Disclaimer: Digimon is copyrighted by Akiyoshi Hongo and is produced by Toei Animation, Disney, and Bandai. The plot and any fancharacters produced in this story belong to me, and no profit is being distributed in any way.
Author's Note: The songs mentioned in the previous chapter, Preparation, inspired me in various areas here. They may be indistinct, but you might notice them. Cheers!
Welcome to Seine Valley.
Within a continent conquered in desert, tranquility filled the air here. Ranges of foothills surrounded the town, and they were blanketed with teal evergreen trees. While approaching the center, houses filled the circular valley. None of them were that tall, only a few reached three stories. Yet, they ranged in colors. Orange, red, yellow, pink, pastels, whatever — none looked alike in the color wheel. Despite their low rising, two-story flats and hotels peaked out. The walls for each one differed in color, but their walkways always glowed white under the fluorescents, and the triangular roofs were a shade of a pale yellow. Grass and walkways covered the terrains not occupied by buildings. A brook broke the monotony of the town; curved bridges connected both shores in several neighborhoods.
Yet, Gagné read Seine Valley as a place where the finest French cuisines were located in the Digital World.
Where was it?
Here. In the center of the town.
In comparison to the houses, this one had no roof. The restaurant was an outdoor place, taking up a lot of space in the middle. Squared, rectangular, and circular tables (all made out of dark brown and black wood and polished to smooth them out) covered the flat terrain. Polished, wooden chairs were either pushed under the tables or occupied. Lights hung over each table, and a small light dial sat on the tabletop to adjust the setting. The river divided the whole place in half with two bridges utilized to connect them. Acting as a barrier were the backs of four buildings. Located along the outer edges of Seine Valley, they were one story tall, and the walls and triangular roof were painted in a metallic silver.
And the front?
Like the restaurant itself, it was also outdoors. A reception desk sat on the left of the supposed "entrance": two eleven-foot-tall, skinny pillars with golden lights on top. Chairs lined up in rows on the right, some of them occupied.
As couples and groups were led to their seats, Catherine sat in the front row on the left. Her leather bag sat on the chair on her left, and she crossed her legs. One hand held a portable makeup mirror, the other some clear lipstick. Humming quietly to herself, she caressed the lipstick around her lips and smacked them.
She closed up her kit, put them back in her bag, and brandished her Digivice.
A click of the button.
Not long now.
A glance in front.
Waiters ushered groups inside.
The voices were quiet, but she heard them pierce through the serene night.
"Party of two!"
"I can't wait."
So many phrases, so much information to process.
A gaze towards the sunset.
Crisp, rainbows, pleasant. What a gorgeous night to be there.
I wish I have a camera.
One shot would be perfect to replace her desktop picture perfectly!
"Hey! Wooooowww! That's so bee-you-tiful! Where'd you take this?"
"In the Digital World."
"WHAT? I thought you photoshopped it!"
Catherine laughed. The surprising cries from her friends back in Paris. They'd flock to the Digital World immediately… Of course, that would be impossible unless someone in their group had a Digivice or D3.
But then they might have a D3 of their own…or something else more sophisticated. And in a world connected to the Human World like twins, who knew what would happen? Particularly on the fact that technology began to become more advanced.
She shrugged, her cape floating upward.
She dug into her bag and took out her D-Terminal. Opening the flap, she opened the newest message from the inbox.
Hi, Catherine! I'm here! Tell me where you are, okay?
Hugs and kisses, Kari Kamiya.
Catherine furiously replied.
Hi, love! I'm right in front of the restaurant, sitting in the front row. See you soon!
Love, Catherine Yager.
She hit "send" and waited.
I see you, Catherine!
She gasped and looked up. People, people, people. Digimon, people, Digimon. People, Digimon. Non, non, NON! She exhaled. There were so many people and Digimon around, but no Kari Kamiya. If she was here, then where?
Thump… Thump… Thump… Thump…
Tapping of the fingers.
Wait it out. One second at a time.
Tick… Tock… Tick… Tock…
A flick on the shoulder.
She reached back to touch it.
A warm hand.
She looked back.
"Hi, Catherine," Kari said as her left hand caressed her girlfriend's cape-covered shoulder.
Catherine smiled warmly and rubbed her hand in return. "Hi, love."
