mom, sister, and an aunt.

Mom started. "Sweetie, I understand that you are interested in Cajun culture and that you were here the other day to try our cuisine." Emily nodded. "Well tonight, you will get a true 'taste' of our spirit, our enjoyment in music and dance. I only request, that you feel free to joining in to the extent that you wish. Please do not hesitate to ask any questions about our lifestyle, etc.  Cajuns are very open.  BUT,  we are also very direct. There is not one person at this table that will not make every attempt to make you comfortable this evening. At that moment Beau appeared and gave a kiss on each of Emily's cheeks as she remained seated. "Welcome Emily, I am so glad that you contacted me this evening.  I could not get away to meet with you due to my obligations here, but so glad that you could come here tonight. So! You have now met my family", as he bent to kiss Mom on the cheek.  It was my plan to save that for Saturday if you come to the music festival I mentioned the other day,."

The band was now starting up again after a short break.  Beau pulled Emily from the chair and stated that he and Emily would be on the dance floor for awhile.  "To be clear, tonight is pure Cajun music with violins and accordian.  This is not Zydeco that achieves similar results of exposing one's spirit, but using instruments chuch as guitars, washboards, brass, etc. This music is much more romantic, as with our waltz moves unlike the 2-step of Zydeco.  So Cher, take my hand and don't let go." "Oh MY!" she responded as they headed to the dance floor.

Although naturally shy by nature, Emily was soon in step with Beau as they turned and swirled around the dance floor. Emily did hold on tight, and again as the first time at Tipitina's when she first met Beau, she gave in totally to his control. "Darlin, you are doing wonderfully." Emily noted that this was the first time that Beau had used 'Darling' instead of 'Cher', and he was now holding her even closer. The third waltz had just completed and Emily asked if they could take a table stating that she was both thirsty and hungry. Actually, given the intensity of the dancing, she was somewhat tense and needed to relax as well.  Never letting go of her hand, Beau led her to a table reserved for him in a corner of the dance floor that was lined by a floor-to-ceiling curtain for privacy when desired by favored clients.

"I notice you brought a bag with you. Is that for a change of clothes?" Beau asked.  She sat up in her chair and smartly said, "Absoultely, my blood is rushing, and I want to dance the night away.  I am really into Cajun music."  Beau cut in: "Well, you clearly require some food and drink to maintain your stamina. It so happens that both are now being delivered to our table in that I ordered just before we entered the dance floor." In the center of a table there was a plate of soft-shell crabs with a bowl of shimp etioffe to be shared along with a sliced baguette.  One of the brothers, Jean, was their personal server. There was also a pitcher of beer and a carafe of red wine delivered shortly thereafter with the appropriate glasses and bowls and spoons.  Beau noted that Jean had agreed to take over Beau's duties for the evenig with her arrival. Jean nodded and said "Cher,  I am highly impressed. You are catching on to our music, dance, and food it seems. Beau is all yours this evening," Emily blushed and said "Tre Bon ...  tre bien", not sure which is correct."  Without hesitation she served each of them a portion of etouffe as Beau poured himelf some beer and wine for her.

Emily was quite hungry and soon took a second portion of the etouffe and a portion of baquette, while consuming several glasses of wine to deal with a level of seaoning heat with which she was not quite accustomed to. Emily felt her heart calming down with her increasing relaxation in the moment.  Beau, having consumed his food and beer restarted the conversation. "To be candid Cher, you have really reached into my mind ... and into my heart with your interest in my culture. So! May I ask you, Darlin, how interested are you in knowing more about this particular Cajun?" Once again, Emily sat back in her chair.  She paused grabbing another portion of soft-shell crab and holding it up in front of her by shaking it like a witch's wand. "Well, Beau,  that is a 2-way street for both of us  .... I am here with my bag for an overnight stay, and you are here to offer me a place to sleep."  She purposely poured herself a third glass of wine to stage her forthcoming response. "I DO see you as my 'Shining Knight tonight, and I welcome your presence throughout the evening and until morning. But, right now I wish to dance more with you and be in your controlling arms.  I absolutley desire that now."

