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Again don’t panic. I am exploring themes in my writing. Saturn Rising will continue. Promise!
It was just after five on what had been a really hectic week at work and, as I was making my way home, I decided to pop into ‘Fredericks’, a new bar near the office, and have a relaxing drink. The weather was turning cold, it now being late October, so my plan was to have maybe a couple of glasses of wine and then catch a cab home. If any of my friends were there maybe we would go and get dinner in town somewhere. I was in my work clothes, but I’m pretty relaxed about dress code in the office so this means I was wearing a knee length, loose pale blue skirt and a black long sleeved top, although I had my heels on. I’m five feet eight so this made me quite tall, a feeling I like.
I walked in through the doors and it was already getting pretty busy, but not so much that there wasn’t room at the bar. I walked over and one of the bar staff, a young guy dressed all in black, asked me what I would like to drink.
“A nice cold, Italian dry white wine,” I said.
“How about a Chardonnay?”
I smiled, “Sounds perfect.”
“Large or small?”
I smiled, “Better make it a large.”
He smiled in return and got a glass out from under the counter, and took a bottle out of one of the fridges behind him, filling the glass up to the line. I opened my purse and fished out a ten pound note, and he duly provided change.
I looked around. I didn’t see anyone I knew, maybe they’d turn up later. There was a couple just down the bar from me, and they seemed to be having some sort of disagreement. She was a twenty something, gorgeous looking woman with an amazing cascade of blonde hair, wearing a short denim skirt, low cut white tee and knee length black boots, all rounded off with a black leather jacket. He looked to be about thirty in a dark suit. He had close cropped hair and a hint of five O’Clock shadow.
I couldn’t help but overhear them as I sipped my wine.
“Come on, all I’m asking is if you want a drink?” The guy said.
“And I told you I’m not interested,” she said. I detected an accent but wasn’t completely sure what it was. Maybe Scandinavian.
“You’re not interested in a drink?”
“I’m not interested in you,” she said, quite forcefully. I liked this woman immediately. She was clearly strong minded and independent.
“I wanted to buy a beautiful girl a drink, and this beautiful girl in front of me in particular. Come on, how can it hurt?”
If there’s one thing I really despise it’s guys who can’t take a very clear ‘no’ for an answer, so I decided to try and help out.
I walked along the bar, and the click of my heels attracted their attention. The woman looked at me with a mixture of curiosity and relief as I said, “Hi. Is everything okay here?”
The guy held his hands up, palms out and backing away, “Yes. Fine. Sorry. There’s been a misunderstanding,” and he went over to join a group of guys who he no doubt had had some stupid bet with about being able to pick up the blonde beauty at the bar.
The woman turned to me, smiled and said, “Thank you. That guy was such a jerk.”
I laughed, “I sort of got that impression. I have to ask, you have such a delightful accent, where are you from?”
Her face broke into the most glorious smile before she said, “Oh thank you! I’m from Sweden. I’m here for a few weeks trying to improve my English.”
I found her enchanting. She was bubbly and beautiful and I was captivated by her voice. I’ve always had a thing for the Scandinavian accent, the way the voice lilts in such a melodious sing song way.
I realised I’d been staring for maybe an awkward second too long. Holding out my hand, I said, “Sorry, I shouldn’t be so rude. I’m Anna.”
“I’m Marie,” she said, “nice to meet you Anna,” and she took my hand in hers, her soft skin brushing mine as we gently shook.
“Lovely to meet you too, Marie. I notice you don’t have a drink. Now don’t take this the wrong way, but can I get you something?” I laughed.
She giggled back, her red ox bow lips turning up into a delightful smile, “That’s very kind, Anna. Can I perhaps have a beer of some sort? Not a flat English beer, something fizzy?”
“Of course. Hold on,” I managed to attract the attention of the barman who had served me previously and Marie ended up with a bottle of some imported beer I’d never heard of, but then I rarely drink beer of any sort, flat or fizzy.
I held up my glass and said, “Cheers, and welcome to Britain.”
She smiled and clinked my glass with her bottle, “Thank you and cheers to you.”
“So where are you staying?” I asked, wanting to keep the conversation going.
“Oh, there’s some student accommodation, it’s pretty basic to be honest, but it was all I could afford.”
I remembered my own halls of residence from my first term at university twenty two year ago, and I smiled in sympathy, “One room, terrible plumbing?”
Marie laughed, “Oh, you’ve stayed there?”
“A long time ago. I was a student here, so I know what it can be like.”
