Malan and Lathal take a train journey through Germany. They arrive in Augsburg, where their honeymoon will begin.
With a start, he awoke. The curtain on the window of their sleeping compartment had been pulled open, and she sat on the couch staring at the verdant vineyards and farms rolling by. Dressed in an orange and red sleeveless dress that was a bit short, black capris and beaded sandals; she occasionally jotted down words in cursive on her notepad.
She hadn’t noticed he was awake; he smiled as he watched his beautiful and incredibly sexy wife scribbling poems or one of her novels. Slowly he sat up; he glanced down at himself, noticing he was in his briefs. He didn’t remember how he got this way, but he figured she must have taken off the rest of his clothes. He felt slightly embarrassed even though he shouldn’t have because he was with her, his wife who had seen him in the nude.
Concerned, he quietly asked her. “Did you sleep?”
The wisps of a smile at the corner of her lips quickly spread across her face. “Yeah, I got a few hours in.”
Running his fingers through his mussed hair, he mused. “How long was I out?
“Oh. About eight hours,” she replied carefully crossing the cramp space over to the bed and kissed him fully on the lips. “You had a particularly bad case of jetlag.”
“Hmm,” he murmured thoughtfully, stroking his chin. He wondered why her jetlag wasn’t as bad as his. Maybe she didn’t experience the weariness of international travel as badly as he had because she had travelled overseas five years ago whereas he’d never travelled abroad. “That must have been because I could have sworn I saw Hitler on our train last night.”
Her laughter rang in pleasant peel around the room. “I thought so too at first but then I found out it was a U.S. Air Force officer on leave.” Walking over to the window, her hand pressed against the glass. Her bluish green eyes danced with pleasure as she watched the countryside race past the window. “I feel like I’m coming home again.”
He shared her joy and looked forward to visiting the places where she had fond memories or sites where she just had a desire to take him. He’d missed the almost four years she’d been here without him; now he’d be a part of it with her.
As his feet touched the carpeted floor, he stood before him in a state of undress. He was like an ancient god, she thought with a smile.
Glancing over her shoulder at him, she asked, “Are you hungry?” His stomach softly grumbled in response; he grinned sloppily. “We can get some lunch after you take a shower if you want.”
“We can’t get breakfast?” His amusement was apparent in his voice as he grabbed his jeans, a top and other essentials from his suitcase.
“They only serve breakfast in the morning and it’s after 2 in the afternoon,” she told him. “Besides in Europe it’s more of a continental breakfast.”
His contented grin grew larger. “What no Denny’s?”
She laughed. “I’m afraid there’ll won’t be any hash browns or ordering breakfast 24 hours a day until we return to the United States.”
Snapping his fingers in disappointment, he began unsuccessfully looking for the bathroom that didn’t seem to exist in their room. All he could seem to find were closets or storage areas. “Uh, Lathal, where’s the bathroom?”
Gesturing to the spot where his hand rested on the wall with a door that had small metal slats that had the golden letters WC above it. “WC or water closet is the bathroom in Germany.”
He opened the door and stared at the shower and portable toilet packed inside the small compartment. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”
“How badly do you want to take a shower?” The look in his eyes held the obvious answer. “Trust me I felt the same way you did when I used it.”
He grumbled and cursed as he banged his elbows and legs climbing into the small chamber. “I don’t think I’ll be showering much here.”
“The Germans would be glad to hear you say that,” she said, sitting by the WC as he showered. “They’re big conservationists.”
After he’d dressed, they went into the dining car. At the bar, she bought them a bratwurst stuffed inside a roll plastered with spicy brown mustard, a schnitzel sandwich and a pretzel covered in mustard. He carried the food to the table as she brought two long glasses with a dark colored carbonated beverage.
Raising her glass to him, her eyes gleamed, “Prost!”
“Did you just swear at me?” There was a playfulness and mischief in his brown eyes.
“I suppose I’ll have to teach some German.”
“Mmm!” He mumbled, partly in agreement and because he delighted in the delectable offering he was eating. Taking a big bite of his sandwich he enjoyed the spicy and juicy combinations of flavors from the mustard and the plump hotdog. “Can you teach me the curse words?”
