Eveline III – Elin

I will feel much better when I get home, Eveline thought, sitting in the back of the taxi. Home is better, it will be much better.

Per said beside her with a sleeping Elin in his arms and was staring at her the whole time. Eveline shifted in her seat. Sitting was a problem. Lying down would be much better, when they got home.

When they got home, Eveline’s family was there of course and they were overjoyed. After tea and cake, Eveline excused herself and went upstairs to feed Elin. They both took a nap after that, but Eveline couldn’t really rest. Every time she closed her eyes something came up in her mind. Something that she had to remember, something that she was planning to do, anything. Something that just stuck on her mind, like the way Per looked at Elin in the taxi home. Oh and he was supposed to start that project next week, the thing with the British girl. She really needed to get some sleep now, because in two hours… oh was Elin asleep? Yes she was. Steady breathing. Oh she will wake up in two hours or something. I have to get some sleep… Have to…

Eveline was about to doze off when Elin started to wake up again. Eveline looked at her clock; it had been three hours since the last feed. Elin had been sleeping for three hours. She listened to her daughter making little smacking noises, yawning and groaning. Then she started to cry. Eveline listened to that for a while, and then got up again.

Richard and Christina were supposed to start school in a couple of days, and Eveline’s father had to get back to work. Her mother was going to stay a little longer. She asked if Eveline needed some help, and she had said yes. The nurse was a great girl, but Eveline felt a big need to have her mother around her.

Per was walking on clouds all the time. His daughter was the best thing in the whole world. She was the prettiest baby ever. She would be the prettiest girl ever. She looked like her mother… once he started talking, there was no end!

* * *

“Eveline… honey…” Eveline’s mother entered the room carefully.
“Hey, I made some tea, are you coming down?” she asked with a smile, standing beside the bed. Eveline moaned something and opened her eyes slowly.
“How long did I sleep?” she said, looked for the clock.
“About three hours. It’s time to start the day now, come on! Elin needs to be fed too.” Her mother muttered, going around the room and picking up some dirty clothes. Eveline looked at her. Her mother couldn’t hide the worry in her voice, even though she tried hard to act normal.

Elin was now almost a week old and Eveline still wasn’t good with this feeding thing. She kept falling asleep all the time – night and day – when she was supposed to do a feed or while she was feeding. Per had gotten up a few times to get Elin and then he had to wake Eveline up to make her feed the baby. Eveline felt like there was nothing in the world that could get her out of bed now. Then she heard Elin cry downstairs, loud, and very very sad.

“Now come on honey, she’s hungry. We tried to get her to sleep but she really needs her feed now.” Her mother said again. Eveline got up, slowly to give the dizziness time to pass. She put some track pants that lay beside the bed and strolled downstairs. The nurse was walking up and down the room with Elin.

“Oh there’s your mama darling, here she is now…” she whispered and smiled. Eveline sat down on the couch and took Elin in her arms. The tiny baby was one big bunch of raging energy, but when Eveline held her for a moment, cuddled her and spoke to her, she slowly calmed down. Soon she was letting out content little moans while sucking milk.

Per quite suddenly walked into the lounge room and the three women looked up.
“Hello ladies!” he said with a bright smile. He walked directly to the couch where Eveline was nursing Elin.

“Oh look at my beautiful girls…” he said with a smile and carefully said down beside them.
“Hello…” Eveline said, voice still a bit thick with sleep.
“Hey you… you look sleepy, did you just wake up?” he asked. Eveline confirmed with a nod. Per turned to the nurse.
“Is it normal that she is so tired all the time? You can’t seem to wake up…” he mumbled. The nurse sat with them.
“Yeah, it’s normal to be over-tired after giving birth. It takes a while before your body recovers! But I think this week you might try to take a walk outside, maybe with your mother and leave Elin with me?”

The nurse was a smart girl. She looked at Eveline with her friendly little face, freckles around her nose and blond curly hair all around her. Eveline didn’t like her anymore.

* * *

There was a lot to do, and a lot to learn for Eveline. She got into some kind of schedule where she took care of Elin together with the nurse, fed, slept, ate, fed… and so on. At the end of the week, her mother was going home. Per was going to take her to the airport, after she’d cuddled Elin and Eveline for a long time.

When the door closed behind them, Eveline went to sit on the couch. Elin lay in her arms, looking up at her mother with those big brown eyes.
“You know what… we are alone!” Eveline said softly and smiled. The nurse was out, Per and her mother were gone… indeed they were alone. For the first time ever, Eveline realized.

“Finally alone. What shall we do? Wreck the place? Eh? Throw the TV out of the window?” She held Elin closer to her and blew some air into her face. Elin blinked and looked startled and extremely funny. Eveline giggled and blew again. Elin opened her mouth in surprise, and Eveline did it again. Now Elin laughed too… her mouth formed a big, wide, teeth less smile.

Eveline laid her girl beside her on the couch and sat with cross-legged, looking at the little miracle.
“I can’t believe it. Can’t believe you are a part of me…” she mumbled, her finger in Elin’s mouth. Elin sucked and kicked her legs. She kept looking at her mother.
“How am I ever going to do this right?” Eveline said out loud, looking at Elin.
“Can you tell me darling? Mama is so scared you know…” her voice started to sake. She picked Elin up and held her tight against her.

* * *

A few days later, the nurse also left. Eveline thanked her for all her help and gave her a little present. Their housekeeper had gotten the present for her because Eveline still hadn’t been out of the house. Elin was nine days old now, but going out seemed a major adventure for Eveline. In the past week she’s also seen most of the people she knew, once or sometimes even twice. Marie Fredriksson and Marie Dimberg were on top of the world with the “little princess”, as they called her… Dimberg had called yesterday and said she wanted to organize a picture…. A photographer who they knew quite well would come over and take a couple of pictures of the new happy family, to give to the press.

So, it happened that a photographer entered their house after all. It was different this time though because he wasn’t a journalist, he was a professional photographer who had already taken a lot of pictures of Per in his career. He’d brought an assistant who helped them choose what to wear and she also did their make up. Eveline looked in the mirror and her heart skipped a beat. Was that her face?! The girl had really done her best to give them a natural, yet rich look. Now with her face all powdered, her eyes lighting up by some tricks with white eyeliner, the amazing lashes that appeared after using a certain type of mascara… Eveline didn’t recognize herself anymore. Her stomach turned when she heard Per call.

“Are you ready?” he said from the hallway and then walked into the bathroom.
“Wow…” he gasped a little when she turned around. She was wearing dark blue jeans that looked worn and old in a fashionable way, with a big dark grey pullover. This combination made her look huggable and sexy at the same time. Simple black sneakers completed the picture, adding to the cute-effect because her jeans were too long and hanging over the shoes. She looked at him for a moment. He was wearing something that matched her perfectly, both colours and fabrics.
“You look great!” Per said with a big smile and touched her hair, brushed and carefully manipulated to frame her face perfectly.
“Let’s go!” Per said, eager to get things over with. Had he looked closer, had he just taken a moment to really look at Eveline, he might have seen the tears in her eyes.

But he never really looks at me anymore anyway, Eveline though bitterly. She regretted the thought immediately and told herself to stop being unreasonable.

* * *

The pictures turned out wonderful, a black and white composition of a smiling happy family… they appeared in almost every newspaper and gossip magazine all over the country. Eveline stared at the front page of Aftonbladet for a long time. Unbelievable that it was her. If someone would have told her this would happen, when she just arrived in Stockholm, she would have laughed so hard…. But now she was in the middle of it, in the middle of her new life.

Eveline dropped the newspaper to the floor and turned around. She lay on her bed with her clothes still on, listening to the silence around her. Elin was now two weeks old, Eveline still hadn’t been outside, Per was out for dinner with his colleagues. And the new girl, she would be coming over tomorrow to sit with Per in his studio upstairs. A young British singer who Per was supposed to make a hype out of.

A small sigh. Eveline’s mind was empty. Blank. She drifted off into sleep, thinking of nothing. She had a dream where she was floating around in the air, naked, only white clouds around her. She saw Elin, floating too, a lot bigger than she really was. Elin laughed at her but then floated away from her… further away… out of reach…

Eveline awoke with a shock. Elin was crying. She stood up and hurried to the baby’s room.
“Darling…” she said softly. She stood beside the crib and laid her hand on Elin’s tummy, rubbing a little bit. Thank god I woke up… Eveline thought. I am starting to learn it, maybe.

She picked Elin up from her crib and held her to her. It wasn’t time for her feed yet, so Eveline just held her for a moment, walked around the room with her, trying to calm her down. She sat in the rocking chair for a while and started reading a book, out loud, to Elin. It was a Dutch children’s book that her parents had brought. After ten minutes of reading, Elin was sound asleep.

Eveline put her back in her crib and stood at least ten more minutes beside it, just looking down on her beautiful child. Although her days went by in a haze, moments like this were clear and amazing.

She almost jumped when she turned around and saw Per standing in the doorway.
“Oh my god! You almost gave me a heart attack…” she whispered to him, and pushed him out of the way to close the door behind her. He was still wearing the suit he went out in and she smelled cigarettes and alcohol when she passed him. Eveline walked to their bedroom.

“Are you going to bed?” Per asked, whispering. Eveline nodded, starting to take off her jeans. It was almost half past ten. Per started to undress on the other side of the room too, folding his clothes over a chair, while Eveline just piled hers up at the end of the bed. She stripped to her panties, then put on some pyjamas. She felt Per’s eyes on her and turned her back to him.

“You had a nice evening?” she asked while walking into the bathroom. He followed, wearing only his boxer shorts. Eveline started to brush her teeth and looked in the mirror. Per stood behind her.
“Yeah, it was ok, but quite busy. So many people there… gave me a headache.” He said and took some aspirin from the cupboard. He quickly swallowed one with a few gulps of water and then looked at her in the mirror again. He thought of asking how her evening had been but… he would get the same answer.

“Fine.” She said when he did ask, like he expected. He put a hand on her hip and wanted to say something. Eveline took a small step to the other side, leaving his hand hanging in the air. She was now finished brushing her teeth and was rinsing her mouth, leaning forward over the washbasin. Per looked at her ass sticking out in his direction. He remembered what it felt like to place his fingers on that soft, elastic skin of hers… remembered how she would push her ass into him whenever she had the chance, teasing him at the most impossible moments.

“Goodnight.” She said, leaving the bathroom.
“Ay!” Per said, quite loud. Eveline stopped in the doorway and looked at him. Per was brushing his teeth. He beckoned her to come back in and she did, looking annoyed. Per held his finger up as in, just a minute. He quickly finished brushing his teeth, rinsed, washed his face and looked at her again. Eveline leaned against the wall, her arms crossed in front of her chest, a thunder storm forming over her head.

He walked to her and kissed her on the mouth. He was fast, she couldn’t avoid it. His kiss was careful but demanding, he tried to make her open her lips. She didn’t though.
“You do look beautiful when you’re angry.” He said with a low, angry voice and left her there.

* * *

It was quite some work to get everything ready for a walk outside, Eveline thought. She had just put Elin in her pram and buttoned up her own coat. She sighed and looked around a little. She couldn’t think of anything she’d forgotten to do. Elin was tucked in nicely, she was wearing a hat, tiny mittens, had a blanket over her, had a little stuffed animal to her side. Everything looked fine.

Somewhere in the back of her mind, Eveline knew it was weird, to say the least, that both she and Elin hadn’t been out for a whole month. But there was this other thing inside her that kept her from going out. Especially other people saying to her that she should, made her less willing to do it.

It was the fifth of October, Elin was exactly one month old. It was a gray day, the sun only occasionally peeked through the thick bunch of clouds and the streets were quiet. Everybody was at school or to work, and Eveline could walk around almost unnoticed.

She returned home after about twenty minutes, one slow walk around the block. She leaned against the wall of the elevator, breathing deeply in and out. Her legs were shaking and her heart was thudding against her chest. Somehow she had gotten extremely tired when she was almost home. The last meters seemed to last hours, and now she was totally exhausted. She was afraid she could fall to the floor every minute.

Eveline nearly cried when she entered the house. Elin was already crying; she was hungry. Eveline leaned with her back against the wall, still unable to breathe normally. She slowly let herself slide down until she sat on the floor. She had to try to control her breathing now, otherwise she would sure start to hyperventilate.

Calm down, act normal, breathe in, breath out… she told herself a couple of times. She took a while to concentrate on her breathing, while Elin was crying louder and louder in her pram. She was kicking her legs, the pram moving slightly.

Eveline stood up slowly and took her coat off. She picked Elin up from her pram and held her, still shaking.