Kari crouched and kissed her on the lips. Catherine stiffened from shock, but settled in, allowing her eyes to close. Soft, gentle, and sweet. The touch of Kari's lips caressing hers still felt very fresh and longing.
Soon, they parted, and Kari walked around and sat next to Catherine. "My, Cath, you're beautiful."
"Thank you." Catherine's eyes explored Kari's attire, from her shirt to the pink short-heeled shoes. "You look beautiful, too."
Kari adjusted the cuff on her right wrist. "Well, like I said, I wanna impress," she said.
"And you did," giggled Catherine and caressed one of Kari's strands of hair, making her urge to lean and gloss her eyes. "C'mon, let's line up."
They stood up and walked to the receptionist's desk, where a Sorcermon floated behind and checked the seating charts on his computer.
"Good evening, monsieur," said Catherine. "My partner is here."
"Why, oui, of course," said Sorcermon in a low voice. "Follow me, please."
He floated away, and they followed, holding hands. The scene wasn't romantic, sure, but no matter where they went, they wanted to go as a unit. The firm grasping of their hands made sure of that.
"Here's your table, ladies," said Sorcermon once they arrived.
It was a usual table with an ebony tabletop, but it sat away from the rest of the restaurant. It was placed about fifteen feet from the river, and there was a bridge nearby to allow them to cross or stare at the sky if needed. Across the bridge was one of the buildings that barricaded the outdoor restaurant.
As for Sorcermon, he murmured a spell, and the chairs slid out from underneath. The two DigiDestined watched it being cast, and they stood still. Eyes widened, and their arms dangled… But this was the Digital World, after all.
"Madames?" Sorcermon queried.
Kari and Catherine blinked and hummed. Quiet "Huh's" peeped from their mouths, and their shoulders straightened.
"Sorry, sir," said Kari.
"It's okay," said Sorcermon. "Do you want me to take your capes off?"
They nodded in reply.
"Okay, then." Sorcermon formed a loose fist, put it in front of his clothed mouth, and cleared his throat. "Stretch your arms out please."
With his eyes closed, Sorcermon twisted his fingers around, and a hum was produced. It was slow and acted like a melody from a philharmonic. Except there were no instruments. Merely a spell.
Then came a snap, and the buckle straps dropped down onto their collarbones.
Kari wanted to gasp. The feel was foreign, being forced to submit to another Digimon's music. Yet, why feel this way? She had been here before, after all. She must have experienced the Digimon's magic before. Nonetheless, she stayed still — never tamper with a spell.
Then, a slow slide.
The cuffs that hung their capes began to glide down to their fingers. Its softness caressed the fingertips, and it was escaping. Control. Stuck on their feet. A yearn to move…but a trance blocked them. He was their prey with nothing to stop him.
Suddenly, the wings dropped, and Sorcermon altered his tune. Like butterflies, the capes rose ad fluttered in the air. As slow as a snail, they flew away.
Then, they descended on the backrests and landed.
Kari and Catherine stopped walking.
Sorcermon's eyes directed to Kari. "Walk back, please."
Kari walked backward.
Immediately, the Digimon hummed again, and Kari's chair floated counterclockwise, landing softly adjacent to Catherine's. Finally, more twisting of the hands, and the capes' wings wrapped themselves in front.
"You may take your seats," Sorcermon said.
Eyes as wide as baseballs, the DigiDestined sat down gently.
"Menus will be coming shortly." Sorcermon bowed and floated away.
Once he was out of earshot, they calmed themselves down and looked at each other.
"That was cool, what he did," murmured Kari, hands clasped on the table.
"Well, anything can happen in the Digital World," said Catherine with a shrug.
"That's true," said Kari. "Like, well, manholes in ancient Japan."
Catherine laughed. "I remember you telling me this a while ago." She brushed a lock of blonde hair behind her. "When I first entered the Digital World, I didn't know these existed."
"Or broken phone booths on a beach," interjected Kari. "Big brother told me this story. Hey, I almost forgot, how's your brother doing?"
"Great!" replied Catherine with a smile. "Good grades and still growing up."
"So Floramon's mentoring him?"
Catherine paused. "Mentoring each other, perhaps."
Kari adjusted a hairclip. "Floramon's still shy, isn't she?"
Catherine nodded. "Oui," she replied solemnly. "It's tough for a Digimon to live in the Real World."
Kari extended her hand and patted Catherine's lap. "Gatomon knew how that felt."
