“What happened?” asks Sylvia.
“Uhm… just a fight, you know, there’s no place and that…” Bruce avoids details, ashamed of knowing such a person.
“Ah… looked as if you know him… that’s why I asked…” Bruce gulps.
“Oh, no, no. I mean, I know who is but is no friend of mine.”
“Yeah, yeah, but long ago.” Bruce leans towards her as if he were going to say a secret. “Now he’s drowned in alcohol, you know, rock star life and so… that crap”
But now the mystery is solved for her so she lost her interest. Sylvia turns her head and looks through the window. Bruce looks for his headphones inside the bag. He feels better now his band mates are faraway and people don’t confuse him anymore with them.
During the first days Sylvia just slept almost all day and night long inside her bungalow. Then, she configured her cellphone to discard certain phone numbers. And eventually, she took a book to read at beach. Meanwhile, Bruce turned off his cellphone, drank a lot of beer, met people and beheld pretty girls. It seemed that everything was left behind and life was shining before them.
Sylvia is sitting at a beach table under an umbrella. She’s reading “Study in scarlet” by Arthur Conan Doyle, a paperback version. Spite the strong heat, she’s wearing long pants and shirt, cotton but covering. Her long black hair falls in a lose horsetail on her shoulder. When Bruce passes by her side, he looks at her as he does with every woman near to him. The book calls his attention making him stop and think seriously about talking to her. For that moment, he’s almost stepping the water. Bruce hesitates, she doesn’t seems to be a friendly creature… but maybe she’s just shy. Then he undoes his way.
“Hello!” says sitting in the other chair. Sylvia looks up.
“Hello!” Though she isn’t smiling, there’s something in her dark eyes that invites to sympathy. “Sherlock Holmes?”
“Really?” She looks kind but no smile yet.
“Yeah, but not only Sherlock Holmes, horror stories, History novels…. everything.”
Finally, Sylvia smiles. A gentle smile with a touch of sadness or tiredness in her eyes.
“Yeah!” Sylvia smiles a bit more.
“Can I ask away?” says Bruce.
“Why are you using pants? Only looking at you gives me fever.” He’s smiling like a 5 years old child hoping a candy.
Sylvia close the book and looks at him serious.
“I don’t think so…” says looking at him distrustful.
Sylvia looks at him annoyed. She’s up to her forehead of mockery.
Sylvia makes a noise between a cough and a laugh.
Her eyes became cold, watching him like a wolf deciding if attack or run.
“No. It’s stupid.”
“Oh, come on, make a bet with me!” he smiles even more widely “You can ask me anything if I loose.”
“Okay… ” she stares at him for over a moment “Pay a dinner, everything included, anywhere.” Sylvia is sure he’ll reject, but Bruce accepts enthusiastically. Surprised, she carefully leaves the book on her chair and goes to her bungalow. Bruce beholds her as she walks away thinking «I won’t lose».
In the meantime Sylvia isn’t there, Bruce looks at the girls walking on the beach. Not all of them are of his taste but girls in bikini are always a great thing to see. Sylvia reaches his chair and quickly sits down. Bruce notices her presence but the table is annoying him. Sylvia struggles to rescue her book from under her butt. Bruce stands up and move his body to see her completely. Now she’s wearing shorts and a fresh blouse with a long décolletage everything change.
«Curvy, kind, smart…. ask me anything, baby» he thinks with his eyes and mouth open.
“And now, for something completely different…” he says.
She laughs shortly recognising that old joke.
Her smile fades. Bruce jumps and place himself next to her.
“Oh, come on! We’ll end like grilled shrimps here. Let’s go to the water.”
“Under your clothes. Isn’t that a bikini?” he says pointing with a finger directly to her breast.
At the same time she’s saying “Okay” he’s taking her by the arm and walking to the sea.
«She’s too serious, but I’ll fix that.» he thinks as they jump into the water.
Once Sylvia got in the sea her mood changed completely. She swam and played as happy as anyone else. By the evening, they get out of the sea tired but amused. Beach is almost empty and shadows are getting longer. Some birds scream as they pass flying low. Bruce spends an arm on her back.
