Bus Ride to Bucharest (Part VIII)

Chapter Eight: I’m Clocking that Game

Sunlight filtered in through the windows and danced an outline over his body. The sight of him in her bed, tangled in her white sheets, was simply beautiful. Ginny could have stared at him all day.

“Morning gorgeous,” he grumbled, his voice deep and throaty with sleep. He opened an eye, smiled at her.

“Morning yourself,” she said. She had never felt so relaxed as she did in this moment.

He raised himself onto his elbow, resting his head in his palm. “Now you’re a sight I could get used to in the mornings.”

Ginny giggled and kissed him, and they lingered over the kiss.

Eric trickled kisses down her throat. “What do you say to some coffee and croissants?”

“Mmm. Sounds delicious.”

“All right then.” Eric pulled himself out of bed and tugged on khaki pants. Ginny couldn’t help watching as he pulled on a white shirt; his body was just so beautiful. For a dirty backpacker, he sure cleaned up nice. He pulled his hair back into a low ponytail, scratched his beard, and leaned over to kiss her.  She giggled and pulled him back for another before letting him go.

Eric shut the door softly behind him and Ginny squealed into her pillow with delight. I can’t believe this is happening. She couldn’t remember the last time she felt so good.

Wondering what more they might do for the day, if we even leave the hotel, she thought with a wry grin, Ginny reached into her purse for the city map. She pulled it out to look at the sights, when she felt a vague tug – her purse had seemed a little empty.

She reached back into her bag and felt around: keys, lipstick, sunglasses, some coins…where was her wallet?

Foreboding filled her as she pulled the purse onto her lap and rooted around. No wallet. Where was it? Think, Ginny, think.

She had definitely had it to check into the hotel, and she hadn’t pulled it out again since. Had she? No, definitely not. She’d paid dinner with cash from her pocket. She was always conscientious about keeping money in different places – a trick from living in New York she carried with her when she traveled.

“Oh God.” What was she missing? Passport was there, thanks to being in a separate compartment. But her traveler’s cheques, credit cards? All gone. All she had left for money was the twenty euro note she stored in her shoe. Fat load of good that’ll do. That’ll barely cover a meal here.

Where could her wallet possibly have gone? She honestly had not done a thing with it. Where could it be?

Then, suddenly, Ginny began to think of all the odd moments where Eric had not been quite straightforward. He’d never answered her plainly when she asked about his job. She remembered he’d been evasive when she asked about how he could afford to travel so much. Then when he’d been so short about paying for the hotel on short notice….

“Oh God.” Panic clutched at Ginny’s chest and she found it hard to breathe. “Oh God, oh God, oh God. How could you be so stupid?” She was beside herself with worry. What on earth was she going to do? How was she going to get money? How would she make it through the rest of her trip? Would she even be able to go on the rest of her trip? Would she have to go home right away? What about her flight? Worse yet, she felt sick to her stomach at the thought of having slept with such a shyster.

“Oh God.” The repercussions and anxieties filled her until she wanted to cry in rage and fear. “This trip is such a nightmare!”

There was a knock at the door.

“Coffee and croissants,” Eric called out to her. He had a small, white paper bag in his mouth as he bumped open the door, his hands full of hot coffee.

Ginny jumped out of bed, clutching the sheet around to cover herself. “Where is my wallet, asshole?” She felt vulnerable getting into a fight with nothing but the sheet for defense, but she had pure fury on her side.

Eric frowned. “What?”

“I said, where is my wallet?”

“What are you talking about?” He set the coffee and bag down on the desk, cursing a little as he spilled some of the hot coffee on his hands.

“My wallet. It was here yesterday and now it is gone. Where is it?”

He brushed his hands off on his pants, looking confused. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. You lost your wallet?”

“I didn’t lose anything. Someone stole it.”

Eric stopped in his tracks. “Oh, and you think I stole it?” His temper heated his face.

“The evidence seems to be pointing that way.”

Eric scoffed, which only made her angrier. “What evidence?”

“The fact that I had it yesterday, but now it is gone. The fact that everything else is there except my wallet. The fact that I am super conscientious about where I keep things and would never lose my wallet, and the fact that you are…you.”

Eric’s voice turned low and dangerous. “And just what am I, in your estimation?”

“A dirty, fucking hippie backpacker who lures women in and steals their money, that’s what, you first class jackwad!”

Eric was silent for half a moment before he exploded.

“That’s just…This is just bullshit! Fuck this, I am out of here.” Eric grabbed his coat and stalked out the door, slamming it behind him.

It was only after he left that the tears came. Ginny cried into her pillow, in total disbelief of the mess she found herself in. What a nightmare – except that it was real, and she really had to find a way out of it. She wanted to stay in her room and cry all day, but after a few minutes of that, she knew she’d have to rally. She’d have to figure something out.

She dragged herself to take a shower and to try to take stock of what she had to do next. She figured the first thing she’d have to do is call Dee. Dee could get her the numbers she needed to call the bank. Maybe even float her some money through a wire transfer or something until she got herself sorted out.

She looked at herself in the mirror, her eyes red and tinged with dark circles, hair damp and limp around her face.

“Fragile little bird,” she murmured. “Why do you eat so many self-made lies?” She thought she was done with all that. Done with falling for illusions, and yet here she was again. Chump for the second oldest trick in the book. She couldn’t even play the victim card anymore. With every bite of those lies, another slice of the pity cake went away. She was done with that. This time she was mad and she would not be anyone’s fool ever again.

“All right, ol’ girl. Time to pull yourself together.” Ginny pulled on her smartest clothes, did her make up and hair until she looked primed to enter war in the toughest corporate negotiation of her life. She gathered her things and plotted her route. She was ready for business. God pity the fool who got in her way today.

(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.

Bus Ride to Bucharest, Part V here.

Bus Ride to Bucharest, Part VI here.

Bus Ride to Bucharest, Part VII here.

Bus Ride to Bucharest, Part IX here.

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