Part-Time Lover

By: Lauren Blakely



A year ago

Something about the last night in a foreign city makes you want to do crazy things. You want to drink it all in and taste every single dish on the menu. After all, tomorrow you’ll be gone.

Left with only memories.

The last night is the last stop on the merry-go-round of memory-making.

The last afternoon is too, and as the sun careens mercilessly toward the horizon, it’s a reminder that I need to jam everything in.

“Do you feel like going a little bit wild?” I ask Veronica.

She wiggles her eyebrows. “If you mean day drinking, we’ve already done that.”

I wag my finger as we stroll down the middle of a cobbled street. “One glass of wine at lunch does not constitute day drinking.”

“No? That seems the very definition.”

I link an arm through hers. “One glass is simply a beverage at lunch. The meter doesn’t start on day drinking until you hit two glasses, silly goose.”

“How good to know the scale for lushness,” she says drily as she stops to stare at a handbag in the Prada store window.

I give her a few seconds to worship at the altar of designer goods. “In any case, I was thinking we ought to do something we’ve never done before.”

She snaps her gaze from the far-too-expensive leather item she’ll never buy and presses a hand demurely to her chest, batting her hazel eyes innocently. “I’m not that kind of girl.”

I laugh. “As if.”

“I know. You like your sausage too much.”

“As do you. You’re practically a butcher,” I say as we sidestep a pair of strapping, chiseled blond men, who look like twin models for Scandinavian Design’s “Catalog of Men—Denmark.” Their blue eyes linger on both of us, and one smiles and offers a confident, “Hello.”

“Hello to you too,” I say with a grin.

They continue in their direction and we head in ours. “Should we wander down the streets and say hello to random hot men?” Veronica offers.

“I don’t think that’s a bad idea, but no, that’s not my notion of wild.”

This urge to have one wild night is in complete contrast to the purpose of the three-days-in-Copenhagen getaway Veronica insisted I needed.

It’s been a year since …

I shake away the dark thought.

Anniversaries of horrible days require trips. And day drinking. And refocusing on things that you control.

“If I want to explore the travel sector more at work, I need to know even more about this city, so I can advertise it better. What if we take one of those buffet boat tours?”

She laughs. “What’s a buffet boat tour?”

“A buffet of landmarks. All-your-eyes-can-eat.” As we near the wide square at the end of the block, I point to the red booth advertising canal tours. I play my ace. “It’s like a crash course in Copenhagen, and we’ll make sure we haven’t missed a single thing. It’ll help me win new business. You know I need to focus on work.”

She smiles in understanding. “Anything for you when you prey on my sympathies.” She marches up to the fire-engine-red booth and purchases two tickets for the next tour, then we head down the concrete steps to the boat.

The blond guide with shoulder-length hair flashes a bright smile as we step onboard, his name tag glinting in the afternoon sun. “Good afternoon, ladies.”

“Lars, she’s no lady.” Veronica points to me and winks.

“Ladies or not, you’re both welcome on my ship as long as you promise to enjoy the sights.”

“We will. Also, you’re handsome, Lars.” Veronica is a shameless flirt.

“Thank you very much, and I’ll enjoy the sights as well.” It seems Lars is a flirt too. His blue-eyed gaze lingers on my friend with the hourglass figure and pretty eyes as we take our seats.

We wait for the boat to fill, but only a handful of others join us. An older couple sports cameras around their necks and matching I Heart Copenhagen backpacks. There is also a gaggle of twenty-something women wearing college sweatshirts and some Japanese tourists.

I lean back in the cushioned seat, dropping my sunglasses to shield my eyes as the boat peels away from the dock. As we slide over the placid water, Lars regales us with tales of royal families and scandals, pointing out the city’s sights. I lean closer to Veronica and whisper, “Will you pick up where you left off with the handsome boat captain?”

Lars suffers from an affliction common to many men in Denmark. He’s a cut above average in the looks department. Let the record reflect, the Danes make the best-looking men.

“Of course. I’m going to talk to him when the tour ends.”