“It’s beautiful, and you’re beautiful. Should be perfect.”
“Yeah… ” She’s still smiling but her eyes got serious, as if a bad memory ran through her mind. “What do you say, ma belle?” says touching playfully her nose.
“You! Madcock!” They both turn to see who’s yelling. Four tall guys looking furiously at them, stand next to their table. “Can you stop fucking and come here??! We have to talk!”
Bruce mumbles rude words, he thought he could get rid of them. He walks towards them but stops at a safe distance. Sylvia stands and folds her arms under her breast, calculating in silence. Bruce smiles with his most polite expression.
“Can you pay some attention to your band mates?” says a guy who’s looking askance everywhere. “I left the band.”
“Look, I think you were angry and you have your reasons, but ” says a redhead at front.
“I fixed it. I left.”
“Oh! This is endless!” says Sylvia throwing her hands impatient. She starts walking in the bungalows direction.
Sylvia turns and looks Bruce right into his eyes.
Then she turns and walks again. Bruce jumps and starts talking anxiously.
“WAIT! No, no… come on, dear!” she keeps walking and he goes after her “Listen to me, is not that serious “
She stops and face him.
The guys look each other and the couple, but Sylvia and Bruce are too focused on their argument to notice them. Sylvia gets more and more upset making gestures towards the bunch, insisting in the necessity of her gun. Bruce jumps and screams, completely out of control, complaining about all the heavy work he’d have if she uses her 45.
“Remember that asshole you had as lover! A fucking tall rugbier!!! And I have to carry him somewhere?? No way!! “
They both look at the same point, his band mates had magically disappeared.
“Now that’s fast… ” she says.
“Oh, well…. thank you.”
Bruce laughs happy like a child going to the park. They look around. Now it’s almost night and the sea wind is starting to blow.
“No. I prefer mine.”
They gather their things and starts walking to the bungalows. Their voices and laughs fade carried by the wind.
They were pleasantly surprised with the food. The Bungalows Resort seemed to have an amazing kitchen with delicious and generous dishes. They ate so much that after meal they could only drink an Ale beer and fall asleep. Deep at night, sounds of something grazing the floor come and recede.
Despite is summer, days aren’t too hot and nights are fresh. Maybe because of this, maybe because isn’t a very well known place, the beach has some people but it’s mostlyt lonely. Something that Bruce loves; he had enough of people in bunches for a long time. Sylvia doesn’t like bunches or populated places under any circumstances, so she’s also very comfortable there. They can sit on the sand, with waves licking their toes, and talk about anything while beholding infinity. Peaceful empty days apart from world.
“You know where we could go?” says Sylvia after a long silence under a tree, in a small forest meters before the sea.
“No. Tell me, baby” says Bruce who was almost asleep on her shoulder.
“To The Eagle”
“To…. what?!” he says waking up completely.
“It’s a house… kilometre away from here… on the beach… according to what I’ve been told, it’s abandoned and it has an eagle on its frontispiece. Hence the name.”
“Sounds interesting.” he says vaguely.
“According to what I’ve heard, it was built or used at least, as a refugee for escaping nazis. The signal to recognise the place was the stone eagle on it.”
“Really?” Now Bruce is getting interested.
“Well…. I don’t know, I didn’t see it by myself. Maybe it’s just a legend.”
“So is not sure if there’s any house… “
“No, no. The house exists. What I don’t know if it’s a ruined nazi refugee, or maybe a guy with nazi sympathies. Or if it’s just a house with an eagle, and people later give it other meaning… “
“Like the swastika. It was a solar symbol until nazis tainted it.”
“Don’t you think it would be great to go there and take a look?”
Sylvia looks at his face, surprised.
“Do you like it?”
“I do.” says Bruce also surprised.
“Do you like my idea?”
“Why not? It’s a very good idea.”
Sylvia looks again to the sea.
“Wow! I thought you only like your ideas….”
His face gets overshadowed.
“I’m not an egocentric bastard as you seem to think… “
“Ah…. I’m sorry.”