She was already buttoning down her blouse when she suddenly heard voices coming to the lounge room.
“Oh, hey, I didn’t know you were here…” Per’s voice sounded a little disturbed.
“I was just about to give Elin her feed…” Eveline said and closed the last buttons on her blouse. Elin was lying on the couch, still crying a little.
“Hello Susannah.” Eveline said to the girl standing next to Per. Susannah looked up and smiled at Eveline.

“Ok, so ehm, well, we’ll have lunch in the kitchen then.” Per said. He obviously felt how the temperature in the room had dropped at least ten degrees.

“No, it’s ok, I was planning on taking a nap anyway. Have a good lunch!” Eveline answered. She took Elin and left the room.

* * *

Eveline was sitting up on her bed with her back against some pillows, feeding Elin. The TV was on very softly and Eveline flicked through the channels without really seeing anything. A knock on the door startled her a little.
“Who is it?” she asked, holding Elin a little tighter.
“It’s me, can I come in?” Per said on the other side of the door. Eveline looked at herself. She had changed into track pants and wasn’t wearing a shirt.
“Uhm, yes.”

Per walked into the room and looked at her for a moment, standing in the doorway.
“Is lunch over already?” Eveline tried to sound as nice as she could.
“Yeah, it was just a quick bite. Listen… uhm…” Per came a little closer to the bed, stood there for a moment and then sat down beside her. He sighed, looking at Elin.
“What?” Eveline asked.
“You were going to say something.” Elin was finished drinking and Eveline laid her down for a moment to put on the t-shirt that lay beside her. It was an old shirt from Per. Eveline stood up from the bed and put a little cloth on her shoulder, then picked Elin up. She always walked around a little bit with her after feeding, and usually she would let out a loud burp and sometimes throw up a little. She had already stopped throwing up, but still burped a lot, like most little babies do.
“Can I?” Per said and held his hands out. Eveline smiled at him and nodded. She gave Elin to him and put the piece of cloth on his shoulder.

Per slowly walked around the room, tapping Elin’s back softly. Eveline lay on the bed and looked at him. She had to swallow a couple of times, her chest tightened and eventually, she turned her head.

There was something that made her into an impossible person when Per was around. And now seeing him with Elin, so sweet, such a good father, such a lovely guy… she felt bad. She wished she hadn’t been so harsh on him lately. But yet, she couldn’t get herself to change her behaviour either. He always seemed to trigger it, even when she didn’t want to.

Elin burped loudly and made some smacking noises.
“Good girl.” Per whispered. It made Eveline smile in spite of the tears stinging behind her eyes.

“She’s almost asleep, shall I put her in bed?” Per stood beside the bed, leaning over Eveline. She nodded, sleepy.

Per was back a couple of minutes later. He sat on the side of the bed, even though Eveline kept her eyes closed.
“I know you’re not sleeping.” He said. Eveline opened her eyes and looked sheepishly at him.
“Listen, if you have a problem… well if you don’t want… ehm, I…” he stumbled. Eveline sat up a little bit and looked at him. He took her hand from her lap and held it in his hands.
“Something tells me you don’t like the fact that Susannah is here. We can also work at EMI, if you prefer that, but I want to be as home as much as I can.” He spoke. He needed to catch his breath and looked at her. Eveline looked at her hand in his. Tears were back.
I love you!!!! she thought. I looooooooove you!!! went through her mind. But she didn’t say it.
“And uhm, if-if something is… wrong, I mean, eeeh, if you’re angry with me, I’d like to know. And what I can do about it.” he kept looking at her face until she looked up at him.

His eyes looked so sad, Eveline gasped when she looked into them. She opened her mouth to say something but her throat was dry and thick. She couldn’t speak. Instead, a sob escaped her. Tears started to stream down her cheeks.
“Oh honey…” Per mumbled. He moved closer to her and took her in his arms. He held her face to his chest and stroked her hair.

“Please tell me babe, I can’t stand it when you are so sad. Please tell me what’s wrong.” He whispered to her.
“What did I do wrong.” he added barely audible.

After a moment or so, Eveline let go of him and crawled back under the blankets. She sniffed, couldn’t stop crying. Per’s belly twisted painfully.
“Hey…” he said softly, leaning over her. She didn’t respond.
“If I can do anything, let me know.” he whispered. Then he kissed her cheek softly and left the room.

* * *

Entering the studio, Per was deep in thoughts and almost tripped on the stairs. Susannah was sitting cross-legged on a big leather chair. She was reading a magazine, with a lollypop in her mouth and her big headphones playing loud music in her ears.

Per was confronted with the white panties under her skirt. He sighed and walked past her to his own chair, patting her shoulder. She looked up at him and smiled.
“Ready? How was the baby?” she asked with her childish voice.
“Fine, she’s asleep now.” Per mumbled. He was going through a pile of papers.
“Can you do that chair-song again? Rocking Chair?” he asked her. Susannah nodded and stood up. Per pushed some buttons. Susannah adjusted her shirt.

She was really a nice girl. She was very polite, tried hard to do everything right, looked very good and had an amazing voice. There was only one thing though; she was as dumb as a post…

Susannah and Per spent a lot of time in the studio. They usually started quite early as Susannah preferred to sing in the morning. They worked alone most of the time, sometimes Per consulted Christoffer or Clarence over the phone. After a couple of weeks, they had twelve songs on their list to present to EMI.

Eveline seemed to struggle through the days. Per didn’t always notice because he didn’t see her that much, as she seemed to avoid him. She slept a lot, took short walks with Elin – very short because she still didn’t have enough energy to get to the end of the street – and pretty much ignored the rest of the world.

“Ev, are you sleeping?” Per crawled in bed. It was just after eleven and Eveline had been in bed since shortly after dinner, said she didn’t feel well.
“No.” she said softly. Per moved to her side of the bed and laid a hand on her arm.
“I was wondering… uhm, tomorrow, we have this… EMI thing about Susannah’s album and stuff. Marie (D) will also be there and she was asking about you. So I thought, maybe you would like to join us?” he lowered his voice a little bit, coming even closer to her. He could feel the warmth of her body on his and for a moment, a hint of passion shot through him.
“I can’t leave Elin alone that long, and I am too tired to stay out a whole evening. Sorry.” Eveline answered.
“Oh yeah… yes of course. I thought it would be nice for you to, ehm well to do something fun. But maybe it’s too soon then.” he mumbled a little bit. Eveline smelled of fresh shower gel and a bit sleepy. Impulsively, Per leaned down to place a soft kiss in her neck. He kept his mouth there a moment, breathing her in.
“Love you.” he whispered very softly. Then he turned around and switched of the light. Eveline didn’t reply, just stared into the darkness.

* * *

The dinner party wasn’t really big, just some EMI people, Per and Susannah and Marie Dimberg. Per had asked her to join him to the party because Eveline had said no. Marie wasn’t really planning on going on the first place, Per only said that to Eveline to try to persuade her in joining him…

Anyway, he went to the restaurant alone and of course everybody was already waiting. It was a posh French restaurant and everybody was wearing suits and nice dresses. Of course Susannah was the only one in casual clothes. It seemed to have become her trademark to wear too short skirts. Tonight she was wearing an army green one, which barely covered her legs. To complete it she wore thick black stockings, high heeled black shoes and a black sweater was hanging from one shoulder, exposing a bra-strap.

Marie and Susannah had saved a spot for Per in between them. From the very beginning, Per was being pushed from side to side… the women didn’t like each other at all, and there was no way for Per he could talk to both of them at the same time. Marie placed a hand on his arm if she was going to say something while he was talking to Susannah. If he didn’t reply fast enough, she’d squeeze his arm. So then he talked to Marie for a while, until Susannah patted his shoulder. When he didn’t reply fast enough… Susannah laid her hand on his upper leg.

“Per…” she said and her hand softly lay on his leg. Per almost jumped.
“What?” he said, promptly turning his face her way. Susannah bit her lip and her big eyelashes batted at him.
“Uhm, can you pass the salad?” she asked with her face tilted to one side. Her warm hand still rested on Per’s leg but she had to take it away when he passed the salad. Per turned back to Marie with blushes on his face.

Per couldn’t stop himself from staring at Susannah every couple of minutes. She didn’t eat much. That was no surprise though, with a waist like that! She was too thin to be healthy, he thought. Then again most of her thin waist was compensated by her bosom; she had to be at least a D-cup…

He told himself to stop staring. Fool. She is a witch.

Between the last course and coffee, Per went to the men’s room. He almost got a heart attack when he came out; Susannah was standing right in front op the door, leaning against the wall. Per laid a hand on his chest and breathed out.
“Oh I didn’t mean to startle you… hihi” she said. Her voice was sweet as sugar.
“That’s ok. Listen…” he started. He wanted to tell her that what she did wasn’t very professional. But when he saw how she licked her lower lip in a sensual way, he stopped talking.

Someone walked through the hall and entered the men’s room. Per went to stand closer to Susannah and he spoke with a low voice; “You can’t play games with me young lady, so please stop being silly. It’s not professional.” he said. He could have been her father for God’s sake…
“Mhm…” she sighed in a way that made Per gasp. She moved one leg and rubbed her shoe along his leg. Per didn’t respond and walked away.

The witch. The goddamned witch. Per thought this while he was laying in bed, next to a sleeping Eveline, several hours later. Susannah’s behaviour had been suggestive for the rest of the evening. Not only to him, also to other men present. She even flirted with one of the EMI hotshots who was already in his fifties! What was this girl thinking? She was only 19 years old but already had the illusion she could just do what she wanted?

He tossed and turned and couldn’t sleep. Every time he closed his eyes, another image of Susannah appeared in front of him. She was either naked or barely dressed in every image he saw.

* * *

A month later

Eveline stared at herself in the mirror. She looked amazing, truly amazing. Her hair and make up was done by a stylist and she was wearing a black designer dress. The fact that the dress was three sizes bigger than what she’d worn before she had Elin didn’t even bother her that much. She was wearing it because Per had told her to come to the party with him tonight. He hadn’t asked it, he had told her.

“You’re just going to be there tonight and act normal, ok?! People are starting to act like I am single and I can’t stand it anymore. We are a couple and we should act like it.” he had said quite loud and slammed the bathroom door behind him, earlier that evening. By that time, the stylist was already drinking coffee in the lounge room. The good thing was that Martin was a close friend of the family and Eveline had no problem to let him do her make up and help her with the dress. Martin had picked it out, guessing both her her size and taste exactly right.

Eveline sighed and tried to smile at herself in the mirror. Oh… better not smile when you’re not really in the mood for it. It doesn’t look so good then…

Per walked into the bedroom dressed in a tuxedo and smelling gorgeous of after shave.

“Listen uhm, sorry about, well you know. I just, I…” he stumbled and came to her. Eveline was still standing in front of the mirror. Per came to stand behind her and softly touched her bare arms.

“You look gorgeous, you know that? And… I just need you to be with me tonight.” he said, looking at her in the mirror. Eveline stared back and tried smiling again.
“It’s ok.” she said softly.
“So am I forgiven then?” he asked, a boyish grin on his face. It made Eveline laugh in spite of everything she felt at that moment.
“Yeah yeah…” she said. Per kissed her cheek, then turned her face to him with his hand to kiss her mouth. She let him, even kissed him back. He made some satisfied sounds… it had been ages since they shared anything intimate, even a soft, sweet kiss like this.

Per held her hand all the way in the car to the location EMI had hired for Susannah’s release party. He was in a euphoric mood, for more than one reason. Of course it was always a glorious feeling to finish an album, even when you don’t particularly like it… besides that, Per didn’t have to do anything else tonight than pose for the press, tell them ‘oh yes we had a great time recording and blah blah blah’, and pose on a picture with Susannah and her parents. And of course, party a lot. And he was happy that she was going back to the UK really soon.

All these thoughts tumbled through his head when they arrived at a big grand cafe where the party would be held. Susannah would also perform live with her band and a lot of press were there. Per and Eveline entered the cafe through the front door, walking through a storm of flashing camera’s. With Per’s arm firmly around her waist, Eveline tried to stay steady on her feet while her vision got blurry and her breathing stalled.

Eveline managed to get inside without dropping to the floor.
“Are you ok?!” Per asked, fear in his voice, carefully supporting her with his arms around her waist. He pulled her with him to the ladies room and she went inside. She came out a few minutes later and Per almost jumped on her.
“What happened?” he asked, his arm around her again right away.
“I just got dizzy, but it’s over now. I’m ok.” she assured him with a smile.
“Honey, I was scared to death…” Per said, hand on his chest. “Does this happen often?” he looked at her intensely while they slowly walked through the hall to the party room. Eveline shrugged.
“It’s more annoying than scary… don’t worry.” Eveline mumbled in reply.

At the party, Per didn’t leave her out of his sight for one second. He needed to touch her all the time; a hand on her waist, and arm around her shoulder… he even grabbed her hand occasionally.

