I stood there, staring at the knight who appeared to be asleep. I let my imagination run wild. I imagined that he was a very dashing man and that he won the hearts of many fair maidens but only one captured his heart. It was she who left the red rose and note upon his immortalized body. I leaned over to read what it said. In memory of a loyal knight of the house of Lancashire who gave his life for the cause of reclaiming the Holy Land. Until the day, I come hither and join you, I leave this token of my love.
“Jane.” I turned at the sound of my name and my eyes met those of Julius. My heart began to pound. I hadn’t expected to see him. It was summer and I was visiting the museum, something I had always planned to do but only got around to it today. What a stroke of luck that I should run into him. I thought I would have to wait until the new school year began before I could see him.
He smiled at me, making my heart melt and my knees weak. I wondered what Mary and the other girls would say now if they saw him talking to me. They would probably be miffed. They would be miffed because he, the most handsome guy at the university was talking to me, plain Jane as they were prone to call me. “Fancy running into you here. I hadn’t planned on coming here today but at the last minute, I decided to. I’m very happy I did, otherwise, I would not have seen you. How has your summer been so far?”
“It’s been very good. I’ve been going on day trips, museums, art shows and book fairs.”
“Sounds interesting. I just came back from Montenegro.”
I wanted to ask if he went alone or with Susanna. I had heard that they were dating. Susanna was everything I was not—beautiful, sophisticated, vain and shallow. Superficially, she was the perfect match for him but in terms of character and intellect, she was not his equal. “How did you like?”
“It was pleasant. I thought about you when I was there.”
I looked at him in surprise. “Really?” I exclaimed. I got a warm feeling just knowing that he thought about me. I was curious to know why he thought about me.
“When we went to Kotor, I thought of how much you would have enjoyed it because of its many legends and stories. It’s a very beautiful city surrounded by dark mountains. I will definitely pay it another visit.”
“Did Susanna like it as much as you did?” I was compelled to ask and I noted the surprised look on his face.
“Wasn’t she there with you?”
“No. Why would she be?”
“Well, you said ‘we.’”
“It was a family vacation. Why did you think Susanna was there?”
“I assumed that since you and she were dating that you would be vacationing together.”
“Now where did you get the idea that she and I were dating?”
“They clearly don’t know what they are talking about. Susanna and I are just friends.”
I was relieved to hear that.
He studied me, making me blush. “What about you? Are you dating anyone?”
I shook my head at once. None of the guys at the university ever showed any interest in me. I wasn’t pretty or popular. Only Julius paid any attention to me but some would suggest that he was just being nice.
“Now that we’ve established that neither of us is dating, how about I buy you lunch?” he suggested, much to my astonishment. “I can tell you more about Kotor.”
“I would like that very much,” I replied eagerly.
He smiled. “Let’s leave this good knight to his rest.
Over lunch, he shared with me the legend of the fairy Alkima who advised mariners not to erect the town on the high hill Pestingrad, above Kotor, but to build it by the sea, because “without the sea, there is no life for them”. The mariners took her advice and in gratitude, she made a bridge to the neighbouring hill, away from Pestingrad, by using her powers.
I sat there, listening to him relate legend after legend, fascinated and delighted just to be with him. We started dating from that day. Two years later, we got married and he took me to the Fairy’s Gate in Kotor where it was rumored that at a certain time at night, Alkima could be seen sitting atop it.
I wrote this story in response to the Thursday Photo Prompt at Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo. For more details click here.