Catherine sighed deeply. "All the news about the 'mysterious children.' TV spots, newspaper articles, magazines. It drove me nuts!"
"Tell that to the Digimon and our parents," laughed Kari. "Kids everywhere asked for our autographs!"
Catherine smiled. "The life of a DigiDestined."
Kari giggled and leaned on her unused arm. "A good title for an autobiography."
"…A bit too soon for that, non?"
Quiet laughter broke out.
"Well, that was a fun talk," said Catherine with a smile on her face.
"Oui, it was."
High giggling. "Love my language, don't ya?"
"Well, as I said, if it weren't for you, I wouldn't have known it at all."
Catherine put a hand on her own left cheek. "Sweet."
Before they could continue, a Sorcermon returned with two blue-gray menus in one hand and a bottle of sparkling water in the other. Instead of the usual attire, he wore a red glittery coat, white suit-style slacks, and brown shoes.
"Hello, mademoiselles," he said with a vague French accent. "I am your waiter tonight. Here are your menus."
He made eye contact with the menus, and they flew out of his hand, landing open in front of them.
"And tonight is a special occasion," he resumed and flashed his bottle of water. "This is the finest, most exquisite bottle of mineral water. Cool, refreshing, and contains the finest minerals from the lakes of Crystal Glaciers. Only available during the summers in the Digital World and only at four DigiDollars per reservation."
Catherine and Kari "ooh'd."
"May we have that, please?" asked Kari.
"Of course," said the Sorcermon and snapped his empty hand.
At once, the cork popped, but instead of fizz sprouting everywhere, it remained calm and bubbled a little inside the emerald green glass. Then, it floated towards them and hovered in front of Catherine.
As quick as a camera's shutter, two wine glasses appeared, one in front of each DigiDestined.
The bottle tipped over and poured water inside Catherine's cup. As the water hit the glass, it curled upward, creating a small wave, and it continued until about one inch from the rim.
He snapped a third time, and the bottle tipped itself upright. Then, he fluttered his fingertips and made a low "woo." All the while, Kari watched, her toes wiggling (as much as possible), and she blinked with waiting eyes.
The bottle tipped again and poured inside her glass until nearly reaching the rim.
One more snap, and the bottle tipped itself upright and slowly descended until touching the center of the table.
"That's amazing, Sorcermon," said Catherine.
The red-coated Sorcermon bowed, his left arm crossed in front of him. "Thank you, mademoiselle," he replied politely. "I will let you two choose your dishes."
At once, he turned transparent and subsequently vanished.
Catherine watched in disbelief. Never had she seen something like this before, even in the Digital World. No calls for attacks, just plain magic like a magician switching cards on a group of unsuspected wanderers.
Her wonderment, however, was broken apart by Kari's laughter, and she turned to her.
"You liked it, didn't you?"
Catherine only nodded.
"The Seine Valley Sorcermon do this all the time," she explained. "Remember, I've been here."
"Oh…oui, I forgot." She leaned her head on her left elbow. "I've never seen this before in the Digital World."
Kari smiled. "After coming here a couple of times, you get used to it."
She leaned forward and pecked Catherine's nose, making her smile.
"Merci, Kari." Blue eyes trailed towards the menu, and she opened it. "So, what will you have?"
Kari looked through her menu. "Lemme see," she whispered to herself, flipping through the pages. "Oh, here. Coq au vin."
"Coq au vin," Catherine repeated. "Oh, gosh, I love that! I haven't had it in a year."
The brown-haired Japanese DigiDestined puffed her right cheek.
These meals bring back memories. My visits here and Catherine's…I think.
She exhaled. Hot carbon dioxide impacted the glossy stock and coil binding.
Y'know, I need to do something.
Her lips curled upward slightly.
I got an idea.
She peaked her eyes above her menu. "Maybe we can share our meals tonight?"
Catherine hummed confusedly.
"Tonight's supposed to be special," began Kari. "I don't want our dinner t'be a normal date. Eating our own meals feels a little too, well, normal."
"That word's not in my vocabulary," jested Catherine, giggling, and looked up. "I'd love to share our meals tonight."
Kari giggled, which Catherine returned.
"So, anything else?" Catherine asked, rummaging through the pages.
"Hmm, I d— Oh, I got one! Blanquette de veau. Top of page three."
Catherine flipped back and saw a picture of a veal ragout with the caption, "Blanquette de Veau," along the side.