Per was not the possessive type, the reason he was close to her all the time was just that he now had a reason to do so. The kiss he gave her before they left the house had touched him deeply. He could still feel his belly tingle when he thought back of it. Something about her tonight was making him act as if he’d just fallen in love with her… or maybe it was just that he needed to touch her really bad. He’d dreamed of making love to her about a hundred times in the past week alone, he thought. He was watching her from a distance now for the first time that evening, just after Susannah’s performance when everybody was talking to each other.

“Per!!” he heard someone shriek. He turned around and frowned. Susannah was coming his way quickly and threw herself into his arms. She had just changed in her dressing room – wearing another ridiculously short skirt.
“We have to be on a picture, come on.” Susannah pulled him with her to a group of press standing close by.

Eveline saw them from where she sat, how Susannah dragged Per with her towards the press. They posed for a while. Eveline looked away when she saw Per’s hand rest around Susannah’s waist.

“So…” Per held a glass of champagne up at Susannah. In the haze of all the glasses he’d already drunk, she didn’t seem all that witchy anymore. So he raised his glass at her, they drank together, and he hugged her when she opened her arms. The party was almost at its end.
“Will you come see me in London when I start my tour?” He walked with her to the hallway where she got her coat.
“It depends on what I’m up to at the time, but I’ll see what I can do!” he promised, patting her shoulder.

Susannah put her coat on and then looked around her. Her parents and manager were waiting for her by the door. She pulled Per’s sleeve and took him to a quieter place.
“Kiss me, quick!” she whispered and pushed him to the wall and her body into him. Per barely knew what hit him until he realised she was actually going to kiss him. He raised his hands to push her away, but instead she pushed her big breasts into him once more and his hands were filled with her soft, young flesh. Her body was warm and tender against him and Per gasped, opening his lips to let her tongue in. His own flesh grew harder and harder very fast.

Per’s hand sneaked around Susannah’s back and he pushed his hips into her. Her hand was there quickly to massage him. A low growl left his throat while he moved his tongue quickly in and out of her mouth.

“Oh Per you make me so wet…” Susannah’s childish voice squeaked when his mouth left her to catch his breath. Per looked at her and suddenly, something snapped inside him.

“Bloody hell!!” he yelled and pushed Susannah off him. She fell to the floor, flat on her ass.
“You witch…” Per hissed to her. He grabbed her wrist and pulled her to her feet. He squeezed her wrist, hard, and pulled her to him, his other hand grabbing her head.
“You know I am with Eveline. You don’t have the right to… to…” his voice slurred and he suddenly heard voices; Susannah’s mother was coming to look for her. Per let go of her and walked away, passing her mother in the hallway. Eveline was standing by the wardrobe with Per’s coat in her hand.

“We’re leaving.” he said, voice tight.
“Finally.” Eveline answered, voice equally as tight.

* * *

Ringgggggg! Ringgggggg!
Per woke up from the sound of his mobile phone ringing. In a reflex, he sat up in bed and pushed the bed sheets away. Blurry vision, a pounding head and a wave of nausea reminded him of all the champagne. He stumbled through the room and got his phone out of the pocket of the pants he wore the night before.
“Hello, did I wake you?” It was Åsa.
“Uhm, yeah…” no way to hide, she knew instantly.
“That explains a lot. You were supposed to pick up Gabriel at eleven and you’re fifteen minutes late.” She didn’t sound angry, she just explained that he was an asshole.
“Uhm… I eeeh, I didn’t know that, did you speak to Eveline about this?” he asked, sitting on the side of the bed. He hadn’t heard Eveline get up, otherwise he wouldn’t have overslept.
“Yeah, she said she would make sure that you… well never mind. Shall I drop him off in half an hour then?” she asked sweetly.

Per hurried to get ready and half an hour later, Åsa was there. The housekeeper had opened the door. “Oh Åsa I’m so glad you’re here…” the girl said with a desperate look on her face.
“What is it? Where’s Per?” Åsa said. She found him sitting on the couch half dressed, half in state of shock.
“Papaaaaaaaaaa!” Gabriel screamed and crawled all over his father. Per hugged him and stood up from the couch with Gabriel clinging to him.

“She’s gone. They’re gone.” He said to Åsa with a soft, cracked voice. Åsa looked at him as if he was mad.
“What the hell are you talking about?!” she said, half smiling. Per held up a piece of paper.

“Honey, I’m going away for a while. Will call you soon. Love, E & E.”

Åsa’s mouth fell open and she stared at Per. He shrugged and walked out of the room with Gabriel on his tail.

* * *

Per kept Gabriel with him for a couple of days, as he couldn’t stand the thought of being alone. He tried calling Eveline’s mobile several times but she never answered. She also didn’t reply to sms-es or voicemail messages. He sent her a couple of e-mails but she hadn’t opened them. He’d thought of calling her parents, because his biggest fear was that she went to Holland…

Will call soon. Will call soon. When the hell is soon?! Per thought. She’d left on Friday and now it was Sunday and she was still gone. Vanished into thin air. And she had taken Elin with her, along with some stuff. Per had found out that a small amount of Eveline’s clothes were missing, her laptop and some other personal things and a lot of Elin’s stuff too.

It was seven o’clock in the morning. A strange time for Per to be awake on Sunday but the past few days, he couldn’t even remember sleeping at all. Gabriel was in bed with him, hugging Eveline’s pillow and his legs wrapped all around the sheets. Per leaned over to him and kissed the top of his head. A stab in his chest when he smelled Eveline’s shampoo on the pillow.

He stood up, careful not to wake Gabriel and went to the bathroom. He looked in the shower and found Eveline’s shampoo. He picked up the bottle, opened it and smelled… tears stung in his eyes. Why did she… Suddenly he heard a strange sound, a buzzing sound. Quickly he ran be to the bed and took his mobile phone out of the drawer. He’d set it to still because Gabriel was sleeping with him. The caller was ‘anonymous’.

“Hello?” Per said softly while tiptoeing out of the room, closing the door behind him.
“Hi.” Her voice was soft and sounded very far away. Per had to fight the urge to scream.
“Hi Per.”
“Oh my god. I am so happy that you’re calling. Is everything ok? I mean, are you alright? Where are you? How is Elin?” he rambled on and on. When he finally shut up, Eveline spoke again.
“I have to keep my voice down because Elin has just gone back to sleep. We are fine. Well, I am not fine, but… uhm, we are safe.” She almost whispered. Per was sitting on the floor in the hallway and leaned against the wall, his eyes closed.

“Honey, I… I…” Per stumbled. The words didn’t come and he swallowed hard.
“Shush… let me talk please, I practised, ok?” Eveline said. He heard some ruffling.
“I… I’m having some problems with myself I need to solve. Since Elin was born, or maybe already before that… I don’t know. But I have to work some things out and I need to do that alone.” Eveline’s voice trembled a bit. Per bit his lip, oh please don’t let her start to cry, he wouldn’t be able to stand it.
“I love you.” he said softly. He simply didn’t know what else to say.
“I thought things would work out, but they didn’t. And then you and Susannah…” Eveline continued, but her voice broke when she said that name. Pre covered his mouth with his hand.
“I just don’t know anymore. I don’t know anything. But we are safe, so don’t worry ok.” Eveline was crying now but she tried to keep as silent as possible.
“Ev… it was… oh my god. Did you… I… she…” Per almost choked on the words.
“We can talk about that later. I have to go now or Elin will wake up. I will call again when I feel better. Goodbye.”

She hung up without waiting for him to answer. Then she fell back onto the bed and cried in her pillow.

A week went by and Per spent most of his time at home. He was either in bed or in his studio, mobile phone always at hand. It rung a lot but he rarely picked up when he saw who was calling him. He spoke with both Marie’s sometimes. EMI called him to inform him that Susannah’s album had gone gold in it’s first week. He didn’t give a shit. He couldn’t even stand the thought of that girl.

He wrote piles and piles of letters to Eveline and threw them all away. He didn’t know where to send them, anyway.

He was about to go mad, he needed to DO something. He looked at his phone and considered calling Eveline’s best friend, Dina. Then he looked back at the bottle of Jack Daniels on the table. It was half empty and it had been full when he started… so he’d better not make that phone call. Tomorrow, he would call Dina tomorrow.

After more Jack Daniels, Per dozed off. He slept and slept, there didn’t seem to be and end to it. He hadn’t slept that long in ages. He had a lot of dreams about Eveline, and in all of them, he was leaving her for someone else and she was heartbroken.

* * *

“Hello?” Dina ran to pick up the phone from the side table.
“Hi Dina, it’s me, Per.”
“Oh! Hi… your timing is perfect.”
“Uhm, it isn’t?”
“Yes it is, sorry, I don’t mean that sarcastically! They are both asleep at the moment.” Dina said. Her voice was soft and kind. Per let out a trembling sigh.
“Oh thank god… so they’re with you…” he breathed.
“Yes, they’ve been here since last week. I wanted to call you but Eveline strictly asked me not to, so actually I was waiting for you to call me! Now I am not to blame, because you made the call, hehe…” Dina said. Per was still processing the news.
“So, uhm, how are they?” he finally asked. Dina sighed and thought for a moment.
“Mmm. Elin, she’s fine… oh Per your daughter is amazing, she is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. She isn’t having trouble with this situation at all. She adores her mother, she likes me, and she seems to think everything is just fine. She’s a happy baby, please don’t worry about that.” Dina said, rambling on a little bit.
“And Eveline?” Per softly said, a crack in his voice.
“Well, that’s a different story. I will just say it, and it’s not nice, but she’s miserable. She’s a wreck.” Dina said, her voice getting softer. Per swallowed.
“And uhm, well, how can I best describe it… remember when we were kids and hated everything? When we were sixteen, seventeen and the whole world sucked. Your parents were your enemies, teachers even worse… the world was a horrible place. That’s the way Eveline has been acting.” Dina said and stood up to get a drink. With the phone between her shoulder and chin, she continued.
“She has been very silent since she got here, but yesterday I think something burst. When I came home from work, she was lying on the couch, crying. Turned out she had been like that all day. We got into a fight about something, and then she also started yelling at me and stuff. The end of the story was that life in general sucked, and the way she’d screwed up, there was no way back.”
“But…” Per started. But I screwed up!!! Per thought.
“What?” Dina asked.
“No, no, never mind. Go on.”
“After that dramatic nonsense, we went to bed and this morning she got up the same time as me and said it was a stupid fight. I was relieved! So it turned out fine, but for a moment I was really worried…” Per heard how Dina stretched out and yawned. He glanced at the clock; almost eleven.
“Do you think I can talk to her?” Per asked carefully.
“Oh I don’t know Per… she doesn’t want to talk to anyone. I think she hasn’t even called her family in a week. You know, when people get like this, really depressed and angry and sad and stuff, they seem to turn against the people they love most…”
“Oh, so I should feel lucky?!” Per said bitterly. Dina sighed.
“Of course not, I just… well I just want to make you feel better I guess. How are you doing?” she wondered.
“Pff… I’m not. I can’t sleep, I am not doing anything. I am just waiting.”

There was a moment of silence between them.

“Do you think I can talk to her soon? Can you ask her? I have no idea what to say, but…” he asked again.
“I will try. I promise. I’ll tell her that you called me and that we spoke. If things turn out ok, she’s going to visit a psychiatrist on Wednesday, who knows what happens then.”
“Ok. So will you call me?”
“Yes, I will call you when I have news. But you’d better not call me again, because I don’t know how she will react when you are suddenly on the phone.”

* * *

Dina told Eveline about the phone call the next day after dinner.
“He called here?” Eveline said with wide eyes.
“Ev, come on, he’s no fool. He could’ve guessed. I was surprised he didn’t call sooner.” Dina said. Eveline stared at the teacup in her hands.
“Honey… he sounded very sincere. And I think he deserves to see his little girl.” Dina said, voice softer. Eveline nodded and looked away, her eyes watery.

* * *

Dina called Per quite late on Thursday evening.
“Hi Per, it’s me, Dina! Sorry to call you so late…”
“No problem, I’m not an early sleeper.” Per replied. He turned away from his desk and shoved another pile of paper in the bin. Nothing good was coming from this whole situation; all Per’s creative processes were on hold. He couldn’t produce anything that was NOT about her. Them.

