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Meet Lucien

The darkness would emerge, but this night, he was all lightness. He enveloped the café. His laugh commanded attention. It was like a bass lilt. He listened as well as he talked, which created a whirl of animated conversation. His gestures spoke of generosity. He needed to touch, forming circles, reaching outward, continually sliding his glass forward as though offering it to a neighbor. When he smiled, he was childlike with wonder and anticipation.

At moments, though, his eyes revealed not quite weariness, more like recognition. When they cast down to his perpetual drink, he would seem to disappear. 

Axel looked up to see him flirting with a lithe younger woman several inches taller than he, testimony more to her regal posture than the man’s height. Her pure blue eyes captured Axel’s attention, even before the revealing slit of her equally blue dress.

Their fingers pranced in the air along the bar, touching ever so slightly, then holding delicate glasses of Pernod and toasting each other. 

As Axel stared at them, the woman sneaked a peek his way, then slowly relaxed her thighs to reveal a red garter and more.

The man saw him looking and rose from his stool to approach.

But instead of a jealous confrontation, he drew a giant smile and grabbed a seat. “Buy you a drink?”