A/N: Three things - 1) Thank you for taking the time to read this. 2) Seattle Dreams is an experiment in terms of the story's structure, as Adelaide's personality ties in with the narration. It is highly character-driven. 3) I hope you enjoy ^^
Adelaide looked out the restaurant window at the passersby huddling together to fend off the wind. She recognized more than half of them, a mark of a small college in a small Midwest town. She still couldn't decide if she liked it or hated it. She certainly wasn't a fan of the weather; it was bitterly cold in the winter and hardly had the snow to make up for it. November was already biting, and the temperature would hardly go above forty degrees until March.
She took a sip of her tea, wishing she had gotten coffee instead. She felt like one of those forgotten movie characters who were tossed to the side, Sleepless in Seattle style, to be never seen or thought of again. Of course, that would imply that there had been anything real between them to begin with, but she had her imagination for that. She could imagine that that July night had meant something. It made her feel like she was in high school again for believing, if only subconsciously, that those little cues had held some deeper implication. As if they weren't old enough to know better, to take risks – and most importantly, face the truth.
She looked at her cellphone, drummed her fingers on the table, and stirred her tea. Morrison was late again, something she knew she should have grown accustomed to. She felt old – a feeling she detested just as much as feeling too young – thinking the "again," as if they were married. They had been going out for a year, but they were still only in college. She so often forgot she was still only a junior; that she had her whole life ahead of her as everyone constantly reminded her. People seemed to love telling her that she took everything too seriously, she should loosen up, "It's college Adelaide, you need to get that stick out of your ass."
The door swung open, clattering the bell attached to it to announce that someone had entered. She looked up involuntarily but knew better than to be disappointed that the new arrival was not him.
Really though, why was it so hard for him to be on time? It wasn't as if he spent much time fixing himself up or anything. Not that she could ever go out with someone so vain, especially after her last relationship. But with how Morrison dressed, she was considering re-thinking the whole vanity thing: just because a guy took care of his image didn't necessarily mean his head was the size of Russia.
Someone rushed past the window and burst through the door; the little bell clanged violently against the glass pane. She knew it was him even before she saw his face.
"Hi," he panted as he plopped himself onto the chair across from her. His brown hair was a mess as usual, his face an expanse of uneven stubble. His light brown eyes were slightly bloodshot and lacked their usual brightness, perhaps from the same lack of sleep that had caused the bags under them. He was clothed in a ratty dark brown sweater with several subtle stains on the front, and jeans that were torn and had faint streaks of dirt and grass all across them. He unwound his tattered green wool scarf from around his neck and slung it over the back of the chair. "Sorry I'm late; I had to talk to my Joyce professor about extending the due date for the mid-term essay..."
As she zoned out his excuses, she wondered how in the world he managed to worm his way out of every single deadline that was imposed on him. She supposed she should be happy for him that he had yet to fail any classes – on the contrary, he was doing quite well despite his chronic untimeliness – as he had told her once or twice in passing that his parents were working their asses off to support his college endeavors.
"...So it wasn't really my fault," he concluded. "But yeah, I'm sorry."
"That's fine," she said, focusing her attention back to him. "You hungry?"
"Starving." He smiled at her, and in that moment she remembered why she had been so taken with him all those months ago. "Have you ordered?"
"I don't really feel like eating," she said.
"Would it annoy you if I got a sandwich?"
"Not at all," she smiled back at him, but it was perfunctory. Since when did it matter if she approved of him buying food or not?
The ensuing conversation was nothing but small talk. Normally it would've bothered her. Normally, she would've been even more bothered by the fact that it didn't seem to affect Morrison at all. But today, she didn't have the concentration to mind. Her head had much bigger fish to fry.
Morrison: a bit flaky, maybe irresponsible (never punctual), talented, and a dreamer sometimes to the point of being airheaded. She both dreaded and hoped this day would act as a wakeup call.
"This looks delicious," he said to the waitress, his appreciation honest and open. "Thank you." He bit into the sandwich and his mouth was still half full when he looked up at her and asked, "So what did you want to talk about?"
"Oh, nothing much…" Adelaide twirled the spoon in her tea. "I've been doing a lot of thinking lately."
"Yeah?" He swallowed, smiled at her again, and said before taking another mouthful, "That's good. Thinking about what?"
"About…" She put down her spoon and fidgeted in her chair, adjusting the skirt and straightening out her blouse. "About our relationship, Mori."
He looked up mid-chew. They didn't speak in the suddenly and strangely long time it took for him to finish the rest of his bite. He wiped his mouth and leaned forward over the table.
"What about it, Adele?"
She had seldom seen him as serious as he looked now. It scared her a little. Her heart was pounding and her mind was going way too fast for her wits to keep up; it had already come to the conclusion that there were two angles she could take: one – tell him she wanted to end it, or two – ask him to marry her or something along those lines.
"I…" She gulped. "Morrison, I think we should break up."
The confusion hit him first.
"I don't feel like this relationship is going anywhere." She squirmed under his gaze, refusing to meet it. "We have so little in common, and we never talk. I feel like I have to be a different person around you."
"Then don't be!" There was the anger. "Jesus Christ, Adelaide! That sure as hell wasn't 'nothing much' – or was it nothing much to you?"
"Could you keep your voice down?" She looked down at her lap.
"Oh yeah, I can keep my voice down," he sneered, getting up from his chair. "But what makes you think I'm going to? You know, I thought that we were actually going to have a nice meal together. You know, maybe you were finally going to take the initiative and finally have us act like a couple instead of tiptoeing around your friends, pretending we don't mean anything to each other. Glad to know that that was actually the case for you."
And that brought her back to the whole Sleepless in Seattle thing, because right now she wasn't the Walter here, he was. In a way, she was relieved that he had come to his own conclusions from his own assumptions instead of asking why. How could she explain to him that she was breaking up with him on account of someone she had talked to once?
He stormed out of the café. She was surprised to find that only a few people were staring at her. She supposed the rest of them were too embarrassed. She knew she would be, if she were in their position.
"Miss," she called the waitress over. "Check, please. Oh, and a box."
"Be right there, ma'am."
It was a shitty thing she had done, really. Part of her couldn't believe she had gone through with it. She had never seen herself as the type to dump somebody on a whim, albeit a whim that had refused to go away. She and Morrison had dated for over a year. He was nice. They could have had some sort of future together, if they had continued – she had sensed that he had wanted it. He was such a sweet boy.
But, she thought as she paid for his barely-eaten meal and tucked it in the small foam box, sweet didn't cut it for her. It never had, really. She had too easily become tired of the small gestures, the genuinely thoughtful little gifts tucked into corners of drawers and pockets where she would find them a few days to a week later, the tiny bouquets of flowers that she knew meant "I love you" more than bundles and bundles of roses as was always depicted in romance movies. The mere knowledge that she was so unimpressed with it all had made her feel guilty. Dealing with guilt was not one of her strong points.
Perhaps that was the real reason she had chosen to end things with him. Perhaps what had happened at the end of summer had only been a catalyst, something like the straw that broke the camel's back. Yeah, it probably was – after all, how could one night, just one night, change things so much?