It's dark. I'm freezing. Where am I?
I can hardly move, every fiber of my body hurts. I try to run my fingers over the ground I'm lying on. Feels hard and cold. Why am I here?
"Is she dead?"
"Her finger's are moving, dumbass!"
"Yeah, but chicken still keep running after their head has been cut off!"
"Does she look headless? No! So shut up!"
Where are these voices coming from? Something's touching my shoulder.
"What do you think happened to her?"
"Guess she fell."
"You're trying to be extra smart today, huh? Of course she fell but from where? There isn't anything around someone could fall off, no houses, no trees, no nothing!"
"Maybe she fell out of a plane?"
"But we would have seen or at least heard the plane! And who can survive falling out of a plane?"
"She can, obviously. If she's alive, that is. And after all, we just saw her falling right in front of our feet!"
I wanna talk to who ever these voices belong to, wanna know where I am. In my head the question sounds perfectly clear but all that leaves my mouth is a croak.
"Look, her mouth just moved... she's either trying to breath or to say something!"
"Maybe we should remove that plastic bear nose. Wonder why she's wearing a costume anyway."
I feel something taken off my face.
"Maybe she needs mouth to mouth?" Why does that voice sound like it's grinning?
"Dude, control your hormones. If there's a female lying in front of you doesn't always mean that one thing!"
"Sorry," the voice mumbles. "Do you think we should call an ambulance?"
"Call an ambulance? What for?" A third voice is approaching. Then it gasps. "Holy shit, what happened? Why did you knock out a girl in a bear costume?"
"Hey, we didn't do anything!"
"She fell right in front of our feet!"
"We're not kidding! That really happened!"
The third voice laughs. "Of course! Guess she's an angel who lost balance and fell of her cloud."
"Haha, not funny."
"She's cute. Can I keep her?"
"No! Just cause she's furry she's not gonna be your new Fluffy!"
I open my eyes. So that's why it was dark.
Three men are looking at me.
"She woke up!"
"See, I told you she's not dead!"
I try to sit up. One of the men helps me and supports my back.
"Are you ok?" He asks.
Actually I don't feel too bad anymore, just a stinging pain in my head is left.
"Jeg har ondt i hovedet."
All three of them look at me with questioning eyes. Why don't they understand me? And why did the answer that came out of my mouth sound so different from the one that was in my head first?
"Sorry, I don't speak... that language. Whatever that was," the men with lots of curly hair tells me.
I rub my head. "Dónde estamos?"
He shrugs his shoulders. "I... don't... understand," he says slowly, pronouncing every word clearly.
"Wie komme ich hierher?"
The guy wearing a black hat smiles. "That sounded German!"
"Yeah, but I'm afraid all German words we know are not very appropriate for a situation like this," the third guy mutters. He looks through a weird black frame that's sitting on his nose.
"Pourquoi tu ne comprend pas?" This is driving me mad! I sigh. "Shit."
"Hey, I understood that!" Black-hat-guy grins.
"Really?" I ask surprised. Seems like I finally got it.
"You speak a lot of languages," the curly-haired guy says with a bit of admiration in his voice. "How come?"
"I have absolutely no idea." Really, I don't.
"What's your name?"
My name? My name... my name is... damn, everyone has a name, so I guess I have one, too... but what is it? "Angel... a." Now, where did that come from?
I shake my head. "No."
They give me weird looks.
"Then why did you say it?" The one with the black frame asks surprised.
I shrug my shoulders. "I don't know."
"So what's your real name?"
As hard as I try to remember, my head resembles a balloon. Just filled with nothing but air. I must have looked at the guys pretty desperately cause they look kinda worried now.
"You don't remember anything?"
"Maybe we should take you to the hospital. Seems like you hurt your head real bad!" Black-hat-guy says. "Can you get up?"
With some help I manage to get on my feet. They lead me to a big red metal kinda box on wheels. So that's a hospital?
Curly Hair opens a door. "Get in the car."
Oh, guess that's a car then. I climb in and sit down on a long seat in the back.
Black Hat wants to sit down on the right seat in the front but Curly Hair stops him. "You know the rule, the small ones sit in the back, Lauri!"
Black Hat frowns but sits down next to me.
"So your name is Lauri?"
He nods. "Yeah, and the big mean guy in the front is called Pauli." He points at Curly.
"I'm Aki," the third one adds. He closes his door and grabs a wheel that's placed in front of him. Then the box starts moving. Seems like he's steering the box, ehrm, car.
Lucky them, they all have names. I want one, too.
Pauli turns around and looks at me. "So, how do you want us to call you?" Funny, like he knew what I was thinking about. I don't know why, though I hardly know these guys, I like Pauli the most. Somehow it feels like I know him already. Wonder why...
I shrug my shoulders.
"How about Angel?" Lauri suggests. "Maybe you really are one who fell off her cloud!"
"Don't laugh," Lauri complains, "the angel theory sounds as unrealistic as all the other explanations we had!"
"Sure, why not. Sounds nice," I reply. "Is Angel something good or bad?"
Lauri knits his brows. "You don't know what an angel is?"
I shake my head.
"Don't worry, it's something good. They are dead people who live in heaven and watch people on earth."
Being dead and watching people is something good? Aha...
"They hang out with God, sing and play the harp, sit on clouds..."
Lauri sighs. "God is... why don't we just wait till your memory comes back? Don't worry, you can believe me, angels are something good."
Whatever, I like the sound of it, so I don't really care what it is.
The car stops in front of a huge building. "You take her into the hospital, I'm gonna park the car," Aki says.
Pauli, Lauri and I get off the car and walk into the building. I pretty much have figured out quickly, that a hospital is a place where you take sick people to. Hope someone in here can help me fix my head soon. It's a weird feeling to not remember anything, leaves me kinda helpless. The worst thing is that I have a permanent feeling that all I know is still there, somewhere far in the back of my head, but no matter how hard I try, I can't reach it.
The guys leave me with a woman in a white coat. She checks my body and asks me all kind of questions but in the end she's just as clueless as I am.
When she's done, Pauli, Aki and Lauri enter the room. They bring another tall man I haven't seen before.
"Well, this is something really unusual, something I haven't seen before though I'm working as a doctor since twenty years," the woman starts. "Memory loss is a common thing that happens when you hurt your head. But you, Miss, seem to have forgotten about everything at all! Not just about your past but... yeah, well... about everything! And the second unusual thing is, that you're not injured at all. You don't even have a tiny scratch!"
"Which leads me to a third unusual thing," the yet unknown man says. He offers me his hand. " My name is Lappalainen, I'm from the Helsinki police department. I'm here to find out what happened, who you are and how to get you back to where you came from."
"Oh, good." I shake his hand. "What's Helsinki?" Never heard of that before... I guess.
The man looks at me surprise. "You don't know Helsinki? That's the name of this city!"
"And a city is?"
"This place we are in right now!" He waves with his arms.
"Oh, sorry, I thought that was a hospital. My bad."
His face turns from surprised to desperate. "No, I mean, you're right, this is a hospital, a city is a place with lots of houses and..." he stops and raises one eyebrow. "Are you trying to fool me?"
"That's what I meant, Officer," the woman explains, "she seems to have forgotten about the meaning of ... anything!"
He sighs. "Ok. So maybe you can tell me exactly what has happened." He looks at the guys.
"Well, Aki and I were walking across the parking lot when suddenly she fell from the sky right in front of our feet!" Pauli explains.
Lappalainen stares at them. "You mean she fell of a building?"
"No, there are no buildings or huge trees or anything. We were pretty much in the middle of that huge place. She fell from the sky!"
"Please, be serious..."
"Why should we lie to you?" Aki asks.
The officer sighs and writes down something on a notepad. "Alright, so we don't know who you are, where you from, how you came here. And you don't have any kind of ID to identify yourself."
"What's gonna happen next?" Pauli wants to know.
"There's not much we can do except for waiting."
"Waiting for what?" I ask.
"Waiting for either your memory to come back or for someone who's looking for you," the doctor explains.
"I'm sure your family and friends will come to the police if they haven't heard from you in a few days. Don't worry, I'm sure this case will be solved soon," the officer adds. "Well then, I think I'm not needed here anymore. Hope you're having a good day though all that happened to you." He shakes my hand and smiles.
"One last questions, Officer," Aki stops Lappalainen. "Where's she supposed to stay until her family finds her?"
"Usually people like her just stay in hospital."
"But she's not hurt or anything, right?"
The doctor nods.
"So there's actually no need for her to stay here, right?"
She nods again.
Pauli, Lauri and Aki look at each other.
"Well," Lauri says, "we've talked about this earlier. Can't she like, stay with us? I mean, a hospital isn't the cosiest place to stay."
"Sure, if she wants to and if you leave a number so we can get hold of you in case her family calls. Do you want to stay with them?" Lappalainen looks at me.
I nod. Anything is better than this place. It's so... white. And it smells weird.
Lauri hands a card to the officer. He takes it and smiles at me. "Alright, Miss. I'm leaving. Good luck and take care."
He leaves the room together with the woman.
"Why did you offer me to stay with you? I mean, you hardly know me!" I ask the guys.
They look at each other surprised, like they suddenly are wondering about the same thing.
Lauri shrugs his shoulders. "I don't know, we just came up with the idea and..."
"... and it just felt right." Pauli finishes the sentence.
"Right," Aki adds.
For a moment they don't say a word. They seem to be really surprised about what they've just said.
"Weird," Aki mumbles silently.
Suddenly the doctor comes back. "I brought you some clothes. I'm sure you want to get rid of that bear costume!" She bends towards me and adds whispering: "It's a bit torn in the back."
I touch the fur in the back and feel a huge whole just below my butt.
"Alright, gentlemen, let's leave her alone so she can change."
They all leave me. I take the bear off and put the new clothes on, dark blue pants and a black top. When I step through the door Pauli gives me a questioning look.
"Haven't I seen you before?"
Pauli looks at me thoroughly with knitted brows.
I just shrug my shoulders. “I really have no idea if we’ve met before or not.”
Pauli shakes his head as if he wants to get rid of the thought and sighs. “I don’t remember either. Seems like you’re not the only one whose brain’s not working.”
“Come on, let’s go,” Lauri says and walks towards the exit.
“Ok.” We follow him. “So where are we going?”
They all stop. Aki rubs his head.
“Hm, haven’t thought about that yet.”
“I thought that’s what you were talking about earlier,” I ask surprised.
“Yeah, well, we haven’t discussed out all the details yet,” Aki mumbles.
“Let’s go to Eero,” Lauri suggests. I wonder what an Eero is… “After all he’s the only one who has a whole house and if he doesn’t want us there I’m sure he’ll come up with something better. You know,” he looks at me, “he’s always the one with the good ideas.”
Aha, so I guess Eero is a person, too.
“Hey, my ideas aren’t that bad either,” Aki complains in the back.
We return to the car and get in. Aki’s steering again. He pushes his black frame up his nose and watches the other cars that are driving in front of us. That frame looks funny, Pauli has one too but it’s different. Maybe I should have one of these, too? What are they for anyway?
I grab over Aki’s shoulder, take his frame off and put it on my nose.
Whoa, looking through it makes me really feel sick! Or is it cause of the weird movements the car suddenly makes?
I can hear the guys scream, then the car stops.
“Damn, Angel!” Aki yells at me.
What? What did I do? “Yes?” I ask insecurely and take the frame off my face.
Aki takes it and puts it back on. “Don’t do that again! You almost killed all of us!”
Really? That’s how you kill someone? That’s easy! “Sorry,” I mumble shyly. Aki really looks angry.
Lauri, who’s a bit pale in his face and who’s still holding tightly to the edge of the seat, tries to smile at me. Doesn’t really work, he still looks kinda scared. He takes deep breath. “You know, Aki is pretty blind, he needs his glasses to see properly. You can’t take his glasses away when he’s driving cause he needs to see the other cars.”
Oh, now I get what the frames are for. “Sorry, I didn’t know that.” I look at Pauli. “So you need these, too, cause you can’t see?”
He laughs. “Yeah, though it’s not as bad as with Aki. He’s our mole.”
“Little, hairy, almost blind animal that lives underground and digs tunnels through the ground,” Lauri explains next to me.
Aki’s not the tallest, average hairy, I have no idea why he should dig tunnels but well, I guess that was supposed to be funny, so I just laugh.
We stop in front of a small house and get off the car. Lauri knocks. As soon as the door opens, a little boy grabs Lauri’s left leg and hugs it tightly.
Lauri just sighs and pats the kid’s head. A tall guy leads us into the house.
“Hi, I’m Eero, who are you?” He asks me while walking inside.
“They call me Angel,” I say and point at the guys.
“She doesn’t know her name and she fell from the sky,” Lauri tells him. He has difficulties to walk properly cause the child’s arms are still wrapped around his leg. He almost drags the little one into the room.
Eero gives us a doubtful look. “Ok… well, have a seat. Tea, anyone?”
I let myself fall on the huge sofa and almost drown in pillows. While I try to get into a straighter kind of position, the kid suddenly lets Lauri go, climbs on my lap and kneels down on my legs to look into my face.
“Hi, boy,” I smile at him.
His little hands touch my face then he laughs. “Hi, Lady!”
He turns around and cuddles up against me. “Uncle Laui not blind?”
Lauri rolls his eyes. “By now we know that Aki is almost blind, Pauli a bit but no, Uncle Laurrrrrrri is not blind! What are you talking about, Leksi?”
“Uncle Laui sees Lady!” The boy replies. His voice sounds like he has just answered the most stupidest question ever.
“Of course I see her! She’s right in front of me!” Lauri snaps.
The kid giggles and starts sucking his thumb.
Eero returns and places some cups on the small table in front of us. He looks at me surprised and smiles.
“Seems like Aleksi has found a new favourite grown-up, Lauri.”
“Oh, well,” Lauri mutters. Doesn’t sound too disappointed.
The guys tell Eero about what has happened. Eero seems to be a bit sceptical. After listening for a while he clears his throat. “Aleksi, why don’t you show Angel your new guitar?”
Aleksi slides off my lap, grabs my hand and pulls me to the opposite corner of the room. Proudly he picks up a tiny pink plastic guitar… wait, why do I know what a guitar is? Maybe my memory is coming back? Cool!
Suddenly Aleksi starts to jump around like mad, hitting the strings and shaking his head. For being such a tiny plastic thing, the guitar is pretty loud.
“Alright, Leksi,” Lauri shouts over to us, “and now you’re gonna play a slow song for her, ok?”
Aleksi sits down next to me. “Daddy plays guitar and uncle Laui plays guitar and uncle Pauli plays guitar…” he stops and thinks for a moment, “uncle Aki doesn’t play guitar… but he plays with girls, my Mommy always says… I play with girls, too… but I like boys better…”
While Aleksi is telling me all kind of things I look over to the guys. They are talking to each other and though they are trying to be quiet, I can still understand what they are saying.
“I can’t believe you just brought her here!” Eero seems to be a bit upset. “All the time we try to keep our private stuff private and what do you do? Bring the first girl that falls in front of your feet! You hardly know her! What if she’s someone… I don’t know, a journalist, an insane fan…”
“Oh, shut up, she’s not! Just look at your son! Have you ever seen him behaving like this towards a stranger? Usually he’s the shyest kid ever!” Lauri says.
Eero sighs. “I know, this really surprises me, too. But still, why didn’t you leave her at the hospital? I’m sure she would have been in good hands.”
“You should have seen her, she seemed so lost, we just HAD to take her with us,” Aki explains.
“Come on, don’t you feel it, too? That somehow she just belongs here? To us?” Pauli asks.
They all turn towards me. I quickly concentrate on the little truck Aleksi is showing to me.
After a few moments of silence Eero sighs again. “I’d never expected to say this but… yeah, I think you’re right. Damn, that’s really weird.”
Later we sit together, drink tea and talk. Well, let’s say they talk and I listen. There’s not much to tell about me…
By now I’ve learned that they know each other for a long time, Eero is married, Aleksi is his son, his wife is visiting her parents at the moment. The other guys all live alone, no wives, no kids. Lauri has a pet, though.
They’ve just told me about their band.
“It’s great but sometimes it sucks, too. Like I had to move to another place cause girls were camping in front of my old apartment,” Lauri tells me.
He shrugs his shoulders. “Well, they are fans. Guess they just wanna see how I live or they want to see me and get an autograph.”
“When you sign you picture or something else with your name.”
“What’s that for?”
“Maybe… as a proof that you’ve really met the person that gave you the autograph?” Aki suggests.
“Oh. So is that something common to do? Signing stuff when you meet someone to prove you met?”
“Just when you’re someone famous.”
“So I don’t have to do that, right?”
“Does that mean, you have to sign something for me now?”
“What? No, why?” Aki asks surprised.
“Cause you’re famous and we met.”
“Yeah, but…” Lauri thinks about how to put this, “it’s nothing you HAVE to do. But if you want us to sign something, we can do that, I guess.”
“No, why?” I still don’t get it… what am I supposed to do with their names written on something?
“If you’re a fan of someone, you ask them for an autograph. That’s just something people collect,” Eero tries to explain again.
“And being a fan means liking someone a lot, right?” I think I’m somehow starting to understand…
“You know what? The more I listen to people talk, the more I start to remember!”
“You’re starting to remember? Cool! So, any news?” Lauri asks excited.
“No, it’s not like I remember something about my past but it seems like I remember the meaning of words. Like earlier today, I didn’t know what glasses are but when Eero mentioned Aleksi’s guitar, I knew what he was talking about.”
“That’s good. I think you just shouldn’t force yourself to remember, I’m sure everything comes back after a while,” Eero says.
Pauli gets up. “Alright, everyone. It’s getting late, I’m going home.”
“Ok,” I reply and get up, too.
Pauli is surprised. “Why are you following me?”
Now that he’s asking… I have no idea. “I’m not staying at your place, I guess?”
He shakes his head. “Eero has a guest room, you know? My place is just small.”
“But…” I suddenly feel like I should be with Pauli, like that’s what I’m supposed to do, being by his side. But I’m sure, if I tell them about that they’ll think I’m crazy… “Are you coming back?”
Watching him leave makes me feel kinda lost.
“You look tired, do you want to go to bed?” Eero asks me and looks at Aleksi who’s already sleeping on my lap.
Aki and Lauri get up, too. “Alright, then, time for us to go. See you, tomorrow. And sleep tight.”
They leave the house. Eero picks up Aleksi and carries him upstairs. “Your room is here,” he points at a door, “the bathroom is next door. I’m gonna put Aleksi into his bed, then I’m gonna give you some clothes to sleep in.”
I enter my room and sit down on the bed. After a while Eero returns and hands me a shirt and some shorts.
“Hope that will do.”
“Sure. Thank you.”
I change my clothes and go to the bathroom. When I come back Aleksi is sitting on my bed.
“Hey, shouldn’t you be sleeping at the moment?”
He looks at me with huge eyes. “Wanna sleep here!”
“Alright.” I lift the covers. “Hop in!”
“Need my Niwanna,” he mumbles and runs to his bedroom.
Eero knocks against the door frame. “Can I get you something else?”
“I’m fine, thanks. Aleksi wants to sleep here, he just went away to get his Niwanna.”
Eero sighs. “I can make him stay in his own bed if it bothers you.”
I shake me head. “That’s alright. By the way, what’s a Niwanna?”
“Most kids like to listen to stories before going to bed,” Eero sighs again, “guess, Aleksi is around too many musicians all the time.”
Aleksi returns with a little silver disc. Eero takes it and puts it into a black box that’s standing on a shelf. After pushing a button music fills the room.
Aleksi cuddles up next to me.
Eero turns the lights off. “Sweet dreams, you two!” Then he leaves the room.
I close my eyes and listen to the music. Suddenly a voice starts singing. It makes my heart beat faster. Strong feelings are confusing me. On one hand I wanna start crying, I have the feeling that something important is missing right now. But on the other side, this voice is comforting me, it’s making me feel that everything’s gonna be alright.
“Come as you are, as you were, as I want you to be, as a friend, as a friend, as a known memory..."
It touches my eye lashes. I blink a few times to make it go away. It’s still there.
Suddenly my eye lid is ripped open. A face, only inches away, is staring at me.
I shriek and back up.
Aleksi laughs and turns towards the door. “Now she’s awake!” He shouts.
“I told you to let her sleep! Now come downstairs and leave her alone!” Eero shouts back.
Aleksi starts jumping on the bed. “Don’t wanna sleep anymore, right?”
Well, even if I wanted it’s kinda hard with a kid making my bed move and making me feel sick. I shake my head.
“No, it’s alright,” I mumble and get off the bed.
Aleksi takes my hand and drags me with him. We go to the kitchen, Eero is sitting at the table and reads something on a huge piece of paper.
“I’m sorry, did he wake you up?” He asks.
“Angel’s eyes already open!” Aleksi defends himself.
“Yeah, but did she open them herself or did you open her eyes?”
Aleksi shoves a piece of bread into his mouth so his answer can’t be identified as neither yes nor no.
Eero sighs. “You were sleeping like a log, so I told him to leave you alone until you wake up. I’m sorry, he’s a really active kid in the morning.” He thinks about it for a second. “Actually he’s pretty active all day long. Want something to eat?”
“Coffee,” is all that I’m able to mutter at the moment.
“Hey, you remember what coffee is!” Eero smiles.
I shrug my shoulders. “I’m just repeating what my brain’s shouting at me.”
He laughs and pours a black liquid into a cup. I try it.
“Ew, is that really what I wanted?” It tastes bitter and… well, not good.
“Here, take some milk and sugar,” Eero suggests.
Sugar is sweet, I remember that, guess that will help. But just when I’m about to drown the fifth sugar cube in my cup, Eero stops me.
“I think that’s enough. Here, take some milk.” He pours milk into my coffee.
Ok, I admit it, it’s maybe a tiny little bit too sweet… but much better than before.
“Look, you’re in the paper!”
“The newspaper?” He waves with the paper he was reading before. “You can buy it everyday and it tells you all the news that happen around the world.”
That sounds like a very useful thing. And I’m in there?
Eero places it in front of me so I can read. There’s a little black and white picture in the left upper corner that shows my face. Below it says that a young woman (me) was found, what I was wearing (bear costume) and that I lost my memory after an accident (no further description). And there’s also the police department’s phone number so that people can call if they now who I am.
I sigh. “I really hope someone’s gonna call them soon.” I take another look at the picture. “Though I’m not sure if anyone wants to admit that they know me if they see this picture.” On the photo I’m knitting my brows, looking shocked through half closed eyes and pinch my lips together. “Someone should have warned me that there’s that really bright light if they take a photo.”
“It’s not… that bad. At least they didn’t make you wear the bear hood and plastic nose,” Eero tries to comfort me. “I’m sure someone will call soon.”
“Who calls?” Aleksi wants to know. “Mommy?”
“No, Mommy’s gonna call you later.” Eero pulls his son on his lap. “We are waiting for people who know who Angel is so they can help her remember things and take her home,” he explains.
Aleksi looks at him with questioning eyes and thinks about his Dad’s words for a while. “But I know who Angel is!”
“Really? Who?” Eero asks surprised.
Aleksi points at me. “That’s Angel!”
Eero laughs. “Yeah, but we don’t know where she comes from and where she belongs to.”
“Ask uncle Pauli,” Aleksi replies and slides off Eero’s lap. Then he grabs his little truck and makes it drive over the kitchen floor. “Brrrmmm, brrrrrmmmmm!”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
Eero shrugs his shoulders and kneels down next to his son. “Hey, Leksi, why should Pauli know anything about her?”
“Cause the people say.”
“What people?” Eero takes the truck out of Aleksi hands.
The little boy frowns. “There was people in the room last night.” He giggles. “People didn’t see that I’m not sleeping!”
“And what did these people say?”
Aleksi looks to the ground. “Don’t remember.”
“But you said, that Pauli knows who Angel is.”
Aleksi’s face lights up. “They say, uncle Pauli has seen her.”
“And who were these people?”
“Lady with red hair, and a man…” he bits his lip, “oh, and other man and little fairy!” Aleksi grins.
Eero sighs and gets up. “Considering that a fairy is part of the people who know who you are, I’m afraid Aleksi’s not the most reliable source. Guess he has just dreamed.”
“I was already wondering how these people were supposed to get into your house.” I stir my coffee. Why weren’t I surprised when Aleksi mentioned the fairy? Why do I know what a fairy is? But Eero’s reaction has shown me that I’d better not tell him about it.
“No dream!” Aleksi complains.
The door bell rings. Eero leaves to open up and returns with Lauri.
“Uh, coffee!” Lauri shouts excited and pours some into a cup. “Hey, Leksi!”
Aleksi doesn’t answer, he’s sitting in a corner with his truck and pouts.
“What’s up with him?” Lauri asks surprised.
“He’s offended cause we didn’t believe a story he’s just told us, “ Eero explains. “Aleksi, don’t you wanna say hello to Lauri?”
“Hello,” the kid mumbles with his back still turned towards us.
Lauri laughs. “Feels kinda good to come to this house and not having a kid hanging on my leg. Alright, what’s the plan for today?”
“Aki has to go to a garage to have his car checked. Said something like he needs new breaks. Pauli is at the studio with Kwan and I have to stay here cause I got a few things to do and Greta’s gonna call.”
“Mommy calling,” Aleksi mutters in his corner, “Mommy always believes.”
Eero rolls his eyes. “Yeah, Mommy’s always the good one when she’s not here! Anyway, I thought you could go to town with Angel. She needs some stuff like clothes and her own toothbrush.”
Oh, so I can’t just use any toothbrush that’s standing next to the sink? Oops, better not tell them…
“Shopping? Great! Let’s go!” Lauri jumps off his chair all excited. “I love shopping!”
“Oh, really? Who would have thought?” Eero mumbles sarcastically.
“Ok, let’s go,” I reply and drink the last sip of my coffee. Whoa, so that’s were all the sugar went… to the ground. I get up and walk towards the door.
Eero and Lauri stare at me.
“Ehrm, you should get dressed first,” Eero suggests.
I look down my body. Why? I am wearing clothes!
“Yeah, it’s a bit cold for just some shorts and a shirt,” Lauri adds.
Oh, I get it. I go upstairs, put on yesterday’s clothes and return.
Lauri smiles. “Better.”
I’ve been stuck in this dressing room since two hours now. All I do is trying on clothes that Lauri gives me. Lauri is like in ecstasy, he rushes through the shop, pulls clothes from the shelves and throws them in piles into my dressing room.
“I just love that skirt! Oh, wait, try that belt, that fits perfectly!”