With that proclamation by her, Beau stood and pulled Emily up from her chair and swirled her as they approached the dance floor. Suddenly, Beau stopped and turn Emily to face him. "Emily, I want to pursue a serious relationship with you, and I believe you feel the same." She reached out grabbing his shoulders pulling him close and kissed him tenderley on the lips followed by "Yes!" He continued;  "So here's the deal, I will not take you anywhere where you do not want to go with me. YOU are in control of where we go as a couple ... pause ... I have never felt this way before as I am now going to say. BUT, I am all in to see who we are together."  She responded as pulling him towards the dance floor: "Darlin, I like that, but now we dance.  I really desire your control of my body as we dance ... and,... Oh! never mind for now."

With occassional breaks to return to the table for more beer and wine consumption, they were into the very early morning. Emily was clearly starting to fade without holding on to Beau's hand tightly as required for their dancing.  Beau knew that she had reached her limit, and it was time to get her to the private bedroom on the second floor above the restuarant. The family's house was directly attached to the restauant, but separate from where she would spend the night. "Cher, it is time to get you to your room for the evening."  She was so loose, that she accepted his hand as he led her, along with her bag to her room. He noted were the bathroom was as he sat her on the bed.  She immediately laid down rolling over on her side. He pulled the comforter over her and kissed her left cheek. "Darlin, I will be up here in the morning to get you up. Sleep tight and sweet dreams"  She mumbled something and pulled the comforter up further.


Part 6: A New Start.

At 8 in the morning Emily stirred rolling over to her right side. She immediately reached down to touch her thighs as to what she had on. She remembered Beau leading her to the bedroom, but nothing after that. In a way, she was disappointed that she had on the same clothes that she had worn to the restaurant. She really liked the satin teddy she brought with her, and it had yet to be put to the test other than in the fantasy by herself in her own bed.  She stripped off her clothes and headed to the shower to gain her full senses. She was impressed with the lavender-secented soaps and shampoos that were provided. On exiting the shower, she heard a knock on the bedroom door followed by "Cher, are you up? Breakfast is underway and you are welcome to join the family."  It was the voice of Beau's Mom.  She responded; "YES!, up and showered. I will be down shortly. Thanks." With that said she blew-dried her hair brushing its luxorious shine and putting on the change of clothes she had brought in her bag.

Before leaving the bedroom she sat down on the bed and checked her email. There was a text from Jean consisting of 2 pictures of her on the dance floor only 6 hours earlier totally encapsulted in her moves with Beau. The message was simple:  "Welcome to our world Cher." She smiled and stood to leave after putting on her shoes,

In the mainroom of the restaurant there was a table set up with a selection of breakfast items ranging from pan perdu with a choice of blueberry and maple syrup on the side, cheese grits, thick bacon slices, and wheat toast with sour cherry preserves available.  There was also a side dish of shrimp-stuffed meliton which is purely a Cajun thing - think stufffed peppers but not as sweet. Beau and both of his brothers were already there and engaged in their breakfast.  Beau immediately stood and held out both hands to welcome her to the table. "Did you sleep well and tight Cher?" She accepted his hand to sit at the table: "Yes!, very much so my Shining Knight."  Beau smiled.  "Food is self served. What would you like to drink?" "New Orleans coffee with chicory, of course and ice water. Thanks."

