[December 13, 1963]
[Evening train between Wiesbaden, W. Germany and Munich, W. Germany]
Bill sat in his compartment and argued with himself for the whole hour the train sat in Wurtzberg. The brandy bottle was empty; they had drunk what little was left, and he began taking sips from his mineral water bottle. He was sober now, especially after what she had said as he knelt next to her. He thought that perhaps she wouldn’t remember it but hoped she would.
It could be a plus for him; to be her companion while she was traveling around Germany. Wonderful, to be sure. But, wait, maybe she was meeting someone. That wouldn’t be so good. He also shouldn’t think that she would want to go wherever he wanted to go. Maybe she had places she wants to go. The inner conflicts raged about inside his head.
Bill's internal good news-bad news monologue continued as the train began moving again. The noise of the couplers clanking into tension as it started up brought a low moan from Molly’s room. Bill opened the door and peeked through to see if she was all right. She didn’t seem disturbed and was actually even snoring lightly. 'Great!' He thought. 'She'll be rested and I’ll just be horny and full of self-doubts.'
= = =
Molly woke once when the train began to move. A light moan escaped her lips. He hoped that Bill hadn’t heard her, but then the door opened and he leaned through it. She had already closed her eyes and was simulating sleep. She saw him nod, and then softly close the door again.
Wanting to rest, but her mind not letting her, she began enumerating all the pros and cons of what had just transpired and what might be approaching in the future. She desperately wanted him to stay with her for a while, but could think of no way to ask him without sounding like some brazen hussy from downtown Montreal.
She snickered. Maybe that was the key. But then, reason returned and she worked over other alternatives. She drifted off again with those thoughts churning around in her head.
Molly woke later. Just how much later she wasn’t sure, but it was later. She may have found an answer in a very short, but intense, dream. First, she needed to dress for the occasion; nothing too sexy or revealing. In fact, she thought, perhaps taking a step in the other direction might be better. Quietly she rose and went to her bag. She slipped out of her dress and rummaged until she found her white nightgown. It was lacy, but only to a point. It also had a silk underlayer. Nothing must show through. When she topped it off with a frilly wrapper, she turned to look at herself in the mirror.
With a quick brush of her hair and a dab of perfume behind each ear, she went to the connecting door and slipped through it. She found Bill staring out the window at the passing scene, rocking lightly with the car’s movement. She quickly crossed the distance and laid a hand on his shoulder. He didn’t jump, as expected, because, she realized, he could see her reflection in the window.
= = =
The young man stared at the scenery passing by the window for an hour. The lights were off and the compartment was dark except for the little blue light. Bill heard a noise behind him and jumped slightly as a hand rested on his shoulder. Molly had come into the room. He didn’t turn around when she bent over and wrapped her arms around his shoulders and kissed his neck. He peered at Molly's reflection in the window. She seemed somehow…different; slightly out of focus in the double-pane glass. 'Maybe,' he thought, I'm feeling the liquor also'.
With a start, Bill realized that she had changed into a very soft, very white, nightgown with a lacy coverlet over it. This is what had blurred her outline. Molly had also added a very delicate touch of perfume – definitely French. Her arms were warm and soft. Her lips touched his ear and whispered “Hold me close.”
Bill turned his head and, not wanting to jeopardize the moment, stood and very carefully enfolded her into his arms. They kissed, slowly and tenderly. Once again, he bent and lifted her into his arms. He carried her over to the bench seat and sat with her across his legs - head against the pillow on the armrest. He tugged at the thin blanket he'd used while reading until it covered the both of them.
Molly sighed and her eyes closed. "Je suis très contente de simplement s'asseoir ici, dans vos bras,” She murmured. "I am still very sleepy."
"Then rest, Molly. I'll just hold you."
"sooooo nice..." She drifted off.
Time passed, but how much? Bill had no idea. His watch was hidden under the coverlet. The steady rumble of the wheels over joints, the far-off sound of the steam engine whistle, and the occasional bells of passing road crossings were their only companion as they lay there.
Later, as a particularly rough set of rail joints shook the cabin, Molly awoke.
“Mon Dieu,” she said quietly. "What was that?"
