Eveline I

Three weeks. She had been staying in this city for three weeks now. She didn’t even speak the language properly, and now she was already thinking about leaving. Eveline walked through the rain in the direction of the subway. She still panted from the running she’d just done. It was unbelievable what had happened. How could he…

Three weeks ago, Eveline had moved to Stockholm. Not an easy decision for a girl in her early twenties and it took her long and hard thinking before love finally decided for her. About a year ago, she had fallen in love with a Swedish man while she was on vacation in Sweden. She then believed that love at first sight did exist! Patrick was still married at the time and they became friends, nothing more. Actually the friendship only started when Eveline had come home and found him on the Internet. She was studying to be a web designer and he was working in the same field. They started chatting, e-mailing and a lot of memories from the vacation came back. Eventually he came to visit her when he was in Holland for work. That week, they fell in love… for Patrick it was this fact that made the decision about his divorce final. Thebig age difference and the long distance gave them both a hard time. A lot of doubting, a lot of questions. Six months ago, Eveline had called Patrick at the office in the middle of the day. She told him that she had a job interview next week.

“A job interview? I didn’t know you were looking for another job!” he answered. She had recently finished her studies and got a job at the company where she had been working as a trainee for about three months.
“What kind of job is it?” he asked her.
“Design and development…” she said. She couldn’t wait to tell him the rest, but tried to keep it in as long as she could.
“Cool! Which company?” he wanted to know.
She was silent for a moment and then she said; “EMI Svenska AB.”
“Really?! Wow! I didn’t know they had an office in Holland…” Patrick answered.
“They don’t, silly,” Eveline laughed.
“Their main office is in Stockholm, you know that.” Now he was silent.
“What do you mean Ev?” he asked softly.
“That I’m coming over next week!” she screamed into the phone
“Only for two days. But you’d better start cleaning up your house because I might come back really soon…”

Apart from the job interview, Patrick and Eveline didn’t leave the house at all, the two days she was there. Eveline was sure she had never been so in love, and there was nothing that could beat this…

Of course Eveline got the job. She was a clever girl, ‘very skilled and enormously talented’, EMI’s personnell departement said in their letter. Time flew by and now she was working at the office for three weeks already. She got to know a lot of new people, became good friends with one of the secretaries that she met in the subway every day. And she got a real cool assignment on the second day already – she was asked to design the new official website for Roxette. She knew Roxette from the hits they had in Holland ages ago. After she got to know Patrick, she learned more about them because Patrick had always been very fond of Per Gessle’s former band Gyllene Tider. It was unbelievable, but in her second week in Sweden she already met the most famous Swede around. Per attended a meeting with EMI and Roxette’s management. He had a lot of ideas for the website and wanted to be involved.

Today had been a hectic day for Eveline. There were two meetings outside the office and she had also managed to work through the piles on her desk. Tonight there was some party at Marie Dimberg’s office and she even went there, for about half an hour, after work. She wanted to be home early because she had a dinner date with Patrick. Things between them were not running as smoothly as she had hoped. Probably very normal, she thought, because they had never spent more than a couple of days in each other’s presence… she got home around half past six and was surprised to see Patrick’s car parked in front of the house. So he did get home early! Perfect! Now they would definitely be able to leave on time.

When she walked into the house, she didn’t see him there. She called his name a few times. Nothing. Mmm. Probably taking a shower, she thought. She stood in the kitchen for about twenty minutes, reading through the newspaper that he’d left there. Suddenly she heard something upstairs… well it was time for her to go and get ready anyway. While climbing the stairs, a nasty feeling crept over her. The little hairs in her neck rose when she heard sounds coming from the bedroom. Without thinking, she opened the bedroom door and stepped inside. She found him. He was naked. There was a woman on top of him and she was naked too. The two on the bed were startled… they didn’t even stop, or cover themselves up. For what seemed an eternity, three people just stared at each other. Then Eveline leftwithout saying anything. She grabbed her bag and coat and walked out the door. When she was walking for a few minutes, she heard Patrick calling her name. He stood on the pavement in a bathrobe and shouted; “Eveline! Eveline! Come back! Please!” she looked back once and raised her hand at him. Then she broke into tears and started running.

When Eveline reached the subway station, she called the office to see if her friend and colleague Dina was still at work. There was no answer, so she tried her mobile. When Dina picked up, there was a lot of noise in the background.
“Hey Ev! I thought you were going out tonight!” Dina screamed into her phone. Eveline sighed deeply to back away the tears.
“I was, but something came up. I hope I am not bothering you, but can I spend the night at your place?” she asked with a trembling voice. Dina was silent for a moment.
“I see. So something serious came up then?” Eveline nodded, not realising this didn’t work over the phone. But Dina continued anyway.
“Ok, of course you can! No problem. I am still at the party, can you come over here and pick me up?”
Eveline took the subway into town, back to the office of D&D Management.

The place was busy but not crowded. A select group of Dimberg’s associates were invited to this party, of which Eveline didn’t even remember the reason. She walked right into the arms of the ‘leading lady’ of the evening when she entered the building.
“Hey Eveline! You’re back! I thought you were busy tonight?” Eveline sighed.
“I was but… ehm… well it got cancelled.” Dimberg didn’t even notice that Eveline said something, she got right to the point.
“There’s someone I want you to meet, come.” She took Eveline by the arm, pulling her to the room where the party was now well on its way.
“Paul! Over here!” Dimberg gestured a tall blonde guy to come over, at the same time giving Eveline a glass of wine. She introduced them but Eveline’s mind was blurry and she looked around the room, looking for Dina so that they could leave as soon as possible. She tried to follow Paul’s story. His Swedish was even worse than hers and she asked him to repeat it all in English. He seemed happy to do so – he was British. Even though her thoughts were very busy in a totally different world, Eveline understood what he meant and knew how to solve this programming-problem he was trying to explain. Her vision was still misty and Dina was nowhere to be found. On a couch in a lounge corner to her right, she saw Per Gessle talking to two boring looking guys his age.

Eveline’s mind kept wandering off all the time. She looked at Per while trying to listen to Paul’s story. That was very hard because this guy was unbelievably boring… Per felt he was being stared at and returned her gaze. She smiled with a sad and obviously annoyed face. Dimberg had left them to talk to some other guests. Per stood up and came their way, which caused Eveline to suddenly wake up a little. She gave Paul her card. “Send me an e-mail; I think I can fix the problem.” She said lamely.

“Hello there.” Per said, right beside her.
“You think I can spend some time with this young lady?” he grinned. Off went Paul.
“Hello and thank you for saving me…” Eveline said when Paul had left them alone. “I… couldn’t stand him.” she continued, now blushing.
“Ah! I thought you looked bored!” they stood there for a moment, being silent.
“Is something wrong?” Per then asked, carefully resting a hand on her shoulder. Eveline felt how a tear slowly slid down her cheek. She couldn’t see where they went but Per led her out of the room, into another.
“Hey you… what is it? What happened?” he asked with a sweet voice, softly squeezing her shoulder. Maybe he shouldn’t have been so nice to her because now she cried even harder. She leaned forward and put her face against chest. He was a little startled, hands floating in the air… but also touched by her tears and very curious what caused them. He wrapped an arm around her and rubbed her back a little. Eveline didn’t know how long she stood there crying like that but it suddenly stopped. She let go of him and stepped away, feeling very embarrassed.
“Oh… I’m sorry. I… shit. I feel really stupid now.” She stumbled. Per smiled.
“It’s ok, don’t worry. It’s only us in here,” he said. She sighed. Thank god, she thought.
“Now you want to know why I am crying?” she said without looking at him. Yes, of course he wanted some kind of explanation. She told him what she’d found at home. And that she’d only been here for a few weeks. And now this. And that she had no place to go and came here searching for Dina and then she had to talk to this stupid Paul-guy. Per felt bad for her but didn’t really know what to say. There was a knock on the door when he was about to tell her that. Dina’s face peeked inside.
“So there you are! Shall we go?” she said.

Per gave her a short hug when they stood in the hall.
“Good luck with… everything.” He said. She got a little shy from his hug and that sweet smile… the sweetest smile she had ever seen from him, actually.

* * *

Eveline walked through Stockholm. The wind was playing with her hair, it was a sunny day and she had been shopping. She started to love this city again.

She moved into her new apartment a few weeks ago. Living with Dina was a good temporary solution after Eveline had decided not to go back to Patrick. He kept calling her, making excuses. Even showed up at Dina’s place a few times. She tried to talk to him… but something was missing, some special feeling was gone and frankly she couldn’t even remember how it felt.

Work was great though. She really loved her job! The website she made for Roxette was a huge success and now she had joined the promotion team of EMI. Part of her job was thinking of ways to promote Roxette and other EMI-related artists, and then order companies to carry out these ideas. At the moment she was busy planning things around Roxette’s upcoming European concert tour. Someone had suggested to capture some parts of the tour on film, both the performances and backstage events, to make a documentary and eventually maybe even a DVD. During some meetings, Eveline had met Per again and also Marie. She was very impressed by this cool diva and loved working on the Roxette-assignment.

During a lunch meeting she had last week, Dimberg made a funny suggestion. She said that she found it hard to decide who should film Roxette backstage if they were going for the documentary-plan. Per and Marie had both emphasized the fact that they wanted it to be something special for the fans. With that, Eveline had started a poll on the website to see what the fans found interesting to see. Dimberg then suggested that someone on the inside should do the filming. Eveline thought it was a good idea to let them film everything themselves, together with the crew, spouses and band members. But then again, they would be too busy to think of it all the time. Then Dimberg said, why don’t you go with them on tour and then you can film them… Eveline was startled at this remark. Filming Roxette backstage on tour? Herself?!

Now walking through the city on a calm Saturday afternoon, she started to like the idea. She had some experience with filming and editing, as it had been a subject in school and she always loved it. It wasn’t something she had planned to make her job of, but this would be something very exciting. Wandering through the streets, she saw herself filming Per and Marie, getting ready in their dressing rooms… filming the fans waiting in line… band members joking around… yes!

Monday afternoon, she called Dimberg.
“I think I really like your idea of filming backstage!” she told her.
“Oh, that’s great! I spoke to Per this weekend, but we didn’t really discuss this topic. Be prepared for some chaos because some news is coming up.” Dimberg sounded tired and irritated.
“Oh-oh… what’s wrong? Something with Roxette?” Eveline asked worried.
“Well… not directly. But Per is not in good shape at the moment. He spent the weekend in Stockholm, which surprised me a lot because in the summer he likes to stay in Halmstad. But…” Here she hesitated.
“Promise me not to tell this to anyone!” Dimberg insisted. Of course Eveline agreed. “Well, I think there is a divorce coming up… and not a pretty one.” Eveline nearly dropped the phone. A divorce? Per and Åsa? That seemed almost impossible. They had been the most perfect couple in the Swedish showbiz for ages.
“Wow…” she could only say. Dimberg sighed.
“I think we must prepare for some heavy media-attention, not to mention the fans.” She came right down to business again. Eveline didn’t dare to ask more, this was of course a very private matter.

It didn’t take more than a few weeks, before Eveline got the message that the decision was final – Per and Åsa would get divorced. Per had been staying in Stockholm even longer than Dimberg had thought. They tried to keep it out of the press as long as they could. Dimberg was the only spokesperson and no one else was allowed to answer any questions. It took a very long time until Eveline got to see him again. A few weeks before the first show, she got a phone call from EMA Telstar who organised the tour. They set a date on which Eveline could come over to Globen to do an interview with Per and Marie which also would be filmed. Eveline was well prepared. She had the equipment, the questions and a head full of good advice from some professionals. After the interview, she would have lunch with Per, Marie and Dimberg to sort out more details about the tour.

Before she knew it, Eveline was enjoying a glass of wine with Sweden’s most loved celebrities. Lunch had become dinner when things ran late that afternoon. Of course Per didn’t show up at the agreed time, and then there were some technical difficulties at Globen. Eveline ended up spending the whole day at Globen without lunch. When it slowly started to get evening, they did the interview and afterwards Per invited the three ladies for dinner.

The Marie’s were caught up in some women’s talk when Eveline came back from the bathroom. The long day and the wine had taken away her nervousness around the two pop stars. She sat down at the table, next to Per because Dimberg had changed places and sat beside Marie now, busy talking and giggling.
“You’re back, great. I am feeling very left out!” Per said, trying to sound hurt but with a boyish grin hiding in his eyes.
“Oh… poor you! Women!” Eveline replied.
“Hey, I never got to ask you, how have you been? After…” Per started to ask but didn’t really know how to go on.
“After the crushing scene at the party you mean?” Eveline replied and giggled. “Gosh I still feel embarrassed… well I stayed at Dina’s place for a while. I didn’t want to go back to Patrick. It was over right there and then…” she spoke softly, looking at the glass in her hands.
“I thought back of that… silly thing at the party when I heard about you and Åsa. How are you coping?” she asked. Per sighed and the look on his face changed immediately and she felt sorry for asking.
“Sorry, I don’t mean to…”
“No, no problem, you can ask. It sucks. Well, I think you know it does…” he replied. Eveline nodded slowly, studying his face. The idea of them both being single and going on tour together made her feel funny in her stomach… oh stop! Silly thoughts! Go away! Now she couldn’t help but giggle.
“What?” asked Per, eyes slightly smiling again.
“Nothing, nothing… my mind plays tricks on me sometimes, that’s all.” Eveline said, still laughing a little. He looked at her while sipping his wine.

* * *

Eveline looked out the window. There were still people waiting outside, even though it was quite cold, late and dark. She sat in a hotel lobby in a German city, on a big soft sofa with her scrapbook. Sometimes it was hard to keep track and she found herself waking up and not knowing where she was. The touring-feeling, probably… it hadn’t been like this before. It was just that at the moment they were on the road for about a week. Since the beginning of the tour, she tried to keep a diary. It was hard to find time to write but moments like this were perfect. She had gone to the hotel just before the show ended. This way she avoided the rush at the venue and had some time to herself.

Eveline didn’t always stay at the same hotel as the band, but this week she was and it was very interesting to see this side of the story for once. She saw the fans waiting outside the hotel, the same faces she saw at the venue earlier. She noticed the employees of the hotel acting different when Per and Marie were somewhere nearby, and the obviously tight schedule they were keeping. Earlier this week, she had been filming Per and Marie while they arrived at their hotel with about thirty fans waiting outside.

Suddenly some noise was disturbing Eveline in her writing. The fans outside the front door were talking vividly and the group starting moving, closing in on the door. A big black double-decker buss slowly swayed through the street and stopped right at the front door. First there was silence. The fans waited, the buss showed no movement. Then a door opened and a few people came out; the tour manager and an assistant, some other people and then a bodyguard. He helped the band members with some bags and while doing so, he asked the fans to make some room. They didn’t say much, just stared at the buss and waited.

Finally, Per and Marie came out of the buss. They looked tired. Marie still wore her stage makeup. They quickly signed some things here and there while camera’s flashed around them. The bodyguard didn’t let them out of sight the whole time. He kept them together and stayed with them until they were inside. Eveline stood up from the couch and watched them go through the crowd and into the hotel, and then they walked away in the direction of the elevators quite fast. Another successful job was done.

“But it is getting better, right? Mhm. I see. Yes.” A voice in the otherwise silent lobby made Eveline look up again. The area where she was sitting was stretched over the whole front of the building with some cosy seats and a bar at the end. She sat close to the unattended bar. The waiter had wrapped up some time ago, leaving Eveline in the complete silence she needed so much. And now this voice was disturbing her and it came closer. She was annoyed first. Now that the noisy fans had left and no other guests were here, she was disturbed again. Maybe she’d better go to her room… and to bed. It was long after midnight already.

“Ok. Yes, of course I’m happy that you called. Mhm.” Only now, Eveline recognised Per’s voice. He was on the phone, probably assuming that he was alone here. She peeked around a big plant and spotted him a few meters away, walking in her direction slowly. When his face went up, their eyes met. She smiled and waved and he smiled back.
“Ok. Yes, I’ll do that. Let me know tomorrow how he’s doing, ok? Thanks. Yes, I have to go now, goodnight. Bye…”

“Hello… all alone?” he said as he approached her. She confirmed that. He looked down at the table and Eveline was a little bit ashamed… she had made quite a mess actually. There was a mobile phone, a tour-schedule, camcorder, two bottles of mineral water, some candy and loads of paper and notebooks scattered all over the table and the sofa.
“Ehm… yeah, I’ve made a mess, I know…” she said with a slight giggle in her voice.
“Yes, it looks as if you are very busy… am I disturbing you?” Per asked. He still stood a few meters away, hesitating.
“No! No, of course not, I was just about to finish up.” She lied. Per walked over and sat down on the chair closest to her.
“May I ask what you were doing?” he asked.
“Apart from making a huge mess you mean? Haha… yes you can… I was catching up on some… mmm paperwork. And my diary.” Eveline explained. When she said the thing about her diary, she blushed slightly. It might sound a little childish or something. But Per didn’t have that opinion at all.
“You are keeping a diary from the tour? That’s cool! I have been keeping a diary since… uhm well since forever, actually…” was his reply. An annoying beep sounded and both grabbed their mobile phones immediately. It was Per’s.
“Yes? Hello… aha… I see. Yes! Ok, thanks a lot for calling, I’ll talk to you tomorrow… yes… yes… ok goodnight… yes… bye…” Wow he was sure anxious to get rid of that phone call, Eveline thought. Per sighed.
“My son is having the flu very badly. So that was Åsa for about the tenth time tonight and…”

He was interrupted by another annoying beep. Eveline looked at his phone again but this time, it was hers. Quickly she picked up.
“Hello?” she said, and then continued the conversation in Dutch. It was her mother who couldn’t sleep and wanted to hear her voice for a moment.
“Oh really! Haha… yes. Yes everything is going very well. No… no absolutely not. I don’t miss him at all… no. No I don’t think so… Mum… mum I have to go now. No, I am not alone. Haha! Yes a man. Hihi… no you wouldn’t say that if… yes. No, I am sitting here with Per Gessle. Yes. Exactly.” She tried to end the conversation as quickly as possible and then looked at Per with rolling eyes.
“Sorry. That was my mother!” he laughed.
“Haha… sorry to say so but I kind of guessed that already.” He replied.
“She missed me, wanted to hear my voice, check if I am still alive… and when I said I couldn’t talk long because I was not alone, she wanted to know if I was with a man, and who this man might be, and… well and so on.” Eveline explained. She started to pick up her things from the table and stuffed them all in a big shoulder bag.
“And what did you say?” Per pushed to hear more. “That you picked up some guy after a night in the town?” he joked and tried to make her shy. Of course it worked perfectly. Eveline blushed and thought it was very stupid of her to giggle now, but she couldn’t help it.
“No… haha… I said your name and she said; is that the guy who sings… bla bla. Then she said some song-titles. And she said; ‘the guy with the big black hair’… haha! Sorry but I just said yes.” They laughed together and with that, Eveline stood up.
“I think it’s time to hit the pillow. We have a long drive tomorrow.” She spoke rather wise. Per saluted to that.
“Yes sir. Good idea.”

Eveline got a nervous feeling in her stomach. Why did she break this cosy moment now? Of course it was time to go to bed but it wouldn’t do her any harm to sit around and talk with Per for a moment… he seemed to be enjoying it. Standing in the elevator, she watched him. He looked a little tired and troubled, but still looked good. There was this kind of glow over him, a sort of radiation that she’d also spotted around Marie… probably the reason why the fans were so faithful. Appearance was not something Eveline spent a lot of time thinking about. But standing in the elevator with Per, she wished she’d wore something fancier… sexier even, than the simple jeans and warm pullover she was dressed in. Her own thoughts made her blush, of course right at the moment that he caught her stare.
“Mmm?” he looked at her in question.
“Nothing…” she said softly, the irritating giggle in her voice again. Then the elevator stopped.
“This is my floor,” she said and stepped out.
“Good night, see you tomorrow. Good luck with your son!” he held his thumb up and wished her ‘sleep tight’, with a bright smile… and a wink.

* * *

“Are they going?” Eveline nervously hopped from one foot to the other, camera bag and jacket in hand. She looked at her EMI colleague, face in question. Anneli hesitated.
“I think so. But Marie is going straight home. I’ll ask the boys what they want.” Then she disappeared behind the curtain gain. Eveline sighed. She was in for a party and she didn’t want to wait anymore! The first of the three Sweden-shows had been a huge success. She’d been able to film some of the show and a great meet and greet. Just before the show started and right after, she’d been talking to some fans. They told her there was an after party in the city tonight and a big group of fans was going to be there. Eveline immediately wrote down the details; this should be filmed! Anneli had told her that the guy who organised it, had also invited the band to come over and relax a bit in the VIP room of the pub; it was only a few doors away from the hotel… they weren’t sure though if the band was in for it; they hadn’t decided yet.

Backstage, the band was enjoying a well-deserved drink. Marie had locked herself inside her dressing room with her husband. She didn’t feel well and wanted to go home as soon as possible.

When Eveline arrived at the pub a bit later, there was a small queue at the door. She walked up to one of the guys standing at the door and explained who she was. Her crew-pass gave her access to the party and after a little talk, she was also allowed to film. First thing was to film some fans waiting in line and she talked with them about the concert, why they came to the party and what it meant to be a Roxette-fan.