"Hmm…sounds interesting." She murmured its details below the title. "Have you had it before, Kari?"
Kari hummed and shook her head. "Wanna try it?"
At once, Catherine nodded.
"Good!" Kari nodded her head and flipped back. "Now, appetizers…" Looking up and down, she glanced at the captions for each appetizer. "Hey, oyster fritters! I remember eating 'em here. They're very good."
"Hmm…oyster fritters," said Catherine airily and read the caption… Quickly, her lips frowned, and she spoke low. "I don't eat those often."
Kari drank some water and looked up. "When did you last have 'em?"
"A few months ago in a café not far from home. It wasn't that good: too greasy."
Kari hummed low. She must've had an awful experience. Surely, they can't be bad here. I mean, I had them here, and they were good. Maybe… "Wanna try it again?"
Catherine shrugged with a small smile. "Why not." After sipping, she scrolled her finger up the "appetizer" page. "Hey, baked apple Brie! Want that, too?"
Kari's eyes popped open. "Love it! My most favorite appetizer here."
"Aww, why didn't you tell me?"
Kari drank again. "Guess I forgot."
The red-coated Sorcermon appeared like bubble gum exploding from air, and he held two rectangular plates with a clay-colored bowl on top of each.
"Hello again, mademoiselles," he said. "Tonight we offer a special starter for everyone here at Seine Valley."
Locking a stare, the plates floated and softly landed in front of both women. Inside the bowls were a gray-brown soup, and beside it were two ebony-like oval pieces on a napkin crown.
"This is French-style mushroom soup. Savory and a little salty." He gestured towards Catherine's pasta. "Served with quenelles."
The two DigiDestined gasped.
"Quenelles…" Kari's voice remained stuck inside her throat. Her words appeared in the form of a weak croak. "Never had that before."
"I have. They're poached meatballs in the shape of an egg." Catherine's high voice squeaked, but still remained stuck like a kid eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich without a glass of milk. She then sniffed it. "Smells good."
"Oui, mademoiselle Yager." Sorcermon bowed. "It's our most popular appetizer."
A flick of his right hand, and a basket of bread appeared on the table.
Waving of the left.
Some cubes of packaged butter sat beside the basket.
"Are you ready to order?"
They glanced at their menus again.
"Oui, we're ready," said Kari with a nod.
As Catherine giggled (She really loves my language.), Sorcermon brandished a pad and pen.
"We're sharing our meals tonight, so can we have these?" Kari asked. "As appetizers, we'd like the oyster fritters and baked apple Brie."
He jotted it down.
"And we would love to have the coq au vin and blanquette de veau, please," added Catherine and drank some water.
"My—pleasure," said Sorcermon, writing down the ordered dishes after each word. "Dinner will be here in a few minutes."
With a snap of the fingers, he and the menus disappeared in a puff of smoke, making Catherine jump.
"Don't worry, Cath," Kari soothed in between laughs. "You get used to it."
Catherine swiped a strand of hair off her shoulder. "After coming over a few times."
Kari shrugged. "True," she replied and looked at the soup. It looked grayish brown, and it frothed on top.
She sniffed it.
Smells very good!
"Can't wait to try it, Kari?" asked Catherine cheerfully.
Kari shook her head, took off her gloves, and put them on the table. "Non, I can't."
Catherine laughed. "Want more French lessons soon?"
"Oui, oui!" Kari replied semi-jokingly and grabbed a quenelle with her right hand. "These look good."
"Quenelles are delicious!" exclaimed Catherine, grabbing one herself. "Try one."
Kari dipped half the quenelle into the soup, brought it to her mouth, and ate the wet section. Chomping. Chewing. Taste the delicate flavors of the meats.
At last, she gulped it down her throat.
"Goodness, this is magnificent!"
"Told ya so!" gloated Catherine and ate some of the soaked quenelle herself. Once she swallowed it, she hummed loudly and skipped thrice. "Oh, God, c'est magnifique! Warm, full of flavor!"
Kari ate the rest of the quenelle in her hand and wiped it on the napkin that was placed on her lap. "And the meat works perfectly with the soup! They compliment each other so well! I'm gonna need t'ask for the recipe later."
"Hey, don't leave me out!" Catherine said, drank water, and ate another piece of a soup-soaked quenelle. "If these are so good, then the others should be fantastic, too."
