My mother always clucked at me about going off half-cocked. I generally fall in love with an idea but don’t exactly think it all the way through, which explains many in my love life’s past. As I sat on the plane sipping as many mimosas as the stew could pour, it occurred to me I had neglected to leave instructions to have arrangements made on my behalf. I remember Liège as being large enough in which to get lost. Rémy and I had, in fact, gotten lost one particularly beer soaked evening, ending up as houseguests of a lovely Japanese couple who just happened to be expecting people from the consulate. I am not exactly sure how we convinced them we were those consulate folk or why the actual, expected guests never showed but for 14 years thereafter, I had a shipment of 2 Yabari King melons delivered every December 31st from Mme. Sofuieiji, our gracious hostess that fateful night, with a note that read, “for good luck in the new year” in kanji.
So there I was, in my cups, catapulting towards France, not enough time to make my connecting flight to Belgium, no idea where to go if I did make it and no clear ideas as to why I was going; I could hear my mother laughing from 1889.
By the time I landed at DeGualle, I had decided to give the whole thing up; everything was bound to go wrong and I wasn’t sure whom I should call to make bail when it did. I placed a call from the airport to J. as I knew she would agree I should come home, but she was at Hartfield for the afternoon doing embroidery with Emma Woodhouse. I was so stunned by this news I hung up without asking Grace to give J. the message. I rang up Supermom next but Logan answered and gave me a 13-minute description of some lizard he’d seen without taking a breath, which might have allowed me to ask to get his mother on the phone. As I was about to threaten a nine year old with a gypsy curse, I saw a glimpse of Persephone in the crowd moving along the corridor. I haven’t heard a shiver from Persephone in ages; I thought she had given up on me. I hung up on Logan mid-sentence and followed the gilded locks of my darling girl, never quite able to catch up to her, something always blocking me from reaching her shoulder. Finally the crowd thinned and I saw her standing with her back to me, only a stone’s throw away. I would have run to her but my threshold for melodramatic scenes in public is rather low, I merely hastened my step instead. I was within 10 feet of her when a large flight deplaned, the throng separating us once again. When they had passed through, she was gone and I found myself standing in front of the gate of my connecting flight, which was boarding. I figured at that point – why not? There isn’t an adventure yet that has gotten the better of Naomi de Plume. Since my presence in Liège was apparently compulsory, I settled in to my seat, rested my head on the seatback and swear I saw Persephone smiling at me from the large picture window as I taxied away from the gate. I wish my golden goddess had come with me; she may or may not have answers, but she would have made it a hell of a ride.
When I touched down in Brussels, I found a car to take me to Liège. I decided on a lovely inn far enough away from the city centre that I could hear myself think and few enough rooms that folks would mind their own business. I requested the largest suite, which had a wonderful view of the manicured gardens. Once settled, I removed Romeo’s scarf from my valise and hung it from the window, securing it with the fenestra; it waved gently like a flag of surrender. I retired to the plush bed and took nap with a small “n.”
That evening, my innkeeper hosts and I retired to the library for a cordial after a light supper. I knew people might possibly be looking for me but I thought lingering in such charming company as they hid in the bushes served them well enough. Eventually, I bid my hosts adieu and withdrew to my room. No sooner had I removed the top from the decanter than I heard something tap my second floor window – a light ping against the solid glass. I opened the sash enough for me to lean out, the scarf slipped its mooring and floated gently down into the waiting hands of Romeo.
“How bloody poetic, darling. Have you a sonnet for me?”
He laughed and bowed deeply, “I know how you like a theatrical entrance.”
“Mine darling, not others.”
“Some credit for setting the scene, surely?” He solicited.
My god but he is such a pathetic romantic.
He indicated with his index finger and disappeared around the front of the inn. He knocked softly on my door to which I inquired,”Yes, who is it please?”
He had the good sense to laugh.
I opened the door and used every ounce of strength not to gasp at his lovely visage. I allowed him to enter and offered him a scotch; manners over intrigue, Daddy always used to say. “You know, your pal Adonis tried to get me to Liège as well.”
“He was an absolute monster about my getting to see you first but it was my only condition.”
“He’s here?” I asked surprised, although I don’t know why.
“Of course.” Romeo answered.
“I thought you and Adonis were merely passing compatriots.”
Romeo snickered and took a pull from his whiskey. “Listen my love, Adonis will tell you what you need to know tomorrow. Let’s keep tonight just for us.”
“’What I need to know’ – that sounds… ominous.”
The bastard answered me with a kiss that uncurled my hair. Seeing as I had nothing better to do, I kissed him back.