“Nothing but noisy wheels, Molly.” He held up his wrist and glanced at his watch. "It's getting late, we should probably clean up and get dressed. I think we’ll arrive at Nürnberg soon and maybe they will park us where we can get off and walk a bit.”
“Good!” Molly said, stretching languorously and standing. Bill rose also and opened the connecting door for her. As she passed, he held her arm and she turned.
"I enjoyed holding you, Molly." He said, giving her a peck on the cheek.
She put her hand up and cupped his chin. "And I am sorry to have fallen asleep. I was so warm and comfortable it just happened. I will be back when I dress for the evening." She closed the door.
* * *
‘Oh, Merde!’ Molly chastised herself. ‘Why did I fall asleep again?’ She had so wanted to make love to this tall, wonderful man. She still felt the tightness of his arms as he easily carried her over to the seat. It was obvious to her that he was interested in her. ‘So’, she groaned, ‘why did I fall asleep?’
The question, unanswered, faded away as she pulled her nightgown over her head, and dressed. How strange, she thought, that people on the continent ate so late. She wasn’t starving, she realized, especially after that very good afternoon meal, but a snack would be nice.
As she dressed, she also tried her very best to work out exactly how she could broach the subject of Bill traveling with her. Could she even think of such a thing? He obviously came to Germany with a mind to explore his old haunts and, perhaps, following her around might not be what he wanted to do. Mentally shrugging, she decided that the answer would probably come to her at some point.
Her fully dried blue dress shown under the light of the emergency lamp as she turned to and fro to search for creases. She found none and decided that she was ready to go. She turned for the connecting door, rapped twice gently, and entered when she heard Bill’s voice.
* * *
Bill cleaned up as best as he could by drenching the end of a towel with water and sponging off. Then he added fresh underwear, a new shirt, and socks to his still-pressed pants and was as presentable as he could get. While he was dressing, he also wondered how he could broach the subject of him accompanying her for a while on her journey. He had already made up his mind that he wanted to be with her for a much longer time than jusat on this train.
Molly re-appeared in the doorway after knocking, dressed in her light blue dress. Her hair was slightly mussed, but, considering she never moved while in his arms, that was definitely endearing. Bill checked his watch and found that it was just at nine PM, twenty-one hundred.
“Two and half hours to go. Want to go to the bar car and get a snack or something?”
“Well, we can go, but I don’t want anything alcoholic.”
“I have the perfect thing. It’s called Apfelsaft. Technically, its apple cider, but it is carbonated and slightly fermented. You’d have to drink barrels of it to get even a slight buzz. Does that sound okay?”
“Sure. Let’s go.” Molly stood, took Bill's hand, and pulled him to his feet. They left through his compartment door and strolled down the corridor hand in hand to the lounge car at the rear of the train.
As bar cars go, it wasn’t really opulent. It had a very small bar with an attendant, a few scattered easy chairs, and a couple of low tables with chairs around them. They gravitated to a settee that could hold the both of them and sat down. Molly lifted Bill's arm, put it around her neck, and snuggled in close. A slow flush crept upwards on her neck, which Bill noticed. He smiled to himself as he watched it climb.
She caught him looking at her. “What? Am I blushing? Maybe people will think we are just married, no? Oh, wait; no ring.” She giggled.
“Europeans are cool,” Bill ventured. “Maybe they would just assume we were traveling together and that we had just recently made love.” He teased.
* * *
‘Ah! He has provided me with what I need to discuss this with him.’
* * *
Surprising him, Molly agreed in a matter-of-fact tone. It was the opening she had been waiting for; handed to her by Bill himself! “True. But, are you traveling with me? Will you change your plans to come with me?”
Bill smiled expansively and thought to himself: ‘Well I’ll be damned. She was thinking like me.’ “Sure, I can just change my ticket to match yours. Do you have a hotel room in Munich, or are you going directly to Garmisch?” He asked.
“Just as far as Munich right now. I was going to take a day and go sightseeing. My hotel is supposed to be sending someone to meet the train. That is, I hope they will. It’s the Hotel Alfa.”