Bruce stands up and cleans his clothes. Sylvia looks down, slightly sad.
“Well, let’s go.” he says offering a hand. She looks up.
“Don’t you wanna see that house? Well, let’s go.” and smiles.
She accepts his help standing up as well. She cleans her small clothes. Then, they start walking at an easy pace.
The house was old and dilapidated, mostly white coloured, with uneven trees behind. A huge eagle with half spread wings were placed on top, right in the frontispiece. It seemed that the house used to have something else like a decorative roof or a crest, but nothing left today. They wandered around, peering in the surrounding woods, lurked inside through the broken wood flaked off door. But shadows were getting longer so they decided to walk the way back to the bungalows and come back next day.
They opened their eyes and heavy rain was already falling down. They look sadly through the window, so much water that it’s impossible to see outside.
“There isn’t a legend about full moon and rain?” asks Sylvia.
“Have no idea. Is it full moon today?” says Bruce.
“Mmmm… yesterday or today…”
Bruce looks frustrated, he already planned their small excursion to The Eagle. Now he has to dump everything and think about something else. Sylvia starts to look for her book inside her backpack. Suddenly, Bruce jumps, he just had a great idea to spend their time.
“Do you like swords? No innuendo.”
“Yes, I do.” she says sitting on the floor with her backpack, opening her book.
“Look at this!” Bruce takes something from inside a closet. Under her curious eyes he reveals two Japanese swords, a katana and a wakizashi.
“Aren’t they beautiful?” he says hopeful.
She’s so notoriously interested, that he starts to talk about the swords, their differences, their features, laying them on her lap for her to touch them.
“Are you a kendoka?” she asks fascinated.
“No, I’m a fencer.”
“Really? Show me!!”
Bruce smiles and jumps enthusiast. Sylvia turns her head, thoughtful, and says:
“I made two years of kendô. But I have no patience to keep on…”
“Why not? Come on!”
Sylvia looks at him. She’s still sitting on the floor. He’s on his feet with a fencing sword in his hands. “Show me!”
“Your desires are commands to me, mademoiselle.” and bows in a courteous gesture.
Early, they prepared a bag with sandwiches, lantern, bottles and some other needful stuff. Sylvia hung the wakizashi from her waist after asking him permission to use his Japanese swords.
“Yeah, go on. I’m not skilled with them, I wanted to practise… you know, as holiday. But these guys don’t leave me alone.”
Sylvia looks at him surprised. Bruce is pushing the stuff inside the bag.
“Didn’t they died yet?!”
“Hah! So I wish! No! Those tossers sent me a telegram today.”
“There’s nothing impressive in a telegram, dear!” says Bruce impatiently “It has two hundred years of history.”
He looks up annoyed. His eyes stumble upon her; she’s wearing a short dress showing her legs and boobs.
“Not the telegram! It’s impressive that they didn’t kill themselves with so much cocaine.”
Bruce, staring at her, laughs and says:
“Did you noticed then?”
“Of course I noticed! I’m not Lestrade.”
Bruce smiles following her legs down until her sandals.
“It was stupidly notorious. And I’m pretty sure they’re running out of money and that’s why they’re insisting so much.” she adds.
Bruce looks at her face. They stare each other.
“What?” finally she asks.
Bruce moves his head as if he was driving away a gnat. He takes the bag and smiles. She smiles back.
“Sure.” she says as she crosses the door.
“Very nice dress…” he says beholding her from behind.
Bruce and Sylvia walk following the coastline until reaching the house. It’s a warm but windy day, the morning sun whitening the pale colours of that hidden place. Now, under sunlight, they can see the walls seem to be attacked at some moment.
“Woa! It’s falling into pieces” says Sylvia taking a closer look.
“But these look like bullets… don’t you think?” says Bruce touching gently but curious some tiny holes.
“Mmmm… yeah, looks like.”
An enthusiast smile shines in his face. The idea of nazis and locals fighting there popped up in his mind.
