Today's offering is a lovely holiday coda for Seance on a Summer's Night in a return appearance by the wonderfully talented Natasha Chesterbrook. So grab a cup of coffee, tea, or cocoa and take a few minutes to start your morning off right. :-)
Artemus lunged for the open cab door practically hurling himself in front of two twenty-somethings loaded down with bags, no doubt Christmas shopping as ultimate sport. Their outraged faces receded in the rear window of the taxi as it pulled from the curb, pedestrians scattering away like litter in a windstorm.
He wasn’t going to miss Seamus if it killed him.
They’d dined al fresco enjoying the last vestiges of summer. Seamus seemed just as smitten as he was in the final days they’d had at Green Lanterns. Betty’s funeral has been a somber affair; Seamus stood with him lending his strong shoulders and quiet support. Afterward, in between working with Chief Kingsland and dismantling the remains of RCU, they’d managed a couple of quiet evenings before Artemus’ return to New York.
Since that time, it had been a series of discordant scheduling, missed opportunities and sheer bad luck. A three act comedy of tragic proportions or so it seemed to Artemus. Most recently a tri-state area taskforce had taken Seamus to Albany for most of November and early December. His brief Thanksgiving break was disrupted by Artemus’ bout with the flu.
With Christmas almost upon them, Artemus was determined their reunion would not be ruined by a freak snowstorm, sudden outbreak in rampant larceny or Santa Claus preaching the end days in Times Square. Artemus was ready for anything.
The cabbie nodded and Artemus relaxed against the seat while a disembodied voice lectured him on the value of wearing a seatbelt. For the moment he imagined seeing Seamus’ bright blue eyes, feeling those strong shoulders beneath his hand and pressing his mouth to those lush lips.
The traffic going uptown on Sixth Avenue was heavy and slow-going. By the time they got to 50th Street, Seamus jumped out by the north entrance to the plaza. Crowds of tourists wandered the streets in wide-eyed wonder at the spectacle that is New York during the holidays.
Why had he chosen to meet Seamus here of all places? So dramatic, so clichéd. Seamus scurried past the crowded entrance moving on toward 5th Avenue. Circling around to the dramatic entryway of Lower Plaza he felt hot despite the cold evening air and pushed his way down the steps toward the garden. Surrounded by the Clarebout Angels, golden Prometheus glowed with festive aplomb beneath the giant tree which dominated the plaza. Artemus’ breath still caught on first sight.
Worrying he was late, Artemus pulled off a leather glove with his teeth to retrieve his phone.
It wasn’t his name that cause Artemus to start but the voice. He fumbled the phone catching it against his chest and almost losing his balance in the process, the single glove swinging perilously from his lips. He bumped into an onlooker who glared at him murderously and grabbed her purse in alarm.
Greg stood off to the side gazing at him with surprised delight. “I wouldn’t have figured you for the tourist type.” He laughed a little nervously and shifted to his back foot.
Artemus froze more from shock than the dipping temperatures and, in that moment, thought Did I just wander into a Neil Simon play?
Snatching the glove from his mouth, Artemus wrapped himself in his best Noel Coward.
“Assumptions makes fools of both of us, darling.”
Greg huffed, “I imagine you’ve been waiting a long time to say that to me.”
“Amazing how shocked people are by honesty so few by deceit.”* Artemus’ blithe hand wave was completely undermined by the loose glove flapping from it.
“No, I’m paraphrasing … Actually, let’s not do this.”
Surprised by the resentment he still bore against Greg and, if he was honest, disappointment in himself for all the wasted time, Artemus shook off the weight of the past and reclaimed his humanity.
“I wish you a joyful holiday and that the New Year brings you the clarity you seek.”
Greg brightened, “Thank you, Artie. Maybe we can get a drink and –"
Artemus cut him off, “Never going to happen. Goodbye, Greg.”
Moving off through the crowds he felt the past year’s self-recrimination slip off his shoulders and happiness bubbled up as he moved toward the future. Seamus. If only he could find his man!
Just then, the phone he was clutching vibrated against his chest. Looking down, Artemus read the text from Seamus.
Look to your right.
He whirled around but couldn’t find Seamus in the crowd. His phone vibrated again.
Okay, now to your left.
And there not ten yards away stood Seamus looking handsome and just a bit scary. Joy overwhelmed Artemus at the sight. He strode the distance as Seamus moved at the same time. The moment was magical when they embraced, their lips meeting in a brief but warm kiss while Christmas bells jingled nearby.
Artemus looked into Seamus’ blue eyes, the festive lights reflected in their glow, and smiled broadly. Seamus’ arms slipped around his shoulders and it felt like home. The crowd buffeted around them but Artemus could not stop looking at this man.
Equally, Seamus’ gaze never wavered, “You look fantastic.”
“I –" Artemus stopped not sure what he was going to say. Patiently, Seamus waited.
Then, with a soft smile and laughter in his voice, Artemus whispered, “I think I’ve lost my glove.”
Seamus’ laugh melded with his, “No worries. I’ll keep you warm.”
* Paraphrased from Noel Coward’s 1941 play Blithe Spirit