When the clock on Perun’s mobile phone started showing 10 P.M., he looked at Malina. She was leaning on the wooden bench in front of the house and looked like she was resting. On the wooden table were two glasses and an empty bottle of champagne.
“What’s the time?” she asked, seemingly uninterested.
“It’s ten o’clock,” he said “do you feel like sleeping?”
“I don’t, but I can’t wait to find myself in the same bed with you,” she answered.
“Let’s sit for a while, then?”
“Perun, you don’t look like you are looking forward to our first wedding night?”
“Of course I am. But, I feel somehow, tired.”
“Do you have any board games in your suitcase? Let’s play something!”
“I’m afraid I don’t, Malina. Everything is in my mother’s apartment in Zagreb.”
“Let’s go to bed, then!”
They got up. Perun switched off the lamp in the backyard and opened the house door. They entered inside, and he went to their now mutual bed.
“When I want to lay in this bed, I feel that I don’t want to,” he said “I am afraid of it.”
“You are under the influence of what we did the first night. Does it haunt you?”
“Hm.. I think not. But when I lie down, I feel like a dying man buried before he is dead. It’s horror.”
“Tell me more. How did you feel when I first entered your bed?”
“Everything I could think of was that you were female. You attacked me and tried to overcome me, but I was under the impression of your sex, and even, in a way, turned on.”
Malina looked at him with interest.
“You got turned on? From me?”
“Yes, in fact. Now I see why. I sensed this beauty under your untidiness.”
“Do you like my new image, Perun?”
“I can not tell you how much. In a way, you look a bit like Ariana. Is it a coincidence?”
“I don’t know how Ariana looks, Perun. I’ve never seen her.”
“Alright, then. Where will you sleep?”
“Aren’t we husband and wife, now? I will sleep with you, in the same bed. Maybe we’ll make love.”
“Malina, you can sleep in my bed if you want, but I am good for nothing tonight. Do not expect too much.”
“Why, Perun? Am I not beautiful now?”
Perun looked at her for a bit longer.
“Malina, let’s talk about this right now. You were, are and will be beautiful - whatever happens. Nothing will change that. I like you just the way you are.”
“But, you won’t make love to me!”
“It’s not that I don’t want to. I just can’t!”
“What challenges you?”
“My parting with Ariana. I can’t stop thinking about her and what she did to me. I keep thinking - what if you do the same, too?”
“I see. She shook your trust. It takes time, Perun, and you will see that I am not like her - I will show you that.”
“I wish it was true, Malina!”
“Be sure it is. Now, let me tidy up the bed for us.”
And she came near bed, and caught the cover with one hand and pulled it. Then with joyful movements, singing some unusual melody, tidied it and folded the edge. The bed started to look like the garden in front of the house.
“Is it better?” she asked.
In the bed like that, he didn’t mind lying.
She came closer and turned her back to him. “Would you?” she said and showed him the long zipper on the dress. Perun caught it and pulled it down. The dress fell and exposed her magically pretty body with overly lush curves. “Oh, they are too big” he thought she murmured, but so quiet and slurry that he thought he must have been imagining.
He turned his head and made a step aside.
“What did you say?” he asked.
“It’s getting late, I said. Let’s go to bed”.
Perun unbuttoned his shirt and took it off. Then half dressed, he laid in the bed. Malina shoved in the bed next to him, caressed him and he again felt her attractive smell.
“Malina, today nothing is the same about you” he almost got angry. “What is happening, why are you changing like this?”
“Oh, Perun, I wish I could tell you” she started crying “but if I do, you will lose all your faith in me.”
“I will never lose my faith in you. Tell me what it is?”
“Nothing, really, nothing. But know one thing - no matter what happens, I love you and I married you because of that.”
“Why else would you marry me” he smiled “like I have something else!”
“Someone might think I married you because I lacked something I did not have before the wedding”
“Nonsense. It is not true, because you already have everything you need.”
Malina was quiet and breathed heavily in the darkness.
“May I kiss you on your shoulder?” she asked.
“Ok, but only one kiss. We better go to sleep.”
Malina kissed his shoulder loudly and turned her back to him. Perun felt that another sleepless night was in front of him.