“Let’s take a look at the back… We may find something of interest…”
And without waiting, starts walking there. She follows him after taking another look at the wall. But house back has nothing to offer but an old rusty ladder. They look up to see where it ends. Or there’s some kind of balcony or gazebo over there, or the roof was blown away long ago. Bruce points to the top looking at her. Sylvia looks and nods accepting. It’s plenty of sand down here, the ladder isn’t too high and they’re small. They can get hurt but is unlikely they’ll kill themselves going up. Bruce quickly climbs using the ladder, and after a moment she does the same.
When they reach the house top they find it empty with some spare old garbage here and there. Maybe it had, long ago, a roof; but if that, sea storms destroyed it, because nothing remains but a couple of blackened sticks. From there, they can see the back of the eagle. At the base of it, couple of meters away, there’s someone sitting on the ground, focused on something in his lap. Bruce makes a small noise to call his attention. The sitting man turns to see. When he realises he’s accompanied by other human beings, he smiles faint-heartedly.
“Hi ” says standing up. Is a tall long haired man, with strong tattooed arms. Spite his impressive appearance, is a shy guy with a nice smile and a kind look. He still holds a pencil in a hand, on the floor there’s block of papers and a small wooden plank he uses as drawing table. Sylvia peers over his arms.
“Oh, you’re drawing!”
The guy looks nervous.
“Oh, well… yeah… but… “
“Can I see?”
The guy hesitates a bit.
Sylvia sits down on the floor.
“Hi! Bruce here!” says smiling and offering a hand.
“Hi. Steve. Nice to meet you.” says shaking his hand and smiling politely.
“Look, Bruce! Drawings of the eagle!”
Bruce kneels to see.
“Wow! Very good!”
The guy smiles ashamed.
“No, nothing killing… “
He speaks with a mild cockney accent.
Bruce looks at him, and then at the papers again.
“Come on! You’re very good on this!”
“You think? Well… thanks…”
Bruce looks at him, the guy is slightly blushing.
“You are…?” says the guy putting a hand on her shoulder in a light gesture.
The guy smiles but says nothing. Bruce jumps and take her by an arm.
“We’re annoying this man. Let him work.” says Bruce smiling widely.
The guy mumbles something.
“Let’s take a look inside the house and after, when he finishes, we can drink a beer.”
“Yeah, sure.” says the guy smiling briefly. Under his surprised look, Bruce almost pushes Sylvia down stairs.
When they reach the sand Sylvia asks annoyed:
“What’s wrong, Bruce?”
“That guy is weird. Instead of showing his art, he gets nervous.”
“Or he’s hiding something.”
“I don’t think so.”
“You wanna bet?”
“Done! I’ll make you kneel.”
“In twenty minutes he won’t be there.”
“Yeah. Let’s see…”
Smiling happy thinking of an easy win, Bruce walks fast to the house door. Sylvia follows him.
They get in the house, only to find another empty wasted dirty place.
“Sort of disappointing.” says Bruce losing his smile.
They walk around but there’s nothing to see there. The other rooms are too dark, as if they hadn’t windows or were too dirty to let light pass.
“We need a lantern.”
“Well, let’s go then.”
Sylvia gets out of the house and goes to the back.
“Where are you going?”
“You promised a beer”
“And I want to win my bet”
“Well. Let’s see.”
They find the guy in the same place and position as before.
“You see? I win.” says Sylvia satisfied.
“Oh, yeah” The guy lifts his head and looks around.
“Oh…. you’re there…” and smiles a bit.
Sylvia sits down besides asking to see his designs.
“Oh, no…. they aren’t good…” he says nervous and blushing a bit. But smiles, shyly, and opens his hands. While she’s beholding the designs, Bruce gets impatient. He just lost a bet for the very first time, and nothing seems to be special there. He starts wandering around, trying to entertain himself.
“Well….” says the guy softly “Where are those beers?” Bruce jumps smiling like an enthusiastic child.
“Yeah! Let’s go!” and goes down stairs.
After some beers in Sylvia’s bungalow, everybody is friends with everybody. Now that alcohol is making Steve talkative, his cockney accent becomes notorious. But Bruce is still annoyed by the fact he lost, and finding a lantern in the bag doesn’t make him feel any better. He realises that they could investigate more if he could remember such a stupid detail. Also he’s still unsure about if Steve is really that shy or if he’s hiding something. Bruce looks through the window. It’s late at night and he’s too drunk.