In the pub, she got a drink on the house… mmm that crew-pass was not too bad! A lot of fans seemed to know who she was and soon word went around that the webmaster of Roxette’s official site was here and she was filming the fans. What they all didn’t know, was that Per and the band were on their way to the pub at that moment.

The atmosphere in the pub was great. They only played Roxette songs, the barkeepers were all wearing Roxette t-shirts and the fans were dancing and having fun. Eveline had found a good position from where she could see every movement at the entrance of the pub and still had a good view over the bar and the dancing fans. Suddenly she felt a change around her; some fans had noticed Per and some of the band members… and yes, there they were. They stood in the hallway, got rid of their coats and then looked around the pub very interested. Eveline’s camera was already rolling. She filmed the guys standing there and then zoomed out, filming the reactions of the people in the pub. It seemed as if the bodyguard wanted to take them to the VIP room in the back, but then all of a sudden they changed their minds and walked into the pub, right through a big group of fans. They made way and Per walked through a lane of people. The camera followed him, closely monitoring the reactions of the fans. Eveline felt the excitement and the adrenaline shoot through her; this was so much fun! The faces she saw around her were worth a million bucks, never in the world would they have expected Per to show up here.

Per and his security guy stood in a rather quiet corner at the end of the bar, near the emergency exit. The rest of the band members that had come along stood somewhere around them. Slowly, step by step, some fans dared to walk up and talk to them. Eveline zoomed in on Per’s face, more to see how he was doing than to actually film him. A barkeeper had just handed him a glass of wine and Per turned around, looking at the people around him and then he also discovered the camera. He waved and held his glass up. Eveline put her thumb in the air and smiled; he looked so sweet. Confident, but still a little alert and closely keeping an eye on everything that happened around him.

Eveline joined the guys a little later. She talked to Clarence and Jonas, with the camera tucked under her arm, when a girl came up to her and tapped her shoulder.
“Excuse me,” she said in English.
“Are you Eveline?” Eveline confirmed that.
“I know you because of the website, it looks great!” the girl said with a big smile.
“Can I ask you for a favor maybe?” she continued, looking serious now.
“And what might that be?” Eveline replied. They almost had to scream into each other’s ears because the music was so loud; it’s impossible to play ‘Real Sugar’ quietly…
“I want to have a picture of Per and me. But… well… I don’t know how to… ask him.” the girl said, hesitating a little. Eveline smiled at her.
“I’ll go with you! What’s your name?” Eveline said. The girl told her that her name was Marieke and she came from Holland. Now Eveline laughed out loud and switched to Dutch.
“Me too!” she said, and then; “Let’s go, I’ll introduce you to Per!”

The girls walked to Per and their timing was perfect. He was talking to the guy who organized the party and both were enjoying a drink. Per smiled at Eveline when he saw her approach.
“Hey there!” she said and took place next to him at the bar.
“Hey! You seem to be everywhere at the same time!” he replied.
“Do you like this party? Not too much attention?” she wanted to know. He laughed and shook his head.
“It’s very flattering; I am getting a bit embarrassed with hearing my own voice the whole time, haha!” they stood beside each other for a moment. When Eveline got pushed a little bit by people standing on her other side, her hip bumped into Per’s. She felt a tingle in her body and hoped he wouldn’t see her blush when she said sorry. He didn’t reply but instead lay a hand on her shoulder…
“Listen, do you see that girl in front of me?” Eveline asked him. Per nodded and looked deep into her eyes. She almost forgot what she wanted to say.
“Ehm…. Well… her name is Marieke, she comes from Holland and she would like to have a picture with you, but she didn’t dare to ask!” she said into his ear.
“So now I’m asking you.” she added with a giggle. The smile she got from him made her feel all warm inside… gosh it was hard to let go of the arm around her. Then Marieke got introduced to Per and Eveline took a picture of them. She noticed her hands were a bit shaky when she held the girl’s camera… was that the impact he had on her, she wondered?

It made Eveline quite proud when she saw Marieke talking to Per for a moment. First of all, she was proud of Marieke that she’d got rid of her shyness and took control of her nerves. Second, she was proud of the way Per and the other band members acted around her. She’d become ‘one of the guys’ without even noticing it. Now the tour was over in a few days and she already started to feel sorry!
“Eveline!” she kind of woke up from her daydream when someone called her name. It was Per, offering her a bottle of cider. She took a few steps in his direction and accepted gladly.
“The barkeeper remembered what you were drinking. What did you do to him?” he asked with a grin. Eveline laughed.
“Haha! Mmm I can’t remember anything special…” she replied.
“It was just you then.” Per said softly.
“Excuse me?” said Eveline. The music in the pub was quite loud and she thought she’d misheard him. He still spoke softly so she leaned to him to hear what he said.
“I said, it was just you then. You didn’t have to do anything special to the barkeeper to be remembered.” She looked at him when he said this. He was drunk. He had to be, she thought, if he was saying things like this. She didn’t have a clue what he meant with it but it sounded as if he was making a compliment…

Eveline went to the bathroom. Sitting on the toilet, she leaned back and closed her eyes for a moment. She was starting to feel the effect the alcohol had on her and it made her feel weary. The day had been long and busy and full of excitement… and then there was Per, of course. He popped up in her head more often and persistent than she actually wanted. Were the things he said intended to be flirtatious or was this just a friendly thing…? Washing her hands, she looked into the mirror. Stop! She wanted to shout. Stop thinking these silly things! There is no point in fantasizing about something that can never happen. Of course, dreams and fantasies are good to have. It’s funny to dream away and think of ‘what if…’ but also confusing, not to say annoying in this situation. “So stop it.” She whispered to her image in the mirror.

She walked back and found Per still on his spot at the bar, busy talking to some people. It was obvious they were fans. During this tour, Eveline noticed a certain kind of body language amongst the fans. She recognized them instantly, especially because the conversation they had with Per was in English. She carefully slipped between the people and headed towards the exit. There she got her coat and bags. One last time she looked around the pub and smiled. Dreams had come true here tonight, she thought…

Arriving at the hotel, she saw some familiar faces in the bar. A few band members, tour manager and assistants were enjoying a drink there and with them was Marie Dimberg.
“Ev!” she heard her name when she passed. It was Dimberg and Eveline walked up to the group. They seemed to be enjoying themselves, according to the wineglasses, empty chips-bowls and full ashtrays on the table.
“Hi Eveline, how was your day, dear?” asked a half-drunk Dimberg. Eveline sat down and let out a deep sigh. The people around her laughed; she was a funny sight with all these bags and clothes on her, sinking into one of the big leather Chesterfields. She smiled back at them.
“Well… it was busy. And long… but very satisfying actually. I thought it was a great show!” the last thing was addressed to the few band members among the small group.
“Did you go to the after party?” Dimberg wanted to know. Eveline nodded.
“Yes I did, it was great! All these stunned faces… on tape now!” she replied, patting the camera bag.

* * *

Eveline was a little bored. She sat on a table in the hallway backstage, fiddling with the fabric of her jeans. Everyone was busy, walking around and taking care of things. This was the most important show for the band. A lot of family, friends and colleagues had come to Globen to see this show and Eveline had sensed a certain nervousness among Per and Marie. She had filmed the meet and greet, and now she was waiting for the moment where the band would enter the stage. In Karlstad, she filmed the spinning lights and the intro, now she would film the same moment behind the scenes. But somehow it was taking ages before they came out. Eveline had been walking up and down the hallway a few times, wandering around in the backstage area. Usually she was only allowed here under supervision of the tour manager, an assistant or bodyguard. They wanted to keep the backstage area as quiet as possible, especially on an important show like this. Now she had been here for an hour already and nothing seemed to be happening. After the meet and greet, Per and Marie both went back to their dressing rooms. Dimberg was there too and she had told Eveline to wait in the hall. Per had been walking past a few times, going from room to room. He’d been talking to Marie, enjoyed a drink with the guys in the band room. It was quite some time ago that she saw him though, he hadn’t left his room more than half an hour. She looked at her watch again: a quarter to nine.

Dimberg came by again. She walked up to Per’s door, hesitated and then turned back and walked up to Eveline.
“Have you been here the whole time?” she asked. Eveline nodded. “And did you see Per?” Dimberg asked. Eveline got a funny feeling in her stomach… something was wrong, she saw it in the nervous movements Dimberg’s eyes made when she spoke.
“I haven’t seen him for about… half an hour I think. Is something wrong?” Eveline just had to ask. She was too curious and besides that, she’d been waiting long enough now.
“I’m afraid so,” said Dimberg.
“There is something going on between Per and Marie and it’s not good. They have been fighting since yesterday and they haven’t solved it yet… now Per doesn’t want to come out of his dressing room and Marie is playing innocent, saying she’s ready to go when he is. And we are already twenty minutes late! I can’t believe it.” Dimberg was rambling and she looked really annoyed and desperate. The tour manager came around the corner.
“And?” he asked, hopefully looking at Dimberg. She shook her head.
“Have you talked to them?” the man then asked.
“Yes, but he doesn’t come out, it’s just silly. I don’t know what’s going on and neither of them wants to tell me anything…” the three of them stood there for a moment, in silence.
“Is Per ready for the show?” Eveline said, looking from Dimberg to the tour manager and back.
“Yes I think so, apart from the fact that he’s not coming out of his room…” Dimberg hesitated, but the tour manager confirmed.
“Yeah, he’s been through make up and he was dressed and ready when I last spoke to him. Shall I give it another try?” Dimberg replied that she thought it was no use. She also asked Marie but she refused to go to Per.
“Both are so stubborn, they just refuse to give in.” Dimberg said.
“Can I try?” Eveline hoped her voice didn’t sound too shaky when she said that. Lately, especially since the evening in Karlstad, she hadn’t been thinking of anything else but Per and the talks they had. The other two looked at her as if she came from another planet. They were hot shots in the Swedish music industry, had been working with Per for ages and he wouldn’t listen. And then this foreign crew girl came around, thinking she could fix things?
“Oh why not. Be my guest.” Dimberg gestured towards the door. Eveline took off her belt with equipment, put down the camera and stood up from the table.

She pulled up her jeans and straightened her blouse when she walked to Per’s door. After a short knock, she opened the door and peeked inside. Per stood in the middle of the room with his mobile phone in his hands.
“Can I come in?” Eveline said. He looked up, just suddenly noticing her and frowned.
“Oh hi Eveline, yeah sure, come in.” his voice was a bit raw and his mind totally somewhere else. She closed the door behind her and stood against it, watching him. He was typing an sms, and then sent it.
“Who sent you?” he asked, not looking at her.
“They didn’t send me. They allowed me to give it a try.” In spite of the annoyed look on his face, he had to smile when she said that.
“And?” he asked, sitting down on the sofa in the middle of the room.
“And I just want to know if you are ok…” and she was worried about him. And she was thinking about how good he actually looked in that stage outfit. Mmm and she didn’t mind that he didn’t completely button up his shirt, either. But she didn’t say all those things. She kept silent, leaning against the door. He looked her way for a moment, his eyes absentmindedly wandering over her face, her neck, down to her blouse… she started to feel a little embarrassed under his stare and blushed a little bit… she hoped he didn’t notice anything…
“Well I could be better actually… there are a lot of things on my mind at the moment and I can’t…” he started but then stopped in mid sentence and sighed.

There was obviously something big troubling him and Eveline got sad about that. Her pity for him won over her nerves and she walked towards him, sitting down on the small table in front of him.
“Do you want to talk about it? I doubt that I can help but maybe it’s just good to get it off your chest.” She spoke softly. The eyes that looked back into hers were hurting. She had difficulty to suppress the urge of hugging him tight, pulling his face to her chest and console him as if he was a little boy that had hurt himself… now a smile broke through on his face, twinkle back into his eyes immediately.
“That’s very sweet of you. But… I’m afraid we don’t have time, do we?” his voice had gotten a bit softer now, without the raw edge of irritation that it had before.
“Ehm… well I don’t know how long a sold out Globen will wait for Roxette… but if you wanna test that?” she dared him with her eyes, pulling a funny face and speaking in a tone of conspiracy. Per laughed.
“Mmm… would be funny to try that once. But I think I will get into even more trouble after that.
“Is there anything that can’t wait until after the show? Or is the performance the problem maybe?” she tried one last time to find out what the hell was going on, but Per shook his head.
“No, the show is not the problem. And I guess you’re right, these things can wait… it’s kind of a safe feeling to know the problems will still be there after the show.” He joked it off now, breaking some tension.
“Ok. Let’s go then!” Eveline said and stood up, making her way to the door. He followed and a proud feeling of victory overwhelmed her… she held the door handle already but Per stopped her from opening the door.
“Just want to say thanks. I know I was being silly… but… well I guess I just needed the attention or something….” She smiled and looked up at him.
“Well I didn’t do much but…” he didn’t let her finish.
“Yes you did. Thanks.” Then out of the blue, a kiss landed on her cheek.
“Ok now I’m ready.” He added.
“O-Ok…” Eveline was startled, dazed, confused and walking on air when they entered the hallway. Dimberg and the tour manager still stood there and their mouths almost fell open when Per and Eveline came out of the room together.

Eveline walked straight to the table to get her gear. She smiled at Dimberg as if nothing had happened. Put the belt back on her waist, photo camera dangling from one shoulder, video camera up on the other. “Rock and roll!” she whispered when she passed Dimberg.

Now it was time to rock and roll, indeed. Eveline sank to the floor on one knee, a few meters away from the band room. She switched the camera on and filmed the empty hallway. The tour manager gave an ‘OK’ sign to the security, which was passed on to the technicians and within minutes, everything was happening at the same time. The stage lights started flashing, all other light dimmed and the intro was added a second later. The band members came out of the room and walked through the hallway, right into Eveline and her camera. They swirled around her, bending down to wave and make funny faces into the camera. When the last one passed her, she turned the camera upside down, via the ceiling to the other side and followed him. Next shot was an empty hall again. The audience got louder; the intro was almost to its end. She heard Per and Marie leave the room behind her in complete silence and she could feel the thickness of the atmosphere between them almost pressing onto her back. They passed her, each on one side and walked straight through the hall: perfect shot of their backs disappearing behind the curtain, accompanied by their bodyguard.

Eveline stopped recording, got up on her feet and ran after them. Behind the curtain it was a lot darker. She had to find her way through crew people, technicians, security and wires, trying to run to reach the side of the stage before Per and Marie did. She switched on the camera just in time to film Per getting up the stairs to the stage, a roadie handing his guitar. Marie still stood beside the stairs and Eveline zoomed in on her face. Another perfect shot of a deeply concentrated and focused Marie, loosening her shoulders and straightening her jacket. Just before she climbed the stairs, helped by the bodyguard with a flashlight, she looked into Eveline’s camera. Eveline put her thumb in the air and Marie winked right into the camera. Then she climbed up the stairs, the music started and she ran onto the stage just in time.

* * *

“So I think he will call you about that, in a few days.” Dimberg concluded. Eveline was speechless for a moment. Dimberg just told her that Per was going to call her about the documentary. Shit! Per was going to call her! “Ehm… very well… I am looking forward to that…” she stuttered. She could hear a giggle in Dimberg’s voice when she said;
“Maybe you can show him something already? You have the tapes, right?” Eveline hesitated.
“Yes… well some of them are still at the editor’s office but I have some as well…”

After that phone call, Eveline let out a deep sigh. Would he call her? And what was she supposed to say then? ‘Hey Per, want to come over to my house and see some tapes?’ That sounded really stupid actually. Another sigh.

A few days later
Friday, the best day of the week. Eveline and Dina took an extra long lunch break to celebrate Friday. Back at her desk, Eveline saw a pile of yellow notes… oops. Someone had tried to call her. Going through the notes, she saw that most of them were from Marie Dimberg. The receptionist always left one yellow note for each phone call, so Eveline guessed it had to be something important that Dimberg needed from her. Just when she was about to pick up the phone to call her back, it rang. She almost jumped up from her seat. It was the receptionist.
“Hi Ev! I think you’ve seen all the notes from Marie Dimberg? She wanted you to know that she is in the building today and wanted to have a word with you. She’s in a meeting now with Anneli and some others.” Aha. Marie Dimberg would come over to Eveline’s office after the meeting, so she prepared some things that she wanted to discuss.

Time went by quickly and suddenly it was already past three. Most of Eveline’s colleagues stopped working after three on Friday afternoon and she was soon the only one in the office.
“Good afternoon there!” a voice came from far away, breaking her concentration while reading some reports. She looked up and saw Dimberg approach.
“Hello! How are you!” she said and stood up to greet her.
“Fine, thanks. Totally exhausted though, that was a meeting from hell,” Dimberg replied.
“Listen, I’m sorry but I don’t have any more time to go over the details with you. But Per is with me, could you talk with him about the video-editing and stuff? He has a lot of questions that I can’t answer and somehow he is very determined to know some things!” Eveline laughed. So Per was being annoying, haha!
“Yeah, no problem… but where is he?” she asked. Dimberg looked around.
“Oh… he was with me a minute ago. Probably somewhere on the phone again…”

Indeed Per was on the phone. He stood in the deserted hallway which led to Eveline’s office.
“No, that’s not what I said… no! I didn’t mean it like that, it’s just…” he sighed. It made him so sad to fight with his ex-wife all the time. When did they become like this? He couldn’t remember. Suddenly he realized something between them had changed, and then it was too late.
“Listen, I have to go now. I am at the EMI office and I have another meeting. We will talk about this another time, ok?” with that, he hung up and walked into the office when Dimberg was just heading out to look for him.
“Oh! There you are. I really have to go, but you can talk to Eveline about the videos, ok?” she told him. He nodded. Dimberg looked at him. His jaw was a little tense, eyes hard.
“Is everything ok?” she asked softly. He didn’t say anything, instead of that just stared into her eyes and bit his lip. She rubbed his arm with her hand for a moment.
“Hang in there, ok? I’ll see you on Tuesday at the office. Call me if you want to.” And with a short hug, she left.

Per was absolutely not in the mood for anything at all at the moment, especially no business meetings anymore. That was exactly what Åsa was fighting him about… so somewhat reluctant he walked up to Eveline’s desk. Of course she noticed him approaching and stood up from her chair, holding out her hand.
“Hello Per, how have you been.” She said softly. Gosh she was shy; she could barely hear her own voice. Shit! Why was she acting so stupid! A million things went through her head at that moment, while Per took her hand in his and then pulled her just a little bit closer for a simple, friendly hug. Very Swedish, she didn’t realize. She felt like she was floating when their bodies made contact for a second… she smelt some faint perfume, or aftershave, which lost some of its power during the day and was now mixed with Per’s own body scent…
“I’m fine, thanks. You?” he answered politely. His voice sounded flat and low. He was not fine at all and he was trying to hide it, in which he failed terribly.

There was a short silence. Eveline sat down on her chair again and offered him one.
“Uhm… Marie (D) said you had some questions about the progress of the documentary. I can tell you a little bit about it, if you want?” she started. He nodded,
“Yes, that would be great. I am a real documentary-freak… actually I want to see everything, every image that was shot. It was only you filming, wasn’t it?” Eveline smiled. At least she had his attention now. Her heart rate went back to normal and she was able to think again. She moved around some papers on her desk while explaining him what the rest of the process looked like. Her part, the filming, was finished. But that was only the beginning, the tip of the iceberg. The editing took quite some time. At the moment, the editors had watched all the footage she’d made. They had chosen the best parts and wrote a storyboard. She looked at him and he looked a little lost and bored. She doubted if he was even listening.
“Eveline… listen, I would love to talk more about this, but there is something I have to do first. Can I meet you somewhere later?” he stood up while saying this.
“Well… eh… maybe we can meet at the pub a little later?” with this she meant a pub in town where she’d been with him and Dimberg a few times before.
“Yes, perfect. I’ll see you in an hour!” he said and off he went. He left her speechless, sitting in her chair, staring at him walking out of the office.

It took a few minutes before she came back. Shit. What a strange meeting that was. First of all, she was shocked by the way she had responded to him… she’d expected what she called her ‘tour-crush’ to be a temporary thing. Just because they had so much fun, because things went to smooth… because when you are traveling, it’s so easy to get close to each other, and so on. Then second, his condition made her feel sad. He looked pale and tired, mind totally off, uninterested.

Eveline rushed to clean up her desk and then left the office. She ate a sandwich in the subway on her way to the pub. When she got there, she was about five minutes early. Perfect. It was not very busy in the pub, just a few people here and there, enjoying a drink after working-hours. She took place at the bar and ordered a glass of water. She never expected him to be on time, she knew his ways by now. Though a few minutes later, he stood beside her.
“Hi Eveline” he said. She turned around and looked at him, then glanced at the clock. His face changed to triumph.
“Yes, I made it in time. Thanks to the taxi-driver, I must say haha! But don’t get used to it, it’s a one-time thing I’m afraid.” With that, he sat down on the stool next to her.

It turned out to be a pleasant late afternoon, with talks sounding like “do you remember when”, bringing up great memories from the tour.

