Chapter 13: If Only Us... Chapter 13

Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Romance

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Comments: 1

Virginia and I were ushered into a dining room with a table set for eight.  Waiters bustled around placing napkins in our laps and filling water glasses.  I was very impressed with the service Lord and Lady Rathford commanded.  Virginia had murmured to me in the passageway that she really liked Janice now that she’d had her ‘attytood adjusted’.  I had to agree.

Two other couples arrived and were seated at our table.  The first was Harry’s son, Peter and his current girlfriend Sylvia.  Peter was a definite snob and kept trying to look down Virginia’s blouse at every opportunity.  This, even while paying attention to Sylvia.  I took an instant dislike to him.  Sylvia was almost a total caricature of a windblown, upper class, privately schooled English twit.  She laughed when nothing was particularly funny, and failed to laugh when everyone else did.  She showed a lot of teeth and spoke with a nasal whine.

The second couple were very interesting.  He couldn’t have been much older than Peter, but miles different in attitude and demeanor.  His name was Robert and he introduced his girlfriend as Francine.  Where Sylvia was outspoken on pretty much every subject, Francine withheld her opinion until asked.  She never said anything she didn’t mean, nor did she embellish any statement with more than enough to convey meaning.  Sometimes is seemed as if her jaw was wired shut.

Once we were joined by the Rathford’s, the meal progressed at a casual pace.  Since we were isolated from the rest of the diners by tall dividers we could linger on our courses a little more.  About halfway through dinner, I excused myself to go to the washroom.  I’d been there for a few minutes until Harry pushed the door open to enter.  He stepped to a sink and lathered up his hands.

“I gather you don’t like young Peter’s wandering eye, Tom.  I’ve told him time and time again that someone is going to take exception to that one of these days and want do something about it.”

“I’ve tried very hard to shrug it off, sir, but I’m afraid the next time he drops his napkin, or reaches for another butter pat and bumps my wife’s breast I’m going to call him out.”

“That would be unwise, dear boy.  Peter is a master fencer and would probably challenge you to a duel.  A far better method would be to simply ignore him to death.  He cannot stand not being the center of attention.  Being kept to the outskirts would drive him mad for certain.”

“Noted, Harry.  That sounds like a plan then.  Thank you.”

“Where are you and your bride staying in Amsterdam, Tom?”

“We are booked at the Apollo Hotel, wherever that is.”

“I know it well.  We are staying with friends, but I do hope you will allow Janice and me to call at least once and take you out for dinner.”

“I’d love that very much.  In behalf of Virginia I accept.  We’d better be getting back or there will be talk of us, eh what?”  I added, affecting a really poor English accent.

“Capital idea, old boy.  Capital!”  He boomed, chuckling deeply.

I really liked this guy.  He could parody himself and love doing it.  Hell, I’d vote for him if I could.

The rest of dinner slipped by as rapidly as the miles.  Deep afternoon merged into evening and lights along the trackbed began to flash by.  We reached Bonn during dessert and had to remain in the dining car so they could tack on a replacement power car.  Something had gone wrong with one of the generators and it had to be replaced.  We endured gentle bumps and pushes as the new car was shunted into the train.  Then the entire train was moved to a holding track for safekeeping until two more cars would join us from another train coming up from the south.

Virginia and I left the group amid smiling handshakes and air kisses between the girls.  Ever since my chat with Harry in the washroom, Peter had toned down his wandering eye.  Maybe Harry had had a talk with him.  I voiced this to Virginia, who chuckled and told me she’d caught him ogling her and managed to stick a celery stalk in his eye.  I stared at her and began to chuckle.  Then it became a louder until I had to hold on to the corridor wall to keep from falling down.

“’Oops.  Terribly sorry Peter’ I told him,” said Virginia.  “’I do like to keep my conversations above my neckline.  So much more pleasurable that way’.  He seemed to agree.  I hope the salt did some good.”

“Oh, no!  You didn’t?”

“Oh, yes, I did!”

That started me all over again and we chuckled all the way up towards our compartment.  The porter met us at the door and asked if we wished our compartment to be set up for night, or to wait a while.

“Night, please.  We’ll go take a stroll for half an hour or so.  Will that be sufficient?”  Virginia said in German.

“Quite so, FräuleinDanke.”

She dimpled a smile at him and we continued to stroll up the passageway.  We walked the length of four more cars but were blocked from the fifth by a chain across the door.  A dangling sign proclaimed in three languages that “Entrance is strictly forbidden”.  It looked to me as if it was the baggage car.  We turned and ambled back the way we had come.  I nodded at one of the couples I had entertained in the bar car and they smiled back at the two of us.

“So young.”  One of them said.  I have ears like an eagle sometimes.

We arrived back at our compartment at almost exactly half an hour later.  The porter had done himself well.  The seat had been transformed into a somewhat wide lower berth and a narrower upper berth.  A small night light – blue, as before on our last memorable train trip – burned near the door to the lavatory.  I leaned out and managed to catch the porter’s eye down the passageway.  ‘Wunderbar’ I mouthed to him.  He grinned and tipped his hat.  I closed the door and turned the lock.

This time I had not one butterfly anywhere about me.  I came up behind Virginia who was hugging herself in front of the big window watching the very last of the setting sun.

“Beautiful, isn’t it, Tom?  I love the night.”

“I love you.”  I nuzzled her behind the ear and kissed the nape of her neck.

She gave a little shudder and leaned back into my arms.  I folded my arms around her and we just stood there, swaying slightly with the movement; lost in our own thoughts for long moments.

“Tom?  Do you think we’ll be able to take trips from time to time?  Maybe not long ones, but I’d even settle for day trips.  I love to travel.”

“Mmmm, I do also, love.  Anywhere with you is heaven to me.”  Long pause.  “Do you want the washroom first?”

“No.  You go first and I’ll join you afterwards.  Do you suppose there’s enough room for us on the lower?”

“No, but it sure would be interesting to try.”

She dug me a good one in the ribs, but chuckled just the same.  I lifted my sleeping shorts out of our suitcase and went into the cramped WC.  Wash off, brush teeth, light shave, just a touch of after-shave and I was ready.  I cleaned up after myself and called to her in the darkness that it was her turn.

She sidled past me clutching a cloth of some sort in her hands.  I kissed her cheek in passing and closed the door after her.  I pulled down the sheets and slipped in to the berth.  It felt luxurious to lean back against the thick pillow and digest all that had happened to us today.  A real Lord and Lady; how about that.

I listened to us clacking irregularly over points at some crossing followed by the rhythmic clicking of rail joints.  A roadway warning bell clanged its way past us and receded into the night.  So restful.  So very rest…pzzzzzzp.


Submitted: May 19, 2013

© Copyright 2022 B Douglas Slack. All rights reserved.


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A piece of cloth..? I wonder what it could be.

Fri, November 15th, 2013 8:54pm


You'll find out...

Fri, November 15th, 2013 1:20pm

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