Malan finds out from Dr. Goodman that he and Lathal are capable of having children and he wonders if Lathal is pregnant. Malan and Lathal visit some of the famous German castles and Black Forest.
Like the other passengers on the tour bus, they had their pastry and desired morning beverages in hand as they boarded the bus outside their hotel at 6 that morning. Their tour would take them to King Ludwig’s castles Linderhof, Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein and the Black Forest.
He had his usual, a large plastic cup of coffee; with a queasy feeling upsetting her stomach, she had gotten milk and that had helped quell the nausea she’d felt that morning. Settling in her seat next to the window, her thoughts strayed for a moment on the strange sickness she’d felt that morning.
Her husband had been asleep when she’d shuffled into the bathroom at 2 in the morning. Although she hadn’t thrown up, she lay on the cool tile floor at the foot of the toilet for a while and that had soothed her fever and churning stomach, making her feel better. She still felt unsettled that morning, but she hadn’t said anything to him because she didn’t want him to worry. She didn’t feel sick just odd, so she think it was any cause for concern.
Personally, she hoped she wasn’t coming down with something. It didn’t feel like a cold, seasonal allergies or other ailment because she didn’t have itchy eyes, runny nose, sneezing, a sore throat, headache or aches. Whatever her infirmity was it probably had to do with something she ate, but she couldn’t figure out what she’d eaten that’d make her ill.
Maybe it was just a fluke or her body was having a negative reaction to the constant changes in locales they’d had in the last few days. That had to be it, she thought convinced as she nibbled on her pastry because now that she had some sustenance and she began to feel normal.
His coffee cup in one hand, he tried balancing the laptop on his lap as the bus chugged down the winding highway. The mobile wireless Internet connection he had was plug into its respective port and he prayed they’d get a signal. From what he’d seen out the large tinted bus windows they were out in a rural area.
With a crackle singsong beeping, the computer connected to the Internet and he was able to check his email. There were some messages from his friends, directors and agent but the one from their doctor, Dr._ A._Goodman caught his attention. With a click of his mouse, the email that had been sent yesterday opened and he read:
Hello Malan and Lathal,
Hope you both having a wonderful honeymoon in Germany. I know I told you I’d have the results of those tests you asked me to do for you both in a couple of weeks, but I put a rush on it for you. So with great pleasure I share the news: Both of you are perfectly capable and able to have children. Congratulations!
And by the way Malan, if Lathal thinks she won’t get pregnant while using birth control pills or menstruating she’s mistaken. If either of you want to prevent pregnancy, you might consider the only option to achieve that end, abstinence.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to e-mail me.
The email had the doctor’s signature stamp on the bottom.
Rereading it a few times, his mind kept revisiting the passionate love they’d made last night. The vibrantly vivid images still fresh on his mind of what they had done sent erotic shivers through him.
“Malan?” she gently called his name as she glanced over her shoulder at him.
He didn’t seem to hear her or realized that he’d accidently bumped her when he’d shifted his body to hide the damming inescapable truth revealed in e-mail he’d received from her. He didn’t know why he was behaving this way. She had a right to know, but logic and reasoning weren’t things his brain was dwelling on at the moment.
His distracted thoughts were far away, focused on their recent intimate escapade. How many times had they blissfully shared their ecstasy together? Damn he wished he knew what he knew now then. But then again if he had known would that have been enough to stop him from doing what he’d done with her? Considering how deeply he loved her, he seriously doubted it.
In their passion had they done what he thought they had done -- create a child?
It wasn’t possible. His mental argument raged like a battle in complete agreement with his total denial. It only takes one take, Malan! He shook his head in stubborn protest that such truth was just hogwash.
There’s no way! Lathal isn’t pregnant! Then his eyes reread the email that told him the contrary could be true .
I don’t know for sure that Lathal is pregnant, but then again I don’t know for sure that she isn’t. Regardless of the mental arguments he tried to make to convince himself of the contrary, he couldn’t shake the strange sensation he had confirming that his wife was with child. His sensations usually weren’t wrong, but for once he wished they were.
A heavy sigh escaped his lips as he clicked out of the message.
“Malan, are you okay?” She asked him concerned.
“Hmm?” He mumbled clearly distracted.
Either something was bothering him or something was wrong or possibly it was both. Whatever was troubling him was making her worry.
“Malan, what’s wrong?” She lightly snapped her fingers in front of his face finally getting his attention. “I’ve been trying to talk to you for the last few minutes now, but you were really distant.”
His hand, the one that bore his wedding band, slowly wiped his entire face. “I’m sorry, Lathal.” He softly kissed her. “I must have dozed off.”
There was something he wasn’t telling her. In that instance a flash of anger swirled within her as she considered the possibility that he might be lying to her, but she quickly dismissed that.
Concern flooded her bluish green pools as she regarded him. “Malan, do you have to go back to the United States?”
