Containing a romantic reunion and a romantic separation.

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It was the Christmas season, it was Oregon, and it was raining, a drizzling, constant, Oregon winter rain, the kind that frequently starts in October and ends in May. In the Willamette Valley there are essentially two seasons--rain and no rain.

Diana and Adrian were going Christmas shopping, buying their friends and each other silly presents, laughing and joking and having a good time despite the dreary drizzle, a talent necessary to life in the Pacific Northwest. They took refuge under their umbrellas, one purple and one blue, and more or less ignored the dismal weather. The purple and blue were almost identical in the grey winter light; even Portlandia had seemed dull when they walked past her, as if she were suffering from a bad case of Oregon winter doldrums.

They were just passing the man with the umbrella on Pioneer Square, their own umbrellas in hand, when Diana stopped in her tracks. Adrian went down a couple of steps without her before he noticed she was no longer next to him. "Di?" he said, turning. She was standing there staring with her usual lack of subtlety. Adrian's gaze followed the direction of hers to another man with an umbrella just steps below Adrian himself. He too had stopped in his tracks and was returning Diana's stare. Adrian didn't need anyone to tell him who it was.

They made a strange foursome on the red brick steps, a lopsided square of frozen figures, the three breathing ones displaying an uncanny resemblance to the truly colorless, truly motionless one in the dull December light. Finally, one of the three figures capable of moving did so. "Di!" Geoff said, going up the remaining steps to where she stood next to the statue.

"What are you doing here?" Diana asked, still in a state of shock.

"I flew out for Christmas vacation. I'm from this city, remember."

"Oh, yeah, right. I'd forgotten." Diana stared into his green eyes.

"Not very complimentary," Geoff complained.

"Well, you didn't bother to get in touch with me."

"I didn't even know you were here," Geoff reminded her.

"True," Diana said. "I never told you because you never wrote."

"Okay, okay, so it's my fault!"

The umbrelled statue next to Diana almost appeared to be listening in on the conversation, although his posture was not that of an eavesdropper. Adrian's was, a couple of steps below them, his attention fixed on Diana and Geoff. He considered turning around again and going on, leaving Diana to her reunion, but some stubborn corner of him refused to make it that easy for her. She did owe him something after all--or did she? Maybe she didn't. But the fact remained that he'd come all the way from Seattle to visit her. Unfortunate. He joined the trio at the top of the steps.

Diana seemed surprised to see him there, as if she had forgotten him completely. She also forgot to introduce him. Adrian took the matter into his own hands. "Hi," he said in what he hoped was a friendly manner, "I'm Adrian."

Geoff nodded and looked at Adrian curiously. "I'm Geoff," he replied, smiling. Geoff was younger than Adrian, quite a bit taller, and a little bulkier, but still well-proportioned. Knowing Diana, Adrian wouldn't have expected anything else. He had to admit that Geoff's bright, open gaze immediately made a positive impression on him. Diana obviously had good taste, even if that might be counted a conceited observation.

All but ignoring Adrian, Diana turned back to Geoff. "So how is it in the Ivy League?" she asked.

"Different than in laid-back old Oregon, I can tell you. Life in the Big Apple is not the same as life in the bike lane."

Diana laughed delightedly. "Do you ever get homesick?"

"Sometimes, but not much. After all, I still have a Columbia in my life, even if it isn't of the liquid variety." Geoff looked at Adrian standing slightly behind Diana and then back to her again, a question in his eyes. "And what are you doing in Portland?" he asked.

"I'm working at a local arts and entertainment magazine. I do the entertainment."

"You always did. Are you still singing?"

"I just lost one band, but I'm busy starting another. We even have a demo tape already. Do you want to come over and hear it sometime?"

Good move, Di, Adrian thought to himself, demo tapes have replaced etchings. And just about as subtle. He looked on from beneath his blue umbrella, feeling like shit. Not that he minded when Diana went out with other men. What he minded was that she looked as if she'd just won the lottery.

"Sure," Geoff said, and they proceeded to exchange phone numbers. That ritual completed, they parted the best of friends. "Nice meeting you, Adrian," Geoff said, and Adrian nodded. He couldn't bring himself to tell Geoff he'd enjoyed meeting him too.

"Couldn't you at least have said goodbye?" Diana hissed at him when they were out of earshot.

"You couldn't even bring yourself to introduce me," Adrian said calmly. "I wouldn't complain about other people's manners if I were you."