“Yesterday morning, I saw an old photo of your Czech girlfriend and you.”
He looked surprised. “Where did you see a photo of Eliška and me?” he asked.
“Elvira showed it to me. Her sister, Madeline had it among other old photos. She and your girlfriend are friends.”
“Ex-girlfriend. Eliška and I dated and broke up before you and I met.”
“Did you love her?”
“No, I didn’t love her.”
“You haven’t been in touch with her since you broke up?”
“No, I haven’t. Why all these questions, Elna? Why are you so interested in a relationship which has been over for more than four years?”
I got up, agitated, and walked over to the window. It was a beautiful night. I could see the flickering lights of the city in the distance. I could feel him watching me. Heart pounding, I leveled with him. “I-I guess I’m afraid that you will realize that you’re not that into me and break up with me like you did with her.”
I felt him come up behind me and his hands on my shoulders as he pulled me against him. “You have nothing to worry about,” he told me. “I will always be into you.”
I leaned against him and closed my eyes. I loved him so much.
“I’m mad about you, Elna,” he murmured. “From the very first moment I saw you, I wanted you. I wanted to be in a relationship with you. It wasn’t like that with Eliška. We met at a friend’s party. We talked and we made plans to see each other the following evening. We dated but I always felt that something was missing but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Then, it hit me that I just wasn’t feeling what I thought I should have been feeling. So, rather than stringing her along, I decided that the best thing to do was to end our relationship. She was upset, of course but she was mature about it. We parted on good terms. I wish her all the best and that she finds that special man.”
“I don’t know if I would have been as mature about it as she was.”
He turned me around to face him. “You don’t have to worry about us. What we have is special and I feel connected to you. I feel the things with you which I didn’t feel with her.”
That made me feel so much better. I wasn’t afraid anymore. Instead, I felt a calmness. “You looked very hot in the photo,” I told him. “Even Elvira said so. Your mustache and beard weren’t as thick then as they are now.”
He touched his face. “I bet I looked younger too,” he said.
He smiled. “One of these days, I will shave it all off.”
“I like it the way it looks now. It makes you look very distinguished.”
“You mean old.”
I laughed. “So, where are you taking me this evening, Mr. Adelmann?”
“To the beach for a sunset picnic.”
“A sunset picnic. How romantic!” I reached up and kissed him on the chest. “A picnic on the beach. How original. I can’t wait to go.” I kissed him again on the chest which was rising and falling swiftly.
“Keep doing that and there will be no picnic,” he muttered thickly.
Smiling, I raised my head and stepped back. “It’s too beautiful day not to have a picnic. Which beach are we going to?”
“Diaz Beach. It’s secluded. You can access it by a long wooden walkway, which eventually gives way to stairs. It’s a tiring walk up and down – but it’s really worth it. It’s a beautiful, secluded beach the kind you would see in a travel brochure. I went there once about two years ago.”
“If it’s secluded, maybe we can go skinny dipping.”
“Maybe we could,” he said as he buttoned his shirt. “And then make love afterwards.”
“Let’s go!” I was really eager to go. It sounded like a perfect date.
“All right.” He went into the kitchen and got the picnic basket.
Soon we were heading for the beach to enjoy a spectacular sunset as we ate delicious Avocado Chicken Burgers which he made, followed by two slices of Sachertorte–a delicious Austrian chocolate cake with apricot jam filling. “This is amazing,” I exclaimed before I devoured it.
“I baked it this morning.”
“You’re such an amazing cook. I really loved that dish with the thin breaded, pan-fried veal cutlet which you made a couple of weeks ago.”
“Wiener Schnitzel. It’s an Austrian favorite.”
“Austria looks like a lovely place. I’ve always wanted to visit it after watching The Sound of Music.”
“Yes, it’s a beautiful place, especially Villach.”
“That’s where you’re from. It’s the seventh-largest city in Austria and it’s near the Italian and Slovenian borders.”
“Yes, it is.”
“I googled it. Do you miss it?”
“Yes, I do.”
“Do you plan on visiting it soon?”
“Yes. And I would take you with me.”
“Yes. There are so many places I’d like to show you like the Main Square, the old churches, Finkenstein Castle, Lakes Lake Faak and Ossiach and The Village of Ossiach. Every August there is the Carinthian Summer music festival.”
I loved that he wanted to take me to the city where he was born and show me around. I got all warm and fuzzy instead. We had finished eating and were just relaxing. We sat facing the ocean. I leaned back against him and smiled as he nuzzled the side of my neck. I loved it when he did that. It was tender and sensuous at the same time.
“Ich liebe dich,” he murmured softly.
“Did you just said something in German?”
“What did you say?”
He raised his head. “Look at that sunset.”
I opened my eyes and was awestruck. The sky looked like it was on fire. As I looked at the sun sink, I saw the majesty of God and was extremely thankful that I got to share such an awesome moment with Markus.