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Searching for Estelle.

Jyrki's Always Right

I was sitting on the floor in my hotel room, sifting through my clothes trying to find something to wear out to dinner with Ville when I got a phone call. My heart skipped a beat as I picked it up to see 'Incoming Call: Ville'. I instantly assumed he was calling to cancel and my heart sank.

“Hello?” I said, holding the phone up to my ear.

“Hi, Estelle. I just wanted to check you were still up for dinner tonight?”

I smiled, relieved. “Yes, of course.”

“Great. Um, that's good,” he paused “I don't suppose you'd consider making it an early dinner?”

I paused, wondering why he seemed so keen to get it over and done with. “Sure. What time?”

“Around four? It's just that... um, something's come up and so, yes. Earlier would be better.”

“Sure, that's fine,” I said, feeling a little let down that he'd apparently found something better to do this evening. It cemented for me, the fact that this was nothing more than a friendly outing and that Jyrki had been very, very wrong.
“Did you want me to meet you somewhere or-” I began to ask before Ville cut me off.

“No, no. I'll come and get you at four.”

“Okay. Um. I'll see you then?” I said, frowning at how uncomfortable Ville sounded.

“Okay. Bye, love.”

I bit my lip as I hung up. I was confused by his change of heart because the other day he'd seem genuinely pleased when I'd agreed to go out with him. I felt more insecure than ever now, and wondered if I should feign some sort of illness to get out of what was bound to be an awkward evening.

I sighed and began sifting through through my clothes again. I decided I was being unreasonable and that I'd probably imagined Ville sounding strange on the phone.

I had no idea where we were going so I was unsure of what to wear. Glancing at my watch, I noticed that it was already 3 o'clock. I decided on a dusty pink, knee length skirt that had a lace overlay and a black top with a slight ruffle along the neckline. I pulled on some thick tights, knowing that the Finnish evening was much cooler than I was used to and fastened a thick black belt around my waist.

I looked in the mirror and sighed, running a hand through my hair. I pulled the majority of it back and fastened it with several bobby pins. I let a couple of strands fall down to frame my face. I didn't bother with too much make-up, just touched up what I already had on.

I frowned as I looked in the mirror. I couldn't help but feel as though I looked like a librarian. There was no way in hell Ville would be interested in someone who appeared to spend her life dusting shelves and re-covering books. The man had been engaged to a model, for God's sake.

I sighed once more and turned away from the mirror, gathering my purse and coat and setting them by the door. I saw my black ankle boots sitting on the floor and smiled. These shoes had become somewhat of a good-luck charm for me in Finland. Every time I'd worn them I'd had immense fun.

I slipped them onto my feet and looked into the mirror again. I smiled slightly, noticing that the boots gave the outfit a little bit of an edge and took away from the kindergarten-teacher style I'd been rocking before.

A knock at the door startled me and I glanced at my watch. It was just before four. I sighed and headed to answer it. I was definitely committed to this dinner which was definitely not a date now.

I opened the door, my hand trembling a little.

“Hi,” I said smiling shyly at Ville.

“Hi,” he said with a grin. He was holding an enviro-bag that appeared to be quite full, and gave me a somewhat awkward half-hug with his free arm.

I looked from the bag to Ville and raised an eyebrow.

He scratched his unusually beanie-free head and frowned.

“Uh, well.. rather than a proper dinner I thought maybe we could...” he paused and even blushed a little “have a picnic...”

I bit my lip and smiled a little.

“That sounds nice,” I began hesitantly “But...”

Ville's eyes shot up to me and he looked worried. “But?”

I giggled. “I feel a little overdressed now.”

He laughed and shook his head. “You look beautiful.”

I blushed furiously and turned away to pick up my bag and put my coat on, hoping that he wouldn't notice.

I managed to regain some of my composure and turned around with a smile on my face, my cheeks only a faint pink now.

“Shall we?” Ville asked, motioning for the doorway. I smiled.

“We shall.”

As we made our way out of the hotel and onto the street, Ville linked his arm with mine. I blushed slightly and focused on not tripping over my own feet rather than the contact between us.
We walked in silence for awhile before I spoke.

“So... where are we going?”

“Kaisaniemi Park.”

I frowned. “I don't think I've been there.”

Ville smiled. “It's lovely. Also, on a Sunday afternoon it's usually pretty quiet. I guess I figured that this would be nicer than sitting in a restaurant surrounded by other people who are staring at me.”

I smiled up at him. “I think it's great idea.”

He breathed a sigh of relief. “Thank God for that. I was worried it might seem a bit stupid or soppy.”