“Right. I’m leaving.”
Sylvia looks at him, disappointed.
“I thought you were going to stay…”
“No, it’s too late and… you know…”
He makes a vague gesture. He clumsily takes his bag. Sylvia stands up. Bruce looks at her, frowning.
“I’m not a child, you know? I can go alone”
“Good! Hope a monster chew you minutely.”
Bruce nods and walks away without closing the door. Sylvia pushes the door until closing it. “Stupid.”
“Don’t say that…” says Steve softly.
“Well…” she walks and takes the last bottle “There’s only one left. Do you want?”
“Only if you want to…”
She sits down and give him the bottle to open it. As he pours the last beer, the sea wind rustles.
With the daylight, after a good tea and something nice to eat, Bruce sees things in a very different way. He realises he was too drunk and got annoyed for nothing. Then, he decides to finish his breakfast and goes to see her so he can offer his excuses. Bruce finds nobody at Sylvia’s bungalow. He goes to the beach. He sees Steve and Sylvia sitting in one of those tables with umbrellas that are spread all over the place. When he gets closer, he hears them talk.
“Oh, come on, let’s go to the beach!” she says standing up.
“We’re in the beach” says Steve smiling kindly.
“No, to the water”
Steve smiles politely and refuses her invitation.
“Because I should shirtless.”
“Yes, I am.” he says polite but firm.
Bruce can’t believe it. It’s the same scene he has when they met, week ago. Sylvia makes a desperate gesture. Looks at Bruce for over some seconds.
“What are you doing, Bruce?”
“Nothing. I came to the beach.”
“And why are you standing there without a word?”
“Well. I didn’t want to intrude.”
“Are you going to the water?”
“No, thanks. I’m not feeling alright.”
Sylvia looks at them. Then she turns and walks to sea. Steve waits for a while and then stands up and reaches Bruce.
“Last night, late night… Someone tried to open the door…”
“It wasn’t me”
“I know. But someone else. Sylvia was already asleep…. But you know, when it’s locked so it makes noise when you try….”
“Yeah, I know “
“Well…. I kicked a chair on purpose and he stopped.”
“Or she. I don’t know.”
“Oh! I see!”
“I’m locking doors and windows from now on.”
“No. I mean…. she’s intelligent, she’ll close everything if is alone…. But me….. I’m doing that.”
Steve looks directly to his eyes to know if Bruce is understanding.
“Right. Thanks. I’ll do the same.”
Steve smiles and looks at the sea. Sylvia seems to have fun over there.
“Fucking heat! I’ll take a bath!”
He smiles politely, get shirtless, places his shirt carefully on the chair and goes to the sea. Sylvia walks out of the water, totally soaked, and says pointing at Steve’s long shorts:
“Why are you using those?”
“They cover my cloak” he answers blushing a bit.
“My cock, my dick!”
He smiles shy, blushes a bit more and runs into the water avoiding further questions. Bruce, still under the umbrella, hits the table with a hand, frustrated.
When they get back to the umbrella, they find Bruce sitting with his head hidden between his arms, leaned on the table. Sylvia touches his back gently.
“Are you alright?”
“Not much.” he says without moving.
“Let’s go to the bungalows.”
“Thanks.” he says waving a hand “I just drank too much…”
“Oh, come… “
“Excuse me, dear!” he says lifting his head to look at her. They stare each other. Then Bruce waves a hand accepting. He slowly gets up and walks with them.
Sylvia drenches her hands in cold water and then put them on Bruce’s forehead.
“Oh! Wow! “
Bruce has his eyes closed and expression of pleasure in his face.
“You have an insolation” says Sylvia. “Your face is burning”
“Really? I was under the umbrella…”
But this time Bruce isn’t in the mood to discuss, he feels too good now she’s cooling his skin. Steve looks at them, kindly. Sylvia drenches her hands again and now touches his cheeks over and over until he’s almost dripping.
