Eleni and Menelaos··Novl duration 55 mins
Eleni and Menelaos
1. Wedding Invitation!
Menelaos was driving to Preveza but his mind wandered. Various thoughts were troubling him and that wasn’t safe at all.
He knew the route well. There was no particular traffic but still, it was kinda dangerous.
Menelaos was invited to a wedding which was taking place at Preveza. He was working as an external consultant at a Company and one of his colleagues was getting married. It was one of these social events you were obliged to attend. He didn’t know the groom very well. He was a high executive in the Company and had a great regard for him. This was the reason he was invited to his wedding after all, a wedding where members of the immediate family were mostly invited. He didn’t want to go but he had to, as the groom was influencing the Company’s president. If he wanted to get his contract renewed for the next year, it would be wise to take care of his public relations. In short, he found himself travelling to Preveza.
The wedding was taking place on Saturday, late afternoon. He had prepared himself from Friday. He would leave on Saturday morning and return on Sunday afternoon.
The last two years, after his divorce, he was living with his daughter, Emilia -Emma- at a three-bedroom apartment in Glyfada. Things weren’t going well for him. His divorce hadn’t gone smoothly, his work had its ups and downs, his financial situation was rough and as for relationships? Not even close.
His daughter who was seventeen years old, was relatively an easy child but had her issues too. She had decided to stay with him because of the numerous conflicts with her mother. She lived with her, the first two years after the divorce but decided to move in with him these last two. That kept her calmer.
He asked Emma, if she wanted to come along. As if. No way she would miss the opportunity to spend a weekend in Athens all by herself. He trusted her though, had raised her well, after all. He did the usual preaching, however, just in case.
He got up on Saturday morning, on his way to Preveza.
After Antirio, he decided to stop at a nearby café. He wanted to get some rest, focus and put his thoughts in order. The road from now on wasn’t that easy so he had to be wary. His car wasn’t exactly safe either. Another reason to be careful.
Various thoughts invaded his mind, mostly memories from vacation days with his ex-wife. Unavoidably, bad memories from the last period where things weren’t going well for them. The unpleasant ending of their relationship and the divorce that followed. He was thinking about all this, lately. Whilst he had analyzed the whole situation again and again and had reached a conclusion, these thoughts still troubled his mind.
Truth is that they were becoming scarce. He had invented a technique to get rid of them. He found something else to keep his mind busy.
In that particular moment, it was a company of three, two women and a man, sitting at a nearby table. The man and one of the women were clearly a couple. What drew his attention though, was the other woman. She was exactly his type but unfortunately, he never had the chance to date a woman like her. In other words, it was an undisclosed desire. She had ebony hair, milky skin, deep blue eyes, a normal build and voluptuous breasts. From what he could distinguish since she was sitting, she must have been of average height. She was wearing a particularly revealing, tight top and short skirt. Another thing he liked a lot, on the verge of fetishism was high-heeled stilettos and this woman had nailed that part. She was wearing an amazing pair of golden, really chic, high-heeled sandals. A pair of golden hook earrings decorated her ears, adding the final touch to her outfit.
He realized, was staring at her and at some point the woman, as if she noticed, turned around and looked at him. She smiled. He felt awkward but smiled back uncomfortably.
A little later, the trio left the café so he had the opportunity to take a better look at her. She looked better than he initially thought. She wasn’t very young, probably on her forties but kept really fit. Besides, he always believed that was the best age for a woman. She was taller than he thought with ideal analogies, curvy but not chubby. Her breasts were voluptuous and the short, tight skirt highlighted perfectly her round butt. She also had amazing legs. His experienced eye couldn’t help noticing she was clearly exercising. Judging from her shapely shanks, one could tell she was always wearing heels.
She turned to look at him again before leaving and smiled. He smiled back. The trio entered their car and took off.
He stared at the car that drove away, heading to Epirus then decided to set off as well.
He made it to Preveza two hours later. It was almost three o’clock. The wedding would take place at seven, at a church located a little away from town. A reception would follow, in a luxurious hotel way out of Preveza, on the way to Parga. The groom had booked the rooms for his guests in that same hotel. Therefore, Menelaos had to go to the hotel first and prepare himself in order to be on time for the wedding then back to the hotel again.
He located the hotel easily but from what he was told, the church would be a pain to locate. You had to be wary and take a turn on the right crossing otherwise you had no chance to find it.