“Hey, Lauri, can I ask you something?”
“Is there like a rule or something you have to keep? I mean, I’ve seen people in the streets and they wore all kind of coloured clothes but all you give to me is black!”
Lauri through the curtain. “Don’t you like black?” He seems to be a bit disappointed.
“No, no, black is fine but… what about red? Or blue? Or green? Or…”
“Ok, ok, I get it.” He rushes off and returns a few minutes later.
“Here, try that!” He hands me a red belt.
“I was thinking more of some colourful clothes, not just a belt!”
“But black suits you!”
“But colours are cool!”
After another hour we finally drag a huge pile of clothes towards the cash-desk. It took me some persuasive power but in the end I could talk Lauri into choosing at least some coloured shirts.
“Thanks for buying all these things for me,” I tell him when leaving the store. “You know, just half of all this would have been more than enough.”
“You can never have too many clothes! And now, off to the next shop!”
I feel slight panic rising in my body. “Next shop? What else do I need?”
“You still haven’t any shoes matching your new outfits. And also no underwear!”
I sigh. Somehow I think I’m not made for these kind of shopping marathons!
We pass a store window. “Let’s go in here, they sell underwear!” The earlier we’re done, the better… There are a few plastic dolls wearing lacy underwear. Some other things are displayed in the window but I have no idea what they are for.
“In here?” Lauri asks surprised.
“Sure, why not?”
“Cause that’s a… sex shop!”
“Aha.” Whatever. “Let’s get in.”
Lauri looks at me. “Do you know what a sex shop is?”
“A shop where you can buy sex?” I suggest.
Lauri laughs. “And you know what sex is?”
Now that he mentions it… “No.”
“That’s what I was thinking.”
“So, what is it?”
“That’s when you sleep with someone.”
“I see. I slept with Aleksi last night,” I tell him and put my hand on the handle to open the door.
“Wait. You’re misunderstanding me.” Lauri stops me. “That doesn’t mean sleeping in the same bed. Though you can do it in bed… or on the floor… or… somewhere else…”
Lauri blushes. “Well, that’s… when a man and a woman… when they… actually it’s the same for a man and a man… or a woman and a woman… they…” He blushes even more.
Lauri clears his throat. “I’m not good in explaining things like that. You should ask someone else later on. Maybe not Aki, he might wanna give you a demonstration of what it is… Anyway, let’s go to another store.”
Four hours later we arrive at Lauri’s place. We had too many bags to carry to make it back to Eero’s house. My feet are killing me. I don’t remember if I used to like shopping but right now, I don’t.
I let the bags drop to the floor and throw myself on a couch.
Suddenly it feels like someone’s watching me. I check the room but the only people who are looking at me are the one’s on all the posters that are decorating the walls. I let my eyes wander over the pictures until they get caught on a face.
It’s a black and white picture. His eyes are framed with black eyeliner, his light hair is messy and covering parts of his face.
Lauri finds me staring at the poster.
“I know him!”
“Kurt Cobain? Who doesn’t know him?” Lauri doesn’t seem to be too impressed.
I shake my head. “No, I mean I really know him!”
“Like, you met him? Did you’re memory come back?”
“I remember him. We talked… and we kissed… we slept in the same bed.”
Lauri laughs. “Angel, this guy died eleven years ago! And I’m sure he wasn’t a paedophile!”
I have no idea what that is but… this can’t be! He can’t be dead! I talked to him not long ago! I just know it! I look at Lauri with angry eyes.
“Calm down, Angel. You probably remember someone who looks like him. I mean, you’re what? In your early twenties, I’d say. So that means you were like ten when he killed himself.”
“I know it sounds weird but…” I sigh. How can this feel so true to me though I know I can’t make any sense?
“Come on, I’m gonna introduce you to Annemarie. You can feed her if you want.” He gives me a piece of carrot and leads me to a little cage. “I’ll be right back, forgot her water.” He walks back to the kitchen.
Annemarie is lying in a corner of the cage. Doesn’t look too good… wonder if it’s normal that this slimy thing is popping out of her rear end…
“Annemarie!” Lauri suddenly shrieks next to me and lets the water bottle drop to the floor. “Oh my god, she’s having her babies! Oh, Annemarie, you gotta be strong, baby! Angel, we have to do something! We have to get hot water and clean sheets, we have to call the ambulance, we have to…”
“Lauri, relax. I think she’s doing pretty well without our help.” I point at the fourth slimy thing that slips out of Annemarie.
Lauri sinks on his knees and sighs. “Wow! I’m becoming a daddy!”
I'm sitting in Eero's living room with the guys. Lauri has brought a few bottles of champagne to celebrate Annemarie's new born babies. We're all holding full glasses in our hands, waiting for Lauri to make a toast. Eero's holding a glass of orange juice.
"Don't you like champagne?" I ask.
He shakes his head. "No, I don't drink alcohol."
Alcohol? I thought that's champagne.
"And after all, I think at least someone should stay sober if a little kid is sleeping upstairs."
Sober... alcohol... these words ring a bell somewhere far away in the depths of my head. I'm not gonna ask, I'm sure I'll remember soon.
"To Annemarie!" Lauri shouts. "May her babies be healthy and live a long and happy life!"
"To Annemarie and her babies!" They all repeat and hit their glasses together. I join them.
"I'm not so sure about the long life, though," Aki adds. "Don't hamsters die after three years or something?"
"Let's not talk about dying, alright?" Lauri stops him. "Let's drink!"
Everyone chugs their glass down.
Mmm, good, I think I like champagne...
Actually we just sit together, talk and drink and I'm really enjoying this. But somehow I get the feeling that something's wrong with me, I mean, wronger than usual. It started with laughing uncontrollably about things that aren't meant funny, went on with not being able to speak clearly and is now ending with feeling dizzy.
"I think there was something wrong with the last glass of champagne," I tell Pauli who's sitting next to me and lean my head against his shoulder. Hm, that's comfortable! I close my eyes and cuddle myself a bit more against him. Sleeping wouldn't actually be that bad right now...
Suddenly Pauli gets up. "Gotta go to the bathroom," he mutters and disappears.
"Hey, that's not nice," I complain while tilting to the side.
"What's not nice?" Eero wants to know.
"I just wanted to use Pauli as a pillow and he ran away."
Eero sighs. "Pauli's a bit shy when it comes to girls."
"Why? I didn't do anything!"
"Long story. He had a bad experience with a girl not long time ago. But don't worry, he likes you."
Good. I like him, too. Wonder what kind of a bad experience you can have with a girl. I yawn and close my eyes again.
"Why don't you go to bed?" Eero suggests.
"Hey, where are we gonna sleep now that Angel stays at the guest room? I can't drive anymore," Aki says.
"Well, there's the couch and there's also one free spot in my bed while Greta's gone," Eero explains.
"There's also a free spot in my bed," I add.
"I'm gonna take the couch," Pauli has just come back from the bathroom. "I gotta get up early tomorrow. Gonna meet Kwan at the studio."
I really wanna know who that Kwan is. And why are Pauli and that Kwan meeting all the time? And why does it somehow seem to bother me that he's meeting with someone else instead of me?
"I'm gonna sleep in Angel's bed," Aki says and interrupts my thoughts.
"No, I wanna sleep there," Lauri complains and pouts.
"I said it first!"
"But I wanna, too!"
"Guys, chill! Let Angel choose," Eero tells them.
Aki jumps up and down on his seat and waves with his arm. "Uh, uh! Pick me!"
I shrug my shoulders. "I don't care. You can both sleep in my bed and I sleep at Eero's how about that?"
"I don't think that Eero's wife will be too happy bout that," Lauri mutters with knitted brows.
"Yeah, Lauri might be right. Greta's kind of a jealous person from time to time," Eero says.
I'm not too sure what jealous means but why should someone worry cause I share a bed with Eero?
"Well, then, I really don't care who sleeps in my bed. You can both stay there, I mean, it's a huge bed, I'm sure three of us fit in there," I suggest.
"Oh, yeah, let's have a slumber party! We can have a pillow fight and tell each other stories and..." Lauri shouts excitedly.
"Lauri, please!" Aki interrupts him and rolls his eyes. "If the next thing you suggest is painting each others toe nails I'm really scared you're gonna turn into a girl!"
"Alright guys, I'm going upstairs," I tell them.
Being dizzy, walking isn't as easy as before. I let myself fall on the bed and cuddle up. When Lauri and Aki arrive I'm almost half asleep.
"Slumber party!" Lauri shouts and jumps on the bed.
"Ey, don't step on me," I complain weakly.
"Oh, she's already sleeping," Aki states, "guess she's not used to alcohol."
"Too bad," Lauri mumbles disappointed, "no slumber party."
The last thing I hear before falling asleep is Aki and Lauri fighting for the last spare pillow.
Oh my gosh, the stinging pain in my head, which I had when the guys found me, is back! I slowly open my eyes. Sunlight burns, I quickly close them again. Oaaahhh...
"Help!" I try to shout, "someone take me to that hospital!" But it just sounds like a hoarse moan.
"What's up?" I hear Lauri muttering sleepy from the side.
I start to panic. What if this pain means that this tiny bit of memory that's still left will disappear as well?
"There's something wrong with me. I don't know... it hurts so bad! Please, you have to take me back to that hospital again!"
Lauri just laughs. "Angel, you only having a hangover."
Hangover? I'm not hanging anywhere, I'm lying in a bed so I don't think he knows what he's talking about!
"Does your head hurt? You feel sick in the stomach? You're thirsty and you feel like you licked something very hairy all night long?"
I gasp. Holy shit, maybe he has the same? Maybe it's infectious? What if I infected all of us? What if we're all gonna loose our memory? "You... you ... have that, too?" I ask carefully.
"Baby, it takes more than some champagne to make me having a hangover! Angel, that happens if you drink more alcohol than you can handle," he explains.
"But I didn't have any alcohol!"
He's laughing again. Somehow I'm getting the impression that he's not taking me and my sickness serious! "You had champagne!"
"And there's alcohol in champagne."
Oh... why didn't anyone tell me? "So why do people drink it if it makes you feel sick?"
Lauri shrugs his shoulders. "Cause it tastes good."
"And it makes you feel good..."
Well, not too sure about that...
"...until you had too much."
"It's fun to be drunk."
Also not sure about that yet...
I think about it for a while. "So why doesn't Eero drink any alcohol? Doesn't he like to have fun?"
"It's not like you HAVE to drink to have fun. In fact sometimes it's no fun at all. Like when you're sad or angry... it kinda helps. It makes you forget."
Now, why on earth would someone want to forget? I'd give my left hand to remember anything! "Not sure if that's a good or a bad thing..."
Lauri sighs. "I think we really should get you a dictionary or something. It's kinda hard to explain all these things to you. And about the alcohol, you don't have to drink just cause everyone else is drinking if you don't like it."
"Ok. But what if I like it? But it makes me sick and forget things?" Hell, no, I'm not gonna do anything that will make me forget even more things!
"Don't worry. We'll make sure that nothing bad happens to you. Now it's time for us to look after you!"
What? Why now? They looked after me before, too...
Lauri looks at me, like he's confused himself about what he's just said.
After a while he clears his throat. "This might sound weird, so promise you're not gonna laugh about me."
"Ok, I had this dream last night. Actually not much was happening, me and the guys were just... living our lives. But somehow you were there, too. Like you were watching us and making sure we don't get into too much trouble."
Lauri laughs. "Alright, you can laugh. Now that I spoke it out loud it sounds even more weird. Hey, by the way, Kurt Cobain was there, too!"
I just smile as an answer. How come people who sleep in the same bed with me dream all kind of strange stuff about me? And why don't I dream anything at all? That's not fair...
"Where's Aki?" Maybe he has dreamt something, too?
"He got up pretty early after someone's called him on his cell phone. But I don't remember what he told me. Guess I was still pretty much asleep. So, are you feeling any better?"
"Nah, not really."
"Come on, let's go downstairs. Coffee and toast helps feeling better," he tells me and gets out of the bed.
I slowly follow Lauri downstairs. When I reach the kitchen I find Aleksi hanging on Lauri's back and a young woman I haven't seen before, sitting at the table.
"Go, uncle Laui! Good horsie! Wanna ride to Mommy!" Aleksi shouts laughing.
"Leksi, get off! You're choking me!" Lauri complains and shakes his body. "And there's no way that I'm gonna carry you till Tampere!"
So, I guess that's not Mommy at the table. I let myself sink on a chair.
"Uuuhhh, rodeo! Bad horsie!" Aleksi giggles.
"Aleksi, be a good boy and come down," the woman tells him.
"Ok," he mutters and lets Lauri's neck go. Then he sees me and jumps on my lap. "Hello, Angel!"
"So that's the famous Angel?" The woman asks and smiles.
"Hi, I'm Marta. I'm the neighbor and babysitter." She offers me her hand.
"Hi, nice to meet you. Where is everyone else?" I wanna know.
"Aki was already gone when I arrived, Eero's having an appointment in the city and Pauli is at the studio meeting Kwan," Marta sums up.
Kwan again. I really need to find out who that is. "So Pauli and Kwan meet pretty often, huh?" I try to ask as inconspicuously as possible.
Lauri shrugs his shoulders. "He does a lot for Kwan, so I guess that's normal." He looks at the clock that' s hanging above the kitchen door. "Oh, shit! I gotta go. I'm already late!"
Aleksi giggles silently. "He said shit!" He mumbles happily.
"Aleksi, what have I told you about saying these words?" Marta asks with a strict voice.
"But uncle Laui said it, too!" The kid complains.
"Yeah, and uncle Laurrrrrrri's gonna go now before he'll be held responsible for any other weird things this boy is doing." Lauri gets up and smiles at me. "See you later, Angel. I'm sure Eero will be back soon."
"Hey, I'm still here as well," Marta grins.
"Don't worry, I think I'll be able to survive without you," I say and wink at him.
"Good. Now that Marta's here, you've finally found another victim that you can annoy with all your questions!" Lauri jokes and walks towards the door. "See ya later!"
I try to eat something but I still feel sick.
After a while Marta gets up. "We're going to the park, you wanna come with us? Aleksi, go get your jacket!"
I shake my head. "I don't feel too well."
Marta laughs. "You better stay here and lay down on the couch. Why don't you watch some TV?"
Whatever that is...
She hand's me some tiny white balls. "Here, take these. They will make you feel better."
I take them into my hand and hold them for a while. No, still feel sick...
After seeing my doubting look Marta laughs again. "With 'take' I mean you have to swallow them with some water. That's aspirin, it's medicine. It will make your head stop hurting."
Oh, ok. My bad. "Sorry, to ask but what's TV?"
"I'll show you." I follow her to the living room. She pushes a button on a big black box. Suddenly a picture appears on the box... and it's moving! A man is sitting behind a desk and reads something out.
"Wow..." I mutter surprised, "... how did he..."
"He's not in there, if that's what you wanted to ask. That's just a moving picture," Marta explains. Then she also explains how they get the pictures into the TV and how to change channels.
"Alright, we're leaving. Hope you're feeling better soon."
Marta and Aleksi leave the house. I zap through the channels for a while and watch some shows. It kinda helps learning about all kind of things. At the moment there are a few monkeys hopping from tree to tree, someone tells about their ability to jump over long distances. This is not the most interesting thing to learn, my eye lids feel heavy, I slowly doze away...
Where's this voice coming from?
And who's Rita?
I open my eyes.
The man behind the desk that had been reading out the world news earlier, looks at me. Where are the monkeys? Guess I accidentally pushed a button on the remote control when I fell asleep.
"Hey, Rita," he says.
Wonder who he's talking to.
"I'm talking to you, Rita!"
“I know by now that you're talking to that Rita, dumbass! But who is she?” I mutter.
"It's you!" He's still looking at me.
Weird. Who wants to watch something like that on TV? I change the channel.
Now there's some cartoon fish swimming through a drawn ocean. Suddenly one of them swims into my direction. It knocks against the glass of the screen.
"There you are, Rita," it grins and waves with its fin.
Again that name... Watching animated fish isn't too exciting, I switch to the next channel.
Two men are standing opposite of each other, both wearing jeans and boots and big hats. One of them has a metal star attached to his chest.
"Pull your gun, coward," the one without the star hisses and spits some nasty brown stuff through the corner of his mouth.
"You stole my horses and you killed my wife," the other one replies angrily, "prepare yourself to go to hell, bastard!"
Within a second he has pulled his gun and shot the spitting guy. Then he turns around.
"Alright, Rita, listen," he says and looks at me.
Geez, doesn't seem like there are many different names they choose from on TV!
Again I change the channel. Oh, the monkeys are back! A baby monkey is stuffing a huge piece of banana into its mouth. How cute! These tiny fingers and that adorable nose and...
"Damn, Rita, stop changing the programs, for fuck's sake! It’s really exhausting to keep up with you!"
Alright, I might not know a lot but I definitely know that real monkeys can't talk, so what is going on here? Cause I really get the impression all these people on TV are talking to me...
"Put that remote control down. Now!" The monkey tells me.
I slowly put it on the couch. I can't believe what's happening, this is just too weird!
"Are you... talking to... me?" I ask carefully.
The monkey rolls its eyes. "What do you think? Of course I am! Or do you see anyone else I could talk to?"
"But... you're on TV and I learned by now that all the things I see in there have been recorded somewhere else and I'm just seeing a copy of it."
"Unless it's a live broadcast," the monkey adds. "See, you don't know everything yet."
Go ahead, just rub salt into the wound, I know that I don't know much yet! Stupid monkey!
"So, what do you want? And why are you calling me Rita?"
"Because that's your name!"
"No, it's .... is it? Really?" Rita... hm, I don't know... shouldn't it at least sound somehow familiar? Rita, Rita, Rita... though now that I think about it... maybe the monkey is right...
Suddenly the picture on the screen turns blurry.
"Ey, what's that about?" Little monkey complains.
"Sean, what the fuck are you doing?" Another voice shouts.
"I'm just helping her to..."
"You know we're not allowed to do anything! So get out of there! Now!"
"But you said we have to take care..."
"Man, you're so gonna be in trouble if she finds out!"
The monkey is shocked. "You're not gonna tell her, right?"
"No. And now hurry up!"
The screen turns black. I push the button on the remote control but no matter what show I turn on, it's all normal again, no one's talking to me.
Holy shit, what has just happened? Who's Sean? Who was that other voice? And who's that 'she' they are scared of?
"Hey, Angel!" Eero comes through the front door. "What's up? You look... confused."
"Have the people on TV ever talked to you?"
Eero laughs. "Well, not really. Why? Did they talk to you?"
He sits down next to me. "Don't worry. They use that technique quite often on TV. It kinda makes the viewer feel involved I guess."
"But they told me that my name is Rita."
Eero looks at me surprised. "And are they right?"
I shrug my shoulders. "At first I thought it's wrong but now... I don't know, it sounds kinda right."
"And who told you that?"
"A monkey, a fish, a guy with a gun, the guy that reads out the world news..."
Eero laughs again. Somehow I think he's not taking me seriously. "You switched channels and they were still talking to you?"
I nod again.
"Angel... or Rita, I think you were just having a dream." He looks at the blanket and the pillow that show that I've been lying here before.
"I was sleeping but then I woke up cause this guy on TV called my name." Eero is giving me a doubtful look. I better stop talking about this. I probably wouldn't believe it, too if someone told me the same. I sigh. "Maybe you're right."
"I really think you just dreamed it and that your sub-consciousness was trying to tell you your name or something like that."
At least that sounds more reasonable than my version of the story...
"How's your hangover? Lauri told me about it on the phone. Maybe I can convert you to my side of the non-alcoholic and healthy world?" Eero grins.
"Maybe I just need some training? I mean there was also a fun part of drinking. Though I'm still feeling a bit sick."
"How about some fresh air? Wanna go for a walk? We could meet Aleksi and Marta at the park."
"Ok." I get up and go upstairs to get dressed properly. When I return Eero grins.
"Lauri chose your clothes, right?"
I look down on my black pants and black shoes and open my black jacket to show my red shirt. "I was allowed to choose one or two things myself," I laugh.
Eero sighs. "He's such a shopaholic!"
We walk a few minutes till we reach the park. Marta is sitting on a bench and reads a magazine, Aleksi is playing in a box full of sand. When we arrive he jumps up and runs towards me.
"Angel! Made you cake! Come eat!"
"We think we know her real name, it's Rita," Eero explains.
"I know," Aleksi mutters and goes back to the sand box.
Marta smiles at me happily. "That's so cool! You remember things?"
"Yeah, kind of," I reply. I'm not gonna tell my story again, she'll probably just laugh about me...
"Angel, come!" Aleksi nags.
I walk over and kneel down next to him. “So, where’s your cake, Leksi?”
“Here. Just for you,” he smiles and opens my hand. Then he places something brownish, moist and cold on my palm. “Eat!”
This really looks kinda gross but Aleksi is giving me the cutest smile ever so I don’t dare to turn down the offer. I carefully take a bite into my mouth. And I wasn’t wrong, it’s the worst thing I ever tasted… as far as I remember.
“Good?” He asks me all excited.
I nod and try to smile without swallowing whatever that is in my mouth. Aleksi laughs happily and starts making some more… cake. I quickly turn away and spit the stuff out. Eeew, the taste is still there… Suddenly I remember something.
“Hey, Leksi, when your Daddy told you that my name is Rita, you said you know. How did you mean this?”
Aleksi knits his brows. “I know.” Somehow this kid is able to make you feel like the dumbest person on earth with just one look.
“You mean, you know that my name is Rita?”
“Who told you that?”
“The people in the room call you Rita.”
“Oh, you mean the woman and the two men and… the fairy?” I doubt that this is a reliable source. Though when I think about the voices on TV… maybe Sean is one of the two guys? But even if this was true, how did they get into Eero’s house that night? Why didn’t they wake me up if they know me? Why didn’t they come back to take me home? And after all, a fairy? Yeah, sure…
I sigh. Why is everything so confusing? Remembering not the tiniest thing about yourself really sucks.
“Angel sad?” Aleksi asks me surprised. “More cake?”
“No!” I shout shocked. “Erhm, I mean, no, thanks. I had enough of your delicious cake. And I’m not sad, I’m just… I don’t know. Yeah, maybe a little bit sad.”
Aleksi wraps his little arms around my neck and hugs me tightly. Then he smiles. “Better? Look,” he points over my shoulder, “uncle Pauli!”
I turn around. Pauli is walking along a path on the other side of the park. He doesn’t see us. He’s talking to a woman with lots of long blond braids. That must be Kwan! So Kwan’s a woman… They walk and after they passed a few trees I can’t see them anymore.
Why does it bother me so much that he’s with her?
Aleksi is digging a whole into the sand. I go over to Eero and Marta. I wanna ask them about Pauli and Kwan but suddenly I feel stupid asking a question like that.
“Do you guys mind if I walk around on my own for a while?”
“Are you feeling alright?” Marta asks.
“I just wanna think about a few things,” I explain.
“Are you sure you won’t get lost?” Eero seems to be a bit worried.
“I remember the way from your house to this place, so I just have to remember my way back here and I’ll find it. I don’t think that’s gonna be a problem.”
Marta gives me a little phone. “Here, take my cell phone. In case you get lost, just dial 33 and push the green button, then you’ll call Eero.”
“Thanks, see you later.” I take the phone and walk into the direction Pauli has disappeared into.
After a few minutes I see Pauli and Kwan. I hide behind a few trees and wait till they walk around a corner. Then I follow them inconspicuously. Suddenly they enter a house. I sneak along the building until I reach a window. I peak into the room and see Pauli and Kwan.
They are sitting on a couch. Pauli is playing on his guitar, Kwan is listening. I can’t hear anything through the closed window. Now Pauli’s stopped playing, they are laughing. I hate to see how she’s placing her hand on his arms and how they bend their heads to each other. It all looks like they are so familiar with each other… She says something, he laughs again. I need to know what they are talking about!
They get up and walk next door. I follow them outside. The next window is darkened with black paint but a small window above the big one is opened a bit. I can hear music and voices. I climb on the window sill to get closer to the opening.
“You were great. I’m loving it!” Pauli says.
“That’s just so good cause of you,” Kwan replies.
I wanna know what they are doing… maybe if I get on the tip of my toes… almost, just a tiny bit more…. Whaaaaa!
I loose balance, lean against the black window… and fall into the room. Straight in front of Pauli’s and Kwan’s feet.
“Angel?” Pauli asks surprised.
I grin and wave at him. “Hi!” Oh my gosh, please, someone make me invisible!
Pauli bends down and helps me getting up. “What are you doing here?” Then he laughs. “That’s the second time in three days you fall right in front of my feet. At least this time I saw where you were coming from!”
I feel like my face must be burning bright red. “I was… I saw… you were…” I stutter embarrassed. What can I say without making a complete fool of myself? Probably nothing… “I saw you going into this house and I thought I should come along and visit you.”
“You know, there are these big openings in houses that we use to get in. We call them door.”
I sigh. “I know… I thought… maybe I’m not allowed to get in, so I wanted to take a look through the window first.”
Pauli raises his eyebrow. “Through a black window?”
Kwan suddenly offers me her hand. “Hi, I’m Mariko.” She smiles at me and somehow I get the impression she’s done this to distract from my unusual appearance. Damn, I actually had planned to not like her. Wait, Mariko? I thought that’s Kwan…
I shake her hand. “I’m Rita.”
“Rita?” Pauli wonders. “You remember your name?”
“That’s so cool! I’m sure now that you know your name, everything will come back soon, too!” He seems to be really happy for me. Aaaww, he’s so nice…
“I hope so. Anyway, I don’t wanna interrupt you doing anything important, maybe I should leave?”
“That’s ok, we’re almost done with work.” Mariko says.
“Yeah, we work together. Pauli produces the album of the band I’m singing for, Kwan,” she explains.
Oh, now I get it! They just work together! Why am I that relieved?
“If you want you can wait next door. There’s some coffee and magazines, that’s probably more interesting than watching us. I can walk you home after this if you like,” Pauli suggests.
I nod and leave the room. I take some coffee and sit down on the couch. A newspaper is lying on a table in front of me. I skip a few pages until I see my face. It’s the same picture as in Eero’s paper and the text below is also almost the same. They ask for people to call the police department if they know anything about me.
And suddenly I start feeling sad. Why hasn’t called anyone yet? I’m gone since almost three days, shouldn’t there be at least one person that worries where I am? Why doesn’t anyone care?
“Hey, what’s up?” Pauli asks and sits down next to me.
