“By the way, the skirt is beautiful on you as well, and I think you should let me pay for it as well.”
“Over my dead body.”
“No, I don’t think it would look too good then.”
After two hours of hassling for who was paying for what, Orlando and I finally issued from Harrods. Then, he took me to a small café for lunch, and for the first time, I tried crumpets with tea. They were wonderful and melted right in my mouth.
“Where are we going next?” I asked as I tried a blueberry scone.
“I was thinking Buckingham Palace.”
“Do those soldiers really move around like there’s no floor and like they’re toys?”
He nodded grinning. “And they have the soldiers who simply stand there with the blank expressions, and you can never get their attention.”
“Mmm…this is a really great café. Where did you find it?”
“My mom took me here for a treat when I was younger. There are very good ones in New Zealand as well. Have you ever been to New Zealand?”
“No. I’ve seen pictures though.”
“Pictures don’t do it justice. It’s beautiful. Perhaps I’ll take you there sometime.”
My thoughts continued to drift back to the kiss. I could still nearly feel his lips tingling upon mine. Orlando was certainly a good kisser, and it felt…nice when he kissed me, but it didn’t make it right. Was it right for him to kiss me this early? What did he think about me truly? I guess one of my questions was answered. He didn’t bring me along simply just to have someone to unwind with.
I widened my eyes as I watched the procession of soldiers carrying the golden trumpets and wearing their scarlet uniforms with the large black bearskin hats issue into the courtyard. The pictures proved correct; they did look like they were simulated. Orlando told me about the priceless artwork of the Royal Collection housed at Buckingham Palace. About fifty thousand people visit the palace each year as simply guests to banquets, receptions, and Royal Garden parties. Later, we would visit the Queen’s Gallery, which shows items of the Royal Collection held by the Queen.
“It was built forty years ago out of the bombed ruins of the former private chapel,” Orlando informed me. “Buckingham Palace began as a simple town house owned by the Duke of Buckingham. The State Rooms of the Palace are open in the summer but only from August to September.”
“Oh,” I hoped I didn’t sound to disappointed since this day had turned out perfect already. “What time is it?” I asked.
“Five o’clock. We’ll go see Big Ben next. I can get us to the tower so we can see all of London. We just have to make it quick because the Bell rings every hour, and the noise is strident when you are that close to it.”
“I look forward to it.”
“All right, now, watch your step,” Orlando took my hand as they climbed the last step to the tower of Big Ben.
“We could have taken the elevator you know,” I suggested rolling my eyes.
“And miss this award winning experience?” he gave me his powerful grin and then raised his hand in a sweeping manner toward the view.
“Oh my gosh!” I grasped the iron bars, which blocked my view of the lake partially, but none the less it was beautiful.
“The bells weigh 13.5. It has an interesting but clouded history,” Orlando informed me. “We just climbed 290 steps to the clock room and 340 to the belfry.”
“Can we take the elevator down next?” I asked laughing.
He nodded and slipped his arm around my waist to view the scene with me. “We’ll have to since it will be chiming in the next ten minutes. Chimes on the note of F I believe.”
I sighed. “You always have the facts. Look, it’s beautiful.”
“Almost as beautiful as you,” he added, which made me smile but still wonder none the less. “You should see this place at night when it’s lit up. It shines with a golden light, and the clock face looks like silver. When the full moon peaks out, it is truly a sight to see.”
I smiled. “Poetic.” But still all I could feel was that hand around my waist.
“What is one place where you have always wanted to go but never have?”
I thought for a moment. I knew I wanted to go to someplace out of the country with a warm climate, nice sandy beach, plenty of dolphins, snorkeling, beautiful sunsets, and plenty to do.
“Bermuda,” I finally answered.
“And why?” he asked.
I explained my reasons as well as the fact that the island is so mysterious. The Bermuda Triangle has a tragic history to it, and I’ve always wanted to know the reason. Some people have believed it is the hiding place for the lost city of Atlantis. Anyway, it was a legendary island, and I was always a sucker for a good mystery.
“Hmm. You never seemed much of a thrill seeker to me,” he replied.
“Well,” I shrugged. “I’m learning. I have always wanted to go sky diving.”
He smiled and took my hand. “Jumping out of cable cars is more exciting. Perhaps I’ll take you to New Zealand sometime, and we can do it.”
I froze when he continued to rub my knuckles. “Shouldn’t we be going before the bell rings?”
“Oh, I apologize. Yes, let’s go. It should be ringing within the next two minutes actually.”
“Well, you lead the way.”