It was almost six o’clock when Eveline finally checked the time. The pub had gotten busier and she was a little bit annoyed by the noise and people watching them from time to time. Per saw her looking at her watch.
“Is it time to go?” he asked carefully. He was really enjoying himself and that had been a while. He was reluctant to give up this nice moment now.
“Mmm well, I don’t have to go but I am a little bit fed up with his bar…” she answered, and then hesitated. She looked into his eyes for what seemed ages, before she spoke again. He stared back as if it was all he could do.
“Would you… like to… see some tapes? I have a lot of editing material at my house and… eh well, I could show you some…” she thought she saw something light up in his eyes, but she didn’t dare to make any conclusions. It was really a very innocent proposal she made, she really wanted to leave the pub and show him the tapes…
“That sounds good actually; I’ve had it with this place too. It’s getting too busy… what about dinner?” he replied. She didn’t answer that until they were outside.
“Dinner… we could eat something here but there isn’t any interesting place nearby, I think… but! I do have a lasagna prepared at home…?” hesitation in her soft voice again. Per thought it was very sweet how she stood there, stuttering and blushing, trying to invite him for dinner. A cab arrived and waited along the sidewalk. He hadn’t replied yet, just opened the door of the cab and invited her to get in.

Arriving at her house, Eveline had most of her nerves under control. Per didn’t seem to flirt with her on purpose, even though his looks in her direction were sometimes unbearable. She invited him into her cosy home in one of Stockholm’s more luxury suburbs. The house was indeed something she was proud of, as she found it quite fast and decorated it entirely on her own. After some chit-chat on the couch, she poured them both some light white wine and played one of the edited videos for him while she disappeared into the kitchen to prepare dinner.

Eveline quickly finished the lasagna and set the table nice and simple. When she went to the living room to tell him dinner was ready, he was laughing out loud in front of the television.
“Hey! What’s so funny?” she asked and joined him on the couch.
“Oh… hahaha… I never realized you filmed this… hahaha…” he couldn’t stop laughing, watching his self and the band members doing some strange act in the hallway, for about the third time.

They ate at the large kitchen table.
“Mmm… this is delicious Eveline. I didn’t know you were such a good cook!” Per said with a huge smile on his face. Eveline grinned widely. It was lovely to sit there with him, being able to talk about all the things she had always wanted to bring up. It was so normal to be around him, so much more than before the tour. She was truly proud of herself, for not acting like a silly fool. After all, there was some special feeling somewhere inside her… something that felt like being in love. She wasn’t sure though. It hadn’t been long ago since she got seriously hurt and the harder she tried to forget it, the more she got reminded. When she looked at Per, she felt like smiling and got all warm inside. If he looked back at her, her heart skipped a beat and she just had to look away, afraid of blushing… now that told her a lot…

Further into the evening, she became a little bolder. Maybe it was the wine, maybe it was the natural way he acted around her. They made fun of the tapes, each other and colleagues until it became silly. Then there was an uncomfortable silence. Per went to the toilet and Eveline thought of something to do or say. She stood up and put up some music. A slow ballad filled the room. Per came back into the room and smiled, hearing the music and see her move to it slowly, standing in the middle of the room with her back towards him. He felt an urge coming up from deep inside. An urge to hold her, hug her… dance with her… she felt his presence and suddenly turned around. Then she held out her hand, inviting him to dance with her. He walked up to her and took her hand in his, held it to his chest. His other arm slid around her back. She looked at him first, a strange look in her eyes. But then she lay her head against his chest.

They danced slowly for what seemed ages. He felt her sigh and kissed her hair, just acting out what he felt like doing… she looked up and gazed into his eyes. This was a magic moment and both knew it. Neither of them wanted to break it, so they kept on dancing and looking into each other’s eyes. Eveline felt the tension build up. She wanted to kiss him, just needed to. Otherwise she would surely suffocate, she just knew it. The tension was too strong.
“Per?” she whispered.
“Mmm…” he answered, his eyes completely lost in hers.
“Are you going to kiss me?” she said it very softly but he had no problem hearing her.
“Do you want that?” he replied. Eveline rolled her eyes. His hands let go of her, only to cup her face. He stroked her cheeks gently, then leaned down… and his lips touched hers. It was just touching, nipping, more a caress than a kiss… Eveline wrapped her arms around his neck and found his mouth again, this time giving him a real kiss, soft and slow. Per felt a faint tingle in his stomach. She made him feel funny and he giggled, he couldn’t help it.
“Hey! I am trying to be romantic here!” she said and punched his belly softly.
“Mmm…Hihi… ok.” he answered. Again, he cupped his hands around her face and kissed her. He pressed her lips against hers, and again, and again. Eveline opened her mouth a little to take one of his lips between her own, at the same time pulling him closer. Their tongues met and played games, explored each other’s mouths. Eveline felt like her feet had left the floor and she was now floating…

Per let go of her mouth and looked at her.
“You do things to me…” he whispered. Eveline bit her lip and blushed. She didn’t know what to say, so in reply, she slid her hands down his back to squeeze his ass, pulling his hips to her. She pushed him, started walking to the couch while kissing him over and over again. She loved his soft lips and the wonderful smell of his skin… she had wanted him this close for a long time.

She pushed him on the couch and crawled over him, lay on top of him and more kissing followed. His hands were stroking her back and her hair and he sighed.

* * *

Eveline took a few deep breaths. Unbelievable. In the middle of an ordinary day, the computer network in the building broke down. Her computer froze and then screamed it lost contact with the network. Ooooh shit. She’d just finished a very important report of a project… quickly she managed to save her work on her local disk. A few minutes later, the phone rang. She picked up with an annoyed “Yes?”
“Hello Eveline?” It was her colleague Lasse. He worked a few floors up, in the management office.
“Hi Lasse… sorry. I am very annoyed. I hate computers.” She sighed. Lasse laughed, she knew he was not really into computers and did everything he could to avoid using them.
“I was wondering if you’d finished the report already?” he continued.
“Yes I have! I saved it just in time.” She answered. She leaned back, closed her eyes and rubbed them carefully with her fingers. She knew what the next thing would be…
“Ah, good… ok. Can I ask a favor?” his voice seemed to sound a little bit softer with this.
“I’ll print it and bring it up to you dear, no problem.” Eveline answered with a giggle in her voice. There wasn’t much else she could do, now with the network not working.

A little later, she was upstairs. She handed the report, printed and nicely bonded, to Lasse who was sitting in his office-with-a-view.
“Ah. Thanks! You’re a darling!” he said with a wide smile.
“Very welcome!” she answered with an equally friendly smile. Even though they never worked on the same floor, she had been in contact with him quite a lot when she just started here. He was Dina’s superior and used to tease Eveline with her Swedish all the time in her first two months.
“Sit down for a moment. How have you been?” he asked her very casually.
“Ah… has Dina been talking?” she asked with a suspicious look on her face. Lasse couldn’t help it, his defense broke into pieces.
“Oh honey, I’m sorry. She just had to get it off her chest and…” Eveline sighed.
“Well and I can’t stand it when one of my girls is having a hard time.” He went on. He wasn’t her superior but Lasse considered all girls in the firm ‘his girls’. Him being very gay probably added to the fact that they all let him, and even adored him for it.

“What did she tell you? I’m fine!” she stubbornly denied his implications. He smiled and sighed.
“Darling… I heard about your date. And I honestly think…”
“That I shouldn’t, yes I know but…” she interrupted him.
“Shhhh…. Let me finish Ev,” he said, fatherly look on his face.
“I think indeed that you shouldn’t, but I have a very good reason. I know you don’t want to hear it, and you’ll probably be in love in some way. But this man is going to hurt you, I can tell you that. And you should let go of him while you still can.” He paused and Eveline took the opportunity to break his speech.
“Lasse, listen. I really appreciate your concern, but I don’t need to be mothered over. Dina is doing a great deal of that already. And besides, nothing has happened.” With that, she stood up. He looked at her, eyes questioning.
“Ohhhh…. Ok. Well yes, we kissed. But that was all.” She said and felt her face redden.
“Ahaaa. And you do like him.” Lasse concluded. She sighed.
“We’ll see what happens. I don’t know when I’ll see him again, actually.”

“Something else. I was wondering… are you planning to go to the party this Saturday?” he asked her. Eveline’s mind raced. Party? What party? Gosh, EMI was always throwing so many parties everywhere, she couldn’t keep up.
“Which one?” she asked rather sheepishly. A celebration of some sort, with lots of famous people, everyone is invited, some posh bar in town, bla bla bla….
“Ah I know what you mean… mmm I don’t know… don’t think so.” She slowly said.
“Are you sure? He’s probably there too you know. And I thought, maybe we could go together?” with this question, he tilted his head to one side a bit. He almost looked like a puppy begging to be taken for a walk… of course impossible to refuse.
“Haha… well ok, it could be funny to go to a party with you once. Then I finally get my turn with the tabloids, I guess!” she said with a grin and a wink.
“Indeed my love,” he giggled.

They set a date for next Saturday. First they would go out to dinner and then head to the party. Even though she hadn’t been looking forward to go to a party, it made Eveline feel good to have plans for the weekend. At least she wouldn’t be waiting by the phone anymore, she thought, frantically checking her answering machine when she got home. He hadn’t called. Not that she expected him to… or actually she did. Shit why didn’t he call… she sure as hell wasn’t going to call him. She was scared to death, what if he would pick up the phone!! Haha. She laughed out loud over her own thoughts… silly young girl in love. He had asked her to give him some time… It had been almost three weeks and still no word from him.

That evening at her house, he had broken up the kissing and hugging on the couch quite suddenly and said he thought it was better if he left. She said she wanted him to stay, but he was sure it was better not to. He really liked her, but he needed some time… a few kisses at the door, and that was it. He was gone. She had been recalling those scenes numerous times a day ever since and it was nearly driving her crazy.

* * *

The Saturday evening with Lasse was great fun. He took her to a posh restaurant, where they absolutely didn’t fit in their casual outfits. Eveline had decided that afternoon she needed some shopping to make her feel better. Now she was wearing a dark blue jeans skirt, black tights and boots and a black, glittery top. The whole thing was completed with a small leather jacket that she had for ages but never wore… it was a bit “too much”, but perfect for a party like this, where nothing is ever too much.

They entered the pub walking over the traditional ‘red carpet’. Of course, the press was there, and they took pictures of Eveline and Lasse too. A lot of familiar faces inside. A lot of celebrities that Eveline had never met before. Lasse introduced her here and there and soon, she was hanging around with the Swedish celebs as if she had always been doing that. After a while, they caught each other at the bar and he ordered them some drinks.
“Having fun?” he asked her. Eveline smiled and nodded. She was having fun, dancing with well-known strangers and all. But something was missing.
“But?” Lasse sensed it. Eveline shrugged, and then glanced into Lasse’s eyes.
“He’s always late, you know that.” he whispered softly and then winked at her.

Lasse was right. It wasn’t until almost midnight, that Per came to the party. He hadn’t expected Eveline to be there but she was the first thing he saw when he reached the bar. He was with Dimberg and they were in a very deep conversation. He allowed himself to glance at Eveline a few times, who was talking to Lasse and hadn’t spotted him yet.

Per was feeling very bad and it showed on his face. He had been thinking about her a lot in the past weeks, but never picked up the phone to call her. He’d even been at the EMI office but didn’t go to her. The nervous feeling inside his stomach when he saw her now, made him feel sick. ‘I am a horrible person,’ went through his head. That evening at her place, he had seen something in her eyes that had scared him. Something very beautiful, very true and it had taken his breath away… she was in love with him, that had to be it. The moment he realised that, he had to get out of her house, had to take some distance. He sighed and leaned against the bar. He completely lost all interest for Dimberg’s words.

Though Eveline wasn’t stupid, either. She felt she was being stared at, just hadn’t detected where it was coming from. Their eyes met suddenly, her heart jumped and she gasped.
“What?” said Lasse, in the middle of a sentence.
“N-Nothing… nothing. Go on.” She replied. She looked at Lasse for a moment, then quickly back to Per. He was talking to Dimberg now and not looking anymore. Shit, she thought, why is he not coming my way…?

Later when she looked again, he wasn’t there anymore. Lasse was pulling her to the dance floor so she put the thoughts of Per on hold for a moment. A loud, fast disco beat guided them over the dance floor and they had a lot of fun. Lasse was a good dancer actually and Eveline drank enough to just be crazy and dance. She and Lasse were dancing back to back, and she stared right into Per’s face; he stood at the bar again. She kept dancing and looking, and this time, he didn’t turn away but looked back the whole time. He smiled when she smiled and looked away for a second when the staring held on for too long.

The dance was over. Lasse and Eveline hugged each other on the dance floor and she whispered at him.
“Look at the bar.” Lasse did and sighed.
“Ok. I’ll leave you for a moment, you go to him.” she looked at him.
“You don’t mind?” she asked. Lasse shook his head in reply.
“Nah it’s ok. I can’t keep you from him anyway, can I?” he winked and walked away.

“Hey there…” she said to Per and hugged him. The first thing that hit her was that he smelled good. Mmm… made her mind wander off to that evening at her house right away…
“How have you been?” she asked just to say something. He shrugged.
“Busy. And stuff. But ok. You?” she answered the same and then they were silent.
“Have you…”
“I think I…” they spoke at the same time and laughed.
“Sorry. You go first.” Per said.
“Oh… n-no… you go first…” Eveline said, suddenly shy about what she’d wanted to say.
“Sure? Ok. I want to talk to you. Shall we go outside?” he asked with a sweet smile.

Walking outside, Eveline felt strange. She tried to talk about normal things, while her stomach was acting weird and she was slightly shaking…

They reached one of Stockholm’s many large bridges, which gave a beautiful view over the city. Eveline halted and sighed.
“I love this city so much… look…” she said softly. Per nodded in agreement and smiled. They stood side by side, leaning on the railing. Just as Eveline became worried about the silence and that she didn’t know what to say, Per spoke.
“I think we have to talk… about what happened… last time…” he hesitated but his voice was firm; he’d been thinking about this for a long time. He didn’t look at her, just stared at the dark water beneath them. Eveline took a deep breath, said; “Ok…” and waited.
“I feel I have to apologize… I mean, I didn’t want anything like that to happen…” Per stated in the same firm, rather cold tone. She stopped breathing for a moment. This was not what she wanted to hear. There was a sharp pain in her stomach.
“So. I don’t want you to think that… that I’m always… like that or anything, I’m not. It was just the wine I think.” as if somebody stabbed her, that was how Eveline felt.
“I-I see.” She stumbled, barely audible. He looked at her now for the first time since they stood there. His face showed no expression, his eyes seemed hard and emotionless.
“I understand. I have to go now.” She said and before he could answer, she turned her back to him. He didn’t see the tears that ran down her cheeks when she walked away. She didn’t see the pain that now surfaced in his eyes and the way he bit his lip, pushing away the urge to call her name…

* * *

A week later
“Come on Ev, it’s time to go!” Dina leaned against Eveline’s desk. She had her coat on, bag packed, ready to go. Eveline was still typing and her desk was full of papers. She didn’t answer.
“Ev…” Dina tried again. Now Eveline looked up.
“What’s the time?” she asked. Dina checked her watch.
“Six!! You are working until six on a Friday night, that’s crazy, come oooon!” Eveline sighed.
“I’m not ready yet.” Dina became very impatient now and stamped her feet on the floor.
“Yes you are. I say so. You have to get out the office some time. You have to go home, if you want it or not…”

Dina hit a sensitive subject there. Eveline didn’t want to go home. She wanted to stay and work all night, until she was too tired to think and fell asleep. That’s what she had been doing the whole week. Her face looked a little pale and there were dark marks under her eyes, even though she tried to cover it all up with make up. She looked like shit. She still didn’t get up though, so Dina decided to take some action. She started to pile up the papers on Eveline’s desk and stored it away on the shelves behind her. The pens, stapler, tape and other things went right into the top-drawer.
“Now you’re ready.” Dina stated proudly. Eveline only sighed. She started to shut down the computer and when it was done, Dina had her coat ready.
“You’re right,” said Eveline softly. “I don’t want to go home.” Dina nodded.
“Of course. I know.” She only said. Eveline bit her lip and backed away the tears that she didn’t want to show.

The girls left the building and head for the subway.
“Weekend! Yippee!” Dina shouted when they were outside. The weather was great, it was still a bit cold but the sky was clear blue and the sun had been shining all day.
“Do you have any plans for tonight? Shall we go out?” Dina suggested. Eveline shrugged.
“I don’t know… no… I am not in the mood.” She answered. Dina shook her head.
“Wrong answer Ev, sorry, you didn’t win anything. Listen. You are miserable and I understand that you are. Men are pigs. I’ll go home with you and cook you some nice dinner, we talk about how stupid men are and then we’ll go into town to tease them. How does that sound?” she tried again. A slight smile seemed to break through on Eveline’s face and she giggled softly.
“Hihi… ok. I don’t know about the going-out-thing yet, but you are very welcome to cook for me!”

After dinner, they enjoyed a cup of tea on the couch in front of the TV. They weren’t really watching anything but very busy talking.
“Have you ever seen Patrick again?” Dina asked. Eveline shook her head.
“No, thank god I haven’t. He emailed me but I never replied… I have no idea how he’s doing actually.”
“Do you want to know?” Eveline chuckled.
“No, actually not, haha!”

There was a silence and both girls sighed, which made them laugh again. It didn’t take long before they changed from tea to something stronger. They talked and talked. It had been a while since they had so much time to talk to each other. They talked about everything, silly, funny, gossip… and men, of course.
“Maybe I shouldn’t say this but I never expected Per… mmm to do something like this. I don’t really understand.” Dina mused out loud. Eveline’s face got sad again. Per… it seemed ages since she saw him, but it was only a week ago. Or not even a week, actually. They didn’t have any contact since the party last Saturday, when he told her he was sorry for kissing her. It had been a horrible weekend, horrible week, horrible life… Eveline was devastated and didn’t know what to do with herself. She did her best not to show it to anyone, as Dina and Lasse were the only people who knew that she was in love with him and what had happened. He wasn’t exactly ‘just a guy’ and she couldn’t tell everybody that she kissed Per Gessle…

It became even worse. The weather was great, everybody was acting happy. Eveline stayed miserable for a long time. She spent a lot of time working. Work went so fast and so well, that she had no trouble blocking out ‘The Subject’, as Dina started to call it. Eveline got a major shock when Per’s name suddenly popped op in her mailbox at work… she stared at the message for a few minutes before opening it… it was business, as usual. She got a copy of a message he sent to Dimberg, about the upcoming release of the DVD. Dimberg and Eveline had been in close contact about that lately and a date was already set for the release. Nothing big, no party, but a lot of promotional visits for Per and Marie were coming up. Eveline was expected to join them on some visits, to keep track of the reception of the DVD and ask them questions which would be used for the website. Thinking of things like this made her sick with nerves. Even thoughts of seeing him, made her want to crawl under the bed and never come out…

Dina complained that Eveline had become a very boring friend. She was determined to get Eveline into a better mood and kept suggesting fun things to do. Eventually, Eveline gave in… they went to the cinema, the theatre and to pubs and Eveline was surprised to find out it wasn’t so hard anymore not to think about ‘him’ all the time. She was actually enjoying herself; her heartache seemed to get less.

* * *

“My oh my… Eveline!” Dina gasped when she saw Eveline at the subway station one morning. They always met each other there and then walked to work together.
“What’s going on, is it a special day today?” she asked. Eveline grinned and nodded. She was wearing a suit; a wine-red jacket and skirt, with a cream-coloured blouse. Black stockings, high heels and subtle silver jewellery completed her look. She looked very good and she knew it! The size of the suit was so perfect; it felt like the clothes were hugging her body, making her feel very pretty…
“So! Tell me!” Dina begged while they stepped into the subway.
“I have meeting today. At Dimberg’s.” Eveline said, looking mysterious. “Oh shit! Oh-oh! Don’t tell me, HE is going to be there?!” Dina said, pretending to be shocked.
“Hihi… yeah well I expect him to be…” Eveline replied.
“Oh girl, you are a bad woman….” Dina replied, shaking her head.

The fact that Eveline did her best to look good today, wasn’t only to show off, like Dina implied. She was also very nervous about this meeting… she wasn’t even sure if he was going to be there. But if he was, she needed to feel confident and good about herself. The best way to make yourself feel like that is to look good… this suit was nothing new, she had worn it before, but never matched the jacket and the skirt together. She always thought it would make her look too cold and ‘business-like’. Besides, she’d always thought the skirt was too short to wear to work…

The morning was rather stressful and Eveline was happy when she could get away from her desk for lunch. She went outside alone, enjoyed the sun and bought a sandwich. She would leave the office in about an hour and then head for the meeting.

