“Later, Mary!” Rather unkindly I brush off my faithful ally waiting for the result of the interview. Before I had time to settle in my room and consider the explosive situation, the telephone starts ringing. Not giving anyone a chance to snoop into my private calls, I pick it up fast even if I don’t feel like talking, even if it were the Prince Charming.
“Welcome home, babe!” Milan’s husky voice is full of the joys of spring.
“I’m in the phone box around the corner. Pick up your coat and run, even if it’s just for a kiss!”
“How do you know I’m back?” I ask my voice as sharp as a needle.
“That’s my own secret, babe, let’s say, my heart told me!” His laugh kindles in me a longing.
“Okay, but no more than for a second. I haven’t yet found time even to wash my hands and change my clothes, not to mention unpacking the luggage.”
“Never mind! I’ll take you even with your dirty hands and make you as welcome as the flowers in May.”
“I’ll go to fetch my coat.”
The very second I reach for it, the phone starts ringing again. Peeved by the disturbance, I answer it grudgingly.
“Lolita! Life is bleak without you! I’ll pick you up in some twenty minutes in front of the church at Jiri Square.”
“I can’t, Egon, honest! I haven’t seen my mother yet and ...”
“Don’t be silly! As if Lily cared! For all I know, she’s having a date with a cream puff in a coffee-shop.”
“Oh, I don’t know, I should stay home. We have a family dinner tonight.”
“Who’s talking about dinner, pet? I mean right now! See you, treasure!” Without awaiting my answer, he rings off.
In two minds about what to do I opt for doing the first thing first.
“Where to, Liebchen?” Mary catches me by the door.
“Not your business, Mary! Let me go!”
I push her away and rush into the street, not giving a second thought to my father’s warning.
His hands thrust into the pockets of his shabby brown leather coat, his face flushed with frost and anticipation, Milan is pacing up and down, discreetly avoiding the windows of my father’s study. Now he has seen me and his eyes light up with love. He runs towards me, opening his arms. Discovering with acute sharpness that I am dying for his kiss, I fall into his embrace. His dry, frost-bitten lips meet my mouth. His heart is beating against mine. His arms grip me tight.
“It seemed like ages! I missed you so much! Don’t ever leave me again!” His breath is scorching me alive.
“Now let me look at you, babe! You are lovely! So smooth, so golden! Let’s move on to my place to welcome the New Year together!” He hails a taxi and I follow him even if it were to hell.