The bartender came over and looked expectantly at them. Bill ordered two glasses of Apfelsaft. He turned away to get them. Before he left, the bartender dropped a coaster on the table in front of them and made two blue marks on it with a broad pen. Molly asked what that meant and Bill told her it was their tab. “When we leave, we just pay for the amount of blue marks”. She said that this was a great way to keep track.
When the bartender brought them their drinks, he informed them that the car would be closed a half hour before they arrived in Munich. Bill told him they would leave by then. He nodded and left them alone again.
“If you will wait a moment while I hunt up the conductor, I’ll alter my ticket to Munich right now.”
By way of an answer, Molly leaned over and kissed his cheek. “Wonderful. I’d like that very much.”
“Wunderbar!” Bill stood and left the car in search of the conductor.
He found him two cars forward, chatting with the car attendant. When he was noticed, Bill asked if his ticket could be altered to extend to München.
“Sicherlich. Es kann leicht getan warden. You have ticket now?” He asked.
Bill produced his ticket and the conductor looked it over. He asked for another twenty Marks which Bill handed to him. A written notation was made on the existing ticket and handed back to Bill with a smile.
“She is very pretty, yes?” He said, grinning.
“She is very pretty, yes,” Bill confirmed with a matching smile. “Dankeschön.”
“You are welcome. Good evening.”
Bill said his goodbyes also, turned, and strode back down the passageway whistling.
When he returned to Molly in the bar car, he told her that he had changed his ticket. She smiled hugely at him and pecked his cheek once more. Out of the corner of his eye, Bill saw two older ladies watching them, grinning, and wondered what they were thinking.
Bill and Molly continued their conversation. They talked of various subjects – their homes, their travels, who they had met and what funny incidents they might have endured. Bill told her that nothing would compare to meeting her on this train; that he had resigned himself to singular travel for his vacation. He added that now he would enjoy it a great deal more. Molly smiled broadly, showing two small dimples in her cheeks and told him the same.
“Why Garmisch,” Bill asked. “What’s there? I mean, other than marvelous skiing.”
“I have a girl friend that I haven’t seen in five years. We’ve written letters back and forth, but haven’t actually talked during that time. She is going to be there for vacation, so I thought I would go there too. Her last letter mentioned that she’d ‘met someone’ so I can only assume she is still with him. Now that I’ve met you, we can be a foursome. That will be great fun, won’t it?”
“Sure will. Four is much better than three. How about a place to stay there? Do you have one?”
“Well, no, not really. She invited me to stay with her, but if she’s not living alone, maybe they will have room for us in her hotel?”
“We can try, that’s for sure. Hey! Look at the time. We’d better drink up and get back to our compartments and make sure we’re packed.” Bill picked up the coaster, with four marks on it, and took it to the bar. The bartender added things up, gave him a figure – to which he added a good tip – and said their good nights to him. On the way back they walked with their arms around each other. Bill thought she was the warmest girl he’d ever been near.
They came across a man and woman coming towards us so they had to stand aside as they passed. Bill and Molly nodded their good evenings and continued onwards to their car. As they passed the little vestibule where the attendant sat, he hailed Bill in German.
“I see you have fixed the sink, Mein Herr. Thank you for that. These aging cars are sometimes troublesome and get ahead of an old man like me.”
“Oh, you’re not old, my friend. I think perhaps that meeting and greeting people gives you pleasure. Is that not right?”
“Absolutely! Especially seeing such nice people as yourself and the young lady. It makes my heart happy. We will be arriving almost ten minutes early I am told. If you will have your luggage ready, I will see it gets on the platform first.”
“Thank you, Mein Herr. I appreciate that.” They continued down the aisle to their compartments and entered them. Minutes later, they were standing in front of the window in Bill’s compartment with him behind Molly with his arms around her shoulders. An occasional light flashed by, or a darkened farmhouse. Made comfortable by the slight alcohol of the drinks, they swayed gently to the movements of the train car which clattered through several turnouts and then began to slow.
“Almost there, Mon Cher. I am definitely ready for a bed that doesn’t make noise – or move around. How about you?” The car gave a lurch which caused Molly to take a small step backwards. It caught Bill unawares as their bodies made harder contact. Molly chuckled softly to herself. She knew fully what she’d felt.