Back at the office, there were some yellow notes on her desk. Someone called her during her break. She sat down and went through the notes. Two from Dimberg… and three… from Per. Eveline stared at the notes for a while, the neat handwriting of her colleague that had answered the phone; ‘Call back – urgent: Per Gessle, mobile’. She leaned back in her chair. Her mind was blank and she stared at the screen of her computer without seeing anything. A few minutes passed away like that. She couldn’t decide what to do. Why did he call? Wasn’t he coming to the meeting? Why would he call her then? She sighed and picked up the phone, dialled Dimberg’s number and waited. It took a long time until there was an answer; it was Marie’s secretary.
“You just missed her; she’s out for a late lunch. Shall I ask her to call you when she gets back?” the secretary said.
“No… no that’s ok; I’ll see her this afternoon anyway. Unless she called to cancel the meeting, that is…?” no, the meeting was not going to be cancelled, the secretary was sure of that.

Ok… Eveline searched in her mailbox and found an old email from Per, in which he stated his mobile number. She dialled the number, her heart beating annoyingly loud.
“Hello?” there was his voice.
“Hi Per, it’s Eveline. You called me?” she tried to sound as self-confident as possible, as if everything was fine. Of course, everything was fine. What could be wrong? It wasn’t strange that she was talking to Per on the phone. They worked together; they had a meeting later that day. Nothing special. Then why were her hands sweaty, legs shaking and heart racing…?!
“Oh hi… hold on!” he said, and she heard some sounds in the background; he walked away from something noisy.
“Hello Eveline. Sorry, I am in a restaurant…” Ah. Dimberg, lunch, Per, restaurant… of course.
“Ok… well ehm… there were some messages on my desk saying I had to call you back. So here I am.” Mmm her voice sounded rather firm, she thought. She was doing better than she had expected.
“Yes, thanks for calling. You are coming to the meeting this afternoon, right?” she confirmed that.
“Ok… Well, I thought I’d call you, because it’s been a while since we last met and… ehm well it was a rather… strange way that we parted… so…” Strange?! What’s this thing with strange?! You dumped me, that’s what happened! Eveline thought… instead of that, she said; “Yes…” in an expecting tone, waiting for the rest.
“I’m at the meeting too, I just wanted you to know that. I hope you are not… angry…?” only his voice made Eveline’s mind fill up with thoughts about him… memories, images… them together on tour, having fun, enjoying a drink at some party, then the dinner at her house… kissing him…
“Yes, sorry. Yes. Ehm. No I am not angry with you… not anymore…” she said, serious but with a smile in her voice.
“Ok… so we are ok then?” gosh he sounded so hesitant, she wasn’t used to him like this. It made her feel in control of the situation and that felt good.
“Yes, of course. No problem, I’ll see you this afternoon!” she replied, as flat as she could and ended the conversation with that.

She didn’t know how she did it, but somehow Eveline managed to prepare for the meeting. She arrived at Dimberg’s office a little early, to go over some things with her first. They sat on the couch in Dimberg’s big office, enjoying a cup of coffee. They went through some subjects that would be discussed later, until Dimberg suddenly changed the subject.

“You look better, I must say.” Eveline looked up from the pile of papers on her lap.
“You look better,” Dimberg repeated.
“Better than the last time I saw you. What has changed?” Eveline didn’t know what to say… could she tell Dimberg what happened… or did she already know? She looked at her for a moment, and then said;
“Thank you… yeah I feel better than… well than I have been, lately…” silence.
“Do you know?” Eveline asked, searching for something in Dimberg’s eyes. Dimberg smiled.
“There isn’t much Per can hide from me, Eveline. So yes, I know… he told me.” It seemed strange to Eveline that Dimberg smiled so brightly when she said this, as if everything was perfectly fine…
“What exactly did he say?” she wanted to know. Now it was Dimberg’s turn to look surprised.
“Ehm… well he said that there was something going on between you two… and frankly, I wasn’t surprised at all. I don’t want to sound smart but I think I saw it coming a mile ahead already…” the women shared an understanding look; they were both talking about something different. Related, but different. Eveline told what had happened at her place and later at the party, quickly and simple. Dimberg’s eyebrows seemed to rise higher with every word.
“What? He rejected you?” Eveline nodded,
“Well that was how it felt… so I decided to… back off, sort of.” Dimberg looked lost in thoughts.

Then there was a short knock on the door, and it opened. Per peeked into the room. Eveline’s heart skipped a beat and she hoped the other two didn’t notice… oh and she hoped she wouldn’t turn red, please, not now…
“Hello ladies… just saying hi…” they both said hi back.
“We’re just about to wrap things up Per; we’ll be out in a moment.” Dimberg said, meaning ‘go away we are busy gossiping’. When he left, she turned to Eveline again.
“Listen to me Eveline. I hated to see the state you were in the passed weeks. Per said to me, that nothing had happened between you because neither of you were ready for it. I understand why he told me that, because I can be rather… mmm, I have a very strong opinion and I am not too shy to tell him what I think!” Eveline giggled. Dimberg was acting motherly over Per, haha!
“I have known Per for such a long time, I think I know him good enough to tell you this. I think he’s crazy about you.” Dimberg continued, and then waited for Eveline’s reaction. Eveline had difficulty not to let her mouth fall open when she heard that.
“But he said…” she tried, but Dimberg wasn’t finished yet.
“I know he said that, you told me. But I don’t believe him! I see something in his eyes when he’s around you. Maybe it’s because he’s had such a hard time with the divorce and all… he’s so, so insecure. I have seen a totally different Per since he and Åsa broke up.” With this, she looked sad. She truly cared about him and it was obvious that she was worried.
“So, any good advice then?” Eveline said with a smile and a wink.
“Hehe… well if I were you, I wouldn’t give up… ask him out! Try to convince him that you are indeed the best thing that can happen to him… oh well I don’t think I have to tell you that, haha!”

They came out of the room laughing and headed for the meeting room, where Per and some of the other associates were already waiting and drinking coffee. Marie and Eveline were the last to join them. “Sorry for keeping you, we had some things to discuss first.” Dimberg stated. They all shook hands and then sat down. Eveline sat beside Dimberg, opposite from Per. Oh great. Now she had to look at him all the time…

The conversation with Dimberg had cheered her up a bit, but was also immensely confusing. Shit, did he really like her then, after all…? Concentrate on the meeting girl, she told herself. Show them how good you are, show him what great work you have done… she caught his stare and their eyes met. Both smiled, rather shyly and looked away. Geez, this is silly, Eveline thought.

The meeting was long and fruitful, though Eveline couldn’t wait for it to be over so that she could go back to her own, safe office. Afterwards, she was talking for a while to the guy who was in charge of the technical staff, and the editing of the DVD. When he left, she stood in the hallway and saw Per standing there. He was just ending a phone call. She waited until he’d hung up, and then approached him, as he was about to leave.
“Per?” he turned around and looked at her.
“Hey!” he said, and came her way. Now they stood there in the hallway together, alone. Eveline felt weird and nervous, a well-known feeling teasing her stomach. By now it was clear that he still meant a lot to her, she even dared to think that she was still in love with him…
“How have you been?” she started ‘making conversation’.
“Ok, ok. You?” he asked back, looking into her eyes. Oh shit… his big brown eyes were still as seductive as ever, she thought and felt her knees weaken.
“Oh Per, there you are!” Horror! Someone disturbed them!! It was Dimberg, coming up behind them. She was on the phone and she needed to speak with Per. He followed her into her room and waved goodbye to Eveline. She sighed. Well that was it then. A great first conversation, ahem…

Outside, it was raining. Eveline cursed loudly; she hadn’t brought an umbrella and now she had to walk to the subway station through the rain…

Already across the street, she heard something…
“Eveline!” there it was again. She looked around and saw Per, running over to her with an umbrella in his hand.
“Hi!” he said, a little bit out of breath.
“Hello!” she replied laughing.
“If you came to make sure I’ll get to the subway without getting wet, you’re too late!”
“Yes I see that… stupid sun is hiding again, eh…” he said. They stood under the umbrella together.
“Are you going back to the office?” he asked. She didn’t have any smart answer in reply so just nodded.
“I missed you…” Eveline shocked herself with saying this, Per reddened slightly.
“Oh… ehm… yeah… I missed you too.” He replied, avoiding her eyes. On the other side of the street, a car stopped in front of Dimberg’s building.
“That’s my taxi, I have to go.” Per said.
“Ok. I’ll see you again soon, ok?” Eveline said. Shit, her legs were shaking again.
“Yes… mail me!” he smiled at her and then left, running to the car.

Eveline did mail him, that same evening when she got home. She wrote that she was happy that they met again after all these weeks, and that she considered everything said and done. This was not entirely true, but she had decided to leave it at that for the moment. If he wasn’t interested in her, she shouldn’t push and maybe loose a good friendship… and if he was, well… time would tell…

She got a reply already the next day, in which Per wrote he was also relieved that everything had worked out in the end. More than a week later, after many more e-mails, they met each other again. The good weather had made Dimberg decide it was time for some socialising… truth was of course she was in a party-mood, thought Eveline. It was good to catch up on some contacts though, so she decided to go when the email from Dimberg’s office came in, and she would take Dina with her. Friday-afternoon-barbeque! That was a good idea! The invited people were welcomed for food and drinks after five.

The Friday of the party, the weather had been terrible all day… but when Dina and Eveline arrived at Dimberg’s building, where the barbeque would be held on the roof, the sun had started shining and the sky was blue. Both girls quickly found their sunglasses and got rid of their jackets; this was what they had been waiting for! Summer was finally on her way.

* * *

“Aaaah… this is the life,” Dina stated happily. She leaned backwards in her chair, enjoying the sun on her face.
“Indeed it is… oh I have waited so long for this kind of weather!” Eveline agreed. She stood next to Dina’s chair and handed her a cold drink. “
Oh-oh. Look who’s invited!” Eveline said laughing. Dina sat up in her chair. A new and successful Swedish singer made his appearance on the roof, looking gorgeous as ever. Dina was crazy about his CD, and of course his looks…
“Yaaay!” she commented.
“See, that’s the best thing of being an EMI-chick. You get to meet all sorts of good-looking guys, hehe…” Dina grinned and sat up in her chair to take a closer look. His name was Andreas and he was about the same age as Dina. He looked very good in fashionable ‘old’ looking jeans, a t-shirt and leather jacket.
“Dina, be careful. Don’t drool.” Eveline whispered into her friend’s ear.
“Hihi… sorry. I can’t help it… just look at him…!” was Dina’s reply.
“I bet he’s gay, he looks too good.” Eveline said. Dina’s mouth fell open.
“No!! How can you say that! Of course not, that would be… that would be a crime…” Eveline laughed out loud.

The girls stayed together, amazed by the amount of celebrities at this party.
“I wonder if Dimberg invited any ‘normal’ people…” Dina whispered, when yet another famous couple entered the roof. Eveline chuckled,
“Yes, I almost feel out of place haha…”

“Now this is very interesting.” Dina suddenly stated. Eveline looked up from her plate. They had found a nice place in the sun to enjoy their meal, accompanied by some of Dimberg’s colleagues.
“What?” Eveline said, trying to get her mind back from miles away. She had been dreaming away about summer… beach… south-Sweden… Per…
“Look at Andreas!” Dina hissed. And Eveline did. Andreas stood quite far away from them, all the way on the other side and he was talking to some people… a man came up to him, hugged him shortly and then both of them laughed. It looked as if they were very close friends. The other man was Per!
“Ahaa… very interesting…” Eveline answered. She quickly wiped her mouth and hands, finished her glass of wine and stood up, taking Dina’s hand.
“Where are we going…?”
“You are going to meet Andreas.” Eveline’s voice sounded firm. She was cool. Per’s presence didn’t make her as nervous as before and she didn’t have any problem going to him and greeting him with a warm hug.
“Hello there…” he said a little startled. “Hey Per, great to see you! You know my friend Dina?” Eveline said.
“Yes, hi Dina! This is Andreas, we’ve known each other for quite a while. Even before he found out he can sing!” Per said. Both girls shook hands with Andreas. Dina was a little hesitant at first but managed to say hello and introduce herself.

“I am looking forward to the release of the DVD!” Eveline said to Per. They stood at one of the tables together, sipping wine. Per was eating a salad and some meat from the barbeque.
“Me too,” said Per and continued; “must be exciting for you, since you filmed it!” Eveline sighed.
“Yeah… oh it will bring back some great memories, I’m sure. Can’t wait to hear the reactions of the fans, especially of those who appear on it, hihi…” They were silent for a moment. Eveline hummed to the music that was being played and looked around her.
“Do you like peaches?” Per said, and then laughed because the expression on Eveline’s face was very funny.
“Excuse me?! Haha! Why?” Per giggled.
“Have you tasted this salad? I think there are peaches in it,” he explained. She looked down at his plate. It looked like a mixture of coloured food, impossible to determine what it was.
“I don’t see any peaches…” she said slowly. He held his fork in front of her mouth.
“Try it. Delicious.” She looked at him as if he was stupid and laughed, but then opened her mouth. It was indeed delicious, but the situation was so funny she couldn’t stop laughing.

“Hey girl! Having fun?” she heard behind her and then received a slap on her but. Dina wrapped an arm around her friend.
“Hey silly. Yes I am, I am tasting a delicious salad,” Eveline said with her mouth full.
“What’s this with you touching my ass?” she added.
“Hihi… sorry. I couldn’t resist, it’s the jeans you are wearing…” Dina said with a wink. The girls were wearing the exact same jeans, which they’d bought together. Per looked at them, his face saying ‘you are crazy’ and they laughed.
“And?” Eveline asked.
“And what?” Dina answered with an innocent look on her face. Eveline just looked at her expectantly.
“I think you are right…” Dina said, followed by a sigh, pretending to be sad. Eveline laughed out loud.
“See! I told you! What happened?!” she demanded to know.
“Well nothing, I don’t know… but maybe you are right… hihi.” Her friend said.
“What’s going on girls, don’t be so mysterious!” Per interfered. The girls shared an understanding look.
“Mmm. Maybe you can help us.” Eveline started. She moved around the table, closer to Per until their arms touched. She laid her hand on his arm and spoke close to his ear; “Is Andreas gay?”

She had expected him either to be shocked or laugh out loud, but he didn’t. He just looked deep into her eyes for a moment, causing her to shiver…
“Yes…” Per answered.
“So he is?” she asked again and Per started to laugh and nodded.
“Yes he is,” he turned to Dina, “sorry…”

A little later
“What happened at the table earlier?” Eveline was aware of her voice slightly slurring, but she couldn’t help it. Her mind was clear, but her body hadn’t been able to keep up with the wine… so now she was hopelessly drunk and all over everybody. She was leaning against the fence off the roof, looking out over the now dark city. Per stood beside her.
“What do you mean…?” he asked her. Good, he sounded a bit drunk too.
“Well, when I asked about Andreas. You acted weird…” she continued. Per smiled.
“I did? Oh, I didn’t notice…” he said absent-mindedly. She pushed him away from her.
“Liar. You looked at me so strange, I want to know why.” And she was determined, too. Per sighed.
“I just… didn’t expect the question. So, I didn’t know what to say. I could have said no and watch you and Dina acting silly, haha…” he said, lying again. He felt uncomfortable. She was obviously drunk and it made her bold. He was afraid she would ask more questions that made him uncomfortable and doubtful… doubtful like that evening at her place, like the past weeks, like… all the time actually.

It was getting late and cold and time to leave. Dina came to get Eveline. She had been dancing with Andreas and was not drunk at all.
“Come on babe, let’s go.” She said, and handed Eveline her coat. When they hugged goodbye, Eveline kissed his cheek.
“You are lovely.” She whispered, and then the girls left.

The DVD was released short after this and was a great success. Per and Marie did some promotion here and there and Eveline joined them on some occasions. She got very good credits for the work she had done and the three of them had a great time.

* * *

Summer went by too fast. Eveline spent a few weeks with her family in Holland and got homesick. She started to think about moving back, but when she arrived at her apartment in Stockholm again, she waved these thoughts away. She liked her life as it was right now and she didn’t want to change anything at this point. Or maybe, one thing… Per. she hadn’t seen him much as he spent the summer in Halmstad most of the time. They were still emailing from time to time but business-wise, they didn’t have any contact anymore. At the end of the summer, Eveline got promoted to be project-manager and ad to give up the Roxette-website to someone else. Her job was totally different now and didn’t have anything to do with Roxette.

Their friendship grew though. They started to see each other for fun, without anything or anybody else bringing them together. Eveline cooked for him sometimes at her house and he took her to celerity parties and business-like dinners. All in all, they had a great time… Eveline was occasionally bugged by the fact that nothing else happened between them. She found out she still loved him, when she had a short relationship with another guy. She met him at the gym and one night, he told her that he was in love with her… she was flattered and amazed. Tommy was one of the cutest guys in the gym. A teacher that all the girls drooled over and he fell for her?! It was kind of funny, actually…

She was out in town with some girls when Tommy sent her an sms. He was in a club nearby and asked if she wanted to come over for a drink. She was crazy that night and they ended up in her bed. The next morning, she asked him to leave. He was still in bed, hadn’t even noticed that she’d gotten out and had taken a shower, breakfast and got dressed.
“Tommy… wake up.” She stood beside the bed and shook his shoulder. He groaned a little, then woke up and looked at her.
“Hey baby…” he said groggily. She sat down on the bed with him. “Hey there,” she replied.
“I have to go soon, so are you ready to get up?” she asked. She was going to meet Dina for lunch and had to be in town in an hour.
“Mmm…” he moaned and his hand caressed her upper leg.
“Can’t you come back to bed baby… just a little…” something in his voice made her feel sick. Oh what had gotten into her last night… it was really unbelievable how he got her to fall for him, she thought. She removed his hand from her leg.
“No. I have no time for that. And besides, I think it’s better if we leave it at this.” With that, she wanted to get up and walk away, but he grabbed her arm.
“What?” he asked with a hissing sound in his voice. She pulled her arm back and her eyes shot daggers at him.
“This was it, Tommy. Sorry.” She said and walked away.

Downstairs, she slowly packed her bag and got ready. She was putting some make up on in front of the mirror in the hall when he came down the stairs. He wrapped and arm around her waist and roughly pushed his face in her neck.
“Darling…” he sighed.
“Tommy!” she said, getting angry now, and pushed him away.
“What! What’s this, bitch! Last night you were all over me and now this?” he screamed. She backed away, shocked by his aggressive tone.
“Yeah… well… sorry but I just think it’s better if we don’t… see each other anymore. I am not in love with you, Tommy.” And actually his performance that night had been below level as well but it seemed better not to say that.
“How can you say that, we haven’t even started anything yet. I love you Eveline!” he said, his anger seemed to be gone and now he got sad. She looked at him for a moment.
“I can’t return those words.” She said firmly. “So please, go home.” Now she turned to the mirror again, decided to ignore the torn look on his face.

The first blow came un-expectantly and hit the side of her head. He had slapped her with his whole hand and her cheek instantly began to burn. She dropped the mascara stick on the floor and stared at him in shock, her mouth open. She saw the next hit coming but couldn’t do anything. She was paralysed and didn’t even think of ducking away… he hit her full in the face with his fist and she crashed to the floor, hitting her shoulder against the wall. This kind of woke her up and she started to scream.
“Tommy! Stop it!” she yelled at him. She was able to catch the next blow with her arm and crawled over the floor.
“You fucking bitch! You can’t do this to me!” he kept screaming it over and over again, and now kicked her side as well.
“God damn it Tommy, stop it now! I will call the police!” she screamed back. By now, she had reached the stairs and pulled herself up on the railing. She ran up the stairs without looking back and locked herself in the bathroom. She leaned against the door and heard him scream downstairs. My god, what kind of animal did I bring into my house, she thought. She heard something break, he screamed something to her about whores and bitches and then the door slammed. Quietly, she sneaked out of the bathroom to the bedroom to look out the window. He was walking down the street.

Now that silence was back around her, she broke down. She sank to the floor and started to cry uncontrollably.

She didn’t know how long she sat there, but suddenly, the phone rang. When it didn’t stop, she got up and stumbled down the stairs. She got the phone out of her purse in the hallway and picked up. It was Dina, she was at the restaurant already and wondered why Eveline was late.
“I’m s-sorry… something… has ha-ha-happened…” she stuttered and cried again.

Within twenty minutes, Dina was with her. She let herself in with her key and found her friend lying on the couch with a vacant stare in her eyes.
“Oh no, Ev… oh shit…” Eveline had a black eye and her eyebrow had been bleeding. Dina took her in her arms and sat with her for a long time, just hugging her and stroking her hair, listening to Eveline’s sobs. Little by little, she told what had happened.

“God I can’t believe it. You should call the police.” Dina said. First she had cleaned up the mess Tommy made. He’d thrown a vase of flowers against a framed picture on the wall, causing a huge mess of glass and water. Then she had made tea and sandwiches and they sat in the garden, enjoying some sun with their coats on. Eveline didn’t say anything; she just stared at the ground. She had a terrible headache and wasn’t able to open her right eye. Something in her shoulder was painfully throbbing, going on to her back and side. Dina checked her watch.
“Oh I am so sorry… I have an appointment…” Eveline looked at her with hurt in her eyes.
“Darling, I don’t want to leave, I wish I could stay here all evening and night, but I have to go to a birthday party… I can’t cancel this…” again, Eveline didn’t reply. She didn’t want to be alone now but she couldn’t make Dina stay, either.
“It’s ok.” she finally said with a thick voice.
“I don’t want you to be alone tonight. I am going to call Per.” Dina said softly. Tears had sprung in her eyes, it was so hard to leave Eveline in this state but there was no way to get out of the appointment.
“No! Dina…” Eveline said, but Dina was inside the house already. She picked up Eveline’s mobile, found Per’s number and was calling him by the time Eveline got inside as well.

