Nino watched as Amélie sipped delicately from her glass of wine, her eyes following the waiter as he briskly walked away from the table. They looked at each other for a moment, and Amélie's quiet smile appeared, shy, yet knowing. This look she gave was the same that she gave Nino when they first walked into each other back at the metro station, which seemed like lifetimes ago. She then caught Nino's eye, and her smile grew into a wide grin stretching from ear to ear.
"Do you know that waiter?" Nino inquired.
"No, but I think he likes the girl across from us."
Amélie pointed to a short-haired, blue eyed girl sitting by herself at the window table. She ate her crepes and wore a sad expression, except when the waiter stopped and began to chat with her. The girl then beamed as the waiter laughed at her joke. Amélie just watched, with that same mysterious smile on her face. Nino had known her long enough to know what she was plotting.
"Amélie, can't we just eat a meal in peace without your matchmaking?"
Amélie did not answer, still intently eavesdropping. When the girl resumed her meal and the waiter was about to pass by on the way to the kitchen, Amélie innocently dropped her cloth napkin in his way. The waiter graciously bent over to pick up the napkin, ready to show off his physique to the girl at the window. As the waiter spent a few seconds too long bent over, Nino saw that the girl at the window seat was clearly watching the waiter. Nino chuckled after the waiter returned the napkin to Amélie and was out of earshot.
"I thought you they liked each other."
Amélie giggled. "Just wanted confirmation!"
Nino playfully rolled his eyes. "So what's your next move?"
Amélie reached over and held a finger to his lips. She then looked toward the window and yelped, "Look over there, a monkey on a bicycle!"
While the girl at the window was momentarily distracted, Amélie tipped the girl's glass of wine, staining the tablecloth red and splotchy, and racing back to her seat before the girl could look up. The girl saw the overturned glass for only a moment before the waiter came gallantly in, ready to save the day. Nino watched as the waiter cleaned the girl's table and chatted, ending with him giving her a slip of paper and an unambiguous wink and sly smile.
Amélie waited for Nino to look back at her.
"Well, I told you it wouldn't take long."
Nino stared for a moment, in awe at the marvel of a woman in front of him.
When they left for Amélie's apartment, Nino could not help but ask a question.
"Why do you do what you do?"
Amélie looked a little startled.
"I mean, why do you go out of your way to help strangers? People you've never met? Why are you so obsessed with leaving these trails of breadcrumbs for others to follow?"
Amélie blinked and looked at him.
"I just want to help people. I want them to be happier. When Lady Di passed away, I wanted to be known to people just like her. I was afraid that..." She trailed off.
Nino looked at her. "Go on."
Nino smiled kindly. "You can tell me anything, it's fine."
Amelie drew up her courage and spoke "I was afraid that I was just going around in circles, that I wouldn't find any real meaning beyond the café. I just wanted to mean something to people, I suppose."
Nino nodded slowly. He enjoyed the silence between them for a moment before breaking it.
"Just so you know, you mean a lot to me."
Amélie looked in his eyes with a shining happiness and caring. For the first time, she held his hand tightly as they walked down the street. "Thank you."