* * *
‘I know what that was. He is as interested in me as I am in him. How wonderful to be on the same train.’
* * *
Molly sighed quietly, and turned to face Bill. Her breasts, held captive in their silken containment, pushed gently into his chest. “Kiss me once again.”
Bill bent down when Molly tilted her head up. Their lips met. “Mmmmm, delicious,” he said, capturing her upper lip lightly in his teeth. “What is that I taste – cherries?”
Molly turned back to face the picture window and the scenery rushing past. “My lipstick, silly. Do you like it?”
“Yes. Very much so. I love cherries; and strawberries.” This triggered a long forgotten memory for Bill. He softly related his story to Molly about his young romance years ago. “A girl I once knew right here in Germany wore strawberry-scented perfume. After a great deal of embarrassed fumbling, she and I made love for the very first time.”
“You were both virgins? How old were … non, it’s not my business at all.” She shook her head.
“I don’t mind telling the story,” Bill continued, his voice low, while he again held her from behind. “I was seventeen and so was she, but I was six months older than her. Damn, we were young. As it happened, we had this magical time on a train. We were on our way for a short trip to Paris with the Photography Club from the base where my father was stationed. We were gone for four glorious days. God! It was wonderful. I lost track of her when her dad got transferred to Italy. We corresponded, but even that dried up eventually. I was heartbroken. And, now I’ve found you; here on a train, and maybe we are in love – I know I am.”
* * *
‘Mon dieu, he said it; he said he was in love with me! Oh, I love you too; I truly do!’
* * *
Molly whirled around to face Bill and looked deeply into his eyes. “Oh, so am I, Bill. So very much in love.” She kissed him again very tenderly and they held that pose until the car gave a lurch to the side as the train was shunted to a parallel track. Bill could see that they had entered the yard at Munich’s Main Train Station.
“München! München!” Rang the call from the attendant as he tapped on all the doors down the passageway. “München!”
* * *
‘Oh, Merde!’ Molly thought.
* * *
“So soon? I want to just stay here with you holding me forever.”
“Not possible, my love. They’ll want to clean the compartments up in a bit. Besides, you should have someone waiting for you from the hotel.”
“Yes, I suppose so. But, darn it, I was really in the mood.”
Bill grimaced inwardly. “You have no idea how much I was in the mood also. But, there will be other opportunities – I hope.”
* * *
‘You would be wrong about that, monsieur. I do know what mood you were in.’
* * *
Bill and Molly gathered their belongings and shuffled them down the passageway to the vestibule at the end. The attendant was standing near the open door with his hand on the latch leaning out into the night. The car rocked sideways again several times as it threaded the spidery tracks to approach the proper platform. Soon, it eased to a stop amid a hissing of air and squealing of brakes.
The attendant latched the door open and reached for their bags. Once they were deposited on the smooth concrete, Bill turned and palmed a ten Mark note into his hand and wished him a very safe return trip.
“I wish you a very happy visit to München, Mein Herr; and you too Fraulein.” He tipped his hat and climbed back aboard to help the next couple.
“What a great guy,” Molly commented. “I know it’s his job, but he seemed to go out of his way to help us didn’t he?”
“Sure did. Now, let’s see if we can find your hotel porter.” They started down the platform, which was becoming more crowded as others left their cars ahead of the two of them. Stairs led downwards into an underground passageway that ran between platforms. Eventually they climbed back up and into the terminal concourse. Even at this hour it was very busy. They had indeed arrived ten minutes early though as the arrival announcement of their train was just being made.
Bill leaned in towards Molly so she could hear him. “Do you know which way the hotel is?”
She stopped and set down her bag so she could consult a small notebook. She said “It’s supposed to be north of the hopt…hupt…”
“Hauptbahnhof?” Bill queried. “It means ‘Main Train Station’. If it’s to the north we go over there.” He pointed towards a sign indicating the Nordausgang, or north exit.
“Oh, I am very glad I met you. I’d be lost right about now.” Molly lifted her small bag again. Bill grabbed the other one and slung his backpack over a shoulder. They walked over to the exit and went outside into the harsh sounds of horns, doors slamming, and the whistles of the cab-callers.
