Rekindling of an old flame, an Internet relationship.
|The hunting lodge is beautiful, better than anything I expected from the pictures. It's not a real hunting lodge of course, it's been converted for use as a lovers getaway and the luxurious, almost decadent decor would be impressive even in the most upmarket hotel. I'm distracted though, and can't really appreciate the romance of the surroundings. I step inside and drop my bag on the floor to the right of the doorway, pushing the heavy wooden door closed behind me. The bag falls over and I look down at it, smiling suddenly even through the nerves that are twisting my stomach. One bag. One small bag, enough clothes for the 5 days I'll be here. No laptop, no phone, no way of communicating with the outside except the phone sitting on the table in the living room. A laugh forces itself between my lips suddenly.
I step further into the room, running my fingers over the soft leather of the big, deep couch that looks comfortable enough to sleep on. Looking around the room, drinking in the ambience, the atmosphere. The romance of it surrounds me, the dark-stained log walls lit by the antique brass gas lamps in all four corners of the room. A thick, plush, dark red rug takes up most of the floor in the center of the room, the furniture arranged around it. There's a sheepskin rug in front of the fireplace. The fireplace, surrounded by thick dark logs, has been laid and is ready to light.
The ceiling is low in the center of the room, but raises at the back behind a ladder resting against a balcony that appears to be the bedroom. I cross the room, taking hold of the sides of the ladder and climbing to the balcony. My mouth opens in surprise. Instead of a bed, there is a makeshift mattress of several thick sheepskin rugs, covered by thick luxurious wool blankets. The lighting is soft, provided by a single polished brass gas lamp in the back left corner.
Delighted by everything I've seen, I climb back down the ladder and cross back over to what seems to be the drinks cabinet, cut crystal glasses visible through the glass doors. Opening the ornate carved wood doors below the glass cabinet automatically slides out a black marble tabletop. Underneath are two cabinets, one chilled and one presumably room temperature. I check to make sure the bottle of Tonino that I had requested is there, putting it back with a smile. Opening the glass cabinet, I extract a tall crystal glass, filling it with water and dropping in three ice cubes. It's been a long day, and I don't want to drink now and be tired when you get here, if indeed you come at all.
And that is the big thing of course. You told me that you couldn't promise to be here, but in my heart I know you will. You would have tried to stop me booking all of this if you didn't at least plan to be here. I make a lot of mistakes dealing with you and I know I've under-estimated you too many times, but I know this. I move to the couch, sitting back into it's deep softness and sipping my water. Glancing at the antique grandfather clock against the back wall, I see it's already 4pm. I looked up the flights from Schipol before I left home this morning and I don't think there's any way you can be here before 9pm. So I have about 5 hours, or being realistic 4 hours if I want to be ready when you arrive, fire burning and a glass of wine waiting for you.
I set the alarm on my wrist watch for 8pm, placing my empty glass on the floor in front of me and settling back into the couch. I close my eyes and drift off to sleep, dreaming of holding you tight in my arms for the first time.
Four hours later I come awake with a jump as the watch alarm chirps loudly. Disoriented briefly, I look around in confusion before I get my bearings and realise where I am. I stumble clumsily to my feet, almost tripping over the empty water glass, reaching down and scooping it up. I cross to the drinks cabinet and leave the glass on the tabletop.
Picking up my bag and making my way to the bathroom, I unpack my toiletries, and take the shampoo and shower gel with me to the shower. I discard my clothes casually on the floor and stepping under the shower head, twist the temperature knob up and flick on the water. Hot, high pressure water pounds my naked body, reinvigorating me. I stand under it, face raised to the falling water, eyes closed for a long moment, relaxing. I pour some shower gel out into my hand and begin to lather it onto my body, scrubbing myself clean with it.
After my shower, dressed and groomed, standing in front of the mirror, nervously playing with my hair, a knot in my stomach, I'm hit with a realisation that I've never wanted anything more in my life than to see you, to hold you in my arms. Goosebumps raise on my arms, my hairs standing on end. I don't know how long I stand there for, but I'm awoken from my reverie, my daydream, by a knock on the main door. Scooping up the towel with shaking arms and dropping it into the empty laundry basket, I exit the bathroom, cross the living room and taking a deep breath, my heart pounding painfully in my chest, I pull open the door to face you.