Part 9: link
Arthur sends Gwen a text message Sunday evening. No calls today. Still alive.
Monday comes and goes. He calls her around lunchtime to hear her voice. She can tell he is squirreled away someplace private to avoid the inevitable teasing he surely would receive should the other guys hear him. He asks after her day, telling her that since it is raining, he’s been spending his dag playing video games. He tells her that he misses her. He attempted to make an egg belegd broodje, sandwich for himself that morning and he almost
got it. His egg got all stuck to the pan, and she informs him that he needs to put boter in first, laughing at how cute he must have looked trying to cook.
She gets another text from him Monday night. One call. Car fire. Could have peed it out.
She laughs at this, then her phone bleeps again. I love you.
Tuesday morning, she is getting anxious, knowing that she’ll be seeing him today. Merlin is taking Morgana out for avondeten, diner and “whatever” tonight, so she plans to cook Arthur avondeten, diner at her apartment. She hasn’t heard from him yet today, but as she didn’t hear from him until noon yesterday, she tries not to think about it. Silly girl,
she chides herself.
Shortly after ten o’clock, a man walks into the bibliotheek with a bloem delivery. Gwen is at the circulation desk, and he walks up to her, setting it down.
“I have a delivery for… Gwen Thomas?” he says, checking the order.
“That’s me,” she says, “thank you.”
“Good morning,” he says, turning to leave.
She smiles, looking at them. oranje Peruvian lilies and yellow and white Gerbera daisies. Anyone else would have sent roses,
she thinks, loving his originality. She finds the card and opens it. Don’t eat lunch. –A.
Grinning like an idiot, she takes the vase back to her office. She is intercepted door one of the college students working there for the summer.
“Who are those for?” she asks.
“Me,” Gwen says.
She stops. “Why is that so surprising, Vivian?”
“Oh. Um, it’s not. I guess I just didn’t realize u had a boyfriend.”
“Maybe I have a secret admirer,” she says cheekily.
“No.” She walks into her office, smiling, and puts them on her desk.
Twenty minuten past twelve, Arthur strolls into the library. He doesn’t see Gwen. Behind the bureau is a perky little blonde, all breasts and eyes, cute as a button. Exactly Arthur’s type. Exactly his type before he met Gwen, that is, and he looks past the blonde in hopes of catching a glimpse of her.
When he reaches the desk, she smiles sweetly at him and says, “Can I help you?”
“Yes, is Gwen available?” he asks her, barely even looking at her. His eyes are busy scanning the lobby for glimpses of Guinevere. Motion catches the corner of his eye and he looks, hoping that it’s Gwen, only to see yet another blonde, taller and meer athletic, saunter behind the counter and pick up some books, sorting.
“I’ll get her,” she says, disappointed, and vanishes into the little hallway leading to her office.
He smiles vaguely at the other girl, who smiles back and returns to what she’s doing.
“Gwen,” Vivian calls into her office.
“There is a totally hot guy out here asking for you.”
“Totally?” she looks up.
Gwen looks at her computer screen. She’s in the middle of an email, and sighs. “Tell him I’ll be out in a minute, I just need to finish this email.”
Back out front, Vivian sashays up to the mysterious stranger and tells him, “She’ll be out in a minute. She’s finishing an email. Oh, and she asked me to give u this.” She reaches under the desk, trying in vain to flash her cleavage at him, and gives him a form. It’s for a bibliotheek card.
Arthur takes it and laughs. “May I borrow a pen?”
Vivian hands him a pen and asks, “Is there anything... else I can do for you?”
“No, I’m fine, thanks,” he says, not looking up from his paper. She flounces away with a humph.
Gwen comes out from the back and Arthur looks up the instant she appears. He lights up as he watches her approach. The look in his eyes would melt iron.
“Hi,” she says, “thank u for the flowers. I love them.”
“You’re very welcome.” He frowns at the page and says, “Do I really need to fill this out?”
“Yes. You’ll be receiving no special treatment here,” she teases.
He leans in close and whispers, “I rather think I’ve already
received some special treatment here.”
Gwen blushes and laughs, and heads turn, as usual. “Just fill out the damn form.”
They are being watched with interest. Vivian mutters, “Elana, I don’t get it.”
“What don’t u get?”
“I’m much prettier than she is, but he looked right through me. And do u see
how he looks at her?
” She is pouting.
“Well, apparently she has something that u don’t.”
“And what is that?”
“Vivian, stop whining. u can’t get every man u see, u know.”
Gwen hands Arthur his freshly minted bibliotheek card, and turns to the girls. “I’m going to lunch. Be back in a bit.”
“Aren’t u going to introduce us?” Vivian asks.
Gwen tries not to roll her eyes. Vivian wears on her nerves and she cannot wait until the fall and she goes back to University.
“Arthur, this is Vivian and Elana,” she says, indicating who is who with her hand.
“Ladies, this is Arthur.”
“Hello,” he says.
“Did u send the flowers?” Vivian asks.
“Gwen got flowers?” Elana looks at Gwen.
“Yes, I sent the flowers. Nice to meet u both, but if u will excuse us, I am very hungry.” He turns to Gwen, “Shall we go?”
“Please,” she says, and walks around to the front of the desk. He puts his hand on the small of her back possessively and they walk toward the door.
The door slides open and an older gentleman walks slowly in, canvas bags laden with boeken in each hand. “Good afternoon, Gwen,” he says.
“Good afternoon, Dr. Gaius,” she antwoorden warmly, and stops walking. “Honestly, why do u always borrow meer boeken than u can carry?” She reaches for one of the bags.
“Here, let me,” Arthur steps up and takes both bags from him.
