Chapter Seven: Paper Planes
Ginny had to laugh. Was there anything else that could go wrong on this ill-fated trip?
“A strike. Are you kidding me?”
“Dang socialist countries. Workers get all uppity.” Eric joked to ease the tension, but she could see the concern on his face. “Looks like our driver’s going to have another word with the border patrol. Let me see about this.”
Ginny gaped after him. “What? What are you doing?” she cried, but Eric was already out of earshot.
Everyone waited on edge as Eric and the bus driver negotiated with the patrol. Though who knows what he could possibly say to get us out of this mess at this point, wondered Ginny. After nearly twenty minutes of haggling, Eric and the driver jogged back, their expressions inscrutable. The driver got back on the loud speaker, and after a few long minutes of rapid German, all the passengers cheered.
“What’s going on? What did he say?” Ginny asked as Eric sat back down beside her. She was quickly getting annoyed about always being the last to know.
Eric grinned, trying to catch his breath. “He says he can get us as far as Aachen. We’ll have to wait until the day after tomorrow for the next bus driver to come on and continue our trip, but at least he can get us into the country.”
“How did you do that?” Ginny demanded.
Eric shrugged. “I don’t know. I just talked to the guy. He was quite reasonable. Very German.”
“I don’t know how you just get people to do what you want like that,” Ginny muttered. “Well anyway, thank you. And thank goodness I have enough cash in reserve for hotels, then.”
“Yeah, no kidding. This has got to be rough on the people who didn’t plan funds for all these extra stops.”
Ginny looked at Eric. Backpackers were notorious for having only a shoe-string budget, but he seemed unconcerned. “What about you? You good for a hotel?”
He smiled, but there was a strange look in his eyes, like he was holding back a joke. “Yeah, I’m good”.
Ginny didn’t want to pry, and the bus was getting ready to get back on the road so she settled back in her seat.
The drive to Aachen was fairly short, and Aachen itself was enchanting. Ginny pressed up against the window to get a better look at the quaint, medieval city. Gothic cathedrals interspersed with greenery made the city feel a bit like a historic fairytale land to her, like she had just walked into a tale by the Brothers Grimm.
It took no time at all to find a hotel, which was a relief after the escapades in Liege. The hotel was sleek and very Euro-chic, with lots of art on the walls. Getting a room was quick and easy, and Ginny couldn’t quite suppress the small girlish thrill when Eric booked a room down the hall from hers. No sex, she reminded herself, but she couldn’t help imagining him knocking on her door late at night.
“What’s that smile for?” he asked, as they carried their bags up to their rooms.
“Oh nothing,” she demurred. “Hey look, they have a roof top garden. We should go check it out.”
After getting settled, they wandered the city together. Towards the city center they found the Drehturmcafe, and old water tower, with a lift all the way up to the top. It offered a stunning 360-degree view of the city. Ginny let her purse fall to the ground by her feet. She felt like a kid again as she pressed her face against the glass and watched the city pass below them. She locked the memory of that moment into her heart, even after they left. They returned to the hotel to change for dinner and shared a drink up in the rooftop garden, enjoying the view at sunset. Then they found their way to a traditional inn, where they shared a generously portioned German meal, full of sausages and potatoes and gravy that melted Ginny all the way down to her toes.
They walked the long way back to the hotel, her fingers lightly interwoven into his. Ginny felt drunk on happiness, giddy with the newfound sense of freedom this trip brought. She had always plotted everything out with ruthless efficiency, but this trip seemed determined to break her of that habit. When nothing went as planned, she had to learn to go with the flow. The surprise was discovering she wasn’t so bad at that as she thought.
Ginny chuckled. “It’s funny. A month ago, if you had asked me what I’d be doing right now, I’d probably say I’d be finishing off the next big presentation for my company, getting into my empty marriage bed – though I would have thought it was empty only because Michael had to work, not because he was diddling the secretary, and trying not to feel sad about the fact I can’t have kids. Now, I’m suddenly a carefree traveler, bumping her way through Europe. Amazing how quickly a life can change, isn’t it?
Eric smirked. “You know, normally I find women are all-too eager to peg me right off the bat, shove me under a category and presume that’s who I am. And then they get all frustrated when I don’t comply. But I’ve never met someone so hell bent on doing that to herself.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, it just seems you’re trying too hard to label yourself and then make yourself fit that label. How about you just let yourself be, and let the categories figure themselves out?”
Ginny pondered his words for a long moment. The city was quiet except for their footsteps and she listened to the click of her heels across the stones as they fell in rhythm with her breaths. “How is it you can read me so well?” she wondered, as they turned onto their street, the hotel just a few paces away.
Eric laughed. “I can’t. But the beauty of it is in watching you unfold and seeing all the parts of you come to light. That’s why I think you should do the same. Just sit back and watch. You might just surprise yourself.”
“You’re wise for your twenty-four years, you know.”
Eric laughed and swung her around. He brushed his hand against her cheek and trailed his fingers down the length of her neck. He moved in closer, watching her eyes go liquid and dark. His lips were just a breath away from hers. “You’re never going to let me live that one down, are you?” he teased.
“Never,” she breathed across his neck. He crushed his lips over hers, and she was lost to him. He ran his hands through her thick russet hair. He ran them down over her shoulders, pausing over the curve along the sides of her breasts, with his thumbs just barely touching the tops of her nipples, before his broad hands swept down, taking in the swell of her hips. Even through her clothes, her skin burned under his touch. With every inch of skin and every caress, he pushed out every inhibition, every worry, every limitation, until all she knew or cared about was him.
She ran her hands over his broad shoulders and dragged her fingers up through his hair, sending tingles down his spine. Her fingertips trailed over his chest down towards his belt, teasing him with a little tug. She could feel the heat of him hard against her hips.
“If you want this to stop, you’d better stop me now,” he growled into her mouth.
“Don’t stop,” she whispered back. “Don’t stop.”
He grunted, then grabbed her hand and nearly dragged her up to her room. They fumbled with the keys. Kissing hungrily, they practically fell through the door and into bed. Clothes melted away, and Ginny melted under him, as Eric ran his hands and mouth over every swell and every curve. He felt the wetness between her thighs and nearly lost control. He pulled back, drawing out the pleasure, trying to make it last. He tasted and teased until she couldn’t bear it. When he finally entered her, it felt like the joy she’d been waiting for her entire life, and she thought, Yes this is how it is supposed to be. And when she came, it was pure delight. It was glorious. It was quick, but when it was done, Ginny had never felt so satisfied. Not, at least, until they did it again that night.to be continued…
Bus Ride to Bucharest, Part I here.
Bus Ride to Bucharest, Part II here.
Bus Ride to Bucharest, Part III here.
Bus Ride to Bucharest, Part IV here.
Bush Ride to Bucharest, Part V here.
Bus Ride to Bucharest, Part VI here.
Bus Ride to Bucharest, Part VIII here.