Once she was well into her breakfast, Beau started up. "Emily, WE were wonderful last night on the dance floor." She looked at him directly: "I had an amzaing time. It was just what I needed." ... pause ..."But also, I  remember some comments by you about purusing a more serious relationship with me.  Am I right about that?" "Yes I am." he proclaimed quickly. She sat back in her chair and then stated: "Beau, have you ever been in love? I mean a TRUE love." Before he could respond, she continued: "I have not, and to be clear, I REALLY don't know what I want in my life at this point. My education has been my only life's objective until last week. Now, I want to reach out into the world. To be honest, I was very recepable to anything last night. You could have had all of me last night, but you didn't. I am amazed with you and feel totally comfortable with you, even given our very little time together." She purposely took another bite of the pan purdue, dipping it first into the maple syrup followed by the blueberry one.  "This is difficult to say, but I am not at all experienced in romantic relationships." Looking directly into his eyes, "YOU have already taken my mind, my heart, further than I have ever been before." She suddenly stood up to walked away to regain her personal space, her personal sphere, and then turned to face him. "I sincerely expect that we are significantly different as to our future objectives." Beau interrupted her: "Cher!". But she continued as she returned to her chair; "I know I want to be with you in many ways to which we both will likely agree, but you and I together on the long term does not make sense. to me.  We are too different in several critical ways." Beau forceably interruped her and said: "Really? I don't know how you actually know that?  You really don't know me other than my underlying culture. You don't know my true interests, other than my music and my Cajun perspectives. YOU really don't know yet my perspective of life, including travel, intellectual pursuits, cultural interests, and especially a major part of MY SOUL."  He paused to consider what he wanted to say next.  He didn't want to react too quickly and any more defensively. He continued: "I believe you have foolishly made assumptions about me without the facts ... without the sincerity, without the perserverence, to seek me out.  If you are not willing to make that investment, then shame on you for taking me this far." he said very directly and delibertaly. Acutally, he was a bit pissed off at her presumptions. His concept of self had been challenged, actually insulted. Emily was totally taken back by his reaction. She immediately had second thoughts about what she had said.

She poured herself more chicory coffee from the carafe. "Beau, you are absolutely right. Please, please accept my deepest apology for what I said without any actual justification..... it is just a sign of my naiveness due to my inexprience." She then looked at him and sat up in her chair with a deveishly smile: "That's kind of good rigtht?... an interesting challenge, right?"  He took the que. "Hmmmm, every man loves a challenge, especially when there is an absolutely lovely maiden involved." He continued: "Darlin, If you agree I would like to restart our relationship. If you are willing, I would love to restart US." " What do you suggest Sir Beau?", she said turning in her chair to face him, first pulling her hair to the right side and then placing her hands on her upper thighs as she spread her legs slightly. This purposeful move by her of 'female openess' was properly perceived by him. He responded: "First let's get you home today. Juan will be her shortly and then back to you on Saturday at 6 to bring you to the music festival here. I request that you make a list of what you expect of a male relationship, first now and then in 10 years. When you come back, we will first have dinner and then enjoy the evening of music, dance ... and then me perhaps.  THAT is your decision. BUT you have to convince me that there are possibiities for us based upon your list. " With that he stood and bent down to kiss her passionately on the lips. "I look forward to us on Saturday.", as he departed to the kitchen Juan arrived in moments to take her to her apartment in mid-city. Juan stated on greeting her: "You look gorgeous Cher.  Your chariot awaits you." 


Part 7: A Challenge

Saturday morning when Emily woke, she was feeling very tense, and not at all relaxed. She had a partial memory of the dream she had in her sleep. She had a vision of her head being in a vice that was increasingly tightening, and no one came to her assistance. Getting out of bed, she physically shook her body on the way to the shower to rid herself of the memories of her dream. Within 40 minutes she was seated on the patio at Cafe Degas her cafe creme and Croque Monsieur. She was soon approached by Joseph who was both a regular there as well as in some of her classes at Tulane. His interest in her was obvious as he shyly asked if he could join her with an awkward grin. Not waiting for a response, he took the chair opposite of her, saying "Hi Emily.  I am Joseph.  We have never really talked, but I wanted to say how much I liked your graduation project of the marina  / condominium complex you designed." "Yes, Joseph I remeber you. How are doing? ... and what are doing this summer?"  Joseph was taken by surprise being asked to have a conversation with this young lady who had been so elusive during their years at school.  

