The Fortune Cookie
Simon couldn't resist doing a few dance steps in the middle of the floor. The empty ballroom echoed as he finished with a stomp of his heels and a laugh.
"Wait till the big dance," said his secretary. "You and your wife will wow them."
Simon shook his head then slumped into a nearby chair. "She won't be coming - says she has to visit a sick friend. Again."
Twenty years ago Dinah had been eager to snap him up, impressed with the handsome new councillor, ready to change things in the city. With dreams of ever higher positions, perhaps leading to governor. Her dreams, not his. He was always innovative, a risk taker, and very successful at what he did, but was happy to stay just where he was - good at his job, with grateful and loyal supporters. Once his career path - or lack of it - became apparent, she'd pulled away, appearing at his side only for appearances sake. And now, not even that. He spent more time with his secretary than her now. After ten years working together the two of them were almost inseparable. Simon was glad to have someone by his side that understood him, and supported him - while still not afraid to be critical when needed. Someone to support him through an occasional depression, someone to celebrate their many successes. Many a night they'd closed down a bar, and his faithful servant had piled Simon into a cab, helped him into his apartment, and dumped him into his bed. Glass of water on the side table, shoes off and tie loosened - but nothing more. Mind you a few people still talked, but that was natural. In the workplace, they were obviously just friends and partners in politics.
Lately, Simon had been feeling more than friendship, thoughts that were no longer innocent and platonic. Papers would be passed over and fingers would touch for a moment. A different feeling moment. They'd be jammed into an elevator on the way to yet another a meeting, and the sudden closeness would feel not only awkward but exciting. He wanted to say something, but didn't know how it would be received. Likely with disgust, screaming, tears, maybe even a sexual harassment charge. In his heart he sincerely hoped not. He saw the other path too, finally having the freedom to express what he really felt, then a closer relationship, maybe even a public one. Maybe not right away for that - although his constituents were fiercely loyal and he knew would support him in pretty well anything.
"Come on, let's eat that lunch," he said. "You know how I love Chinese."
They sat together on the floor, shoulder to shoulder, discussing the final details for the party, passing the various containers back and forth. His secretary had even brought in two bottles of Tsingtao beer. Finally the only thing left was two fortune cookies.
Simon opened his. "Love is closer than you think." He laughed nervously. "They're always like that - vague yet optimistic. Okay, now yours."
His secretary held up another slip of paper.
"Mine says 'Love is for the lucky and the brave'."
Simon paused for a moment, then turned. This had to be some sort of sign. Time to take another leap. He watched as their hands intertwined.
"I have a confession to make," said Simon.
"Me too," said David.