“What istanbul escort did you study?”
“History,” I replied..
“Oo, so you’re like really smart!” she said with a little laughter in her voice.
Her personality was infectious, and we were both giggling as the guy who had been hassling her earlier walked past with his friends, clearly leaving. He looked at us both and snarled under his breath, “I should have known it. Fucking dykes.”
I stared wide eyed, and Marie turned to me and said, “What did he say?”
I turned away from him and just said, “Ignore him. He’s an idiot.”
“Did he call us ‘dykes’?”
“Yes. Sorry. Not all British guys are such idiots.”
She laughed, “Oh being an idiot isn’t exclusive to British men.”
“So, are you meeting up with friends?” I asked.
“No, this is my first full day here so I thought I’d come out and see how things are.”
I thought for a moment, “Hey, look, say no if you’d like, but maybe having a female chaperone would help you avoid idiots like that, and maybe I could help show you around a bit. I have nothing planned for this evening, so maybe we could go for dinner?”
Marie smiled, “That sounds wonderful, but what is a, what was it, shapper…?”
I blushed, “I’m sorry, your English is so good I forgot to try not to use complicated words. It’s ‘chaperone’, and basically means a companion to make sure you don’t have any trouble.”
“Oh, no. Please don’t say sorry. I’m here to improve my English, so now I have a new word. Thank you. About dinner, I’m on a budget, so…”
I stopped her by placing my hand gently on her wrist, “Oh, don’t be silly. It will be my treat. I live alone, so it’ll be nice to have some company.”
“In that case I would love to, if you’re sure?”
I was more than sure. Spending more time with this delightful woman was something I was looking forward to.
“Of course I’m sure. Let’s finish our drinks and find somewhere that’s not too busy. What sort of food do you fancy? There’s a really good Italian not too far from here.”
“That sounds great. I love Italian food.”
We finished up and left the bar, walking towards the town centre until we came to my favourite Italian. We walked in through the giant glass door into the white marble tiled restaurant, the sounds of happy diners and clattering cutlery echoing and adding to the atmosphere.
The maître d’ greeted me, “Anna, how great to see you again.” He looked at Marie with an appreciative glance, and said, “Table for two?”
I smiled and said, “Mark, so glad you’re working tonight. This is my friend Marie, and yes a table for two, please.”
“Nice to meet you Marie,” he said, smiling at her and clearly admiring.
Marie blushed cutely, and said, “And you.”
Mark grabbed some menus and led us to a secluded corner, with a private table.
We sat down, and Marie said, “Wow, this place is amazing, and they seem to know you quite well.”
“Oh, they know me alright. I’ve been coming here since I was a student. That’s a long time,” I said, suddenly aware of the fifteen or so years that surely separated us.
Marie laughed and put her hand on mine briefly, sending a little jolt through me as her fingers touched the backs of mine, “It can’t be that long ago, Anna.”
I laughed, “Flattery will get you everywhere, Marie. Just so you know, I’m forty.”
“Well, I’m twenty six, and to me age is just a number.”
I liked this woman more and more.
A waitress came over and asked if we wanted any drinks, and Marie asked for an Italian beer, a Peroni, and I asked for a glass of Pinot Grigio. While she was away, we looked at our menus, and when she came back we ordered. Marie went for a Hawaiian pizza, and I opted for their wonderful mushroom risotto.
When the waitress was gone, I held up my glass, “To delightful Swedish women who walk into my life.”
Marie giggled and returned with, “And here’s to gorgeous English redheads who walk into mine to… oh what’s the word…?”
“Chaperone me. To gorgeous English redheads who chaperone me.”
I was pretty sure I blushed, but I was happy that she had complimented my hair, which I keep just past shoulder length, and I’m actually more a strawberry blonde than red, but I wasn’t going to argue.
We clinked our drinks and took a sip. Marie said, “So you actually live in the city?”
“Yes. About ten minutes cab ride from the centre.”
“And you said you live alone? No husband or boyfriend?”
“Um. I had a partner but we’re no longer together.”
Marie blushed, “Oh god. I am so sorry. Really. I should just keep my mouth shut.”
I laughed, “Don’t worry. I left. My terms. Anyway, what about you?”
She sort of stalled, but then said, “I sort of have a relationship back home. It’s complicated.”
I realised she didn’t want to talk about it, which was fine with me. I decided to move the conversation onto safer ground.
“So your digs are pretty bad?”
“Oh god, esenyurt escort there I go again. It’s an English word meaning flat, apartment. That sort of thing.”