“Ok here’s the situation now. I managed to get Eveline to a psychiatrist. She went there last Wednesday and I don’t know what this lady did, but when I cam home from work, Eveline was making pasta and we spent a lovely evening together.” Dina said. Per smiled at the memory of Eveline’s pasta…
“So ehm, then today, she suddenly said that she agreed that you should see Elin. She was a little nervous about calling you, so she wants to prepare. I think she will do that tomorrow after dinner. I have no clue what she will say to you but I have the feeling she’s going in the right direction.” Dina concluded, taking a deep breath.
“Oh wow… oh… I uhm, thank you, ehm…” Per stumbled.
“I think you need a lot of patience Per. But I also think she still loves you a lot.” Dina said softly. Per was silent for a moment.
“I hope so. Did she talk to you a lot?”
“Not in the beginning, but this week she has.”
“Did she… uhm, say anything about Susannah?” Per asked. He leaned back in his chair, staring at the ceiling. He heard Dina sigh.
“Yes she… ehm… you don’t have to explain anything to me Per, honestly. I don’t have any…”
“No, no, I want to.” He interrupted her.
“As far as I know, it was nothing, right?” Dina said firmly. Per confirmed.
“Well then. That’s what Eveline also knows. But that doesn’t make it easy to ignore it. So it’s not Susannah that she worries about, it’s not the fact that something happened, it’s the feeling that she drove you to it, that bothers her.”
“Oh no…” Per sighed, his voice thick.
“Per… don’t go mad over it, this subject will come up when the time is right.” Dina said in a calming tone.
“But she’s wrong… she never… I didn’t…” again, Per was lost for words. This was highly annoying and he decided it was no use. He ended the conversation with Dina and thanked her again for all her help and wise words.

Eveline called Per on Friday night, as Dina had predicted, after dinner time. Per hadn’t really noticed the time because he was working in the studio again, and he was just about to clean up the remains of his pizza, when she called him. His heart pounded out of his chest from the moment he heard her voice until minutes after her call. But he had heard what she said: she had invited him to come over to Dina’s house on Sunday afternoon, around two. He could visit Elin then. She didn’t want to talk about anything because she was still quite miserable. But he was Elin’s father and he had every right to see her.

* * *

Per had a knot in his stomach when he rang Dina’s doorbell at exactly two o’clock, Sunday afternoon. Dina opened the door.
“She wants me to stay. Please ignore me ok!” she whispered and patted his back when he went to the living room.

Eveline sat on the couch sideways, legs pulled up. Elin was lying on the couch on a small blanket. Eveline stood up when Per came in. He hugged her tight, had to tell himself to let go. She didn’t really hug him back. She was wearing old jeans and an old sweater and she looked like she hadlost weight. Her hair was fumbled into a messy knot and her face was pale as a sheet. Yes, Per had looked forward to seeing her. Now his heart broke again, to see her in this state.

He picked Elin up from the couch and held her up in the air, in front of his face.
“Hey there gorgeous! How is my girl? Eh? Are you daddy’s big girl?” he made her giggle by moving her through the air and soon the room was filled with bursts of laughter. Then he sat down with her on the couch. Eveline had taken a chair on the other side of the room. Dina poured some coffee and sat down in between them. Silence hung strongly around them, accept for the funny noises Elin made when Per played with her. Dina saw that Eveline looked the other way, her face completely blank.

After about an hour, Elin had fallen asleep on Per’s lap. He’d played with her, cuddled her, sniffed her, kissed her, held her, fed her… and then he knew it was time to go. He asked Eveline if he could put his daughter to bed and she nodded. He followed her up two stairs, to Dina’s attic. There was a single bed there and Elin’s carrycot. It was nice and warm on the attic and everything seemed to look fine. Small and not very private, but fine. On their way down, Per suddenly turned around on the stairs. He looked up at Eveline, her eyes staring strangely at him.
“I miss you both.” He whispered and laid her hand on hers, which was resting on the banister. She looked at it, still that weird look in her eyes. She seemed to be miles away. When she smiled at him, Per pulled his hand away.

Walking to his taxi outside, Per felt sick. He breathed the cold air in deeply and took a moment before getting into the car. The look in Eveline’s eyes had scared him because there was no look, there was nothing. Her eyes were just empty when she looked at him.

* * *

Their next meeting was a little unexpected. Per had tried calling Eveline a couple of times during the week but she never picked up her phone. When Per was on his way home from a meeting on Thursday evening, she suddenly called him.
“Hey, it’s me.” She said. She tried really hard to sound nice, he could hear that in her tone.
“Hello darling. How are you?” Per asked as normal as possible.
“I’m… ok. I went to the shrink for the second time today. And uhm, I was wondering, if you’d like to come and visit Elin tonight.” She mumbled a little bit. Per thought for a moment.
“You mean right now?”
“Yes, if you can.”
“Yes, hold on!” he told the driver that there was a change of plan and he wasn’t going home after all. He arrived at Dina’s house a little later.

Dina opened the door and her eyes widened.
“Wow… important thing tonight?” she said, looking at his suit. Per grinned and stepped into the hall.
“Eh, I’m visiting my girls!” he whispered. He grabbed her arm when she wanted to walk to the living room.
“Hey… I want to thank you for all this. I feel kind of stupid coming here, visiting… and stuff. And you are doing so much for us… thanks.” He blushed a little bit, a shy smile around his lips. Dina chuckled.
“You’re very welcome! Now come on in.”

Eveline was sitting on the couch with Eveline in her arms, feeding her with a bottle. She was still nursing her but had made a bottle with her own milk. She stood up when Per came in and pointed to the couch.
“Hey. Sit down.” she said with a smile. Per did so and stared at her. Her eyes were different again. Not normal, but not as freaky as last time either. Eveline carefully laid Elin in Per’s arms, temporarily taking the bottle out of the girl’s mouth. She was about to scream, but stopped in her tracks when she saw Per. The baby stared at him with her mouth open and Per giggled.
“Hey you, beautiful thing…” he whispered to her and kissed and hugged her tight, his face on her tiny round belly. Elin made a lot of noise and moved her arms up and down, hands going for Per’s hair.

Per spent a silent moment with Elin alone, while the girls were upstairs , busy with something. They said what they were going to do when they went up stairs, but Per hadn’t even seen them leave. He was drowning in Elin’s huge brown eyes. They seemed to get bigger and deeper every time he looked into them.

He looked up shortly when Eveline climbed on the couch with him a little later.
“I think I’m in love.” He said to her with a warm smile and then looked back at Elin again. She had been following every move he’d made since she laid in his arms.
“She already wrapped you around her tiny finger, hasn’t she…” Eveline replied with a soft chuckle. Per took a moment to look at Eveline now.
“You look better than Sunday.” He said. Eveline nervously fumbled with her shirt and looked away.

“Honey, I…” Per started. Then Dina walked into the room. She looked at Per, then at Eveline, who both stared at her.
“I’m gonna make some tea…” she mumbled with red cheeks and disappeared to the kitchen.
“Don’t Per.” Eveline said when Per was about to continue. She was studying her sweater again.
“I think we have a lot to talk about.” Per said. Elin had finished her bottle and he put it on the table. Then he rubbed Elin’s tummy a little bit, before he put her on his shoulder and started patting her back.
“I-I can’t talk now. I have been talking too much today already.” Eveline said. She looked at Per who walked around the room a bit.
“You should take this…” Eveline said and stood up with a little piece of cloth in her hand. At the same time, Elin burped and threw up a little bit of milk, on Per’s suit and in his neck…

White baby-vomit slowly dripped from Per’s shoulder.
“Shit.” He stated dryly. Eveline couldn’t help but giggle, and from giggling she went to laughing, especially when Elin was making loud happy sounds and started to chew on the fabric of Per’s jacket. He hadn’t had time to take off his jacket when he came in, because Eveline had been so eager to let him feed Elin. Eveline stood behind him now to wipe his shoulder, while Elin was looking at her from the other side with a grin.
“Honey, you threw up all over daddy’s expensive suit! How could you!” Eveline was laughing when she said this, just when Dina came in.

“Oh-oh…” Dina said, putting tea and cookies on the table.
“Yeah yeah, very nice! I am covered in vomit and you are laughing about it!” Per said semi-annoyed. Dina saw the twinkle in his eyes from her side of the room.

When Eveline had cleaned up most of it, she took Elin from Per. He carefully let go of her and took his jacket off. For a moment, they stood very close to each other. Eveline held Elin and kissed her head. Elin leaned against her and they looked so sweet… so lovely… Per touched Eveline’s cheek and she looked up at him in surprise, eyes wide.

He quickly pulled his hand away and went back to his place on the couch. Dina was pouring tea and pretended not to have noticed anything. They drank tea, Dina tried to keep a conversation going and Eveline put Elin to bed. Eveline said goodbye to him at the door when he left. When they hugged shortly, Per smelled her shampoo… she used the same shampoo as she did at home. The smell was still in his nose when he sat in the taxi.

The next couple of days were hard for Eveline. Together with her psychiatrist, she had made a plan to get her life back on track, because that was the one thing she needed, wanted, but couldn’t do on her own. First of all, she went to the gym on Friday. She had the shakes when she went in, half expecting to either faint out of stress or run into Tommy… the dizziness and blurry vision were a result of small, almost unnoticed anxiety attacks, the psychiatrist had explained. This happened often to depressed patients, he had told her. Depressive… Eveline had A Depression. It sounded like something the weather-guy would say. But on the other hand, she knew and had seen it coming, even before Elin was born. She had been expecting it, waiting for it, and comfortably slipped into it… and now it was time to pick up the pieces and move on, as Dina had stated thoughtfully.

So, Eveline went to the gym. It turned out to be easier that she thought! Of course she was wrecked when she came back, and really needed her afternoon-nap, but she felt like she had already conquered one of her problems… from now on, she would try to go to the gym at least twice a week. She would have to depend on Dina to take care of Elin, like today when she happened to have a day off. Or maybe Per… maybe he could… mhm… Eveline was lost in thoughts about this on her way back to Dina’s house. She had taken the subway and now walked a couple of hundred meters home.

Per was another thing on her list. She had to get together with him to talk, really talk, about everything that bothered her. Yeah it was easy for the shrink to say that!!

After a lot of thinking and with all he muscles aching from the gym, she sent him an sms late Saturday night. It was already after eleven but she expected him to be awake. He called her right back.
“Hey, it’s me!” he said. She heard him walking around.
“Hello… are you home?”
“Yes, I just got home. What’s up?” he was a little out of breath.
“Uhm, well eeeeh… I… well you know I told you I had visited my psychiatrist on Thursday, right?”
“So uhm, he said, well, eeeh…” Eveline stumbled and sighed. She was pacing up and down the living room. Elin and Dina were already sleeping.
“What is it babe? You can tell me anything you know.” Per said in his sweetest voice.
“Yeah… hm, ah well, I am depressed, that’s what he said, the shrink, and he thinks, uhm, no, we made a plan, a plan for me to… mmm… to take.. to make my life better.” She managed to get out. Why the hell was this so damn hard?! Her throat had gone all thick and she didn’t know where to start. And of course it made no sense what she said.
“Yes, I understand. And you need to take some steps? Solve some problems?” Per asked, helping her out. Eveline confirmed that.
“So… am I one of the things on your list?” he asked. Eveline couldn’t speak. His voice sounded so sweet through the phone, he sounded so close, so near, so… she could almost feel his presence through the phone.

“Well, basically… I wanna tell you that… uhm, I’m sorry…” she mumbled and then her voice broke. Per heard her take a deep, shaky breath.
“Oh darling…” he whispered. He was sitting on a chair in the kitchen in the dark, he hadn’t bothered to switch on the lights when he came in and called Eveline right away.
“No, let me say this,” Eveline said, sniffing and roughly wiping away the tears with her sleeve.
“I have been a complete fool, I know that, and I know I have acted pretty strange lately and… and I want to make it up, I want things to get… uhm, to get normal again, a-and that everything is like it used to be and… stuff.” she cried into the phone. She was now laying on the couch, curling around a pillow, her face hidden in one hand.

Per had to swallow hard before he could speak. Hearing her cry on the other end of the phone was torture.
“Eveline…” he whispered her name and she started to cry harder.
“Honey, you are miserable now and this is… this is all horrible. But I am so happy to hear you say all these things.” He barely got it out.
“I love you.” She whispered very softly. Per’s heart jumped.
“You do?”
“Mhm. I love you and all I want is you. But I have to… I have to get back to myself…” she spoke more relaxed now.
“I’m so sorry…” she added. Per sniffed.
“I love you too.” He said.

It was silent for a moment. Eveline was the first to speak, now sitting up on the couch, brushing away a few tears.
“Uhm… now this might sound very… stupid… but ehm, what are you doing for Christmas?” she said. Per laughed.
“Hehe… that’s a very subtle way to change the subject! Ehm, I will go to Halmstad on the 23rd, and will be back here on the 25th.”
“Ok. What do you say if we have dinner together on the 25th? And take a walk through the forest in the snow? Maybe Gabriel wants to come too…” she was careful, her voice sounded a bit shy, but she had taken a huge step.