“What?” He asked in confusion nearly choking on the coffee he’d just drank.
“I just thought that something beyond their control had happened and they needed you,” she shrugged. “Or maybe they miss you too much and they wanted you to get back to the show right away.”
A slow grin spread across his lips. “No, they don’t need me.” He found her hand, brought it to his lips and kissed her fingertips. “Matter of fact, I’m sure they’re surviving quite nicely without me.”
“Hmm,” she mused thoughtfully, not quite agreeing with his statement.
He couldn’t put his finger on it, but there was something different about her. “Are you okay?”
“Me?” The light amusement in her eyes reflected her amusement and annoyance with the question. “I’m just peachy.”
Noticing the biting, dripping sarcasm in her voice, he looked worriedly at her. “Lathal?”
She sighed. “I didn’t sleep very well last night.”
“I’m sorry,” he murmured and slightly squirmed in his seat. Guilt and dread twisted in his gut. He felt like he’d had something to do with that.
“It’s not your fault.” She softly told him, her fingers brushed along the outline of his face.
Responsibility and blame mixed with the tender compassion in his eyes. “I didn’t sleep well either,” he quietly admitted as he put his laptop back into his backpack.
Nestling next to him, her head lay against his shoulder and he wrapped his arm around her bringing her closer to his heart. “Maybe you and I should take a nap,” she beamed up at him.
To indicate his agreement with her proposal, he lightly kissed her on the nose and forehead. Her fingers splayed across chest felt like a kitten pettling on his chest; he let himself relax. Occasionally she shifted to get more comfortable and he pressed a button on the side of his seat that electronically moved his seat and hers backward.
Her body was curved slightly; her chest smoothly rose and fell. She looked like a kitten napping. As he watched her drift off into peaceful slumbers, he too felt his own tiredness overwhelm him. Affectionately squeezing her shoulder, he closed his eyes and he too fell asleep.
The first thing he recalled rousing him from sleep was the sounds a sharp hiss and tapping on a microphone as their tour guide said, “Good morning ladies and gentlemen,” Passengers returned the friendly greeting. “We have arrived at our first stop,” He carefully stretched as he didn’t want to disturb his wife. She was still asleep. He blinked a few times and looked toward the front of the bus where the digital clock’s red numbers told him it was 11in the morning. “We’ll be here a couple of hours. In that time you can have lunch and tour two of King Ludwig II’s famous castles Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau.”
As the other passengers began disembarking, he gently shook her. “Lathal, wake up. We’re here.”
“Mmm,” she awake to his tender kiss. Stretching, she blinked and saw the castle situated up on the hill.
After he hid his laptop in the pouch in front of their seat, he stuck his camera gear inside his backpack that he slung over his shoulder. Following a trickle of passengers, they made the short trek up a slight hill to Hohenschwangau. The sign outside said that tours didn’t begin until 1 p.m. so they decided to go to Neuschwanstein.
Looking at the pamphlet that he’d grabbed from the counter as they’d exited the bus, he discovered Neuschwanstein was quite a steep 5-mile climb. Some of the tourists had taken the picturesque trail while others paid for a horse-drawn buggy to take them up.
Like a young girl, she skipped ahead of him, and using her hand on the white railing she flung herself into the walking trail. His backpack bounced up and down as he bounded after her. “Lathal, wait!”
She had gone quite away up the steep hill; he was out of breath by the time he caught up to her. “I didn’t know I was that out of shape,” he muttered, gripping his knees as he caught his breath.
Her sweet laughter rang through the air. “You’re not. It’s just that the air is thinner at higher altitudes like this so that’s why people who exert themselves feel asthmatic.”
She’s truly amazing and incredibly smart, he thought with a smile. And she’s all mine. Slowly he stood since he’d recovered from the wheezing spell that left some brief weakness in its wake.
“If that’s the case,” His smile was still in place as his brown eyes flirted with her. “Maybe we should take a horse-drawn carriage up to Neuschwanstein.”
He was trying to be romantic and she almost didn’t want put a damper on that part of his personality. “Oh, Malan,” she rumbled in mild protest. “That’s so expensive and it’d be more fun if we walked.”
“Tell you what,” his fingers slid down his backpack straps as he proposed a compromise. “We’ll take the carriage to the castle and walk back down.”
“Alright,” she agreed and they walked a short distance to the wooden shack where the carriage rides departed for the castle.
There were several carriages coming and going; most of them had as many as a dozen people riding in them.
He climbed into the carriage first and set his back pack on the seat behind the driver before extending his hand to help her on board. The driver softly hummed traditional Bavarian songs as the horse clacked up the paved roadway traveling up the mountain.
The sunlight filtered through the trees and its leaves and bushes rustled alive with the wildlife that lived in the forest. A cool breeze grazed her face and the natural beauty around them created a magical environment that made her feel like Cinderella on her way to the ball.