* * *
‘I really meant that, didn’t I?’ Thought Molly. ‘Everything Bill does appears to have a calming effect on me.’
She walked by his side, taking note that he adjusted his stride to hers so that he wouldn’t make her walk too fast. He appeared confident and, when he looked over at her, she felt a flush on her cheek as her emotions welled up.
Bill seemed to be everything she’d ever wanted in a man: smart, funny, and good with words. Plus, he was able to speak German, something she could not have gotten along without. Her friend, Francine, in Garmisch-Partenkirchen could get along in German but, like herself, only spoke French natively.
And now, she flushed again, she’d invited Bill to share her hotel room. How naughty was that! Francine would give her an earful over this, she knew. She slowed her pace as they moved through the revolving door and out into the cold air.
* * *
It was a beautiful night. Very cool though, with just a hint of snow and coal smoke in the air. There was a faint chuff-chuff from the yard as their steam engine headed off to be serviced. A single, short, hoot was given that echoed again and again between the buildings on either side of the station. Bill knew he would never get tired of that sound.
Molly spotted the porter first. He was across the street pushing a standard hotel cart with the bar above it for hanging suits. “There he is, I bet.”
Bill lifted a hand to wave and he waved back. As soon as the light changed, the porter rumbled across to the curb on their side. He greeted them with a question.
“Fraulein Garner? Are you Miss Garner?” He inquired.
“Garnet.” Molly corrected his pronunciation to the French ‘Gar-nay’. “Are you from the Hotel Alfa?”
“Ja. Yes. Hotel Alfa. Ummm, you commen sie mit?”
Bill judged that he had almost exhausted his English at that point and addressed him in German to assure him that she was indeed the person he was sent to gather up. He added that he was also going to the hotel but didn’t add that he'd be in her room though to save her embarrassment. He saw no good reason to mention it. The porter answered in German, with obvious relief, that she was the only one he was sent for, but that he would be happy to take the Herr's bags also. Bill thanked him and laid both bags he was carrying on the porter's cart. With a grunt, the porter set it in motion and headed across the street.
On the way over the porter began an almost non-stop monologue about the wonders of Munich. He would pause every so often and waited while Bill translated for Molly. They trundled through a very small alley, tunnel actually, which punched through a block of buildings and onto to the next block. They emerged right across from the brightly lit marquee of the Hotel Alfa. The porter pointed proudly and announced – unnecessarily – “Hotel Alfa!”
Bill and Molly, along with the porter pushing the trolley, arrived at the booking desk where the clerk was ready with Molly’s registration card. He gave Bill a questioning look, and then Molly addressed him quickly in French. “Parlez-vous Français?”
The desk clerk responded affirmatively and they conversed for a while as the clerk leafed through his desk book. He stopped, pointed, and said “Ici! Il est, Garnet” He went on, in French, until Molly stopped him and said something back. He smiled, bobbed his head, and handed Bill a card also. It was done. They had the same room. He said something to Bill in French, which Molly translated for him under her breath to “have a pleasant evening”. Bill responded by thanking him in German. This seemed to confuse the man, but he recovered immediately, responded in kind, and told the porter to take them to their room.
After the formalities, Bill asked if something could be had to eat. The clerk seemed devastated the dining room was no longer serving. This didn’t bother the two of them at all. The tired travelers, plus the bellboy, entered an elevator and rode up to the third floor. The bellboy unlocked the door to three twelve, pushed it open, and handed Bill the key. Then he went around pointing out the amenities available, and then paused at the door. Bill reached into his pocket and handed him a tip. The bellboy tipped his hat and closed the door. Bill heard the elevator going back down. He and Molly were now quite alone.
Almost shyly, Molly turned to face Bill and hesitantly put her arms around him. As tired as he thought he was, there was enough of a spark to produce a definite reaction. Embarrassed, Bill stepped back a little and suggested that they take their coats off and unpack a bit. Molly turned her back to Bill and he lifted her coat from her shoulders. There was a coat rack near the door where he hung it, and his.
Molly and Bill walked about the room, self-consciously glancing at each other. Now that they were here, together, in a hotel room, things appeared to be a bit awkward for some reason. It was easy on the train to pretend that they had just happened to cross paths, but now they were committed to a course of action. Bill appeared all for it, but Molly seemed to have some doubts now. With a heart rate somewhat above normal, Bill moved about the room straightening things up as a form of ‘busy-work’.