I shrug my shoulders. “I was just wondering why no one has called the police yet. It’s almost like no one is missing me.”
“Maybe they think your on holidays or something and they haven’t seen your picture in the newspaper.”
I give him a doubtful look.
“Hey, don’t worry,” he smiles and hugs me. “I’m sure someone is missing you. I would.”
I sigh. Maybe he’s right. Maybe I’m just too impatient. And after all, being hold in his arms is one of the best feelings I ever had… as far as I remember.
"Do you really think this isn't a problem for you?"
"Alright, I'm gonna be back in four hours. And if there's something you don't know how to deal with, call me."
"Don't worry, I'm sure it will work out just fine."
Eero looks at me, then at Aleksi and sighs. "I don't know. Too bad Marta's sick, maybe I should try to get a babysitter who has some experience."
"Oh, come on, Aleksi and I get along really well, he's such a lovely kid. And you don't have any time to find another babysitter, you're already late."
"I help Angel," Aleksi says, "I show her what to do."
Eero pats his son's head. "That's what I'm worrying about. Just promise to be a good boy, ok?"
"I'm always a good boy," Aleksi frowns.
Eero bends down and kisses Aleksi's forehead. "And today you're gonna be an extra good boy." He takes his jacket. "See you later. And call me if..."
"Eero, relax," I laugh. What should be so hard about looking after a child for a few hours?
Eero smiles, though it looks a bit insecure. Then he leaves the house.
"So, what do you wanna do now, Leksi?"
He grabs my hand and pulls me towards a large book shelf. "Read book!"
I pull a book from the shelf and skip a few pages. "I don't think these books are interesting for you, they don't have any pictures like all your other books. These are just for older people."
"I'm old," Aleksi pouts and gives me a big book. "This one!" Then he drags me to the sofa.
We sit down, I place the book on my lap and open it. This time it's only pictures and hardly anything to read. It just shows photos of paintings. "Leksi, there's no story to read out."
"Just watch pictures," he tells me, starts sucking his thumb and leans his head against my shoulder.
We skip the pages slowly, some pictures are really beautiful, some are just weird. Like there's a painting of a woman but her nose and eyes are not on the right place, the colors are different form what they should look like. A tiny writing below tells me the name of the artist... don't think that Picasso can live from being an artist.
"Look! That's angels!" Aleksi suddenly shouts and points at the page.
It shows two naked fat little boys with curly hair and tiny wings on their backs. They are sitting on a cloud. "That's an angel?"
I'm not really sure if I should be flattered that Lauri, Aki and Pauli were thinking of little chubby boys when they called me Angel.
The next picture shows lots of people on clouds, in the center is an old man with grey hair and a long beard. His index finger is touching a younger naked man's index finger. The writing below says that this picture can be found on the ceiling of a church in Italy.
"That's God," Aleksi points at the old guy, "and that's Jesus. God is the Daddy of Jesus."
Why am I thinking that this Jesus guy should wear more make-up? Weird.
"So who's that God?" I ask.
"God invented the world. He made people out of mud. And he made the animals. And chocolate," Aleksi explains.
Making people out of mud? Must be another of these fairy tales Aleksi is reading usually.
"Daddy says the picture is really huge!"
I look at the book. Huge? Not really...
"It's all over the walls"
Oh, guess he means the real painting.
"You like looking at these pictures, huh?" I ask Aleksi. Wouldn't have thought that a little kid likes these old paintings.
He nods and smiles. "I'm gonna be a painter when I'm older. And an astronaut. And a rock star."
I laugh. "That's all?"
"No, I'm also gonna be a football player. And a vet.. vetra... vetera... animal doctor."
He jumps off the couch. "Gonna paint picture for you!"
"Oh, thank you!"
He runs out of the room. "Hey, were are you going?" I shout.
"My room. Picture is a surprise. Don't look!"
"Ok. Call me when you're done."
I switch the TV on for a while but I can't really concentrate. My thoughts go back to Pauli all the time.
Yesterday at the studio, when he hugged me on the couch, I felt so happy. I felt close to him. But then he walked me back to Eero's house. We talked a bit about all kind of things and when we finally arrived he was just like he used to be before. Not cold but somehow distant. Am I doing something wrong?
I wonder if Aleksi is ok, he's been gone since almost an hour now. I walk upstairs and knock on his room's door.
"Hide your picture, I'm coming in!"
"No!" Aleksi shouts back.
I wait a few seconds then I open the door. "Coming!"
He's standing on a chair, leaning with his back against the wall. His face and clothes are sprinkled with paint. "Not ready," he complains. Then he smiles. "You like it?"
I look at his work. It shows lots of people... might be some animals as well, I'm not so sure. But as they are all standing on two feet, I guess that are people.
"Made it with my fingers," Aleksi explains proudly and shows his hands he had been hiding behind his back. They are all covered with paint. "Like it?"
"Well, it's..." I try to find the right words, "... huge!"
Aleksi laughs. "Like in the book!"
The only difference is that Aleksi's painting is not on the ceiling... but all over the walls.
He jumps off the chair and grabs my hand with his colored one. "Come, I show you!" He drags me closer. "This is Daddy." He points at the tallest person. He doesn't have any arms.
"Where are his arms?" I ask surprised.
Aleksi frowns. "You int.. intupt me!"
"I did what?"
"Came in when I wanted to make Daddy's arms!"
"Oh, I interrupted you."
He rolls his eyes. "I said that. Look, that's uncle Aki." He has huge eyes. "Uncle Pauli." Huge hair. "Uncle Laui." He's the smallest. No, wait there's someone smaller, he has wings. But he's standing with another group of people in the background.
"Are that the people from your dream?" I point at the background.
"No dream," Aleksi snaps, then he goes on with his description. "Here's Mommy." A tall person with blond hair next to Eero. "And Marta." A girl with a book.
Then he points at a person who's sitting on a ball above all the others. "That's you."
"Why am I sitting on a ball?"
Aleksi sighs. "You're Angel, you sit on a cloud," he explains patiently.
I remember the picture in the book. At least he didn't draw me small, chubby and naked. "I see. Hey, why do we all have no noses?"
Aleksi blushes. "Can't make noses."
"Oh, don't worry, I'll help you!" I dunk my finger into the cold paint and start drawing noses. Aleksi adds a few flowers on the ground.
Suddenly I hear Eero shouting. "Hello! Where are you?"
"Here!" Aleksi shouts back.
"I was done earlier so I thought I'd come home and see how things are... What are you doing?"
I turn around. Eero is standing in the door and stares at us.
What does it look like? "Painting a picture?" I suggest.
"Aleksi, you know the rule! No painting on the walls!"
"But it's for Rita," the little boy mutters.
"That doesn't matter. How often have I told you, it's only allowed to draw or paint on paper!"
"But there's paper on the wall!" Aleksi tries to defend himself.
Eero sighs. "Go to the bathroom and wash your hands and face. I'm coming in a minute."
Aleksi leaves the room.
"I'm really sorry! I didn't know he's not allowed to do that. Don't be mad at him, he just wanted to surprise me."
"It's not your fault, you didn't know better," Eero replies. "And after all I shouldn't have left you alone with him."
"Hello? Anyone home?" A voice comes from downstairs.
"Aleksi's room!" Eero shouts back.
I hear steps on the stairs, then Lauri enters the room. "Hey, what's up! Wow, that's a huge picture!" He looks at the wall. "Cool!"
Eero sighs. "Don't say that in front of Aleksi! He needs to realize that he can't break our rules. But he's kinda talented, right?" He adds slightly proud. "Gotta watch him cleaning his hands. I'm afraid he's gonna flood the bathroom." Eero leaves.
"Who's that funny little creature with the red nose?" Lauri asks and points at the wall.
"That doesn't look like me at all!" Lauri complains. "Poor Eero, parents always think their children are the most talented but then reality proves them wrong." He picks up Aleksi's little plastic guitar and pulls a few strings. "Hey, there's a party tonight, wanna come with us?"
"Alright, we're gonna pick you up around ten. See you later." Then he leaves.
The room is packed with people. I follow Aki, Pauli and Lauri to the bar.
"Wanna drink a beer?" Aki asks.
"Just to warn you, there's alcohol in it," Lauri grins.
"Well, now that I know it, I'm just gonna stop before I start feeling sick," I reply confidently.
Aki laughs. "Good luck!" He hands me a bottle.
Ew, that's really bitter! I turn to the guy behind the bar. "Excuse me, can I get some sugar, please?"
He gives me a weird look but shoves a small bowl with sugar into my direction. I let a few spoons of the white powder fall into my bottle, then I try again. Much better.
The guys are staring at me with disgusted faces.
"This... is... just... gross!" Lauri gasps shocked.
"How can you do this to your poor beer?" Pauli asks.
"It tastes good! Wanna try?" I offer them my bottle.
They back up quickly. "No!"
I shrug my shoulders. "You don't know what you're missing, guys."
"I think I can live on happily without having tried this... nasty brew!" Aki tells me and sits down on a stool.
We hang around and talk and drink for a while. I really don't know why they all hate my beer and sugar mix! It's great, wonder why they don't sell something like that yet!
Suddenly Aki puts his empty bottle at the bar. "Done with beer number four, time to dance!" He gets up and walks towards the dance floor.
Lauri and Pauli moan.
"I better go with him to prevent the worst," Lauri mutters with despair and follows Aki.
Pauli sinks a bit lower on his chair, like he tries to hide.
"What's wrong?" Never heard that dancing can harm anyone so don't really understand what they are worrying about.
Pauli just nods towards the dance floor.
Aki jumps up and down, then he starts waving his arms. After a while he starts moving his hips back and forth in a very weird way, then he looks like he's swinging a lasso to keep a herd of cattle together. As he's a drummer I'm not surprised to see how he's keeping the rhythm... too bad it's not the rhythm of the song...
I don't know much about dancing and I don't think I can dance well myself, but I'm sure it shouldn't look like what Aki's doing.
"Don't you like to dance?" I ask Pauli.
He shakes his head. "Not really." He looks at me. "You don't have to stay with me, you can join the others if you want to."
I laugh. "I can't remember if I can dance. And I don't really wanna try it here in front of all these people. It's enough if one of us embarrasses himself."
We sit next to each other for a while, not saying a word. I really wanna say something but I just don't know what.
"I like that song," I try to start a conversation.
"Yeah, it's cool," Pauli replies.
Another few minutes of silence follow. I keep on drinking my beer. Why is it so hard to find the right words? I mean I really, really like him, it should be easy to talk to him, right? Suddenly I remember something... no, I can't say that... but why not? It's the truth!
Maybe it's all the beer I had cause though I don't wanna say it, my mouth opens and the words come out.
"Pauli, I have to tell you something."
He looks at me surprised. "What?"
"I'm your fan!"
He slowly raises an eyebrow. "Aha," he says insecurely, "well, thanks."
That wasn't exactly the reaction I expected. I mean, after all I just told him that I really like him a lot! At least that's what 'fan' means, like Eero has explained to me a few days ago.
"Hey, guys, what's up?" Aki has appeared behind Pauli and me and wraps his arms around our shoulders.
"Done with dancing? Good," Pauli replies. "Rita just told me that she's my fan."
Aki laughs. "Hey, why don't you start a Pauli fan club with Lauri? Maybe he borrows you his Pauli-button!"
I have no idea what Aki's talking about and Pauli somehow seems to be relieved that he's not alone with me anymore... whatever... I need another beer.
The sun wakes me up. I'm alone in the room. I crawl out of the bed. On a table I find a glass of water, some white pills and a short note.
"Gone to work. Take these aspirins, we're sure you can need them. Feel yourself at home, see you later, Aki and Lauri."
Last night we decided to sleep at Aki's place cause his house was the closest to the club. Pauli left early, I stayed with the other guys.
I swallow the tablets though I'm not feeling too bad. I raid the fridge for something to eat, sit down on the couch and turn the TV on. After switching the channels for a while I turn it off again. Nothing interesting is on.
What now? I'm bored. I can't find any books. After a while I discover a few video tapes in the little shelf below the TV set. Aleksi has some, too and some of his movies were funny. Maybe Aki has a good film to watch, too.
I check the covers but all movies seem to have to do with either cars, fighting people or dead people. I keep on searching until I find more tapes in the back.
"Long hot nights, Beer, Butts and Boobs, Girls home alone, Italian Stallion," I read out some of the titles.
I pick the last one, a story about a horse could be nice...
Surprisingly there are no horses on the screen, just a blond woman and a dark haired man with a huge black mustache. It must be pretty warm where they are cause they don't wear any clothes. The woman kneels down in front of the man.
"Baby, I wanna melt in your mouth not in your hand," he tells her.
Holy fuckin' shit! I stare at the TV but I just can't believe what I'm seeing. Eeeewww!
"Honey, we're home!"
Aki and Lauri enter the apartment. Lauri lets himself fall next to me on the couch.
"What are you watching?"
"Nothing, just some talk shows," I mutter. After only a few minutes of watching that weird movie I turned it off again and hid the tapes in the back of the shelf. Whatever these people were doing... it was just too bizarre.
"How's your hangover?" Lauri asks.
"I'm feeling really good, hardly had any hangover at all," I tell him proudly.
"Maybe I should try beer with sugar as well cause my head hurt like hell though we had the same amount of drinks last night," Lauri sighs.
I grin. "Ha, now you wish you tried my delicious mix, huh?"
Aki laughs. "I'd rather prefer the worst hangover ever than drinking beer with sugar!"
He takes his shirt off.
Holy shit! Put that thing back on! I just saw what people without clothes are up to!
"What?" Aki looks at me.
Guess I shouldn't have stared at him like this... "Why are you taking your shirt off?" I ask carefully.
"Cause I spilled coffee all over it and wanna put on a new one," he explains. "Why, what did you expect?"
I blush. "Oh, nothing, I was just wondering."
I have no idea why and what these people in the film were doing but I know I'm never gonna do that! Though I'm kinda curious what it all was about...
"Lauri, can I ask you a question?"
Ok, how am I gonna put this? Hey, Lauri, why do people take other people's body parts into their mouths or into another... body opening? I suddenly feel stupid to ask him. Or to ask a man at all. Why do I think it's easier to talk about this with a woman? Weird.
"So?" Lauri is waiting for me to say something.
"Ehrm... can we go back to Eero?"
Lauri shrugs his shoulders. "Of course. Why? Don't you like it here?"
"No, it's just that I wanna put on some fresh clothes and mine are all at Eero's place."
"I can drive you there," Aki shouts from the bathroom.
"Cool. Ok, are you coming with us?"
Lauri shakes his head. "I still gotta do some paper work at home. I'll see you later."
Aki and I are sitting in his car. I still have to think about his movies. Weird enough to do something like these people did but why on earth should someone like to watch it? No matter how much I think about it, I just don't understand. I need to find out what it's all about...
"So, do you like watching movies?" I ask inconspicuously.
"I love movies. Mostly action or scary movies."
Guess what I saw counts as a scary movie...
"Must be difficult to be an actor. I mean, doing all kind of things you wouldn't do in real life and stuff like that."
"Actually acting is fun. I once played a small part. But it wasn't a real movie, just a TV show."
"Really? What was it?"
"It was a fantasy series. I played a magician." He laughs. "I had a cool costume, kinda like Chewbacca in Star Wars."
He sighs. "I forgot you don't remember things. Let's say I was very hairy."
"Did you play anything else?"
He shakes his head. "Nah, it was fun but I like making music much more. Memorizing all the text was kinda my weak point. Hey, Pauli was in a movie, too. Even in one they showed at movie theaters. It's called 'long hot summer'."
I gulp. Holy shit! Wasn't one of Aki's movies called something like long and hot? And Pauli is in it? Does that mean he...
"He played just a small role though. And guess what? He played someone who plays in a band."
I exhale relieved. That doesn't sound like what I expected. I laugh. "Guess he didn't have to act a lot then."
Aki stops the car. "Alright, here we are."
"Aren't you coming in?"
"No, got some stuff to do at home."
Hope that doesn't involve some of your video tapes...
"Ok, see you later."
I get out of the car. On my way to Eero's house I see Marta standing in her front yard.
"Hi!" I shout and wave.
She takes some pieces of paper out of a box, waves back and walks towards me.
I smile at her. "Are you feeling better?"
"Yeah, guess it was something like a 24 hours flu. Hey, wanna come in for a coffee?"
I follow her into her house. A huge black dog welcomes me. He jumps on his back feet and places his front feet on my shoulders.
"Dog! Get down!" Marta shouts at him.
He licks across my face, then he sits back down at the floor.
"Dog? Doesn't he have a name?"
"That is his name! Dog!" Marta explains.
I laugh. "Well, at least it fits!"
"We got him from an animal shelter, back then he was called Rudolf. We wanted to give him a new name but 'Dog' was the only name he was listening to. So he kinda chose the name himself."
"You said 'WE got him from an animal shelter'."
"Oh, that," Marta sighs, "there's no 'we' anymore. My ex-husband and I got divorced last year. He got the car, the money and the peroxide blonde secretary, I got the house and Dog. But whatever, I'm glad I got rid of that idiot."
We sit down at her kitchen table, she pours coffee into some mugs. "Milk and sugar?"
"So, how's your memory? Did anything come back yet?"
We start talking about all kind of things. After a while I remember Aki's video tapes. I pull all my guts together and tell Marta about it.
She bursts into laughter.
"So Aki's hiding porn in the back of his shelf? Why doesn't that surprise me at all?"
I look at her questioning. "What's porn?"
"A porno movie is a film showing people having sex," she explains, trying to stop laughing.
Sex? I remember Lauri trying to explain to me what sex is. I totally forgot to ask someone else about it. Now I'm somehow glad I didn't ask any of the guys... "So that's what sex is?"
"Don't tell me you can't remember sex!" Marta shouts surprised.
"Well, no, I have absolutely no idea." And after all, I'm pretty sure I never did something like THAT!
Marta grins. "Poor you, you even forgot about all the good things!"
Good things? Are you kidding me? I highly doubt that there's anything good about sex! I mean, these people in the movie were moaning and making weird faces, like it's hurting really bad.
I must have looked pretty shocked or disgusted or both cause Marta laughs again.
"Honey, I think you pretty much misinterpreted what you saw on TV. There's nothing bad about sex. At least not until you want to do it. On the contrary, it's really great."
She starts explaining to me what it's about and why people do it.
"It's great even if it's just for fun but doing it with the person you love, is so much better!" She ends her little lecture.
Ok, I think I start getting what it's about, at least technically... though I'm still not convinced that it's something I wanna do.
Marta laughs about my still doubtful face. "Don't worry, I'm pretty sure you'll change your mind soon. And remember what I told you, you gotta take preventions if you don't wanna get pregnant. No glove, no love!"
Gloves? Even in summer when it's hot? Anyway, I'll try to keep that in mind.
"So, haven't you met any guys you like yet?" She wants to know.
"Well, sure, I like Eero, Aki, Lauri and Pauli!"
She rolls her eyes. "No, I mean not just liking someone but liking someone a lot? Maybe last night at the party?"
I sigh. "You know, the weird thing with the guy is that I have the feeling like I somehow belong to them, you know? Like I know them from before I lost my memory. And Pauli... I feel like there's a special connection between us, like I belong to him. Sounds stupid, right? I mean, I've never met them before! At least that's what they told me."
"Maybe you were a huge fan of the band?" Marta suggests.
I shrug my shoulders. "I heard the guys talking about me, they didn't know I was listening. Though they were surprised, they all agreed on that there's some kind of strange connection between me and them."
"That really sounds unusual. So, what's that about that special feeling you have for Pauli?" She grins.
"I like him a lot. More than the other guys. But it's really weird, every time I'm close to him, I don't know what to say, I get this strange feeling in my stomach, like I'm getting sick or something. Maybe I'm allergic to him?"
Marta bursts into laughter. "Aw, you're having a crush on Pauli!"
"I have what?" No idea what she's talking about.
"You like him a lot? You wanna be close to him all the time?"
"To me that sounds like you're falling in love with him!"
Oh, so that's what falling in love means? Not sure if I like it... I mean, until now it didn't really make me feel good and aren't you supposed to feel good when you're in love?
"Does he already know about it? Does he feel the same?" Marta asks curiously.
"Actually I'm not even sure if he likes me at all. He's always so distant, like he doesn't want to talk to me or spend time with me. I thought if I let him know how much I like him it would change but I was wrong."
"Did you tell him about it?"
"Last night I told him that I'm his fan."
Marta is surprised. "Why did you say that?"
"Why not? Eero explained to me that if you like someone a lot, you're his or her fan! I thought if he knows... what?" I look at Marta who's laughing again.
"What did he say when you told him?"
"He said thanks."
Marta wipes away some tears of laughter. I really don't get what's so funny about that! "Oh, Rita, I really don't wanna laugh about this cause I know you didn't mean it in a funny way but... you know, Eero was right with his definition of a fan but he forgot to tell you that mostly you're a fan cause you like what a person does, like musicians or actors or sports people or something like that. If you just like someone in general, you don't tell them that you're their fan."
"Oh." Guess now Pauli thinks I'm even weirder than he probably already thought I was.
"Don't worry, I'm sure he likes you, too. If I were you I wouldn't rush into things. I mean, you only know him since a few days, you have all the time in the world to find out what you feel about him and how he feels about you."
"You're probably right," I sigh.
Marta grins. "Of course I am! I'm always right!" She looks at Dog who's now standing next to her, glancing at her expecting. "Dog needs to go outside."
We leave the house. Dog runs towards the first lamp post and pees.
"Doesn't he need a leash or something?"
"No, he listens to me pretty much. And he's really peaceful, he doesn't attack anyone," Marta explains while she locks the front door.
Suddenly I hear a scream.
"Ah! Off! Off!" Someone shouts.
I can just see Dog's ears, he's standing on the sidewalk but a fence is covering him almost completely. We walk towards the street.
Lauri is lying on the pavement, Dog is standing above him, licking his face.
"Take this beast off me!" His voice sounds a bit scared.
Marta laughs. "Come on, Lauri! You know him, he wouldn't even harm a fly! He just wants to play."
"At the moment I think he rather wants to eat me," Lauri complains and tries to push Dog's head away.
"Don't be silly, he likes you!"
"Yeah, for dinner!"
Marta sighs. "Dog! Be a good boy! Sit!"
Dog sits down.
"Ey, not on me!" Lauri yells.
"Dog! Come here!"
Dog licks across Lauri's face one last time, then he gets up and sits down next to Marta's feet. Lauri jumps up and kind of hides behind me.
"Are you scared of dogs?" I ask surprised.
"If they have the size of a horse, yes!"
Marta rolls her eyes. "You're exaggerating, he's just a tiny bit bigger than an average dog! It's not my fault that you stopped growing at the age of twelve and now a hamster seems to have the size of a cat to you!" She winks.
"Oh, shut up," Lauri mutters. Then he remembers something. "Talking about hamsters, I have a whole lot right now, do you want some?"
Marta shakes her head. "No, thanks. Why don't you ask Eero? I'm sure Aleksi would love to have one."
"I already did but he said his wife hates everything that's small and hairy!"
Marta grins. "But she likes you and you're small and hairy, too!"
"Man, you're just so... whatever. Rita, Eero was looking for you, dinner's ready. Come on, let's go." He takes my hand and drags me towards Eero's house.
"Hey, what about me?" Marta pouts playfully.
Lauri sighs. "Alright, I don't wanna be held responsible if you're starving. But no small-people-jokes anymore or I'm gonna take the food away from you!"
"I'm shaking of fear!" Marta replies sarcastically and follows us.
"Why do I get the impression that you don't like each other too much?" I ask them.
Marta wraps her arm around Lauri's neck and places a big kiss on his cheek.
"Eeeew! Gross!" Lauri wipes the kiss away with his hand and shoves Marta away.
She laughs. "Of course I love him! He's like a LITTLE brother to me!"
"Marta!" Lauri shouts complaining.
She rubs his head with her knuckles. "And he knows my name! I'm so proud of him! Good boy!"
"Eero, hide me!" Lauri shouts and runs into the house.
"Don't worry, he knows that I'm just making fun," Marta tells me. "We know each other since at least fifteen years, we went to school together."
When we arrive in the kitchen I can't help but burst into laughter. Dog is standing behind Lauri, his front feet resting on the guy's shoulders, trying to rip Lauri's beanie off with his teeth. Aleksi is standing in front of Lauri, grabbing his shirt and jumping up and down.
"Pick me up! Pick me up!" Aleksi nags.
"What have I done to be punished like this?" Lauri asks dramatically.
"You were born?" Marta suggests.
"Marta, Aleksi and Dog at the same time, that's just too much for me! This is what hell must be like!"
"Well, if you seriously hate dogs, kids and people who tease you, then hell's pretty much gonna be like this," I tell him. Now, where did that come from? "I guess," I add quickly.
Why do I have the feeling like I really meant this seriously? Why should I know something like this? Why is all the stuff that I start to remember so... well, weird? What the fuck happened to me before I came here? Somehow I'm not so sure anymore if I wanna know all the details.
"Shut up, Lauri!"
"Shhhh! He's coming any minute!"
"Sorry! But it's not my fault that you force me to lie with my face down in all these dust balls under Pauli's bed!"
Though it's dark, I'm pretty sure Marta is rolling her eyes. The three of us are lying under Pauli's bed.
"How come, the other's are allowed to hide in the bathroom?" Lauri keeps on complaining.
"Cause you were small enough to fit under the bed!"
"How come you only make fun about my size and not about Aki's?"
"Honey, don't worry, size doesn't matter, it's all about the technique!"
"How come you can make a stupid comment to everything I say?"
"How come you can't shut up for only ten seconds?"
"Shh, guys, I think I'm hearing steps!" I interrupt them.
And really, Pauli unlocks the door and enters the room. I can only see his feet. He kicks his shoes off, his jacket drops to the floor, right in front of Lauri's face. His shirt and pants follow. He walks towards the bathroom.
Where are Aki and Eero? I thought they were supposed to shout surprise... though I guess they will be pretty much surprised themselves when they see Pauli only wearing his boxer shorts... I hear the shower curtain being pulled aside.
"Ahhh!" Pauli screams shocked. "What the fuck are you doing here?"
I see him stumbling backwards out of the bathroom while I leave my hiding place. Marta and Lauri jump on their feet and shout "Surprise!"
Pauli turns around and stares at us. Then he quickly picks up his shirt and tries to cover himself.
"Thanks for leaving your shorts on, man!" Marta grins and slaps his shoulder.
"What are you all doing here?" Pauli is still confused.