"Especially the coq au vin." The DigiDestined of the Crest and DigiEgg of Light slurped in more soup. "I've read the reviews here, and they're all very good. I can't wait to try it!"
"It should be," said Catherine and drank some of the soup. "Coq au vin's a classic French dish and one of my favorites."
Kari dropped the last half of her final quenelle into her soup. "I've heard of coq au vin, but never had it before."
Catherine sighed. "Then this'll be a treat. It's chicken braised in a delicious Burgundy wine. It's cooked on the stove and then baked in the oven for about two hours."
Kari continued to eat her soup with pieces of bread. Yet, as Catherine detailed her the coq au vin, her tongue began to salivate.
"Sounds good, isn't it?" the Frenchwoman teased. "Then, once the chicken is cooked, it's taken out of the oven. The vegetables in the cooked wine are removed, and the wine is reduced in medium heat. It creates a fantastic sauce."
"Sounds delicious, oui?" said Catherine in a sly tone and ate more of her soup.
"Well, you got me hungry," chuckled Kari.
"But I thought you're hungry already."
The Yager female smiled back and continued to eat more of her soup. With hers finished, Kari watched her "lover" eat her meal. Sometimes she ate the soup alone, other times with a piece of bread. Yet, she remained careful; instead of eating big bites, they were minute, guaranteeing her to savor the soup's flavors a little longer.
So cute, Kari thought and sighed. So careful. I love her that way.
Catherine broke apart a piece of a roll and put it in the last bit of her soup; like a sponge, it soaked in the flavors, transforming it from fluffy white to fluffy gray.
As she brought it to her mouth, she looked back at Kari. Light radiated off her, from her eyes to her face. Warmth broke from her smile as the overhead lamp shone down below.
Sweet. Lovely. No wonder I love her.
And she popped the crumb into her mouth, absorbing the last bit of her soup.
"Aw, no fair!" whined Kari and flicked her hair back. "I wanted it!"
Catherine caressed her lips with her napkin. "Don't worry, Kari, you'll get it." She flicked her right index finger towards her. "Come here; lean your head towards me and close your eyes."
She lunged out as far as possible while staying in her seat and shut her eyes.
Suddenly, soft lips caressed hers, and she absorbed herself in all the nourishment and serenity. Unfortunately, that tranquility disappeared once they stopped kissing.
"That never gets old," said Kari as she sat upright again.
"With you, it never will," chuckled Catherine.
"I'll bet on that," replied Kari and changed the subject. "So, how's your summer going?"
"Hot!" She wiped imaginary sweat off her forehead and sighed exasperatedly. "Three straight days in the mid-nineties! So hot that I got ice cream for the first time since, well, the day before."
Kari sipped some water. "You still love your ice cream, don't you?"
"Oui!" Catherine nodded with authority. "Chocolate, strawberry, caramel, orange. Find one parlor, and I gorge!"
"Aw, then you should come to Japan someday," said Kari. "We got ice cream shops all over Odaiba."
Catherine tapped her chin, eyes gazing at the light floating overhead. A blink of big, blue eyes, and a low, soft hum erupting from within. "Maybe I should visit," she thought aloud and smirked. "Through the Digital World."
Kari shook her head and frowned. "Izzy and Gennai would not like that," she warned. "You know how they feel when the DigiPort's exploited."
"Oh…right." Catherine snapped her fingers. Damn. A sigh escaped her. "Maybe someday, I'll get there."
She turned to Kari, smiling. "Then again, you make great food already."
Kari clasped her hands and blushed. "Aw, thanks, Cath… But I've never made ice cream before. I don't have an ice cream machine yet."
"Does the school café have one, though?" queried Catherine, sipping water.
"Aw, damn! You plan to get one?"
"Someday…once I pay my university debt."
Catherine winced. "Ouch."
"You enjoyed your treat, madams?" the Sorcermon asked curiously as the billowing smoke surrounding him dissipated.
"Absolutely brilliant!" exclaimed Kari and clapped her palms together.
"It was delicious!" agreed Catherine.
"The chefs will love hearing it," said Sorcermon and snapped his fingers.
Like ocean water, the empty plates waved back and forth, initially being small and slowly increased in size. Soon, the plates' shapes were no longer recognizable and instead looked like generic pieces of rubber band glued together and filled in.
