Nate finally gets a date with the elusive Baroness.
Adelie’s place was as very white and very elegant. A generous front of floor-length windows allowed for ample light to come in, even on a grey evening like this. She had a cosy looking love seat, and two armchairs arranged around a coffee table in front of the windows. There was a pot of tea on a warmer, and candles sitting in tall lanterns. Opposite of all this stood a large white bed, her desk, and a tall bookshelf. She also had a tiny kitchen, where her washing machine sat underneath the countertop. Nate was incredibly grateful that he could wait in one of the comfy leather armchairs, having a pleasant chat and a cup of tea, instead of having to wait on one of the wire benches at the laundromat without any company. Adelie lounged in the love seat, foot propped up and still wearing his hoodie. The sight tugged at some almost forgotten heartstrings.
“How was your day?” He asked, putting down his cup.
“It was okay. It wasn’t easy to reach the classrooms, and I had to skip combat training.” She brushed back a pert strand of hair falling into her face. “I’m glad I don’t have to hobble around anymore today. The new soda shop sounds interesting, though.” She smiled at him, and even though she obviously was tired and her foot probably bothered her more than she was willing to admit, it was like dawn was playing out on her face. The need for these smiles in his life grew steadily; irritatingly fast.
“I have a rugby game tomorrow morning. Ruins all the greatness of sleeping in on a Saturday, if you ask me. But if you want, we could check it out in the afternoon? If your foot is up to it, of course.”
She pulled up a knee and rested her chin on it, looking at him pensively. “Wouldn’t you be terribly tired after a game of rugby? I’d feel bad chasing you around town.”
He smiled at her. “You’re not chasing me around town. I’d get a sleek car from Eddy, I drive you around, and we have some lemonade down there. Sounds chill enough to me.”
He managed to get the cherry red two-door sedan from Eddy, which never failed to impress a girl with its generous curves and ample chrome accents. Eddy had also put in a lot of work into the interior, making it pretty with custom red and white striped upholstery.
“Riding a Chieftain, eh?” Adelie slowly made her way down the handful of steps leading to her building’s main entrance. She wasn’t limping anymore but still walked carefully. Today, she was wearing sneakers and white capri pants. She had tied her red sleeveless blouse over her belly button, allowing him a glimpse of creamy skin, which instantly put him into hot water. To redirect his thoughts, he focused on her face. Which was a mistake, because now he was confronted with a dancing ponytail of chestnut hair, warm brown eyes and red lips pursed into a welcoming smile. He pushed himself away from the hood, meeting her at the bottom, narrowly hindering himself to take her into his arms and at least hug her hello. They weren’t there yet.
“I admit, it’s a bit too much metal for my liking. But I can hardly pick you up on a motorcycle, can’t I?” He said jokingly.
She laughed and slipped her arm through his, leaning on him while walking to the car. His heart skipped a beat, then lurched into a frantic gallop. It had neither expected her sudden closeness nor the familiarity of her gesture. “Can’t you? I’ve never ridden one, I’d love to know how it feels.”
“Too bad my bike is a rusty pile of parts, pipes and two wheels leaning against a wall right now. I’d love to take you for a ride, but I need to restore her before I can do that.”
She wanted to know more, and so he told her about his project while they cruised down the road: How he found it buried in hay in an old barn, who the previous owner was and how long it was taking to bring it back to life. To his surprise, she readily commiserated with him about the difficulties he had trying to find spare parts. Adelie kept him always on his toes. Her enthusiastic reaction to his restoration project was just one of many examples. That she used to be a race car driver another. He learned so much about her in the last three days. It had been too long since he’d known more of a woman than how she looked after spending a night with him. It had been too long since he actually wanted to know more.
He tried to find a parking spot close to the soda shop, but they had no luck. Graham Boulevard was a major shopping street, and it was a busy afternoon. So he parked a block away, hoping her foot wouldn’t protest. He opened the car door for her. Adelie smiled at him, a lovely, honest, open smile, as she stepped out of the vehicle. Then she hooked her arm through his again and said: “Sorry – I still need you as my crutch.” He didn’t mind. Walking with her along the tree lined street while listening to her comfortable chatter was something he could’ve done for the rest of the afternoon. At one point, she stopped at a window display, asking for his opinion on a dress.
“I might be biassed, but I bet you’d look gorgeous in it,” he answered honestly.
Laughing she poked him in the ribs. “Oh, you’re already biassed?”
Thankfully, the soda shop was right next door.