“Hi Per, it’s Dina. I am sorry to disturb you…” Dina started. She walked through the room and continued the phone call in the hall. She quickly explained what had happened and Per was shocked of course.
“What! Oh my god! How is she?” he asked.
“She has a black eye and probably her muscles are aching. On top of that, she is scared to death. She is not saying anything but I can tell. I don’t want her to be alone tonight, so I wondered if you could come over and…” there she paused. She didn’t have to say any more.
“I’ll be right there, half an hour, ok?” Per said.

When Eveline opened the door for him a little later, she’d taken a shower and had dressed in something comfortable. She had taken some aspirin for the headache, but all her muscles were still hurting. Her right eye was turning blue and green and her eyebrow had been bleeding a little, so there was a stream of dried blood on that side of her face.
“Ev…” he said softly and came in, taking her in his arms right away. She clang to him and started to cry.

He stayed with her all evening and even cooked dinner. They watched TV together, Eveline lying on the couch against his chest and his arm wrapped around her. He heard her breathing regularly and studied her face. She was sleeping. He stroked her cheek and she stirred and opened her eyes.
“You should go to bed honey,” his warm voice said softly.
“No, no… don’t go.” She said and wrapped her arms tighter around him.
He hesitated for a moment, then said; “I can stay if you want. I can sleep on the couch.” Her head came up and she looked at him.
“Would you do that? I… I don’t want to be alone. I don’t want you to leave.” Her voice was shaky and he thought she was going to cry again but she didn’t.
“Yes, no problem. Go to bed, you need rest.” A warm feeling came over him when she took his hand and kissed it.
“Thank you. Thank you for being my friend.” She said and finally smiled.

In the bedroom, she first changed the sheets on the bed. She couldn’t even bare the thought of sleeping in the bed where she and Tommy… no way.

“Per?” she stood in the doorway of the living room. His big brown eyes looked at her.
“Ehm… maybe it sounds silly but… ehm…” shit this was so stupid, she thought.
“What is it?” he asked curiously.
“I want to ask you… would you mind to sleep upstairs? With me…? I mean…” she was stumbling over the words and gave up with a sigh. She looked at him with sad eyes. Per cursed inwardly but didn’t show anything.
“If you want that, sure. I’ll be up in a few minutes.”

Eveline was already in bed when he came up. He felt a bit stupid, standing in her bedroom and didn’t know what to do first. She looked up at him and patted the empty space beside her. She giggled because he looked so silly, silly and cute.
“I won’t look. Promise.” She said and hid her face under the sheets. Per laughed nervously and started to undress. With his t-shirt still on, he carefully stepped into the bed.
“You done?” came her voice muffled from under the sheets.
“Haha! Yes I am.” They lay side by side and looked at each other for a moment.
“I really appreciate that you are doing this.” She said. He only smiled in reply.
“And… sorry for this silly situation. I don’t know what has gotten into me, but every sound makes me freak out…” she added slowly.
“Of course, it must have been very scary what happened.” Per replied.
“Yes… horrible. Well, goodnight then!”
“Goodnight.” She switched off the lights.

Both stared into the dark for a while. Eveline saw the minutes pass on the alarm clock beside her bed and was wide awake. It weren’t only Tommy’s screams repeating in her head that kept her awake. Per’s presence in her bed was… doing something to her, to say the least. She turned around a few times, turned her back to him.
“Ev?” he whispered.
“Are you ok?” Oh he sounded so sweet… so sweet… there came the annoying tears again. She didn’t know whether she was crying over Tommy… or Per. She couldn’t conceal her sobs and Per moved over to her. He didn’t dare to come too close, but close enough to wrap an arm around her. He didn’t speak, just lay his arm around her and stroked her arm.
“I’m sorry.” she sniffed.
“Shhh… you don’t have to be. It’s ok.” he whispered. His hand went up to stroke her hair. He couldn’t help it, he just had to get a little closer, just had to kiss her hair, because it felt so soft and cool, still a little damp from the shower. His whole body stiffened when she moved backwards into him, laying her back against his chest. She wrapped his arm around her a little tighter and yawned.
“I think I can sleep now. I feel very safe.” While she said this, Per didn’t even dare to breath. Oh god, the things she did to him… her soft, warm body against him… her sweet smell in his nose… mmm she smelled good. A bare leg, slightly touching his when she moved… oh no… the last thing Per wanted, was to get hard now. Please, no… not now… he thought.

When he was sure she was asleep, he relaxed a little. He popped up his head on one arm and looked at her face. Her right eye was now a dark blue, with dark green around the edges. The wound on her eyebrow had dried up and was a big, dark red bulb. And she was beautiful, he thought with a sigh. He stroked some hair back from her face, let his hand trail around her cheek and chin, very softly. He was weak, he knew it. He bent over her shoulder, down to her neck and buried his nose in her hair… he breathed her in deeply. Her scent made him shiver and he couldn’t stop himself. He kissed her neck, his lips barely touching her skin, but he just had to… there was no way out. Eveline stirred and murmured something in her sleep. Per backed off, startled, his heart pounding loudly. He got out of the bed and went to the toilet. Stop it! You have to stop it now! He told himself. He felt bad, he was betraying her trust. Of course he didn’t really do anything. It was just that… he got so horny…

* * *

The days quickly became shorter and with that, the need for scarves and gloves; the winter was on its way. The autumn in Stockholm was beautiful and Eveline loved to take long walks through the city. After the incident with Tommy, she never went back to the gym again. She saw him once in a bar, but ignored him. She didn’t go out much lately, just enjoyed time with friends or in her home.

Per had started recording again. The next Roxette album was to be expected early next year and he had a lot of work to do. Working with some international producers, he spent most of his time at the studio in Halmstad or on an airplane. When he was in Stockholm, he called Eveline to spend some time with her. The night he slept at her house still bothered him sometimes but he tried to push it away. He couldn’t think of changing their relationship; they were such good friends and he didn’t want to loose that. Besides, he had no clue what his feelings for her really meant…

* * *

Party time! It had been ages since they went out, but this Saturday night, Dina and Eveline were totally in for it. They had spent the evening at Dina’s apartment with food, drinks, gossip and a lot of fun. They idea of going out came up quite late and they hurried to get ready.

They went to a big club and danced for a while, sipping wine and exchanging certain looks with a very cute bartender. All of a sudden, Eveline wanted to leave.
“Let’s go somewhere else, I think I’ve seen enough of this place.” Dina didn’t understand, they were having a great time and finally were able to sit at the bar where the cute guy worked… she followed Eveline’s stare and spotted Tommy on the dance floor. Aha.
“Ok, I got the message. Let’s go!”

They ended up in a pub a few streets further. It was no place they would normally go as it was known to be a little posh but it turned out great. It seemed their mood was too good, it was impossible not to have fun!

“Good evening ladies.” Said a voice behind them. They turned around on their barstools and there stood Per.
“Heeeey! What are you doing here!” Eveline said happily and hugged him firmly after he had greeted Dina. She didn’t wait for him to answer and continued; “I thought you were still in Spain! What are you drinking?” she ordered another round of drinks for the three of them while Per explained that the business he had to do in Spain had not gone so well, so he came back early.
“I never expected to see you in this place, have you become completely boring now?” he asked her with a naughty grin on his face. Eveline laughed at him.
“Aha… so all the people here are boring? Is that why you are here?”

A little later, Dina and Eveline were changing the atmosphere in the pub. They were dancing together. The bar had a small dance floor but it was obviously ‘not done’ to use it. Per sat at the bar and laughed his head off, watching the two girls acting silly.

In the toilet
“Oh gosh I look awful…” Dina concluded, studying herself in the mirror.
“Hihi… that’s the booze darling. Your vision is blurry! You are lovely!” Eveline replied.
“So tell me, what’s with you and Per now?” Dina asked curiously. Eveline was also making faces at her image in the mirror.
“Mmm. We are friends. Very good friends.” She answered.
“And that’s it?”
“Yeah I guess so…” Dina looked at her friend for a moment.
“Ev, I refuse to believe that he isn’t interested in you. You are gorgeous! And besides that, he is always acting different around you.” Eveline sighed.
“Ooooh… I don’t even want to think about it anymore.” She said, pretending to get angry.
“You gave up?” Dina kept pushing. “Or have you fallen out of love?” she looked surprised when Eveline laughed about this.
“Haha… Dina… my friend.” Eveline took Dina’s hands in her own and looked very serious now.
“No, I haven’t fallen out of love. But I’m afraid I did give up. There is nothing… I have no idea what to do to… get him. How do you flirt with your best friend, mm?” and with that she left the toilet. Dina shook her head and mumbled something about how stupid men actually were.

Soon after that, Dina left the two at the bar alone. She was getting tired and weary and took a taxi home.

“Well.” said Per when they stood on the sidewalk outside the bar.
“Well well indeed.” Eveline replied with a grin. They looked at each other for a moment, stupid smiles on their faces. Per giggled softly.
“I think the night is about to end here.” he then said.
“Here on the sidewalk? Isn’t there any other place we can go?” Ev said, already knowing the answer. Per shook his head slowly.
“No… we are doomed to go home…” he answered with a look of deep depression on his face. Eveline laughed out loud and took his arm.
“Haha… ok well let’s go then.” She pulled him with her.
“Where are we going?” he said.
“I don’t know where you are going. I am going to the subway.” She said with a smart face. They slowly walked to the next block.
“I am not even drunk yet.” Per sighed.
“Hey,” he suddenly said, “Wanna come to my place for a drink?” She was sober enough to feel her belly tickle a little and she couldn’t help it, she gave him a sweet, naughty smile. Per decided to ignore that and looked the other way.

By the time they reached Per’s apartment two blocks further, both were full of giggles. When they entered his house, Eveline first took the chance to look around a bit. Wow. Now that was an impressive apartment… “Wine?” his voice came from behind her and she turned around. “Sure!” she answered with a smile. She hadn’t even taken her coat off and already she held a glass of wine in her hand. He showed her to the couch and they sat down. Mmm… That was delicious wine; she had never tasted anything like that before. Their glasses were empty far too soon and Eveline stood up to fill them, while Per was talking and talking about the people they’d met at the bar earlier tonight. They kept talking and talking. Their conversation became less serious by the minute and in end they were only making stupid jokes and laughing at each other.

“Shit Per, I think I am drunk. Really.” Eveline slurred in a soft tone. She sat next to Per, her legs folded under her and leaning her head back against the couch.
“Hihi. Oh really? That is because the wine is just great!” Per replied. He was drunk as well but not yet as far off as Eveline was.

“Oops.” Eveline said. She had gotten up from the couch and now stood beside the cupboard.
“It’s empty.” She stated sadly. Per started to laugh again. The disappointment in her voice was just adorable! Eveline stumbled towards the stereo and turned the volume up. A slow, sexy rhythm sounded through the room.
“Ev… what are you doing…” Per said, looking at her from the couch. She tried to flash him a seductive smile.
“Am just putting up some mmmmmusic.” She answered. Then she walked back to the couch, stood before it and held a hand out to him.
“Come on.” her voice was thick and slow.
“Ev. I am not going to dance.” said Per.
“Yes! Come on!” she insisted. It took a while but then Per finally stood up from the couch and let her pull him with her.
“Mmm.” She wrapped her arms around his waist, lay her head on his chest and sighed, very content.

Per sighed too. She was sweet, even when she was drunk. Or maybe even more… carefully, he laid one hand on her back. The other one landed on her neck. She hugged him closer to her and he got all warm inside… she was such a sweetie, he could stand with her like this all night long. They’ve had so much fun tonight and he was proud and happy to have such a lovely friend like her. She looked up at him and smiled. He smiled back and kissed her forehead. Then she lay her head down again and pushed her body against him once more. His arms around her also tightened their grip. He felt her hips slowly move to the music and her firm breasts pushed against him. Through the thin fabric of her cotton blouse, he could feel two hard nipples brushing his chest. Oh. Her hands on his back started stroking a bit, one going up to caress his neck. Ehm. Per felt a bit embarrassed now. He was getting a little horny. And it got worse when she moved her position a little, again those nipples… mmm and he was also very aware of her soft belly that rested against his. He got all warm and fuzzy, in the mood to snog her a little… he ran his fingertips along her neck and kissed her hair. He felt her sigh after that. She wanted to look up at him and move but she was too unsteady and nearly stumbled to the floor. She laughed out loud when he had to hold on to her, to prevent both of them from falling.

“Maybe I s-should go. Home.” Eveline stuttered. Per thought for a moment.
“How will you go home?” he asked her with his head turned to one side a bit.
“With the s-subway of course s-silly.” Ev answered with a lost look in her eyes.
“Why don’t you sleep here in the guestroom? I am not fond of the idea of you going home alone at this hour and in this state.” Per suggested. She stared at him for a moment. Then she softly said; “Ok.”

Per took her hand in his and guided her to the guestroom.
“Here it is,” he said when he opened the door and switched on the lights. Wow, that was a very nice looking room! Eveline walked straight to the big bed in the middle and fell down on it on her back.
“Mmmm… wonderful.” she moaned.
“Do you need something to sleep in? A t-shirt, maybe?” Per asked. Eveline sighed.
“No… I don’t think so. It’s not cold.” she answered, and sighed again. She was almost falling asleep.
“Come on babe, you can’t sleep like this.” said Per. Eveline mumbled something and moved around on the bed, finding a comfortable position.
“Hey!” yelled Per. She didn’t even move. He grinned and walked to her.
“Ev.” he whispered close to her ear. He also started to take off her shoes.
“It’s better if you take off your clothes honey.” he continued.
“You wish.” she mumbled very softly.

Per laughed again; she could be so funny when she was drunk. He’d taken off her shoes and now covered her with the blanket, while she was still dressed. Finally she started to move.
“Ok ok…” and she moved away from the covers. She lay down on her back and took her black trousers off. Just let it slide to the floor, followed by her socks. Per now decided it was time to leave the room to let her undress by herself. He glanced at her bare legs for a moment, then turned around and walked to the door. There, he looked at her one last time. She pulled her t-shirt over her head and dropped that to the floor as well. Per’s eyes went big when he got sight of her breasts, neatly tucked away in a sexy black bra. He swallowed and wanted to leave the room but still stood in the doorway, looking at her. Within seconds, the bra was also tossed to the floor and she sat on the bed, naked except for a little black thong… she lay down, pulling the covers up to her nose and sighed deeply. She didn’t even turn off the light, just seemed to be falling asleep right away. Per closed the door softly and walked back to the living room. His heart was still racing while he started to tidy up the room.

Per stretched his arms above his head and groaned loudly. It was indeed time to go to bed. He passed the door to Eveline’s room and decided to check on her for the last time.

When he walked into the room, she opened her eyes. The light beside the bed was still on.
“Hey, not asleep yet?” he asked. She shook her head. He stood in the middle of the room, hesitating, until she patted her hand on the bed. He walked to her and sat down beside her.
“I slept for a few minutes, I think.” she softly said.
“Sorry that I woke you… go back to sleep now. I’ll see you in the morning.” He said. He stroked some hair back from her face and wanted to stand up. But she grabbed his hand and pulled him back onto the bed.
“No goodnight kiss?” she said with a begging sound in her voice. Per giggled nervously and pushed her down into the bed softly.
“I don’t think…”
“Please!” she exclaimed. Then he bowed down and kissed her softly on her forehead. A content smile curled her lips.

“Was that all?” she said when he wanted to get up again. He leaned down to her, and then waited. This wasn’t right, he thought. He shouldn’t do this. He studied her eyes carefully. Then he felt how her hand got hold of his shirt and she pulled him down until he was close enough for her to kiss him. Her lips hungrily grazed his and he was amazed by their softness. Mmm… that felt invitingly warm… he couldn’t help but answer her kiss… they stayed like that for what seemed ages, lips pressed against each other, eyes shut tight. Eveline was the first to move again, nipping his lips… tasting them by flicking out her tongue. Per almost forgot to respond, and then held his breath when he did so. He turned towards her, placing his hands each on one side of her body. He got hungry now and pushed his tongue into her mouth, kissing her harder. Then he broke the kiss because he was completely out of breath. He let go of her mouth and looked at her. He was panting and his heart was beating so fast, it almost hurt.

“Ev…” he whispered. She only smiled at him and wrapped her arms around his neck, pulling him back to her. He shifted over the bed a little, moving the weight of his upper body on her. He felt her soft breasts press against him through the blanket and she sighed when his lips found hers again. The kisses were slow and soft and Per became really turned on. Eveline was still dazed by the wine and had trouble keeping up with reality… was Per really kissing her? Mmm that felt good… she couldn’t remember if it felt the same as it did last time. He was so soft, and he smelled good… and he tasted good… she moved around under the blanket a little, wanted to feel more of him. He laid half on top of her now and she felt something hard press against her upper leg.

* * *

It was about eleven in the morning when Eveline woke up. Some loud sound had startled her and she looked around the room. Oh yes, of course… going out… pub… Per… wine… and kissing!! It suddenly popped into her mind again. They had been kissing. Until eventually Per said it was better to stop now and go to sleep. Before he even left the room, Eveline had drifted off into deep sleep, full of strange and funny dreams…

Per sat at the kitchen table with a big coffee mug and his laptop. He scrolled through his e-mail. He was fully dressed and showered already and had made a big mess in the bedroom. An opened suitcase sat on the bed, piles of neatly folded clothes ready to be packed. He was going to fly to Halmstad that afternoon and stay there about a week for some Roxette business.

“I smell coffee!” said Eveline when she walked into the kitchen. She had taken a quick shower and dressed in the clothes she had worn the night before.
“Hey, good morning…” Per replied with a smile.
“Good morning! Have you been up long?” she asked him, standing beside the table.
“Mmm… just a little while. Coffee, then?” he got up and poured her a cup of coffee. She gladly accepted and took a few sips, standing in front of the table rather restlessly. Per’s attention was drawn to the laptop again, but he noticed her obvious body language of insecurity.
“You want to have something for breakfast? Or?” he asked with his eyes still glued to the screen.
“Nah. I’m fine…” she said. He looked up at her because it seemed as if she wanted to say more, though she didn’t. Just stared at the floor. There was silence for a while, except the snoring laptop and Eveline’s soft coffee-drinking sounds.

Suddenly Per closed the laptop, tried not to let her hear his deep sigh and turned around in his chair.
“Sit down Ev, please.” When she sat he spoke again.
“You wanna get something off your chest? Or is there anything you want to hear from me? Because this silence is crazy. I can see something is on your mind.” He sounded very serious, maybe even slightly agitated, when he said that. Eveline nodded and took a few deep breaths before she answered.
“Yes. Yes there is something on my mind and you know what.” Now she looked up at him, searching his eyes.
“I do. But I don’t really know… what to say.” he replied. He didn’t let go of her eyes, kept looking into them. He felt it was very important to be sure of her honesty right this moment, and of his own as well. Though he didn’t know what the truth was. He didn’t know what to say about last night, or what he felt… well the feeling of kissing her was still very fresh in his mind. And then he got turned on, and then he left. Seemed like the best thing to do at the time…

“The fact that I was drunk last night bothers me, I’m sorry about that.” she started.
“But I want you to know that… well… that the wine didn’t make me… do that. I mean, of course alcohol makes me bolder…” her look got a bit desperate, eyes saying, ‘help me, please, I don’t know how to say it’. She saw that he didn’t really get the point, or so it seemed. She needed to be clearer, needed to make her point.
“I’m in love with you.” she said it in a very soft tone, eyes down to her hands that lay in her lap. But it sounded full of confidence and Per didn’t have any trouble hearing her… and he saw that she was honest, he saw she was doing what he’d asked; she got it off her chest… he bit his lip. He really wanted to say something but nothing came to him. Nothing seemed to fit this situation. When he didn’t reply, she looked at him again. The sudden eye contact startled him; her intense brown eyes made his heart skip a beat.

“Oh Ev… I don’t know what to say…” he stuttered. She instantly replied, as if she had been waiting for him to say this.
“You don’t have to say anything. I just thought you should know.” She finished her coffee at once.
“I’d better go.” When she walked out the kitchen, he stood up.
“Eveline…” she looked back at him; the look on her face was no more defensive rather than open like it was before.
“Sorry.” Per simply said.
“No problem. It will pass.” She answered, and then gave him a sweet smile.

Per stood in the middle of the room, a bit lost, while Eveline got her coat and purse. He felt like he had lost control of the situation now. Alarm bells were ringing in his head, he had to do something, had to take some action…!! But what?! He could tell her that… well that she was very special and that… she had a special place in his heart and… so on. But in love? He had started to question himself about this after the night he spent at her house. In her bed. He had been surprised by his own reaction to the situation. Of course, she was a gorgeous woman and of course, a man responded to that. But it had made him feel strange for the rest of the week… maybe he should explain his insecurity to her… the fear of loosing someone, hurting someone again. Oh he couldn’t bear the thought of ever hurting her…

“Listen…” his voice was raw when he spoke. Eveline was ready to go and waited for him by the door.
“I will be in Halmstad this week; I’m not sure when I get back. But then, I would like to talk to you… a bit more.” He just had to look away, away from those hypnotising brown eyes.
“About… us?” she asked softly. He only nodded in reply.
“Ok. Call me when you get back.” She said and opened the front door. He walked to her to see her out and looked at her for a moment.
“Bye then. Good luck down there…” she said and then hugged him. Per wrapped his arms around her too and held her tight for a moment. He let out a deep sigh when she let go. She gave him one last kiss on his lips, very softly, and then left.