Slower and slower. The energy was calming down. No beeping from any imaginary heart monitor. Merely calm, gentle thumping from their hearts. Second by second, thump by thump, the rubbery appearance began to take shape. Eyes blinked. Hair dangled alongside. The tips of their capes wafted, but were ignored.
Finally, the plates stopped shaking, and in their places were two new circular plates. The one before Kari had seven pieces of oyster covered in a crispy, golden-brown case, while Catherine's had a slice of a cheese- and apple-filed pie.
"And here are your new utensils…" said Sorcermon and snapped his fingers again. At once, clean spoons, forks, and knives replaced their old ones.
Once he disappeared (again), they sniffed their true appetizers. So hot, gooey (from the Brie), and — to cut to the point — so good!
…But it wouldn't make sense if they didn't try it, would it?
"So…which one first?" wondered Kari. "The fritters or the Brie?"
Catherine tapped her chin and hummed—
She didn't last very long.
"The fritters," she decided and lightly pushed her Brie out of the way. "We'll try you next."
Kari nudged the fritters to her left until it sat in between the two girls.
Catherine softly pinched one of them. "Crunchy… Not greasy…"
"And a pungent lemon smell, too," added Kari and glanced at Catherine, who nodded.
Each reached a hand out, grasped a fritter, and brought them to their mouths.
"Bon appétit!" they cheered and took a bite.
At once, the flavors rushed. The oyster. The lemon glaze. The cooked batter. All intertwined in their mouths…
Grins sported their faces and remained once they swallowed.
"Best—fritters—I've—ever—had!" exclaimed Catherine, but with a quiet tone.
"Well, that wipes your previous experience away, doesn't it, Catherine?" interjected Kari.
Catherine sipped some water. "Definitely."
They finished their pieces, put it aside temporarily, and brought the Brie towards them. Already, the apple aroma traveled through their noses. Powerful, pungent. And Seine Valley had already cooked two fantastic dishes already!
Could they become three for three?
With forks in their hands, they each cut up a piece, toasted to each other, and ate them—
Well, this was interesting. Slow. A feeling of commonplace apple pie. No saltiness of—
Okay…a new taste. The salt was mixing in with it. Yet, what could it be? Well, they knew their food, so concentrate!
Hold up! Backtrack it a tad…
Chewing, chewing. Feel the Brie with their tongues. Experience the food and its bliss!
Finally, they swallowed.
"Yummy!" cried Kari. "The cheese and apple balance each other out very well."
"Mm-hmm!" hummed Catherine with a nod and took another bite.
Kari chuckled. "Can't resist it?"
Catherine shook her head.
"Not surprised," she quipped and poured more water into her glass.
Catherine raised her left eyebrow and tapped the end of her fork on her glossy lips; Kari gazed up and watched her eyes. They blinked and sparkled; the female Kamiya dared to not budge. Beautiful like sapphires. They tempted Kari to keep staring at it. Watch them, keep in contact of it…
Yet, Kari ate another piece of Brie.
"You're cute when you eat," Catherine blurted out.
Kari smiled. "Thanks. And you're cute when you eat, too," she said and kissed her on the right cheek.
Afterwards, no more was said as they continued alternating appetizers, going back to the fritters (yet Catherine's cheeks tinted a light pink from Kari's compliment and kiss). Once they each bit into the fritter, they got lost into all the flavors of the lemon and fried oysters. It was bathing in a tub of oysters mixed with gallons of lemon juice: One by one, they grabbed them, crawled back to the beach to fry them, and them eating them for one long hour. Of course, when they got bored, they hopped back on the Brie boat and ate their way through the scrumptious combination of apple and cheese.
However, all good times must end, especially when approaching their main courses…
They kept eating; the clock clicked one second after another.
They cut up the blanquette de veau with a knife. Back and forth, their strokes moved the arms about an inch. The tender vegetables in the ragout nearly collapsed during a gentle cut, and they chuckled. No matter how hard they tried, they failed. However, they would scoop it up and eat it, anyway. No goodness of a meal should ever escape although the way they approached it was unsuccessful.
More water poured into their glasses, and they transferred their attention to the last bit of the coq au vin. Kari stirred the wine sauce around her chicken and cut it up with her knife and fork. Immediately, the chicken fell off the bone and pillowed onto her plate, absorbing more of the wine sauce.