Marie laughed, “I told you, stop apologising. I’m here to learn. I have two new words just in one evening from spending time with you, but to answer your question, yes it’s pretty crap.”
“I can imagine. In this city rents are high, and quality is terrible. I wish I’d known you before you came. I have a spare room I would willingly let you have for free.”
Marie looked astounded, “Are you serious? For free?”
I considered it for a moment, “Yes. For free. It would be nice to have some company.”
“But, but, I’d get under your feet. You’re used to living alone. I’d cramp your style.”
I laughed and placed my hand back over hers and I was glad that she didn’t draw it away, “Stop. I work most days, and you’d be at college, and I like you. Anyway, you have somewhere. I was just saying that it’s a pity I…”
“I could leave where I am. I don’t have a commitment, it was just part of the package and I could get my money back and have a little better time. But I’d have to pay you something.”
“About paying you, yes of…”
“No, you can stay for free, like I said. I meant, you’re serious about taking my spare room?”
“I’d love it. I don’t know anyone here, and this way a get a built in friend and I don’t have to worry so much about the money.”
I was enchanted, she was so bubbly, her enthusiasm was infectious.
“Deal. When do you want to move in? Tomorrow?”
A small frown came over her face.
“What’s wrong, is that too difficult?”
Her frown lifted a little, “I was a bit sad because I have to wait until tomorrow which means I spend a night in my crappy room… And not with my new friend Anna.”
I realised my hand was still over hers, so I squeezed it gently, smiled until I had her attention, and said, “Of course you can move in tonight. I just thought you’d need time to pack up or arrange it with the college…”
“You mean it?” She said, with a big grin on her face.
“I mean it,” I said returning her smile.
She shouted out, “Yay!” Then suddenly was out of her chair and giving me a huge hug, and kissing my cheek just as the waitress came with our food. Marie sat back down and I couldn’t help noticing that the waitress had a curious look on her face.
We were silent as dinner was served, my mind wandering back to that brush of Marie’s lips on my cheek, which had made me feel things I probably shouldn’t be feeling.
When the waitress had gone, Marie said, “Thank you Anna. Thank you. You have turned what I was expecting to be a boring and depressing trip into something I’m now looking forward to.”
I smiled, “You’re welcome Marie.”
We started eating and the food was as delicious as it always was. As we were eating, I said, “So, when we’re finished here we’ll get a taxi over to your digs,” and here she smiled, “pick up your stuff and then head to mine. How does that sound?”
Marie giggled. “It sounds wonderful. I don’t have a huge amount of stuff anyway so that should only take a few minutes.”
I was falling more and more for her infectious bounciness. She made me feel happy just being around her. We finished our dinner and headed out to the nearest taxi rank and got in a cab. I told the cab driver what we needed to do, Marie gave her the address, and she got us there quickly enough. When we pulled up outside the flats I asked her if she needed any help.
“Pfth! I’ll be back before you know it. And no sneaky driving off and making me sad.”
I laughed and said, “If you’re more than five minutes…”
She ran off into the halls and the taxi driver said, “She seems fun.”
“She’s a language student I’m rescuing from the terrible accommodation.”
She half turned, “Good for you. Those places are awful, aren’t they?”
Suddenly the cab door was open, and Marie was sliding in beside me with a suitcase and a shoulder bag and breathlessly said, “Three minutes. I timed it.”
The driver and I both laughed. We moved off and ten minutes later we were outside my house.
I paid for the taxi and got my keys out, leading Marie into the hallway and through to the kitchen. She looked at my breakfast island, my five burner range, my oven and long worktops, and said, “Oh wow. I’ve moved in with the queen or something. You didn’t tell me you were the queen. Where are all the servants to take my bags up to my room? Do I have to sleep on five hundred mattresses and tell you if there’s a pea under them or something?”
I laughed again, “No, Marie, I’m afraid I had to fire all the servants. They were lazy. Now, let me show me to your room.”
She picked up her bag and I led her up the stairs, and turning right I opened the door to my spare room, which I always keep made up in case friends, come to stay.
She took one look at the room, and said, “Oh, Anna. This is just amazing. I have to pay you. I mean, beylikdüzü escort a double bed?”
“If you offer to pay again, I am going to get angry,” I said with a smile, “now, it’s just after nine, do you want to go to bed, or maybe come downstairs and we can sit in the kitchen and talk.”
“Oh. Talk. Definitely talk. I’m too excited to sleep. Where’s the bathroom? I need to freshen up.”