Once Eveline was outside, she started breathing again. Mixed feelings were tearing her up inside! She felt stupid about what had happened last night, but it had felt so good, so safe. There was some disappointment in her, that he didn’t run into her arms to tell her he was madly in love with her as well… but she hadn’t expected that, either. And then there was this little voice in her head that whispered; ‘you are getting closer Ev! He was in doubt! He really was!’ but maybe that was just wishful thinking… She was walking through the city and breathed in and out deeply, loving the strong wind on her face and in her hair. Maybe things would work out after all… maybe it was time for some confessions next time she met him… or she would have to give up.

* * *

A week later, a party in town. Lots of famous people, lots of boring talk… but this was an important night. It was the annual presentation of EMI Sweden and it was impossible to get out of this one.

Eveline was dreadfully bored after the official part of the evening. Dina had gone home early because she wasn’t feeling well. Now Eveline was doomed to ‘mingle’ and socialise on her own which made her feel slightly uncomfortable. By now, she had gotten used to the famous people, knew all the colleagues and had really improved her skills in ‘politely making conversation’. Nevertheless, she wasn’t enjoying herself. She wasn’t at ease and she didn’t know what was bugging her.

She spent a little time with herself on the toilet, staring at her image in the mirror. Out of habit, she checked her mobile… one missed call and one sms… the sms came from Per. ‘I am back, call me!’ it said. So she did, right away. Unintended, her heart started to beat faster when she waited for him to pick up.
“Hi, it’s me…”
“Hey! What’s the thing with not picking up the phone?” he said, sounding happy and relaxed.
“Oh gosh, you forgot…!” she replied in a teasing voice.
“What? What did I forget?” she explained where she was and why.
“Oh shit… yes you’re right, I forgot. Oh-oh…” Eveline giggled over his response.
“Well you are not missing anything. The official part was interesting but now I am boring my ass off. Dina is gone already and all the fun people are caught up in conversations with the other fun people…” she said in a sad voice.
“Ooooh and there is nobody there to entertain you? Poor baby…” Per played along.
“So do you need a friend to come over and save you?” he continued. She was silent first, almost forgot to reply.
“Ehm, oh yes! Yes please. Maybe we can sneak out…”

And so they did. Per put on something nice and head for the party. There were a lot of people he knew but he wasn’t really interested. He talked to Marie F. for a while and then spotted Eveline. They spoke only briefly and met each other later in a bar nearby. They sat and talked for a while, until it got really crowded and they fled to Eveline’s house. There, they sat down on the couch.

“Well let’s get a drink then!” she said and went to the kitchen. She came back with a bottle of red wine and two glasses. She showed him the bottle.
“Ehm… haha! Are you sure?!” he asked her with a teasing smile. This was the wine that had made her so terribly drunk last week at his place… a night from which she held some good memories. They sat there for a moment, not really saying anything, sipping their wine. Then Per started talking again.
“I think it’s time to get serious, for a moment.” He said. He didn’t look at her and tried to sound as confident as he could.
“Oh… already?” Eveline said, trying to joke it off. His eyes glanced at her and she sighed.
“I know. Have you planned something to say?” she then asked him.
“As a matter of fact, I have. I have been thinking about you a lot in the past few days. I once again encountered the phenomenon ‘sleepless nights’ when I was in Halmstad this week.” He began, and looked away.
“You have to know that I really like you. You are a wonderful person and lately… you’ve become one of my best friends. I’m proud of that!” he said and smiled at her.

Eveline felt something coming now. The sweet smile and the fact that he mentioned their friendship made her know almost for sure that he was going to reject here – again.
“Ok and that’s all you want it to be right? Well…” she said the tone in her voice harder than she meant it. He held up his hand to stop her.
“Sorry…” she said. He continued.
“You are a lovely girl Ev, you know that. I think you are a gorgeous woman and, above that, a wonderful friend… but I can’t…” There was his insecurity again, shining through. She found it hard to believe that this insecurity had now finally won over his lust… and maybe even love, for her. She decided she had heard enough and stood up from the couch.
“Ok.” she simply said, and kissed his forehead. She walked over to the stereo and started some music.
“Ehm… I don’t know… what you expected…” Per said, questioning her with his eyes.
“Well I didn’t know you’d be back already so I hadn’t expected anything, either. Basically I was just hoping to get laid tonight.” She told him, with a naughty looking eyes and a sly grin on her face. He laughed at her and shook his head.

Music started to fill the room. A slow, sensual Motown rhythm seemed to warm them both up. She still stood beside the stereo and looked down on him.
“No. I will not dance!”
Eveline giggled. “I won’t ask, don’t worry.” she replied softly, now serious again.

The last time they’d danced together they ended up kissing. And that was exactly what Per didn’t want anymore. Or did he? How on earth did he get so unsure about everything, he thought. All he knew was that nothing was certain. It was damn hard to be sure of what you are feeling for a person. At the moment he really did love her but he was in doubt about his reasons. Was it only because she turned him on? Because it had been ages since he’d loved a woman? Because she practically threw herself at him? Or just… because of her smile… and the smell of her hair…. he suddenly realised she was talking to him and he snapped out of the dreamy mood.

“Yes, please.” he answered her question and held out his glass. The wine was absolutely delicious and he couldn’t refuse.

It didn’t take longer than a few moments before the atmosphere turned back to normal again. Soon they went on chatting as if nothing had happened. He told her about his stay in Halmstad and how shit tired he actually was. She updated him on the last EMI-gossip and that lately she finally had the feeling things were going the way they should. Of course work was still busy but it wasn’t as hectic, stressed and chaotic as it had been before.

It got later and later. They had a lot of fun catching up. It was almost one o’clock when Per said it was time for him to go home. He wanted to get his mobile to call a cab. “Of course not silly, I’ll call you a cab!” Eveline said and stood up to find the handset of her phone. Per giggled in a very childish way, and then got up as well to stumble to the toilet. Mmm… He was feeling slightly dazed by the alcohol, but very comfortable. It had been a good day and he was glad he had succeeded in what he’d want to achieve… he thought about this when he was on the toilet. Geez it was hard to think serious things when your mind starts to wander off all the time, he thought. He sighed and laughed at himself. He must indeed be drunk, if he started to think about what he was thinking!

He came of the toilet, still drying his hands and saw Eveline stand in the hall. She leaned against the wall and had the phone to her ear and stared into the direction of the door, where some vague light from the lanterns outside shone through. He looked at her and saw her eyes sparkle at the moment she met his gaze. Oh she was beautiful, that much was true. And she looked very hot tonight, even though she didn’t think so. The fact that she didn’t realise how sexy her outfit was made her even more adorable…

Eveline was wearing a tight black skirt, tights, high heels and a red satin blouse under a black matching blazer. She’d gotten rid of the blazer by now and was wearing a long black vest.

“They are not answering, I think it’s busy.” Eveline said with a sigh. She was not looking at him and Per thought that she looked rather different than she did two minutes ago. Shit, what had changed? He felt it in the air as well… her mood had shifted. She looked pale and a bit uninterested… with an irritated look on her face she tried again. Finally she got an answer; a tape… that all lines were busy and they would help her as soon as possible.
“Oh… now I am on hold aaah!” her voice was angry and grumpy.
“It’s ok Ev! Why bother?” Per said. “Let’s have another drink and then we’ll try again later.” he continued. She still didn’t look at him. He took a few steps closer to her and picked up her chin.
“Hey…” he said softly. He looked into her eyes and she stared back this time. He studied her eyes and her face and kind of forgot what he wanted to say. Her eyes looked tired… a little hurt maybe. Did he saw her eyes watering a little? Was she crying? Oh shit, he thought. Yes… there were indeed tears in her eyes.
“Honey…” when he said that, he heard his own voice was full of emotion.
“I don’t want to be your friend Per. I can’t.” She managed to say before the tears cut her off.

Eveline’s heart was beating so fast, she couldn’t think anymore. She couldn’t hear the waiting-tone from the phone anymore and her vision got blurry. God, why did she have to say that? Why did she make such drama out of this, now she would loose him for good… she had promised herself that this time, she would find the answers to her questions and busy thoughts about him. This time, she would not let him go…

Per took her face in one of his hands and pulled her to him. He laid his cheek against hers and hugged her tight. She almost dropped the phone, but he took it out of her hand, switched it off and lay it down on the side table in the hall.
“Come here…” he whispered and wrapped his arms around her. She laid her face against his chest and wrapped her arms around his waist. He let out a deep sigh and stroked her hair. He kissed the top of her head, breathing in the sweet scent of her hair. She made him smile, like she always did. He also felt her heart pounding very fast against his chest.

She slowly loosened herself from him and looked up, brushing away some tears with her hand. Per wanted to pick up the phone but she stopped his hand.
“Kiss me…” she whispered, so softly that he almost couldn’t hear her.
“What?” he said. She pulled him towards her, standing on her toes, reaching for his mouth.
“Ev, I…” Per started.
“Just a goodbye kiss.” she told him. Then her lips gently landed on his. And again, very softly. She felt her heart stop for a moment, then overflowing with love for him. Tears welled in her eyes again.

She kissed him for the third time, surprised to find his lips slightly opened. She kept her lips pressed onto his, and sneakily she let out her tongue and tasted his lips… oh so teasingly, she ran her tongue just along them. When he felt her hot breath against his lips, Per got weak for her and wanted more. He answered her kiss very gently, their tongues slowly playing games. He heard her panting and moved closer, pushing her against the wall and kissing her a bit harder.

Eveline’s mind was slow. When she started to understand what was happening, her hands came into action as well. She grabbed his waist and pulled him to her roughly, then went around and squeezed his ass.

Per couldn’t breathe anymore… she was making him so hot, so hard… He let go of her mouth for a moment and moved his attention to her throat. She threw her head back when he started to kiss her there. At the same time the feeling of his hips pushing forward, his hard member pressing against her made her gasp.
“Ev…” he whispered with a low voice, thick from lust.
“Mmm… Per, I want you…” she mumbled. He sighed in her neck and then breathed her scent in deeply. He let his hand caress her neck, over to her chin from where he traced over her lips… she opened them and his index finger went in. She sucked his finger, looking into his eyes. He leaned against her and returned her stare with his mouth open. Then he let is hand go down, his finger leaving a wet trail along her neck, down to the silk blouse she was wearing. He cupped one of her breasts and squeezed it softly, then brushed his thumb over the hardened nipple. Her body twisted before him.

Eveline got hold of his jacket and pulled him to her again. She needed to feel him close; needed those warm lips on hers… his hand went on caressing her breast softly. She wanted his hand somewhere else and started to move her hips against him. He didn’t move though, was too busy tasting her mouth… she took his hand off her breast and brought it down, lower and lower. Both their hands then disappeared under her skirt… there she placed his hand between her legs, pushing herself against it.
“I want you… do you feel it?” she whispered.
“Oh god… Eveline…” Per breathed the words, unable to speak. She wasn’t wearing any panties and it was all wet and warm down there. She nearly lost her balance and he held her with one hand while he hitched up her skirt with the other. Black stockings and no panties…
“Ev… you naughty little… mmm” she kissed him in the middle of his sentence. He started to move his hand between her legs, exploring and rubbing softly. She moaned when he touched her there where she most liked it, and he continued to do that. She moved her hips around, driving herself against his hand harder and harder. First one, then two of his fingers slipped inside her and she sighed deeply. Again she had trouble standing up and had to hold on to him.
“Per… oh… yes!” She called out his name several times and she wasn’t sure if her feet were still on the ground, when a surge went through her body and orgasm took control of her. She collapsed against him, shuddering heavily.

Per released his fingers and got hold of her ass while nuzzling her neck. Eveline started to fumble with his jacket until it came off and fell to the floor. Then she quickly started to unbutton his shirt, kissing him everywhere she could; his cheeks, his mouth, his neck and chest. His body was warm and he smelled good… some dark male perfume mixed with a hint of sweat. Her hands ran over his torso, her head dipped into his neck again.
“Lay down.” She whispered.
“Here?” he asked a bit startled. She pushed him a little and he did as she said. Now he lay on the floor of her hall… Eveline crawled over him on hands and knees, bending over to his mouth to kiss him. Her hands were restlessly stroking him everywhere, followed by her mouth. Per sighed and moaned when she squeezed the hard lump in his pants. Her mouth had now reached his belly and she tickled his bellybutton a bit with her tongue… meanwhile, she had opened his pants. Another deep sigh from Per, now that he finally was released. She sat upright and stroked and pulled gently. He panted heavily, his hands rubbing her legs. She gave him a seductive look and started to take off her vest, blouse and finally her bra. Per’s eyes widened and he bit his lip when she showed him her breasts. He was only looking at her, but even then she got all heated up again. He touched her breasts carefully, enjoying the silk softness of her skin. She seemed to shimmer in the weak light that came in from outside.

With some movement of her hips and a little help from her hand, she guided him inside her carefully… she slowly pushed herself onto his length, head back and eyes closed. He held on to her waist and pulled her down to him, pressed her body against his and shivered in spite of her warmth. When she started to thrust, he moaned deeply.
“Oh! Oh baby… please… slowly…” his raw voice whispered in her ear. So she took it slow for a moment. Then she sat up again, wanted to see him. He watched her too as she thrust herself on him again and again… Per couldn’t keep up with his breath anymore, his hands wanted to be everywhere at the same time and he didn’t know where to look anymore. He relished in her beauty and movements on him.

Eveline increased the tempo. She thrust down harder and faster, feeling him deeper with every move. She lay down on him again, holding him close to her. He clang to her body and met her thrusts with his hips.
“Oh geez Ev… oh… you feel so good…” he hissed into her ear. She felt him shudder and tremble under her and he groaned, burying his face into her neck when he came.

They stayed like that for a moment. She lay on top of him, his heart thundering under her.

“Mmm…” Eveline moaned softly, her face leaning against Per’s neck. She kissed his neck, over his cheek, chin, and on to his mouth. She stayed there and gave him a long, deep kiss. His hands caressed her back slowly and as he answered her kisses, he slightly moved, getting uncomfortable on the cold floor. Eveline looked at him.
“Are you coming upstairs with me?” her voice was low and raw when she spoke.
“Yes… if you want to…” he answered with a grin.

* * *

“Ev?” Per asked in the dark. They lay cuddled up together in her bed now.
“Maybe this sounds stupid but… how did this happen… I mean…” he softly continued against her neck. His nose was stroking her shoulder. Eveline turned around to face him.
“What do you mean? Us?” he nodded. “How did we happen…” Eveline said with a sigh and looked up at the ceiling for a moment.
“I think you happened to me… in… Karlstad…” she thought out loud, and then laughed about it.
“What? Really?” he asked, sounding truly surprised. Eveline stroked his chest with her hand and moved under the sheets. She couldn’t lay still with him beside her, constantly needed to feel his warm body against hers. She wrapped a leg around his waist and her mouth searched for his. He kissed her back passionately, taking her face into his hand, demanding her mouth. She groaned and moved on top of him, holding him tight. Suddenly Per stopped kissing and looked at her.
“I never thought we could… ‘happen’.” He said. It was dark in the room but she saw his eyes shine when they looked into hers.
“In my head you happened all the time darling…” Eveline whispered with a teasing voice, bowing down to kiss him again. He wrapped his arms around her and turned them around, so that he was now on top of her.
“And you tell me something…” Eveline said while Per took his time to caress her everywhere he could.
“Yes?” he said, placing a kiss between her breasts.
“What took you so long?!” she said, laughing. He stroked her belly with his hand and his face came up to hers again, demanding more kisses.
“Mmm… I don’t know…” he whispered. His voice was thick and she felt something hard between her legs.
“Or actually I do know,” he added, looking serious now.
“I was a little scared of you, actually…” he said and grinned.
“What! Haha! Scared of me? But I’m the sweetest girl around!” she answered.
“Mmm… indeed you are.” Per replied, kissing down her throat again. He started to lick one of her nipples and Eveline lost focus on the conversation a little.

Eveline lay with closed eyes, enjoying his mouth on her breasts. He was kissing, nibbling, licking… then his head came up to her ear.
“Are you tired?” he asked. Eveline giggled.
“Why, do you want something?” she replied, eyes still closed. He nibbled her earlobe and whispered; “I want to taste you.” his horny voice made her shiver and she moaned contently in reply. His mouth trailed down her body, ending between her legs. He kissed the inside of her thighs, licking his way down. Eveline moaned softly and moved her hips in anticipation. Per took his time, teasing her all around and making her crazy. When his tongue finally reached her centre, her body jerked and she groaned loudly.
“Oh yes…” she managed to say. He had heated her up so much that it only took a few seconds… she whispered words he didn’t understand and squeezed the pillow. Her hips came off the bed, belly trembling. He didn’t stop until she seemed to relax a little.

Per placed wet kisses in her neck.
“Ev… you are so beautiful…” he whispered to her.
“Oh… oh…” she breathed.
“Make love to me, Per…” he groaned approvingly and moved his weight on top of her, parting her legs with his own. He pushed inside her slowly and carefully, watching her face. She looked back into his eyes, pulling his head down to her to kiss him. Per’s hips followed a dazzling slow rhythm while his tongue circled her mouth.

“You feel… so good… oh… so good… mmm…” he said breathlessly in between kisses. She wrapped her legs around his hips, guiding him deeper inside. His breath stalled and he stopped moving for a moment. She felt he was holding back, waiting… delaying… he leaned on her and looked into her eyes. Neither said anything, just looked at each other. The intense stare stayed when he continued his moves, slightly faster than before. He wrapped his arms around her, kept staring into her eyes and thrust deeply, until she felt him starting to shudder. Something in his face, his misty stare, his sweet words… something hit another spot inside Eveline. His orgasm was gentle, the opposite of the aggressive lust in the hallway and he said her name when he came. She held him close to her, caressing his back while he caught his breath. She felt silly but couldn’t help her eyes filling with tears.
“I love you…” she said it so softly she barely heard it herself. But Per heard it. He lay down beside her and held her tight. She turned her face away, didn’t want him to see her tears. Too late, though… he got her chin and turned her face back, then a thumb stroked away a tear from her cheek.
“I love you too.”

* * *

So it happened, finally; Per and Eveline were a couple. They agreed not to tell anyone, at least not yet. Per was anxious to keep there fresh love out of the press and away from the gossip-loving celebrities… and he had told Eveline more than once that he wanted to take things slow. He didn’t want to rush into anything, and when Eveline then stated dryly that something had already happened, he started to explain his feelings for her, which made her kiss him, which made them end up in bed, again. The physical attraction between them was amazing.

* * *

Eveline sighed and stared at the computer screen for a moment. Per had emailed her, saying he wasn’t able to keep their appointment for that evening. He was caught up in work and would be home late… it was the third time he cancelled and appointment in almost two weeks and she missed him terribly. Their relationship was only a few weeks old and already Eveline started to notice the disadvantages of having a famous pop star as her boyfriend… hiding the relationship was one thing, they’d become quite good at it actually. But she couldn’t get used to the fact that he had so little time for her. He had told her it would get better eventually, when this Roxette album was finished. The album was due to be released in about two weeks, but things hadn’t gone as smooth as they should have. So Per was busy, all the time. He spent days and nights at the EMI studio in town. And then there was another busy time ahead; promotion. Eveline was aware of the tight schedule as she heard her colleague Anneli making plans… so she knew she had to wait for a while. It will get better in the summer, he said again in this e-mail too.

She clicked ‘reply’ and typed some of her thoughts. ‘Hey darling. So you are not coming over tonight… again. I know you can’t help it, but still it sucks. You have no idea how late you will finish there? You need to rest as well!! Can’t you come over after work? I miss you. Love, Ev.’ The moment she hit send, Eveline regretted what she had written… was she pushing too much?

In the evening
The beeps from her mobile phone startled Eveline. She had fallen asleep on the couch with the phone in her hand. Drowsily, she checked the time. It was almost ten o’clock, she’d been sleeping for more than hour, the book she had been reading lay on the floor. She read Per’s sms; ‘miss you too. hope to be home in 1 hr. wish you could warm up the bed… xxx’ That was typically him… he knew he’d let her down and now he was trying to ease the pain. Something fluttered in her belly and she got an idea. She rushed up the stairs, suddenly wide awake. After a quick shower, she packed a small bag and called a taxi.

Eveline had never used the key Per gave her. She’d been a little surprised when he gave it to her, as he was the one who wanted to take it slow. Yet he gave her a key to his apartment so soon! He explained that it would be easier because he was always late for everything and this way, she’d never have to wait outside or something… now it proved to be very useful…

Even in total darkness, she could see that the house was tidy and clean. She put on one little light next to a couch, and then went to the bedroom. His scent on the sheets made her sigh and she hoped he would come home soon.