Catherine swallowed some of her chicken and licked the remnants off with the inside of her lips. "Now you're the meticulous one," she quipped.
Kari ate some more of the chicken. "Maybe, but I don't like t'get dirty," she replied.
Catherine shrugged. "Messy it may be," she said, drinking more of her refilled glass of sparkling water, "but gosh, it's good!"
Kari ate her last two pieces of chicken. "And filling."
Catherine nodded, and her hair flew. I'd love seconds. Alas, I can't. A smile crept her face. But… "Well, I wouldn't mind dessert."
Kari leaned back. "Really?"
Catherine nodded and answered back, "Oui!"
Kari sighed. Why am I not surprised.
Her eyes trailed behind. Folks conversed, ate, and drank (wine in some cases). Lights on. Lights off. They twinkled under the stars. One rested on another's shoulder. Occasionally, they shared meals.
…Just like us.
Brown eyes twitched back to Catherine. Her plate was empty, and she placed her utensils down on them. Like before, she was careful, unwilling to screw up. No mess on the table and her lips. She gingerly wiped her napkin back and forth, removing any spots of gravy around her mouth. Then, she folded one half of the napkin up and put it down on the table.
"Maybe I won't have dessert," said Catherine and leaned back. "I'm full."
"Me, too," sighed Kari and looked up at the lamp suspending above the table. It glowed bright yellow, standing out above the midnight blue sky.
Yet, it blocked the moon, only exposing the atmospheric glow.
But is it needed?
Brown eyes concentrated on the tiny dial in the middle of the table. It had a wooden triangular base and a round, metal, turning button on top.
Catherine's light-skinned fingers grasped the dial and turned it counterclockwise. Like a switch, the light flickered and started to dim. Little by little, the bulbs' structures were being exposed, its power altered by Catherine rotating the dial.
But as she turned it, the lamp slowly began to disappear, too. The more she turned it, the more translucent the bulb and structure supporting and containing it became.
Finally, after several rotations, the lamp vanished, revealing the full moon glowing overhead.
"That's better," said Catherine and leaned back. Her eyes glanced at the moon. "Beautiful tonight, isn't it, Kari?"
"Yeah, it is." She sighed and clasped her hands behind her head. "Makes tonight even more romantic."
"Y'know, Cath," began Kari, "there's something I have to say."
Catherine turned to her. "What is it?"
Kari continued to stare at the moon. "I knew I forgot something about this restaurant, but I didn't know what."
Catherine smiled small. "Guess I fixed that, huh?"
The DigiDestined of Light nodded. "Oui, Cath, you did."
"Hello again, mademoiselles," said the red-coated Sorcermon again as he reappeared in a puff of smoke; his hands were clasped behind his waist. "Did you have a fantastic dinner tonight?"
"Oui, monsieur Sorcermon," answered the female Yager teen. "The food was great. Full of flavor and excellently balanced."
"I felt like I was lost in it," agreed Kari. "Your chefs were excellent tonight, as always."
"Thank you, madams." Sorcermon bowed, and his voice softened. "I will tell them that."
"Please do," said Kari. "And you were great, too."
Sorcermon bowed again. "Thank you, ma'am," he said. "Do you two want dessert?"
Both people shook their heads, and Sorcermon hummed a tune while dancing his fingers around. Moments later, the plates and napkins vanished, replaced by a little leather booklet with a check inside.
Kari picked it up and opened it.
Mm-hmm. She scrunched the left side of her face and ballooned her cheek with air. A little expensive, but tonight's special.
She subsequently pulled out her Digital World credit card, put it inside the booklet, and handed it to the Sorcermon.
"Merci, mademoiselle," said Sorcermon and flicked his right wrist across.
Smoke slowly appeared and danced sideways. Back and forth. Twist by twist. From loose smoke to a firm structure.
Sorcermon snatched it, and the smoke vanished. A handheld credit card processing material was in his hand.
A low whistle.
"Poof!" went the booklet, and the credit card floated at his eye level.
Like a man hunting a fly, he snatched the card and dragged it through the slot, resulting in the machine whirring lowly. DigiCode ran along the digital screen of the terminal, processing the information found on the card and corresponding it with her and her girlfriend's orders.
After thirty seconds, a long receipt flew out from the top. Sorcermon ripped it off and swished his hand around again. Instantaneously, the booklet reappeared, and he put them back inside.
"Thank you, Sorcermon," said Kari, retrieving it.