Joseph was indeed a handsome individual with 'subtle' charms that Emily had noticed in their classes together. Focusing on her studies, her attention to the other students had simply been that of placing each in one of three categories ranging from 'jerk' ... to ... 'boring' ... to ... 'cool'. That was her limit of considering Joseph having classified him as the last. BUT now, having her sense of romance being awakened by Beau, she decided to pursue more in-depth knowledge of this young man across from her. 

Joseph started to address her questions of him when she interrupted him suddenly. "Joseph, have you ever been to Tipitinas? " continuing with "I was just there for the first time sevreral weeks ago. ... pause ... I had an amazing time. It seems I missed alot during my time in school." It was clear to Joseph that he was a catalyst for this young lady in letting go. This was a role he was willing to play at this time with this woman, and she continued without permitting any response from him.   

Joseph suggesed that he get two more cafe cremes so as to continue the conversation (as one sided as it was), and Emily agreed. Upon his return to the table with the cups in hand, and before sitting down, he said "Emily, it is my turn to talk about me." With a wink and the turning of his head, he sat down, Emily blushed and said "Sorry! I guess I got carried away.  The last several weeks since graduation have been eye-opening for me." He responded "No problem Darlin."  Hearing 'Darlin' took her thoughts immediately to Beau ... and then back to Joseph. 

He started by noting that he had also focused almost exclusively on his studies at Tulane given the major challenges of pursuing Architecture. However, during the break between the first and second year, he had met several other students that were exploring the amazing culture of New Orleans as to music and food. He stated that NOLA was like Sears with a special every weekend. Emily didn't catch the analogy totally. He continued to explain he recognized that his education needed to be greater than what his studies provided given that he came from a very conservative area of Western PA. During break he took up sailing on Lake Ponchartrain as well as joining a ski club during the winter break, including Mardi Gras. She had been sipping on her cafe creme during his disseration and unknowing to her had foam on her upper lip. Suddenly, Joseph reached across the table with a napkin to lightly touch her upper lip with "Just too cute Darlin", returning to his chair. With this simple, innocent act, Emily relaxed further into her chair, opened her eyes wide and looked directly at Joseph. "How dare you young man? she said with a wide smile angling her head while still staring at him. She was NOW flirting and was more surprised than he was at her actions. She purposely sipped her cafe creme again assuring more foam on her upper lip, without saying anything. They both laughed at this most innocent moment - but it really wasn't from her standpoint. She sat in her chair without further comment waiting for his action. Joseph stood up, came around to her chair and lightly kissed her upper lip. "There you are Darlin, just absolutely lovely now." and returned to his chair. Emily was smittened with this young man. But she recognized that she had exceeded her 'comfort zone' in dealing with men.

"Thank you Monsieur." She stood and started to walk away and then turned back. "Will you be her Sunday moring at 11:00 for brunch? I would most welcome your company,"  Joseph smiled and nodded yes. 


8. Oh MY! 

Emily returned to her apartment. Her head was spinning with thoughts as to who she was now having left the academic world where all was so structured. She was making a serious transition from her scholarly pursuits having now met 2 men that thrilled her in different ways. Beau had taken her by the initial surprise as to enjoying NOLA with dance, food, and family. Joseph had come out of nowhere and his simple kiss on her upper lip and innocent charm had captured her in a way that had no true meaning, but quite captivating nonetheless. 

Emily had no close female or male friends in NOLA to talk with. Since leaving her parent's house to attend college, she purposely had taken a position of being independent, again focusing on her studies. Now having both Beau and Joseph on her mind, she simply wanted to just express her thoughts to someone/something other than the walls in her apartment - which she did anyway with Bruce in the CD player. She needed a diversion, and sat at her desk checking job postings for architects on various professional forums. She was finding nothing in NOLA, and her spirit was dampened somewhat.  "All will come in time." she said outloud. Although early in the afternoon, with 4 hours until Juan would be picking her up for the night of food and dancing at Beau's restaurant. She headed out to Martin's for another bottle of Chateaunuef-du-Pape  that the clerk Bob had recommended several days ago.