Even though she tried hard, Eveline could not win the battle against sleep. Work was busy as always and this week had worn her out.

While Per made his way home, the thought of calling Eveline passed his mind. It was late though, she was probably asleep already. She also didn’t answer his sms so maybe she was still angry… he sighed wearily when he entered his building, over thinking all this. It tore him apart that he couldn’t spend more time with her and the closer he came to his front door, the more he regretted not calling her earlier tonight.

Eveline didn’t wake up when he threw his keys on the glass table in the living room. At that moment, Per realised that the light by the couch was on. He switched it off, nervous feeling tickling his belly… would she? He lost his shoes and jacket and tiptoed down the apartment to the bedroom. One look inside, he saw a pile of sheets with a leg sticking out… Per’s heart jumped with joy and it almost hurt, he was so happy that she was there… he undressed in the dark, as silent as he could and crawled into the bed. Eveline was still off in dreamland.

* * *

Per sighed and turned around in bed. A stripe of sunlight shone over his face, teasing him until he woke up. He opened his eyes and looked straight into the sunlight. He sat up to get rid of it and looked around. He was naked in bed and the sheets were twisted all around his body. Beside him in the bed lay Sleeping Beauty, he thought with a grin. She was naked too and he watched her sleep for a moment. The sunlight shone over her mouth and neck. She lay half on her side, half on her belly with her back turned to him. Her arms were tucked under the pillow and she had pulled her right knee up to her breasts. Per trailed a finger up her leg and admired her body. He lay beside her
and kissed her neck. She was still asleep. He buried his nose in her hair… mmm she smelled good… and she was so soft… his hand caressed her side and went on to her belly.

Eveline stirred, took a deep breath and sighed. She was waking up slowly and felt his warm hand going over her… she moaned softly.
“Hey you…” he whispered into her neck. His voice sounded hoarse and
raw and it made something tingle inside her belly.
“Morning…” she mumbled. He kissed her neck again, and lay closer to her. His chest against her back felt hot… mmm this was a nice way to wake up, she thought. She moved around a bit, leaning her ass against his belly… then felt his hardness against her. She teased him, pushing her ass against him a little more. He groaned and giggled, mouth tasting the soft skin of her shoulder. He let his hand go down and slipped between her legs… he bit his lip when he found her wet and longing, body immediately responding to his touches. His fingers massaged her carefully, in tune with the slow rhythm of the morning. She turned a little bit and made it easier for him to touch her. His
hot breath on her neck… skilled fingers between her legs… she was easily heated up in the morning and soon trembled against him.

“Per…” she breathed. He could do little but moan in reply and shifted his hips a little. He slipped inside her just like that, without any warning. Eveline gasped, “Oh!” and moved her hips in his rhythm. He didn’t take away his finger from between her legs, just kept touching her there.
“Oh… mmm.” She shivered and trembled against him while he slowly slid in and out of her, trying to make it last as long as he could. It wasn’t easy though.
“Ev… baby I… oh…” he panted in her ear.
“Yes… yes oh…” he heard her say. His hips moved faster, his fingers didn’t let go of the rhythm he was stroking her with. Just as he felt he couldn’t hold back anymore and started to shudder against her, he felt her do the same, letting out some deep moans and saying his name.

For a moment, they stayed like that. He inside her, his hand back to caressing her belly which still trembled a bit.
“Mmm…” Per moaned deeply into her neck. Eveline sighed. “What time is it?” Per looked back over his shoulder.
“Almost half past nine.” He breathed in her neck. Eveline tried to move away from him but he had wrapped his arms completely around her body, still holding her close.
“Stay here…” he whispered. He was still inside her. Eveline moaned a little, moving her hips to feel him. Then she tried to loosen herself from him again, but he still wasn’t letting go.
“No. You can’t go. I will make you stay in bed with me all day long.” She giggled.
“You want me too pee in your bed then?” Per made a disgusted face, reluctantly let go and watched her walk out of the room.

* * *

Months went by very fast. The Roxette album wasn’t finished in time. In fact, Roxette wasn’t doing too well at all. Per and Marie weren’t their brilliant selves during the creation of this album and decided to look at all the songs again, one by one. This meant a lot of work, long discussions, annoyed fans and a difficult atmosphere between them and EMI. Per knew they would make it, eventually and then this would be the best album they’d ever made. If only they could finish it!

The relationship between Per and Eveline was blooming, even though he still wasn’t able to spend a lot of time with her.

* * *

An annoying sound, very far away, made Eveline slowly wake up. When it sounded again, she sat up in bed instantly. Her heart was racing and her face covered in sweat. She had been in very, very deep sleep when the phone started ringing. Now that she sat up in bed, the nausea was back and she started to remember parts of the ugly dream she had…
“Hello?” her voice was thick and hesitating when she answered.
“Hi gorgeous.” said Per’s low voice on the other side. Eveline lay back down on her pillow and sighed.
“Hey… How are things over there?”
“Quite fine actually. You’ll never guess what news I have…” he sounded relaxed and happy.
“I think I will find out…” Eveline said and coughed.
“Hey, are you alright?” she sighed again.
“Can I call you back in a few minutes? I’m sorry I have to go now!” She threw the phone on the bed and hurried to the bathroom.

A few minutes later she flushed the toilet and took a few deep, trembling breaths. Shit she hated throwing up. Back in the bedroom, she checked the clock. Half past nine. The day was well on its way already and she had slept about eleven hours in a row before Per’s call woke her up. She went downstairs, fixed some tea and sat down on the couch. Then she called him back.
“What happened?” his tone was worried.
“Sorry about that. I am sick and I had to run for the toilet…” she answered, trying not to sound too pitiful.
“Oh no! Darling! Since when?”
“Tuesday.” It was Thursday now.
“Oooh you… why haven’t you called me, I…” she interrupted him.
“Well I knew you were busy. Because you always are.” She didn’t mean to sound so sharp but she couldn’t help it. She was feeling sick, grumpy, lonely and sorry for herself. All in all the week had been miserable.
“Ev…” she heard him sigh, then swallow.
“Well it’s over now. The album is finished and that’s why I called. I was wondering if you and me could do something together this weekend.” the happy tone had disappeared from his voice and he sounded rather practical now.
“But if you’re sick…” he wanted to continue but she interrupted again.
“I’m sorry but I don’t think I feel good enough to go anywhere this weekend. I’d rather rest some more, maybe I can get back to work on Monday then.” Again that sharp edge to her words. She closed her eyes and rubbed her temples with her fingers. She really didn’t mean to be so difficult. Really. She wanted to say nice things and she had missed him, and she did love him… but…

“Yes, I understand. Of course. Ehm… I have to go now because my taxi has arrived. I’ll call you back later, ok?”
When they’d hung up the phone, Eveline lay down on the couch and cried. Why had she been so hard on him? Why did she have to make everything so difficult? He’d sounded so happy and so relieved that the work was done and the first one he called was her. And she hadn’t even congratulated him on his work…

The rest of the day went by in a haze. Eveline showered, dressed and tried to eat something. It didn’t come back out which was good, maybe it was over now, this strange flu. She had been so sick since the beginning of the week. She’d spend the early mornings in the bathroom, the days in bed, and evenings in front of the TV with something to eat. And the next morning, she got punished for trying to eat something. It was so frustrating, because she was hungry and felt fine, except for the throwing up and feeling exhausted afterwards.

Per hadn’t called back and she felt sorry for being so nasty on the phone. While doing some EMI-work from her home computer, she sent him a quick email. ‘Sorry about my mood this morning. I am feeling much better and I can’t wait to see you. Love you!’ She bit her lip when the message was sent. Now wait and see… hopefully, he was at home sitting at his computer.

No word from Per for the rest of the day. Eveline went to bed early, wanted to get some sleep before the sun came up. She had begun to fear the earliest hours of the morning when she had been sick almost every day of the past week. A soft, beeping sound came from under her bed when she had just started to doze off. With an annoyed moan, she picked her phone up and looked at it. Per had sent her an sms. ‘You awake? Am near your house. Can I come over?’ Eveline’s heart skipped a beat. Yes! She wanted him to come over! She wanted to see him and talk to him and tell him she was sorry… She replied; ‘am already in bed. in need of hug.’ And waited.

About half an hour later, she heard the front door open and close and being locked from the inside. Some muffled sounds in the hall, footsteps on the stairs and then he stood in her bedroom. She still lay tucked away under a big pile of sheets. Per crawled onto the bed quickly and lay beside her on top of the sheets. He buried his face in her hair and breathed her in.
“Darling…” he whispered and Eveline shuddered from the sound of his low, sexy voice so close to her hear. Her response was a content moan. Per went on kissing her neck, then her cheek, until she turned around and faced him. A soft kiss landed on her lips and she smiled at him.
“Hello.” she said softly.
“Wait…” Per stepped from the bed, undressed quickly and got back in, under the blankets this time.
“Geez it’s warm here… are you having a fever?” he asked while cuddling up to her.
“Mmm no I don’t think so… maybe I am just hot…” Per giggled.
“Mmm… indeed you’re hot…” he whispered. His hands moved under the blankets and he pulled her close to him.
“Tell me where it hurts.” he said.
“My stomach. And my belly too, a little. Because I haven’t eaten anything, I think…” she answered. They found a comfortable position in each other’s arms and Per started to stroke her belly, his soft lips kissing her shoulder and neck.
“Mmm… I could fall asleep like this…” Eveline sighed. “Well. I am not stopping you.”
“No? But what is this then…?” Eveline moved her hip against the hardness in his boxers.
“Ah… ehm… that’s… inevitable. But darling…” more kisses, “Go sleep. You need it.”

Shit. He was being so nice to her, feeling exactly what she needed, after she had treated him so badly this morning. Eveline just couldn’t stand it any longer. She swallowed a few times to back away the tears before she could speak.
“I wanna say I’m sorry… for this morning. I was in a bad mood and I took it out on you.” it came out as a whisper. It was silent for a moment, and then Per sighed.
“I know. It’s ok.”
“And I love you.” she added, voice thick with tears now. Per turned his head to look at her.
“Ev? Are you crying? Honey you don’t have to… it’s ok… come here.” He took her in his arms and laid her head on his shoulder to comfort her.
“I don’t know why I am like this,” Eveline sobbed. “I behaved like a bitch but I didn’t mean to…” She wiped away some tears and kissed his lips.
“It’s ok, don’t worry. I love you.” Per said softly.

In the morning
Per felt very good when he woke up. Knowing that the album was finished somehow had a physical effect on him; he felt rested and relaxed. The place beside him in bed was empty and stared at the pillow for a moment, ears fixed for breakfast-making sounds. Instead, he heard a loud ‘bang!’ and a muffled curse. What was she doing?! At the moment he thought this, he knew. He stepped out of bed and went to the bathroom on the other end of the hall. The door was closed and he knocked.
“Ev? You ok?” he asked.
“No. Go away, I am disgusting…” she answered. He stood there for a moment and then went in while Eveline flushed the toilet. She sat on the floor in front of it, wearing a pyjama and a robe.
“Go away…” she panted.
“I don’t want you to… I am…” she didn’t finish her sentence but had to throw up again. Per walked into the bathroom calmly, squatted beside her and started to stroke her back.

At the diner table later, Per was eating breakfast and Eveline drank tea. Her face was pale as a sheet and she was still shivering.
“Why don’t you go back to bed?” he suggested. She shrugged.
“Then I won’t sleep tonight I’m afraid… can I shower first?” Per nodded and before she stood up, he reached across the table and put his hand over hers.
“I think you should see the doctor.” He said it softly but it was not just a thought, he was almost demanding it. Eveline laughed it off, stood up and gave him a kiss on his forehead.

Freshly washed and dressed, Eveline felt much better. She tore Per away from her computer, kicked him under the shower as well and then talked him into talking a walk. He didn’t want to leave the house, was lazy and tried to get her to bed again. Though Eveline wasn’t in the mood for that. She wanted to feel some cold, fresh air after lying in bed most of the week.

A little later they were walking through high, wet grass. The air smelled clean and fresh and their breath formed little white clouds when they spoke. The sky was a bright, cold and blue. They were silent most of the time and walked hand in hand. “It’s so quiet here… I never thought there would be a part of Stockholm that I didn’t know yet…” Per sighed and looked around again. Eveline had taken him to a park behind her neighbourhood, where a small, wild forest seemed to live a life of it’s own. She felt better with every step she took. Per’s phone rang and he let go of her hand to pick it up. He halted and started talking, while Eveline slowly walked on.

Minutes passed by. She turned to look at him, walking backwards. He looked very good, wearing jeans, a warm black jacket and leather gloves. His hair was fashionably messy and he hadn’t shaven. He looked serious and his body language was obvious; the conversation was business and he was not happy with it. She sighed deeply and smiled at him when he looked at her. He started walking her way slowly, still on the phone. Their eyes met, while Eveline kept walking backwards and Per reduced the distance between them with big steps. He hung up the phone just before he reached her. With the phone still in his hand, he wrapped his arms around her shoulder and pulled her close, searching her mouth. Eveline breathed him in deeply when he kissed her. His face felt cold when she touched him with her warm hands, keeping him there.

* * *

Roxette’s new album was released and hit Europe like a bomb. It was impossible to miss their new single as every radio station was playing it and it was on heavy rotation on all music-TV-channels. The planned promotion tour was expanded and also started earlier than initially planned.

It was a cold, rainy morning when they left for the first promo-tour. Typical to say goodbye in this weather, Eveline thought when she drove Per to the airport.
“Will you call me when you arrive?” she asked while she carefully drove the car through the busy short-term-parking lot of Arlanda Airport.
“Of course. It is only a short flight.” Per was a somewhat distracted by the pile of papers on his lap and he hadn’t realised that they arrived at the airport already. Per and Marie were expected to arrive in Germany in a few hours. They would stay there for a few days; interviews, TV-appearances and more interviews. Then on to Spain and Belgium. All in all it would take them almost three weeks.

“Hey.” Eveline said softly. Per looked up.
“We’re here.” She stated. Per shoved the papers in his bag and opened the car door.
“Are you coming?” he said when Eveline didn’t seem to move.
“Is that ok?” she still wasn’t sure how to act with Per when other people were around. Until now, they’d never appeared somewhere in public together. Kind of silly, knowing they used to do that all the time when they weren’t a couple yet. Per moved toward her.
“Why not? Everybody knows by now, right?” he said. With that he meant the people they would meet at the airport, such as Marie F., the band members and some EMI people…
“Yes but the press…” Eveline started. Per lay a finger on her lips.
“Let’s go.” He said and kissed her.

Walking in the direction of the departure-hall, Eveline got nervous. She didn’t know where the feeling came from, but she was expecting something. Per noticed it and grabbed her hand, squeezing it. The rest of the group was waiting in a special VIP room and Anneli stood in front of the door, talking to some guy.
“He is press. Just ignore him.” Per whispered in her ear when they came closer.
“You are on time!” Anneli said to Per after hugging them both. He only pointed at Eveline.
“Go inside, I’ll be right there…” she continued, opening the door and almost pushing them in.

A little later, the group was complete.
“Guys, are you ready?” Anneli stood by the door and waited until everyone stood up.
“Listen, we have some press here. I don’t know why they decided to go here today, but they have spotted Eveline and they are waiting outside. So you two will walk on the left with him.” and she pointed at the security guy. While bags were being picked up and the door was opened, Per turned to Eveline. He grabbed her hand and kissed her quickly.

The group left to room to walk to the departure lane. The reporters followed them until they reached a line which couldn’t be crossed; about ten meters before the passport check where only travellers were allowed. Per held Eveline’s hand tightly and he didn’t reply to the reporters when they yelled questions about the girl by his side.
“They are just jealous.” He whispered.
“Jealous? Of you or me?” she replied with a nervous giggle. Per laughed.
“Haha… me, of course!” While the others went to the pass-check, Per hugged Eveline shortly.
“I’ll call you when I get there, and I’ll see you very soon.” He said, stroking some hair away from her face.
“Yes. Be careful. Bring me a present!” she said, looking into his eyes. Eveline was surprised when he bowed down to kiss her. That wasn’t like him, he wasn’t the person to show such affection when other people were around. But now he did. He gave her a long, deep kiss which made her blush.

The group waved and off they were. Eveline suddenly felt cold. Now the normal day was going to start again… off to work. Whenever she met Marie F., or the Roxette-band, there was some magic around which was hard to describe. There was a certain atmosphere to them, something in the air which made her understand the fans very well. Totally unexpected, a man walked next to her, startling her a little.
“I’ll walk you to your car, miss” said the guy. He was with Airport-security. She soon found out why, when she entered the hall again, right into the arms of the reporters.
“Miss! Can you tell us something about your relationship…” one of them started, but he was interrupted by another guy.
“Your name is Eveline, right? How old are you, Eveline?” he asked in a tone as if he was talking to his granddaughter.
“Can I take your picture?” a female journalist said. Eveline recognised her face from newspapers articles she’d read.
“Haven’t you already then?” she replied, for the first time. It sounded harsh and she meant it that way. The woman didn’t answer, instead she took a picture at the moment Eveline lifted her head to say something.

They left when she’d reached the parking lot.

More surprised than angry, Eveline realised she had been followed, when she pulled up in front of the EMI building. A big, grey Volvo double-parked beside her car and a man with a camera came out. It was the one asking her age.
“Eveline!” he yelled when she got out of her car. She didn’t respond. Of course there was no parking space right in front of the door, and it was no use to drive into the underground parking lot; she would have to leave the office again soon anyway.
“Are you just impolite or did they tell you not to say anything?” the man said, now walking beside her.
“I don’t see why I should. Hello, goodbye, and have a nice day.”
“Are you Per Gessle’s new girlfriend?” he tried again, while taking another picture.
“Does he have an old one? I don’t want you to take my picture, please.” She slightly pushed his arm to get him out of the way so she could enter the EMI building. The security guy at the desk looked oddly at her.
“Is everything ok?” he asked. She lent over the desk.
“Yeah… that was a reporter. It seems the press has found out that Per and I are a couple…” she sighed.
“I see. They won’t get past me. It took them some time though!” he said, laughing now.

In the afternoon
“You wore something different this morning!” Dina yelled from afar. She’d just been on vacation and it was her first day back in the office.
“Hey you!” Eveline said with a bright smile and hugged her friend.
“What is this with my clothes? I went home after the meeting to change…” she continued. She’d changed her suit for a pair of jeans. Much more comfortable, even more because she wasn’t feeling too well. Dina stared at her for a moment.
“Don’t you find it strange that I know what you wore? So you haven’t seen it yet, then…” Eveline’s face looked blank.
“What the…?” “Come on.” Dina pulled Eveline over to her desk and pointed at the computer screen. It showed a huge picture of Per and Eveline, kissing at the airport… ‘New love for Per Gessle’, read the headline. The female reporter had gone straight to her office to put the article and pictures on the Internet-version of the newspaper. At that moment, Eveline’s mobile started ringing. She didn’t take her eyes off the screen when she picked up, she knew who it was.
“Hello darling…”
“Hi! I made it, safe and sound…” The line was bad and Per was talking loud.
“That’s good to know! Where are you now?” she yelled back.
“I am in a taxi. Things are a bit hectic, so I can’t talk long!”
“Ok! Listen to this; ‘A new album and a new love. Roxette-star Per Gessle kissed his girlfriend goodbye at Arlanda Airport this morning…’”
“What?!” Per interrupted her reading.
“Have they put it online already?”
“Yes, with a picture… I’ll send you the link.” Eveline stood up from Dina’s computer, formed the words ‘will be right back’ with her mouth and walked through the hall, on her way to her own office.
“And you know what! I think this one is jealous of me. Because it was a woman who wrote it!” Eveline heard Per laughing when she said that. “I’ll ask her next time. Now, I have to go, I will check my email tonight. That’s a hint.”

And of course, he found a message from her in his mailbox when he checked it late in the evening. He was exhausted, lying on the big bed of his hotel-room with his laptop. He looked at the picture which was made at the airport and sighed. It kind of made their relationship more real, more serious, now that it was no longer hidden from the public eye…

A week later
Eveline looked pale and worn out when she past Dina’s desk on her way to her own office. She was later than usual and Dina saw right away that something was wrong. Judging from the red marks around Eveline’s eyes, something was very wrong. She watched her walk by without even saying good morning. Eveline walked straight to her desk and turned on her computer. She went through some notes while making a cup of tea. She had already opened a bunch of windows and was typing programming codes in a rapid tempo when Dina came her way. She laid her hand on Eveline’s shoulder and looked at the impossible language on the screen.
“What’s up?” Eveline breathed out carefully and Dina felt her tremble a little.
“Nothing.” Dina leaned against the desk and looked at Eveline’s face. Her eyes were staring at the screen blankly, as if she didn’t see what she was typing.
“Why were you late? Still sick?” Dina tried. Eveline had only recently told her about it.
“I have a lot of work to do.” Eveline said coldly. She couldn’t help it. She had to act cold and distant or she would break down. Dina read her behaviour better than anyone else. They’d spent so much time together, it was impossible to hide anything.
“Ok. You know where to find me if you want to talk.” Dina touched Eveline’s cheek softly. Eveline swallowed and nodded, still typing. When Eveline’s phone rang, Dina walked away.

