first week at work is OVER!!! I'll be alone at the office for the next two weeks so lots of work will be waiting. But it doesn't really matter :-)
Tonight little Lena will be here so I'll be back past midnight.
Have a wonderful weekend!
Love and hugs,
This is for my dearest addie71 I hope you'll enjoy it!
Title: The Vineyard - Chapter 11
Another sleepless night Zeke was confused, angry? No, not angry. They surely must be reasons that they won’t him too know that Casey was alive. But what a life was this? It was mysterious, more than mysterious. Why didn’t he come back? What prevented him from this? This was his home. People missed him - Zeke was sure he must know it. He saw him, he saw Casey the man – not Casey the ghost. He had talked to him, Casey left messages for him, he held him in his arms. Buddie sensed that there was something going on, whimpered silently.
“It’s ok, Buddy. It’s ok…” He cradled his head and the little fellow snuggled up at the carpet beside his bed. “We’ll bring him home, my lad. Sooner or later. We want him back, don’t we?” The answer was a waging tail and the deep growl of his dog.
He decided to follow the invitation to the blue Grape the next day, it would do him good and he had to find out something about Casey before Tom would meet him. Maybe he could ask Joshua and Will. He hoped they would be more talkative when they had enough red wine. Maybe he could learn something about the mysterious Casey Connor and the secrets around him.
When he entered the kitchen Thomas whistled and Sofie clapped her hands, beaming with delight. “Zeke! You look gorgeous!” This made him blush. He could see how proud Sofie was that he’d chosen one of her blue pullovers, the blue scarf and the blue gloves she knitted for him. He put the scarf around his neck, took his jacket and decided to go by foot – just in case. The last hangover was very present still. Taking a nightlight he left bidding them a marvellous night with a twinkle in his eyes which made Sofie blush.
It was cold, bitterly cold – the chill cut his face like a knife, it made his eyes water and his nose run. What did he expect? Warm sunshine in December at night? But soon he was lost in thoughts about his vineyard. What if he wouldn’t make it. He’d put all his savings into his new home. More than once he didn’t know how to manage this all, the grapes, the harvesting, the winemaking. He read a lot the last months but he still didn’t have any idea about the whole process. Of course his friends, Joshua, Will and the winegrowers around promised support but he felt queasy in his guts. Especially HIS special wine didn’t let him sleep more than once. It had to become special. He wanted it to be sweet and thick, seducing in look and aroma.. He would fine tune the bottling machines himself; four people would be on the sorting table at harvest when two would probably do perfectly; he’d conduct multiple blending trials on press fractions during day-long pressing; and he hoped he’d be able to produce the best wine ever. He was a perfectionist and his slogan since ever “I pay attention to every detail” hadn’t changed. To be true – sometimes he just found it ridiculous that he as a bricklayer should become a perfect winegrower. People called him ‘a very particular man’ Thomas had told him. Weird!
He talked with Sofie a few days ago about the new label. There were many questions – because Sofie wanted him to create the new label himself. After all it was HIS Vineyard, HIS wine and HE was the winegrower. ‘What does someone need to know about my wine to make the decision to buy it? Is it meant for a wine connoisseur? The collector? The adventurous wine lover who’s always in search of a great find? Or for the “I’m just looking for a host-gift that won’t embarrass me in front of my wine-snob friends” buyer? In what context will people see your wine or select it?’ she asked him.
He made some suggestion but every time when he thought he’d selected the main message he wanted his label to convey, she asked: “Is this really what people want to know when they’re choosing a wine?” He didn’t understand and he a massive headache was dwelling up. “Zeke… the WINE is your hero, not the label…” It was hopeless then… But now in the stillness of the night he knew what the label should say. The label should increase the perceived value of The Vineyard wines by reflecting the character and quality of the wine inside the bottle. He knew exactly what Joshua would say about this: ‘Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.’ No, he wouldn’t like to change too much.