Returning to her apartment, she uncorked the wine, turned on some Seger and headed to the deck to relax in the shade. Several more glasses and she was gazing in the distance to the apartment building across the way. She was consciously comparing the vertical edges of the building to each other and checking out the angles of horizontal pieces as to being true right angles.  This was her mind when she was relaxed - simply stated, she is a mathematical/geometrical geek. Her mind is always calculating distances, angles, and proportions looking for errors. Finishing the bottle, she reflected on  her first trip to Tipitinas and dancing with Beau, and subsequently being at his restaurant. Those experiences had been a total release from her mindset for the length of her academics. She then reflected on her brief time with Joseph that morning. The fact that he had also been a student with the same academic interests, his charm did not bring those academic thoughts to mind.

At 6:30 she dressed for the evening, again in  a very loose dress that would flow seductively (in her opinion) as Beau would swing her in the dancing. Having consumed a bottle of wine, she was in a mood to seduce. Her hair was teased and the lipstick was a new shade of burgundy that she purchased several weeks prior. This preparation  was quite calculating on her part as to her involvement with Beau.

Juan was on time, and within 20 minutes she was at the restaurant. She entered through the kichen instead of waiting in the line at the entrance; she was family now.  The Cajun band was fully engaged already. Making her way to the family table she passed a number of tables covered with crawfish, boiled corn, and boiled potatoes.  This was her first experioence with a crawfish boil. She was amazed at the site of this 'feast'. Within moments, Beau's dad took her right arm and led her to the family table. "Cher, welcome as always. The band is hot and the crawfish are large and wonderfully spiced. I do suggest that the potatoes and corn may be a bit spicy in that they absorb the cayene that is used in the boil.  I also understand from Beau that this may be your first boil.  So! Cher, you simply take a crawfish between 2 fingers and separate the tail from the head, and then you squeeze the tail for the meat.  If you dare, you suck the heads for the spicey juices." He smiled, "Your choice!" He pulled out her chair for her to sit as she greeted the others at the table. The father continued, "Beau will be out shortly. He is still preparing the kitchen staff for tonight's feast." She acknowledged and reached for her first crawfish. The others were polite enough to not watch how she did.  It would be her repeat of this avtivity that would be their measure of this young lady.  

By the time Beau appeared, Emily had a respectable pile of crawfish remains, and she was well engaged in conversation with most of the table. Beau approached her from behind bending to kiss her neck and commenting on the scent of boiled crawfish that engjulfed her. "You smell delicious Darlin!" as he then tilted her face to kiss her on the left cheek. He continued as he noticed her dress;  "I see you have arrivied prepared to dance. I love the dress."  She stood quickly, stepped away from the table and did a quick twirl for a slight tease. Indeed, it was seductively short and loose aroung her body. Given her dress, teased hair, and burgundy lipstick, Beau was taken by surprise at her appearance - and not necessarily in the best way. He also noted several empty 'long necks" at her seat. Pulling her close into his body as if they were going to dance, he said quietly, "Emily, are you OK right now?" She pulled back somewhat "Certainly Beau. I am here to be part of your world, and I am letting myself go from who I have been for the last decade or so."  She paused as she looked into his eyes "Is something wrong here?" "No Darlin, but you have a new side to you that I have not seen before." She grabbed his two hands with hers and proclaimed. "I want to dance, and I want to do it NOW." as she pulled him onto the dance floor.  