"It's your birthday, dork!" Aki laughs.
"I know but I thought the party takes place next weekend!"
"Did you really expect we wouldn't have at least a little party tonight? We're not gonna let you sit alone at home on you birthday!" Lauri explains and pulls two big bags from underneath the bed. "I brought some drinks."
Pauli sighs. "Alright, let me put some clothes on first." He disappears into the bathroom.
After about an hour of eating cake and having a few drinks Aki starts getting bored.
"Let's go to a place where we can dance," he suggests.
"No!" The others shout hectically at the same time.
"Why don't you turn up the volume and dance here?" I ask him.
"Or let's go to O'Reilley's!"
"I don't wanna go to the pub, Aki," Pauli replies.
"Why not? We haven't been there since at least two weeks."
"Cause the source of all evil works next door," Lauri mutters through the corner of his mouth."
"What?" I don't get what they are talking about.
Eero bends towards me. "He means M-A-Y-A."
Pauli rolls his eyes. "Eero, that spelling thing might work with Aleksi but I still get it, you know?"
"My ex-girlfriend. And can we talk about something different now, please?"
"Sure." Seems like she hasn't been too nice to him. Wonder what happened. But judging from his reaction I guess I shouldn't ask him about it.
"Then let's play something!" Aki nags around.
"Ooh, I have an idea," he shouts excitedly. "Let's play strip poker!"
"Aki, baby, why don't you admit that you just want to see me naked?" Marta grins.
"Marta, baby, as you might remember, I already saw you naked!" Aki grins back.
"And I really don't understand why you keep telling everyone about it, you didn't leave that much of a good impression on me, you know?"
Aki blushes. "Just cause I was hella drunk." Then he grins again. "But you know that you just have to tell me and I'm gonna show you the best I can do."
"What are they talking about?" I ask Lauri.
He laughs. "Like five years ago they met on a party and had a short... intermezzo."
"Very short," Marta adds and winks at Aki.
What are they taking about. They say they were naked and... ohh... I get it... eeeww.
"So what about strip poker now?" Aki asks again.
"You already saw me without clothes today," Pauli mutters. "I pass."
"Oh, come on, it's not fun if you're the only one who doesn't want to play," Aki complains.
"I don't think he's the only one who doesn't wanna play," Eero tells him.
"You guys are so lame! Come on, play with me or I'm gonna start dancing!" Aki threatens us.
"No!" They all shout again quite shocked.
"By the way, what is strip poker?" I ask.
"It's a card game. Every time you loose, you have to take off a piece of clothes. The one who ends up with still wearing the most clothes wins," Lauri explains.
Taking clothes off? I think about Aki's video tapes and stare at Marta. She laughs.
"Don't worry, it's not what you think," she tells me.
"Why? What is she thinking?" Aki ask curiously.
"Believe me, especially you don't want to know what this is about," Maya replies and winks.
Aki is confused but doesn't keep on asking. "Alright, so we're playing?"
"I'm not sure if I'm drunk enough for that yet."
"Well, then, Rita," Aki grins and pulls a bottle out of his backpack, "I got just the right thing for your!"
"Salmiakkikossu! Why were you hiding it from us?" Lauri complains.
"Cause it would be empty by now if you had found it!"
"What is it?"
"That's what turns a mouse into a man! I makes your chest hair grow!" Aki takes a big gulp from the bottle, swallows, inhales sharply and shakes his head. "Want one?"
I shake my head. "I don't really like hair on my chest."
Lauri laughs. "That's just a saying, it means that this drink is pretty strong. But try it, it tastes good."
And they were right, I like it. Soon we all have emptied the bottle.
"And now that I have donated all my Salmiakkikossu, you can't refuse to play with me," Aki states and pulls out a deck of cards.
Marta quickly explains the rules. "Let's just start, you'll figure out the details while playing."
"Ok." I pick up my cards. I'm not really sure if I can use any of this. "I have three cards with an 'A' on it and two with these kings. Is that any good?"
The others all sigh and throw their cards in the middle of the table.
"Sorry, did I say something wrong?"
"Full house," Aki mutters, "you won."
"Oh, cool!" I think I like this game...
"Why do I get the impression that you're all cheating?"
"We're just better players than you are, Aki," Marta grins.
"Hey, you wanted to play this, so don't start complaining!" Eero laughs.
"I'm freezing," Aki mutters silently.
"But... it's not fair!"
"You are clearly the looser, Aki." Lauri pats with his hand on the table. "You know what that means."
Aki sighs. Then he throws his boxer shorts on the table.
"Eeww, Aki, I eat here, you know?" Pauli shoves the shorts to the floor.
I put my shoes and my belt back on. "That's a fun game, we should play this more often."
"Yeah," Eero replies while pulling his hoodie over his head, "especially if we all loose only one or two pieces of clothes."
"Now that we have a naked Aki, what are we gonna do with him?" Lauri grins.
Aki rips his eyes open. "How about letting him get dressed again?"
"How about making him run down the street?" Marta suggests.
"Or he has to go to the gas station down the street and buy something!" Pauli is all excited.
"Guys, it's cold outside!" Aki sinks lower on his chair.
"Oh, come on, it's my birthday! Do it for me!" Pauli begs.
"I don't think we should do that," Eero interrupts them. "What if it's in the media tomorrow. We don't need this kind of attention shortly before the album is released."
"Eero! You're spoiling all the fun! You're so boring!" Lauri complains.
"No, I'm just sober."
Talking about being sober... I'm not. And everyone except Eero seems to be at least as drunk as I am. I hope I'm not gonna start saying stupid stuff to Pauli this time.
"Here, try this," Lauri hands me a glass.
"What is it?"
He shrugs his shoulders. "Doesn't have a name yet, I just invented it. It's a bit weird at first but you get used to it."
I take a sip and try to swallow... but I can't. It's too gross. I spit it back into the glass.
"That is the nastiest thing I've ever tasted. You can have it back."
Lauri stares at the glass. "Well, thanks..." He looks at me. "What's up?"
"I think your drink has made me feel sick."
"My super cocktail? What about all the other stuff you had before?" Lauri pouts.
I just raise an eyebrow. I'm afraid I'm gonna throw up if I open my mouth.
"Why don't you go on the balcony to get some fresh air?" Lauri suggests.
I nod and get up. I open the balcony door. The cold air feels like a slap into my face. My knees weaken. I let myself drop on a chair and lean my face against the cool concrete wall. While hearing Aki asking to put his clothes back on, I slowly doze away.
"Are you ok?"
I open my eyes.
It's Pauli. It takes me a while till I remember where I am. I must have fallen asleep. "Still feeling a bit dizzy. How long did I sleep?"
"Bout half an hour." He pulls a chair next to mine and sits down. "Eero and Aki are about to leave. They are waiting for you."
Like on cue, Eero's head pops through the balcony door. "Are you coming with us?" He looks at my pale face. "What's up?"
"Just the sheer thought of sitting in a moving car makes me wanna throw up right now," I explain.
"You can stay here if you want," Pauli says. "Lauri's sleeping here, too."
"Yeah, we weren't able to wake him up," Eero adds. "So?"
I look at Pauli. "If you really don't mind, I'd like to stay here."
He shrugs his shoulders. "Why should I mind? Of course you can stay."
"Alright, see you tomorrow, Rita." Eero leaves.
"Are you coming back inside?" Pauli asks.
"Give me a few more minutes," I mumble and look at the lights of the city.
"Great view, huh?"
I nod. "It's beautiful."
"Hey, why did you think I would mind if you stayed here?"
This time I shrug my shoulders. Just telling him that I think he doesn't like me wouldn't be a good strategy I guess. "I thought maybe you don't like me." Damn, I said it.
He looks at me surprised. "Why do you think something like that?"
"Cause of the way you act towards me."
"What do I do?"
"Nothing... I don't know how to explain it... you're kinda distant... and you always seem to be glad when you don't have to be alone with me."
"Really? But... I don't do it on purpose... I guess."
We both stare at the city lights.
"Hey, you remember a few days ago at the club, when I told you that I'm you're fan?"
"I didn't mean it in the way you probably understood it. I just wanted to tell you that I like you very much."
"Then why did you say that fan thing?"
"Cause Eero had told me that you're a fan of someone if you really like him a lot. Marta has cleard things up for me now."
Pauli chuckles silently. "Oh. Ok, now it makes much more sense."
He gets up and stretches his arms. "Let's go inside."
We find Lauri sleeping on the table. Pauli grins. "Well, that means we have both, the couch and the bed to sleep in. You can have the bed, I'm gonna sleep on the couch."
"No, I'm gonna take the couch. It's you're bed!"
He grins. "I was hoping you say that."
I laugh. "Ooh, what a gentleman! Alright, I'm gonna sleep now. Have sweet dreams!"
"Sleep tight," he replies. Then he walks towards me and gives me a hug. "You know, I'm you're fan, too."
What for fuck's sake is that?
My head is hurting like hell and this noise is making it even worse. Oh my gosh, I think I'll never ever drink Salmiku... whatever again. Or maybe I just should pass next time the guys decide to drink...
Ohhaa, again! That noise is killing me! I press my pillow on my head but it doesn't help much. I can still hear it.
With all the force that's left in my body I sit up and scan the room to discover the source of that evil sound.
It's Lauri. He's still curled up on the table and snores. But it's not a normal snore, it's like a chainsaw combined with the grunting of an enormous pig and a weird whistling. How can such a noise come out of such a small nose?
I throw my pillow at his head but he just turns around and snores on. And I don't have my pillow anymore, damn.
I get up and stumble towards the table.
"Wake up," I mumble while shaking his shoulder.
Still no reaction.
"Lauri! Wake up!" But whatever I try, he keeps on snoring.
I take a jacket that was hanging over a chair and put it on Lauri's face. It's not thick enough to drown the noise out so I also spread my blanket over his head. At least it's not as loud as it was before.
"What are you doing?"
I turn around. Pauli is standing in the door and looks at me surprised.
"I can't sleep if he's snoring," I explain.
"Oh. But I'm afraid he's gonna choke if you leave him like that."
"If that means he'll stop snoring, fine!"
Pauli laughs and pulls the stuff of Lauri's face. "Wow, I've never heard him snoring that loud! You can have the bed if you wanna sleep on, I'm getting up now anyway."
I look at Lauri who's sleeping on like nothing has happened and nod. "Cool, thanks."
Pauli's bed is still warm. I cuddle up under the blanket. I can hear Pauli taking a shower next door and quickly doze away.
I shrug up. Lauri is standing next to the bed, his eyes are tiny, he's still half asleep.
"Why don't you sleep on the couch?"
"Bed is warmer," he mumbles and crawls under the blanket.
I sigh. "Ok, but promise you're not gonna snore again!"
"Promise," he mutters and falls asleep.
Of course he snores. I hit him a few times with my pillow but it doesn't change a thing.
I give up and leave the bed. Pauli's making coffee.
I nod. "You mind if I take a quick shower?"
"The towels are on the shelves behind the bathroom door."
I lock myself in the bathroom and get into the shower. The hot water makes me feel better immediately. I let it rain on my body until it turns cold. Too bad I didn't bring my toothbrush, I wish that nasty taste in my mouth would go away. I gargle with some water and toothpaste. Better.
Oops, I dropped the toothpaste lid, it rolls into a corner. I kneel down to pick it up. What's that? It's a silver bracelet, it looks like it's made out of tiny flowers. Nice! Didn't expect that Pauli likes that kind of girly jewelry...
When I leave the bathroom I find Pauli sitting on the balcony. He has set up a little table and has placed some things to eat on it. He hands me a cup of coffee.
"I thought it was nice to have breakfast outside as long as the sun is shining."
"Great idea!" I sit down and let the sunbeams warm my face.
I take a sip of coffee. Then I remember the bracelet. I put it on the table.
"Here, I found that in a corner of the bathroom. I thought you might have lost it."
Pauli doesn't say a word. He just stares at the bracelet. Somehow I think he doesn't seem to be too happy that I've found his lost jewelry...
"That's some good coffee," I try to break the silence.
He still doesn't say anything. His eyes are glued to the bracelet.
"What's up?" I ask.
He picks it up and runs his fingers over the metal. "I didn't know it was still here," he mutters. "It's a present I once gave to Maya."
Oh, oh, the ex-girlfriend. Damn. Guess I should have just let it stay where I found it.
"Sorry. I didn't want to ... bring back bad memories or something," I tell him.
He shrugs his shoulders. "It's not your fault that she just played with me."
"She must have been an idiot!"
Pauli laughs sadly. "Looks like I have been the idiot considering that I fell for her lies."
"Ok, then you're the idiot."
"Oh, please, don't spoil me with all these compliments," Pauli replies sarcastically.
I grin. "Hey, I just agreed with what you said! So if you're the idiot, she's gonna be the asshole then."
Pauli laughs again. This time it sounds a bit more genuine. "How come you're that good in judging her though you hardly know anything about her?"
"Whatever she's done, she hurt you and that means she must be an evil bitch who deserves a severe kick in the ass and a lot more. The only thing she doesn't deserve is you. She doesn't even deserve a single second of your time that you waste with thinking of her."
He sighs and plays with the bracelet in his hand. "That's so much easier to say then to do."
I look at the jewelry. "Maybe you should get rid of that."
"What do you mean?"
"Don't you think it looks pretty aerodynamic? I'm sure it's gonna fly very well!"
Pauli knits his brows. "Rita, this bracelet if probably the most non-aerodynamic thing ever!" Then he looks down the balcony and grins. "Though maybe you're right."
He gets up, swings his arm back and throws the bracelet away. We both lean over the rail and watch it fly downwards. A car is coming down the street.
"Oh, shit, hope it's not gonna hit the windshield," Pauli mutters shocked.
But the bracelet hits the street just before the car rolls over and probably crashes it.
I laugh. "You aimed well! So, feeling any better?"
He nods. "Yup! Thanks for giving me the idea." He hugs me.
I lean my cheek against his chest and close my eyes. He softly caresses my back. Oh, please, don't let this ever end...
"Hey, guess what?"
Pauli sighs and lets me go. "What, Lauri? And how come you're already awake?"
Lauri sits down and grabs my cup of coffee. "My phone woke me up. And guess what?"
I shrug my shoulders. "The neighbors called to complain about your snoring?"
Lauri rolls his eyes. "No, wrong! Take another guess!"
"The cops called to tell you they found your brain?" Pauli suggests.
Lauri frowns. "Not funny, Pauli!" Then he grins and jumps up and down on his chair. "But you were pretty close!" He tells us excited.
"You found out you have a brain at all?"
Lauri slaps his shoulder. "Dumbass, not that part of the answer was right, the other one!"
"The cops called?" I ask surprised. "Why should they... oh..." Now I understand.
"See? Isn't that cool?" Lauri smiles.
"What did they say?" Pauli asks. He doesn't seem to be as excited as Lauri is.
"That someone called and that you have to come to the police department in two hours. You'll be picked up then," Lauri explains.
"Did they tell you who called them?" I wanna know. "Cause I have absolutely no idea who that could be."
"No, they didn't tell me." Lauri gets up. "I already called Aki, he's gonna be here in twenty minutes to drive us to Eero. I'm gonna take a shower real quick," he says and disappears into the bathroom.
I sink on my chair and sigh. "Wow."
Pauli sits down next to me. "Yeah... but that's good news, isn't it?"
"You don't seem to be too happy." He looks at me surprised.
"I still can't remember anything about my past and now I'm supposed to go home with people I don't know. That's kinda... scary."
Pauli laughs silently. "You came home with us though you didn't know us either!"
He's right but how can I explain that I know that I belong here and not somewhere else without sounding weird? I don't wanna go. I try to smile. Obviously not too successfully.
Pauli moves his chair closer and takes my hand. "Don't worry. I'm sure as soon as you see who ever is gonna pick you up, you'll remember and everything will be alright. And it's not like you're leaving for ever, right? Now that we all have met, you're not gonna get rid of us that easily!"
"Are you threatening me?" I laugh.
"But you're laughing," he grins. "That suits you so much better than looking sad."
Though he has said something nice I'm kinda embarrassed. My face turns read and my stomach feels like some creepy insects are crawling around inside.
He looks at me, I look at him.
And suddenly, I don't know why, I think I have to kiss him on his lips. I've seen people doing it on TV, they do it when they like each other. And right now, I like Pauli a lot.
But what if he doesn't want it? What if it's a stupid idea?
We look into each other's eyes.
What if it's a good idea? What if he wants it, too?
Our heads move closer.
Maybe I shouldn't do this. Maybe it's wrong.
Our lips touch.
No, it's not wrong, not at all.
His lips are warm and soft, his beard tickles a bit. The insects in my stomach are going crazy but this time it feels good. This is great, I wonder why people don't do it all day long. If I had known earlier how much fun this is, I would... eeew! Pauli just tried to stick his tongue into my mouth! What's that about? I back up.
He looks at me, like he's trying to read my face. I smile at him insecurely.
In that second the door bell rings. And again. And again.
But Pauli and I are not moving, just looking at each other, like we both think about what to say. He's still holding my hand.
Lauri comes from the bathroom with wet hair and just a towel wrapped around his waist.
"What's up with you guys? Are you deaf? Or just too lazy to get up?" He mutters complaining while walking towards the door.
Pauli quickly lets my hand go.
Aki comes running towards me and gives me a hug. "Hey, Rita! Isn't that cool? Aren't you excited to meet these people soon?"
Well, I'm pretty excited right now but not cause of the phone call... though now that he has reminded me...
"I still can't remember anyone from my past so... I don't know." I shrug my shoulders.
Lauri comes back fully dressed. "Come on, let's go."
We all drive to Eero's house. Marta and Aleksi help packing my stuff. Well, Marta helps, Aleksi keeps on putting all kind of toys into the big suitcase that Eero has borrowed me.
"Leksi, don't give Rita all your toys! Later on you will cry when you can't play with them anymore," Marta tells him.
"I can play when she comes back," Aleksi explains and puts a blue plastic truck on a pile of black shirts.
Marta bends down to the little boy. "But she's not coming back, Aleksi."
He looks at me with huge eyes. "Not coming back?"
I shake my head.
"Where are you going?" He wants to know.
"I'm going home."
He gives me a questioning look. "But here is home."
I kneel down in front of him. "This is your home. I'm going back to my home."
Aleksi laughs relieved and, like so often, gives me the feeling like he's the only one who knows all the right answers. "No, your home is here. I go and tell Daddy!"
He leaves the room. I can hear his little feet running down the stairs. I sigh and continue packing.
"Ok, now you can tell me. What's up?" Marta asks.
"What do you mean?"
Marta rolls her eyes. "I know that you're kinda scared bout who's gonna pick you up and all but I'm not stupid! What's going on with Pauli?"
Now I'm really surprised. How does she know? "Why do you think there's something going on?"
Marta laughs. "Last night when we left you two were sitting alone on the balcony..."
"Just cause you left and Lauri was sleeping, there was no one else left!"
"... then you spent the night at his apartment..."
"I slept on the couch!"
"... and now you both hardly look into each others eyes."
Ok... but that's just cause I don't know how to react...
"And Lauri told me that he saw you holding hands this morning!"
"He can't have seen that! He was in the bathroom when we..." I stop.
Marta grins at me.
Damn, now she knows... I blush and sink to the bed.
Marta sits down next to me and looks all excited. "Come on, you gotta tell me everything!"
Actually I feel kinda relieved to talk about it so I tell her what has happened.
"... he tried to cheer me up and I laughed and then we looked at each other and our heads come closer and then we..."
"Aaaawwww!" Marta sighs.
Marta grins. "Did you like it?"
I blush again. "I loved it! But then he... " I bend my head to her ear and whisper, "he wanted to stick his tongue into my mouth!"
"So?" She asks surprised but when she sees the kinda shocked expression on my face she collapses in laughter.
I watch her gasping for air and wiping away tears for a while. "Are you done now?"
"Believe me, Rita, next time you just let him do that thing with his tongue, you're gonna like it, I promise!"
I give her a doubtful look. "I don't know. And after all, I'm not even sure if there's gonna be a next time."
"Of course! Why not?"
I sigh. "I don't even know where I'm going now. Or who I'm gonna meet or... The only thing I know is that I shouldn't go. That's kinda weird, isn't it?"
Marta puts her arm around my shoulder. "Don't worry, it's all gonna be alright!" Then she hands me a piece of paper. "Here, I wrote down the phone numbers of all of us. Call me anytime you want!"
I hug her. "Thanks, that's so sweet of you."
"Hey, what's going on in here? A secret hugging orgy? Without me?" Aki, who's just entered the room, jumps on the bed and wraps his arms around Marta and me.
"Great plan, Aki, just choke us to death so Rita doesn't have to go home," Marta complains and tries to loosen his grip.
"Oh, group hug!" Lauri screams excited when he sees us and jumps on top of us three.
"Damn, Lauri, how can a small guy like you be so heavy? Get off!" Marta shouts at him.
I laugh. I'm so gonna miss that.
"Are you done with packing? Eero send us here to tell you we have to leave soon," Aki says.
I separate Aleksi's toys from my clothes and close the suitcase. "I'm done."
"Let me carry this for you," Lauri offers and pulls on the suitcase's handle. It doesn't move an inch. "What's in there? Rocks?"
Marta rolls her eyes and picks up the suitcase like it has the weight of a feather.
"Just don't say anything," Lauri mutters ashamed and walks downstairs.
After a last look around the room, I follow them. Greta is holding Aleksi in her arms. He's crying. When he sees me he runs towards me and grabs my leg.
"Don't go! Here is home!" He sobs.
I pick him up and hug him. "Don't cry, Leksi! I'll come back to visit you, I promise!"
But he wraps his little arms tighter around me neck and sobs on. "No! You're all wrong! You live here!"
Greta takes him off my arms. "Come on, Leksi, don't be sad!"
I hug Greta good-bye. "Thanks for letting me stay in your guest room!"
She smiles. "You can come back anytime."
I kiss Aleksi's forehead. "Bye little one, be a good boy and don't be sad! I'm gonna visit you, I promise!"
Instead of an answer he just presses his face against his Mom's shoulder.
The guys, Marta and I get into Aki's car and drive to the police department.
We walk through a long hallway.
"What room number?" Eero asks.
"512," Lauri replies.
"Here it is!" Marta points at the door right next to me.
I put my hand on the doorknob but I don't turn it.
"What are you waiting for?" Aki asks.
I sigh. Suddenly I feel a hand on my shoulder. I turn around. It's Pauli. He smiles at me.
I smile back and open the door.
Behind a desk I recognize the officer from the hospital. A young man who has been sitting on a chair jumps up.
"Rita!" He runs towards me and kisses my lips.
I have no idea who that is. He backs up and smiles at me.
"What's up? Don't you remember me?"
I slowly shake my head.
He laughs. "How can you forget your husband?"
Silence. Awkward silence.
Everyone stares at the man. He stares at me.
I don't know what to say. I'm married? Why can't I remember?
"I told you she has lost her memory," the officer tells the guy.
Lauri steps forward and looks at him thoroughly. "So, you're really her husband?" He asks with doubt in his voice.
"Of course I am! Why should I lie about that?"
"Can you prove it?" Lauri knits his brows. "Who are you? What's your name? What makes you think you can just come here and take her with you?"
The man sighs. I can see that he tries to stay calm. Lauri seems to go on his nerves. "As I already said, I'm Rita's husband, my name is Stan Anderson and yes, I can prove it!"
He raises his left hand and shows us a ring.
"Ha!" Lauri shouts triumphing. "Rita doesn't have a ring like that!"
"She gave it to me cause it didn't match the bear costume!" He pulls another ring out of the pocket of his pants and gives it to me.
I read the engraving. Rita and Stan, May 1st 2004. "Looks like we've been married since a year," I mumble.
"You can get a ring like that anywhere," Lauri hisses, "that's not a proof!"
Stan rolls his eyes. "Sure, I read the news paper, see a girl in a bear costume and think 'hey, let's go get her and tell everyone she's my wife'!"
"Why not?" Lauri replies sharply. "Maybe you wanna kidnap her and sell her to some nasty old men?" Though his voice sounds like he's not really believing his own idea.
Stan hands me an ID. It's mine. My hair is a bit shorter on the photo but it's definitely me. Rita Anderson. At least I was right about being called Rita.
"You can easily fake an ID," Lauri mumbles. “And Stan isn’t really a Finnish name!”
"My mother is from Scotland. Listen," Stan's eyes sparkle furiously at Lauri, "I know who you are and being a famous rock star you're probably used to people who try to stick their head up your ass but this is none of your business!"
"This is my business cause Rita is my friend!" Lauri shouts angrily.
Stan snorts sarcastically. "Oh, really? Since when? A week? I know her since five years, we're married, we love each other and I'm gonna bring her back home!"
"A home she doesn't even remember!"
"But it's our home! It's HER home!"
"Ehrm, guys?" I interrupt them. "Can I say something, too?"
They stop shouting and look at me.
Lauri blushes. "Sorry," he mutters ashamed.
I let myself fall on a chair and sigh. "Stan, right? Well, I'm really, really sorry, but I still can't remember anything at all."
He looks at me kinda disappointed.
The police officer comes closer. "I can understand if you're worrying about Mr. Anderson telling the truth. We checked him and found him in the system."
"Ha! So he's a criminal!" Lauri grins.
The officer laughs. "No, not in our police files! We found birth certificates of both of them and their marriage certificate. And Mr. Anderson also has photos."
"Can I see them?"
Stan gives me a paper stripe. A row of four little photos show us making stupid faces and kissing each other.
"We took them in a photo booth only a few weeks ago," he explains.
This is the weirdest thing that has ever happened to me. Well, not that I can remember more than a few days of my entire life but still... I see my face on these pictures so I obviously must have been there when they were taken. But why does it feel like I'm seeing this guy for the first time? The thoughts go crazy in my head, I start feeling dizzy.
“Excuse me for a moment, gotta go to the bathroom real quick.”
“Are you alright? Want me to come with you?” Marta asks.
I shake my head and leave.
In the bathroom I splash some cold water in my face and dry it with a few paper towels. I stare into the mirror.
So, my name is Rita Anderson. And I’m married. To Stan Anderson. Stan… somehow this name rings a bell though I’m still pretty sure I haven’t seen him before. At least it shows that I have a pretty good taste in men. He’s tall, has dark hair, blue eyes and a gorgeous smile. Too bad, I don’t feel the slightest thing when I look at him…
But they have all these proofs... and somehow I'm curious to finally find out about my past, my family and friends... maybe I should give it a try.
