✧Winds of June✧
“I believe congratulations are in order, are they not Admiral Klauswitz? This weekend, its a year since your remarriage with Lady Odette right? Your first wedding was in june, wasn’t it?” Admiral Demel said with a hearty laugh as he came into Bastian’s office unannounced.
Bastian got up from the chair behind his desk and shook the other Admirals hand. “Yes, the first was in June.”
“Ups, I made a mistake, but since it’s same partner, let’s commemorate both anniversaries in June and July. Isn’t it great to have so many special days?” Demel moved to the small sofa to the side of the office and pulled out a couple cigars from inside his jacket.
“I’m fine, thank you.” Bastian politely declined when Demel offered him one.
I have you to thank for the supply of top-quality cigars, even though you don’t smoke them yourself. I’ll be able to enjoy one now thanks to you. Please pass my gratitude on to the princess.” Demel lit his cigars and quickly, the offices filled with thin whisps of smoke that hung in the air and carried away by the June breeze coming through the window.
After some small talk, Demel turned the conversation to the operations staff’s business. They talked about joint training with the Belov Navy until his cigar was finished.
“Honestly, me and the rest of the lads feared you would be leaving the navy for good.” Demel interrupted, and Bastian refocused on him, still organizing the documents. “We all thought you would never want to see the sea again after what happened.” A bitter smile crossed Demel’s lips as he reminisced about those nightmarish times. “I was prepared to celebrate your retirement and get rid of anyone who tried to hold you back. You might not believe me now, but I meant it.”
“No, I understand your feelings, Admiral.” Bastian adjusted his posture, smiling calmly.
There had been many requests and queries about Bastian’s return to the naval ministry, but Demel had refused to address any of them, out of respect for Bastian. He just asked about Bastian’s health and engaged in light conversation.
“I know that you have respected my desire to keep my distance,” Bastian said. “I am deeply appreciative of your discretion.
Demel smiled broadly and blew out a fresh cloud of clean, white smoke, the sunlight filtering through the branches of a tree cast a light on his awkwardly smiling face.
“It was nothing, really. I think I was the one who jumped for joy the most when we all heard of your return though.” Demel laughed.
Demel had become increasingly sentimental of late. He thought that his wife might be right, it was time to retire to a desk job, much like Bastian, but every time he thought about setting down his fire arms and picking up a fishing rod or golf club, he felt an overbearing desire to push out a little more service.
“It’s good to be working with you again and please pass my thanks onto the princess for letting you come back. No, wait, I’ll be seeing her soon enough, I will tell her myself.”
The friendship between their two wives was delving deeper than their own friendship, it was nice to have someone else to socialise with and have dinner dates, but Demel did find it irksome to be constantly compared to famously loving Bastian Klauswitz. The thought of only having three cigarettes a day made his hair stand on end.
“Speaking of which, how is Odette doing these days?” Admiral Demel, striding towards the door, suddenly stopped. ”Nothing’s wrong, I hope.”
“What do you mean?” Bastian, following quietly, also halted.
“My wife saw Odette at Doctor Kramer’s clinic. Other members of the Naval Wives’ Association have also seen her there often. I hope its nothing serious.”
“So, is Odette visiting Dr. Kramer for treatment?” Bastian looked confused as it was the first he was hearing it, Demel picked up on his slight expression change.
“I’m unsure about the situation; no one wants to pry, so they remain silent. I’m sorry, I spoke out of turn. I just assumed you would be aware of the situation.” Demel glanced at Bastian, feeling bad. Bastian’s still, deep gaze showed he didn’t know about it. “It must be nothing, otherwise she would have told you. Lets just forget I said anything. Anyway, I must be off, parade in fifteen. You count yourself lucky your an office officer my good man.”
With that, they offered each other a formal salute and Demel left the office. Bastian sat back down and swivelled the chair until he was looking out the window. Bastian whirled around and snatched up the phone. He got part way through dialling for Odette when he slowly put the receiver back down again.
He knew that Demel’s wife was not one to fabricate rumours and surely Odette wouldn’t keep her health issues hidden from him.
Odette secretly went to the hospital. Whatever it was she must have good reason to keep it from him. He chose to focus on his work for the day instead of speculating about it.
