Flash fiction - The soccer world cup and then some
“Haast je, Thijs!”
“I am hurrying. You’d better watch out!”
Lotte Van Dijk laughed at his warning and pedaled harder, only to swerve sharply to the side to avoid collision with a family of four, gawking at the Saint Basil’s Cathedral. She mumbled an apology as she regained her balance, legs flailing, but kept going.
Lotte had never been one to conform—she went to great lengths to be conspicuous. Her desire to stand out was not rooted in self-centeredness—being lost twice at sea and once in the mountains had taught her—bright colors save lives.
In spite of the crowd, it was impossible to overlook the man and woman on identical rental bicycles donned in red shirts, red backpacks, and red socks, crisscrossing the square. The female, in the lead, hollered again over her shoulder, waving at her companion to stay closer.
Thijs De Jong tightened his grip on the handlebar as he overtook his young bride, rang his bell, and got hold of her backpack strap, forcing her to slow down. His patience had limits. “Lotte, please.”
Her answer was to brake, slip off her saddle, still laughing, step closer and take his face in her hands, finding his lips. Her dark eyes, framed in an abundance of laughter wrinkles, didn’t leave his for a moment. She knew how to disarm him.
He groaned as he surrendered to the onslaught, his irritation dissolving as he tasted her mouth. He cried, hating himself for giving in to her whims. The red backpack was okay, but how he allowed her to convince him to don the socks and shirt was still a mystery. Then again, waking up each morning with her bare limbs braided with his, anointed with her passion, as he did this morning, made him willing to follow her across Red Square a second time even if she had insisted they wear nothing but the socks and backpacks.
Her merriment turned to concern as she grasped his hands in a death knell. “Thijs, je wilt niet te laat komen.”
“We won’t be late.”
“Then let’s get the tripod and camera out and take the photos!”
Dear Lord, she’s beautiful. There are no half-measures with this woman.
They had saved for over a year to be able to attend the soccer world cup series.
Thijs kicked the bicycle stand in place, then busied himself with setting up the large tripod and camera. He eyed the endless walls of the Kremlin behind them. Yellow t-shirts would have contrasted better with the background, but his sweetheart insisted they only wear the other two colors of the Belgium flag to their first match against Panama. It was no secret she hated black. Red she adored. Although, Lotte insisted it was crimson that she held dear, not common red.
“Thijs, ben je klaar?”
He clicked with his tongue, “Yes, I’m done!” Then steered her a short distance from the bicycles and camera. He barely had her in the right spot when her arms wrapped around his neck, and she pulled him in for a smothering kiss, pressing her chest against his. She wanted him to know she went braless.
“Lotte, you were the one worried about getting to the stadium on time—”
“Ik hou van je.”
“I love you too.” He positioned her again. “Don’t move.”
Five minutes and thirty snaps later, they dismantled everything and tucked it into the backpacks with practiced haste. They’d better hurry—ten kilometers of pedaling remained to get to the stadium.
“Thijs, please wait.”
He turned back at her pleading voice only to brace himself as she launched herself at him with renewed enthusiasm, giggling, pulling him closer, slipping her hand behind his neck and claiming his lips. This time she wouldn’t let go, melting into him, silencing his protestations with deep probing kisses. It was impossible not to breathe her warmth, inhale her fresh cinnamon and apple aroma.
“Excuse me!” A firm hand tapped both their shoulders, repeating the command in a gruff baritone. “Izvinite!”
The lovers staggered apart, blinking at the two policemen, towering over them with arms now crossed.
Thijs found his voice first. “What seems to be the problem officer?”
The leader, Fedorov, gestured at Thijs and Lotte. “Public Indecency.”
“We were kissing.” Lotte, crimson rising in her neck, stepped closer until she was inches from the officer.
“No. You making love. Inappropriate for public space. Many tourists.” Officer Fedorov pointed at the Square. “This is our pride. You come with us to station.”
His colleague took hold of their bicycles and nodded for them to follow.
“I was kissing my husband.”
Fedorov shrugged. “Husband, boyfriend, cousin—no difference. Neprilichny. Indecent.” He pointed at an entrance to the side of the Kremlin building. “You walk. Da? Yes? You want arrest? Net?”
Lotte clasped Thijs’s hand, gave him a quick kiss, whispering, “I’m so sorry,” and fell in pace with the officers. The four marched in silence, except for Fedorov who barked instructions into his radio.
Inside the office, Thijs and Lotte were each given a chair and made to wait.
Fedorov reappeared with a third officer whom he introduced as Lieutenant Vasiliev. They were laughing, patting each other on the back.
Husband and wife glanced at the Russian officers with knotted brows.
Vasiliev led them to the door. “You are free to go.”
Lotte turned crimson, choking. “This was all a joke?”
Fedorov shook his head. “You cannot kiss like that on Red Square. But I won bet.”
Vasiliev explained as he led them outside. “Fedorov said he found a tourist more beautiful than the Red Square. I said ‘that’s impossible.’ I lost.”
Lotte rewarded the men with a crystal-crisp laugh, shaking her head.
Fedorov turned to Thijs. “You are fortunate man. On Red Square, only little kiss. Make love in bedroom. Da?” He spun on his heels and gave them a formal salute.
Thijs and Lotte waved as they pedalled away, calling in unison, “Da!”
Thank you for reading!
This short short story was also published on Medium.com.
You can also find a FREE copy of my short story, Young Maxime here. (It is the prequel to my novel, Maxime.)
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