I giggled and shook my head. “No, really. It's nice.”

Ville led me through the entrance of the park and we began to walk towards the location he'd apparently picked out. As we made our way through the park I took in the beauty of it. The sky was clear and relatively light, being that it was still summer, and the entire park was bathed in a dull orange glow. There was foliage on the trees and flowers were out, making the park bright and beautiful; a perfect backdrop to a picnic.

I was starting to think Jyrki might be right... this didn't seem like just a friendly dinner and I wasn't sure how I felt about that.

We came to a stop just off to the side of a large lake that was shimmering under the dull sunlight. Ville led me to a grassy area that was in the shade of a couple of large trees, keeping it shielded from passers-by.

I frowned. “Why does this feel like the beginning of one of the movies Jyrki made me watch?”

Ville laughed and stopped. “I promise you are perfectly safe.” He took a blanket out of the bag and spread it across the grass, motioning for me to sit.

I sat down carefully, folding my legs underneath me and settling comfortably. Ville sat next to me and began unpacking an assortment of food from the bag. There were fruits, sandwiches, chocolate and some things I couldn't even name.

I noticed a container of blueberries and my eyes lit up. “I love blueberries,” I said with a smile.

Ville grinned. “I'm glad I got something right, then.”

I bit my lip. “I think you got everything right.”

He smiled at me. “Good.”

We sat in silence, eating and I'd occasionally feel Ville's eyes on me, but every time I looked up at him he'd look away, smiling.

The next time it happened I spoke up.

“Okay, seriously. Stop looking at me!”

He laughed. “I can't help it.”

“Well, it makes me feel uncomfortable,” I said, blushing.

He just laughed again. “What doesn't make you uncomfortable, Estelle?”

I smiled. “Not a lot.”

“If it makes you feel better, I've seen you in your underwear, so this is nothing,” he said, looking completely serious.

I felt the blush rise to my cheeks again. “No! That does not make me feel better!”

He chuckled. “Well, it makes me feel better.”

I gasped and leaned over, slapping him on the arm slightly. “Shut up.”

“That reminds me. You said you don't remember much of that night.”

I felt my stomach turn, wondering what other hideous thing I'd done to embarrass myself.

He reached into the bag, pulling out an envelope and handing it to me. “These might help.”

I raised an eyebrow at him and he just smiled.

“Open it.”

I did as he said and discovered several photographs, obviously taken that night. I frowned, looking through them and noticing that the vast majority were of me.

“Who took these?” I asked, confused.

“Ville,” he answered “He's a photographer.”

I screwed my nose up as I came to one of me dancing by myself. “Oh dear.”

Ville looked over and grinned. “That one's my favourite.”

“How long have you had these?” I asked, frowning.

“Only since yesterday. Ville dropped them over, saying he thought you might like copies of them.”

“That was... nice, I guess.” I shook my head, putting them back in the envelope. “I'd completely forgotten he was taking photos. I thought I'd kept clear of the camera...”

Ville laughed. “You did until you got quite drunk. Then you were more than happy to pose.”

I blushed furiously, but couldn't help but giggle. “How embarrassing.”

Ville's face grew serious. “Why don't you like having your photo taken?”

I shook my head. “I don't know. I just don't really like drawing attention to myself. I guess photos compromise that?”

Ville frowned. “Why don't you like drawing attention to yourself?”

I looked down at my feet. “I don't know. I just prefer to be invisible.”

“It doesn't work,” he said, smiling.

I looked up at him, confused. “What do you mean?”

“You're definitely not invisible.”

I blushed, feeling uncomfortable. “So, what came up that you wanted to meet early?” I asked, changing the subject.

“I just wanted to see you sooner,” Ville said with a sneaky smile.

I felt my cheeks begin to colour again and shook my head. “Don't be ridiculous.”

“I'm not,” he said softly, taking my hand “I like you, Estelle. Quite a fucking bit, to be blunt. But I'm not very good at this sort of thing.”

I laughed at that and he looked confused. “You're not good at this sort of thing?”

He laughed as well, and linked his fingers with mine.

I smiled, blushing slightly. With his free hand, Ville brushed a stray piece of hair from my face before resting his hand lightly on my cheek.

I felt my heart skip a beat as he leaned in and kissed me gently on the lips.

I guess Jyrki was right; this really was a date.
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...Aw? I really don't know how I feel about this one, so feedback would be amazing. This is not the end though, guys!

Thank you so much to all the wonderful people who commented last chapter, it really means a lot. I'd sincerely appreciate more of the same this time =)

Thanks for reading.