Christian & Nicole

Written in response to: Write a story that involves a flashback.... view prompt

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Romance Fantasy Fiction

During his 1-hour lunchbreak, Christian Harrison scrolled through dozens of profiles on a new dating app called My Aphrodite. It had been a few days and he hadn’t found anyone interesting yet. He’d been swiping left for days. He was starting to think the app was a great waste of his time and was considering deleting it. Suddenly, one profile caught his attention. Her name was Nicole Wheatly and her interests matched with his. She was a huge Tolkien fan, a huge George R.R. Martin fan, a huge Anne Rice fan, was a Trekkie and secretly a Star Wars fan, and she studies Latin in her spare time just for fun. Not only was she beautiful; she was also smart, shattering the dumb blonde stereotype. She was finishing up her PhD in Sociology, writing her dissertation, and at the same time, she was employed as an assistant sociology professor at LaGuardia Community College. With how busy she was, Christian wondered how in the world she could have the time to date. Everything about her ignited his curiosity. He had to get to know her, and so he swiped right. They messaged each other and hit it off quite well. What started out as a small spark had now become a blazing flame. They talked about their likes and dislikes, a little bit about their lives, a few jokes sprinkled here and there, until they finally decided to meet that night for the very first time.

“I hope you don’t think I’m too forward,” Nicole said. “Or that this is moving too fast.”

“No, no,” Christian replied. “Not at all! In fact, I’m looking forward to seeing you.”

“So? Where should we meet?” Nicole asked.

“There’s this new restaurant called The Briar & The Rose,” Christian answered. “I’ve read the reviews and customers say they have excellent steak. They have vegan options, too, if you’re into that.”

“I wish,” Nicole said, adding laugh-crying emojis. “I’d miss meat too much!”

“Me too!” Christian said. “I mean, yeah, veganism and vegetarianism are good for our animal friends and for the planet, but if it’s not for you then it’s not for you.”

“Exactly!” Nicole responded. “By the way, I’m looking at their wine menu online right now, and wow! Holy mother of Helga Hufflepuff!”

“What’s wow?” Christian asked. “The prices or the brands?”

“Both! Haha,” Nicole messaged back. “What time are we meeting, by the way?”

“Shall we do 7:30?” Christian said.

“That would be perfect,” Nicole wrote. “I’ll see you at 7:30 then.”

“I can’t wait,” Christian replied with a smile emoji.

“Me either!” Nicole responded, tacking a heart-eyes emoji to the end of her statement.

“Alright,” Christian typed. “I will definitely see you later. I have to get back to work. I have a case coming up and I’m in the middle of discovery.”

“What’s discovery?” Nicole asked, curious.

“It’s a very long and boring process,” Christian answered. “I don’t want to you bore you with it.”

“If you say so,” Nicole said, inserting a shrug emoji. “Alright. I’ll let you get back to your very long and boring work.”

The hours rolled by and Christian buried himself in work and research. Papers were strewn all over his desk and the bin beside his desk was filled to the brim with empty cardboard coffee cups. There was also an empty bottle of Tylenol buried in there somewhere. He hated this part of the legal process. Christian Harrison was a man of action and he lived for the thrill of the courtroom. He always found the pre-trial phase to be quite tedious. But he knew, like all lawyers, that it was a very important step in a trial. When 7:00 came, he excused himself and knocked on his boss’s open door.

“I’m heading out for the night,” Christian said.

“Leaving so early?” Mark Harrison asked, eyebrow raised. “That doesn’t sound like you at all.”

“I have a very important meeting tonight,” Christian fibbed. “I can’t afford to miss it.”

“Mm-hm,” the older lawyer mumbled with a nod, chewing on the end of his Cuban cigar. “Just be sure to come in bright and early tomorrow.”

“You have my word, Boss,” Christian said with a salute before turning around to head for the elevator.

“Oh, and Christian,” Mark called. “Who is she?”

“Nothing ever gets past you, does it, Unc?” Christian said with a chuckle, turning back around to face the older man. “Her name’s Nicole.”

“Well, good luck,” Mark said with a laugh. “Lord knows you deserve it. It’s been too long! You’re married to your work, Kid, and I like your work ethic, I do. But I worry about you sometimes. Don’t grow up to be like me. I never had time for anyone—no girlfriend, no wife. It can get lonely up here, Kid—and it does. So, go! Do your thing. Go on your date. You’ll be buried in work for days and weeks pretty soon. Who knows when you’ll get to see each other next?”

“Thanks, Unc,” Christian said, before finally making his exit.

At The Briar & The Rose, Christian walked in and walked up to the front desk to inquire if there was a table available.

“Are you with Nicole?” the hostess at the front desk asked. “Party of two?”

“Yes,” Christian said.

“She’s already seated, sir,” the hostess said, leading Christian to a booth in the corner.

Nicole smiled and waved. Christian’s jaw dropped in awe when he saw her in person. Her profile picture didn’t do her justice. It made her look human, when in fact, she was not human. She was an angel from above.

“Hi,” Nicole said.