I was thrilled I had made someone so happy. It’s that Random Acts of Kindness thing that always makes me feel good, like when I pay the bus fare for someone who’s obviously having problems getting the money together.
I took Marie down the corridor to the bathroom, and opened the door for her. She looked at my walk-in shower and two person jet water tub and said, “Oh. This is just too much. Hold on, I’ll be down in a minute.” With that she closed the door, and I walked back down to the kitchen. I had some cold beers in the fridge for when friends pop over, so I got one out and poured myself a glass of white wine from my half empty bottle.
Marie came down some minutes later, having shed her leather jacket, a huge grin on her face and sat down on one of my kitchen stools next to me.
With a huge grin she said, “So your majesty, when do I get to meet the rest of the royal family?”
“Oh stop it. It’s not a palace, Marie.”
“I know Anna. Just me being silly. Thank you so much. This is like the best thing that ever happened to me.”
“You’re welcome Marie. I’m glad to have made you so happy.”
“More than happy. I’m in heaven. I am so lucky to have met you.”
“And I am so glad I met you. You make me laugh. I love your sense of silliness.”
We clinked our drinks, and Marie offered another toast, “To Queen Anna, the beautiful heroine who saved poor Princess Marie from the stupid dragon that was trying to buy her a drink.”
I laughed, “Okay princess, knock it off with calling me a queen.”
“But you are. Well, more like a Fairy Godmother.”
I did a pretend frown, “Queen? Godmother? No. All too old sounding. Maybe more like Prince Charming who saves Sleeping Beauty? Princess Lovely?”
“Wait. What? A princess saving a princess? Is that allowed?”
I wasn’t sure how to respond to that, given my own position on the sexual spectrum. I didn’t want to frighten Marie, but I said, “Well, in this enlightened age everything is allowed, surely?”
“Yes, but Prince Charming woke Sleeping Beauty with a kiss. No, you have to be a queen. If you’re not a queen I’ll pout. You don’t want me pouting do you? So what does Queen Lovely do to Sleeping Marie?”
I swallowed, “Um. Well, you sort of kissed me in the restaurant. Does that count?”
“Nuh uh. That was me kissing you. And I wasn’t asleep. Definitely doesn’t count.”
I pretended to be exasperated, “So, Princess Marie, what is it that the Queen has to do if you sleep in in the morning?”
“Duh! You come in and kiss me. Would definitely wake me up.”
“And Princess Marie would like that?”
There was a silence, and Marie looked straight at me, her voice level dropping from the excited tones of before and said, “Oh yes. I’m pretty sure she would.”
I wasn’t sure what to say, but I placed my hand on hers. She turned her hand up and we held each other, staring, fingers starting to curl.
The world stopped, and I wasn’t sure whether I should do something. It all seemed to be happening so quickly. Tentatively I leaned towards her, and saw that she was moving towards me. Our lips brushed. We broke away and I lifted my hands up to frame her face, brushing a lock of her hair back behind her ear.
Marie got a cheeky look in her eyes, “Your chat up lines in bars obviously work a lot better than that creep earlier.”
It broke the tension which I was feeling. Was this right? This woman was going to be living with me for the next few weeks. What if we argued? Right at that moment I didn’t care. She was fun, intelligent and beautiful. I did need to find something out though.
“Are you okay? I mean with this? I mean it isn’t my first time with a woman, but you’re…”
She placed a finger over my lips, “Sh. Mine either.”
We kissed again, and I responded. In fact my whole body responded, particularly in the parts that count. I could feel my nipples against my top, and a distinct wetness between my legs.
I suddenly had a crisis of conscience. I hardly knew this woman, while it felt good, and right, I realised I needed to slow things down, for her sake as much as mine.
I pulled back and she cocked her head to one side, staring at me quizzically, “What’s wrong?
“We’re moving too fast, Marie. You know I am attracted to you..”
“And I’m attracted to you…” she interrupted.
“But I’ve only known you a handful of hours. I think we need to take things a little more slowly.”
I hated the deflated look on Marie’s face, “But, does that mean you won’t even kiss me?”
A genuine smile spread across my face, “Of course not. I want to kiss you.”
She grinned and said, “And are we okay snuggling?”
I laughed, “That’s more than okay. In fact I would love to snuggle.”
Smiling she stood up and came and sat on my lap, not the most comfortable way to be on a kitchen stool, and draped her arms around my neck, kissed me softly and then nuzzled her glorious head of hair into my neck.
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