We reached his home outside of London around eight o’clock and decided to change and watch a movie together, then perhaps swim. I had slept most of the way back so I was not as tired. I came down the stairs dressed in some comfortable pajama pants and a tank top just as he was fixing a bowl of popcorn for us. I entered the kitchen and instantly dug my hand into the bowl of popcorn. He nearly laughed as I continued stuffing it in my mouth. We also dug out the Graham Crackers, Hershey bars, and marshmallows and began making smores.
Finally, we took our seat on the couch, and he played the Princess Bride just for me since it was my favorite film. I licked off the marshmallow from my fingers and concentrated on the movie.
“Move? You’re alive! If you want I could fly,” Buttercup stated as Wesley gathered her up in his arms.
I noticed Orlando’s arm slip around my shoulder drawing me closer to him. I still didn’t know how to read him. Was he playing with me or was this the real thing? I continued to watch the movie progress and nearly dreaded the ending since it ended in a kiss. But would Orlando kissing me be so bad? Of course it wouldn’t, but would it be right?
“Since the invention of the kiss, there had been five kisses which were rated the most passionate and the most pure. This one left them all behind.”
Orlando took my chin and turned my face to his slowly. He leaned in closer, and I hoped he didn’t notice my lower lip drop nearly trembling. His lips met mine gentle yet probing deeper and deeper. When the kiss got to be too much, I pushed him away but not roughly.
“Kyla,” he turned my face to his again. “Are you afraid of me?”
I shook my head.
“So being with me isn’t so bad?”
“Being with you is easy. Staying with you is near impossible.”
“Orlando I don’t belong in your world. We may want to be with each other, but we can’t because we were born differently.”
“What if I wished to be in yours?”
I said nothing. What is there to say to that? How could he want to be in my world? He couldn’t give up all of his fame and fortune just for me? It was impossible and unrealistic.
He ran his fingers through his hair. “I guess we can’t always have everything we want.”
“We’ve only known each other for a couple of days.”
“And over the course of those days, we’ve had unordinary conversations to know each other more. I’ve told you everything about my life, but you have yet to share yours with me. I want to know everything about you, Kyla,” he reached up and moved his fingers through my hair. “But do it slowly.”
“Are you insane?” I asked.
“No,” he smiled. “Just infatuated.”
I stood up and proceeded to walk away even though I knew he would follow. I stopped at my door and turned to face him. He eyed me with those gorgeous chocolate eyes of his and then cunningly slipped a strong arm around my waist. I knew he wouldn’t let me go this time. I turned my face away from those brown eyes, but he made me face him nonetheless.
“Will you let me?” he asked.
“You will anyway,” I replied not thinking of anything else to say.
“I won’t if you don’t wish it.”
“I do, but I don’t.”
“Funny how life catches you off guard like that.”
He inched near me until his lips floated just a breath away from mine. “Goodnight, Orlando,” I whispered softly.
He released me. “Goodnight, Kyla.”
I opened the door to my room and closed it behind me. I didn’t bother about changing into my pajamas since I was so exhausted and confused. I flopped on the bed and cried myself to sleep from utter confusion, but the wind from the moors made howling sounds in the night and filled my sleep with nightmares.
[l] Soon…Kyla my angel soon…
I heard the voice calling me, and it sounded ominous but I continued going. It was utterly dark, and I could not see a thing, but I continued to walk without knowing what I was walking to. Images slowly began to appear before my eyes. A fresh breeze rustled my hair and filled my nose with the smell of salt air. The Sea. The gentle waves rolled out before me covering my feet in water. And walking upon its surface toward me was a dark figure. He carried an frightening presence, but I did not fear him so I did not run. He approached me, but did not remove his cloak. I could not see his face and was glad so, but his hand reached out to stroke my cheek.
Soon we shall be together my angel in a dream…[/l]
Kyla awoke gasping. It was early the next morning, and she tried to block out the images from the previous night but to no avail. What did the dream mean? The figure said they would be together? And who was he? No, it was just a dream. It didn’t mean anything. She brushed it aside and decided swimming would help clear her mind so she changed into her bathing suit and went downstairs to the pool only to discover Orlando was already swimming. His eyes instantly met hers when she stepped near the edge.
“Guess we both had the same idea,” he declared.
She nodded absentmindedly.
“I thought I’d show you around the country a bit today and then take you out to dinner. How does it sound?” he asked stepping out of the water.
“Fine,” she simply replied.
“Look,” he draped a towel over his neck and ran his fingers through his hair. “Sorry about last night. Sometimes, well many times, I don’t think before I act.”
“It’s all right. I don’t want to talk about it.”
“Well, then will you have breakfast with me?”
She nodded. “Creppes?”
“With cream cheese,” he smiled.
“I’ll be back down soon.”