Eli is walking to the courthouse and is thankful that the weather is warm enough that he can park the car a few blocks away and not have to worry about walking in the rain or the blistering cold. He barely slept the night before. He heard his wife mumble in her sleep, as he laid there and watched her wrestle in her dreams. Eli loves Amelie so profoundly that he knew he was meant to marry her the minute he saw her that evening in San Francisco.
It was the night when he was celebrating passing the bar exam, and his friends decided to celebrate at the one of the hotel’s restaurant. His friends decided to get sloshed as soon as they got there, but Eli wanted to savor the moment sober. He was glad he did.
He saw Amelie and became aware of her presence. She had been standing in the patio area that overlooked the city. She was wearing a suit that looked as though she spent all day in meetings. Eli walked over to the patio and stood a few feet away from her. There was no one else around them.
“Can’t stand the crowd inside?” he asked.
She smiled at him, but didn’t say a word, and continued to admire the view.
“Not much of a talker, huh?” he smiled at her.
“Are you…” she looked at him with uncertainty as if what she was about to ask would be rude.
“I’m sorry?” Eli asked.
“Are you trying to pick me up? Because I’ve had a really exhausting day, and I’d hate to be rude–because you seem like a really nice person, but failing awkwardly to talk to me,” she said without hesitation.
“Would it impress you if I mentioned that I’m celebrating with friends tonight because I passed the bar exam?” he asked.
“No, not really. But, you’re impressing me by your awkward ability to humble brag,” she answered.
She looked at him apologetically.
“May I start over?” he asked.
She stayed silent.
“Hello, I’m Eli. I saw you standing out here, and I felt compelled to talk you. Tonight, I thought that the best thing that happened to me was the fact that I passed the bar. But, I’m starting to think that’s only the second best thing,” he looked at her and smiled.
“Hello, Eli. Congratulations on passing the exam. Enjoy your celebration,” Amelie responded and walked away.
Eli stood there and watched her walk away, and felt like the complete moron.
Eli reached the courthouse and as he proceeds to go through the screening gate, he couldn’t help but smile to himself. Amelie walked away from him that night. His friends saw what happened and they watched Amelie come back to the dining area to speak to her group at her dinner table before she walked away. By the time Eli had returned to their dinner table, his friends were able to get intel on Amelie.
The next few days during that timeframe, Eli spent his days attempting to track Amelie down. He had no explanation of why he needed to see her again–only that he had to. He finally did, and he was a taking a break from trying to get information on her. He was sitting at a coffee shop when she walked in, ordered her coffee and sat in a corner table. It took him about ten minutes before he finally approached her.
His life changed at that significant moment.
When he approached her table, she looked up at him and smiled.
“You are the most relentless person I have ever met,” she said.
“Hi. I’m not a stalker, I promise. I just couldn’t leave our conversation the other night the way we left it,” he said.
“I believe it was a one way conversation. You talking, and me trying to listen,” she said. “I was rude, and I apologize. Would you like to sit down?” she asked.
Eli looked at her and smiled. Her long hair was pulled up in a messy bun, and she was wearing glasses. She looked as though she was getting ready to work on her laptop without any interruptions.
“Yes, as long as I am not interrupting anything,” he said.
“It’s a little bit too late for that when you approached me, don’t you think?” She smiled at him, and he wasn’t sure if she was being sarcastic. Eli sat down, and his eyes could not be averted from her. He wanted so badly to talk to her, and to do other things to her that would be inappropriate to think about someone who he just met.
“I’m Eli, again,” he said.
“I’m Amelie,” she responded.
Eli went through the screening gate as Dave, the security guard greeted him, “How are you doing today, Eli?” Dave asks.
“Trying to wrap up this case, Dave. Hopefully today is the day,” Eli smiles at Dave who always kept up with the current events.
“Just so you know, Eli–there’s already reporters in the courtroom. You might as well be prepared. Good luck to ya,” Dave said.
“Thanks, Dave. Say hello to Gertie, and let her know Phoebe and I will stop by her pastry shop this week,” Eli waves at Dave. Phoebe loves Gertie’s pastry, and he reminded himself that they plan to spend sometime there after school this week.
He takes the elevator to the third floor to meet with the psychiatrist who has been working with his client. Eli’s client had a rough life. He was in the foster care system and left to fend for himself. He became addicted to drugs and soon started developing hallucinations. He robbed a store so that he can get high. Eli thought that the hallucinations were triggered by the heroine, but the psychiatrist determined that his client is suffering from schizophrenia.
Before Eli met Amelie, he couldn’t fathom living a life with such illness. But, he soon learned that it was indeed possible.
Amelie’s father had left her and her mother when Amelie was only five years old. He was a businessman who came from a long line of men who bought land in Alaska, and prospered from such purchases. Many of those men preserved their wealth that were perpetually handed down to the generations that followed them. The illness of schizophrenia was also preserved and several of the men inherited the illness along with the wealth. Amelie’s father was one of them. When he left Amelie and her mother, he seemed to have disappeared off the face of the earth never to be heard from or seen ever again. He was always afraid of the lasting effects that this may have had on his wife, but there was no evidence that such devastation affected her very core. He loves her, and he cannot explain his love for her—only that it is the driving force of his nature.
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