Standing by the window overlooking the water garden, Bastian smoked his first cigarette of the day and went to attend the meeting chaired by the deputy chief of staff. After that, there was a meeting with the company board of directors, but he had some time before the appointment.
Bastian made up his mind about what he was going to do.
The cream-colored car left the Naval building and drove away from the city’s financial district.
The early morning rays of sunlight passed through the bedroom, forcing Odette to rouse from the bed. With languid effort, she pulled aside the lace drapes around the bed and let off a big yawn.
“Seems like it might be a nice day,” she said, as she stretched out like a cat.
Bastian rolled over to face her and propped himself up on a pile of pillows. He watched her as she sleepily sauntered over to the vanity. He could see the sweeping curves of her body silhouetted within her nightie. Though still slender, she had become notably more robust of late, a sure sign that the fitness was working.
Odette stared at her reflection in the mirror of the vanity and after adjusting her hair a little, moved to the balcony to enjoy the fresh morning air. The gentle breeze that blew in threw the open doors carried the sweet scent of sunlight and the sea.
After admiring his wife’s transformation, Bastian got out of bed and tied his loosely robe, and almost as if waiting for that specific moment, a scratching sound came from the bedroom door, followed by some low groans. With a sigh, Bastian opened the door and let the dogs in.
After a brief sniff at Bastian’s heels and open palm, they bounded around the room and rushed to the balcony. Odette greeted the Margrethe with a bright smile as they joined her in enjoying the breeze.
Bastian chuckled as he followed the dogs out onto the balcony. Odette lovingly hugged and kissed each of them, fixing their rumpled fur along the way.
Bastian watched from the sun-warmed railing as Odette gave attention to the dogs and then they turned back to him, begging for affection.
Bastian crouched down with a smile to pet the furry heads of his beloved dogs. The content pups frolicked on the smooth marble floor, savoring the lazy morning hours. After playfully scolded Adelaide for her mischievous behavior, Odette stood by his side to admire the beauty of the summer morning and the growing warmth of the sun over the sea.
“Would you like to join me for some horseback riding later?” Odette asked, brushing Bastian’s wind-tousled hair. “Its a special day and I want to spend it with you.”
Bastian knew Odette was making sure he was unable to refuse. “As you wish, my princess,” Bastian easily agreed.
Ever since receiving her acceptance into the Royal Academy of Arts last spring, Odette had made a commitment to consistently exercise. She understood that as a musician, she needed strong stamina to keep up with the young male students during practice sessions. It was a logical approach to pursuing her dream career.
He had approached the choreographer at the Ratz Opera House about doing some fitness training for Odette. Despite her reputation as a formidable and strict former famousdancer, this middle-aged woman seemed to have a great rapport with Odette.
All thanks to Odette’s new training regimen, she found a new fondness for exertive, outdoor activities. Normally, she would go horseback riding first thing in the morning, while Bastain went for a run, then later, tennis. She had improved so quickly that she could now play doubles with Bastian and be quite the formidable partner. Just last weekend they played against the crown prince and princess. Though not as skilled as the Crown Princess, Odette still had put up a good fight, hinted at a potential revenge match next season.
Bastian thought of the past two seasons with Odette, when she was bright and energetic. Fortunately, Odette returned to the bedroom, unaware of his sigh. He had met with Dr. Kramer that evening, after unexpectedly hearing Admiral Demel’s story earlier in the day.
Lost in thought, Bastian watched his wife prepare breakfast. Odette rang for a maid to prepare two teas. They would have a simple breakfast in the bedroom and discussed their attire for the day.
Odette seemed no different than any other time, not once letting slip that she had been seeing the doctor. She was being a kind and generous hostess, a loving wife and a stand up princess.
Bastian was able to learn that Odette had started visiting the hospital since the beginning of last spring, seeking advice on the possibility of having another child. Dr. Kramer couldn’t share any more, as he had already drawn a clear line. Odette had her own gynecologist, and he was unwilling to share any details either, declaring doctor/patient confidentiality.
“Bastian!” Odette shouted, bringing Bastian back to reality. The maid had already set the breakfast table by the window.
‘I will just have to pretend I don’t know anything’
Bastian had made a promise to the doctor before they parted ways. He still intended to keep that promise.
Sitting at the table by the window, Bastian put on a mask of ignorance. He knew he needed to be a happy husband in this moment.
And for now, that was enough.