Authors: Ani Alexander
It was time for
Vasko to be coming back. Annika was at work at the trade-fair reception when her mobile rang. She answered and heard Vasko's voice.
“Hi dear,” Vasko's voice was happy and excited.
“Hi, how are you?” Annika was excited too, but her voice also had a note of surprise in it.
“Are you going to have time to see me?”
“Sure, I’ve already cleared Tuesday since I know that’s when you’re arriving. I’ll make sure I’m free all day and we can meet up.”
He had wanted to surprise Annika and had told her that he was coming back five days after the real date. Hence she had no idea that Vasko was already standing just outside.
“What about now?”
“How I wish!”
“Then would you mind coming to the entrance and seeing me now?”
Only then did Annika realise that she had not looked at the number before answering. Her heart began to beat faster. There was not enough oxygen in the air. She felt faint.
“Hang on. I'll be right there.”
Annika asked her colleague to hold the fort and ran out. The entrance was crowded and she could not see him. She stood there looking around, hoping Vasko would see her soon.
Someone put their hands on her eyes from behind. She immediately recognized his after-shave and warm hands. Annika smiled and turned around. Their eyes met. Two pairs of eyes sparkled.
There was a lot both wanted to tell each other but neither said a word. Instead, they just looked into each other’s eyes and smiled. It seemed as though they had been waiting for this meeting for ages. Annika felt as she had a long time ago, when she was an innocent teenager who had no idea what love was. The feeling was fresh and calm. In his eyes Annika forgot everything. Nothing mattered. She just wanted to keep hold of this moment and her sensations forever.
Annika had to finish her shift, so she took Vasko's hand and led him to the booth where she was working. He sat there quietly, content to watch her work. Annika felt his eyes on her and that made her feel nice and cosy. After some two hours she closed the door, turned the key and, leaving her work behind, they both went up to the old town. She took him to her favourite restaurant, which was in the garden of an old house. It was peaceful and warm there in the garden. It was precisely the kind of place they needed. They ordered some food and had no idea where to start.
“I missed you,” he said with a shy smile.
“I missed you too.” She seemed the calmer and more experienced of the two.
They held hands and enjoyed the peace and quiet. Annika told him all about her town, about the places she adored there, about the very few people she loved and about the patients she missed.
Vasko told her about England, about how much he liked it there, and about the fascinating world of stocks and shares and bonds and other financial instruments. She didn’t understand too much about the financial part but what she did realise was that it was Vasko's passion. His eyes lit up when he spoke to her about the stock market and about The City where he had had his internship.
“To be honest, if it weren’t for you, then most probably I’d have preferred to stay there,” Vasko said.
Annika felt rather guilty but happy about it as well. She knew full well that if there was one thing that could keep Vasko away from his passion, then that could only be an even stronger passion. Vasko’s statement made Annika realise how much she really meant to him.
Maybe it was his words, maybe it was the long wait, or maybe it was the restaurant and how happy she felt inside but, at that precise moment, Annika raised herself slightly, leaned over the table and kissed Vasko on the lips.
The poor fellow almost went into shock. It had been so sudden he barely seemed to comprehend what had just happened. Annika was already sitting back down on her chair and yet Vasko's eyes were still closed. He was so happy he thought he’d burst into tears. Thank God, though, he didn’t.
After they’d lingered over their dessert, Annika took him to her favourite place where she often went in the evenings – an ancient Greek amphitheatre. They sat on the warm old stones and together watched the sunset. He hugged her close to him, and felt as if he had his whole world in his arms. Both completely forgot about the time and stayed like that for hours. When they finally decided to leave, Vasko looked at his watch and turned pale and embarrassed.
“Shit,” he cursed in a low voice.
“What happened?” Annika asked in a worried voice.
“I’ve just missed the last train to the city and can’t afford a taxi...”
“No problem,” Annika smiled. She took his hand and they walked home.
Vasko was extremely shy and it was torture for him to meet her parents like that and stay in their apartment. What a first meeting! It felt completely impolite. But since there was no other choice, he just walked with Annika and hoped that her parents would not think badly of him.
When they reached the apartment, Annika rang the doorbell. She felt how tense Vasko had become, and squeezed his hand to cheer him up.
“Don't worry. Everything will be OK,” she smiled reassuringly.
“Thanks,” he answered.
Annika's mum opened the door and invited them in. She was a very warm woman, with a soft low voice. She was genuinely glad to see them.
“Come in,” she said with a smile.
They went through the apartment into the living room. Annika's father was sitting on the sofa watching the midnight news. He got up and shook hands with Vasko while Annika was introducing them to each other.
“Nice to meet you,” both men said.
Annika felt straightaway that they liked each other and was vastly relieved. Unfortunately her parents had never managed to accept Stefan and they were only too happy that she had broken up with him.
“Mum, Dad, Vasko lives in town. We missed his last train and now he's got nowhere to stay. Would you mind if he stayed with us tonight?”
“Of course not. We can't leave him on the street now, can we?” Mum smiled at dad, dad agreed with mum and the matter was closed.
“I really appreciate your hospitality,” said Vasko, blushing with embarrassment. He was not used to such a warm atmosphere in the family.
The next morning Annika's mum made a delicious breakfast and they refused to let Vasko leave until he had joined them in eating it. There was the relaxed atmosphere of a happy family breakfasting together and moving easily from one topic to another. Although they were mightily curious, Annika's mum and dad did not ask too many questions. Once breakfast was over, Annika took Vasko to the coach station.
