Chapter 76:

Interlude: A second chance (3/3)

The Y-files [GL]

When we said our goodbyes to Suzy and Sam, Suzy promised she would visit Femme Fatale sometime soon with Sam. It seemed we were really picking up a friendship from long ago. I noticed Suzy whispered something to Bernie. In response, Bernie turned completely red and then looked at me. I felt a bit excluded, so I decided to include myself by rescuing Bernie and grabbing her arm. “Aren't you going to pay attention to your date?” I said with the cutest pout I could muster. Bernie clearly took another critical hit from that and turned into an even deeper shade of red. Suzy, Sam, and I started laughing.Bookmark here

“Fine, fine! Just have fun at poor old Bernie's expense.” Bernie said. But from her tone, we could easily derive that she was just joking along with us.Bookmark here

We left in a good atmosphere and Bernie now led me toward the center harbor. We passed the ancient barquentine Mercator which is on display in the inner harbor. It is always quite the sight to behold an old 3 mast ship in real life.Bookmark here

By now, I realized that Bernie was recreating our last visit to Ostend. I could see it had put her in quite the melancholic mood. I decided to act innocent, and pretend I did know where she was leading me, but I was pretty sure we were going to the aquarium.Bookmark here

A small walk later I was proven right. We entered the North Sea Aquarium and it was all very nostalgic. Actually, I was pretty sure nothing had changed in here. The display tanks looked small and old. I thought of the beautiful fish displays that were depicted on the date in the manga that I read and started laughing.Bookmark here

“Why are you laughing?”Bookmark here

“I just read one of Claire's manga where there was a date in this huge and beautiful aquarium in Japan. I was just comparing the two...”Bookmark here

Bernie looked a bit shocked and said “You read Claire's manga?”Bookmark here

“Of course, a mother has to keep up with what goes on in her daughter's life. All the ones I read were pretty cute. I often enjoy reading them when I take a break. Some of those stories remind me about how we used to be back in high school.”Bookmark here

Bernie started to blush and was mumbling something about a straight girl trap again.Bookmark here

I loved the fact that I could shake the strong, dependable Bernie, but I had no idea why she was so shaken because I read a few of my daughter's comics... Doesn't everyone do that?Bookmark here

We walked hand in hand around the aquarium. The only fish that I still knew by name were those on the menu in the brasserie. That fact made me realize that I had lost some of my innocence since the last time we were here.Bookmark here

While walking around we talked and were mostly reminiscing. “When I think of it, we used to be such irresponsible brats, and look at us now.” I joked, “A respectable business owner, and a high school principal. Who would have ever thought that?” We both laughed and while keeping up this light atmosphere the time passed.Bookmark here

We left the aquarium and walked back to the station. “We need to do this more often!” I said. We did not have to wait long before our train arrived. We talked a lot on the way back. It had been ages since I took a day off to enjoy myself like this. I felt really happy to have spent a day with Bernie, but I could not help but feel the melancholy emanating from her. She acted happily, but I could see through the act. She also had put up a wall. I managed to break through a few times today, but she immediately put it back up again. Like she was holding herself back.Bookmark here

When we arrived back in Brussels Bernie wanted to split ways, but I said “You have shown me such a good time, so now it is my turn to treat you to dinner. Unless you have other plans, and I wasn't your only date today.”Bookmark here

“Of course, you are my only date today!” Bernie said a bit angry and shocked at my accusation. She walked right into it.Bookmark here

“Then you will have to prove it and join me for dinner.” I noticed Bernie realized she sprang my trap. So I stuck out my tongue, took her by the arm, and led the way.Bookmark here

I was going to break that melancholic mood, whatever it would take. This time I would be the one there for Bernie.Bookmark here

I led her to a nice Italian restaurant in Jette, near Bernie's home, called La Grande Terrasse. Nothing super fancy, but not low-key either. I thought I'd continue the trip down memory lane, since we used to come here a lot when we were young, and I still knew the owners pretty well.Bookmark here

When we arrived we were immediately recognized. Got a kiss and a hug from the owner and we were led to a special table, a little bit away from the rest of the crowd.Bookmark here

I did my absolute best to keep the mood lively but I did not manage to pierce Bernie's walls again and still felt that melancholy. Why did she not talk to me? I was her best friend, wasn't I? I gave her plenty of chances and hints that I realized something was wrong but she never took the bait.Bookmark here

After a splendid dinner, I decided to walk her home. It was just around the corner after all. When we got to her door Bernie said “Well, see you soon Lisa. It was fun.”Bookmark here

“Is that all?” I said a bit hurt. I mean, this was a date wasn't it? Had I been such a bad date that she would just leave me like that? She was the one that invited me, and here I was pursuing her. Or had I misunderstood the word date, and did she mean it just as friends, like young people do these days?Bookmark here

I noticed that Bernie was a bit shaken by my outburst. “W-What do you mean, Lisa?”Bookmark here

“So you aren't inviting me up for a cup of coffee?” That should make it clear, I thought.Bookmark here

Bernie opened the door to her house and invited me in. I hope I wasn't too forceful... I practically invited myself now. Bernie looked really nervous.Bookmark here

We walked to the living area. I took off my cardigan. Bernie went to make coffee. She was again mumbling something about that straight girl trap while making coffee with shaking hands.Bookmark here

This time I stopped her physically, by putting my hand on hers.Bookmark here

“I did not really mean coffee.”Bookmark here

I looked her in the eyes. Bernie tried to turn away but I held her in place. “Don't you like me? I thought that was why you asked me out on a date? I know I was doing something wrong because you had this sad melancholic atmosphere around you all day, but I really did my best, you know.”Bookmark here

Bernie kept quiet. If this situation dragged on much longer, I knew I would start to cry. “Please say something!”Bookmark here

But instead of saying something, Bernie kissed me. When our lips touched I felt a powerful rush and a sense of relief flow through me. I opened my mouth and our tongues swirled together. I could not feel anything but our connection marking that single point in time. I knew that things would never be the same again between the two of us, and I did not want them to be. I welcomed the change. I opened my eyes and noticed Bernie was crying.Bookmark here

“Why are you crying?” I askedBookmark here

“Because I am so happy. I thought I would never feel this happiness. After Louis, I gave up. I was pretty sure you were into guys. So I just decided to watch you from a distance. I still can't believe this is really happening!”Bookmark here

I kissed her again, and then said “Then I'd better make sure, something happens that you won't be able to forget.”Bookmark here

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