I woke Monday afternoon, tangled in my sheets, drenched in sweat.
After the weekend spent with Anatoly, and my customary hours with Madeleine on Sunday evening, I confess, I was exhausted.
The weariness lingered. It was cold here at the beginning of the week, and I responded with slippers and warm hot chocolate and as few trips out as possible.
And then Tuesday night, Jeremy arrived at my door jingling car keys.
“Pack an overnight bag, Bee,” he said.
“Where are we going?” I asked, letting him in. “And whose car have you stolen?”
“North,” he answered, opening the cabinet above my refrigerator and selecting three bottles of wine, while I stood in on the other side of the breakfast bar. “Go. Pack.”
“The car?” I asked again.
He set the bottles together, then opened the tall cabinet which functions as a pantry. He pulled out Carr’s crackers, some dried fruit, a bar of Swiss chocolate.
“You have any cheese?” He moved towards my refrigerator. “Some jam? Apples?”
“Jeremy, it’s seven-thirty on a Tuesday.”
“We’ll be hungry by the time we get there, and I’ve been dying to try these,” he said, gesturing to the bottles. It was then that he saw the velvet box. He looked at me. I flicked a pill from the arm of my sweater.
He opened the box and whistled–a low, even decrescendo. “The Russian’s gone home, then?”
“It’s hideous, but the stones will be beautiful when they’re reset.”
“Bee,” he said impatiently, snapping the box shut and taking out a canvas bag from a drawer near the pantry. “Go. Pack.”
I took the velvet box with me to my bedroom, locking it away. When I returned, my overnight bag in hand, Jeremy was sitting at my laptop, playing Angry Birds.
“Am I really the way you write me, Bee?” he asked, launching a yellow bird across the screen.
“Worse,” I said, kissing his forehead. “Now let’s go wherever you’re taking me.”