Introduced himself on the reception and was given his room key. He went upstairs and put his things in order. It was a little after four o’clock so there was plenty of time. He went downstairs and looked for the restaurant in order to eat something. It was closed however, but fortunately, the pool bar was serving various snacks and salads. He ordered a Caesar’s.
The weather was great, not too hot yet. Menelaos decided to take advantage of this trip and not let his thoughts and concerns trouble his mind further.
Although, the summer season hadn’t started yet, the hotel was still crowded. There were many tourists at the pool, mostly foreigners who enjoyed playing with water.
He bid his time, relaxed, cheered up and went upstairs to his room to get ready.
It was still early but he wanted to have plenty of time in his hands. Besides, he didn’t know the exact spot so there should be enough time in case he’d make a mistake.
The room was really comfortable, pretty decent. It was a five-star hotel, after all. He brought the dark-haired lady to his mind, the one who saw in Antirio. She was undoubtedly the most beautiful woman he had seen the last few years. He suddenly realized that she looked familiar. He must have seen her before but couldn’t remember where. Besides, he wasn’t very good with faces. But that was a face you wouldn’t easily forget.
So be it, he mused. He got ready and left the room.
There were plenty of people in the reception and judging from their clothes, most should have been wedding guests.
Went to his car, gave his map one last glance and went off.
He was driving slowly and carefully and luckily saw the road sign in time. He made it to the church which was five kilometers away.
It was located to the end of the road in an idyllic scenery, filled with trees and close to the sea.
Menelaos was one of the first guests who arrived. He found a shady spot and parked his car.
It was still early so he stood at a distance and observed the attendants.
Memories from his own wedding filled his mind. He waved them off before they became too intense.
Menelaos called his daughter on her cellphone in order to forget the whole thing and strangely enough, she picked up right away. She was at home and wasn’t planning to go out. She wasn’t the type of kid that went out a lot, anyway. She spent most of her free time in front of her PC and the Internet. He went through the whole part of being careful and the like and terminated the call.
It was half past six and the guests were arriving in groups. His acquaintance had told him that they hadn’t invited many people to the wedding and even less to the reception afterwards. That was probably because the bride’s pregnancy was at an advanced state. The bride had origins from a Village out of Preveza but she lived in Athens, of course. Having the wedding away from Athens was an excellent excuse to control all the people one would like to invite.
Thought about taking a walk on the beach. It was a very beautiful sandy beach, ideal for swimming. It must have been quite popular during summer. Besides, the area was famous for its beautiful shores.
Took a walk then returned to the church.
Then came the shock. The gorgeous woman who had seen at the café in Antirio was standing next to the small church’s entrance. She was with the other couple who had also seen there. She looked even prettier now. Wore a very nice, white, silk, short, tight dress and combined it with black leather high-heeled pumps and black leather purse. Her dress highlighted her amazing breasts and butt.
He was left staring at her. He was quite impressed by this pleasant surprise. Seriously, what were the odds for something like that to happen?
The woman hadn’t seen him yet. He risked taking a picture of her with his cellphone from a fair distance. Fortunately, she didn’t notice. Then, he began approaching her. When he reached a short distance, she saw him. She turned her head and smiled again. He smiled back.
His mind was filled with thoughts and questions. What if she knew him? Why was she smiling at him? He knew very well who he was and how did he look. In his late fifties, not exactly a sight for sore eyes. Besides, he was never a good looking guy. Maybe charming once but definitely not now. Was short and had some extra weight. So, he was definitely not the type to turn a woman’s head, let alone such a beautiful one. His mind was his strong point but that required an initial contact and a discussion at first in order to “demonstrate it” and it wasn’t as if he managed to impress everyone. So, why this particular lady was showing interest? He noticed that she wasn’t smiling at anyone else so it couldn’t be her usual behavior.
The wedding was about to begin. The groom arrived and the bride followed after a while. It was then when he realized the reason why they hadn’t invited a lot of people. The bride wasn’t just in advanced pregnancy, she was ready to drop!
The church was small and didn’t fit everyone. He chose to stay outside with a few others. The beautiful girl went inside the church.
The ceremony came to an end. They handed out the wedding favors and exchanged wishes and salutations in a shady spot outside. They all wished the couple the best and everyone who was invited to the reception left the church and headed to the hotel.