The next day, Eveline drove Dina to the airport. She was going to celebrate the holidays with her family in some ski-resort in Switzerland. Eveline and Elin waved goodbye at her and then got into Dina’s car again. Eveline sat there for a moment, looking at Elin who was strapped in a car seat next to her. Elin yawned and mumbled a little bit, making Eveline giggle. The baby’s big eyes flew her way immediately to see what the fuss was about.
“It’s just you and me now kid.” Eveline whispered. She usually spoke Dutch to Elin, without really thinking about it. She leaned her chin on Elin’s belly and pecked her chubby cheek. Elin waved her little arms up and down, made some funny noises and started to pull Eveline’s hair.
“Ow! You think I should get my hair cut? Mhm… maybe that’s a good idea!”

Eveline drove to the city instead of going home. With Elin in a baby pouch, she walked through Stockholm’s busy streets. It was cold and she had zipped up her jacket with Elin under her, just her tiny hat sticking out.

She walked into a hairdresser where she’d never been before. It wasn’t easy to get your hair cut in a relaxed way with Elin either screaming in the background or not wanting to sit still on Eveline’s lap… But in the end Eveline was delighted with the result. Her hair was a lot shorter and framed her face perfectly.

* * *

It was about half past two on the 25th of December. Eveline was standing in the kitchen and almost jumped when the doorbell rang. She quickly wiped her hands on a towel and rushed to the front door.

Gabriel was in first and he hugged her so tight that she only saw straw blond hair for a moment. She held him close to her and hugged him tight back.
“Where’s Elin? Can I play with her?” he asked, his arms wrapped around her waist and his face looking up.
“Yes, she’s in the living room, in her new playpen! Go and take a look!” Eveline said and patted his ass when he ran off.

“Hello Ev.” Per’s dark voice sounded close to her suddenly. She turned around, a little out of breath, and he was right in front of her. He gave her a bottle of wine and a kiss on her forehead. He smelled lovely.
“H-hi…” she stumbled, overwhelmed by… well by his presence actually. He seemed so… so big and handsome and… uhm…
“Are you ok?” he asked. Eveline’s cheeks reddened slightly.
“Yes fine! You smell good…” she said and quickly turned around to walk into the living room.

Per followed her with his eyes when she walked to Gabriel, sitting on his knees beside Elin’s playpen in a corner of the room. She ruffled his hair and talked to him in a soft, loving tone, explaining that Elin was still very little, but quite smart and able to play with him if he was careful enough. She was wearing a pair of smooth black pants and high heeled black shoes, with a black top and wine red silk blouse on top. Simple, elegant and, according to Per, sexy as hell.

Per ducked away just in time and the snowball hit his right shoulder.
“Hey! That’s not fair!” he yelled. Gabriel and Eveline were throwing snowballs at him together, while Elin was strapped to Eveline’s belly. She was facing forward, laughing loud at all the white fluffy snow flying through the air. Per couldn’t throw any snowballs back at Eveline because she carried Elin, and she hit him with almost every throw. Gabriel brought her another ball and she hit Per’s chin.

“Ok that’s it!! Now you’re gonna get it!” he said and walked her way fast. Eveline shrieked, held Elin tight and tried to run away. It took Per only a minute to get to her and he pushed a handful of snow in the back of her neck.

Eveline screamed scared Elin and she started to cry.
“Oh dear… look what you did!” Eveline said to Per, eyes twinkling. She was brushing the snow out of her neck.
“Oh honey did daddy make you cry. Yes dear, he’s an awful man, I know… he’s been so mean to mummy, yeeees…” she said softly. Elin kept screaming. Per held her while Eveline loosened the pouch.
“Come here my sweetie… don’t listen to your mother ok? I am the nicest guy in the world. She’s just a crazy woman.” He said and cuddled Elin and kissed her.

Per took his jacket off for a moment and a little later he was carrying the pouch, Elin now with her belly to him. She had laid her head on his chest and occasionally closed her eyes a little bit. Eveline and Per walked in silence for a moment, watching how Gabriel tried to make a mini-snowman.

Per looked at the blue sky, few clouds here and there, sun shining… things almost seemed normal. He decided NOT to fight the urge, and took Eveline’s hand in his. Both wore gloves but the gesture stalled her breath anyway. She squeezed his hand and when he looked at her, she blushed.
“Oh dear…” Per whispered.
“What.” Eveline said, not looking at him.
“You were blushing.”
“No I wasn’t.”
“Yes I saw it. That’s cute.”
“I wasn’t. I’m just cold.” Eveline chuckled.

Another silent moment. Gabriel came to pull Eveline with him. He had completely forgotten about the half-made snowman and was now looking for a big stick. With this stick he wanted to hit trees so that the show would come down from the branches… Per looked at them for a while, how they ran around between the trees. When they finally found a big, heavy stick, they started to hit trees and indeed the snow came falling down.

A little later, Eveline joined Per again while Gabriel ran around hitting trees. Eveline’s hair was now completely covered I snow.
“Hahaha you’re doing a good impression of a snowman now!” Per said. Eveline stuck her tongue out at him.
“How’s the Muppet?” she asked and peeked into Per’s jacket. Elin was asleep, drooling all over Per’s pretty shirt. He stroked her cheek softly and had that in-love look on his face again.

Now Eveline grabbed Per’s hand, quite suddenly.
“Can I ask you something?” Eveline said in a serious tone. Per nodded, eyes on Gabriel.
“Do you want to tell me about Susannah?” Per turned his head instantly and looked at her. Eveline bit her lip.
“I wanna know.” It almost sounded like an apology.
“Of course.” Per said. His throat was a little dry and he had to think a while and take a deep breath.

They were on their way back to the car already and Per finished the Susannah-story.
“So then, we stood in that hallway and… uhm…”
“And then you kissed her.” Eveline stated.
“You saw that?” Per wondered, his heart skipping a beat.
“No, I didn’t see it, but I came to look for you and… eeeh, I heard some growling. I knew it was you.” She said. Per sighed ad stopped walking. They had reached the car and Eveline opened it for Gabriel. Then she took Elin from Per and strapped her into the baby-seat in the back.

She stood in front of Per, playing with the car keys.
“Did you… eehm, were you… in love with her?” she asked, trying hard to look at him but also didn’t rally dare to.
“Never.” Per answered without thinking.
“I didn’t even like her. The only moment of weakness was… was when I’d had a few drinks and… uhm, I guess it was just… I was too surprised to do anything when she kissed me.” He sounded quite helpless. Eveline nodded and looked right into his eyes.
“Ok.” She said. Then she pointed at the car and they got in.

* * *

Dinner was fun but over before they knew it. Eveline and Per were a little too careful, a little shy with each other. This resulted in a lot of attention for Gabriel, because Elin was already in bed by the time they had dinner.

They watched a Christmas movie on TV. Eveline sat on the couch, Gabriel cuddled up against her. Per looked at his son, how he had laid his blonde head against Eveline’s belly, his little arms wrapped around her, his cheek rubbing along the silkiness of her blouse every now and then. Smart kid, Per thought.

Eveline put Gabriel in her bed at around nine; the poor kid could hardly walk upstairs by himself. When she came back down, Per was sitting on the couch, flipping through the channels. He turned the TV off when she came in. Eveline hesitated for a moment, then sat beside him.
“One last thing I want to say about Susannah.” Per started out of the blue. Eveline’s wineglass stopped halfway her mouth and she looked at him.
“Apart from the fact that you look a hundred times better than she did,” he said with a grin. Eveline rolled her eyes.
“… I also fell in love with your brain. Susannah lacks everything in that direction. That’s a major turn off.” He concluded with a joke. Eveline shook her head.
“Gessle…” she mumbled.
“Ev, I swear, I never considered…” she held her hand up to stop him.
“I understand. It’s over with, ok? It wasn’t the reason why I left.” She said. Per didn’t say anything but just looked at her. Eveline started to study her nails.
“I knew I was sick, in some way, and I felt I would never get better if I stayed with you. And… well, I didn’t really think about leaving. I didn’t really think at all, I just packed my things and went.” Her voice was distant, as if she was talking about someone else.
“So I didn’t try hard enough? Or did I say the wrong things?” he asked, voice low. He was nervous when he realized they were actually talking now.
“No, no, it wasn’t… well somehow nothing you did worked. It didn’t affect me. That made me feel even worse. I-I thought… I thought you’d be better off without me.” She looked at him with a silly smile. Per slowly shook his head and thought for a moment.
“Don’t you know how much I love you?” he said with an emotional sounding voice. Eveline bit her lip and nodded slowly, not looking at him.

“So… what do you want me to change?” he said.
“Don’t. Don’t change. Give me a chance to change. Ok?” she looked at him with her head tilted to one side, cheeks flushed red. Per desperately wanted to hug her and never let go. He touched her hair.
“I like your hair this way.” he suddenly said.
“Thanks, I had it cut last week when I went shopping…”
“Shopping? So you went to town then? Good!” he said with a smile. He kept looking into her eyes and she couldn’t look away either, the eyes contact was too intense to break. Then he held his arm out to her and beckoned her to come closer. She moved closer to him on the couch and rested her head on his shoulder and put an arm around his waist. Per stroked her hair softly and sniffed it, then kissed her head.
“I miss you.” He said with his lips in her hair.
“I’m with you now, right…” she said, but he didn’t really have to explain.
“But… I miss you, us… I miss… this…” he slowly said, stroking her arm. Then he wrapped both his arms tightly around her and held her as close to him as he could.

Eveline didn’t say anything. She couldn’t speak, she was feeling too many things at the same time. She smelled his skin, felt his warmth, his touch, his caresses through the thin fabric of her blouse. She heard his heart beat fast under his shirt and all this made her crave to touch him. Made her want to rip all his clothes off and kiss every part of his body… on the other hand, the things he said made her throat dry and thick, closed off, unable to speak. So she just held him. She wished they could sit like that forever.

“Hey…” Per said after a while. Eveline looked up.
“I think it’s time to put that little man in his own bed.” Per said. He seemed to be a bit reserved all of a sudden… Eveline felt sleepy and yawned when Per stood up and got his mobile from his jacket. He called a taxi. Then he went to the bathroom. When he came back, Eveline was in the kitchen, putting their glasses in the dishwasher and putting away the empty wine bottle. Per leaned against the doorframe, looking at her.
“You know, I was planning to maybe go to Holland for New Year.” Eveline said. It was quite dark in the kitchen so Per couldn’t see the look on her face. He walked past her and looked out the window.
“With Elin?” he asked.
“Yes, with Elin. One week, alone. Would you mind?” she asked. He turned around and saw her leaning against the sink, her hand going through her hair at the moment he looked at her. Per’s belly twisted. He wanted to kiss her. He had to kiss her, now…
“Uhm…” he approached her. “I think that would be ok.” He said. He was standing in front of her now and she looked up with a questioning look in her eyes. He pushed a string of hair away from her face and held it.
“Ev, I…”

A car appeared on the driveway and both startled, Per backed away from Eveline.
“Oh… the taxi…” he gasped. He went to meet the driver and then went upstairs to get Gabriel. Eveline quickly wrapped a scarf around her neck and waited in the hall. Gabriel was still asleep when Per carried him downstairs, wrapped in Eveline’s blankets.

“Can I take these?” Per whispered.
“Yes we have plenty more, take them!” she whispered back. Per put Gabriel in the backseat of the taxi and then came back in. He closed the door behind him and put his jacket on, scarf around his neck, gloves in hand.
“Well, happy new year then… and have fun in Holland. Tell them hi from me…” he said, fumbling with his gloves.
“Yeah… uhm…” Eveline hesitated but then she said it. “you were about to say something when…”
“Yes.” He didn’t let her finish and stepped closer to her.
“I was going to say, Ev, I have to… kiss you.” He whispered and his finger trailed her chin. Eveline looked into his eyes and leaned forward. Then his mouth came down and their lips touched.

Per draw his breath in sharply when he felt her silky lips on his, and how her hands grabbed his jacket. Then he let go and looked at her.
“I need you Ev. Very much.” He said hoarsely.

* * *

A month later

Monday morning at ten. Eveline never went to the gym around that time, she usually went in the evenings or weekends, depending on when Dina was willing to look after Elin. Dina was off today and had offered to stay home with Elin, and then Eveline got an idea… Per always went to the gym every Monday around ten, to meet his personal trainer there…

Eveline was worried about Per and it was causing sleepless nights. He had been a little distant lately, hesitant to meet her, strange… not at all what she had expected. Especially since that kiss after their Christmas dinner, she’d expected him to be different. She’d hoped that she would see him more often, maybe without Elin, maybe kiss him again… yes, that kiss had stirred her up pretty much. She felt so in love, it seemed as if they were becoming a couple all over again. And although she knew she shouldn’t rush into things again, Eveline couldn’t resist the thoughts of more kisses, touches, loving words…

She felt her heart beat a little faster when she walked through the halls of the gym. She’d already changed her clothes and was wearing a tracksuit and under it a set of a tank top and tight shorts. Her hair was tied back in a jumpy little ponytail.