Amazingly, given the 2 beers and the earlier bottle of wine, Emily was totally in sync on the dance floor as Beau moved her around with swirls and the wrapping and releasing of arms that were true to Cajun dancing, either 2-step or waltz. She was so light of foot that it was if she was floating totally subject to Beau's whims. They would break occassionally so as to go to their own table in the corner of the dance floor. They were both soaked from their prespiration, but that made no difference in how they danced.  If nothing else, they were actually more fluent in their movements. It was only after the 3rd break that they began to talk again in any meaningful fashion. "Emily, I have to say that you are quite different than the person I met at Tips several weeks ago. What's going on with you?" She responded with a rather stern face. "Do you not like Sir Beau?" using the shining knight reference from their first encounter. Her alcohol-infused personally was wearing off quickly with all of the dancing. and she was reverting to her calculating personality. She was now embarassed as to how she had tried to transform to a free-style Cajun stereotype that she had imagined since first meeting Beau and his family at the restaurant. Simply stated, she realized she was trying too hard to adapt to a culture that was not her upbringing. Suddenly, she stood, came over to Beau's chair and said. "I would like Juan to drive me home now.  Let's talk tomorrow.  You are so 'dear' to me as to my transformation since school and getting to know NOLA, Tips, and enjoying your loving culture. But,  I have yet to find who I am."  Beau was taken totally by surprise. Indeed he had plans for the evening as to Emily spending the night, but he knew he had to not push this young lady.  She was indeed a very determined sole, at least when she was sober.  "I will call Juan now.  Please stay her while I arrange your ride. It is not my desire that we end the evening this way, but we will talk tomorrow.  I will call you at 2."  With that he gave her a most soft and passionate kiss hoping that she would back down.  She didn't, and he walked away.  Juan was by her side in 5 minutes, and she was home in 20.


9.  A New Path

Sunday morning came too early for Emily. She had stirred in bed much of the night with bouts of not sleeping. She kept questioning what she had done the night before with Beau .... and why. This man possess so many wonderful qualities that she admired, and yet something was not right for her. She finally got up at 8 and headed for the shower.  She wanted the makeup off with hair hanging naturally after a few brushes. She switched to thinking about  brunch with Joseph in several hours. Beau said he would be calling her at 2, so she could drop her thoughts of him until then. 

At 11:15 she met with Joseph at Cafe Degas.  He was already on the open deck where they had first met. She was dressed in her typical college style of cotten capri pants and a sleeveless cotton blouse. Her 'Annie Hall' hat was a perfect touch. He was dressed in a pink polo shirt and light blue Tommy Bahama shorts. As she approached him, her first thought was how sexy he looked, but she quickly cleared her mind. "Hi Joseph. Such a great morning for brunch here ... and with you.",  Oops, that slipped out. Was she flirting already?, she thought. Joseph was already on his second cafe creme, given that she was a tad late. He started. "I would really like a iced cold brew that they serve here. It is comparable to what PJ serves. Would you like that or something else?" She knew the 'PJ' eference well since there was one next to Tulane's campus. She sat more direct in her chair and said boldly.  "That would be great. But my treat. I am desiring the Croque Monsieur. What would you like?" He smiled, "The same! My Lady."  She stood and went inside to order. On a lark, she turned to look at him. Indeed, he was looking at her walk away.  "I like that", she said softly in that her Capri pants tucked tightly into her cheeks.

They were there for over an hour discussing everything except what each actually wanted to discuss, i.e., how to be more personal than either was comfortable with discussing so early in their interaction. The discussion was slowing down, and departing each other would have to be soon given the lack of new content. Joseph suddely reached across the table and took Emily's left hand.  " I am going to a crawfish boil later this afternoon at a fraternity house for which I am an alumni.  Would you like to join me?" She paused, and with a broad smile she said,  "Hmmmm, that sounds very interesting. I have never had that experience ... in college."   Joseph continued, "Super! I will meet you here at 5 and we'll go togehter. With that said, she stood and came around to his chair and kissed him softly on his right cheek.  He remained seated as she walked away.  Within several feet she turned again to see him.  Indeed, he was watching her walk away.  "I really, really like that." she said softly. She purposely smiled at him and gave a quick wiggle of her hips. She was getting into this flirting thing.