* * *
‘Oh, Mon Dieu! Que fais-je? Bill must think I do this all the time. He must think poorly of me.’
Also nervous, Molly moved about the room and finally settled near the bed with her bag on top of it. She started pulling our clothing in preparation for bed.
* * *
Molly sat her case on the bed and began laying out clothes. When she reached in and pulled out a very sheer nightgown, Bill watched the pink rise from her neckline. She was undoubtedly remembering their earlier encounter in the train compartment. She rubbed her fingers over the smooth fabric and then set it aside. Bill was busily looking elsewhere when she turned her head to see where he was.
Bill came to a conclusion. Not one he was in favor of, but he did feel he should make the gesture. “Molly, are you uncomfortable with me here? I am sure I can get another room. They didn’t look too busy.”
* * *
‘Non! Non! He must not do that!’
* * *
Molly whirled down and sat on the bed with her hands outstretched to him. “Oh, no! It’s not that, Bill. I’m just … just, not sure of my own emotions. I mean … Oh. I am just not explaining this very well am I?”
He advanced and held out his arms. She rose and, slowly let him enfold her with them. “Molly. I would do nothing to make you regret anything you do this evening – or any evening for that matter. If you wish, I can go out now or I can stay the night – over there in that chair, if necessary. What happened between us on the train was wonderful; at least for me.” She tried to speak but he put his fingertip on her lips. “No. Let me finish. I don’t know if my attraction to you is real, or some sort of transference from my past. That’s for me to sort out. Right now, this moment, all there is in this room is you and me. I’ll do whatever you wish, whatever you ask, and no regrets or argument.”
“Oh, Bill! I strongly suspect I’m in love with you. We’ve only just met but I’ve had the feeling the entire day that I’ve known you all my life. Of course I haven’t though. What happened between us on the train was indeed magical and I would like to have it continue. As of right now, there is only one thing that is important to me: how you feel about me.”
* * *
‘Please kiss me.’ Molly thought with all her heart.
* * *
Bill pulled her to him tenderly, lifted her chin with his fingers, and kissed her gently on the mouth. “I love you also, Molly Garnet. I think I’ve known that from the first time I saw you standing in the aisle, dripping wet.”
Tiny tears formed at the corners of Molly's eyes. Bill had to admit that his weren’t completely dry either. They gazed at each other for long moments and then, slowly, they kissed again. This time it was far more satisfying for the both of them then any earlier kiss. It meant that they had, for the moment, solved their inner conflicts and had both, simultaneously, arrived at the same decision.
[December 13, 1963]
[Hotel Alfa, Munich, W. Germany, nearly midnight]
In the glow of the single lamp he'd turned on, Bill pulled the cover back on the bed, lifted Molly to it, and knelt on the floor by her side. “Molly. If you’ll have me, I’d like to accompany you wherever you go. I don’t know how long this can last, but I want to be a part of it for as long as it does.”
Molly leaned forward and pulled his head tightly to her breast and began running her hands roughly through the hair at the back of his neck. She was both crying and laughing. “Let us see what tomorrow brings.”
Making yet another decision, Bill went to the closet and pulled out another pillow and a blanket. He tossed them onto the settee. "And here is where I'll sleep tonight. As you say, tomorrow will make its own decisions. Fair enough?"
Molly nodded and began shedding her outer clothing. Embarrassed, for some reason, Bill turned away and did the same. While he was occupied, Molly went to the closet and found robes for each of them. She handed one to Bill and wrapped the other around herself. "I need a bath. Do you need to use the bathroom right away?"
"No, not immediately. Go ahead."
"Thank you." As Molly started to close the door behind her, she paused and said "I hope there is lots of hot water." Then she pulled the door closed.
The door opened a crack almost immediately. "Bill, you have to see this." She said.
He entered the bathroom and gave a low whistle. The tub was certainly big enough for two of people. In fact, it probably could have held three persons – if they were really good friends. She knelt and ran the water into it while Bill took in the rest of the room. He held up a small paper box that held bath soap and raised his eyebrows at her in question. “Sure, what kind is it?” She asked.
