I sat in my bathrobe staring at my computer screen. Feeling sorry for myself, I slurped my coffee and tried for the millionth time to figure out what was wrong with me. I'm young, only recently turned thirty, still in relatively good shape and not too terribly overweight, but I felt fat and old and tired and didn’t really know why. I brushed a strand of auburn hair, still damp from my shower, away from my eyes as I scrolled through my email. Ah, what’s this? An item caught my eye and I smiled. Something from Melody, my old college roomie. I opened the email. “Have great, wonderful, fantastic news. Skype me. Mellie.” The message was followed by half a dozen smiley faces and exclamation points and below was a post script, “You must call us right away. Clive.”
What on earth? I checked my watch out of habit - 9:30am of a Sunday morning, and computed the time zone difference between Seattle and London - 9 hours, so it was 6:30pm in London.
I switched screens and started the video chat application, clicked on Melody’s contact name, and waited. We had been best friends in college. She was one of the few girls I trusted because we were so comfortable together. She had come to America, ostensibly to study engineering, but found studying American men a much more interesting amusement. The guys on campus adored her accent and many a studly boy succumbed to her English charms.
I teased her that it was the Madeira she poured into them, not the accent. Ironically, in her senior year, she met Clive Eastman, a fellow Brit on an exchange program, and fell madly in love with him. The three of us became almost inseparable and shared many great times together, including several heavy make out and mutual fondling sessions that almost turned into full blown threesomes, but not quite.
I have to admit I was a little in love with Clive myself, but I didn't interfere with their romance, preferring the warmth of their friendship. The happy couple got married a week after graduation and returned to England.
That was seven, almost eight years earlier. Damn, those were good times. In the years since, we stayed in touch via email and the occasional online chats to update each other on what was happening in our lives.
My computer beeped and Clive's angular face popped up on the screen. “Amy!”
“Clive-o. What's up? What's this news you have?”
Melody came into view as she sat down on Clive’s lap and smiled into the camera. “Hello, love.”
I eyed the ample cleavage her dressing gown exposed and replied, “Hey, Mellie. What's going on?”
Clive giggled like a madman and nudged Melody. “You tell her.”
She laughed, threw back her blonde hair, then turned in profile and struck a melodramatic pose with the back of her hand pressed to her forehead. “Oh, the horror. The horror.”
I clanked my cup on the desk. “What is it?”
Melody leaned in closer to the screen and stage whispered, “I'm pregnant.”
Clive chortled in the background.
I squealed and clapped my hands in applause. “Congratulations. I'm happy for you.”
“Thank you. We're over the moon.”
I grinned at them. “Wonderful! This is great news. So, who’s the father?”
Melody giggled and Clive sputtered and wagged a finger at me. “Who’s the… you impudent yank. I am, you idiot.”
Melody barely contained her giggles and stuttered her legs in little rat-a-tat motions on his lap.
I nodded. “Oh, that’s even better. Congrats again.”
Clive gave me an exasperated look. “Amy, when are you coming for a visit?”
“I don't know when I could get away.”
Melody frowned. “Amy, you’re our oldest and dearest friend. You simply must come to visit us before we have a house full of little blighters running around and crimping our style.”
“You've been saying you want to visit England for years and every time we ask 'when?' you say you don't know. Mellie is right. Summer will be over soon. Come for a holiday.”
I hesitated. They were special to me and I felt a unique closeness with them no matter how far away we were. A vacation in England had been on my wish list for years, but my job was so demanding, I'd never managed the time.
And then there were the dreams. Every time I talked to Melody and Clive I dreamed strange dreams of England. Nothing sequential, just foggy images. Fragments of conversations and no point to the scenes. Images of double decker buses, the tower of London, a gothic cathedral, all intermingled with a strange, naked man with long blonde hair that was so blonde it was almost white, but I could never make out his features. And there was always the feeling of running, chasing after him, trying to touch him. And every time I dreamed of him, I woke up wet, and throbbing, with a confusing sense of sad longing.