“I really liked your parents,” Vasko said.
“They liked you a lot too,” Annika smiled at him.
“Thanks a lot for letting me stay last night.”
“You are welcome.” Annika hugged him tight. “I don't want you to leave.”
“I don't want to leave either,” Vasko replied.
“See you next weekend?”
“Most definitely, but this time it’s your turn to visit me.”
They shared a long good-bye kiss and then Vasko climbed aboard the bus. Annika watched him sitting behind the window. As the bus pulled away, she waved and only turned away to go once the bus had left.
For the first time in ages she knew that everything would be alright from then on in. It had to be. There was no way it couldn’t!
And that’s the official version of how Annika's second big love story started. She had a long-distance relationship with
Vasko. Everything was completely different from her first love-story relationship but still it was good. They both truly loved each other and hated the long-distance part. It was a roller-coaster ride. Each weekend either Annika visited Vasko or it was the other way around. They spent too much time in intercity buses and too much money on internet and long-distance phone calls. Needless to say, parting from each other was torture each time. In the bus station they looked like one more of the thousands of couples, who hug and kiss endlessly, using every last second until the bus goes. Every time they forgot that in a week they would meet again and said good bye as if it were the last time they’d see each other.
Both lived with their parents, so most of the weekend was spent out. They watched the stars in parks at night, danced in clubs till almost dawn and ate out. It was a weekend of celebration after which, tired and happy, they’d both start their busy weeks apart.
Astonishingly, sex was good too. Knowing
Vasko's shy nature Annika could never have imagined how passionate he could be in bed. In fact they made love anywhere but in bed. Having no place of their own added adrenaline to their sexual life. They made love almost everywhere they could – in parks, in building entrances, in elevators, in cinemas - even in club toilets. The risk of being caught added to the excitement and intensified their desire.
This time Annika's love was quieter and not soured with the bitterness of worry and pain. She was self-confident and, unlike last time, this time she was the one taking the lead. No longer was Annika cast in the role of a child to be spoon-fed, protected and taken care of as Stefan had done to begin with. She had become strong enough not only to take care of herself but also of Vasko. Annika was determined to make it work this time. That is why one day she woke up and made a decision for both of them.
After she’d had her breakfast she picked up the phone and called Vasko's number.
“Hi Annika, how are you my love?” Vasko asked.
“Fine, what about you?” she asked back.
“I am ok, but I miss you.”
“Actually that is why I am calling you. I know it is not a weekend but I am coming to see you this afternoon.”
“Hmm,” Vasko seemed puzzled. “OK, I will ask to leave work early and come and meet you. What time?”
“I’ll be there. Can't wait.” Vasko was truly happy.
Annika looked at the two suitcases she had packed the day before and wondered how Vasko would react. With the savings she had, Annika had found and rented a very small studio-flat in his city. She hoped that he would move in with her and that passionate partings and fucks in outlandish places would be a thing of the past.
When Annika got out of the bus, Vasko looked happy. They hugged and kissed. Vasko took her hand and thought they could leave straightaway. That was when Annika dropped her bombshell:
“Wait. We have to get my suitcases.”
Vasko looked puzzled. He helped her take the two small suitcases out of the luggage compartment of the bus. Each took one handle and pulled them in tow.
Vasko seemed confused, but did not want to ask anything. He was afraid to say the wrong thing and create an uncomfortable situation, so he decided to bide his time. Annika, on the other hand, looked very calm and balanced. It looked as if she wasn’t planning on explaining anything to him whatsoever.
They walked on until they reached the street outside the coach station and then Vasko stopped. He realised that he had absolutely no idea which way to turn, so he looked at Annika with a question in his eyes.
“Let's get a taxi, dear,” she said with a smile on her face.
Vasko obeyed. He raised his hand to hail a passing taxi and it stopped next to them. The sharp squeal of the brakes reminded Annika of her past and she jumped. Then she closed her eyes for a few seconds and told herself that this time everything would be different, better and nicer. They got in.
Annika gave the driver an address.
Vasko had no idea where it was. He tried to recall if they’d ever been there before, but nothing came to mind.
Annika could sense the tension in the air. Their silence was also unusual. Both were in anticipation of something important. The only difference was that Annika knew what the important thing was and Vasko did not. She was enjoying the game though.
When they reached the address of the unknown building, Vasko paid and they got out. Annika led him to the entrance and they went in and climbed up to the third floor. Annika took some keys out of her bag and opened a door. They went in.
It was a nice studio-flat. Very small but with lots of light, and cosy and clean. Annika had already arranged some things when she had last been there a few days before. She had brought curtains, photo frames and a few other little things which made apartments more homely. It felt as if had Annika been living there for a while already.
“What does it all mean?” Vasko finally asked.
“For a financial analyst you don’t seem too overly clever,” Annika chuckled with naughty sparkles in her eyes.
There were question marks in Vasko's look.
“I could not wait any more so I moved. Starting from today I am going to live here and, if you want to be with me, you’d better go home, pack your suitcases as fast as you can and move here too. I’ll get dinner ready while you’re doing it.”
Vasko was quite shocked but very, very happy.
“You are my treasure,” he said squeezing her in his arms.
They kissed. Thirty minutes later they already had official proof that their new couch was very comfortable for sexual activities.