She opened the door to the fitness room so softly that they didn’t notice. There happened to be no one else; just Per and his trainer Mick. Eveline leaned against the door and looked at them. Per was doing sit-ups on a mat on the floor. It seemed they had started earlier than normal because his shirt was already showing sweaty spots. Eveline walked a few slow paces in their direction until they noticed her.

“Hello…” Mick was a little hesitant. She’d met him once or twice but maybe he didn’t recognise her.
“Eveline?!” Per’s face was a big question mark.
“Hey there… I thought I’d see how you were doing… I was going to the other hall…” she stumbled a bit and pointed into the direction of the general fitness hall. She stared at Per, whose face was covered with sweat, mouth hanging open, hair all messy. Shit he looked gorgeous…

“Oh well that’s great, you can join us!” Mick said with a big smile. He took her hand and shook it, pulling her over to the treadmill.
“Right, Per?” he said to Per at the last moment.
“Uhm, hehe, yeah, sure…” Per said and laughed. He got up and wiped his face with a towel, then walked to Eveline.
“This is a surprise…” he said and kissed her lips lightly.
“Ok Gessle, this doesn’t mean you can stop sweating, come on! On the floor!” Mick said and clapped his hands loudly. Per raised an eyebrow at Eveline and then continued his sit-ups.

Eveline and Mick talked a little bit about her training, what she usually did and what her goal was. Then he told her to run on the treadmill for a while, until she was warm. Then she could take the tracksuit off and continue biking…

So it happened that Per and Eveline were working out together for the first time ever.

Per’s mind was taking a trip with him. He was thinking a lot of things at the same time about why and how Eveline was here and what she was thinking, and how unsure she had looked at him…

A little later, Per was sitting on a bench to exercise his arms. He made an opening and closing movement, pushing away weight. Eveline was biking. Right in front of him. In tight shorts. Per swallowed. Oh God. This was so NOT what he needed. To see her gorgeous ass in that tiny tight pair of shorts… her legs moving around on the bike. She was going steady, paddling heavy. He saw the muscles of her upper legs flexing and relaxing. Her ass moved on the seat a little bit. Per had trouble not to groan out loud.

“Keep the concentration Mr. Gessle.” Mick said and stood right in front of Per, so his view on Eveline was blocked. Per looked up at Mick and saw him grin widely. Per shook his head with a smile and closed his eyes for a moment. Sweat was dripping along the side of his face and he realised he had forgotten to count. He stopped the exercise and wiped his face and neck with a towel. Eveline was now on the other side of the room, Mick teaching her how to do a certain leg-exercise. Per bit his lip when he saw her laying on the bench, her legs pushing the weight up, then let it down and up again…

It was also time for Per’s leg exercise and he ended up next to Eveline. He couldn’t see her anymore but heard her movements. She panted and let out little groans every time she lifted the weight. Per’s mouth had gone dry. He had closed his eyes and tried to concentrate on the weights he was pushing away with his legs. He started to whisper his counting to try to block out Eveline’s sounds.

Per had not seen Eveline a lot lately. She hadn’t been out of his thoughts for a moment though, but not the way he wanted her to be. Since their kiss, since that evening when they touched each other again – even if it was a friendly hug, he couldn’t stop thinking about her… the only thing he could think about was to press her naked body against his again, to feel her everywhere, kiss her again and in other places too…

“Ok we can take a break now!” Mick said and clapped his hands. Then he left the hall to get some drinks.

Eveline lay on the bench, breathing deeply in and out.
“Whoooo… this is so nice…” She sighed.
“Nice?!” Per said and got up and walked around.
“Yes, I love this… this pain… it’s good pain. Makes me feel good. Pfff but I’m already in need of a shower, my god, Mick can really make you sweat!” she said and got up. She stretched a little bit and walked towards Per.
“Hey…” she lay a hand on his back. He looked at her with a frown on his forehead and she let go of him immediately.
“You don’t mind that I’m here, do you?” she asked, face a little startled. Per’s face softened.
“No, of course not, it’s a very nice surprise…”
“But, nothing.”
“Per… what is it?” she asked. She’d heard the ‘but’ in his voice.
“Ow nothing.” He said and smiled at her. Then Mick came in with some vitamin drinks.

About an hour and a half later, Per and Eveline said goodbye at the door of the gym.
“So uhm, when are you coming over again?” Eveline said, fumbling with the zipper on her jacket a little bit. She had showered and was now wearing jeans and a sweater.
“Yeah, eeeh, how about, Thursday?” he suggested. He wasn’t looking at her either.
“Ok. what time?”
“In the afternoon maybe? Uhm, two?” Per said. Eveline nodded.
“Ok… see you then…”
“Yes, see you then!” Per said. Then he waved and walked away. No kiss! Not even a hug!

‘hey you, you were in a hurry! everything ok?’
Per read the sms from Eveline late that afternoon. He stared at his phone for a while. He’d spent most of the day in his own studio, alone.

‘i miss you’
Eveline read in her phone. She was laying on her bed with Elin on her belly. She’d just had her feed but Eveline didn’t want to get up yet. She loved to just lay there with that soft, warm naked baby on her belly.

‘is that why you are silent and distant?’
Per bit his lip and sighed. Then he stood up and walked to the window, cup of coffee in his hand.

‘that wasn’t meant harsh, sorry. i am worried.’
Per read a couple of minutes later. He smiled and went upstairs to the studio again, thinking what to write back.

‘me too and i don’t know how to act’
Eveline swallowed hard when she read this. She was busy preparing dinner while Elin was enjoying herself immensely in her playpen, screaming and giggling loudly.

The ringing of his mobile startled Per and he knew instantly that it was Eveline.
“Hey you…” he said when he picked up. The line was silent for a moment and then he heard a soft baby-giggle. Then a scream, then a louder giggle, until she was laughing loud and Per also had fits of laughter.
“Hehehe… hello daddy.” Eveline said.
“Hahahaha… hi! Oh gosh we have a funny kid, don’t we?!” Per said, wiping his eyes.
“Mmmm yes she is a funny little Muppet.” Eveline replied.
“So, uhm…” Per wanted to say something but Eveline was quicker.
“So I thought I’d call you, because what I wanted to say doesn’t fit in an sms.” she said softly. She was sitting down on the couch.
“Ok…” he said, and heard her take a deep breath.
“Uhm, yeah, I don’t really know how to… eeeeh… hihi…” Eveline giggled.
“What?” Per asked, laughing because she was laughing.
“Oh hahahaha… sorry… hihi…. Ehmmm… hehehe… I uhm, it’s really very serious what I want to say but… hehehe…” Eveline was almost out of breath because she had to laugh so hard.
“Sorry sorry… hehehehe. I want to say, that I don’t expect you to act in any way… just be you… just do what you feel like and… and tell me what’s on your mind. I want us to be able to say anything, when we want to, or not say it, when we want to. Uhm, hehehe… does that make sense at all?” she spoke. Per was silent for a moment.
“Why did you have to laugh about that so much?!” Per asked, still a catch in his voice.
“Hihihi… well just because, it sounds so… like something from a silly romantic movie or something…”
“Hehe so maybe you are a silly romantic? I’m happy you said it.”
“Phew! Ok! So can you tell me what you were thinking this morning at the gym…” Eveline said with her voice a bit low, little bit afraid to ask. Per thought for a moment, taking a deep breath and then letting it out again in a sigh. He still didn’t know if it was good to make her know how he felt and what he wanted. He felt shallow.

“Yes, yes I’m sorry. I was thinking. And uhm, basically, I was just a bit, surprised to see you. I’ve done a lot of thinking lately and… and sometimes one thinks about things too long and, aaah, well, I don’t know. It was just unexpected, but I had a great time!” he stumbled a little.

Eveline was glad that he wasn’t angry or anything about her coming over to the gym. She wasn’t completely satisfied with his answer but she decided to leave it at that. She was looking forward to seeing him on Thursday and to see how things would turn out.

Thursday, 13:59

The doorbell?! Eveline glanced at the clock. She couldn’t believe that Per was on time. She opened the door and looked right into a big bunch of flowers with Per’s head sticking out of them.
“Wow!” she said and backed away.
“Hello…” Per said and hugged her. He held her close to him for a moment and Eveline was completely swept off her feet.
“Mmm you smell nice.” Per said to her neck. Then he let go of her and walked into the living room, making baby-sounds, letting Eveline stand in the hall with her flowers, her mouth still half open in surprise.

Eveline made coffee while Per took Elin out of her playpen and took her to the couch. He sat down with her and cuddled her, giving noisy kisses on her chubby baby-cheeks. It took him less than five minutes to have her bursting with laughter.

They drank coffee, they talked about this and that, and Eveline put the flowers in a vase when Per was feeding Elin. She fell asleep after a while, lying on Per’s chest totally exhausted.

Eveline sighed when she came back into the living room.
“Oh how sweet you two look…” she whispered. Per was stroking Elin’s head softly. Eveline climbed onto the couch beside Per.
“What do you say if we set a date to do something on our own? Without Elin and not here?” Eveline said softly. She blushed a little when Per looked at her.
“You mean like, going on a date?” he said with a grin. Eveline nodded and grinned too.
“Mmmm… like, Giorgio’s, tomorrow, at seven? Good idea!” Per said.

Eveline very carefully laid Elin down in her playpen when Per eventually had to leave. Per was putting his coat on in the hallway and Eveline softly closed the door behind them.
“Well, I’ll see you tomorrow then!” Per said. Eveline nodded and walked to him, hands on her back.
“Do you think it’s ok for Dina to look after Elin?” Per asked, buttoning up his coat. Eveline nodded again, taking a few steps more in his direction, hands still on her back, until she stood in front of him. She closed her eyes, pursed her lips and leaned towards him. Per chuckled, then reached out to touch her cheek and turn her to him a little bit. Then he kissed her very softly, and again, and one more. His mouth stayed on hers now and he wrapped an arm around her, pulling her closer.

Elin started to cry, very loud and Eveline let go of Per instantly.
“Wait!” she said and sprinted back into the room. When she was sure nothing was wrong with Elin and the only dramatic thing that had happened, was that she had woken up, she turned back to Per who was standing behind her.
“I’m already looking forward to tomorrow.” she said with a sweet smile. Then she put her arms under his, wrapping them around his waist.
“Me too…” Per said and pushed some hair away from her face, caressing her cheek. Then he leaned down and kissed her again, nipping her bottom lip a little.
“It’s horrible but I really have to go now…” he whispered in between kisses.
“Yes… imagine you’re going to be late…” Eveline replied with a giggle in her voice. She hugged him close for a second and then he left.

* * *

Of course Per arrived at Giorgio’s too late… it was already ten past seven when he rushed inside, left his coat and went to find Eveline. He saw her sitting at their favourite table with Giorgio himself, drinking a glass of wine. She was wearing a wine red dress with a low, round neck. Her hair was put up, she wore big round earrings and a necklace in silver. She stood up when she saw him. Her dress stopped just above the knee and she was wearing very high heels, which made her almost as tall as him.

“You are beautiful.” he said softly, quite impressed, and kissed her cheek. Then he went to greet Giorgio.

Giorgio told them over and over how happy he was to have them in the restaurant again, and that they had to bring Elin next time.

A couple of minutes later, Per and Eveline were enjoying a glass of wine on the house.

“So, how was your day?” Eveline said. She was playing with her glass a little and looked at Per while he told that he had been working in the studio… and bla bla bla… Eveline watched him talk but didn’t really listen. She looked at his black suit, the white shirt, his hair fashionably messy, perfectly shaved cheeks… his hand on the wineglass, the soft, strong fingers gripping the glass lightly…
“Ev?” he said, startling her.
“I was talking to you…” Per chuckled.
“Oh, yes… oh sorry… I uhm, I was distracted…” Eveline mumbled and played with her glass a little.
“Ahaa… I wonder what’s so distracting that…” Per got interrupted by the waiter who was bringing their first course. Giorgio had ordered a special menu for them with some new dishes they could try out.

Per was happy to start talking about the shrimps on his plate. He appeared to enjoy himself, being funny and self-confident. And he was enjoying himself, that was no issue, just these stupid annoying jolts in his belly that teased him, every time a naughty thought passed his mind…

He managed to relax halfway through the second course. They had talked about every-day-stuff a little and of course a lot about Elin. Per wanted to ask Eveline about living with Dina and if she could still stay there, because it wouldn’t be easy for Dina either, having a woman and a baby living in her house… this would of course lead to the question when she would come back to him, and if, and how, and he didn’t want to get into that, not yet.

