I opened the door. No one was there! I stuck my head out, glancing to the left and right. No one was on the walkway, either!
"Where'd that bag come from?" asked Eve.
"Bag?" I looked down. There was a large paper shopping bag at my feet, with its top folded to close it. I picked it up and brought it inside the room, sitting upon the bed next to Eve with the bag between us. "Let's find out what's in here," I said, unfolding it.
Inside the bag was a full bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, and three cold cans of Budweiser! There were also two white candles, both thick enough to stand without the aid of a candle-holder. And, finally, a hand-written note: "Now you got CANDLES, + YOU allready [sic] got a lighter! The drink's [sic] are on me. But tomorrow, hotshot, you start paying for the room!"
Eve and I broke out in smiles as I read the note aloud. "Art! That old sonofabitch!" I exclaimed, shaking my head.
"That sweet old sonofabitch, you mean," she said, correcting me. I blinked at her use of "sonofabitch," and we both laughed again.
Eve and I decided to share the wine -- "If I drink this whole bottle by myself I'll probably pass out!" she'd said -- and I lit the candles while she went to fetch two 6-ounce paper cups from the bathroom. I had her bring the three cans of beer with her, suggesting that she put them on the windowsill so they'd keep relatively cold until I decided to drink them.
After a while, I noticed that it seemed to be taking an awfully long time for Eve to come out of the bathroom. Eventually, after snapping off the room's overhead light, leaving the room lit by the candles which I'd placed on the room's sole bureau, I lay down on the bed to wait for her -- Oh, come on now, by this point you know how I meant that! -- and promptly dozed off.
A few minutes later, Eve's soft, sweet voice woke me by repeatedly calling my name. I opened my eyes and was immediately struck by the beauty of this charming young woman, looking even more lovely than usual -- if that were possible -- in the candlelight. She sat on the bed, not far from where I lay. Her hair was wrapped in a towel, and she wore only her bathrobe.
"Do you still want to have a glass of wine or two with me, Dan?"
If she had been anyone else, I would have assumed that her question, coupled with her attire, implied that there was more in store for me than she actually meant. But there was nothing inherently salacious about taking a shower at the end of one's day, which she obviously had...
Then and there, it occurred to me that I myself -- a morning shower person -- hadn't taken one since yesterday morning. Ew.
I practically jumped up from the bed. "My turn!"
"Your turn for what?"
"I'm probably coated with half the dirt in freakin' Iowa, and I need to wash it off, that's what!"
"Oh, okay. Well, watch out for my clothes, will you?"
"My clothes. I washed them. They're hanging on the shower rod."
"Oh. Okay. I'll be right out, doll."
"You might want to wash your own while you're in there," she remarked.
I immediately felt self-conscious. Only half-kiddingly, I asked "Hey, are you saying I stink?"
She smiled broadly and replied "Oh, no, of course not!" while comically pinching her nose shut with the thumb and index finger of her left hand.
So after I'd removed Eve's cream-colored blouse, dark brown skirt, tan panties, and brown pantyhose... from the shower rod, that is... I got myself clean, and then my next few minutes were spent washing my own clothes in the sink. I'd managed to fit all of our clothes on the rod before donning my own bathrobe and walking back into the main motel room. (And I couldn't help smiling at the absence of Eve's bra, realizing that it was still in my sister's Corvette!)
The first thing I noticed was that the room seemed darker than it had when I'd entered the bathroom, and then I realized why. I'd left the two candles on the bureau, and its full-sized mirror had reflected their light into the room. But Eve had moved the candles to a small table near the window. There were two small chairs on either side of the table. She sat in one of them, facing me expectantly.
"You smell better already!" she joked. "I can tell from way over here!"
"Very funny, doll," I said, as I walked to the table and seated myself across from her. "So, now what?"
"Now, Dan? Open the wine, pour us each a glass -- well, a cup, I should probably say -- and tell me how on earth a little glass bottle told you what song Art was going to play!"
I laughed as I opened the wine. "Oh! Heh. There's a story that the young Duane Allman was in bed with a bad cold while he was teaching himself to play guitar. His brother Gregg brought him a bottle of Coricidin to help fight the cold. Later, Gregg went back for another visit, and Duane had dumped the pills out and was using the bottle as a slide for playing blues guitar! Other guitarists have done it since, like Gary Rossington, and Rory Gallagher... and Art... but when I saw Art whip out that bottle, I knew there was a damned good chance he'd be playing an Allman Brothers tune!"
"That's fascinating... professor."
She smiled and nodded, sipped at her wine, then continued. "I don't really know much about music, except what I like, which is mainly gospel, and some classical. A little country, too, I suppose, but mainly where there's a gospel connection, like that Hank Williams song." She paused. "The first one," she added unnecessarily. "I recognized that one." She paused again and finished her first cup of wine. My first cup was already gone, and I'd refilled it. "But I'd never heard much of the blues until tonight. Art -- and you -- really impressed me."