He did the same. He wished all the best to the couple, received the wedding favors (he had promised his daughter) and entered his car. He patiently waited for the ones in front of him to leave first then he took off. As for the pretty girl, he had lost track of her.
Was wondering if she was invited to the reception. He hoped so.
He made it to the hotel at night. It was a beautiful night. The reception was taking place in the garden next to the pool which was filled with floating candles. The decoration was really good.
Went to his room to freshen up, called his daughter again to say goodnight and then went back to the reception.
Gave the one in charge his name and he guided him to his table. More surprises followed. They had placed him at the same table with the beautiful lady. Each table had six seats and she was already sitting in this one along with her friends, one more random couple and himself.
They all greeted him. The beautiful lady smiled widely at him, extended her arm in a handshake and introduced herself as Eleni Kipreou. The beautiful Eleni and Menelaos, he mused and smiled. The moment he touched her, it was as if electricity hit him. He got completely numb momentarily but wouldn’t let her hand. He came to his senses, introduced himself and sat down.
Dinner was served, wine first then the appetizers. The newlyweds arrived shortly after. The formalities followed and the bridal party went on.
The main dishes were served and the dancing began. As tradition has it, the newlyweds danced first, then the other couples joined. From their table, both couples got up over time. They were left alone. Eleni broke the ice first. They hadn’t exchanged a single word up to this point.
“Aren’t you dancing?” she asked him.
“Dancing is not my strongest point!” he replied, smiling.
“Mine either!” she replied, also smiling.
In their discussion later on, he found out that she was an Architect, divorced, no children. She told him she had seen him before, some years ago, during an event in a Company she used to work with. She remembered him because in that event he had made a presentation regarding Computer System’s Evolution that impressed her.
They started an interesting discussion on various subjects. He mentioned some things about himself, strategically filtered. This is my chance to fascinate her, he mused. He shouldn’t go too far though. They were completely engaged in their conversation and barely noticed that the other couples had returned to their table and that time had passed. At some point, the bridal party ended and people were leaving.
They didn’t want to leave yet though. Menelaos suggested they continue their discussion in the cafeteria. Went there but unfortunately, it was closed. It was late, after all. The hotel had a 24-hour room service and the beach was nearby. Menelaos brought some light beverages and suggested to had a drink on the beach. The night was amazing. Eleni eagerly accepted.
Went to the beach, picked a beautiful spot and sat to the hotel’s beach chairs. Continued talking. Their conversation shifted to relationships. Menelaos had decided to express his honest opinions from the start. He didn’t want to filter or adapt accordingly in order to impress her and had told her that. Perhaps because deep inside, he didn’t expect something from her. He found it quite unlikely something to happen between the two, without that meaning he lacked self-esteem. He was just being realistic and pragmatical. What he failed to predict though, was the chemistry factor. Normal rules had no power there. This possibility had never crossed his mind, though. So, he was freely expressing his thoughts, even the extreme ones, without being afraid of what she might think.
Eleni, brilliant as she was and under the chemistry influence had figured everything out and she was feeling ever more charmed because of that. He talked about his relationships, his ex-wife, their life together and his divorce. When he was done, realized that perhaps had gone too far but he needed to talk and Eleni was a good listener. Told her that and apologized. She laughed and replied that he did well. It was now her time to talk about her ex and she opened up a lot. Her case was quite traumatic. Her ex wasn’t exactly a “good guy” and she went through a lot until they broke up. In the end, it was justice that solved everything as he had also done some punishable acts. He was finally sentenced to twenty-five years for several crimes and he was now imprisoned at Corfu.
“As you can see, there is always worse!” she said, laughing.
They continued their conversation for quite some time. At some point, they realized it was almost dawn so they decided to go to sleep.
“Can I ask you something?” she said.
“Whatever you want.”
“It is really late and I don’t think I’ll wake up on time to return to Athens with my friends, would you mind if we returned together?”
“Are you serious? Of course, we will return together! You will keep me company and we will get the chance to continue our discussion.”
“Great. It’s a deal, then. I’ll text my friends not to wait for me.”
Menelaos accompanied her to her room. They said goodnight and she kissed his cheek, on the spur of the moment.
He returned to his room as well.
How unpredictable life can be when you least expect it, he mused.
He was feeling very cheerful, almost happy. It’s been years since he’d felt like this.
He went to bed. Was really tired and fell into a deep sleep.