Disclaimer: B@T isn't mine. I don't know who's it is, but it certainly ain't mine.
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I remember when I first realised that I loved her. It was a sultry evening in June and we were at Joe's Bar on Lexington Avenue, just around the corner from our apartments. We were sitting there, drinking and talking as we always did. Nothing unusual, nothing special - I don't even remember what we were talking about.
The owner, Joe, had brought a band in. Usually, he didn't bother, but Holly had asked him so many times, "Mr Bell, when are you going to liven this place up?" "Mr Bell, this place is so dull, I'd stop coming but your drinks are duh-vine!" that he relented. He was a little bit in love with her, as we all were. The band was mediocre at best, but it didn't really matter. Maybe it even added to the quality of that evening, the charm and jangle of voices in the air. They started to play a song that Holly loved.
"Let's dance," she commanded and led me out to the dance floor, our martinis forgotten. We danced close to each other, the heat of our bodies shimmering the air around us, and it was when she tossed her head, the light catching in her earrings and illuminating her face with sparkles that I began to realise.
There was an old couple dancing nearby; the old lady kept casting Holly dirty looks and glaring at me.
"We've got an admirer," I said. Holly turned casually and stared back at the woman's crabby face.
"Well," she said evenly, "let's give her something to stare at." She swayed closer to me, putting her hands on my shoulders, murmuring in my ear. "Let's be Fred and Ginger."
"Bogart and Bacall," I murmured back, in love with her and unable to say it. For some reason she laughed and I was caught up in it, in her. The soft, feminine smell of her perfume and the sweeter, stale smell of her sweat. Her fingertips brushed my neck, cool and dry, whilst her cheeks were flushed. Her hair started to come undone but she didn't notice. Her eyes travelled everywhere, over the bar, the other dancing couples, the tables, my face. There was no one place for her gaze to rest, nothing that she cared about enough to stare at. Or maybe she did care enough, but didn't want to admit it.
She wanted romance. I knew she did. I could see it every time she went out with another rat, that little gleam of hope that so quickly shattered once they called her "baby" or "doll" or, worse, "baby doll."
She wanted to be given roses dripping with moonlight. To be told that she was indescribable, irresistible, elusive, beautiful. She wanted to be kissed on the street, quickly and sweetly and for that one kiss to say everything that could ever be said about anything.
She wanted Romance with a capitol R. But she didn't want love. Look at those poor saps who had tried to love her and in exchange got a pat on the shoulder and a slammed door in their faces. They tried to cage her and so they were discarded, like yesterday's newspaper.
The old couple looked scandalised as Holly kissed my cheek and winked broadly at them. They left, glaring at us all the while. As soon as they'd gone she broke apart from me and burst out laughing.
"Did you see their faces?" she gasped out.
"Yeah," I said, helping her off the dance floor and out into the humid night air. "I did."
We walked back home, Holly leaning heavily on me, still giggling weakly. "I love you, Fred," she said and I stopped breathing. "You're not a rat. You're a..." She waved her hands in the air and danced ahead of me. The street lamplight caught in her hair and she glistened, turning back to me, eyes wide and deer-like. "You're an angel," she concluded finally, smiling brightly at me. "My knight in shining armour!"
I smiled tightly. "Well, milady, we'd best get you home. Princesses shouldn't be out this late." She laughed brightly and chattered on and on, whilst I reeled from the truth that I should have seen all along.
She wanted Romance, and so did I. I wanted to give her the roses, the kisses, the moonlight and more. But I wanted Love with a capitol L as well. I wanted her to kiss me back and smile at me, telling me that I was indescribable, handsome and wonderful. I wanted to go about my daily toil, knowing that she was thinking of me. I wanted to write stories about girls with nameless cats who throw wild parties, and for her to be behind me as I typed, smoking a cigarette and telling me that she loved me.
That night, I tried to write my novel. But all I could think about was her, trying to define what it was about her that I loved, so I could go and find another girl to love, like her but completely different. I couldn't do it. Words fail me when it comes to Holly.
She is Holly Golightly. Wonderful, indescribable. Beautiful and intoxicating, tripping across New York, leaving broken hearts and empty wallets behind her. The girl of my nightmares, the girl who could break my own heart and wallet, brought to life with such grace and panache, what else could I do but love her?
Even that doesn't describe her well enough. Tomorrow I will go out and buy her roses and leave them on the fire escape outside her window. They'll drip moonlight into her bathroom and maybe, just maybe, she'll love me too.
With a capitol L.