“It says ‘April Frisch’, which means April fresh.” He sniffed and added, “Smells like flowers to me.” He held it out to her.
“Mmmm, smells wonderful,” she pronounced, smelling it also. “Drop some in.”
Bill shook out a fair amount into the stream of water. To his surprise it began bubbling up. “Bubble bath!” He said, faking shock. “I’ll ruin my standings as a stud if I get into that.”
She gave a hoot of laughter. “Don’t worry, Bill. I can give you a note of reference if you want. Now shoo while I relax a little.” She said as she made to open her robe.
Bill exited, reluctantly. "I'll be outside if you need anything. Anything at all. Anything. Back rub. Whatever…"
Molly chuckled to his departing back.
* * *
Molly enjoyed just lying back and absorbing the warmth from the flower-scented hot water. It seeped into every pore and forced her tired muscles to relax. Reaching up, she snagged a towel and wrapped it around her hair so as to not get it very wet. She knew that her hair would tangle easily if she slept on damp hair.
Her mind was still trying to cope with what had transpired today. When she left the hotel this morning she had no idea this would happen to her. It was like a whole new tangent to her life. She’d had her share of romances, some very intense, but Bill seemed to be in a totally different category. She didn’t know just yet where she could, or should, put him.
‘Better I wait a while before making a decision,’ she thought, adding a little more hot water using her big toe to move the lever. ‘My instincts are telling me to allow him into my bed, but they also are warning me it may be too early. Oh, Merde! What to do?’
She finished up her bath, pulled the plug and let the water drain while drying off. She’d found that the towels were huge and could completely engulf her easily. She made sure the towel was secure around her chest. It made her giggle quietly at the thought of ‘accidentally’ letting the towel drop. She’d seen enough of that tired plot in French cinemas.
She sighed and opened the door to leave the steamy room.
* * *
[December 14, 1963]
[Hotel Alfa, Munich, W. Germany - just past midnight]
With one towel wrapped around her and the other in a turban about her hair, Molly trotted rapidly across the floor to the bed. It was piled high with down comforters which she pulled at trying to remove.
Bill watched her as he lay back under a blanket on the settee, and then spoke up. “No, wait, Molly. Those are what you sleep under. They’re called a ‘Federbett’, or featherbed.”
“Really? Very nice. They’re so warm,” she cooed while sliding deeply under one. The towel around her appeared from under an edge and dropped to the floor. She sighed deeply several times, clearly moving around to get comfortable, and then went quiet.
Bill rose, wrapped in his robe, and turned off all the lights. Except for the small night light on one wall, the room went dark. He went back to the settee, pulled the covers down and settled into it. It appeared surprisingly comfortable, but he had a hard time drifting off. He heard Molly sigh softly again.
* * *
‘He is just over there you little kid!’ Molly railed against herself once again. She was still undecided as to what course to take. She’d heard him sighing also as he struggled to find a comfortable position. Here she was comfortable, perhaps too comfortable, and he was on that hard settee.
‘J'abandonne! I give up! Maybe he is as tired as I am.’
* * *
"Yes," he replied softly.
"Would you come hold me? Having you way over there on that hard couch and I here on this soft bed is not very practical – or nice; and I'm still a little cold."
"Molly," he responded. "Are you sure of this?"
"As sure as I can be. Just sleep - for now."
"I'll accept that." Bill said, standing up and crossing the room. He slid carefully into the bed, trying his very best not to make premature or inappropriate contact. When he got settled, he held his arm out and let Molly snuggle into his shoulder.
She wrapped her hands around his arm to show how chilly she was. Her fingers were like ice against his warm skin. He'd always been blessed with a good metabolism which, among other things, kept his body temperature rather high. He shifted around so that she could fit herself against his side. Molly snuggled under his chin to lay her head on his chest. Her hair, smelling sweetly of wildflowers, rested just under his nose.
The last thing Bill remembered that night was a muffled “Je T’aime” from under the edge of the comforter. Only the top of Molly's head was visible. Bill sighed deeply one last time, which she echoed, and they dropped rapidly off to sleep.