She laughed. “You’re terrible.” There was a small splotch of mustard on the corner of his lips and she wiped it away with her thumb. She licked her finger and smiled blissfully. “What a mess you are!”
“But I’m your mess,” his delightful grin became bigger as he leaned over and gave her a passionate kiss.
Her lips temptingly brushed his. “You know I heard a nasty rumor about you before we started dating.”
“Oh?” He said with interest. In the back of his mind, he wondered what rumor she might be referring to even though he felt like he had a pretty good idea. “And where precisely did you hear this rumor?”
“First, I heard it from Tanya,” she tucked a strand of her golden hair behind her ear and then ate some of her sandwich. “Then I got it confirmed by Billy, but I have to tell you it took some investigative grilling to get that confirmation.”
His eyes twinkled with pleasure; his tone teased her. “You went journalism mode on my best friend?” A playful ribbon was displayed on her lips as he took a long satisfied drink of his Spatzi before he continued. “I assume you’re speaking of the little incident I had at the movie theater when I was dating Cassandra.”
“I didn’t think she was the type who went to the movies.” It didn’t bother her to talk to him about the time in their past when they hadn’t been a couple. He was hers and she, his, now and forever; that was all that mattered.
“She isn’t,” he confirmed, tearing off a large chunk of the pretzel, dunking it into the puddle of mustard that had fallen on his plate and then sticking it into his mouth. “But there was a popular movie starring Tom Cruise and she practically begged me to take her to see it.”
Taking another bite of her sandwich, her loving eyes hadn’t left his. “So what happened?”
“You tell me,” he gently challenged, drinking more of his beverage.
“Tanya told me you and she were making out in the back of the theater and you made a passionate declaration about me,” she recalled. “Of course, Billy’s version wasn’t as detailed as hers.”
He nodded, “Everyone in the theater heard me fervently rasp your name and proclaim my true feelings for you.”
Her hair gracefully swished around her shoulders. “I don’t get it. You were making out with her. Why were you thinking about me?”
His eyes held hers. “I wasn’t making out with her. I was imagining making out with you. I was in love with you even then.” He took her hands in his and fervently kissed it.
“I think I knew,” she said quietly, her hand still in his. “I don’t know why we were so subtle with each other back then. I think we both knew that we were in love with each other. Do you know how many times we came close to kissing after we met?”
He remembered that time well and fondly. “I almost kissed you while were having lunch at the table in the commons area that first day we met. I kept watching you during English comp class and when the bell rang ending the class I noticed you were waiting for me.”
A joyous glow highlighted her face. “Was Cassandra your first girlfriend?”
“No. I dated a couple girls in high school,” he informed her, and the information didn’t surprise her. Her husband was a handsome man.
As an afterthought, he added, “But none of them lasted more than a few months. My heart had already been taken away by a girl who had gone far away across the ocean.”
Their lips met across the table, and their faces were only a few inches away from each other as their conversation continued. “Did you ever go to prom, Malan?”
Hesitating slightly, he answered her with a question. “Did you?”
“Yeah,” she flushed. “My junior year I went with a single soldier who was a friend of my father’s. He had a girlfriend back in the states, so it was like he was just doing my father a favor by being my escort to prom.”
He ached, hearing this sad tale. It seemed like this man had made her feel so unworthy and degraded because he’d been forced to do something he wouldn’t have done. Squeezing her hand, he kissed her knuckles. “I’m sorry, Lathal.”
“It’s okay,” her hand waved the memory away dismissively. “I made up for my senior year. I went with a younger guy who was a junior. He was rocker and in the ROTC program whom I had a crush on.”
A slight twinge of jealousy coursed through him. “Did he kiss you?”
“I would have kissed you if I’d been your date to prom,” he asserted firmly.
Her lips gracefully sipped her drink. “Are you going to tell me about your prom dates?”
“My experience was almost as bad as yours,” he said. “My date stood me up my junior year.”
There was disbelief on her face. “She stood you up?”
He shrugged. The past no longer mattered to him. “Yep. Billy talked me into going stag with him. I was so frustrated and annoyed that I’d been jilted that I’d already undone my tie and removed my tux jacket, so the chaperones almost didn’t let me in.”