“Hi,” Christian said, suddenly tongue-tied. In that moment, he didn’t feel like a man of words and action. He didn’t feel like one of Harrison, Kendall, & Douglass’s best lawyers. He felt as though he were a shy fifth grader asking his crush if she would like to hang out after school.

“Are you sure you’re a lawyer?” Nicole teased. “You look more like a journalist to me.”

“A journalist?” Christian asked, confused, taking a seat. “How’d you get journalist from my looks?”

In answer to his question, Nicole made two O’s with both of her hands and placed them over her eyes.

“Oh, the glasses,” Christian said with a laugh. “Right, right! I do get that a lot. People say I look like Clark Kent. I personally don’t see it.”

“I do,” Nicole said with a smile and a wink. “And, honestly, it suits you. If you were an actor, you’d make an excellent Superman. Or Clark Kent.”

“Thank you,” Christian said with a smile.

After handing them the menu, the hostess went back to her post at the front desk. She told them that their server would be with them shortly. Sure enough, a well-dressed young man with a white apron around his waist walked up to their table.

“Good evening, folks,” their server said. “My name is Jeremy, and I’ll be your server for tonight. What can I get you folks?”

“I’ll have a fillet mignon, medium well,” Christian said.

“I’ll have the ribeye,” Nicole said, “Medium for me.”

“Would that be all?” Jeremy asked. “Would you like anything to drink? Wine?”

“We’ll each have a glass of your Bertoli Sangiovese,” Christian answered. “Thank you.”

“I’ll be right back with your orders,” the server said.

“So, tell me,” Nicole said, peering deep into Christian’s eyes. He thought those blue eyes were hypnotic. It was as if she could see through to his very soul. “What made you want to be a lawyer?”

“It’s the family business,” Christian replied. “When my dad died, the business passed to his brother, my Uncle Mark, and he asked me if I could work for him. He paid for my education until I graduated from Harvard Law. According to his arrangements with my dad and his partners, the business would pass to him, and then at his death, it would be passed to me.”

“Any other reason besides ‘it’s the family business’?” Nicole asked.

“Well, I’m also very passionate about law and justice,” Christian answered. “Even before law school, I spent most nights binging Law & Order, Suits, and Boston Legal. I learned my vocabulary from those shows. What about you? What made you decide to go into sociology?”

“I actually started out as undeclared in college,” Nicole said. “I came in not knowing what I wanted to do. Then I took a sociology class and was inspired by a professor. I fell in love with the subject, and the rest, as they say, is history.”

They talked about many other things before Jeremy returned with two glasses in his right hand and a bottle of red wine under his left arm. They both watched as their server uncorked the bottle and poured it into each of their glasses. As the red liquid flowed from the bottle’s mouth to their waiting empty glasses, a memory—long dead and buried—flashed before Christian’s eyes. He could tell by the shocked look on Nicole’s face that she was remembering it too.

Flashback:

On the king’s ship from Ireland to Cornwall...

Tristan swung his sword, slicing through the air at invisible enemies in his cabin, his blade singing as it went. Suddenly, their came a knock at the cabin’s door.

“Come in!” Tristan answered as he put his tunic back on. When he opened the door, he was surprised to see the Lady Isolde standing in the doorway.

“May I come in?” Isolde asked.

“Certainly, my lady,” Tristan answered, motioning for Isolde to step inside. “A hundred thousand apologies for my disheveled appearance. I was training just now.”

“It is no matter,” Isolde said with a smile, assuaging Tristan’s fears. “Your appearance offends me not, good sir. Are you thirsty? I have brought some wine.”

“You are too kind, my lady,” Tristan said with a humble bow. “Nevertheless, I accept.”

Isolde uncorked the bottle and poured the wine into a single goblet, which she and Tristan would share.

“Tell me, Sir Tristan,” Isolde asked. “What sort of a man is the king?”

“He is, in my estimation,” Tristan said thoughtfully. “A very wise and just king and a loving uncle. He is a very kind and honourable man. You need not fear him, my lady.”

“And what of his temperament?” Isolde asked.

“To tell you the truth, my lady,” Tristan replied. “He has quite the temper. But only when his mind troubles him. Most times he is kind and sensible with an even temper.”

“Is that so?” Isolde asked, taking a sip from the shared goblet.

“Aye, my lady,” Tristan said, taking a sip after her. “‘Tis so.”

As love’s sweet poison swirled in their blood and coursed through their veins, their hearts and souls sang to each other. They clung to each other and kissed each other. They lay with each other that night as they would for many more in the subsequent months. From then on, they became two halves of a whole—the one never complete without the other.



Present Day, New York

Christian could not believe what he had just seen and experienced. It was as though he himself were there in that cabin, on that ship bound for Cornwall. Could it be? Was he Tristan of Tristan & Isolde fame? It couldn’t be. It was impossible.

“Tristan?” Nicole whispered breathily, her sapphire eyes brimming with tears.

“Isolde?” Christian said with an incredulous smile.

April 03, 2022 07:13

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