The waiter bowed and disappeared once again.
Kari opened it, put her credit card away, and read the order under her breath.
"Hmph. Good. All set."
Uncapping the pen from inside the book, she wrote down the tip and signed her name.
"I can't believe it, Cath," Kari blurted out after she closed the book. "I don't know how long we ate here, but…wow, it's done. It's kinda saddening…don't you think?"
"A little bit," said Catherine and got up. "But don't forget. Tonight, we're together. You and me."
"Oh, right, I forgot." She sipped water for the final time and carefully set the wine glass down. "Got the hotel key?"
The blonde flashed it in her hand and replied, "Oui."
As Kari got up, Catherine held up her cape.
"Thanks, love," sighed Kari and helped clasped the straps around her neck.
After spending a minute putting on their capes (and gloves for Kari), they stared at the moon above again.
"Beautiful tonight. Full and happy," whispered Catherine as they stood next to each other.
"Just like you, Cath," said Kari and slunk her left around Catherine's right one. "C'mon."
They lightly trotted to the bridge nearby, stopped at the highest arch, and resumed their stare at the moon.
"Look at this, Catherine," Kari told her and put her right hand on the rail. "You, me, the moon. It's perfect."
"Oui, Kari…" Catherine trailed off, her words lost in her mind…
Silence fell as they continued to stare at the moon. Bright, white, and lovely.
And as they continued watching she leaned her head on Kari's left shoulder. "You know, this is a very romantic spot. I kinds forgot the bridge was even here for a while."
Kari chuckled. "That's why I chose this table away from the others. I knew you'd like it." She flicked a long lock of blonde hair that rested on Catherine's left cheek behind her.
"Merci, love…" Catherine sighed and slowly closed her eyes. The warmth of the night and Kari's shoulder cocooned herself into a harmonious uplift towards comfort and bliss. The romantic dinner, fun squabbles, and the beautiful late-spring-like night worked perfectly with each other. No worries. Just comfort.
But she opened her eyes again. The meal was fantastic, but it wasn't only that.
She glanced at Kari, who looked back. Eyes glistened, and they focused their postures on each other. Their hands held onto each other's, as if reforming an already strong pact…and making it stronger.
Suddenly, their arms pulled them both closer. A tug at a time, one tiny step at a time. They retained their balance on the bridge, and the moon watched like an eagle gawking them from one mile high.
Finally, they wrapped their arms around each other, creating a very snug embrace. Their hands clung onto the other's back, resisting the urge to let go— No, not resisting. Not wanting to let go.
They looked at the tables on their left. The customers filed in and out, but some that they saw when they arrived were still there, conversing intimately and sometimes kissing lightly. Even when they didn't kiss, romance still filled the air in Seine Valley.
"Wonderful," whispered Catherine and looked down at the reflection.
Kari followed her gaze.
Brown and blue irises stared at the water. Still… Quiet… The light pollution and moon reflected back at them, but the water stayed still. No ripples crawled through unlike a lazy river in a water park. It remained stationary and serene; they wanted to flick a finger into it and twirl it to disturb the reflections. Alas, they were a little too high up.
"You said before, and I'll say it again," said Kari. "The moon is beautiful tonight, and I love the fact that you're here."
"I'm glad, too," said Catherine. She took a loose finger and twirled Kari's hair. But they remained embraced and acted like a cocoon for each other. "I said it months ago, Kari, but I'm saying it again. I love you."
"I love you, too, Catherine," replied Kari, and they shared a lip-locking kiss.
They grasped firmly around each other, and their mouths felt warm with each other's breath. Seconds passed, and their muscles drifted. Not hard to the touch, but one that could be pushed and not have it as solid as an old rock.
Soon, Kari's lips parted with Catherine's, and she rested her head on Catherine's chest. The warmth of the female Yager's body relaxed her heart. Her blood flowed a little slowly; adrenaline replaced by a calm, warm smile.
Catherine giggled under her breath: Kari's near-asleep posture was new. Full of energy, yet almost off into a world of dreams. Not the alternate dimension that nearly succumbed her and many of her friends, but something pleasant. Her world was peaceful. Nothing wicked happened here.
But as they embraced, Catherine's expression altered from a smile to a serious frown.
It's time to go.
With that, they slowly began walking down the bridge and passed their table while simultaneously making sure they never let go of the other.