As he reminisced, she could picture what he’d looked like that back that night. “I bet the ladies swarmed to you that night.”
“Nope, Billy got all the honey that night. I was just a wall flower.”
She smiled that sounded exactly like her shy husband. Still she would have asked to dance if he’d shown up at prom alone even if she had a date. “Are you serious?”
“You can ask Billy if you don’t believe me.”He grinned back at her. “My senior year I went with a female friend from the theater, and I do emphasize the word friend.” He quickly glanced out the window and he saw a few small train depots along with the pastoral view out the window. “She knew me too well. She almost didn’t go with me because she told me several times that she knew I was in love with someone else. She had some very romantic notions, and she didn’t agree to be my prom date until I explained to her that it was completely impossible to go with my heart’s desire.”
The train slowed and pulled into a large station with multiple tracks. The large clock on the wall indicated it was 4 in the afternoon as the train pulled up to the concrete platform. A long string of German was broadcast throughout the train and they followed the rest of the passengers who were collecting their luggage; she explained to him that they’d arrived in Munich.
A billow of steam hissed from the train as they disembarked and that’s when the realization of where they were dawned on him. Their luggage in hand and his other gear around his shoulders, he looked at her, his eyes dancing with exhilarated enthusiasm. “Didn’t you tell me that this is where the Hofbrauhaus and Oktoberfest is?”
“I thought you didn’t know any German,” she teased him.
Glancing around as if he’d seen unseen imps running around them, he bantered back. “What did I say?”
She kissed his cheek, gently ribbing him. “Just because you’re on honeymoon in Germany doesn’t mean you have permission to grow a beard.”
A playful gleam in his eyes, he stroked his unshaven face. “You don’t like my disguise?”
Her lyrical, sweet laughter warmed his heart. “I hate to tell you this, but you’re going to have to do better than that because at least six fans on the train who asked me in German for your autograph.”
“I wish I’d known I was that popular here,” he teased as they walked along hand in hand.
“Well,” she tossed him a wicked look. “Your popularity is waning with your wife who said she’s going to withhold sexual favors with you until you shave.”
“Ouch,” he clutched his heart. “That’s cruel and unusual punishment.”
Still bantering with him, she said, “Tell me what happens when you take your case to the Supreme Court.”
Setting their baggage down for a moment, he regarded her with a hopeful look in his eyes, “We can’t stay here?”
She smiled in appreciation of his enthusiasm and excitement; she understood how he felt. Munich was a fun place to visit, and she planned to take him sightseeing in the capital city of Bavaria in the next day or so. “We’ll be back.”
His eyes locked on hers. “You promise?”
Holding up three fingers on her right hand, which was the Sprout promise, she said, “I swear.” She walked over to the information booth and asked the woman in German where they could board the train to Augsburg.
Not understanding anything the pair of magpies jabbered at each other in a long stream of German said, he stood there bored, kicking with his tennis shoe the concrete that was practically clean save for a small clump of bubblegum on it.
Hurriedly returning to her husband’s side, she told him. “We have to go downstairs to Platform 5B. Our train is leaving in the next 10 minutes.”
He had noticed that trains had been constantly coming and going since they had arrived. Every time a large bong sounded throughout the station another train departed or arrived. It was a smooth, efficient system. This definitely wasn’t how train transportation worked in America.
“Trains are very reliable and punctual here,” she said as they hurried down the stairs to the lower level of the large train depot. They jumped on board their train right before the train employee, carrying a pocket watch on a chain, climbed on too.
Their train to Augsburg was much smaller than the previous one they’d travelled on from Frankfurt to Munich. There wasn’t any dining car or sleeping compartment but it still was modern and luxurious with plush beige upholstered seats with tables. The seating areas were spacious and could accommodate up to eight people.
After stowing their bags in the overhead bin, they delighted in having a seating area to themselves. As the train clacked along the track, droplets of rain splashed across the large window dressed with red curtains.
His arm wrapped around his wife who laid her head on his shoulder. They both look at the billowy cloud that seemed to have a rainbow spilling from either side of it. There was a speck of light dancing like a diamond on the top arch of the rainbow.
“Does it always rain here?”
