The lodge was a long, narrow log cabin, tucked snugly up against the hill, the front windows facing the fields below. They came upon it from the rear, just off the kitchen, where the noises of pots clanging could be heard.
“I’m on cooking crew, I forgot!” Emily announced. “I have to fly, Gin. Go mingle. Grendel can introduce you later! Ta!”
Off she fluttered. Ginny had been left often enough by the absent minded Emily not to be concerned with being alone to fend for herself. Her natural shyness came upon her when she walked into the lodge. The building was full of dozens of busy people on ladders with hammers and banners. She chose a quiet bench by the fireplace and sat watching the noisy crew.
A young man detached himself from the fray and moved toward her. She recognized him from earlier when she and Emily had been on their way to the cabin to change. It was either Richelieu or D’Artagnan, the blond who had blushed. He smiled in greeting and recognition. He was dressed in leggings of hunter green, form fitting with a tie and flap in the front as befit the times. His white, ruffled shirt was just about, but not quite, long enough to conceal his hips. A very tasty looking leg and rear end were visible. She tried not to stare, but couldn’t help herself. He’d obviously considered the effect he would have on ladies and no doubt anticipated the stares. His blond hair was about shoulder length, soft curls tied back in a leather thong. A hint of a goatee fringed his chin. His blue eyes twinkled and he laughed at his own awkwardness with his ruffled shirt.
The neck of the shirt was cut in a low V, surrounded by three rows of ruffles. The sleeves ended with lots of ruffles too, and he seemed to be having trouble with it. Hopping off the ladder, he loped over to her bench. He was a little red in the face, the flush made him seem even more handsome. Ginny couldn’t help checking him out. Blushing herself, as he sat next to her on top of the table, his feet on the bench beside her, she forced a smile.
“Hi,” he grinned almost shyly. “We saw each other on the road earlier. I go by D’Artagnan, but my name is really Clai. Pleased to meet me?” He held out his hand, palm up.
“Hi,” she was so ashamed because she had been staring at him, her voice caught in her throat. “I’m Emily’s friend, Ginny. Well I’m Aelfwyn for the weekend. Pleased to meet me?” Her shy smile lit her face.
Clai took her hand, kissing it gently. His lips were soft, the golden hairs on his chin tickled her fingers. She felt a thrill run through her she had never felt before.
“Enchanté, mademoiselle.” His accent was quite good. He said something else in French that she didn’t understand, withdrew his hand, smiling a little forlornly. “You don’t speak French, do you?” At her negative reply, he sighed. “I keep trying. One day, maybe there will be another language major at one of these things, with whom I can communicate. Anyway, I’d rather speak to you in English, than anyone else in the room, but I have to help with the banners. These damn sleeves of mine keep getting in the way. Can you help set me free from my entrapment before I nail my sleeve to the wall? Being a Frenchman has its draw-backs.”
She blushed again as he held out his hand to her. She fumbled for a moment with the sleeve and managed to release the catch. The second was easier. She had difficulty concentrating on what she was doing, causing her fingers to fumble more. He didn’t seem to mind, so she worked slowly until it was open.
“Do you want the sleeves rolled up?”
“No, I was thinking more along the line of taking the whole wretched thing off, I just can’t manage the sleeves alone. Will you watch it for me? My sister made it, she’ll kill me if anything happens to it. She’s in costuming,” he added as if this explained everything. Removing his shirt, he carefully handed it to her. Their fingers brushing for a moment, a little shock sprang from his hand to hers. She took the shirt and folded it equally carefully, laying it in her lap.
His cologne rose from the shirt, the scent intoxicating. She wanted to press the shirt to her face, but didn’t dare with so many people around her. She watched the banner hanging with growing interest, not so much the process itself, but because of Clai’s rear end was so tight she could have bounced a quarter off it
© 2019 Dellani Oakes