"Alright, I've made a decision," I tell the others when I come back. "I'm going with Stan."
Stan gives Lauri a triumphant smile, takes my hand and kisses my cheek. "I'm so happy your coming home!"
With lots of promises to stay in touch and come visit I say good-bye to Marta and the guys. I'm sad to leave them behind and I'm a bit scared of what will come but I'm also excited.
I'm not feeling too comfortable being alone in the car with Stan, I don't really know what to say. Fortunately I'm still pretty tired from the party last night, so I doze away after a while.
Stan and I drive about two hours until we arrive at his house... our house. It's beautiful and big, almost a small mansion, and it's placed right on the edge of a cliff at the ocean. It's the only house in the whole area.
I whistle admiring. "That looks awesome! Kinda lonely though. Why do we live here? Are we rich or something?"
Stan shrugs his shoulders. "Depends on what you consider to be rich. I'd say we have enough money to live a nice life. And the house is property of my family since 100 years, I got it when my parents died."
"Oh, I'm sorry bout your parents!"
He laughs. "Don't worry, that happened more than ten years ago."
"So what do I work as?"
"You don't work, honey."
"Hey, I'm the husband, it's my job to make money for the family, isn't it?"
Aha... and I agreed on that? Hope 'women belong into the kitchen' isn't the next thing he says... "And you work as what?"
"I'm running the family business."
"We talk about that later, come on, let's go in first." He opens the door and leads me into the hall. Wow, this house really is huge...
Stan shows me around, all rooms are beautifully decorated with all kind of antique furniture. They look like they have been here since the house was build. Though it looks wonderful, I'm not sure if I can feel comfortable in here. I mean, it's almost like in a museum or something. Stan stops in front of a door.
"And here's your room."
"My room?" We've already been to the bed room... what's the other room for?
"Yeah, I have my own room, too. There's all our stuff inside that didn't match the rest of the house. Guess my relatives would freak out if we decorated the house with some cool posters," Stan laughs and pushes the door open.
I immediately love this room. Well, I should as I probably have fitted it up myself. There's a desk with a computer, a comfortable couch, a TV and a stereo set and lots of cd racks. Photographs and posters decorate the walls. The same Kurt Cobain poster Lauri had in his apartment hangs above the sofa. So that's where I know him from...
I look at the photographs, they show me with all kind of different people.
"Do you recognize any of them?" Stan asks.
I shake my head. "Besides Kurt Cobain? No."
Stan laughs. "I'm not surprised that you didn't forget Kurt, he's your favorite singer of all times. Here, this is your mother, that's your sister, here's Anja and Teja, your best friends." He points at different faces. But these people are complete strangers to me.
I sigh disappointed. Stan wraps his arm around my shoulder.
"Don't worry, your memory will come back soon, I'm sure. Hey, why don't you stay here, get some rest or go through your stuff. I'm gonna go downstairs and prepare something to eat for tonight." He smiles at me. The sweetest smile ever.
I start to understand why I might have married him.
I spent the next few hours in my rooms. Though I haven't remembered anything yet, I found out a few things about myself. I have a great taste in books, movies and music. Though the fact that the Titanic soundtrack was hiding behind some AC/DC cds slightly worries me.
And I was born in Lapland, my family still lives there. I remember the guys saying once that people in Lapland are a bit weird. Well, that might explain some things as well...
It feels strange to see myself in a white wedding dress on the photos... I wore a dress? A white one? Wonder if someone had forced me to do that... but hey, Apocalyptica played at the wedding reception, how cool is that? Guess that means Stan's family really has a bit more money than normal people.
But still, I don't remember anything. What if my memory never comes back? Will I like all these people on the pictures that are supposed to be my friends and family?
Stan and I spend the rest of the night eating and watching a movie. Something about a few guys getting lost in the woods of an haunted island, not too exciting. I must have fallen asleep cause when I open my eyes, the movie is over and my head is lying on Stan's lap.
He's watching me and when he realizes that I've woken up he smiles at me. There is his gorgeous smile again... He carefully brushes some hair out of my face and suddenly I have the urgent feeling to kiss him. I raise my head and smile back. He understands me and bends down. We kiss.
And then I remember Pauli. How come I miss him when I'm kissing my supposed-to-be-husband?
I sit up straight and stretch my arms.
"Are you tired?" Stan asks.
"Let's go to bed," he suggests and gets up. "What's up?" He wants to know when he sees me hesitating.
"Would you mind if I sleep on the couch? I'm not really sure if I can feel comfortable lying in the same bed with you. I mean, you're my husband but I hardly know you." I sigh. "That sounds confusing, doesn't it?"
Stan looks at me for a while. Then he smiles again. "No, it's alright, I understand what you're saying. Hope you're gonna sleep well. I see you tomorrow."
The sun wakes me up the next morning. It takes me a while to figure out where I am. I walk downstairs to the kitchen. There's breakfast and a message from Stan waiting for me.
"Had to go to work, will be back around two. Later, Stan."
I eat a bit, then I relax in the bath tub. Later I wander through the house. It's really big, I'm not even sure if I have seen all rooms yet. For example Stan's room. Maybe I should try to find it, might help me to find out some things about him.
I open the door to the room next to mine. Wrong, just a huge closet. Next to that is a library. Cool, I always wanted to have my own library!
I keep on searching. So far I've found a room with a pool table and pinball machines, five guest rooms, three bathrooms and a room filled with fitness equipment. Though I highly doubt I've ever been in there before...
Finally I reach the last door on the first floor. Something's telling me that this must be Stan's. I put my hand on the handle but just before I push it, the doorbell rings downstairs.
I run to the front door and open up.
"Hey, what are you doing here?" I shout happily.
Lauri and Pauli are staring at me. They both look kinda shocked and confused.
"Are you guys ok? Come in!" I step back to lead them inside.
They silently enter the house.
"What's up? Did you loose your voice on the way here? Hey, you brought Dog! Is Marta here, too?"
I bend down to pat the big black animal's head.
"Would you mind stop hitting my head," he says with a deep voice while walking past me.
"Sure, sorry." Wait a second... did he just talk to me?
He licks over his nose. "And can you get me some water, please? My throat is a bit dry."
I stare at Dog. He blinks a few times.
“What? Do I have something nasty in my face? What are you looking at?” He asks.
“I… you are… why… you can talk! That’s not that usual for a dog, Dog!” I explain.
He laughs. “I explain that to you later. What about the water?”
“Oh, sure, come with me to the kitchen.”
They all follow me. Pauli and Lauri are still not talking. “What’s up with them?” I ask while pouring some water into a small bowl.
“They are still shocked, I guess. They did everything I told them but since this all started they haven’t said much except for a few ‘dude!’s, ‘fuck!’s and ‘wow!’s. This is all probably a little bit too much for them.”
Now that he said that… how come it doesn’t surprise me that much? I mean, sure, I was surprised at first but now? It kinda feels like he’s not the first animal I hear talking…
I place the bowl in front of Dog. “Here you are. Do you want something to drink, too, guys?”
Lauri and Pauli let themselves sink on chairs and just mumble a weak “Coffee!”
There’s still some left from breakfast. I place two cups in front of them and sit down, too.
“So, would anyone mind telling me what this is all about?”
Dog jumps on a chair. “Hey, I’m not gonna sit on the floor and drink there on my own! Could you please get my bowl?”
“Sorry, Dog,” I apologize and put his bowl on the table.
“And by the way, my name isn’t Dog. It’s Adrian.”
I raise one eyebrow. Adrian? What a stupid name for a dog… But the look on his face tells me that I shouldn’t make a comment about his name…
“Ok, Adrian, what’s going on?”
He scratches his ear with his left hind leg. A few of his hair swirl through the air and land on the table.
“Dog! You’re sitting at a table, don’t do that!” I complain and wipe the hair away.
“I’m sorry, I’m not used to your human rules, this is all new to me!”
“Thanks. Ok, listen, I’m on a mission!”
“A mission? Who sent you?”
“A friend of yours, Sean.”
“Sean?” That voice from the TV that told me my name, he was called Sean, too! “Why didn’t he come himself?”
“He said something about being in enough of trouble already, so he told me to do this.”
“To do what?”
Dog, excuse me, Adrian sighs. “Why don’t you just let me tell you the whole story and then you ask your questions. Alright, Sean came to me and told me that you’re in danger…”
“Danger? To bore myself to death in a beautiful house cause it’s in the middle of nowhere and I don’t have a job?”
“You’ve been kidnapped!”
If every kidnapping is like this, I don’t really mind… “By Stan?”
He rolls his eyes. “No, by my mom! Of course by Stan!”
“Would you please shut up now?! Anyway, where was I? Oh, yeah, so Sean came to me and sprinkled me with his fairy dust to make me speak your language. I got Lauri and Pauli and made them drive me here. Man, if I had known that none of them can drive properly, I would have asked someone else! But they were the first two guys I met.”
“Hey! I can drive! I just don’t have a license!” Lauri suddenly complains.
“Oh, now you can talk?” Adrian asks sarcastically. “That two hours drive wouldn’t have been that boring if you had started speaking earlier!” A silent gnarling comes out of the dog’s throat.
Lauri quickly sinks a bit lower on his chair. Seems like he still isn’t too fond of Adrian.
“So you came all this way to get me out of here? Why didn’t you just call?”
“Because, as I already said, you’re in real danger! We had to make sure that you’re taking this serious and don’t say anything to Stan.”
Well, not that I’m taking this too serious right now… “But why is Stan that dangerous?”
“What’s his name?”
“Stan’s?” Is he kidding me? “Stan, Stan Anderson!”
“If you change the position of the letters, what’s his name then?”
“Nadros Nestan?” Lauri suggests.
“Something that makes sense, dumbass!” Adrian barks back.
“Sorry,” Lauri mutters and sinks a bit lower.
I shrug my shoulders.
Adrian sighs. “I really don’t know why human beings always think they are that smart! How about Satan?”
“What happened to the ‘nderson’?” I ask.
The dog rolls his eyes. “Well, it’s not my fault that Satan isn’t more creative than that!”
“Are you telling me that Stan is Satan and has kidnapped me? Well, this makes so much more sense now… not!”
“And how much sense does it make that I’m talking to you?”
He’s got a point there…
“See? Why don’t you just believe me and pack your stuff so we can get out of here?” Adrian asks impatiently. “We have to be gone before Satan comes back.”
“One last question. Why did he kidnap me and not someone else?”
“That’s what I wanna know, too.” Seems like Pauli finally found his voice back.
“Not like you had two frickin’ hours to asks,” Adrian mumbles and clears his throat. “Well, the thing is, you’re an angel who has been expelled from heaven. And Satan kidnapped you to annoy God and Kurt Cobain.”
“Yeah, sure,” I manage to say before bursting into laughter. Pauli and Lauri join in.
“I’m not kidding!” Adrian shouts angrily. “Why do you think you can’t remember your past life on earth? Cause you don’t have one!”
“Of course! And I landed in front of the guys’ feet cause I’m their guardian angel!” I giggle.
“Exactly!” Adrian jumps off his chair. “And now, hurry up, we gotta go!”
“Hey, guys, now that you’re here, how about I show you around the house? It’s really cool, we could play pool or something!” I suggest.
Pauli and Lauri get up. “Sure, sounds like fun.”
“Hey, what part of ‘hurry up, we gotta go’ didn’t you understand? I’m serious bout that!”
“Relax, Adrian, if you want I can check the fridge for some meat. Are you hungry?”
He shakes his head. “No for fuck’s sake! You have to come with me. Come on or…” he looks at us, thinking about something, “… I’m gonna tackle Lauri to the floor and lick his face!”
Lauri quickly hides behind Pauli. “Why are you doing that to me all the time?”
“Cause your face tastes good? I don’t know, I’m a dog, I don’t need a reason for that! And now go and pack your stuff!”
“Stan won’t be back until two, come on, I show you the house!”
I wanna leave the kitchen but suddenly something’s tickling my nose. I sneeze loudly and see some glittering stuff on my clothes.
Pauli and Lauri sneeze, too.
Hey, I know that voice, it’s the voice from TV!
“Sean?” I ask carefully.
A huge bug lands on my shoulder. “Eeww!” I shriek and wipe it away.
“Goddammit, Rita, watch out!” It complains.
Sean is a talking bug? Ok…
He flies to my shoulder again. I turn my head. And what I see is a little red haired guy with wings, wearing a black leather jacket… “Sean?”
“Aw, you remember me!” He smiles and hugs my nose.
“Well, no, not really…”
Lauri stares at him. “Do you know Ville?”
“Ville Valo? Sure,” Sean nods his tiny head, “he’s a good friend of mine.”
“Guess Ville isn’t as crazy as we expected him to be,” Pauli mumbles surprised. “Holy shit, a fairy! I can’t believe this!”
“Damn, Sean, why didn’t you come here yourself in the first place?” Adrian complains. “I could be lying in my basket at home right now, chewing a nice bone!”
Sean frowns. “I tried to do this without being seen cause God told me that if I just one more time show myself to a human being, she’s gonna make me…” he shivers, “… I don’t wanna talk about that now. But I should have known that Rita’s gonna make trouble and not gonna listen to you, she never does…”
“Hey! I do listen to people… sometimes!” I defend myself.
“Oh, yeah? And what about the thing with Maya?” Sean asks.
“Maya?” Pauli interrupts him.
Sean blushes. “Oh-oh. I shouldn’t have said that!”
Pauli looks at me questioning. “Rita, what do you have to do with Maya?”
“Honestly, I have no idea!”
Pauli steps forward, carefully grabs Sean’s collar and picks him up. “So?”
Sean struggles. “Come on, dude, let me down! Damn, I’m not allowed to tell you about all that, I’m gonna be in so much trouble!”
“You already are in trouble, right?” Pauli shakes him a bit. “It’s not gonna make much of a difference!”
Sean’s face turns slightly green. “Ok, ok, but let me down! You’re making me sick!”
Pauli puts the little guy back on my shoulder.
Sean sighs. “Like Adrian already told you, Rita was your guardian angel. When she found out that Maya was just using you, she made her tell you the truth.”
“Really?” Pauli asks and looks at me.
I shrug my shoulders. Sean quickly grabs my shirt. “Don’t move that much!” Then he looks at Pauli. “Why do you think did you and the other guys feel like you already know Rita? Cause she had been watching over you all the time!”
Suddenly Pauli blushes. “All the time?”
Pauli gulps and looks at me. “That one dream I had, about someone telling me on the phone where Maya works, I’ve seen you in there!”
I shrug my shoulders again, this time more carefully. “That’s not fair, why can’t I remember anything of that?” I mutter.
“But if you knew that Maya was a liar, why did you try to hook her up with me in the first place?” Pauli wants to know.
“You know, Rita and I tried to help you find Maya and we even asked Cupid for help. Now that I’m thinking back, he wasn’t sure if it’s a good idea to get you two together. But back then, we didn’t know that Maya’s gonna turn out to be a stupid bitch. As soon as Rita found out, she made her tell you the truth.”
Pauli seems to be confused but he doesn’t ask further questions.
“I really think I’m either still asleep or someone smuggled drugs into my coffee this morning,” Lauri says, “but what do God, Satan and Kurt Cobain have to do with this?”
“Kurt was Rita’s boyfriend in heaven.”
Really? Wow! And again, it’s not fair that I can’t remember anything! Damn!
“When Kurt died he actually should have gone to hell, the suicide-rule, you know? But God was a huge fan of Nirvana and made Kurt go to heaven. Kurt refused all of Satan’s offers to come to hell, so Satan was pissed. And to annoy Kurt, Satan tried to hook up with Rita and make her come to hell, but she resisted, too. Well, she did most of the time.” Sean winks at me.
What? What did I do?
“And the hooking-up-part annoyed God cause God and Satan once had been a couple.”
“God is gay?” Lauri asks surprised.
“No, she’s a woman.”
“Oh,” Lauri just says.
“Anyway, when Rita did those things to Maya, she broke so many rules of heaven that she had to be expelled from heaven. Usually that means you go to hell but that would mean, Satan wins, and after all, God likes Rita, so she made her go back to earth and fall right in front of your feet.”
“I’m pretty sure, God’s not gonna be happy if she hears that you’re telling all that stuff to these human beings!”
Now where did that voice come from? I suddenly hear Adrian whimper, he’s pinching his tail between his legs.
“I didn’t know we’re having guests, honey!”
I feel a hand on my other shoulder and turn around. “Stan?”
He doesn’t really look like Stan, his hair is black and messy, he’s wearing eyeliner, his arms are covered with tattoos… hello there, hottie!
That’s Satan? And I was able to resist him? That even surprises myself…
“Oh, Rita, we could have had such a great life together,” he says silently with his gorgeous, deep voice.
What does he mean with ‘could have’? I’m still here…
“Damn, Rita, if you’re starting to drool I’m gonna kick you! Pull yourself together!” Sean hisses into my ear.
Right, that doubtlessly extremely hot guy still is Satan, he’s evil, he’s no good, he belongs to hell, I don’t.
“I’m afraid, I can’t let you go,” Satan says and leaves the kitchen.
A mysterious power makes us all follow him. Whatever I try, my feet don’t move the way I want them to.
Satan walks upstairs.
“Where are you taking us?” I ask him.
He laughs roughly. “What do you think?”
“Sean, can’t you fly somewhere else and get help?” I whisper.
“No, I’m glued to your shoulder!”
Satan stops in front of his room and starts digging in his pockets.
“What’s behind that door?” Sean asks silently.
I shrug my shoulders. “That’s Stan’s private room, I haven’t been in there yet.”
Satan pulls out a key and unlocks the door.
Sean gasps. “His private room? Holy shit, I know where he’s taking us!”
Satan opens the door and surprises us all with what is behind it. It’s an elevator.
“Help!” Sean suddenly screams from the top of his lungs, “Kurt! God! Anyone! We need help! Now!”
Satan waves his right hand and makes Sean shut up. Instead of his mouth, there’s now a tiny closed zipper in Sean’s face.
Satan laughs with his deep voice. “Well, then, get in the elevator. It’s time to go down!”
“Oh, come on, first you make us walk upstairs, now we’re going down again, what’s next? Going back upstairs again? Do you think it’s funny to make us run in circles?” Lauri mutters annoyed and gives Satan an angry look.
Satan grins. “You are even stupider than I thought. If I were you I’d shut up now.”
Sean rips on his zipper with full force, trying to open it.
None of us is saying a word. The elevator doors close and we start moving downwards. Somehow it feels like it’s getting a bit warmer the lower we go. I listen to the elevator music, I’m not sure but I think I kind of know it… it’s ‘highway to hell’ by AC/DC… just in a weird happy piano version.
Wait a second… Satan… highway to hell… holy shit!
Finally Sean has managed to open the zipper. He gives Satan a disgusted look.
“You can’t get away with this, you know that!” He yells at him. “God’s gonna be so mad at you!”
Satan just laughs. “I know for a fact that God’s busy at the moment, lucky me that these stupid humans are having wars all the time.”
“Yeah, right, as if you don’t have anything to do with that!” Sean hisses angrily. “Even if you’re takeing us to hell now, I’m sure that…”
“Whoa, hold on,” Lauri interrupts him, “what do you mean with hell?”
Sean rolls his eyes. “Hello? Satan, taking us somewhere ‘down’? Does that ring a bell?”
Lauri laughs nervously. “Yeah, but… you’re not really THE Satan, right? It’s more like kind of a nickname or something, right?”
“What do you think?” Satan asks Lauri patiently.
Lauri looks at him for a while, scanning his face. “Can you look into my eyes and tell me honestly that you’re really Satan?”
Satan shrugs his shoulders. “If I bend my knees, sure.”
A silent giggle escapes Pauli’s mouth.
Lauri sighs annoyed. “Are you in any way related to a girl called Marta?”
“No, I’m not. And now, listen. I am Satan, Lucifer, the devil, what ever you wanna call me. I’m the boss of hell and yes, I’m taking you there and you will be stuck there until the end of days. Got me?”
Pauli and Lauri back up a bit, this time they really are intimidated. Shouldn’t I be scared, too? Guess if it’s really true that I used to be an angel, this all isn’t that new to me…
“So we’re gonna burn in hell?” Pauli asks.
Satan grins nastily. “Oh no, hell isn’t about burning. I’m gonna create a sweet little personal hell for each of you!”
“For you two,” Satan points at Lauri and Pauli, “I already have a great idea. How about having to work in one of my offices, doing monotone paperwork forever. And to make it even worse, you won’t be able to listen to music or to think about music, you won’t even remember what music is, there will just be that horrible and painful feeling that something important is missing.” He grins proudly. “Ha, I love me ideas!”
Lauri and Pauli stare at Satan horrified, then they look at each other and suddenly they start screaming at the same time. “Help! Someone’s gotta get us out of here! Heeeeelp!”
Satan sighs, snaps his fingers and turns their mouths into zippers, too.
“How about learning a few new tricks,” Sean mumbles sarcastically.
Satan waves and grins. This time a tiny golden lock is keeping Sean’s mouth shut.
Then he leans back against the wall and looks at me. I can feel his eyes scanning my body and I can’t deny that this is turning me on in some way. Somehow I can picture us doing the things these people were doing on Aki’s video tapes… and it doesn’t seem to be gross at all. He winks at me.
I blush and giggle nervously.
I feel Sean poking his little fingers into my cheek. Ok, ok, I know, Satan sucks, I’m not supposed to find him hot… I try to ignore him and look at Pauli and Lauri who are trying to open their zippers. Lauri’s is already half open. He pulls a few more times than he breathes deeply.
“Jesus fuckin’ Christ! it’s not fair to do that if my nose is stuck!” He complains.
Suddenly there’s a puffing sound, the elevator fills with pink fog and a discreet smell of perfume.
Satan coughs and tries to fan the fog away.
“Who’s calling me?”
It takes a while until the air has cleared up. A tall person that hasn’t been in here before is now looking at us. She’s wearing five inch high heel shoes, a long glittering silver dress, a dark red wig is creating some kind of tower on her head. Heavy make up and fake eye lashes complete her outfit. She pulls her wig straight, places her hands on her hips and smiles.
“So who of you little darlings has called for me?”
Her dark voice and a five o’clock shadow that hasn’t been covered properly lets me realize that she’s a man. When he sees me he screams.
“Rita! Honey! How great to see you!” He presses me against his fake boobs with full force.
I struggle a bit and gasp for air. “Ehrm… nice, to see you, too… I guess,” I mutter.
“I haven’t seen you in ages! Seems like you’re having a great new life, you look wonderful!” He looks at Satan. “Though I have absolutely no idea why you are hanging out with this awful person again!” He gives me a censuring look.
“Well, it’s not like I really have a choice…”
This guy doesn’t seem to be the quickest thinker… He looks at Satan, than at the other people in the elevator. When he sees Adrian, he screams again and kneels down next to him.
“Oh my, what a lovely doggie!” He softly scratches the dog’s ear.
Adrian lets himself fall on his back and shows his belly. “Here, too!”
“Oh, cute little doggie can talk! Hi doggie! What’s you name… wait a second! A talking dog… and I guess these zippers and the lock are not a new kind of piercing fashion, right?” The guy gets back on his feet and looks accusing at Satan. “Sa, what are you doing here? Does Mom now about this?”
Satan rolls his eyes. “Damn, Jesus, why don’t you just fuck off?”
“Cause someone called me!”
“Oh, come on, since when do you listen to that?”
“There was a ‘fuckin’ involved in my name and that always makes me curious,” the guy answers.
Lauri swallows. “Are you… Jesus?”
I remember the painting Aleksi once showed to me, that Jesus looked completely different! But the painting also tried to tell me that God is a man…
Jesus steps closer to Lauri and smiles at him. “Hi there, cutie! Yes, I’m Jesus Christ, son of God, but you can call me Lola!” He bends his head towards me and giggles silently. “I’m wearing my Lola-wig today.” Then he focuses back at Lauri and winks. “So I guess you are the one who called me? Whatever I can do for you, it’s a pleasure for me to help such a handsome boy!”
Lauri smiles insecurely and pushes himself closer to the wall. “Ehrm… well… it’s just that… Satan is taking us to hell and we don’t really wanna go there.”
“And that’s all I can help you with?”
Lauri nods quickly.
Jesus sighs. “Alright. Let me think about how to solve this little problem.” He shoves his lips forward and taps against them with his index finder. “Hm, hm, hm… what can I do?” Then he pulls a cell phone out of his little silver purse. He dials a number and waits until someone answers.
“Hi Mommy! – How’s Iraq? – Really? How lovely! Listen, I’m calling cause you’ll never guess where I am right now!” He giggles. “No! Take another guess! – Mom! I’d never do something like that! Well at least not before ten p.m.! – Alright, I’m gonna tell you, Satan has kidnapped Rita and Sean and two other lovely human beings, oh, and such a cute dog, you’d never imagine how cute… yes, sorry, Mom. – In an elevator, I guess we’re going straight down to hell. - Here, she wants to talk to you!”
Jesus hands Satan the cell phone.
Satan sighs and hesitates before he takes the phone. He carefully holds it against his ear.
God shouts through the receiver. I can’t understand what she’s saying but we all hear her yell. Satan’s face alternately turns red and pale. From time to time he tries to reply something but God always cuts him short. Finally he manages to shout something back. “So fuckin’ what? What do you wanna do? You’re not here, you can’t stop me! There’s nothing you can…” God interrupts him again. “Oh. – No, you won’t! – But... – You can’t do... – Alright. – Yes, God.”
Satan hangs up angrily and hands the phone back to Jesus.
“I hate you,” he hisses at Jesus and snaps his fingers.
Suddenly we are all outside of the house standing next to Aki’s car. Satan has disappeared. The house has changed, there are only ruins left, ivy is growing on the bricks. It looks like it has been destroyed a long time ago.
“Oh damn, all my stuff is still in the house,” I mutter disappointed.
“Don’t worry, we’ll buy new clothes when we get back home,” Lauri says.
Jesus claps his hands excitedly. “Oh, shopping! I love shopping! I can help you choosing clothes!”
I look at his silver gown. “Ehrm, well, yeah, thanks,” I mumble vaguely and smile at him insecurely.
“Would you guys mind giving me a ride back to Helsinki? Beaming always ruins my hair!” Jesus gives Pauli and Lauri a questioning look.
“Hey, how come Aki gave you his car?” I wonder.
Pauli raises his eyebrows. “He doesn’t know about it, that dog made us steal the car.” He points at Adrian who’s peeing against a tire. “Hey! Get away from the car!” Pauli yells at him.