Eveline was also starting to relax and managed to enjoy herself without worrying what he would be thinking of her, her dress which she wasn’t at all comfortable in or the stupid things she talked about. Actually she just wanted to sit and listen to him talk. Stare at his mouth. Look into his eyes. Pick his hand up from the table…

Per stopped talking in mid-sentence when she couldn’t fight the urge to pick up his hand. They had finished the last course and were waiting for their coffee. Per was busy telling a funny story about him Clarence, when they were in the studio the other day… and then suddenly, Eveline picked up his hand from the table and entwined her fingers with his. He smiled at her shyly and looked so cute she almost had to sigh.

Eveline got restless when they were drinking coffee. She was unable to sit still.
“Shall we go take a walk?” she said, the minute Per put his cup down. So Per paid the check, they went to get their coats and went outside.

The snow that had fallen in the morning was already gone and the streets were safe again. Per and Eveline were wearing thick coats, shawls and gloves. They walked away from the busy street where Giorgio’s was situated and crossed a bridge. Eveline halted on the middle of the bridge. Per had to turn around.
“Do you remember this bridge?” Eveline said. Per looked around a little bit, then back at her. She was leaning over the railing and looked down at the water far below them. She looked up at him, her head tilted to one side, biting her lip. Then it dawned on him… Per cover his mouth with his hand.
“Oh… is this the place where I… is it?” he said. Eveline nodded. Per also leaned over the railing, enjoying the great view of Stockholm by night.
“Shit… I was a fool…” he mumbled.

It was the bridge where Per had told her their first kiss had been a mistake. It was the place where he had rejected her. Broke her heart for the first time.

“You were playing hard to get.” Eveline said and came to stand next to him. He wrapped an arm around her.
“Yes, I guess I was being very difficult, wasn’t I…” he ran his lips through her cold hair. Eveline didn’t say anything, just leaned into him and wrapped her arm around him. Per’s lips traced her hairline softly, slowly descending to her ear.
“You cold?” he whispered. Eveline looked up.
“Yes. Very cold. I am about to die. You’d better try CPR.” She said, her eyes shining. Per gave a loud laugh and then stared at her.
“Man I was such a fool then, for sending you away…” he shook his head and looked out over the water.
“I never thought I would fall for someone that fast again after Åsa and I… it was just such a surprise and…”
“Per.” Eveline got impatient.
“Mhm?” he said and looked at her. Eveline kissed his mouth right away. Per chuckled and kissed her back. Softly first, Eveline began to nip on his lips. She stood closer to him and he cupped her face with one hand. He had taken his gloves off and his hand was soft and warm.

Per forgot to breath. He tried to follow her lead but had trouble not to push his tongue inside her mouth roughly, to devour her, eat her all up right there in the street…

Eveline licked Per’s lips and pushed herself a little bit closer to him. His tongue slid between her lips and past her teeth… she smiled and fully kissed him back, going too fast for Per to keep up.

He gasped when she let go of his mouth. She gave him a few short kisses and moaned softly.
“Mmmm… god I missed you…” she whispered hoarsely. Per grabbed her chin and pulled her face to him again. His other hand went from her shoulder, down over her back, until he reached her ass. His next kiss was hot and sensual, licking along her teeth, playing with her tongue, making her grab the lapels of his jacket.

“Shit… Ev… I need you…” Per panted while kissing her more.
“I thought you’d never say that again…” her voice sounded emotional and her hands touched his cheeks.
“I-I never stopped needing you.” Per whispered barely audible.
“Let’s go, come on…” Eveline took his hand.

“Where are we going?” Per asked when they were walking. Eveline grinned at him. Per grinned back. They walked the few blocks to his apartment faster than they ever had.

Eveline felt weird stepping into the living room. Per’s living room. But also a little bit her living room. Per had hung their jackets.

“Do you want a drink?” he asked behind her. Eveline shook her head.
“We can drink afterwards.” She said with a smile. Then she went up the stairs.

Per stupidly stood in the living room alone for a moment. Then he ran up the stairs after her.

In the bedroom, Eveline had put on a small light beside the bed. She leaned against the closet, waiting for him. Per put his hands on her hips and leaned against her.
“What has gotten into you, mm?” he said softly. Eveline shrugged.
“I dunno. I just want you. Very much.” Her voice was crackly when she spoke and she bit her lip, staring at the floor. Per let his fingers slide up and down one of her arms, causing goose bumps on her skin. He kissed her, starting slowly but soon her went faster and his tongue swirled around in her mouth. His kisses were enough to make her melt, and Eveline smiled when she realised that it still worked. Per groaned, he didn’t know where to touch her first. He pushed his whole body into her, starting to kiss her neck.

“Oh…” Eveline sighed and her hands messed up his hair. She said something but Per’s ears were filled with his own racing heartbeat.
“What?” he asked, breathing ragged.
“I said, finally. What took you so long…?” Eveline said and giggled.
“Long?” he managed to say.
“The whole evening, hahaha…” Eveline laughed.
“I put make up on, this horrible dress and…”
“I love the dress, you are gorgeous…” Per said and his hands cupped her breasts.
“And I have something else.” Eveline said, her voice tight. Per looked at her questioningly. Eveline pulled the dress up and revealed her black stockings, garter belt and black lace thong….
“Eveline…” Per sighed into her ear, “I can’t believe you…” he said and then dropped to his knees. His fingers shakily slid over the tight black fabric of her stocking, then on to the lacy thong. He held her hips and bent forward, stuck out his tongue to lick the inside of her thigh. He licked upwards until he reached the fabric of her thong and then stopped. He stood up and Eveline turned around so he could unzip her dress.

Her heart skipped a beat when she was standing in front of her in her underwear. Her work outs had paid off but she wasn’t looking the same as before… Per took her face in his hands and kissed her roughly.
“Beautiful… you are beautiful…” he whispered. Eveline grinned; he knew exactly what she wanted to hear. She started to open up his pants and push him backwards to the bed. He fell down on it and she crawled over him.

She quickly undid his buttons, his hands running all over her body. He got rid of his shirt, kicked off his pants, socks and shoes and then hugged her close to him.
“Mmmm… this feels good…” he mumbled, his mouth on her ear. Eveline caressed his sides with her fingertips, making him shiver. They lay like that for a while.

“Ev…” Per’s voice sounded tight. Eveline looked up at him, their lips almost touching.
“I… I can’t…” Per stumbled.
“You can’t what?” Eveline asked, confused. His eyes were nervous when he looked at her and suddenly she knew… she pushed her hips down into his groin, but got no response… she looked surprised and bit her lip, seemed to be thinking.
“How come?” she whispered. Per now looked quite desperate.
“I don’t know… I’m sorry…” he said and pushed her away. She watched him walk to the bathroom and sat on the bed, still wearing her sexy underwear. Tears stung behind her eyes.

No no no! Eveline shook her head. This was not supposed to happen! She stepped off the bed and took the rest of her clothes off, then took her robe that was still hanging beside the closet.

“Per? Babe? I’m gonna get a drink ok? I’ll be right back.” She said through the door of the bathroom. He mumbled something back.

Per came out of the bathroom when he had heard her leave. He walked around the room, picking up their clothes and put them on a chair beside the bed. God, he felt like the biggest fool ever. Finally, he had her in his arms again and now… all the time while they were kissing, when he was taking her dress off… all the time he had thought; shit, we’re going to have sex! He got turned on, but he didn’t get hard… and the longer it took, the more worried he got…

Eveline came back with a bottle of wine and two glasses in her hand. She had taken her hair down and was wearing a robe. Per looked at her, drama on his face.
“Ev, I’m sorry, I don’t know-”
“Wine?” she interrupted him. He nodded and sat down on the side of the bed. Eveline yawned when she handed him the glass.
“Tired?” he asked.
“Yeah, you completely wore me out…” she said with a grin. Per tried to think of a smart comment but in the end he just looked at his glass with a silly smile. Eveline said down on the bed next to him.
“Hey… it’s ok.” she said, squeezing his leg. They sat in silence for a moment, both not really knowing what to say.

“You can’t stay, can you?” Per asked. Eveline shook her head.
“No, sorry… Elin needs a feed in… three hours or so…” she said, glancing at the clock. She’d fed Elin before she left, and Dana probably already gave her a bottle, so in a couple of hours it would be time for her night feed.

Per picked up her chin and looked deep into her eyes. She saw he was sad, desperate, helpless.
“I love you, you know.” He said, voice thick. Eveline nodded, swallowing.
“And I don’t know why… uhm…” he stopped, sighed, and then kissed her.

Eveline stood up and put their glasses on the side table. Then she threw her robe over a chair and lay down on the bed.
“Come,” she said, patting beside her. They lay together like spoons, holding each other tight. Per lightly kissed her neck and wrapped his legs around hers, she pulled his arms around her a bit more and let out a content moan. He stroked up and down along her side, then to her ass and upper leg, and back up. Eveline stretched out with her arms above her head, pushing her body as close to him as she could. His other hand now cupped a breast and his fingers teased her nipple.
“Per…” she breathed.
“Yes darling.” he said softly, close to her ear. Eveline panted, pushing her hips back and forth into him. Per lifted his head to look at her. Her eyes were closed, cheeks flushed red and her mouth a bit open. Desire shot through his belly and he started to follow the movements of her hips with his.

Eveline felt how Per moved away from her and for a moment she was afraid he would leave her alone again. But he pushed her to her back and kissed her, and she felt how his fingers crept between her thighs… she parted her legs to give him more space and Per started to touch her, rubbing up and down, pushing a finger inside…
“Oh!!” she yelped and held onto him.

Per moved to the end of the bed and crawled between her legs. He kissed her thighs and squeezed her. She looked at him with a dazed grin on her face, moving her hips in his direction. He held a hand under her ass to steady her and found the spot where she so much craved to be touched. Eveline panted, trembled, leaned back and enjoyed…

“I’m sorry I…” it was about the fifth time he said it. Eveline put a finger on her lips. She pulled her shawl a little tighter around her neck and picked her gloves up from the table.
“You… don’t worry ok? We are not in a hurry… and thank you…” she said, the last thing with a giggle. Then she kissed him.
“Mmm… ok… and you’re welcome.”

* * *

About a week later, Eveline and Elin visited Per at his house. It was the first time that Elin was home after they had left. She seemed a bit shy in the beginning, but when she was sitting on Per’s lap, everything was ok. Somehow, being in Per’s arms, all reasons to cry seemed to suddenly fade and Elin became the perfect baby.

“Oh, I’ve been wanting to ask you…” Per said, looking at Elin who was drinking milk from a bottle. Then he looked at Eveline again.
“Ehm, a friend of mine is turning fifty next weekend, and he’s doing a big party somewhere in town. I wondered if you’d like to come with me?” he asked, as normal as he could. He had been practising this question for two days. He knew he was just being stupid but he couldn’t help but worry about last time, and he was afraid she would judge him for it.
“Sure, if I can find someone to watch Elin, I’d love to come.” Eveline said. Her warm smile made Per grin.
“Oh, ok, good… mmmm I already thought about Elin a little, and I was wondering, maybe we can ask Camilla to baby-sit, here?” he suggested. Elin had finished her bottle and he put it on the table, then lay Elin on his shoulder to let her burp.

Camilla was Per’s cousin and she was only a few years younger than Eveline.

Elin burped softly and babbled something.

“Oh, you’re fast… good girl, come here…” Per mumbled to her and cuddled her to him a little.
“Here?” Eveline finally asked. Per looked at her and he blushed a little bit.
“Uhm, yeah, I thought, that’s easier for Camilla because she knows this house and stuff. And then, maybe you two can, uhm, spend the night here…” he didn’t look at her but seemed busy adjusting Elin’s sweater.

Eveline chuckled a little bit. Per looked up at her and felt stupid. But then she got up from the couch, walked to his chair and crouched in front of him. She wrapped her arms around his legs and rested her chin on them, looking at Elin who was lying in his arms.

“We’d love to stay over… maybe we can have a slumber party?” she said, looking up at him with twinkles in her eyes.

Elin yawned. She wasn’t much impressed about her parents acting difficult. Per carefully laid her down in her carrycot and then sat down on the couch, next to Eveline.

“So, we have a date then? A triple date!” he said, smiling at her. Eveline nodded. She moved closer to him on the couch and crawled up to him, an arm wrapped around his waist. Per held her to him, his cheek resting on her hair. Elin’s arms occasionally rose out of the carrycot and they listened to her babbling and noises for a moment. She tried to call out a couple of times but when they ignored it, she slowly fell asleep.

Eveline also almost fell asleep, lying on the couch with her head on Per’s chest. She came to her senses when he started rubbing her back. Carefully, she wrapped her leg over him and sat on his lap. She still held him to her and he wrapped both his arms around her.