"Thanks. You impress me, too, Eve."
She giggled impishly. "I didn't sing!"
"You didn't have to. I didn't mean that. I think you're an amazing woman, that's all."
"Oh, stop it, silly. Isn't it enough that you call me a 'doll,' and tell me I'm beautiful?"
"No, it's not enough." I said, draining my second cup of wine with a gulp. "I think you're incredibly charming, and pretty, and smart, and if you were my wife..."
"And if I were your wife...?" she said quietly, sipping at her wine.
I knew I'd ventured into potentially dangerous territory here, but pressed on, regardless. "Well, let's just say I wouldn't be wasting my time playing with my... computer."
She smiled, and her lips trembled before she decided to make light of my comment. "You'd be 'playing' with me, I take it... Woody?"
I laughed. "Well, that's not exactly what I meant to say..."
"But it is what you meant to... mean?" We both laughed at that. "Have another glass of wine, Evie!" she said to herself, aloud.
Eve and I continued talking. A lot of our talk was playful banter, some of it bordering on goofy, thanks to the wine... but it did get serious for a bit when I finally told her about my friend Kelly, and why I'd come to Iowa in the first place.
When I noticed that the Cabernet Sauvignon was more than half gone, I decided to switch to the three cans of Budweiser that were in the bathroom. Eve kept going with the wine.
Eventually, though, the alcohol was gone. All of it. Eve was giggly, and I was not only a bit drunk myself, but also rather proud that the evening's mix of wine, beer, and Canadian Club hadn't knocked me out or made me sick!
Eve looked at her empty cup with a childlike expression of disappointment on her adorable face. "Ohhhh, sugar!" she said. I chuckled in spite of myself. "No more wine."
"And no more beer, either. So, now what?"
"Do you feel like watching a movie on TV?"
"I don't know if I could even stay awake long enough to see the whole thing." I looked at her very seriously. "But if you'd let me, I'd really like to find out... if I could hold you, and cuddle with you, while we watch it."
Just as seriously, she sighed and said, "Oh, Dan, I'm really not sure that's such a good idea..."
"Okay!" I replied, a bit too cheerfully, perhaps, but I didn't want any tinges of guilt spoiling Eve's mood. "So, maybe we should go to bed? That is... you go to bed, and I go to... floor?" That was awkward, but we both knew what I meant.
She smiled and shook her head. "Dan, you don't have to sleep on the floor."
"I don't mind. At least there's a heater in this room, and..."
"Dan. Really. You behaved last night, and just because we've had a few drinks tonight, I doubt you'll act any differently."
"And I doubt you will either, doll." She smiled at the compliment.
"Okay, then," she said, rising a bit unsteadily. "Bedtime it is." I got up as well, as she walked toward me. Man, she looked gorgeous! Her hair was still damp, although she'd taken the towel off of it quite a while earlier, and those soft-looking legs of hers were just as shapely as they'd been on the previous evening, of course...
As she passed by me, I blew out the candles. I followed her closely -- very closely, not three inches away -- as she walked to her side of the bed. When she turned and noticed that I'd been right behind her, she looked up at me quizzically. "Dan! This is my side." She pointed toward the other side. "That's your side."
I nodded. "I know. I was just... walking you home."
She giggled. Actually, we both giggled. "Well, then I thank you for a delightful evening, sir."
"My pleasure, milady," I said...
And then I impulsively took her in my arms (for the very first time) and kissed her. It was a G-rated kiss, to be sure, but it was right on her soft, yielding lips, and it was warm, and it was absolutely wonderful.
It didn't last more than three or four seconds, and when it was done, I released her from the embrace and stepped back. I waited for Eve to slap me, or scream, or run from the room... but none of that happened.
I could just barely make her out in the darkness, but Eve was smiling at me. She didn't make a move toward me or away from me. But she was smiling. "Thank you, Dan," she whispered, almost as if I'd done her some sort of favor! Then she pointed at my side of the bed again. "Now, go home," she said, teasingly. "Or do I have to call you a taxi?"
I started walking to the other side of the bed, muttering "You can call me a taxi, but don't call me Shirley."
"Never mind." I got into bed, and lay on my back as I had the night before. She was under the covers, on my left, lying so close to me that I could feel the warmth of her. "Good night, Eve."
"Good night, Dan."
"I love you, doll."
"I... I'd forgotten about that."
"Yeah, well, I guess you can afford to," I said, somewhat sadly. She didn't ask how I'd meant that, and I didn't offer to tell her.
We both drifted off to sleep. I hope she slept more soundly than I did that night.