Adrian just barks and sniffs at the puddle he has left on the drive-way.
“Seems like the fairy dust has lost it’s power,” Sean states.
We all get into the car. This time Pauli drives. Jesus and I are sitting on the backseat, Adrian sits between us. His head is resting on Lauri’s shoulder.
Lauri tries to shove him away. “Ew, he’s drooling on me,” he complains disgusted.
“You know, when Satan said he’s called Stan, I thought I remember that name from somewhere,” I tell Jesus.
“He probably chose it cause one of your angel friends was called Stan. So it didn’t sound completely new to you.”
Aha. Guess that makes sense. “So all the stuff about being a guardian angel and watching over the guys is true?”
“Oh, come on, I’m not a liar!” Sean shouts from my left shoulder. “Of course it’s all true!”
“Even the thing about Kurt Cobain?” Lauri wants to know.
Jesus sighs. “Poor Kurt, he was really sad when you had to leave heaven. But he has told me that he is happy if he sees you being happy, too.” He inconspicuously nods towards Pauli, winks at me and whispers “If you know what I’m saying.”
“So, Jesus, can I ask you something?” Lauri turns around and looks at the man. “Do you just like to cross-dress or are you gay?”
“One hundred percent gay and proud of it!” Jesus smiles.
“Whoa… that’s… “ Lauri searches for the right words.
“What? Abnormal? Weird?” Jesus seems to be a bit angry. “I’d never expected something like that from someone who fancies Ville’s ass!”
“I didn’t say anything like that!” Lauri defends himself. “I was just wondering cause the pope always talks against homosexuality and isn’t he supposed to be kinda like your successor?”
Jesus smiles again. “Oh, I’m sorry, yeah, well, all that pope-stuff is something a few old men have come up with once, I never planned that. Actually most popes kinda sucked but I can’t do anything against that.”
Pauli turns his head and stares at Lauri. “You do WHAT?”
“What?” Lauri asks confused.
“You fancy Ville’s ass? Lauri, that’s disgusting!”
Lauri blushes. “But… I… “ He looks at Jesus. “Great, thanks for telling!”
“So it’s true? Lauri, I’m shocked!” Pauli still stares at him.
Suddenly Jesus screams. “Aaahhh! Car! Car! Watch the fuckin’ road, goddammit!”
With squeaking tires, Pauli stirs the car back on the right lane and saves us from crashing into another car.
Jesus sighs relieved. “Holy shit, that was close!”
Lauri rises his eyebrows. “Who would have thought Jesus curses like that?” Then he gives Pauli a disappointed look. “I really didn’t expect you to react as narrow-mined as you just did when you find out that I…”
“What?” Pauli interrupts him and rolls his eyes. “Lauri, I don’t care if you wanna sleep with girls, guys, animals or what ever, but Ville? Come on, what’s wrong with you? Don’t you remember? We don’t like Ville!”
Lauri sighs. “He’s still an asshole… just one with an extremely nice ass! And just for the record, I’m not gay, well, not yet at least. I haven’t hooked up with any guys until now. And after all I still find girls hot. It’s just that I also like watching guys’ bodies and sometimes I thinks about… I’m gonna spare you the details. Let’s just say, I might turn bi one day, who knows. Oh, and to make one thing clear, I never have and definitely never will hook up with any, I repeat, ANY animals!”
I hear Sean mutter something on my shoulder but I can’t understand what he’s saying.
“That’s alright, dude. It’s just that… you and Ville…the sheer thought of that…” He shudders. “Eww, picture stuck in my head!” He shakes his head and slaps it a few times. “I can’t get rid of it, no!”
“Honey, calm down,” Jesus places a hand on Pauli’s shoulder. “I’d feel much safer if you stop shaking your head while driving! And I’m sure you can think of a lot better things!” He winks at Pauli in the rear view mirror and nods inconspicuously at me.
Well, not inconspicuously enough cause I see it.
“Jesus,” I hiss silently and kick his leg.
“So, if you like watching guys, I was just wondering, did you ever look at me, too?” Pauli wants to know.
“No,” Lauri replies quickly, “honestly, I swear, I never did!”
Pauli pouts. “Aha! So you don’t like my body? Oh, I see, you prefer these skinny men like Ville, that look like they hadn’t had food for ages and who make you feel sorry for them and make you wanna give them a chocolate bar or something to save the from starving?”
“That’s not it, Pauli, don’t you know, we are like brothers, I would never…” Lauri stops when Pauli starts to giggle and rolls his eyes. “Are you trying to make fun of me?”
Pauli laughs. “Oh, I can’t wait to tell Marta about this!”
Lauri rips his eyes open in shock. “No! You won’t tell her! I kill you if you tell her!”
“Come on, at least she will stop teasing you cause of your heights then!”
“Guys, calm down! How about turning on some good music?” Jesus tells them and leans back into the seat. “Let’s take Rita home!”
After two hours of listening to Jesus singing along 70ies and 80ies disco music we finally arrive at Helsinki.
“So where can we take you to, Jesus?” Pauli asks.
“Oh, just drop me off at the next metro station.”
Lauri looks at him surprised. “The Helsinki metro trains go to Heaven?”
Jesus laughs. “No, but it’s taking me to 'Lost & Found' and as it’s on the other side of the city than Eero’s place, I thought it was easier if I take the metro from here.”
“The 'Lost & Found'? Are you just going there cause it’s a gay bar or…”
“There’s a secret door to Heaven in the store-room,” Jesus explains, “but it’s also a nice place to hang out. But I guess you know that already.” He winks at Lauri.
Lauri blushes. “Yeah, but… we’ve all been there before… it’s just a cool bar… come on, Pauli, stop grinning and tell him that we’ve all been…”
“Relax, darling,” Jesus interrupts him, “I know what you’re talking about. Nowadays there are more straight than gay people in that club. And after all, I’m Jesus! I can read all your thoughts!”
Pauli swallows. “You’re reading our minds? Right now?”
“That’s kinda rude, don’t you think? I mean, that kinda private!”
Jesus snickers. “Yeah, well, but it’s interesting!” He grins at Pauli who now seems to be concentrating on the traffic really hard.
Jesus squeezes my hand and smiles at me. “You’re one lucky girl,” he whispers, “take this chance and don’t screw things up!”
Ok, what is this guy trying to tell me? Before I can ask, Pauli stops the car.
“Alright, here we are.”
Jesus gives me a hug and a kiss on the cheek. “Rita, it was great to see you again and a pleasure to help you. I hope you’re having a great life! Guys,” he turns towards Lauri and Pauli, “nice meeting you! Take good care of yourselves and of Rita! I see you when you die!”
Lauri and Pauli stare at Jesus with huge eyes. “Die? What do you mean with die?”
Jesus rolls his eyes. “That’s just a phrase, don’t worry, you’re not gonna die! At least not too soon.”
“Yeah, but how soon is ‘not too soon’?” Lauri keeps asking.
Jesus raises his eyebrows. “Well, my dear, if you keep smoking as much as you did during the last years, it’s gonna be sooner than it should be!”
Lauri gulps. “Oh… ok.”
“And one more thing, I know you’re dieing to tell everyone about what just happened and it’s ok if you tell Eero, his wife and Marta about it but you gotta promise me to keep it as a secret to anyone else! If not, Mom’s gonna have to delete your memories and believe me, Heaven’s computer system is not the most reliable, so it could happen that more than just the past few hours are deleted and I’m sure you don’t wanna risk that!”
We all nod.
“Well, I guess no one would believe us anyway,” Pauli mutters.
Jesus grins. “Right. Ok, I gotta go now. Sean?” He looks at the little guy on my shoulder.
“What?” he asks surprised.
“Come on, you know you can’t stay!”
“Oh, please! Can’t I…”
“You know what Mom thinks about fairies showing themselves to human beings! You better should be happy if she doesn’t punish you for what you did today!”
Sean pouts. “But I had to! Rita needed my help!”
Jesus sighs. “I know and I’m gonna help you and explain that to Mom, but for now, it’s better if you come with me.”
“Ok.” Sean throws himself against my face and hugs my cheek. “Was great to see you again, Rita. Maybe we get to hang out again one day and have a few beer!”
I pat his head with my pinkie. “Thanks for everything!” I’m gonna miss that little guy, somehow I like him.
Sean flaps his wings and flies towards Jesus. “Well, then, guys, was nice meeting you!”
Jesus and Sean get out of the car and close the door.
Lauri rolls down his window. “Hey, there’s one thing I was wondering. What did God threaten Satan with that made him let us go?”
“Guess you shouldn’t ask what she said she’s gonna do to Satan rather than what she’s not gonna do to him anymore!” Jesus wiggles his eyebrows and grins.
Lauri looks at him surprised. “You mean, they…”
Jesus nods. “M-hm.”
Lauri laughs. “I guess that’s something the church would be very surprised of if they knew!”
“Yeah, but remember your promise!”
“Don’t worry, our lips are sealed!”
We wave at Jesus and Sean for a last time, then Pauli starts the engine and drives away.
We’re sitting in Eero’s living room. Aki, Eero, Greta and Marta stare at us, no one is saying a word. Pauli, Lauri and I smile at them insecurely. Actually I wouldn’t be surprised if the others collapse into laughter any second and tell us that we’re insane.
Eero takes deep breath. “So…” he starts and swallows. “You telling us that Rita used to be our guardian angel until she did something to Maya that made God expel her from Heaven. And Stan was Satan who tried to kidnap Rita to annoy God and Kurt Cobain?”
“Well, God’s a woman and Jesus is gay and likes to wear woman’s clothes,” Lauri adds.
Eero thinks about it for a while. Then he shrugs his shoulders. “Ok.”
Hey, he took that easier than I expected!
Lauri snorts surprised. “Ok? That means you believe us?”
“Sure,” Eero replies. “After all that fits to what Aleksi told us before. And it explains why Rita fell from the sky right in front of your feet and… well, I don’t know. It somehow all makes sense… at least in a very weird kind of way.”
I look at Marta, Greta and Aki.
Aki narrows his eyes. “Are you making this up so I wouldn’t be too surprised if I find out that you wrecked my car?”
“No! You’re car is just fine!” Pauli tries to calm him down quickly. “Sorry, we had to steal it but Adrian told us to!”
“You guys, somehow I believe you, though I can hardly believe that I do, but this one thing about Dog and that he wants to be called Adrian… come on! Who wants to be called Adrian anyway?” Marta scratches the dog’s ear. “You wouldn’t, would you? Such an awful name!”
The animal turns his head demonstratively away.
“Adrian?” Marta asks carefully.
The dog turns back towards her and licks her hand.
“Holy shit,” Marta mutters shocked. “I can’t believe it! Of all names you could choose from… Adrian?”
“Ha, seems like you gotta live with the fact that your stupid dog has a horrible taste in names,” Lauri grins.
“Says the one who called his hamster Annemarie!” Marta rolls her eyes.
Greta gets up from the couch. “Anyone else wants some coffee?”
We all nod and she leaves to get coffee from the kitchen.
“So you all really believe this story?” I ask relieved.
“Yeah,” Aki replies. Somehow he seems as surprised about that as Lauri, Pauli and I.
Marta grins. “Hey, if you were these guys guardian angel, you had to watch them all the time, right? So, any dirty little secrets, you wanna tell me?”
From the corner of my eyes I can see Lauri kicking a widely grinning Pauli. “No, sorry, I still can’t remember anything properly. Just some little things, like I somehow knew that Satan trying to take us to hell isn’t a good thing… or I recognized a song in the elevator… things like that.”
Marta frowns. “Too bad. Not like these guys are able to keep their secrets from me for a long time, I always find out sooner or later… but still! I bet you had fun, when you watched them.”
I shrug my shoulders.
Aki laughs. “Well, I definitely know what I would do all the time if I was a guardian angel and invisible!”
Marta snorts sarcastically. “Oh, Aki, and again another great and intellectual answer from you, why am I not surprised?” She looks at Pauli and Lauri. “Pauli, why are you grinning like you just won the jackpot and Lauri, why are you kicking him all the time? Is there something going on between the two of you that you wanna share with us?”
“There’s definitely nothing going on between ME and Lauri,” Pauli giggles and gives the ‘me’ an extra stress.
“Pauli! Shut up!” Lauri hisses angrily.
Marta raises one eyebrow. “But between Lauri and who? Who else was there that you…” She suddenly gasps. “Satan? Or Jesus? I don’t know what would be worse though.”
“No, there’s nothing going on between Lauri and Satan or Jesus,” Pauli calms her down. Then he grins again. “Though there might be other similarities between Lauri and Jesus… and Jesus helped to reveal Lauri’s little secret!”
“Lauri, do you wanna tell us that you like to wear woman’s clothes?” Aki asks with a serious voice.
“No! Pauli, I hate you!” Lauri yells.
Marta bursts into laughter, holding her stomach and bending forward.
Greta returns from the kitchen. “Hey, what did I miss.”
Eero, who hasn’t said anything yet, grins at his wife. “I think they wanna tell us that Lauri is gay.”
“I’m not gay!” Lauri shouts impatiently.
“Oh, yeah? Then why does your face look as red as a tomato?” Aki wants to know smirking.
“I AM NOT GAY! I might be… or turn out to be… bi one day… maybe,” Lauri stutters, “and thank you, Pauli!” He hisses as his band mate. “I would have preferred to choose myself when and whom I’m gonna tell about this!”
“Calm down, Lauri,” Eero tells him. “It’s not like this is the most surprising news ever!”
“What do you wanna say with that?” Lauri wants to know.
Marta, who has finally recovered from her laughing attack looks at him. “Did you really think you could shock us with that, you, the make-up-wearing, shopping-addicted, sewing-tiny-clothes-for-hamsters, woohoo-let’s-have-a-slumber-party guy that you are?”
“Well, it surprised myself, at least somehow,” Lauri says and looks at his friends. “So you’re ok with that?”
Aki grunts. “Of course! Who do you think we are? Some narrow-minded idiots? You can do what ever you want… at least as long as you keep your hands off my ass!”
Lauri just rolls his eyes at Aki who’s laughing again.
Though I’ve listened to this conversation, I’m not really sure what it was about. “Sorry to ask, but what exactly does it mean to be gay or bi?”
“A guy is gay when he likes men better than women and a girl is lesbian if she prefers girls over guys. If you like ‘em both, you’re bi,” Eero explains.
I think about it for a moment. “Oh, I see. Guess that means I’m bi then.”
Aki, who has been sitting next to me, moves a bit closer and grins at me. “Hey, if you ever have a girlfriend and you want to have a bit fun with a guy, I’m volunteering to help you out any time!”
Help me? With what?
Marta, sitting on Aki’s other side, slaps his head. “Aki! Behave! Rita, I think you misunderstood something.”
“Why? I like the guys but I also like you and Greta, so doesn’t that mean…”
“No, you just make these differences if it’s about who you like to have sex with.”
Sex. Oh, that. I try not to blush while the pictures from Aki’s video tapes go through my mind. Well, I guess I’m neither lesbian nor bi then as I can’t imagine doing that with anyone… wait, Satan was a guy… “Oh, guess I’m not bi then.”
“Do you remember if you used to like guys or girls?” Aki wants to know.
I shrug my shoulders. “I’m not sure… guys, I guess.”
Aki moves closer again. “If you ever need someone to refresh your memory, I’m here!”
And again Marta slaps him. “Aki! Sometimes I really wonder if there’s Viagra in your tap water. After all, Rita used to date Kurt Cobain, so I’d say that makes her pretty much straight, doesn’t it. And now, let’s change the topic. How about going out tonight to celebrate that Rita’s back and that she’s gonna stay?”
They all agree but I’m not too sure about this. As much as I’m glad that everything turned out the way it did, I’m back, that’s great. But what now?
“Guys, I don’t wanna destroy your party mood but… I was thinking about things… and how this is going. I’m glad that you took me with you, guys, and that I can stay at your house, Eero and Greta, but what am I going to do now? I mean, I can’t keep on living on your costs…”
“Don’t worry,” Greta interrupts me, “you can stay here as long as you want. And I’m sure we’ll find something for you to do after you’ve settled down.”
“Here, I found that on the back seat of the car,” Lauri says and hands me my ID. It must have been slipped out of my pants’ pockets. “With that you’re even kind of a legal resident of Finland. It shouldn’t be too difficult to find a job.”
I shrug my shoulders. “I don’t think I’m good enough in anything so I could get a job… at least not as far as I remember.”
“As I already said, I’m sure, we’ll find something for you to work as if the time’s right,” Greta tells me and gets up. “And now, come on, lets party.”
We’re at a club. Eero and Greta are dancing, the rest of us is sitting at the bar. Marta’s plan for tonight is to hook Lauri up with another guy.
“How will you ever know if you like it if you don’t try it?” She has asked Lauri earlier.
Since then we’ve been watching all kind of men that walked past us. But they’ve all been too blond, too dark-haired, too blue-eyed, too brown-eyed, too small, their shirts have been too black, red, green, blue, yellow, orange, white, striped, or tight… at least that’s what Lauri has told us.
Marta sighs. “Damn, how come you’re that picky? I’ve never seen you so picky if it was about girls, they just had to be… female!”
“That’s something different,” Lauri mutters vaguely and drinks from his beer bottle.
“Hey, how about him? He has a nice ass!” Marta points at a guy in a corner.
“Oh, come on!”
“Look at him, he’s at least two meters tall!”
“Yeah, but that might come in quite handy one day! I mean, you wouldn’t even have to bend down if you wanted to suck his…”
“Marta! Shut up!” Lauri turns towards Pauli. “See, she still makes fun about my size!”
Pauli just chuckles.
Lauri gets up. “I’m gonna walk around on my own a bit.”
“Tell us if you found someone interesting!” Marta shouts after Lauri. “Hey, where’s Aki?”
Pauli points towards the dance floor.
Marta sighs. “Oh my gosh, he’s air-humping again… excuse me, he’s dancing. Maybe I should dance with him and prevent worse.” She gets up and leaves Pauli and me at he bar.
I remember the last time I was sitting with Pauli at a bar and how weird it had been. But then I remember sitting on the balcony with him and how we kissed… and now I even feel weirder sitting here with him alone. I don’t know what to say.
“Do you want to dance, too?” Pauli asks after a while.
I shrug my shoulders. “I don’t really remember how to dance.”
“You just move to the rhythm of the music. It’s not that hard. Come on, let’s give it a try.” He takes my hand and drags me towards the dance floor.
I make a few steps and try to do what all the other people do… well, not what Aki does.
Pauli gives me an encouraging smile. “See, it’s easy, you’re doing it very well!”
Yeah, whatever, not too sure about that… but it’s kinda fun.
The song ends, a slow one starts. People start to form couples and dance with their arms wrapped around their partners. I look at Pauli. I’d love to do the same with him but I’m not sure if he…
“Wanna dance on?” He asks.
I nod and he takes me into his arms. We slowly move to the music, it’s such a great feeling to feel him that close. I lean my head against his shoulder.
“I’m really glad you’re back,” I hear his voice next to my ear.
“Yeah, me, too,” I mutter.
We keep on dancing and I wish this would last forever but after a few minutes another song starts. A really fast one. We leave the dance floor again.
“It’s really hot in here, would you like to come outside with me for a while?” Pauli asks.
I don’t think it’s that’s hot in here… but right now I just wanna be where he is, so I follow him. We sit down on a small wall next to the club building. He’s holding my hand. Somehow it’s like my whole body has lost the ability to feel anything except for my hand. And that little spot where my knee touches his.
“It’s nice outside here,” I say just to say anything at all.
“Yeah,” he replies and softly strokes with his thumb over my hand.
I feel like my hand is on fire. Oh, please, I just hope my hand’s not gonna start to get sweaty right now, that would be kinda gross. Why the hell do I have to think about something like that right now? I better should start to think about something else to say, something that starts a conversation, something smart, or funny, or anything…
“You know, I felt pretty weird when I heard you were married,” Pauli breaks the silence.
“Me, too. Especially as I thought I really was married to him but I didn’t remember anything and I mean, you’re supposed to remember your own husband, right? Which of course wasn’t possible cause he wasn’t my real husband but he was Satan and…”
Shut up, Rita! Shut up!
“… just pretending he was Stan but…”
“No,” Pauli fortunately interrupts my embarrassing babbling, “that’s not what I mean, I didn’t feel weird, I was jealous.”
Oh, ok… wait, jealous? He was jealous of Satan? That’s a good thing! That’s great! My heart makes a little jump. “Really?”
He nods and looks me in the eyes. I look back. Our faces are suddenly pretty close. I really wish he would kiss me again but I don’t dare to do the first step. I give him a smile that I hope looks like an encouraging smile…
And then he kisses me again.
Inside my mind I jump around, shout “Woohoo!” and do a little victory dance. I feel the insects fluttering in my stomach again but thanks to Marta I now know that this means I’m excited and not that I’m feeling sick…
Our lips touch very softly, Pauli sucks a bit on my lower lip and then there is his tongue again. I still can’t imagine why someone would want to stick the tongue into someone else’s mouth but I remember Marta saying to me that it’s a good thing, so I part my lips a bit and wait for what’s coming next. He gently touches my lips, then he enters my mouth… ok… weird… but kinda interesting…
I wonder what I’m supposed to do now. The same? Maybe. I should try.
I’m not really sure how I can stick my tongue into his mouth when his is still in mine and at first I think it’s more like a little soppy kinda fight between our tongues. But after a while I’ve figured out how it works, trying to copy his moves. Wow, who would have thought that this is so much fun? Only one thing is starting to bother me slightly…
I back up and gasp.
Pauli looks at me questioning. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing, it’s just that…” I stop and blush. “I couldn’t breathe.”
He laughs. “Oh, I didn’t know that my kisses are that breath-taking!”
“Well, now you know,” I reply and grin. Not that I have any kissing experience to compare with, but technically they are. And I feel too embarrassed to admit that I don’t know shit about these kind of things.
“Just breathe through your nose,” he tells me and winks.
That just sounded like he knows about my lack of experience… gosh, I only hope that I’m not that bad of a kisser… “Oh, ok,” I mutter ashamed and try not to blush more. Though I think I fail miserably cause my face feels like it’s on fire.
Pauli takes my hand and caresses it softly. “You know, all these things that happened today,” he starts but looks at my hand instead of into my eyes, “they are so unbelievable and still I do believe it. I mean, if someone told me that he’s met his former guardian angel and has been kidnapped by Satan, I’d think he’s completely nuts! But I know what happened, and you’re here, so it has do be real! I just hope I won’t wake up to find out this is just a dream! This is real, right?” He raises his head and looks at me with insecure eyes.
I bend forward to kiss him but then I decide to something else and pinch him into his arm.
He backs up. “Outsch! What was that for?”
“If you were dreaming you would have woken up now, right?”
Pauli laughs. “Yeah, that’s true. Though this isn’t really helping to keep up the romantic atmosphere I’m trying to create here.”
I give him a little kiss to apologize.
“Ok, better,” he smiles and strokes a strand out of my face. “By the way, thanks for making Maya telling me the truth and well, whatever else you did to her.”
“Well, not that I can remember anything of that, but you’re welcome. I really wonder what I did though.”
“Must have been pretty bad if they expelled you from heaven for that. Wow, you risked your… life… or whatever it’s called when you’re already dead… to help me out. That’s just so cool! Thank you so much!”
“Stop thanking me for that. You know, I really don’t remember anything and this feels like we’re talking about someone else I don’t even know. Though it sounds like I’ve been a pretty cool angel, huh?” I grin at him.
Pauli chuckles. “Yeah, heaven must be full of cool people. God seems to be a very cool chick, too. I mean, she send you to me, she just has to be cool for doing that.”
“Somehow I don’t think she’d like to be called a ‘chick’. But yeah, she must be pretty cool for doing that.”
Pauli looks into the sky with worried eyes. “Do you think she heard that? Hope she doesn’t strike me with lightning or something for calling her that.”
“I doubt that,” I laugh. “Too bad I don’t remember anything about being an angel.”
Pauli grins. “Actually I’m quite glad about that. Who knows what embarrassing things you’ve seen me doing?! And I don’t have to compete with Kurt Cobain as you don’t remember how it’s like to kiss him. I’m sure it wouldn’t be easy to keep up with someone like him.” He still grins but it seems to be more insecure now.
“Who needs Kurt Cobain if she can have you?” I smile at him. “Though if I remembered him I would at least know more about kissing in general.”
Pauli pulls me on his lap and wraps his arms around my waist. “I’m willing to share my complete knowledge about kissing with you,” he smirks and kisses me again.
And I’m willing to learn everything he teaches me…
“Look what we’ve got here! One of the little Rasmuses has finally found a girl, who would have expected that?”
Pauli breaks the kiss and turns to where the voice comes from. “Ville,” sighs annoyed.
I look at the man who’s standing in front of us. He’s slim and tall, wears tight black leather pants, a dark red shirt that’s only buttoned on the lower half and a black woollen hat. His eye make-up is smeared a bit and he’s tottering slightly. Seems like he’s pretty drunk.
Wait, Ville? Is that the guy whose ass Lauri wants to touch?
Ville bows down in front of me. “I guess we haven’t met before. Rantansalmi, what happened to your manners? Don’t you want to introduce us?” He asks with his deep voice.
“Fuck off, Valo,” Pauli just says.
Ville rolls his eyes. “Watch your mouth, man, there’s a lady among us!” He drops himself on the wall next to us and offers me his hand. “Seems like I have to do it myself. I’m Ville and pleased to meet you. What’s your name?”
“Rita,” I say and when I want to take his hand he grabs mine and places a wet kiss on top of it. Eeewww!
Ville raises his eyebrows. “Rita?” He asks while I inconspicuously wipe my hand along my pants to get rid of Ville’s spit. “Why does that name ring a bell?”
“Come on, we should get back in.” Pauli pulls me with him when he gets up.
“Ok.” When I slide off his lap I accidentally shove Ville’s shoulder.
Being drunk as he is, he isn’t able to keep his balance and falls backwards off the wall and into some bushes.
“Oops, sorry,” I giggle.
His legs are still hooked over the wall.
Pauli laughs. “Come on let’s go, he’ll get out there on his own.”
We walk back into the club.
Lauri is sitting at the bar and talks to a few people, Eero and Greta are still dancing, so are Aki and Marta. Marta’s hands are placed on Aki’s butt and somehow I think it looks like it doesn’t take much until they kiss, considering how close their faces are and the way they are staring at each other.
I shove Pauli and point at them while we sit down next to Lauri. “Did we miss out on something?”
Pauli laughs. “ Marta and Aki hook up once in a while when they are drunk.”