Chuckling softly in answer, her lips nipped at his chin and her hands caressed over his shoulders, arms and chest. His face softened and his face dipped so his mouth intercepted hers. His passion, hunger and need lay bare before her as their smiles met as their lips brushed together as they tenderly and ardently kissed again and again.
A sensual stirring and yearning filled him as his tongue mingled with hers in his mouth. Instinctively his hands roamed over her arms, back and breasts as he breathlessly continued to feast on the honeyed fire of her tender, pleasant, loving petals. Each exchange emphasized his powerful and unconditional devotion and love as well as his urgency of his needs and desires which were matched and returned by her.
As they unabashedly made out, he softly groaned, “I thought you weren’t going to deny your love for me as long as I had peach fuzz on my face.”
A whimsical laugh tickled his ears; she temptingly ran her hand across his zipper where his aroused state bulged. His body responded appreciatively to her touch. He trailed a searing kiss full on her mouth; his thumbs caressed her taunt nipples in a circular motion. She climbed into his lap; her hips seductively swaying back and forth.
Holding her close to him, he tenderly rasped, “Shouldn’t we be doing this somewhere a little more private?”
“The Germans aren’t as conventional about sex as we Americans are,” her smoky voice purred as her mouth playful tugged on his ear. “If you’re watching TV late at night, you can see people doing it right on air. On top of that, there are topless and nude beaches all over the country.”
He didn’t pass judgment on the German ideology because he was enjoying every moment of their intimate escapade.
His heart hammered in his chest; his mouth grazed her throat. Grinning from ear to ear, he gently squeezed her butt. “I think I’m going to like it here.”
“You’re incorrigible!” She playfully slapped his shoulder and pulled away from him.
A rogue gleam danced across his brown eyes as he regarded his wife. “You’re going to leave me like this?”
Hearing the familiar teasing tone in his tone, she affectionately patted his cheek. “You know what you have to do if you want my loving.” He laughed appreciatively, brushed away her bangs and kissed her forehead.
Three-quarters of an hour later their train pulled into the Augsburg Bahnhof. With their bags in tow, they dashed out into the light ran and walked across the busy street to the Strassenbahn (street tram) stop. Holding onto the brown straps hanging from the metal bars, they were jostled while their tram made periodic stops.
The end of the line was in the Rathaus Platz (city hall square) in the hub of the downtown. As they made their way to the Gasthaus Adler where they’d be staying for a few days, he felt impressed and overwhelmed by the picturesque architecture and quaint atmosphere of the city, so they had to stopped frequently so he could take pictures.
The Adler looked more like a tall pink and brown farm house than a motel. According to the travel agent, it had served as a museum for almost three decades after World War II and in the late 70s it became a kindergarten. In more recent years, the new owners had remodeled the establishment that operated as a motel once again.
The lobby featured artwork from famous artists, a plethora of white leather couches, a spacious library with books and computers, salon and gift shop. She rang the bell on the counter and had a friendly conversation with the plump woman dressed in what he recognized as a drendel, a traditional German dress. He picked up the words zimmer, bade, heiratet and danke but had no idea what they meant. Shaking his head, he made a mental note for her to teach him some German soon.
Their room was on the third floor and from the balcony they had a splendid view of the city’s downtown. Other amenities were double beds, TV, phone and ample closet space that had an iron and ironing board neatly tucked inside. There was also a small kitchen and dining area complete with microwave, refrigerator, coffee and drawers stocked with silverware, dishes, pots and pans.
She’d told him about the community bathrooms in the German motels so he’d been glad she’d asked for a room with its own bathroom and shower because that’s where he’d disappeared almost immediately.
As she situated necessities in the room, she began to miss him because he’d been gone too long. Knocking on the door, she called to him. “Did you want to go to a disco tech after dinner tonight?”
In response, the door opened wide, and she was greeted by clouds of steam fogging the room. Waving her hands, she tried to cut through the haze. “Malan?” She coughed, choked up by the massive vapors.
There he stood with a sly grin plastered on his face. A towel was wrapped around his waist; his brown hair was damp. Obviously he jumped into the shower.
His hand stroked his face to point out a noticeable difference. He’d shaved!
An appreciative laugh bubbled from her smiling lips. They were going to have fun tonight!