But the seasons went round and round, and the painted ponies went up and down, and Jon didn't see CJ. She had disappeared, and she didn't appear again. Giorgio Vizzino did not die. His friends were not arrested. The Mafia did not go away.
Jon stared at the picture of CJ and him at the beach, sitting on Jin and Hana's mantel.
He looked up and smiled briefly at Samson. "Hey," he said.
"You're wondering where she is."
Jon shrugged. "How could I not?"
"When are you moving on?" Samson asked.
"Even if you treat her like a corpse?" Samson said.
"Even if I treat her like that," Jon said. "There's no one else but her. I don't want anyone but her. I'd rather be alone than with someone else."
"It's been eleven years."
"You're rich. You're famous. You're not bad-looking."
"I know," Jon said.
"Many women want you."
"I know," Jon said.
"But they're not CJ."
"No, they're not," Jon said.
"Jon," Hana said, joining them on the couch, "I love CJ. You know I do. But what if she's moved on? What if she's married now, and has kids? What then?"
Jon stared at her blankly. "So?"
"Jon, you're being unreasonable," Hana said. He quirked a smile.
"Christina, you're being unreasonable," Nicola said. Christina smiled.
"CJ would be unreasonable," Jon said.
Jon would be unreasonable, Christina thought. "I'm waiting for the perfect man."
"How do you know that?" Hana demanded.
"There IS no perfect man!"
"Because she can't get over me, and I can't get over her," Jon said.
"There is," Christina insisted. And I can't get over him, she added silently. Why would I want to?
"Why would I want to?" Jon asked.
"You've been waiting for how long? Don't you think you've idealized your vision of the perfect man? Bill is practically perfect."
"CJ had her faults, but they were loveable faults," Jon said. "I'm not remembering her with rose-colored classes. I'm just remembering her with love-colored glasses. No one matches me like she does."
"He doesn't match me," Christina said.
"I give up," Hana said, throwing up her hands for emphasis. Jin poked his head through the French sliding door.
"Food's done," he said.
"Wait," Jon said. "Hana didn't do the barbequing?"
"She was in here talking to you," Samson said.
"I don't want to eat that," Jon said.
"Eat it or die," Jin snarled.
"Or eat it and die," Jon muttered, and Samson snorted. Jon patted the origami turtle sitting next to the frame as he passed the mantel, and they followed Hana out to the patio.
"I give up," Nicola said.
"Thank you," Christina said. "I'll be the spinster with five hundred cats, all right? Don't worry about me."
"How can I not? You have no serious relationships with men—except that extremely strange friendship with the man in the dark suit who you won't tell me the name of, and he doesn't count—and you have an entirely unhealthy interest in that band group."
"They're not just any band group, Nicola."
"So you keep telling me," she said, and sniffed. "You just like Jon because you think he's as romantic as you are. He still hasn't found his dream, has he?"
"No," Christina said. "Not after that one time."
"Why don't you two meet and get married?" Nicola demanded in exasperation. "You're perfect for each other."
Christina smiled at her. We are perfect for each other, she thought. "No, thanks," she said. "I'm happy as I am." She held up an origami turtle. "Like it?"
I got tired.
Thanks to FreedomStar and Reaila.