The Lesbian and The Hobo
The Hobo looked vaguely familiar, crouched there beneath the overhang, huddling in an abandoned doorway in an attempt to stay warm and dry. There was something universally familiar about most homeless people, though; disheveled, unkempt, bulky and shapeless as though they were wearing every item of clothing they owned (which they probably were). It was likely she wouldn't even have noticed this one if she weren't a Lesbian. But there was something intriguingly mischievous in the Hobo's unwashed, pixieish face, and so the Lesbian spared her one surreptitiously searching glance as she strode by. She certainly did not anticipate being caught looking.
But the Hobo felt the weight of the Lesbian's gaze and looked up at her with such brilliantly clear green eyes that the Lesbian stopped walking abruptly and stared, completely oblivious to the downpour as she stood in the middle of the empty sidewalk. The corner of the Hobo's lips quirked up into a disarming half smile.
"Can I…can I buy you a cup of coffee?" The Lesbian blurted, rather lamely. The Hobo's smile blossomed into a full-fledged grin, and she cocked her head slightly to one side.
"There's a cute café right around the corner, if you're interested." The Lesbian gestured vaguely. "I mean, if that's not too weird." She swiped at a stray rain droplet that was hovering on the end of her nose, poised to jump at a moment's notice.
The Hobo pursed her lips thoughtfully for a moment, making a show of careful deliberation. Then she nodded once and gracefully unfolded herself in one fluid movement. Only as she reached over a nearby trashcan did the Lesbian notice what was in her grimy hand; a small styrofoam cup. It was still steaming. The Hobo's green eyes danced in amusement as she dropped the cup into the garbage with deliberate slowness. The Lesbian flushed with embarrassment and opened her mouth, but no recovery was immediately forthcoming; the Hobo lifted one shoulder in a careless shrug and, still grinning, gestured for the Lesbian to lead the way. The Lesbian closed her mouth and started walking.
The café they were aiming for was literally just around the corner, so it was in under a minute that the two women were slipping through the heavy wooden door to the accompaniment of a jangling doorbell. The Hobo reached out a slender hand to grab the door handle from the Lesbian, and their knuckles brushed together. The Lesbian tried to ignore the distinctly unwashed smell that invaded her nostrils.
As the two women paused in the entryway, surveying the room for tables, the Hobo absentmindedly reached up to pull her grungy knit hat from her head. She slid the unidentifiably colored yarn through her fingers as she looked around, and her short dark hair stuck out at adorably random angles. The Lesbian cleared her throat and pointed across the small room to a booth in the corner.
"Over there?" The Hobo nodded again, and once more she waited for the Lesbian to take the lead.
The booth was unusually small, only large enough to accommodate one person on either side of the table, and the bench was padded with frayed purple cushions. As the Lesbian and the Hobo moved to slide into their respective seats, the Lesbian noticed that the Hobo was only an inch or two shorter than her own long and lanky self.
There was a moment of awkward silence as the two settled in. The Hobo stared unashamedly at the Lesbian with her unnerving eyes, while the Lesbian drummed her nail-bitten fingertips nervously on the marred wood of the table.
"So." The Lesbian tried to think of something a bit more profound to say, but the Hobo raised a delicate brow and smiled another of her peculiar little half smiles, and the Lesbian found herself charmed into silence. Blessedly, the waitress appeared out of nowhere.
"What can I get for you?" The Waitress dispensed with any customary greetings and introductions, appearing simultaneously harried and stressed and extremely disapproving of the elusive cloud of B.O. that clung to the spritely girl in the baggy black overcoat. The Hobo offered the Waitress an amiable grin, but it didn't appear to affect her.
"I'll just have a black coffee, please," the Lesbian said. She looked over at the Hobo. "Is that ok for you?" The Hobo nodded, looking pleased.
"Nothing to eat?" the Waitress asked impatiently, scribbling on her notepad. The Lesbian looked once more at the Hobo, who was now decidedly not looking at the Lesbian, but staring fixedly at the floor. The Lesbian narrowed her eyes slightly.
"Are you hungry?" The Lesbian waited until the Hobo reluctantly met her gaze again, then even more reluctantly shrugged one shoulder in acquiescence. "How about a turkey sandwich?" Another indifferent shrug, but the green eyes were shining hopefully.
"A turkey sandwich, please." The Waitress popped her bubble gum and left without another word, as though afraid if she stuck around someone would have the nerve to order something else.
In the wake of the Waitress' departure, another silence ensued, but the awkwardness seemed to have dissipated. The Lesbian and the Hobo grinned at each other, sharing amusement in the absurdity of the Waitress's behavior.
"I hope she isn't expecting a tip," the Lesbian drawled.
The Hobo let out a low, resonant chuckle, and the Lesbian leaned back abruptly, startled. For the first time, the Lesbian realized that the Hobo had yet to speak a single word. She gazed at the Hobo with wide eyes for a moment, pressing herself into the seat back with her hands on the table edge. Her fingertips began drumming rhythmically once more as she contemplated the young woman, who was gazing back at her with easy aplomb.
"If you could ask for one thing right now," the Lesbian began slowly, narrowing her eyes and watching the Hobo's face closely, "what would you ask for?"
The Hobo scrunched her forehead delicately in confusion, then glanced in the direction of the retreated Waitress and back to the Lesbian. The Lesbian smiled thoughtfully and shook her head.
"Something else. Let's presume you've already been fed." The Lesbian rested her elbow on the tabletop and cupped her chin in her hand. She waited.
The Hobo narrowed her own eyes, catching on to the game. She leaned back in her seat and crossed her arms over her small chest, chewing on her bottom lip slightly. The Lesbian imagined she could hear the seconds ticking by. Tick, tock, tick, tock, one, two, three, four…
"A shower," the Hobo finally croaked, and the Lesbian rewarded her with a bright smile. "I would ask for a fucking shower." Despite hoarseness from lack of use, the Hobo's voice was deep and rich. And irresistibly sexy.