“Dr. Gaius, this is my friend, Arthur. Arthur, this is Henry Gaius. He comes in here at least once a week. I think he devours books.” She smiles at the old man.
Arthur sets one bag down and shakes his hand, “Nice to meet you, sir.” He then picks up the bags and carries them to the desk, swinging them up onto the counter as if they weighed very little. Vivian and Elana stare, mostly at his biceps, and he turns and walks back over to Gwen, putting his hand around her shoulders.
“Thank you, young man,” Gaius tells him.
“No problem at all,” Arthur replies.
“Now make sure u don’t take too many this time,” Gwen warns playfully, then squeezes his elbow gently in a friendly way as she and Arthur head out the door.
Gaius turns to watch them go, his face wearing a knowing smile.
“Nice ass,” Elana whispers to Vivian.
Once outside, Arthur turns to Gwen and asks, “Where would u like to go?”
“There’s a belegd broodje, sandwich koop up the straat a few blocks. We could walk.”
“Sounds good,” he says. He really wants to take her to the back zitplaats, stoel of his car, but he wasn’t lying when he zei he was hungry.
It is a very warm day, and Gwen peels her sweater off and ties it around her waist. She is wearing a sundress underneath, simple and long, flowing and lovely.
“Did u want to leave that back inside?” he asks.
“No, it’ll probably be cold in the restaurant.” She slips her hand into his and they walk up the sidewalk.
Gwen bites her lower lip. I really wants to kiss him,
she thinks, but not out here in front of the world.
Then she remembers that there is an empty storefront ahead, with a recessed doorway. As they approach it, she steps to the right, pulling him with her.
“What– oh!” Arthur is surprised at how strong she is as he is yanked sideways into a dark alcove.
Gwen drops his hand, brings her arms up around his neck and kisses him. He holds her, tongue plunging into her mouth as they kiss hungrily, the last 48 hours having felt like 48 years. He leans into her, dipping her, supporting her body with his arms as she molds her body to his.
Pulling away gently, he tells her, “I missed you, Guinevere.”
“I can tell,” she grins, pressing her hips against the evidence she feels between them. “I missed you, too.” She kisses him softly and nuzzles his nose with her own.
Once Arthur’s arousal has calmed down, they continue on to their lunch. Arthur has a roast beef sandwich, Gwen orders a club sandwich. Arthur carries their food back to a secluded tafel, tabel in the corner, where Gwen puts her sweater back on, much to his amusement. They sit close together, and Gwen intentionally rests her knee against his.
As they eat, Arthur realizes that although they are completely at ease with one another, they really don’t know many things about each other. So he looks at her and says, “Favorite color?”
“Red. Your turn.”
“Um, favoriete food?” Gwen asks, understanding the game.
G: pinda butter.
G: Yes. Now you.
G: I cook. And I like gardening, though I don’t have a garden of my own yet.
A: Well, sports, but u know that. I like to build things. I used to play the piano.
G: Used to?
A: No piano.
G: Too bad. Dogs of cats?
G: Dogs as well. Allergic to cats.
A: Hmm… what’s the most embarrassing song on your iPod?
G: Ooh, good one. Let me see… …oh. “Du” door David Hasselhoff.
A: (laughing in disbelief) Oh, now, that’s much
worse than mine.
G: What is yours?
A: “Sexyback” door Justin Timberlake.
G: That’s not so bad. I mean, unless you’re dancing around your flat with it blasting, blinds drawn.
G: u do!
A: Just the one time. And I was half in the bag at the time.
G: (laughing) Please don’t tell me this happened last week.
A: No! It was like three years ago. Just after a bad breakup.
G: Well, then I absolve you. What kind of muziek do u like, anyway?
A: I actually tend to prefer old punk music, u know, from like the late 1970s and early 80s. Sex Pistols, Wire, The Clash, u know?
G: Good stuff.
A: Some newer stuff is pretty good, too. I like Elbow. And the Beastie Boys. How about you?
G: I actually can’t answer my own question! I don’t have any one kind of muziek I like. A person could get whiplash listening to my iPod on shuffle.
A: So, David Hasselhoff, then?
G: Just the one song. And with him are Nine Inch Nails, Dolly Parton, Igor Stravinsky, Simon and Garfunkel, Metallica and Lionel Hampton. To name a few. And Justin Timberlake.
G: “What Goes Around Comes Around.”
Arthur guffaws at this, and pops the last bite of his belegd broodje, sandwich into his mouth. Gwen grabs his arm to look at his watch.
“Time to go?” he frowns.
“Almost. Are u pouting?”
“No.” He straightens his face out and reaches for one of her uneaten chips. She grabs it instead and feeds it to him.
As they walk back to the library, Gwen asks, “Will u come over for avondeten, diner tonight?”
“Of course. Your place?”
“He didn’t tell you? She and Merlin are going out tonight.”
Gwen laughs, amused door Arthur’s ire at his friend.
“What time?” he asks. They are outside the bibliotheek now. He turns and takes both her hands in his.
“I’m done at five tonight, so, six?”
“Six it is.”
“And none of that 45-minutes-early nonsense this time, either,” she grins at him. He pouts again.
“Morgana would still be there then, anyway.”
“I’d better get back in.”
“I know.” He looks down at her. Hell with it,
she thinks, and lifts up on tiptoes to receive his kiss, which is soft and loving. He pulls back, breaking contact, and says, “They’re watching us inside.”
“I know. I don’t care.” She kisses him one last time and turns towards the door.
“Six o’clock,” he says, holding on to her hand as she walks to the door. Once she can no longer reach, he releases it and watches her walk inside.
Part 11: link