After hopping from one palace to the next, Emil took me for a cruise on the Bosphorous Strait in the Black Sea. We stood arm in arm as the sun set.
“Your eyes are the sea,” he said as he held me closer.
“You think?” I asked a bit humored by his attempt at poetry.
“Of course. Dark and mysterious, they dance too.”
“My eyes? Funny, my father always said my eyes were brown because I was full of shit,” I looked up to him then back to the ocean. There was a pause. “I don’t know about you, but I’m starving half to death.”
We headed back to the Four Seasons Sultanahmet. We decided to order in since my room had a dining area. The hotel offered complimentary champagne, which didn’t do me any good, but Emil sure took advantage of the bottle and ordered another. He was celebrating life, he told me. I went along with his celebratory attitude, not wanting to dampen a thing with my crazy life. In fact, I figured to turn the conversation on him, let him share his stories, as I scarfed down oysters on the half, crab legs and a side of lobster bisque. Thankfully, he was so engrossed in these wonderful stories as an international corporate attorney and the Saudi prince he was currently embroiled with, something to do with the future of oil and renewable energy, that the little ‘piggy’ in me went unnoticed.
“Excuse me, I’m going to freshen up. Could you order coffee and dessert?”
“Of course,” his voice was a bit, shall I say, sloppy?
I locked the door, checked twice, then took myself a steaming hot shower and threw a pair of down home sweats and a baseball t-shirt. “Emil?” I called out, after some time. There was no answer.
I stepped out and slowly approached the dining area. Emil was nowhere to be found. Where had he gone? The balcony door was wide open to the evening. As I searched around, my eyes finally fell on a figure nestled onto the large white leather sofa. He was out. As in, passed out.
I certainly didn’t have the heart to wake him. With the combo of jet lag and jaunting around the entire city all day, well, I decided to let him sleep a little. I’d wake him up in an hour’s time. So I thought.
I snuggled up to a book a dear friend had given me for my journey abroad, Why Men Love Bitches. As the time passed, I felt my eyes falling with droopiness. I fought hard to stay awake, but sleep got the best of me. OK, I thought, just a short nap.
It wasn’t the sun that awoke me, although it glared right through the open partition to the balcony. It wasn’t the call to prayer that filled the sky, a reminder to keep chaste and pure in my every moment, no … it was the arm I felt at my side. Arm? I shot up and looked over to Emil, who seemed to be in the rapture of deep slumber. What the hell? I slid out of my bed, hoping not to incur God’s wrath and went to the bathroom and locked myself in. Fact check. I had neglected to tell the dear man that I was on my way to Italy, no really. Turkey was a lay over and nothing more. I tiptoed out in search of my belongings. The clock read 7:00 AM. My flight was at 8:00 AM.
“Emil!” I shouted. I riffled through the piles and piles of take-out containers sprawled all over my hotel room floor. “Emil!” I shouted frantically. I threw my clothes in my Louis Vuitton, not even bothering to fold them. Where the hell was my phone? I stopped dead in my tracks. What happened? Why was he shirtless?
“Emil!” I slapped his right arm. “What?! What’s wrong?” Emil rubbed his eyes open. “Who? What?”
“Why are you half naked in my bed? Did you take advantage of me last night? And why can’t I remember anything?” I started to shake as I crammed my shoes onto my feet.
“You’re fully dressed. You’re asking ME if I took advantage of YOU?” Emil’s eyes were now bloodshot wide awake.
“Listen. I have a flight to Italy in less than an hour.”
“Why are you yelling?” Emil eased back into the soft silk covered pillows.
“I’m not, it’s my usual pitch when I’m about to be stranded in a country I know nothing about.”
I darted across the room, picked up a pair of heels and shoved them into the front compartment of my suitcase. “OK I need to catch my flight to Italy,” I muttered to myself, grabbing my fedora, laptop and purse. As soon as I reached the door and caught sight of myself in the mirror, I flinched. Walking the entire city while jet lagged was never a good mix. In the corner of the reflection, I saw Emil’s backside. His boxer briefs were playing peekaboo against the bed sheet.
“Oh my God, Emil! You’re naked! Why are you naked? And in my bed?” I walked towards him, jaw dropped and starting to feel every ounce of Muslim guilt creep in. Wasn’t he on the couch last time I’d seen him?
Emil sat up to face me. “I’m not naked. I’m wearing boxers. Second, nothing happened. You were passed out with a book and my back was killing me. So …”
“This doesn’t look good. This looks bad.”
“To who? The four walls and empty take-out boxes?” Emil crossed his arms over his chest. “Why are you so worried about what other people think?”
I noticed my cell phone on the coffee table to my left. I reached for it and avoided his gaze. “OK, I need to go. Thank you for the tour of this enchanting city,” I turned to walk out, still not feeling comfortable with the whole matter. I had a heavy feeling in the pit of my stomach and I couldn’t identify what it was from. I could hear Emil’s voice call after me, but I figured we’d play catch up somehow. While waiting for the elevator, I grabbed the dry shampoo from my carry one, did a quick spray over and ruffled my long hair for a few seconds, flicking it from one side to the other but gave up, piling it up with a few grips instead. The woman staring back at me from the elevator mirror looked like a ghostly mess, but then, there was Emil to explain to myself and more than that, the fact that I had theoretically slept with him! Do appearances matter to God?
Stay tuned for next week’s installment!