The rest of the trip
My flight to Germany was not until the evening, so Stuart and I spent the Sunday afternoon wandering about Hyde Park. I had put on a bright yellow-green camisole with straps and neckline trimmed with gray pythons pint over a pair of low-rise jeans. The outfit accentuated my tiny waist and pert breasts, and my long silky hair cascaded down over the bare shoulders. A man on a bicycle turned and gave me his thumbs up, even with Stuart beside me, holding my hand.
We sat down in the shaded grassy area to rest and chat. When Stuart lay down on his back, I took it as a cue and leaned in toward him, expecting he’d do the same. But again, he was like a frozen fish on the cooking board, hardly reacting to my courageous move. I had to crawl forward to be able to kiss him, but even then, his lips were as inanimate as the rest of his body. I pulled back, embarrassed to have forced myself on him. I sat up with my back on him, looking over at young people roller skiing around the pond. Only then raised himself awkwardly and told me he really liked me but needed to take it slow. I said, that’s fine.
I spent the following week in Germany, working in my future office with my future boss and colleagues. Mr. N took me out for dinner alone on the last evening. The weather was pleasant in Germany as well. I felt safe as we sat at the outside table of a crowded Italian restaurant, and the sky was still light past nine o’clock. But it was very discomforting that Mr. N was quieter than usual. I put on a forceful cheer and kept the conversation going, but Mr. N would respond only half-heartedly and lay his eyes on me without a word as if he saw through me.