Eveline moved her head a little bit and pressed her lips on Per’s chest, on the little piece of skin that peeked out of his shirt. Then another kiss followed on his neck, and another one, and then on his cheek, until she reached his mouth. They kissed slowly, trying not to make a sound. Per pulled the elastic band out of Eveline’s hair and went through it with his hands, massaging her scalp. Eveline got lost in the feeling of his lips on hers and his sensual tongue exploring every bit of her mouth. It made her sigh when she let go of him.

“Per…” she whispered in his ear.
“You do know that I can never leave you because you are such a fantastic kisser, right?” Eveline said, very softly but with her lips almost against his ear. Per laughed without making a sound but she could feel his stomach twist against her.

Eveline moved her lips to his again.
“I… I missed this so much… I don’t know how… how I could mmmm… stand it…” she said while kissing him. She felt him smile against her mouth. His hands moved to her sides and he pushed her down on him, at the same time pushing his hips into her. He was hard.
“Oh dear…” Eveline whispered. Her voice made him shiver. She rocked her hips back and forth, causing a hissing sound from him.
“Honey… our timing is horrible…” he whispered.
“Mmm I know… what time…”
“About half an hour. And Elin has just fallen asleep on the table.” Per whispered and moaned. He had an appointment in his office in thirty minutes.

“Ok… we’d better go.” Eveline said and sat up straight. She put her hand on the bulge in Per’s pants for a moment, felt it, squeezed it a little. She looked at him, biting her bottom lip. Per groaned. That was the sexiest look she had ever given him.

* * *

“Shush! Be careful!” Eveline warned Per as he got out of the elevator. She took his hand and pulled him with her. Per giggled as he tried to get his balance back.

“I’m sorry honey… oh… I can’t h-help it…” he sighed, leaning against the wall while Eveline opened the front door.
“Come on, and be silent.” Eveline said as she pushed him inside.

Camilla was lying on the couch. The TV was on and she was sleeping, an empty glass and baby alarm standing on the table. Eveline softly shook her shoulder.

“Camilla? Honey, wake up…”
“Eh? Oh! Oh… I fell asleep… hehe…”
“Yes, we were a little later than we planned, sorry…” Eveline apologized.
“Oh that’s ok, no problem. Elin is still asleep, she hasn’t even noticed you were gone!” Camilla said with a smile. She stretched her arms and legs and looked at Per. He’d dropped himself on one of the big chairs and waved slowly.
“What did you do to him?!” Camilla laughed at Eveline.
“Me, nothing! Talk to Mr. Chardonnay I’m afraid. Or Mr. Champagne.”
“Hehehe. And Mr. Walker! I saw him too tonight!” Per slurred, pointing a finger in the air.

Eveline walked Camilla to the door, gave her her money and they said goodbye. Per looked as if he was asleep when she came back. She went to get a glass of water and then sat down on the couch. She sighed. What an evening.

It had all started great already when they arrived; a bunch of photographers were waiting at the entrance of the building. Some of them acted really surprised to see Per and Eveline together and they started asking questions, some were even suggesting problems between them. They didn’t answer anything but just smiled and posed for the pictures. Eveline had felt how Per had pulled her against him a little tighter, his fingers pushing into her waist.

Eveline had met people she hadn’t seen in ages. Most people she hadn’t seen since… since Susannah’s release party probably. There were some tricky questions asked her and there, but they avoided them. They had a good time and Eveline even danced with the host of the evening and then some other men she knew. Not with Per, of course, she could never get him to the dance floor.

That was where it went wrong; they split up. About halfway the evening, Per went to talk to some people while Eveline danced with some famous friend of them. She’d already gotten a headache after two glasses of wine. She tried to drink something else but the headache stayed, so she switched to water. The next moment she saw Per, he was on his way to get pleasantly and thoroughly drunk…

And there he was, flat out on the chair. Eveline couldn’t help but giggle, thinking back of all the promises he made to her in the taxi. His hands were all over her, touching, squeezing, probing through the thin fabric of her dress…

“Hey, sexy…” she said as she stood up. Per stirred in his chair and looked up at her a little disturbed.
“Let’s go to bed. It’s almost two.” Eveline said. She took her shoes off and held them in her hand while walking upstairs.

Per joined her in the bathroom when she was brushing her teeth. He hiccupped from time to time and thought it was incredibly funny. Eveline was not at all in the mood for jokes. She needed an aspirin and a bed. Per was drunk but still noticed the irritated look on her face.

“I’m sorry honey… I didn’t mean to get so… so wasted…” he said when he’d rinsed his mouth. Eveline was drying her face and looked at him in the mirror. His eyes seemed to both look in different directions. But then he looked back at her and grinned. He wrapped his arms around her from behind and put his chin on her shoulder.

“I will make it up to you, soon. Ok?” he said. Eveline smiled and nodded.
“I love you.” Per said softly. Eveline opened her mouth to speak but she got interrupted by another hiccup from Per.

“Oh… sorry… hihi…” he giggled. Eveline laughed too and patted his ass when they left the bathroom.

“Ok, now let’s sleep off that hangover…” she mumbled when climbing into bed. Per stood beside the bed, looking at her.
“What?!” she said.
“You know how long ago it is that you slept here?” he said, suddenly sounding less drunk. Eveline felt her cheeks redden.
“Yes. And then I sneaked away.” She answered softly. Per nodded. He crawled into bed next to her. They stared at each other for a moment and then both laughed.

Eveline turned off the light. Both stared into the darkness. The bed was huge and it felt like there were meters between them. Per shifted under the blankets a little. The world was turning in different directions around him and his eyes were hurting. Eveline bit her lip. She was wide awake. She heard Per sigh and turn around. Then to his back again.


Both laughed.

“What is it?”
“No you first.” She said.
“Uhm… come…” he said softly, holding the sheet up as to invite her. Eveline felt her heart jump. Silly couple they were, she thought with a chuckle. She moved to him and lay against him. They wrapped their arms around each other and their legs entangled… Eveline’s fingers went through the soft fur on his chest, his lips kissed her hair and both seemed to sigh with relief.

“And?” he asked.
“You also wanted to say something.” He said.
“Mhm. The same.” She replied and cuddled into him even more. Per giggled.

“Oh and… those things you… uhm… what you said in the taxi…” Eveline whispered against his throat.
“A promise is a promise.” She simply said, hiding a giggle. Per bit his lip. He was almost asleep.
“Mmm… I… I’ll make it up to you ok… next time…” he whispered, voice thick and slow.

* * *

Thursday afternoon

Per poured coffee into a mug, his mobile phone squeezed between his cheek and shoulder. He listened to his friend Lasse tell something funny and he nearly dropped his cup. He heard something in the living room but didn’t give it another thought until he turned around and saw Eveline standing in the kitchen, and he nearly dropped his cup again. He smiled brightly at her and she waved at him. She put two big plastic bags on the floor and just stood there for a moment, looking around.

Per tried to follow Lasse’s story, waiting for a good moment to break in and tell him he had to go. He watched Eveline… there was something about her… something different. Had she cut her hair maybe? No, it didn’t seem to look different. She was wearing fashionable tight jeans with flared legs and cowboy boots, with a white t-shirt and a brown leather jacket. The t-shirt was a bit too short and her belly peeked out a little bit. Per stared at it for a moment, until she came closer. She took a sip of his coffee and then popped herself up on the kitchen bench, dangling her legs a little. Per leaned against the bench next to her and ended the conversation with Lasse.

“Pfff… sorry for that! Hello!” he said and kissed her cheek quickly.
“This is a surprise, how did you…”
“I have my sources.” she said with a mysterious look on her face.

Per was supposed to be on his way to Halmstad. A new exhibition at the gallery was being opened this weekend and he wanted to be a part of it. But due to bad weather, his flight got cancelled and he was going to try again tomorrow morning.

“And you had no plans for today?” Per asked. He stood in front of her now, his fingers hesitantly wandering over her knees. Eveline shook her head.
“Nope. So I decided to come over and cook for you.” she replied, pointing at the plastic bags.
“Aaaaah! And what’s in there?” Per asked.
“Pizza di Eveline. Or that’s what it’s supposed to be…” Eveline said. Per now stood between her legs and his hands carefully moved up over her legs. He leaned in and kissed her lips, nipping a little bit.
“Where is my other girl?” he asked softly, kissing her again. Eveline shivered a little when she felt his hands putting more pressure on her legs.
“She’s in the park with her other mum.” She answered between kisses.

Per’s lips wandered over her cheeks, far too slow in Eveline’s opinion. She grabbed his shirt and pulled him closer, wrapping her legs around his waist. Per didn’t respond and went on kissing her neck, still very slowly. Eveline took her jacket off and threw it to the floor. Per was sniffing her neck and his hands went through her hair.
“You are turning me on.” she said barely audible. Per stopped and looked at her with a grin. Her eyes were dark and her cheeks a bit flushed.
“Oh really? So?” he said. He moved his hands from her hair down over her back and then to her front, cupping her breasts and massaging them softly. Soon, her nipples were visible in her shirt and Per felt them under his fingers. Eveline pushed his hands away and then pulled her shirt over her head. She was wearing a simple white bra. Per kissed her breasts, pulling the fabric to the side a little bit. He took her nipples between his lips one by one and licked them.

He was panting against her mouth when his head came up to kiss her again.
“Come here…” he whispered under his breath. He held her ass in his hands and picked her up from the kitchen bench, her arms wrapped around his neck. Eveline giggled and looked down at the floor.
“Are you sure? Am I too heavy?”
“No…” Per mumbled, puffing. “Light as a feather…” He slowly carried her out of the kitchen, through the living room and then in the direction of the stairs.

He carried her up, with Eveline yelping every time she felt his grip on her slipping. She nearly choked him with her legs so tightly wrapped around him. Finally, they reached the bedroom. Both were helpless with laughter when they fell on the bed together, Per on top of her and their legs entangled in each other.

Per stopped laughing quite suddenly and stared at her. Eveline blushed. Per started to unbutton his shirt, still looking at her. He kicked off his shoes and also lost his socks and jeans. Eveline stood up beside the bed to undress as well. Naked, they crawled under the sheets and moved to the middle of the bed. Eveline felt Per’s hand land on her hip. He moved around, to her ass, then up to her lower back, and there he pulled her closer. They kissed carefully, both breathless.

Per broke their kiss suddenly. He took her hand and laid it on his heart. She felt it racing, pounding fast and clearly. She bit her lip with a little smile and nodded; she felt the same. Then she wrapped a leg around him and pulled him on top of her. It took him some fumbling before he found the right position. His hands ran up and down her body.
“You are beautiful, did you know that?” he asked, his voice low and soft. Eveline’s eyes were a bit watery. Her hands went over his back and she looked away for a moment. When she looked back into his eyes, Per’s heart skipped a beat.
“Make love to me.” she said, her voice hoarse. Per swallowed. His whole body seemed to envelop her and he rested his cheek against hers when he pushed inside her softly. Eveline gasped in spite the softness of his movements. Her hands restlessly moved over his back and she writhed under him. She wrapped her legs around him and moved her hips up into him. Per didn’t dare to move, scared it all would be over too soon…

“God… Ev…” He panted in her ear.
“Go on, don’t stop.” Eveline said, her voice broken. Per lifted his head to look at her.
“Are you ok?” he asked, looking at her wet eyes. Eveline smiled and nodded. He kept looking at her when he started moving again. She had her mouth a little bit open and closed her eyes from time to time. Per felt warm waves of pleasure shooting through his belly. He held on to her strongly, pressing his body against her.
“Oh… oh Ev…” he hissed and then poured into her.

Hours later

The kitchen was covered in the remains of Eveline’s cooking. Empty plates stood on the table, as were two glasses and a bottle of wine. They had barely touched the wine. Eveline lay on the couch and Per was crawling all over her, kissing every part of her body. A promise is a promise…

“Stop… Per…” She whispered when his face ended up between her legs. He looked up. She smiled breathlessly at him and beckoned him over with her finger. His face came up to hers, his hips resting between her legs. He pushed the hard evidence of his longing against her. He gave her a slow, wet kiss, moaning into her mouth.

“I can just eat you.” he whispered.
“Mmm… you said you were full.” Eveline replied. Her hands cupped his face and her fingers stroked his cheeks.
“Per, listen…” she said with her lips against his. He stopped kissing her and stared into her dark brown eyes.
“I love you. I love you so much it hurts. Here.” She breathed into his mouth and with that, she placed his hand on her chest. Now it was his turn to feel her racing heartbeat.
“And here.” She moved his hand to her belly. He kissed her, deeply, looking into her eyes. He felt her belly cramp under his hand.

“You…” Per’s voice cracked. He cleared his throat. He bit his lip, backing away the tears he didn’t see coming. Eveline nodded and took him in her arms again.

After a still moment, Eveline wiggled her hips against him. Per growled in her neck and kissed the soft spot where her neck went over to her shoulder.

“Hey…” she said.
“Mmmm….” His lips wandered over her breasts.
“Marry me…”


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