“I think is enough, girl” says Steve, softly.
“But he seems to love it so much…”
Just for a moment, Bruce is tempted to kiss her but Steve is there and he knows how uncomfortable and uneducated is when couples starts cuddling each other in front of everyone. “Bruce, do you sing?” says Steve.
“Yeah! I do!”
“Sylvia commented something…”
Bruce turns to look at Steve, now he’s interested on the tall guy. His chest, though, is full of water. Steve smiles politely.
“If you don’t have a band, maybe you wanna join…”
“Do you have a band? What kind of band is?”
“Rock. Hard rock, heavy metal… a bit of progressive…” he answers looking a bit nervous. “Sounds very nice!”
“I play the guitar” says Sylvia.
“I know” says Steve politely but without giving a signal of being interested. Sylvia, disappointed, walks away.
“I play the guitar too” says Bruce.
“Perfect! We have a band”
“You need a drummer” says Sylvia sitting in a chair.
The bitterness is obvious in her face. She feels displaced.
“I already have a drummer. And I’m a bassist myself, so the band is formed”
“Hard rock with only one guitar? I don’t think so…”
Steve looks at her perplexed.
“What’s wrong, girl?”
Bruce jumps zestful, babbling plans to himself. Suddenly stops and turns to Sylvia.
“Did you bring your guitar?”
“I did. It’s a classic one but it will work”
“Bring it on!” says Steve.
Sylvia is looking away.
“I don’t understand you, girl, I thought you liked my idea…”
“I don’t know. It’s a project of you two… I have nothing to do…”
“Don’t you wanna be in?” asks Steve even more confused.
“I’m in?” Sylvia looks at him surprised.
“Of course, silly. If you want to…” Steve smiles amused “I asked you yesterday”
Her face now is shining like a midday sun. Bruce appears holding his guitar.
“Here I am!!! Let’s try some good stuff… Did I say I write songs too??”
Bruce gives his guitar to Sylvia and after some discussion they decide that he’ll sing some of his own songs first and some known stuff later, with Sylvia playing along.
“For too long now, there were secrets in my mind… ”
Bruce indicates the changes of note directly on the strings as she plays. Steve smiles assenting. She’s not looking at them and doesn’t know the song, but can play a decent accompaniment.
“I throw myself into the sea…”
Steve opens his eyes impressed
“release the wave, let it wash over me…”
Sylvia sings softly along with Bruce. As the song continues, she moves her lips as if she recognised the lyrics. And when the chorus comes again she sings along. Bruce looks at her suspicious. So he starts another song, with a similar style. For a while he sings alone. Then she starts to sings with him.
“I’ll be there, catching your tears before the fall to the ground”
Bruce looks at her but she’s looking at the strings. When the song finish, Steve asks if they played together before.
“No.” says Sylvia finally looking at them again.
“How did you know my lyrics?” asks Bruce.
“I don’t know. It was obvious…”
“I’m not obvious!” says Bruce offended. Steve smiles gently, he does understand what she’s actually saying. But instead of explaining, he proposes a new song, something very well known like Deep Purple or Rainbow. They play Smoke on the water and The Temple of the King.
“Amazing!” he says unaware that his accent gets thicker when he’s enthusiast. “Very very nice!” “Thank you!”
“Now the band is formed we can practice…” starts saying Steve but Sylvia stops him.
“Did you heard something, Bruce?”
“Eh?” Bruce looks at her, puzzled.
“Last night. Did you hear a noise or something?”
“No. Why? Did you moaned too load?” Steve looks at him thinking he’s acting rude.
“Neh” Sylvia makes a gesture with a hand discarding his joke “Yesterday, late at night, I was about to sleep and I heard a noise from outside, like someone shuffling… you know when you don’t wanna make noise but you can’t avoid?”
“Yeah, I know what you mean.”
“Well. That. I got up and locked the door. And then went to sleep.”
“Oh, girl…!” says Steve notoriously relieved.
“Nothing.” but Steve is smiling happy. They look each other in silence for over a long moment. “Give me the guitar! I’ll show you a new song!” says Bruce and the moment passes.