I’m not too sure what he’s talking about. “Hooking up?” I ask confused. “What does that mean?” They hook up? What do they hook up? And into what?
“Oh, that means they … you know… have sex,” Pauli explains and looks at me insecurely. “You know what that means, right?”
“Yeah,” I say quickly though I’m still not too sure why people would want to do something like that… but then again, I thought the same about kissing with your tongue…
Pauli seems to be relieved that he doesn’t have to explain to me what sex means and grins. “Aki likes to think it’s because of his irresistible way of seducing her but we all know that it’s Marta who’s determining when it’s gonna happen. It’s nothing serious, though, just a bootie call.”
I feel Lauri shudder next to me. “Can’t believe Aki is doing it again. I mean, come on, it’s Marta!”
“She’s female, that’s enough for Aki. Plus, she’s cool and she’s good-looking,” Pauli replies. “And after all Aki didn’t grew up with her. For us she’s like a sister, that would be kinda weird.”
Lauri frowns. “I would kill myself if she was really my sister!”
I look at him. “What’s that with you and Marta? Why don’t you like her?”
“Don’t worry, Lauri likes her,” Pauli tells me.
“If you can call trying to ignore her presence and her stupid comments ‘liking someone’, then yes, I like her,” Lauri mutters annoyed.
“Oh, come on,” Pauli laughs, “if ever someone tried to do something that hurt Marta, you would beat the shit out of him.”
“Yeah, whatever,” Lauri mumbles and drinks from his beer.
“Talking about people you don’t like, we just met that Ville guy outside,” I say to change the topic as Lauri obviously doesn’t really want to admit that after all he likes Marta.
But seeing Lauri choking on his beer and remembering what happened in the car today makes clear to me that this was probably the only topic I could have chosen that makes Lauri feeling even more uncomfortable.
“Yeah, and Rita shoved him off the wall,” Pauli grins.
“But not on purpose,” I defend myself quickly.
Pauli wraps his arm around my shoulder. “That doesn’t matter, I’m proud of you!”
“So what is it that you don’t like each other?” I wanna know.
Lauri sighs. “Actually it just started with some stupid band rivalry and that kinda got out of control over the years.”
“And of course because Ville simply is an asshole,” Pauli adds.
Lauri rolls his eyes. “He’s not… well, actually he is… but… forget it.”
“Still wanna touch his ass?” I chuckle but Lauri’s shocked look over my shoulder makes me shut up.
“Whose ass do you wanna touch, Ylönen?”
I recognize Ville’s voice and turn around. Oops. Shouldn’t have said that.
He looks at me. “Rita, someone should have told you that if a woman pushes a man into some bushes, she’s supposed to follow him. But I forgive you, maybe another time?” He winks which causes Pauli to make a weird kinda growling noise. “So, Ylönen, whose ass?” He repeats his question.
“That red-haired girl’s over there,” Lauri replies quickly and points at a woman across the room.
Ville knits his brows. “Oh, really? I’m pretty sure, Rita said HIS ass, not HER ass. And as long as the red-haired isn’t a transvestite, I must assume that you’re lying to me, Ylönen.”
I can see that Lauri is struggling to find an answer and not to blush.
“Ehrm… ahm… I…” he stutters helplessly.
“And this embarrassing stammering lets me think that you were maybe even talking about me,” Ville says with an evil grin. “Oh, Ylönen, blushing like this really isn’t helping to destroy my suspicion.”
“Fuck off,” Lauri mumbles annoyed.
Ville grins sarcastically, turns around and wiggles his butt in front of us. “Come on, doesn’t it look great?”
“I wouldn’t touch your skinny ass even if I were shrink-wrapped in a fire-resistant protection overall,” Lauri hisses angrily.
I don’t know why I do what I’m about to do now but with a quick move I grab Ville’s ass and pinch him.
“Nah, I don’t know, it’s not that great, it’s a bit too bony,” I comment my action.
Ville turns around surprised and raises one eyebrow. “Too bony? You might wanna check the front as well, I’m sure you’ll like the bone you’ll find there!”
“As tempting as that sounds, I think I’ll pass,” I tell him and wrap my arm around Pauli’s waist. He’s trying to stifle a giggle.
Ville shrugs his shoulders. “That’s your loss. But if you ever get tired of making out with that guy,” he nods at Pauli, “you can always come and see me.” He turns towards Lauri. “So, Ylönen, we haven’t cleared up the ass-question yet.”
“Why don’t you just shut up and leave me alone?” Lauri sighs annoyed.
“Because I just found out a new and interesting fact about you! Who would have thought that you fancy guys? I’m afraid a lot of teenage girls will be pretty disappointed if they hear that!”
“Just to set things straight, I’m not gay. And now piss off!”
I can see that Lauri’s anger level is constantly rising. Ville just smirks amused.
“Oh, really? Well, you know, actually I think you’re right. Being gay, coming out and all that takes a lot of guts and we all know that you could never do something like that.” Ville looks at him disparagingly. “Because you are just a sad little coward.”
Suddenly Lauri jumps off his stool. “Ok, that’s it!” He shouts furiously and shoves Ville away.
Ville pushes him back.
“Yo, guys, if you wanna fight, do it outside!” The bartender interrupts them.
Lauri walks towards the exit and waits for Ville. “What? You’re not coming? Who’s the coward now, huh?”
Seems like that’s Ville’s cue, now he’s running after Lauri.
“Shouldn’t we stop them or something?” I ask Pauli. “I mean, Ville is much taller than Lauri…”
Pauli shrugs his shoulders. “Yeah, but Lauri is much angrier and Ville is more drunk, so I’d say it’s even. But I think we should at least follow them to make sure they don’t punch each other’s teeth out.”
When we arrive outside we find them in a corner of the car park, trying to wrestle each other down to the floor. After a few minutes Ville manages to throw Lauri to the ground. He straddles Lauri’s waist and pins his arms to the floor. Lauri struggles and winds to free himself but Ville is stronger.
Ville laughs dryly. “Seems like little Ylönen is just a weakling!”
“Get the fuck off me, Valo!” Lauri shouts fumingly.
“Are you telling me you don’t like this? Now who would have thought that?” Ville grins sarcastically.
“Why the hell would I like this? I hate you, for fuck’s sake!” Lauri hisses furiously and spits right into Ville’s face.
Ville looks at him surprised for a second, then he laughs and bends further down. “Oh, Ylönen, don’t you know that hate is just another form of passion?”
With these words he presses his lips against Lauri’s and kisses him roughly.
And… holy shit… Lauri kisses him back!
„Damn, Aki,“ Marta says next to me and slaps Aki’s shoulder, “I knew as soon as I start to hook up with you, I’m gonna miss out on something really interesting!”
“Good to know you find guys making out more interesting than making out with me,” Aki mutters insulted.
Lauri and Ville are still kissing. It doesn’t look at all like the way Pauli kissed me, at least I hope so. It’s more like they are still fighting, trying to dominate the other’s mouth with their tongues. Though Marta is right, it IS kinda interesting…
Marta sighs happily. “Look at these two love-birds. My only love sprung from my only hate. If that isn’t a true Shakespeare moment!”
Suddenly Lauri shoves Ville away.
“A really short moment, though,” Marta adds disappointed.
Lauri jumps back on his feet and watches Ville getting up slowly as well. Ville seems to be surprised about Lauri’s sudden reaction, an amused expression is spread over his face. Lauri just looks angry.
“What’s up, Ylönen? Didn’t you enjoy it?”
“Enjoy? Why should I enjoy your slimy tongue invading my mouth? The only thing I do, is regretting it!” Lauri hisses furiously. “And now fuck off!”
Ville smirks. “Yeah, that’s what they always say on the first time.” He winks at Lauri. “But they all come back.”
He turns around so that he faces Marta, Aki, Pauli and me and bows down slightly. “Hope you all enjoyed the show, was a pleasure to entertain you. Unfortunately the time has come for me to leave you now.” He looks at me. “You might wanna come along sometime, I think I have a little friend who wants to see you again.”
“For his own sake I hope he’s not talking about his bone in the front,” Pauli growls from the side.
“Nah, I think he mean’s Sean,” I whisper back.
Ville turns and walks away. Then his voice comes from the darkness he disappeared into. “Remember my words, Ylönen! They all come back!”
“Hell, no, that’s not gonna happen!” Lauri mutters angrily.
“Hey, why are you that angry?” Marta wants to know.
“Cause he kissed me!”
“Yeah, but you kissed him back!”
“I know,” Lauri mumbles, suddenly all ashamed. He moves his hand carefully. “Damn, that hurts. Maybe I broke some bones when I hit him.”
Marta takes his hand and looks at it. “Nah, don’t think it’s broken.”
“Thanks a lot, Dr. X-Ray!” Lauri snorts sarcastically.
Marta wiggles her eyebrows. “So, how was it?”
Marta rolls her eyes. “You just kissed Ville! Wasn’t that something you wanted to do lately?”
Lauri thinks about it for a moment, then, like he only now has realized what has happened, he starts to spit at the floor and wipes his tongue with his palm. “Eeeewww! I can’t believe it did that!”
“Oh, come on, didn’t you say that…” Aki starts but Lauri interrupts him.
“I talked about touching his ass and not…”
“Shut up, Lauri, we could all see that you liked it!” Marta laughs.
“I did not!”
“No!” Lauri turns around and walks towards the club. “Gotta get some ice for my hand. And maybe that red-haired girl is still there.”
“Come on, Lauri, why don’t you wanna admit that you enjoyed it!” Marta keeps asking while we all walk back to the bar to meet Eero and Greta.
“Marta, I would highly appreciate if you just for once stopped your nerve-wrecking comments and talk about something else! I’m only gonna repeat this once and then I’m never gonna talk about it again. I did not like it!” He stresses every word of his last sentences.
Somehow there’s something in his voice that makes me believe he isn’t saying the truth but maybe that’s just me who thinks it.
Marta rolls her eyes. “Gosh, Lauri, calm down. Alright, I’m not gonna talk about it again. There’s just one last question, now that you know both, who’s the better kisser? Men or women?”
“Women,” Lauri replies quickly.
“Oh, come on, you just saying this to not sound gay,” Aki says.
Lauri wraps his arm around Aki’s shoulder. “Sorry, dude. I know you like to think that you’re the best kisser in the world.” A silent giggle escapes Marta’s mouth. “But now that I can talk from experience, definitely, women have a clear advantage.”
“And what could that be?” Aki wants to know.
“They don’t have these scratching beard stubbles.” Lauri rubs his chin. “Now I can understand some of the girls who have complained that I don’t shave properly.”
Marta grins. “Though these stubbles can add a nice little touch if it’s about getting kissed elsewhere than on the mouth.” She playfully slaps Aki’s cheek. “Too bad, your beard hasn’t decided to grow more than four hair, huh?”
Aki pouts and shoves her hand away.
“You really should be lucky that no one has taken a picture of you and Ville. Don’t think it would be good promotion for the new album,” Eero says.
Lauri just shrugs his shoulders. “We’re Finns, we can always blame it on the alcohol.”
Eero sighs. “Guess that means I’m a very unfinnish Finn. Hey, Rita, while you guys were outside, Greta had this actually quite good idea.”
“What do you wanna say with ‘actually quite good’?” Greta asks, pretending to be annoyed. “That my ideas are usually stupid?”
“No, honey, of course not, your ideas are always brilliant,” Eero says quickly and gives her a little kiss.
“Good,” she grins, “that’s what I wanted to hear.”
“So, what’s it about?” I wanna know.
“Remember, when Aki, Pauli and Lauri found you on the first day and you were speaking all these different languages?”
“Do you still speak them?”
I shrug my shoulders. “I don’t know.”
“Then say something in… maybe French,” Greta suggests.
I try to speak a different language but it doesn’t work. “I don’t know how.”
“Seulement dit que tu pense,” Greta says.
“Mais je ne sais pas comment !”
Greta laughs. “Tu parle le Francais maintenant! Seems like you answer automatically with the same language someone is asking!”
“Wow, that’s cool, I wish it would have been that easy for me when I still was in school,” Lauri sighs.
“What if she just speaks French?” Aki asks.
“Then talk to me in another language,” I suggest.
“Ok. Ein kaltes Bier, bitte,” Aki says proudly.
“Dann bestell dir eins an der Bar,” I reply, a bit surprised about his choice of his question.
Eero grins. “Ha, I understood that! Too bad, you gotta go get it yourself, huh?”
Aki frowns. “That’s the only thing I can say in German. But what’s all that language thing about anyway?”
“Remember when Seppo told us that he’s looking for an assistant tour manager for the album promotion and the tour? Wouldn’t that be the perfect job for Rita? I mean, we go to all these different countries and she speaks all these languages!”
“Whoa, wait, what’s an assistant tour manager?” I don’t really think that this sounds like anything I would be able to do.
“Oh, you just help organizing things so that everything runs smoothly and without too much trouble,” Eero explains.
“I don’t think that I’m the right person to organize things… I mean, just remember my lack of knowledge about… well, anything actually!”
“Don’t worry, you just have to talk to lots of people on the phone to make sure all hotels are booked, and that the guys are on the right time at the right place, stuff like that. Really, it’s not that hard, I did it myself before I got pregnant with Aleksi,” Greta says. “Come on, you get to hang around with the guys and travel around the world and you get paid for it! Doesn’t that sound good?”
I sigh. “That actually sounds perfect. Well, at least if you guys want me to hang out with you all the time.” I look at them.
Lauri rolls his eyes dramatically. “Having you around all the time? I can’t think of anything worse!” He laughs. “Of course we want you to hang out with us. And I think Pauli would be upset if we didn’t let you stay.”
Eero, Greta and Aki look at Pauli. “Oh, really?” Eero asks surprised and smiles.
“Lauri!” Pauli looks at him with knitted brows.
Lauri grins. “See, that’s what it’s like if people talk about your stuff before you can tell them yourself!”
“Tell what?” Aki wants to know.
“You’re just so slow sometimes, Aki,” Marta chuckles.
“I’m not slow! But seriously, tell what?”
Pauli looks at me and smiles. His eyes are kinda asking me if it’s alright that the others know that we like each other. Unless I’m completely wrong and his glance means something totally different…
I smile back at him. He wraps his arms around my waist, pulls me closer and kisses me.
“Oh, that!” I hear Aki saying.
Marta laughs. “Poor attempt of trying to pretend that you already knew about this, Aki.”
“But… as if you knew about that!” He grunts.
“Of course I did!”
“Yeah, sure! How could you?”
“Call it female sensitivity,” Marta suggests.
Aki snorts sarcastically. “The word sensitivity coming from your mouth? Oh, please!”
“Stop pouting, Hakala, I think it’s time to go on with what we stopped when Lauri decided to prove his manhood to Ville.” With these words Marta pulls Aki away.
Greta gets up. “It’s time to go home. Guess Marta’s not coming with us. What about you?” She looks at Lauri, Pauli and me.
“I’m coming, I had enough action tonight,” Lauri says and gets off his stool.
“Rita? You have the keys to our house, you don’t have to come with us right now,” Great adds.
I look at Pauli. “I think I’d like to stay a bit longer.”
The others say good-bye and leave.
Pauli pulls me towards the dance floor to dance to another slow song. Enjoying being held in his arms and slowly moving to the music I think about actually wanting this never to stop. It’s just too good to be true. I feel his hands gently caressing my back and lean my head against his shoulder. Then I hear his voice whispering into my ear.
“You can stay at my place tonight if you want.”
Staying at Pauli’s place? Sure, why not? After all it’s much closer to the club than Eero’s house, we could even walk instead of calling a taxi.
He smiles at me. “Great. Do you wanna stay here for a while? We could also go to my place now and… talk or something.”
I look around. There’s not much going on here anymore, I don’t think we’d miss anything. “Let’s go. I’m gonna go and find Marta real quick to let her know we’re leaving.”
“Alright, I’ll wait for you outside.”
He walks towards the bar, I turn away to find Marta. After a few moments I see her dancing with Aki in a very back corner of the dance floor. They are… well, it looks like they are kinda dancing, it’s just that they are not exactly moving a lot.
“Hey!” I poke Marta’s shoulder. “Whatcha guys doin’?”
“I’m looking for Aki’s car keys,” Marta grins.
I’m not really sure what’s going on and why Aki lets her search his keys in the front pockets of his pants but somehow Marta’s chuckle and Aki’s kinda desperate expression on his face tell me that I probably should be glad I don’t know any details.
“Ehrm, yeah, well, good luck then. Just wanted to tell you that Pauli and I are a leaving.”
“You’re gonna stay at his place?” Marta asks, suddenly being all curious.
“Whoo, have fun then, “ Aki grins and wiggles his eyebrows.
“Ok…” How much fun are you supposed to have while sleeping? This is getting kinda confusing. Guess they had much more to drink than I had… “Alright then. See you tomorrow.”
“Good night… hmmpff,” Aki replies and twitches slightly.
Marta giggles and winks at Aki. “Look what I found here!”
Car keys I guess. I wave at them and leave the club.
Pauli is waiting outside.
“I got us a little good-night-drink,” he says and shows me a champagne bottle.
He wraps his arm around my shoulder and we start walking through the mild early summer night. After ten minutes we arrive at Pauli’s apartment.
We sit down on his couch, he pours some champagne into two cups.
“Sorry, I don’t have any decent champagne glasses,” he apologizes and hands me a cup. “To a wonderful night and a wonderful woman! Cheers!”
“Cheers!” I reply while wondering what woman he’s talking about. Guess I must have looked kinda sheepishly cause he grins.
“And with that, I’m talking about you, Rita.”
Oh, ok. “Thanks!” I blush. I’ve learned by now that compliments are something nice and that they are supposed to make you feel good but somehow they always make me feel kinda uncomfortable. I take a sip of champagne and cuddle up next to Pauli. “So, what do you wanna talk about?”
He shrugs his shoulders. “I don’t know. Why don’t you just tell me something about yourself?”
“I’m afraid you know as much about me as I do myself. Which is not much considering God’s computer has deleted all of my memory!”
Pauli laughs. “Somehow it’s kinda relieving to know that even God has problems with her computer!” He thinks about what he has just said. “Or maybe not… actually it’s a bit scary. But then again she must be kinda good in doing her job if she sent you to me!”
“Yep, that was a smart move of her,” I agree. “Then why don’t you tell me something about you? I mean, I probably knew quite many details cause I used to be your guardian angel but as it’s all gone…”
“Actually that is a positive thing about you memory loss,” Pauli grins. “I’m pretty glad you don’t remember any embarrassing secrets about me!”
“Oh, so you’re telling me that there ARE embarrassing secrets? What does it take to make you reveal any of them?”
Pauli crosses his arms and turns his head away. “I’m never ever gonna tell you that!”
I cup his chin and turn his face back. “Not even just a little one?”
“Nope,” he insists.
“Please?” I beg and give him my best puppy eyes look.
He shakes his head. “Never.”
“Oh, ok. “ I scoot away from him a bit, stare into the opposite direction and drink from my champagne.
“Hey!” Pauli pouts playfully. “You didn’t really put much effort into trying to find out anything.”
I grin. “Oh, now you are complaining?”
He moves closer to me. “Alright, you can ask me anything you want,” he offers.
I raise my eyebrow. “Anything?”
He nods though I can read in his eyes that he’s strongly hoping I’m not gonna ask something embarrassing.
“Ok, I’m gonna start with something not so bad. Tell me five things you love doing most.”
“That’s easy!” Pauli grins relieved. “Making music. Hanging out with friends and family. Making music. Sleeping. Oh, and did I say making music?”
“You’re cheating, that’s only three different things!”
“Alright, let me try again… making music, hanging out with friends and family, sleeping, listening to music and…” he stops and thinks about it for a second, then he grins. “And number five is… tamtarataa! Kissing you!”
“Smart move, buddy, is that a poor try to play up to me?”
He moves even closer. “Is it working?”
“And kissing me is only number five on your list?” I keep on teasing him.
“Right now?” He shakes his head. “Maybe it’s number three,” he teases me back.
I shrug my shoulders. “Hey, I beat sleeping and listening to music, that’s at least something.”
He slowly runs his fingers through my hair. “You could try to convince me that it’s worth moving up on the list.”
“Oh, you mean I could score some more points?” I gently place a kiss on his lips. “Is this helping?” I nibble a bit on his lower lip. “How about that?”
“Just moved up to number two,” Pauli mutters and sighs happily.
I straddle his lap and kiss him again. “Is that offer to share your kissing skills with me still up?”
“Of course, I’ll teach you anything you wanna know.”
“For now some general practice will do quite well,” I mutter in between kisses and pull his black woollen hat off his head. It immediately frees that huge brown tangled mop that’s been growing underneath there, from it’s prison. Though after some of his hair gets stuck between our lips I wish I just would have left it on his head. I back up a bit and make a weird ‘phht’-sound while trying to shove a hair out of my mouth with my tongue. I stroke Pauli’s hair back and hold it in a ponytail.
“Have you ever thought about wearing a rubber band or something in your hair? Or maybe cut it shorter?”
“Don’t you like my hair?” Pauli asks surprised.
“No, it’s great,” I reply quickly, “though don’t you think it kind of has developed it’s own life lately?”
“You don’t like it,” he pouts.
“I love it! I just don’t like to swallow it while kissing you,” I tell him and pull the hat back on his head. “See, problem solved,” I smile and continue kissing him.
After a while I feel his hands starting to travel over my body, caressing my back, my legs and wandering slowly towards my front.
This is so weird, it really confuses me. On one hand I enjoy this so much, I don’t want it to stop but it also makes me feel insecure, I don’t know where this is all coming from, what’s it supposed to mean… I wanna touch him, too but I don’t know how. I’m even more afraid to make a fool of myself than I was before when we first kissed.
Whoa, his hands are disappearing underneath my shirt! I get the slight impression that I somehow know where this is leading to… and surprisingly to myself, I’m not as freaked out as I thought I would be… if just I knew the hell what I’m doing here!
“What’s up?” Pauli suddenly asks and gives me a questioning look.
My throat feels all try, so I grab my cup and take a few sips.
“You know… if you don’t want to… I don’t have to… I mean, I won’t… well, unless you want to… ehrm,” he stutters, then takes his champagne and chugs it down quickly. “What I wanted to say is, I’m not gonna do anything you don’t want to happen, ok?”
I sigh. “That’s not it.” How am I gonna say that I don’t have the slightest clue what I’m doing here, that I’m nervous, that I’m afraid I’m gonna make a fool out of myself, that I’m gonna disappoint him with my probably highly amateurish fumbling… “It’s that thing with my memory… I don’t remember… I don’t know how to…” Oh, come on, don’t make me say this out loud…
Pauli seems to be confused. “What do you mean? I don’t…” he takes deep breath. “Oh… that! You mean you don’t know how to… you don’t remember how to… I think I got it.”
A sudden giggle escapes my mouth.
“What? Where you just kidding?” Pauli pulls up one eyebrow.
“No, I just thought that it’s funny that we’re about to do something that we both are not even able to pronounce.”
He laughs. “Yeah, that’s kinda weird.” He bends forward and gives me a little kiss. Then he backs up again. “Did you just say ‘that we’re about to do’?”
I lean my head against his shoulder and gently kiss his neck. “Yeah, I mean, if you still want to…”
“Of course I still want to,” he replies quickly. “I was just wondering, if you say you don’t remember it… does that mean you don’t know… anything about… it?”
“Well, technically I know what to do, Marta told me about it.” I think I’m gonna skip the part with Aki’s video tapes…
“So…” Pauli asks slowly, “maybe you want to switch over to the bed? That’s probably more comfortable,” he suggests.
We get up, he takes my hand and leads me to his bedroom. We stop in front of the bed. Pauli quickly shoves some clothes with his feet into a corner. “I would have cleaned up if I knew you were coming.”
“That’s alright,” I mutter.
He leans his forehead against mine and looks me into the eyes. “Are you nervous?”
I sigh. “Yeah, a bit.”
“You don’t have to. You can’t do anything wrong.”
Not so sure about that one…
“It’s not like you really have to learn a special technique.”
A few pictures from Aki’s movies run through my mind and I’m pretty sure for some of these you have to have some acrobatic skills…
“Relax, just let it happen.”
With these words he kisses me and runs his hands smoothly down my back. His touch makes me shiver and I start thinking that this is probably gonna be more fun than I expected.
Again Pauli’s hands move under my shirt, this time he pushes the fabric upwards. Oh, yeah, I remember, you’re supposed to take your clothes off. I feel a bit embarrassed but try to push these thoughts away.
I start pulling on Pauli’s shirt to make sure that at least I’m not gonna be the only naked one in this room. Oops, should have waited until he has taken off my shirt cause now I’m kinda stuck and strangling myself with my own clothes.
I can hear Pauli chuckle through the fabric. “”Hold still.” With one pull he frees me. Than he takes his own shirt off himself. He looks at me and smiles. “You really are beautiful,” he says silently.
Ooh, a compliment again. I try to accept it without blushing and smile back. Actually I’ve never really thought about if I’m good-looking or not. At least not during the last few weeks that my entire life consists of, the question just never came across my mind. For now, I’m just gonna believe what Pauli’s telling me… “Thanks.”
This whole taking each other’s clothes off and looking at each other kind of makes me feel awkward. Can’t we just get naked and get on with whatever and not make such a big deal out of it? I open my pants and want to take them off… unfortunately I forgot that I’m still wearing my shoes… I struggle and stumble backwards until I land on the bed.
“Are you kinda impatient or something?” Pauli wonders.
I blush and try to untie my shoe lace. It doesn’t work, so I simply kick my shoes off. “No, it’s… I just…” I stammer.
Pauli watches me trying to pull off my jeans in a some kind of graceful way though I’m afraid it looks more like I’m fighting them off. He sighs. “You’re not really feeling comfortable, do you? Hey, maybe I should turn on some music,” he suggests and walks towards a small CD player that’s standing on the windowsill.
What ever that is, that sounds through the speaker boxes, it makes me jump.
“Oh, sorry, I guess Slayer is not the best choice,” Pauli apologizes while changing the CD.
This time some slow, kinda jazzy piano music is filling the silence of the room. Much better.
Pauli sits down next to me on the short end of his bed and caresses my hand. “You know, we don’t have to…”
I interrupt him with a kiss. I do want to do this! I just need to relax a little bit… and Pauli’s hands right there, where they are now, are definitely helping a lot… A little moan escapes my mouth. I can feel Pauli grin against the skin of my neck.