Leaning over, she touched the side of his face, and his affectionate eyes turned toward her. Her thumb brushed over his lips and his face softened. Her soft petals seductively caressed his mouth, temptingly bringing him into a passionate kiss.
He tenderly returned her affection. Parting her lips slightly, his tongue lightly caressed her lips as it crossed into her mouth where it danced with hers; she softly moaned his name. His heart hammered his in his chest and his mouth tingled with pleasure as she gently disengaged.
“What was that for?” he murmured, licking his lips longing for another kiss.
She held a fistful of his shirt; she favored him with a teasing grin. “Do I have to have a reason?”
“No,” he muttered passionately kissing her as they arrived at the drawbridge at the entrance of the castle.
With youthful exuberance, she bounced out of the carriage. He had to bite his tongue because he wanted to caution her about being careful, but then why was he so worried about her taking care of herself. She was vibrant and happy.
His camera came out of the bag the minute they disembarked from the carriage. People stopped to take pictures at the entrance before they made their way into the castle interior garden and courtyard. He liked the shot he took with her legs crossed over each other as she casually relaxed on the ledge of the drawbridge.
As she approached, her bluish green pools twinkled at him. “Do you think we could get a few pictures of us together on that camera?”
“Sure,” he grinned and he asked one of the people who had been on the tour to take their shot outside and on the steps in the courtyard.
He was disappointed to learn he couldn’t take pictures inside the castle but he took some excellent scenic shots from the windows.
After their tour of Neuschwanstein, they walked down the hill. Halfway down, there was an imbiss in a wooden shack and they enjoyed currywurst and a schnitzel sandwich with fries at a picnic table in the forest. By the time they reached the bottom, the tours of Hohenschwangau had just started; they were on the second tour of the smaller castle.
Just as they were buying a few souvenirs, the tour guide came and told them all they had to leave for Linderhof and its gorgeous gardens. It didn’t take long to reach the castle that was in close proximity to King Ludwig II’s other castles.
In their opinions, Linderhof, which had been King Ludwig and his family’s summer getaway spot, was much more spectacular than Hohenschwangau had been. Their stop at the third castle was for an hour but they still had a chance to explore the Moorish kiosk, Venus Grotto, Moroccan House and Hunding Hut. In the garden area in front of the castle, they had their picture taken at the fountain.
Before arriving in Triberg, the home of the Black Forest, they visited the thatched houses in which the Black Forest citizens traditionally lived. Their guide wore the traditional Black Forest red and black attire and hats and visiting the cottage was like taking a step back in time even though many of them now had modern conveniences such as electricity and Internet access. They went inside the barn and a mill that operated from a nearby stream; they both expressed a desire to live in such a rustic community.
Once they were back on the bus, they chugged along on the winding road through the beautiful Bavaria countryside. Watching the cars fly by them on the autobahn, he saw a silver Jacquar zoom past the bus. He would have loved to have that James Bond feel as he speed over 150 mph since the autobahn had no speed limit.
“You know what I wish,” he said wistfully, his eyes following the vehicles travelling at high velocity on the freeway, “that on one of our trips that I could drive on the autobahn.”
“Who says you can’t?” His eyes lit up with excitement as she told him. “This weekend you and I can take turns driving to Baden Baden.”
Baden Baden, a famous resort town, had pools and spas as well hiking, sightseeing and shopping.
She too looked forward to speeding on the German freeway where one could as fast as he or she wanted.
As the bus pulled into Triberg, passengers were awed by the scenic beauty. It was clean outdoor feel and they enjoyed walking around and browsing in the shops. They bought a kitchen witch, walking stick, a chess set, a couple of different kinds of wooden Christmas scenes that had holders for candles and three cuckoo clocks made of different types of wood. They had these items mailed to their new home, 108 W. Roosevelt in Hallow Oaks. A military couple on their tour gave them a tax free form and on top of that, they received a 10 percent discount for mailing their purchases back to the United States.
They walked along the winding main strip that passed by Black Forest Museum and the world’s biggest cuckoo clock before going inside the Mary in the Fir, a baroque church from the 18th century. When they came to the forested area they climbed up to the Rothbachfall, the tallest waterfall springing from the Gutach River. The view and vista were both breathtaking; both made a wish at the waterfall.
As soon as they came down the mountain, they decided to eat in a Gasthaus and enjoyed a delicious traditional German meal as well as their famous Black Forest torte. By that time it was time to board the bus and it began its trek back to the various communities where passengers had boarded.
There were only about 20 passengers on board the bus when it arrived at its final destination, Munich. It was around 1 in the morning when they arrived so they were tired after a long enjoyable day so they went to bed. In the morning they were going on another tour of the Rhein River in which they’d visit some castles and enjoy wine tasting.