This story is by Stephanie K. Kana and was part of our 2020 Summer Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
Alone With Edward
Edward’s in the bedroom, I can picture him, trying to look nonchalant, fiddling with his suitcase contents. I’m in the adjoining bathroom, attempting to be a big girl when in fact I feel like a small child. I’m stalling for time. I’m not just uncertain, I’m scared.
What am I doing in this faraway place I never heard of, in a yurt of all things in the wilderness, getting ready to make love with a man I hardly really know? Is this me or some impostor?
I met Edward on a movie shoot. He was the star of the production and every woman’s fantasy lover. I was a neophyte actress who somehow landed a plum role opposite him; I add with pride that I didn’t have to sleep with either the producer, director or anyone else to ace the audition. This alone was fortuitous and near to unbelievable.
An older actor cast in the film observed my naivete and silently volunteered to be my mentor on the set. He truly was kind and helpful without asking any favors in return, which, again, seemed rather amazing. As the days went by, this gent—who honestly was a gentleman—pulled me aside to confide his observations about Edward the Unreachable.
“You should see the way he watches you, Myra, when he thinks you’re unaware. I’ve caught him with that heartsick look more than once.”
“If he’s interested,” I countered, “he sure has a funny way of showing it, as in ignoring me totally.”
“He’s shy,” Charles asserted, apparently pleading Edward’s case for him, “Come on, you know he can’t make a fool of himself in front of the whole cast and crew.”
I said something not very original in response, like, “If he’s so backward, I’m the President of the United States.” This I hasten to add was before Hillary, so he tried not to smirk too much. I didn’t say it in a snippy way. I liked Charles and appreciated his discreet matchmaking.
Charles ultimately was such a warm, fatherly type that he got me suckered in. All right, so I’ll give the shy guy his opportunity and hope I’m not the laughingstock of the set. I felt the idiot in contemplating my seduction of Edward, if truth be told. I’m not good at that type of behavior, the so-called “feminine wiles.” Though I’m not the epitome of beauty, I was spoiled in that men usually fussed over me and asked me out. I never needed to do the dirty work of setting up dates.
The other women on the set seemed to be bitches in heat where Edward was concerned. The way they hung on his every word, giggled like teenagers and wiggled their butts really galled me. I was the only one too withholding to give him a tumble. Well, I finally decided to go ahead and try tumbling him, just like those dull rocks my brother magically turned into shiny gemstones when we were kids. I should tell you that Edward the Great was unforgivably handsome. Men and women of all ages and sizes followed him around like puppy dogs. He also had a nobility about him that dared you call him nothing less than his given name. No Eddie or even Ed for him.
When I got the nerve to approach him I could barely walk straight for my knees knocking together. I felt as if my mouth was crammed with peanut butter in a “Got Milk?” commercial. Ew. I also noticed with chagrin that my brain suddenly didn’t seem to be functioning. Great. I could barely string words together for a coherent sentence. So much for appearing cool and seductive.
I’m not sure what I said or did, since I seemed to be slogging through mud and saying things I didn’t recognize as English. My mouth moved and something came out, but I couldn’t tell you what. It seemed to take days to move across the set to speak with Edward, but I had to presume we had a logical conversation. At least he didn’t act as if anything was wrong. Whatever I said to him, he agreed to lunch in the studio commissary that day. These mealtime meetings became regular with us, too, so I have to assume he enjoyed them as I did.
We were always platonic, and I couldn’t therefore think of us as real friends but more like working acquaintances. Edward never behaved in anything resembling a wolfish way, and it was hard telling if he knew he was a man and I was a woman. Hm, maybe he’s bisexual or even gay? I can’t figure this guy out.
One day more than a month into the shoot, the director called an early day. Someone on the set had gotten injured who played a pivotal part, so they had to drop back and punt.
Edward said, “Hey, how about a walk in Echo Lake Park? We could both use some real air for a change.”
I said, “That works for me.”
He said, “Well, good, because I have something to share with you and to ask.” Oh, boy, what’s this all about? Sounds like that old-time magazine True Confessions, but maybe I’ll find out his sexuality? Maybe it mattered, maybe it didn’t even, but I wanted to know. I like to know where I stand with people.
After we’d walked around and around in the park and gotten sweaty avoiding “the talk,” Edward finally plopped down on a bench and patted the spot beside him to invite me to do likewise.
I asked, “Going to tell me now what you were going to tell me and ask me?”
He said, “Uh, it’s hard to just come right out with it.”
I said, “You’d better, because I don’t play games. Sorry, but my patience is wearing thin.” My sexual frustration was coming out.
He looked startled at my pique and said, “All right, all right,” and then looking away from me and at the thin air continued, “Don’t laugh, but I’ve been practicing shamanism.” He stopped abruptly and waited for my reaction.
Well, alrighty then…I could only say “Go on,” because I wanted him to and because I already had the suspicion he was Native American, at least partly. Didn’t they do shamanism and sweat lodges?
Edward asked, “That’s okay with you?” What’s okay with me? I started to say “I don’t know,” then decide to agree and nod my head.
He said, “I’d like to take you away with me,” and again looking into the distance finished with, “to show you my magic.”
I couldn’t be sure if he was kidding or serious, but he didn’t look facetious. What kind of magic? Is he a latter-day David Copperfield or Criss Angel? What the–?
In disbelief and shock, I asked, “Where to?”
He said, “It’s a surprise. I can’t tell you now or it’d ruin it. Is there a week you can go with me?”
I felt I was answering from far away and in someone else’s voice when I said, “I’m off when you’re off, after the shoot.”
Edward wouldn’t let me scope out the Arrivals/Departures board at the airport. Even after we’d been in the air for hours, he covered my ears when the pilot came on with the landing message, “Welcome to–.”
We drove for what seemed a very long time on an unmarked asphalt road, then even longer on a bumpy gravel road, and longer yet on a jostle-laden dirt road. He then proclaimed we’d arrived.
There was the yurt. It was huge, looked brand new, and it sat in the middle of nowhere. Edward and I would be alone here for a week. Please, God, let him not be a serial killer. Obviously, the expectation was that I’d bed down with him. There were couches and chairs aplenty but just one bed, I noted.
Now it proceeded to be night in our tipi, and I couldn’t postpone the inevitable too much longer. I’d taken care of my bathroom duties and was temporarily hiding out like the pile of chicken shit that I was.
Either this guy was super-duper shy or I was in for some major mortification, or both. Was this going to be one way-too-long or way-too-short week? Regrets only or OMG sex? Oh, come on, Girl. Who knows? “You pays your money and you takes your chances.”
I force myself to go for it. When I go in, he looks supremely uncomfortable, even with his back turned to me. I gently turn him around and say his name. Lustful awareness registers in his face as I look expectantly up into those sea-green eyes.
I say, “Show me your magic now?” in my best come-hither voice. His eyes nearly pop out at my itty bitty pink skirt. I have nothing else on. We embrace tightly and kiss passionately, pushing our throbbing body parts together through our clothing. Enter my shamanic initiation.