Gollum is challenging us yet again by setting up another scenario! I love that she is showing us how to stimulate our creativity. By the way, this isn't a contest that anyone wins. What we do get is the satisfaction of seeing our creativity spring to life. I haven't exercised my story writing chops in a very long time, and I am finding this so much fun! So without further ado, here is part 2 of my story. Be sure to read part 1 in yesterday's post first!
After a rapturous week in Paris, I was off to my next European destination. While I was thrilled to be on my way to visit the Scottish Highlands, my heart was breaking to be leaving the City of Lights and Jean-Paul. He had accompanied me to the airport, both of us with heavy hearts. He held me close and each time I tried to walk away to get on the airplane, he would pull me back again, kissing my face, my mouth, and my hair. As the last boarding call was announced, I broke away from him. His hand grabbed mine, but I had to go. My hand slipped out of his, and I turned my back to board the plane. As I took my seat, I looked out the window to see him still there, his body pressed against the window in the waiting area. Tears were running down his cheeks. The plane moved forward with a lurch, and as it pulled away from the terminal, I watched as he waved goodbye and he mouthed my name, “Maggie!”
I tried to keep my composure, but inside, my soul was sobbing. I was not looking for romance when I came to Europe, but then it had happened so suddenly, and now it was over just as quickly. I would have to remind myself that this was just one of those vacation things and that it was time to move on.
Later that day, I reached my destination. My heart beat with excitement at my first view of the castle where I would be spending the week. It had always been my dream to visit Scotland and see the Highlands, and I was finally here. As I walked across the drawbridge to the castle, images of knights and ladies and ancient times came to mind. It was an era that I would have liked to visit, if even for a short time.
The room where I would be staying was far and above my expectations. It was too big to be called a bedroom! Antique furniture painted black filled the room. Ancient tapestries hung from the wall, a perfect match to the furniture with its black background. Soft carpet covered the floor and there was a fireplace that would have been perfect if the weather had been cooler. My favorite part of the room was the huge canopied bed with burgundy velvet curtains. It was the perfect place to snuggle in and feel warm, safe, and protected. It was a room made for romance, but as Jean-Paul was far away in Paris, my heart began to hurt yet again.
As the days passed, I sought healing in the highlands. I would venture off each morning to sit alone at the top of the mountains. The fresh air renewed me, and the views of the beautiful hills and majestic mountains brought a sense of peace to my soul. As I returned to the castle one afternoon, I heard the sound of bagpipes. How had I forgotten that there was a wedding to be held at the castle that day? The bride was beautiful, dressed all in white. The groom wore the traditional kilt and they both had the family tartan draped across their shoulders and chest. Though I wanted to feel happy for the newly joined couple, I mourned Jean-Paul’s absence.
All of the castle guests were invited to the wedding feast. The meal was sumptuous. The roast lamb melted in my mouth. There were fresh vegetables cooked in butter and herbs, and roasted red potatoes. The fresh berries with cream tasted especially sweet. The wine flowed freely, but I chose whiskey for the wedding toast. In the midst of all this happiness and gaiety, I wanted something that was biting and bitter to echo my sorrowful mood.
I couldn’t stand it any longer as this just made me pine for my lost love even more, so I wandered into the parlor. This was an exceptionally beautiful room with a beautiful antique rug atop the polished hardwood floor, weathered beams on the ceiling, wood furniture covered in leather and walls painted a warm clay color. I enjoyed the texture of the room, and I caressed the leather with my fingertips. The room was filled with 17th century art including sculptures and paintings. While the art would normally have cheered me, I couldn’t stop thinking of how I had met Jean-Paul while looking at the most famous painting in the world. Even though it was summer, I felt a chill in the air. The room grew dark, and I looked out to see that it was pouring rain. Through the window, I watched the lightning flash over the mountains. It was stunning in its beauty. As the dark sky filled with light, I saw a car pull up to the castle. I thought that it was probably just another wedding guest, but as I looked more closely, the figure that got out of the car looked strangely familiar. I recognized that dark hair, those pale blue eyes, and that rambling gate to his walk. I ran from the parlor and out the castle doors, crying, “Jean-Paul!”
There on the drawbridge, we embraced. Rain was pouring down upon us in sheets as we kissed. It mixed with the tears of joy that were pouring down our cheeks. I felt his hand at the back of my head and he pulled me into a long deep kiss. His lips were moist and tasted of cinnamon and cloves, and I recalled the similar way he had smelled the first time I noticed him. It seemed to me that beautiful art and bad weather had brought us together yet again.
I led him into the castle and into my room. He lit a fire to warm us as we were cold from the rain. Our wet clothes dripped onto the carpet and we removed all of our sodden garments, throwing them into the claw-footed tub. We stood there next to the bed, the light from the fireplace warming our skin and casting shadows upon our naked bodies. My happiness and desire was as alive as the flames that shot up from the logs. I pulled back the velvety covers of the bed and drew the curtains around it. Jean-Paul laid me back on the bed, his body covering the length of mine. Every part of me screamed for oneness and fulfillment.
“Maggie,” he murmured, “I’ll never let you go again!”