Joshua told him people are looking for the blue label so he wouldn’t change the color. They really knew the wine with the hot-stamped golden letters CC on it, but he’d change it into C + E as a little change for the icon. He’d leave out all the flourish, he cut out the unnecessary words. He’d talk with his friend Jack O’Nelly about it who was an excellent graphic designer.
Yes, all should be perfect and very special.
Casey was special, too – even he still didn’t know what or who he was. If he only would know what this all means. Tonight he’d ask Joshua, Bill Schneider perhaps, too. They told him Bill was the second administrator the last year Casey was around. Maybe he’d know something. He wanted to know at least the reason for … for what?
Hands in his pockets, chin down to get some warmth from his own breathing he couldn’t think on anything else but Casey. But why was this so? He didn’t know him. He didn’t know much about him. But he felt so close, drawn to him. He wanted to be his friend. Casey needed a friend. He was sure Casey could feel this, too. “God, you’re such a coward and a liar, Zeke!” He grumbled the longer he thought about it. “Be true,” he murmured to himself, “this young man got you – the first time you met him.” He couldn’t talk about his feelings, not to Sofie, not to Thomas though he was sure they sensed exactly what was going on in his mind. He had to be careful or they’d call him crazy. They’d declare him as mad as he felt at this moment.
He thought about his time with Toni. They had been good days with fun and laughter, talks and lovemaking – at least for a couple of months. He was unfair. Wasn’t it him that kept this relationship going? Wasn’t he the liar? Didn’t he betray Toni for years? Inside his head there were other men he thought about, he even kissed once or twice. And now? He only saw blue eyes in his dreams, luscious lips and a slender figure. If he didn’t dream at all let alone the nightmares he had.
All way long it was like a hand was touching his shoulder, or playing with his hand, slipping into the pocket of his jacket… More than once he stopped but no one was there.
He arrived at the Blue Grape after 45 minutes where his friends greeted him with joy and surprise. Yes, it was the right decision to come here – to get distracted, at least for a little while. All too soon wine ran plentiful and generously and he laughed a lot. Joshua watched him silently but Zeke … noticed it anyway. He almost lost his composure so he ordered more wine for his friends. A conversation was running about this year’s awarded wine. “Here’s to us, my boy!” Bill called out. “What do you think about it, Zeke?” He tasted it … because he didn’t know who the winegrower was he had to be careful. To tell the truth he couldn’t develop a taste for it. “Not that bad I’d say…” No, he didn’t like this sort of wine, it was too dry, his tongue felt furred with every draught and reminded him of vinegar of inferior quality. Joshua whispered to him with a twinkle in his eyes “always diplomatic, Zeke…” He was an old sly fox and Zeke couldn’t fool him.
Soon the dancing started and of course he couldn’t escape the ladies’ choice. Good god! It wasn’t that he didn’t like to dance – he was simply out of practice. But Joshua’s wife as well as all the other ladies made him feel like a dancing god – mostly because they took the lead.
The younger ones admired him from distance, words like ‘adorable, beautiful, lovely, nice – even gorgeous’ reached his ears and he felt like a teenie at the prom or like a model on a catwalk. Fortunately Tom, Adam and Bill came to his rescue before the English Waltz started. “Thanks, guys! Not a minute to late!”
Long past midnight – after more red wine, more talking and more laugh attacks – there were only few of his friends left. They all were slightly drunk and very talkative, even a bit gossipy and Zeke wasn’t an exception. He looked at his friends, all had more than enough, Joshua with reddened cheeks, Bill’s hick-up, Tim’s never ending ‘Here’s to us’ made him courageous. Now or never. He directed the conversation to his Vineyard with simple and harmless questions at first. “Joshua, you never told me anything about the Vineyard – could you tell me who built the Vineyard with the estate?” It was like Joshua just waited for this questions, he at once started talking. Few hours and few glasses of red wine later Zeke didn’t know what to think but ‘Superstition, psychiatric disease, fairytale…” He was more confused than ever, scared, too.
This is what he learned…