My hands travel southwards and find his belt buckle. I open it and pull the belt with one quick move out of the loops. The end of the black leather hits with a loud slapping sound against Pauli’s face.
“Outsch!” He shouts out in pain and presses his hand against his face.
“Holy shit, I’m so sorry!” I can’t believe I just did that! “Are you alright?”
He slowly removes his hand. A red stripe across Pauli’s cheek right below his left eye is beaming at me. Pauli winks a few times.
“You want me to get you some ice to cool your cheek? Hey, why was your face so close above the belt?”
“I wanted to see what your hands were doing down there,” Pauli mutters and carefully touches his face. “Don’t worry, it’s not that bad, it’s just burning a bit.”
“Are you sure?” I gently place an apologizing kiss on his lips. “Really, I’m so sorry!”
I continue opening his pants but this time Pauli stops me.
“Maybe I should do that myself. Might be safer.” He grins. “Wow, my first sex-related injury! Thanks!”
“You’re welcome though I didn’t know that this is something desirable.”
“Oh, that’s just something between us guys. Aki once lost a tooth. And Lauri twisted his ankle when he… anyway, it was always a tie between Eero and me and the others made bets who would be the next…” He stops and looks at me a little bit embarrassed. “Sorry, that’s just some of the stuff you come up with when you’re spending endless hours in the tour bus. Anyway, where were we?”
“I tried to hit your eye out with your belt and then you took your pants off,” I remind him.
Pauli smirks. “Why don’t you lean back and enjoy? That way we keep the risk of more injuries as low as possible.”
A sudden thought strikes my mind. I jump off the bed. “I’ll be right back!”
I run towards the front door, grab what I came for and run back. “Here!”
Pauli picks up the pair of gloves I saw lying on the little shelf next to the front door earlier and now brought with me. “What are these for?”
I blush. “I don’t know exactly. But I remember Marta telling me that ‘no glove, no love’-thing when talking about being safe.”
Pauli swallows hard. I can see that he’s really trying not to laugh. “Rita… I think… you misunderstood… something…” he manages to stutter before bursting into laughter. “No glove, no love… that’s just a saying… it means… you should use… a condom.” He wipes a few tears from his face.
Now that he says that… I remember Marta mentioning condoms as well. Oh, great, so much about not trying to make a fool of myself! I bend forward and burry my face ashamed between some pillows.
“I’m sorry, I promise I won’t laugh anymore,” Pauli chuckles and pets my hair. “Come on, stop hiding.”
He flips me over so that I’m lying in his arms. He strokes a strand out of my face. “That was actually pretty cute,” he smiles. “And about the condoms, don’t worry, I have some.” He places me next to him on the mattress. “Alright, next try, relax and enjoy.”
I close my eyes and wait for what’s coming next. Whoo, hello! Now that’s something I could get used to! Pauli’s covering my whole upper body with kisses and licks and soft strokes and I feel some kind of heat rising inside me that I haven’t felt before… When he starts sucking tenderly on one of my nipples I feel even hotter and a little moan escapes my throat. I think I gotta admit that this sex-thing isn’t as bad as I expected… not at all!
Suddenly I remember seeing photo’s of Greta breast-feeding Aleksi… which makes me think of Annemarie the hamster and her little babies that were drinking from her various little nipples… which again makes me suddenly imagine myself with more than just two boobs… That picture makes me giggle. Oh, come on, Rita! Why the hell are you thinking about something odd like that in this very moment?!
“You know, hearing you laugh while I’m doing this to you doesn’t exactly help increasing my… confidence,” Pauli complains from below.
“Sorry,” I mumble and continue enjoying his hands and lips and tongue…
After a while I start feeling kinda selfish… maybe I should return this favour…
I cup Pauli’s back of his head and lead him up to my face. I kiss him a few times, then I roll over on top of him. “Now it’s my turn.”
Pauli seems to be surprised but he doesn’t protest.
Alright, what did he do to me? Let’s see… I slowly place a line of kisses down his chest. When I experimentally take one of his nipples into my mouth, he gasps. Looks like I’m doing the right things…
His reactions make me become a bit braver. My mouth and I travel further down until we reach Pauli’s boxer shorts. Ok, that’s yet undiscovered territory… what now? Think, Rita, think! Or better, don’t think, just do something!
Again, pictures of Aki’s movies run through my mind. Should I really…?
Still a bit unsure I carefully place my hand on Pauli’s crotch and finally get what Ville was saying about a ‘bony front’… Pauli’s sighs encourage me and I pull the shorts down.
So… that’s what it looks like… well… let’s say it’s… interesting. Damn, what did Marta call it again? Something starting with ‘p’… penny? No… whatever.
I slowly run my finger along the length and am surprised that the skin feels so velvety.
I take a deep breath, then I bend down. First I just place a few little kisses on it until I finally take it into my mouth. Pauli moans and becomes louder with every movement I make.
“Are you starting to remember things from your past or are you just naturally talented?” I hear him gasp from above.
I go on and though I gotta admit that that this probably isn’t gonna be my next favourite hobby, it makes me feel good realizing how much Pauli is enjoying it.
His breath suddenly becomes even faster and his hands are messing up my hair. He groans something I don’t understand but sounds like ‘coming’.
Coming? What’s coming? Before I can think of an answer some weird liquid squirts out of Pauli and into my mouth and eewww… that taste…
Pauli backs up and bends down towards me. He’s breathing heavily but looks definitely pleased. “Wow, that was… thanks… I… love you!”
As happy as I am hearing him say this, I just smile with closed lips. I still have the stuff in my mouth and no way am I gonna swallow THAT!
“What’s up?” Pauli asks surprised.
I just point at my filled cheeks. Pauli blushes. “Oh, sorry, hold on.” He grabs some Kleenex from his bedside table and gives them to me.
I quickly spit into the paper tissues and swallow. Pauli pulls me into his arms and kisses me passionately.
After this long kiss, I nuzzle up close to him. He caresses my hair and holds me tight. It really feels good to feel his warm skin against mine. I think I could stay like this forever. Pauli probably just thought the same cause he’s fallen asleep.
“Pauli?” I whisper softly but his answer is just a little snoring.
I’m already awake since at least twenty minutes but I haven’t dared to move yet.
Pauli is still sleeping, his arms wrapped around my waist.
But I really need to get up, I’m afraid my bladder is gonna burst any second… I really have go to the bathroom during the next five minutes or this is gonna get very nasty… and still, I don’t dare to move.
Pauli could wake up if I do so.
This shouldn’t bother me, right? I mean, after all we did last night…
But that’s exactly my problem. Somehow I see everything in a different light… and it doesn’t have to do anything with the fact that now the sun is shining into the room. Or maybe it does.
Last night everything was so different. Now that I’m thinking about it, I can’t believe I did what I did! It’s not like I was really drunk but the alcohol had definitely loosened me up a bit. I don’t regret it, it was … at least interesting. But… I really can’t explain it to myself… now that I’m lying here, with a weird taste in my mouth, my bladder close to exploding, Pauli snoring silently behind me, not able to move… the romantic atmosphere we had last night has completely disappeared and changed into cold reality. I don’t want him to see me like that, messy hair, make-up probably smeared all across my face, naked… I’m pretty sure he’s gonna change his mind about thinking I’m beautiful real quick… by the way, oh my gosh! Can’t believe he saw me naked! …
Oh, goddammit! I can’t help it! I really need to go to the bathroom! Now!
I carefully take Pauli’s arm and slowly lift it while, at the same time, I roll myself away from him. He snores a bit louder, then smacks his lips and mumbles “Peanut butter”.
Peanut butter? Ehrm, okay… anyway… he keeps on sleeping, so I let myself silently slide off the bed, grab my clothes from the floor and flee into the bathroom.
Ahhh, sweet bliss… though I think I just left a gallon of fluid in the toilet…
I quickly get dressed, wash my face and leave the apartment. After the door has closed I think I should have left a message or something but it’s too late. And I’m not gonna ring that door bell after my successful escape…
I walk around the streets for a while. I’m not exactly sure where I am or how to get to Eero’s place but I’ve been here before so I guess sooner or later I’ll find a place that I remember and that gives me a hint of how to get to Eero’s. And after all it’s nice to walk through the fresh air and trying to get my mixed up thoughts and feelings back into order.
A voice rips me out of my thoughts. I turn around. It’s Ville.
“Oh, hi,” I mutter surprised.
He grins. “Why do I think you got lost?”
“I’m not lost. Maybe in my thoughts but not really.” I look around. This street doesn’t look like I’ve ever been here before. “Well, I might be in a place I haven’t seen ever before but… ok, I’m perhaps a little bit lost,” I admit.
“How about you come and have a cup of coffee with me and then I’ll tell you how to get home?” He suggests.
“Does that mean you’re not gonna tell me directions if I don’t have coffee with you?”
He laughs. “Well, no. I just thought I should be polite.” He sighs. “Wonder why people always say politeness helps. I’m getting along pretty well with being rude.”
Should I go and drink coffee with him? Actually, why not! Cause the few friends I have don’t like him and there probably has to be a reason for that. So wouldn’t that be like back-stabbing them? And he really IS weird, no doubt about that. But then again, who am I to judge about people being weird, considering my past… and present. And maybe I can find out how Sean is doing. I remember Jesus saying something that he might get into trouble for helping me out and I really hope he didn’t.
“Coffee sounds good.”
We go to a nearby café. When the waitress brings two cups I start drowning sugar cube after sugar cube in the black liquid. After a while Ville shoves a small milk can into my direction.
“Do you want some milk with your sugar?”
“Thanks.” I pour some milk into my coffee.
Ville leans back and smirks. “So, am I right thinking that you didn’t spent the night in your own bed?”
I look at him surprised. “What? How do you know?”
He laughs. “You’re wearing the same clothes than yesterday.”
Oh. I nod.
“Who would have thought that our good old Pauli ends up with a girl like you!”
Ok, I’m not really sure if he’s surprised that I’m with a guy like Pauli or that Pauli is with a girl like me. Neither way, it didn’t sound too nice…
“If you wanna continue your rude comments, you can drink that coffee on your own,” I tell him a bit angry.
Ville frowns. “Sorry, bad habit. I’ll try to behave.”
I take a sip of my coffee.
Ville shivers. “Eew, how can you drink that? Doesn’t all the sugar hurt your teeth?”
I shrug my shoulders. “No. I like it.” I think about what to say next. “So, am I right with thinking you know Sean?”
Ville bends forward and whispers. “The fairy?”
“Yeah. Why do you whisper?”
“Cause I learned by now that people tend to think I’m crazy if I talk about Sean. Well, crazier than they already think I am,” he adds.
“Who could blame them,” I mutter silently.
“Oh, who’s the rude one now?” Ville complains.
“So, how do you know Sean?”
Seems like Sean has kept his promise to God and hasn’t told Ville any details about me.
“We’ve been friends for a while.” At least that’s what I guess.
“You know each other from Ireland then? Have you been expelled, too?”
“Yeah,” I answer. What? I’m not lying! I’ve been expelled, just not from Ireland!
“What did you do? Stealing something from the king of trolls like Sean did?” Ville asks curiously.
Sean stole things from a king? And I’m friends with someone like that? Who would have thought…
“No,” I just answer.
“Then what did you do?”
I stare at Ville, hoping it looks kinda mysterious and reserved, like it’s a secret I can’t tell him and just raise one eyebrow.
Ville nods knowingly. “Oh, ok, I see.” Then he bends closer towards me again. “So, what are you? Also a fairy? Just like a really tall one? Or an elf? No, your ears are not spiked. Maybe you are…”
“Listen,” I interrupt him. “I’m really sorry, I can’t tell you.”
He seems to be disappointed but tries to hide it. “That’s ok.”
“How’s Sean, by the way?”
Ville rolls his eyes. “Good. Too good maybe. His cousin Seamus is visiting since a few days, annoying little bugger, if I might add. You can come and see him if you want.”
“That would be nice.”
“Let’s just finish that coffee.” Ville leans back and lights a cigarette. “You smoke?” He asks and offers me one.
I shrug my shoulders. “I don’t know.”
“How can you not know?”
“Long story,” I just mutter and take another sip of my coffee. “So, last night, what’s up with you kissing Lauri?”
Ville chuckles. “That was funny, wasn’t it?”
Yeah, well, watching it was indeed funny, though I doubt that Lauri thought it was.
“So you like guys?”
Ville shrugs his shoulders. “Guys, girls, does it matter? Double choice, double fun, you know?” He adds responding to my surprised look.
He’s got a point there. “But I thought you don’t like Lauri.”
“You don’t necessarily have to like someone to have a bit … of fun. And come on, if the little one gets all angry and tries to be the aggressive one, you gotta admit, that makes him kinda hot, doesn’t it?”
Which again doesn’t make me wonder at all that people think he’s crazy… “Guess your attraction to him is kinda one-sided.”
Ville laughs out loud. “Oh, I wouldn’t be too sure about that.”
Actually that’s what I think, too but no way am I gonna tell him that. Lauri would kill me.
“They all come back for a second try once I’ve kissed them.”
“Oh, no need to be so humble,” I snort sarcastically.
Ville blows out some smoke and glances at me suggestively. “What reasonable person could resist this?” He frames himself with one gesture of his hand.
I raise my arm. “Me.”
Ville smirks. “I said reasonable person! And believe me, all I need is a kiss to convince. Wanna try?” He wiggles his eyebrows.
“No, thanks. I’m all set.” I drink the last rest of my coffee and put the cup back on the table. “Done. Let’s go and see Sean.”
We walk a few minutes until we reach Ville’s house. He unlocks the door and shouts “Sean, I brought a friend of yours!” while we step into the hall.
“Sean? Seamus?” He shouts again after not getting any response.
I follow him into another room. A huge TV is turned on and shows a bunch of men in shorts running after a ball. On a small coffee table are a few empty beer bottles and another bottle with some light brown liquid.
“Can’t believe they opened my best whiskey!” Ville mutters annoyed. “Sean, come on, make yourself visible, I brought you a friend!”
“Rita!” I hear Sean shouting, followed by some glittering dust that swirls around my head and makes me sneeze.
After a few seconds I see Sean fluttering in front of my face. He grins widely and flies towards me with open arms. He hugs me, well, he tries to, actually he just grabs my left ear with one hand and my nose with the other and presses himself against my cheek. His clothes are damp and he smells like beer.
I carefully grab him by his jacket and place him on my palm. “Hey there! Dude, what happened, you smell like you fell into a pool of beer!”
“Must be… cause… I did,” he hiccups happily. “So great to see you! What… hic… happened during all the long time … hic… I’ve seen you last?”
I laugh. “Since yesterday? Not much.”
“Oh, yeah, it was only yesterday that we met,” he mutters confused. “Come on, you gotta meet Seamus! He’s my cousin and he’s visiting me for a while! He’s the coolest guy ever!”
“And a real pain in the ass sometimes,” Ville adds silently next to me. “He’s been drunk since the day he arrived, doesn’t have any manners and completely lacks the ability to not destroy something every half hour. Not to mention how nasty it is to find tiny puddles of fairy puke all over the house.”
Ville rolls his eyes. “He drinks until he throws up and doesn’t care at all where he’s doing it.”
“Eww, gross!” I follow Sean, who obviously is too drunk to fly straight cause he swirls around pretty uncontrollably.
Next to a beer bottle lies a hairier and fatter version of Sean.
“Rita, that’s Seamus,” Sean introduces him.
“Hullo,” Seamus slurs. He gets up slowly and shakes my pinkie. “I think we’ve met before.” He belches loudly.
I just hope he’s not gonna puke on me any soon. “Really, did we?”
“Aren’t you that angel we met at that Irish rock festival some time ago?” A sudden fit of giggles strikes him. “Oh, yeah, I remember you, we made you drunk with that stolen magic straw and then you fell off the rail above the stage. “ He holds his stomach while laughing. “Face first! Priceless!” He totters backwards and knocks a bottle over.
“Really, I don’t remember,” I tell him.
He grins. “Well, who does after having that much?” He gestures like he’s drinking from an imaginary bottle.
“You’re an angel?” Ville asks me surprised.
Sean kicks his cousin. “Told you not to talk about that, for fuck’s sake!” He flies at Ville’s shoulder. “Forget about what he said, he’s too drunk to know what he’s saying.”
“Oh, ok,” Ville replies then he turns towards me. “Don’t worry, if it’s true, your secret is safe with me.”
“Actually I just came along to ask you something, Sean.”
Sean hops on my shoulder. “What do you wanna know?”
I look at Ville and Seamus. “Can we talk in private?”
“Follow me!” Sean gets up and flies a few loops in front of me.
I grab him. “Might be easier if you tell me where to go and I carry you.”
He giggles. “You know the rule, don’t drink and fly.”
We go into a room next door.
“So how did things go yesterday? Did you get in trouble with Jesus or God? You know, cause of helping me?”
“No, everything is fine. God even said I can hang around with you sometimes.” He looks at me. “Unless you don’t want to.”
I smile at him. “Of course I want to!”
He grins happily. “That’s so cool! Though I’m not allowed to show myself to anyone else except to you or Ville. And you can’t tell anyone about it.”
“Good. That way I can keep an eye on you and help you out if Satan will try to do anything to you again. Though you have a guardian angel now…”
“I have a guardian angel?”
Sean gulps. “Shouldn’t have said that. Should not have said that!” He says more to himself than to me. Then he sighs. “Yeah, though I’m not too sure if he’s any help. He’s a new one and kind of reminds me of you when you were still working for God.”
“Are you telling me I sucked as a guardian angel?”
“And shouldn’t have said that either,” he mutters ashamed. “No, don’t worry, you were great just a bit… uneducated… and unconventional… I’ll tell you about it another time if you want.”
“Alright. What did you mean with Satan will try to do something to me again?” I wonder.
Sean shrugs his shoulders. “God just said that he’s behaving right now but we all know what he’s up to, I don’t think this will remain his last attempt to bring you to hell.”
“Don’t worry, we will all do our best to destroy his plans.”
“Good, thanks.” Though I’m not too sure about how safe I can feel with the help of an inexperienced guardian angel and an most-of-the-time-drunk fairy…
“So how are things going with you and the guitar player?” Sean winks at me.
Damn, almost forgot about that… I think I have to set a few things straight soon… “We’ll see,” I just say and wink back. “Alright, I gotta go, I’ll see you soon!”
Sean hugs my face again, I say bye to Seamus, ask Ville for directions to Eero’s place and leave the house.
Twenty minutes later I arrive in front of Eero’s house. Actually I just wanted to take a shower and put on some clean clothes before I go back to Pauli and talk to him. But now that I’m thinking about it, I have no idea what to tell him. I decide to pay Marta a visit first, maybe she can help me out.
Aki’s car is still where he left it yesterday, in front of Eero’s house. I hope I’m not interrupting anything when I’m ringing the door bell.
No one answers except for Adrian. I push the handle, the door is unlocked.
“Hello?” I shout while entering and trying to calm down the dog who’s barking, jumping and then chasing his own tail.
“Marta? Where are you? Are you… decent? And alone?” I shout asking carefully.
“No, Aki and I are both naked and doing it on the kitchen table!” Her voice comes from the kitchen.
Oops. “Sorry, I’ll come back later!”
Marta’s head pops through the door. “I’m kidding, Rita. Just couldn’t open the door cause I had something boiling on the stove. Come in!”
“His car is still outside so I thought he would be still with you,” I explain.
She shrugs her shoulders and stirs in the pot on the stove. “Guess he’s at Eero’s then. I always kick him out before breakfast.” She looks at me and grins. “Seems like you stayed a little longer with Pauli.”
I blush. She laughs.
“Come on, sit down, I wanna know everything! Did you sleep with him? How was it? Did you like it? I told you sex is a good thing, didn’t I?” She’s all excited.
I sigh and try to find the right words.
The smile on Marta’s face vanishes. “Oh, you don’t look too happy. What happened? Didn’t you have sex?”
Well, technically we didn’t but… I take deep breath and tell her about last night. When I’m done, she gives me a comforting look.
“I shouldn’t have told you only the good things, I guess. And now you’re disappointed that it wasn’t all butterflies and fireworks, huh?”
“I don’t know, I just felt so uncomfortable this morning. You know, it was completely different from what I expected it to be. And honestly, it wasn’t like in these movies at all. Maybe I did everything wrong?”
Marta laughs. “Well, from what you told me about Pauli’s … reaction, I’m sure you did some things pretty well.” She pets my hand. “Life never is like you see it in movies. And that goes especially for sex! What you see in these porn films is just a product of, in most cases male, fantasies. Forget about it! It’s the same with anything else, you have to make your own experiences to find out what you like and don’t like. And don’t worry, you have plenty enough of time to find that out. I mean, you like Pauli, right?”
“And he likes you, so just give it some time, I’m sure it will all work out fine.” She hands me her phone. “Here, call him!”
“What am I supposed to say?”
“Just say hi and ask how he’s doing or something. Come on, do it!”
Marta takes the phone back, dials a number and gives it to me again. “Here, it’s ringing.”
Great, thanks for leaving me a choice. I roll my eyes and wait for Pauli’s answer.
“Hi, it’s me.”
“Hi! You left early this morning.”
“Didn’t want to wake up.” Lame excuse, I know. “So, how are you?”
“I’m fine. Hey, how about coming over tonight. I’ll cook you dinner.”
“Sounds great, I’ll be there. At seven?”
“Fine. Looking forward to see you. Oh, and Rita?”
“Are you allergic to pineapples?”
“Um, I don’t know.”
“Alright, I’ll find something to cook without pineapples. See you later!”
I hang up and smile.
Marta grins. “See, what did I tell you?”
“Yeah, I know, you’re always right!”
She laughs. “Good girl! You’re learning fast! By the way, I was thinking about something. Now you got that job…”
“I got the job?” I ask surprised.
“Haven’t they told you? Eero asked Seppo this morning and you can work for him and the guys if you want. Anyway, I used to rent one of the rooms in my house to a girl after my divorce but she moved out two month ago. I thought I’d like living on my own but it’s actually kinda boring. So, do you wanna move in?”
Wow, I have a job and my own, well kind of my own, place to stay, things with Pauli seem to go better than I thought this morning… looks like I’m starting to have some kind of a real life!
“I’d love to!”
Marta hugs me. “It’s gonna be so cool!”
I leave to go over to Eero’s place to finally have a shower and find Aki and Lauri sitting with Eero, Greta and Aleksi. Well, Aleksi is more hanging on Lauri’s back.
“Hi!” I look at Aki and Lauri. “Sometimes I really wonder why you are here all the time, don’t you have your own apartments?”
Aki snorts sarcastically. “Says the girl that lives in Eero’s guest room!”
“Says the girl that’s gonna move into her own room at Marta’s place!” I correct him happily. “And thanks for talking to Seppo cause of the job, Eero!”
“Your welcome,” he grins.
“Well, I’m warning you now so you don’t have to complain when you wake up at night all the time cause of the noise Marta’s going to make cause I’m giving her the best…”
“Aki! Kid in the same room!” Eero interrupts him and nods towards Aleksi. “And besides that, come on, we all know that this is just your wishful thinking! There’s no ‘all the time’ with Marta any soon.”
“Not yet!” Aki defends himself. “Sooner or later she will recognize that there’s no better man than me.”
“Dream on, buddy,” Lauri chuckles.
“What noise you make with Marta, uncle Aki?” Aleksi aks curiously. “Play drums?”
“Yeah, something like that,” Aki mutters quickly.
“Oh, Lauri, guess who I met today?” I ask him.
Lauri keeps on giggling. “Pauli’s belt? Oh, wait, it was Pauli’s cheek who met the belt!”
I stare at him. “You already know about that? That’s not even twelve hours ago!”
“Honey, really, why do you always have to be so gentle when we’re having,” Eero looks at Aleksi, “s-e-x. Now I lost!” He frowns.
Greta laughs. “You should have told me, I would have punched you right into your face anytime, baby!”
“Nah, that would have been cheating!” Aki makes things clear. “So who was it you met today, Rita?”
“Oh, yeah, right. I met Ville and Lauri, I gotta tell you one thing, he wants you!”
“Want uncle Laui for what?” Aleksi asks from Lauri’s back.
“Ehrm… to play… hide and seek,” I explain.
“Wanna play too! Can I play, uncle Laui?” Aleksi wants to know.
Lauri face is bright red. “There’s no way that uncle Laurrrrrrrri is ever gonna play that with Ville cause he’s a bad guy and do you remember what we always tell you, Leksi?”
“No play with bad guys. Then can I play with you, uncle Laui?”
Lauri sighs. “Alright, Leksi, you go and hide yourself, I’m gonna look for you!”
Aleksi squeaks happily and runs out of the room.
“But have to go and look for him, Lauri, really!” Greta says. “Not like that last time when you just left and Aleksi was sitting in the laundry basket for three hours until he fell asleep.”
Lauri rolls his eyes. “Calm down, I will.”
“Well, Lauri, Ville wants you. What do you say?” Aki smirks.
“Oh, shut the fuck up! I told you last night, there’s nothing gonna happen between Ville and me!” He shouts angrily. “Excuse me, gotta look for Leksi.”
He gets up but just before he leaves the room I can see that the anger has disappeared from his face and that it has been replaced by something that looks more like curiosity and pride… interesting!
The other ones keep making jokes about him. I lean back and listen to them and suddenly I feel really happy that I was so lucky to have found friends like them.
Pauli and I are lying in his bed. We had a wonderful dinner, watched a movie and… well, gave it another try. And this time it was, how did Marta call it? All butterflies and fireworks! That fits perfectly.
I’m cuddled up in his arms, probably having a huge smile on my face. He gently strokes a strand of hair out of my face which makes me sigh happily.
“Are you alright?” Pauli asks.
“Couldn’t be any better!” I reply and place a little kiss on his cheeks.
“That’s good to hear,” he smiles.
“By the way, I was wondering, what is a pineapple?”
“That’s a kind of exotic fruit,” Pauli explains. “You should try it one day, it’s pretty good actually.”
“There’s still so much I don’t know about,” I sigh.
Pauli pulls me even closer. “Don’t worry, I can teach you everything I know, we have all the time in the world!” He turns his head and kisses me.
There’s really a lot I still have to learn, about my past, presence and future…
And right now I feel like the luckiest person on earth cause I know all these great people to help me with that. Sean’s gonna help me with finding out about my past, Pauli, Marta, Aki, Lauri, Eero, Greta and probably even Aleksi will help me deal with the presence. And the future… well, we’ll see, what comes around comes around. But with these friends, what can possibly go wrong?!
the end... so far.