Beau was right on time with the 2:00 call. Emily was on the deck with a glass of dry Rose  that she had purchased on the way home from Cafe Degas. She was having mixed feelings in anticipation of Beau's call. Her brunch and conversation with Joseph, with the addition of a date later that afternoon, was to be enough in her mind to separate herself from Beau as to a romantic relationship. But, he had indeed been her "Shining Knight" that first night at TIPS, and the enjoyment with him, and his family, was not to be taken lightly. "Hello, this is Emily." "Hi this is Beau. Emily, I am not sure what has happened between us- perhaps nothing. But you left so suddenly last night.  Have I done something to offend you?"  This was the type of question that she knew she would have to address given her unilateral decision to leave early. "Beau, NO! you have not in any way offended me. You, and your family, are so dear to me." and she stopped.  He responded without anger, "BUT?", and paused.  "I really don't have a BUT at this point. Something is not syncing in my mind. I really don't understand what it is, and I don't know how to explain it at this point ... I am SO sorry!" Beau responded "Darlin, I am SO very sorry also. I will say now before we end this conversation that I am here for you should you find reasons to be here.  I cannot give up my world for yours. You know that you are welome in mine. Goodbye Darling."  "I  understand, and I respect and thank you for that Beau.  Goodbye." as she ended the call. She did not let him hear her crying and sounds of sorrow. She had several hours to lay down before meeting Joseph for the crawfish boil.


10. A Slow Boil

Her cell phone alarm sounded off at 4:15 in the afternoon, and she stirred rolling slowly towards the edge of the bed. She stood heading directly for the shower dropping her slacks on the way and pulling off her loose blouse. She wanted the shower to clense her of her thoughts of Beau .... at least for today.

She decided to wear tight and very short denim shorts and a sleveless pink t-shirt. This was going to be a hot afternoon as to temperature and humidity, and comfort was the key thought for her. It didn't hurt that her curves were wondefully displayed.  She was getting into this role of flirtation, but remembering Beau's comment of the night before, that perhaps she was stepping out beyond who she truly was.

She was on time at the Cafe at 5. He was also adressed comfortably in typical college party garb, but this time including an absolutey ridiculous straw hat straight out of Huckleberry Fin. Upon approaching Joseph she blinked and smiled internally as to how absolutely cute he was: mature but impish. He suggested that each have shot of expresso to start what would likely be a long afternoon and evening. She agreed and he pulled out her chair at the table for her to sit, immediately followed by a kiss on the left cheek saying "I am so glad you have decided to join me. I'll be right back."

In 25 minutes they were at the fraternity. Joseph directed her to a particular table at whch were seated other alumni and their dates.  The crawfish were layered across the table on brown paper as well half-ears of corn and small ptoatoes. Several pitchers of beer accompanied the food. There were no alternatives as to what was going to be consumued as to food and beverage.  After being introduced to those at the table, Joseph pulled her into his body and reaching with his other hand to pull the food towards them.  He poured 2 glasses of beer and began to instruct her on how to deal with crawfish. She interrupted; "Actually, I am now so qualitfied. However, I am not interested in sucking the head." "Me neither, he confessed.

The Cajun band had started, and she didn't hesitate. She reached for her beer, took two large swallows, stood, and pulled Joseph up by his left hand. "We're dancing!" she proclaimed, not waiting for a response. Joseph held back, not expecting such an action on her part. "What are you doing Emily?" We are going to dance to that music. IS THAT A PROBLEM?" she stated firmly. "YES!" he responded just as firmly. "I barely know how to dance, but expecially not to that type of music." "Trust me Joseph, I can teach  you quickly." He paused: "Not really interested Emily" and he sat back down grabbing several several crawfish. She remained standing and looked around the party.  She noticed one particularly handsome guy standing alone by the bar gyrating to the music.  "Well!, I'm dancing!" as she turned her back and headed towards the young man. Again on walking away, she turned back to see Joseph. This time he was busy with crawfish and not watching her. Within minutes, she was dancing with the guy joylessly releasing all her thoughts except for one. After a number of 2-steps and a waltz, she thanked the young man and headed to the street. She was soon on the phone to Beau asking if Juan could pick her up to come to the restaurant.  "Of course! Cher."   She gave him the address, which he knew well having entertained there a number of times.  "By the way, Beau, I need to stop by my apartment to pick up some clothes for spending the night.  I have one particular garment in mind." "I like that!  Juan will call you shortly to confirm when he can be there." Without any doubt, Emily now knew her direction for at least the near term.


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