Eveline left the office early that day, without telling Dina. She didn’t have a meeting or anything, just took off to go home. After that, she stayed home for a few days. She was too sick to come to the office, but able to work from home, she told Dina in an email. Dina mailed her back, asking if there was anything she could do. She got a reply the next day which was weird; there was no one else that answered emails as quickly as Eveline. Dina was very worried by now, and anxious to know what was going on. And angry, too. Angry because no one else around them seemed to notice or care that Eveline was in bad shape.

On Friday evening, Dina was fed up with it. Without any notice, she went to Eveline’s place after work. She was prepared for anything when Eveline opened the door, but there was nothing strange about her. She looked normal, not sick at all and was dressed normally. The house was tidy, the computer was on and she had been working.

“Now can you please tell me?” Dina asked. The girls sat on the couch with a cup of tea. They had been talking about work a little. Or actually it was Dina who was making conversation the whole time. Eveline looked away. She knew she wasn’t going to get out of this; she had to explain at least something.
“Ev…. Honey I am so worried about you…” Dina said, stroking Eveline’s arm.
“My life is a mess.” Eveline stated out of the blue.
“Everything is a mess.” Silence. Dina didn’t say anything, just kept quiet and waited. Eveline had trouble finding the words.
“S-Sorry I was such a bitch. I didn’t mean to… it has got nothing to do with you. Something… ehm. It’s just that…” she sighed and turned her head, looking Dina straight in her eyes for the first time.
“I am pregnant.”

Dina almost dropped the glass she was holding.
“What are you saying?!” she almost whispered. Eveline nodded. The look in her eyes went blank and cold again.
“I found out the other day, you know when… well when I was being a bitch.”
“Does Per know?” Dina asked carefully. Eveline shook her head.
“I called him that day but we had a row. I hung up on him.” both girls were lost in thoughts for a moment, until Eveline started talking again.
“I have no idea where all this is going. I don’t know what to do.”
“How far along?” Dina wanted to know.
“About ten weeks… my first feeling was happiness you know. New life… made out of love…” she absentmindedly placed her hand on her belly.
“But I don’t know. This isn’t… this wasn’t supposed to happen. We are not ready for this. I am not ready for this…”

It was late at night when Eveline drove Dina home.
“So you don’t think it’s a stupid idea?” Eveline asked her friend for the last time when she pulled up in front of her apartment.
“No it isn’t, not at all! I think you should go. Your first idea is usually the best remember!” Eveline’s first idea was to take a plane to wherever Per was and tell him the news. But she hadn’t spoken to him since they had that fight over the phone… which was so silly. There was nothing to fight about, it was just that both were tired and fed up with the day… Dina moved over to Eveline and hugged her tight, staying like that for a moment.
“This will work out honey, I know it. I don’t know why but I have a feeling everything will be ok.” they looked at each other.
“Let me know what’s happening, ok?” Eveline nodded. She watched Dina enter her apartment and then drove home. Her mind was empty. It had done her good to tell Dina everything; it had cleared her mind a little. Maybe she would be able to get some sleep tonight.

Late Saturday morning, Eveline called her boss. Of course it was Saturday but this couldn’t wait. She needed a few days off.

Sunday evening, she packed a small suitcase. Walking to her car, she sms-ed Per. ‘hey there. what are you up to tonight?’ he replied within minutes; ‘hello darling! am in taxi on my way to dinner. can I call you tonight?’ something twisted in her belly when she read that. She was driving to Arlanda Airport.

The plane left Swedish ground exactly at five past eight and landed on Brussels Airport Zaventem little more than two hours later. Walking through the departure hall, Eveline’s belly fluttered. She was going to see him again. Anything could happen, but at least she was going to see him. Hold him, kiss him, smell him. Tell him sorry… she sent another message; ‘yes please call. are you at the hotel yet?’

She was already sitting in the cab when he replied. ‘am still at restaurant. can i call around 23:00?’ Eveline didn’t really know what to reply so she didn’t. The taxi driver was talking to her and she realised that she was having trouble understanding his Dutch… was that because she hadn’t spoken Dutch for so long, or his terrible French accent?

‘you still awake?’ said Per’s message. Eveline took a deep breath. She was sitting in the hotel lobby. Her hands were shaking when she tried to type a message and she decided not to write anything. She was too nervous to think of anything.

She’d been sitting there for at least half an hour, when a big black van pulled up at the front door. Anneli’s long blonde hair could be spotted from where Eveline sat, followed by Marie’s blonde spikes. Eveline forced herself to stay in her seat when the group entered the hotel. There were no fans and the lobby was empty except for a security guard and a girl at the reception desk. There was happy Swedish chatter and laughter. Anneli spotted Eveline first, and then Marie did, when they walked to the elevator in the hall. Anneli waved, Marie looked behind her for Per. Eveline waved back and then put her finger on her lips; don’t say anything. Anneli winked, Marie put her thumb up. Per walked a few meters behind them and was busy talking to Dimberg. It seemed he would walk on to the elevator without even noticing her, but Dimberg saw her. She touched Per’s elbow and said something, then he looked up. Their eyes met. Eveline smiled at him and stood up. After surprise, joy shone all over his face and he smiled back. He patted Dimberg on her shoulder and then left her, walking to Eveline. She walked his way too and they met in the middle of the lobby. He took her in his arms right away, breathing in and out deeply. She held him tight, clinging to him as if she was afraid he would leave her forever.
“Darling…” he whispered.

He loosened himself from her and looked in her eyes.
“It’s good to see you…” he said softly and kissed her lips. Eveline tried to smile, swallow and back away the tears at the same time.
“You too.”

On the way to his room, she asked how things were, let him talk away. She needed to think things through again, just for a moment.
“… and I am sorry about… earlier this week…” he said while opening the door to his room.
“It wasn’t the best time to call; it had been such a busy day… damn airports…”
“Per…” she stood in the middle of the room, he was walking around to place her suitcase somewhere, got rid of his coat and placed his phone in the charger.
“What?” he looked up at her. She beckoned him over with her finger, her eyes said it all. He was with her in a second, his mouth in her neck and his hands on her body.
“Oh Ev… mmm… I missed you so…” he whispered in her ear. Somehow they stumbled over to the bed where she fell on top of him, both laughing. She straddled him and bowed down to kiss him. Her kiss was hot and wild, pushing her tongue into his mouth.
“Mmm… hey hey…” Per mumbled as he broke the kiss.
“Slow down…” He sat up with her on his lap and cupped her face, looking into her eyes and kissed her softly, nipping her lips first. Then he ran his tongue across her lips, going slowly further along her teeth, then inside to meet her tongue. A passionate, sensual kiss which seemed last minutes. Eveline completely lost sense, undergoing his mouth, eventually moaning with lust. She took her coat off and started to unbutton his shirt.

She unbuttoned only a few buttons and let her hand dive inside. His chest was warm and she let the soft little hairs run through her fingers. She lost focus when his kiss became more urgent and wild, moving his tongue faster, his hands squeezing her buttocks seemed to leave fire on her flesh. He picked her up and lay her down on the bed, then broke the kiss. Eveline gasped, she was in desperate need for air. Per stood beside the bed and started to undress. Eveline forgot to do anything. She just watched him, biting her lip. Watched his shirt come off, eyes running over his tanned chest, on to his hips… he lost the jeans… her eyes went further down. She pointed at the last thing he was wearing… that had to go too.

Per lay beside her on the huge hotel bed. He started to fumble with her t-shirt, but she pushed his hands back.
“Hey… that’s not fair…” he protested. She sat on top of him, holding his hands above his head and kissed his mouth. Her breasts rested on his chest and he could feel a hard nipple. He tried to free his hands but she held them firmly.
“Ev… honey… I want to…”
“Shhh… later…” she told him. Per sighed and leaned his head back when she left his mouth to kiss his throat. Her mouth went on to his ear, licking, nipping. She let go of his hands to feel his chest. She licked his nipples which made him giggle. Her tongue left a wet trail down to his belly. She held his hips in both her hands and kissed and licked and teased… Per’s hand went through her hair and he moaned deeply when she took him into her mouth and started sucking gently. He grabbed her shoulder, wanted to push her away.
“Oooh… No no… oh Ev no…” No?! No was not the answer, she thought. She let him go for a second and looked him.
“What does ‘no’ mean?” Per panted heavily and seemed to shiver.
“I mean… oh… I can’t…” her hand played with him again.
“Ev…” it was the last thing he could say before she took him in her mouth again. No mercy, no going back. She knew exactly what to do and it took no more than a few seconds, then he came. His orgasm washed over him as a wave, his back coming off the bed, belly trembling and a deep groan left his throat.

They lay side by side on the bed and Eveline was still dressed. Per had wrapped a leg around her and his face was buried in her neck.
“Honey…?” he softly asked.
“I feel a little guilty…” Eveline giggled and went through his hair with her hand. “Don’t…”

She sat up. She was completely relaxed, filled with love for him. This was the right moment, she thought. This had to be the moment. She walked over to the mini-bar and looked inside. She came back with two cold soft drinks and sat down on the bed cross-legged in front of him.
“I have something to tell you.” she sat, meeting his gaze.
“Aha. I already thought you didn’t come all the way from Stockholm just to…”
“Ah!! Enough… haha… no I didn’t come all the way to bugger-French-speaking Brussels to suck you. That’s right. I have something serious to tell you.” she looked down at the bottle in her hands and bit her lip. The sadness she’d felt before was gone, now replaced by fear. Fear of his reaction, fear of refusal, denial, whatever… fear of something negative from him. She searched for some comfort in the silence but there wasn’t any. So she spoke, choosing her words carefully.
“I am expecting…” she lay a hand on her belly, “…a child. Our child.”

His eyes widened more with every word and his jaw dropped when she said it. He looked at her, into her eyes, forgot to breath. She looked back, eyes screaming for help; please say something. Anything!

Per was still lying on the bed, staring at her in the deafening silence around them.
“When did you find out?” his voice was hoarse and soft.
“Last week.”
“How far along?”
“Approximately ten weeks…” He moved over the bed to her and laid his head in her lap, just like that. He wrapped his arms around her waist, his face pressed against her belly. He breathed in deeply and hugged her even tighter. Eveline wasn’t sure what to make of this.
“A baby… in here?” he looked up at her, she nodded. Finally, a smile spread across his face.
“Our baby?” he asked again. Eveline smiled too now.
“Yes… our baby of love…” it sounded like a question.
“How do you feel?” he rested his chin on her belly.
“Scared as hell…” she answered with a giggle in her voice. The heavy tension seemed to be gone now.
“Scared? Why? Don’t you want it?” he looked concerned now. Eveline sighed.
“I don’t know… I am scared because I don’t know how to handle it, I think. And I don’t know… what to do. What we should do.” Per looked away for a moment, over thinking her words.
“What was your first feeling?” he loosened his self from her and sat up straight.
“Uhm… may sound like a cliché, but I felt happy. A miracle growing inside me. And then I thought of… how much I love you…” she bit her lip and blushed, but kept looking at him.
“So we are having a baby.” Per stated. He had to say it out loud to believe it.
“We are?” he looked puzzled when she said that.
“What makes you so doubtful?”
“I-I… wasn’t sure what you would say and… well this is so sudden. We’ve only been together for…”
“Darling.” He leaned to her again.
“I love you. We are having a baby… I can’t believe it.” his hands cupped her face and he kissed her softly. His cheeks got wet from her tears and he broke the kiss, only to take her in his arms and hold her. She laid her head on his shoulder and let the tears run down. It was fine, she could cry now. She was safe in his arms and had no plans of ever letting go.

They talked all night long. Eveline told him everything she had felt, feared and thought. Told him about the morning-sickness she had been trying to hide. The little voice in the back of her head, screaming that something wasn’t right. Her period that started to act strange, the mood swings, the weird feeling in her stomach telling her that something was going on. Per held her close to him the whole time, listened to her and comforted her.

“What exactly happened ten weeks ago?” he suddenly asked in the dark. Eveline was half asleep already. She laid on her side, cuddled up to his back, her face resting in the curve of his shoulder. She slid her hands across his chest.
“You were in Barcelona for this… meeting with some music-guy or something… remember?” oh yes, he remembered.

Their laughter could probably be heard on the other side of the hallway in the hotel…


Eveline arrived at the hotel around ten in the evening. Per had left a note at the reception that she had to take a taxi to Mare Magnum on at the end of Las Ramblas, the driver would know it. There he was going to have dinner with some people and afterwards end up in a bar or something. She called him when she was in the room.
“Hey it’s me, I’m at the hotel.” she said. There was a lot of noise in the background, people talking and loud music banging.
“Hey there! Wait!” he screamed back. She heard him walk away and the music faded a little.
“Where are you?!” she asked him laughing.
“Hehe. Hi darling. I’m in a club, are you coming over? I’ve missed you.” Eveline lay on the big hotel bed and sighed.
“Actually, I’m a little tired…”
“Oh please, please come over! I already had a few drinks, you have to catch up.” He giggled.
“I can’t wait to see you baby… come over here and dance with me…” he whispered and made her laugh.
“Haha… well I can’t resist that, can I?! I’m going for a shower first, and then I’ll get a cab… which club is it?”

About an hour later, a taxi dropped her off at the entrance of the club. The shower had washed some of her tiredness away and the thought of seeing Per again made her belly tingle! She had dressed up, ready for some fun. What she was wearing was actually very simple; a tight, short skirt, tank top, leather jacket and high heeled boots, all in black.

The club was big and full with people. Loud, pumping beats filled her ears. Eveline walked through the pub, to the bar all the way at the end. It took her a while until she found the only familiar face there; Per. He stood by the bar, talking to some people. He was so busy with the conversation that he didn’t notice her first. She went to the other side of the bar, which was in a round shape. She ordered a drink, and asked the bartender what Per was drinking.
“Give him one from me, with kind regards.” She said with a grin. The bartender was not impressed though.
“Are you sure? Do you know who he is?” he said with a smart-ass look on his face. Eveline laughed out loud.
“Yes I know who he is. Why, is that a problem?” she asked the guy, who kept staring at her.
“Well, no, but I think he’s not impressed if you ask his attention this way.” He replied.
“We’ll see.” She said, paying for the drinks. Some guy next to her started a conversation in Spanish. She replied in English that she didn’t understand him, which made him even more interested. In the meantime, her eyes followed the bartender to the other side of the bar. He tapped Per, who was leaning against the bar, on the shoulder and passed him the drink, pointing at Eveline. Then their eyes met. He smiled at her and she blew him a kiss. The guy next to her was very annoyed by this.
“Hey, excuse me, I am talking to you!”
“Sorry. I have to meet someone. Bye!” she said and left him there. She walked around the bar as quick as she could, pushing through groups of people until she finally reached Per.

He took her in his arms right away, hugging her for a moment. Then he held her at arms length, looked at her and gave her a sweet, short kiss.
“You look gorgeous” he whispered in her ear.
“I missed you” she whispered back. Then it was time for introductions. Per introduced ‘my girlfriend Eveline’ to the four EMI people that were with him. One of them was supposed to keep him company the whole time he was in Spain, to take care of the hotel reservation, a chauffeur, dinner, the schedule, and so on. The other three were kind of important people in the higher EMI level. Eveline wasn’t really interested, even though they were international colleagues. She was only interested in Per… gosh she had really missed him. It wasn’t fair. She finally had him, and now he was away all the time…

They spoke English with the Spanish EMI people and this made Eveline think back of the tour-period. There she sometimes spoke English to Per without even noticing it, just because she had been doing so for most of the day and had gotten so used to it. Living in between three languages hadn’t been easy then.

“So now I am your girlfriend?” she asked Per when they had a moment together.
“Aren’t you then?” he replied.
“Yes but I thought you didn’t want to tell anyone…” she said, eyes looking away. Per snuggled her neck.
“Mmm… I don’t care anymore. The world can know that I love you… I am too proud to hide it…” he said softly and kissed her.
“How have you been?” he asked and stroked her cheek softly. Eveline smiled and looked into his eyes.
“I was sick this week. It lasted until yesterday and I almost reconsidered the trip, but I decided it couldn’t get any worse, anyway so…” he interrupted her.
“You were sick?! What happened? Why didn’t you tell me?” he said, looking worried. Eveline laughed it off.
“Ah don’t worry, it was nothing. Just the stupid flu, nose running and stuff. It made me loose weight though, my throat was too sore to eat anything.”
“But now you are better?”
“Yeah, it suddenly stopped yesterday.” Per’s face was thoughtful for a moment, then naughty twinkles filled his eyes. He placed a hand on her hip…
“Now where did you loose weight then? Tell me. Not from any of my favourite spots, I hope, mm?” he whispered into her ear. Certain sensuality in his voice and his hands trailing along her ass made her gasp.
“Hihi… I don’t know… you will have to find that out later…”

Per and the Spaniards seemed to have a lot to talk about and Eveline got a little bored. Per tried to get her in the conversation as well but she wasn’t really interested. She was still in a party mood and when one of her current favourite songs was played, she made her way to the dance floor alone. It was impossible to get Per with her; he refused to dance to ‘this kind of music’, as he put it. So Eveline danced, and enjoyed herself while trying to stay away from too enthusiastic male hands around her. Per wasn’t able to keep his mind to the conversation anymore once his eyes caught Eveline on the dance floor. He stared at her, following every seductive move she made. He watched her hips swaying from side to side and the way the black skirt tightened around her upper legs.

Eveline went back to the bar when the song ended and Per held up a drink for her. She stood beside him, got her drink and leaned back against the bar, slightly out of breath. Her hip bumped against Per’s and he nearly jumped.
“Ev.” he said softly close to her ear.
“Yes dear?” she replied, sweet as sugar.
“What are you doing to me…” While he said that, he turned away from her slowly towards the Spaniards. Some of them were leaving and it was time for goodbyes and see-you-soon’s and so on. After shaking hands, Eveline excused herself to go to the toilet.

There was a hall of toilets in the back of the disco. The music came through the walls as one heavy beat and Eveline suddenly felt tired when she looked at herself in the mirror. She washed her hands and checked her make up, played with her hair a bit… then she heard her name somewhere. First she thought the alcohol was playing games with her, but then she heard it again. She opened the door just enough to look outside. There were only single toilets in the hall; one side for the ladies, one side for the men. Per approached her, looked around, slipped inside the toilet and locked the door.
“Hey! What’s this?” Eveline said with a smile.
“I was wondering what’s taking you so long.” Per replied. Eveline’s attention went back to the mirror and she continued fussing with her hair.
“Oh, nothing really… just a girl-thing…” she answered and was about to say that she thought it was time to go, but she didn’t get the chance. Per suddenly grabbed her arm and pulled her to him. His mouth searched hers and he hungrily pushed his tongue inside, kissing her forcefully. Eveline almost lost her balance as she tried to stay on her feet and answer his kiss at the same time. He grabbed her waist and he pulled her to him quickly, supporting her.

“Per…” Eveline panted when he let go of her mouth to catch his breath. He pushed her back until she stood against the wall of the small, damp toilet.
“Ev…” his voice was low and deep and a shiver went through her… when he said her name, excitement shot through her belly. They didn’t say anything else; he just leaned in and kissed her again. He tried to be softer but he just couldn’t, he had to have all of her at the same time. His hands raced down over her body to grab her ass, moulding her flesh and he pushed his body forward, crushing her against the wall. Her hand dropped down to his crouch. He was hard, very hard. She moaned approvingly and squeezed softly, causing Per to gasp.
“Oh babe…” he panted. “It’s been like this all day long… because I knew you were coming over…” he hissed in her ear.
“Really? Oh you poor darling… maybe we have to do something about that…” she replied with the same low, horny voice. Then she opened up his pants, just like that, and freed his strained part.
“Ev! What are you doing… you can’t… Ah!” Per whispered loudly.
“Take me Per, please. I need you.” her voice was thick with lust, but steady and sure. He didn’t need any more encouragements, was already pulling up her skirt. His hands brushed along her black lace thong for a moment, and then pulled it aside. Two fingers explored her hot, wet centre and she bit his neck.
“Come her you…” she groaned into his ear. She pulled one leg up and Per held it with his hand. His other hand was on the wall behind her. With one move, he was deep inside. He nearly screamed but kept it in just in time, letting out a deep moan in her neck instead.
“Oh dear god…” he whispered softly, holding his breath.
“Ja… ja kom… oh…” Eveline said, not really aware that Per couldn’t understand Dutch. He pushed inside her hard, pounding her against the wall. Then he waited and looked at her.
“Go on. I need it, oh go on…”she breathed. Her head leaned back against the wall and her mouth was open, hands clutching his shirt. He took her quick and hard against the wall of the toilet, the loud beat of the disco pumping in his ears. She whispered all kinds of horny encouragements, making him go completely crazy. His deep, hard thrusts made her burn inside. His face was buried in her hair and he held his breath and came, releasing deep inside her.
“Oh… oh darling…” he kept repeating while catching his breath. They almost fell to the floor when they let go of each other.


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