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Anne & Big Bertha

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Chapter 23

‘Thanks, Ann. I never imagined I would be good enough for you when I saw you in the pub that night.’ Anne said bowing her head to look at anything but Ann. ‘Anne Lister, we are married. Come on, are we going to the top or not?’

‘Yes.’ Anne said as she grinned broadly and locked Bertha’s steering. She held her hand out to take Ann’s helmet. ‘I can carry that, Anne.’ Anne looked confused. She thought Ann would want her to take it since she would want to place her arms around Anne.. Then Anne thought it would be a good idea to lock their helmets on Bertha. She suggested that to Ann. ‘Then we can hold hands or hug depending where we are.’

‘Okay!!’ Ann said with a broad grin on her face. ‘They would probably annoy other people if we insisted on carrying them to the top.’

That’s true.’ Anne said as she unlocked and then locked the helmet holders after stowing their helmets there. That made Ann wonder why she had never used them before since she had always stowed Ann’s helmet in Bertha’s saddlebags.

They walked to the ticket box and looked at the price board. ‘Which tour do you want to take, Ann?’

‘I don’t know.’ Ann said eying the box office assistant. ‘Which do you suggest we take? This is my first time here. It’s her second or third I don’t know.‘ Ann was grateful the assistant understood Ann’s English because her French was nonexistent. She would have to get Anne to teach her some conversational French if that was possible. ‘The first one is the most popular. Only two tickets, right.’

‘Yes.’ They said together. It was Ann’s turn to pay. At least she thought it was. She handed over her Euros and was given change. They waited for the tour guide to appear. As they waited Ann snuggled into Anne. Anne could feel the nervous tension racing through Ann’s body. She was shaking. She had never been to the top of The Eiffel Tower before. ‘Adney, you are shaking. Are you okay? We can get a refund if you don’t want to go to the top.’ Ann turned to look at her wife. ‘I want to do this, Dearest.’

Their tour guide appeared. They made their way to the first of two lifts. They would need to change lifts on the second floor and from there to the top. Then Anne decided they would take the 704 steps to the second floor. So, she dismissed their tour guide. She really wanted to show Adney the sights of Paris from the top of the tower herself. .

As they trudge up the stairs Ann wished they had taken the lift. ‘How many stairs are there Dearest?’ Ann said as she huffed loudly and stopped for the fourth time to catch her breath. ‘For a young lady you aren’t very fit.’ Ann stopped again and refused to go further. Anne looked at her and wondered what she needed to do to get Ann moving again. They looked at each other for a few moments Anne was three steps ahead of Ann. She descended the three steps and stood next to her wife. ‘How about we just go back down to the bottom and go up in the lift?’ Ann frowned. She had seen one of the lifts going up. It was full of people and she certainly didn’t want to be in a crowded lift.

She shook her head. Anne looked at her again. ‘What do you want to do, Adney?’ Anne was beginning to get flustered with her wife. ‘I want to go to the top but you are going so fast I am finding it impossible to keep up with you, Dearest.’ Anne wrapped her arms around her wife and for the first time since they started their climb to the top she realised why Ann kept stopping. Anne slowed her pace and walked up with Ann. When they reached the second floor they took the lift to the top. It was crowded but Anne stayed close to Ann and wrapped her arms around her to protect her.

When they reached the top Anne pulled Ann into her and whispered in her ear. ‘Wait for a moment. We will see the view soon enough.’  They stepped out of the lift last. People were mingling everywhere. Anne pulled Ann over to a spot away from the crowds. Ann pulled out her phone and filmed the view. Then she grabbed Anne’s hand and they walked around to the other side. She did the same all the way around the top. Then they were back where they started. ‘Is this as good as you thought it would be, Adney?’ Anne said eying her wife who was smiling so much Anne thought her face would split in two. ‘More, Dearest than I ever expected Paris is a beautiful city. Can we see the Louvre from here?’ Anne pointed in the general direction. Ann could just make it out. ‘How far is it to the Louvre from here, Anne?’ Anne did asked Google that question. ‘It’s three kilometres, Adney.’

‘Let’s go back down. I think I have seen enough for now.’ Anne looked puzzled. ‘I thought you would like to go back down to the first floor and do some shopping.’ Ann smiled. ‘That would be great. Now?’

‘Of course now. When did you think I meant?’

‘Sorry!’ Ann said shyly. ‘Oh that’s okay. I was trying to be smart but it backfired. Let’s go down in the lift to the second floor then walk the rest of the way.’ Anne said. ;The steps won’t be so exhausting going down. ‘ Ann nodded and they climbed back into the lift. There weren’t as many people going down as there seemed to be coming up. Ann wondered how long most people stayed at the top of the tower for.

As they stepped out of the lift she asked Anne. She thought her wife would know. They had spent an hour and a half just admiring the scenery. That was enough. She had taken lots of photos to show Aunt Anne when they returned home. She checked her phone. She still had lots of room but they had still so much more to see and do.

‘Anne do you think I should buy a photo stick for my phone?’

“It might be a good idea. They might have one in the souvenir shop. The walk back down to the first floor was quick and easy. Ann raced into the shop and asked the assistant if they had any photo sticks for iphones. She showed Ann three. There were a bit pricy but it was a souvenir shop. She bought one and tried it on her phone. ‘The instructions were in French. She had Anne read them. Only Anne who seemed to be fluent in French got stuck on some words. They asked the assistant for help. She turned the paper over. Ann blushed. She never thought to look on the other side.

The shop was filled with everything French and some things not so. Anne found something she thought they could give Marian. It was a joke can of nuts when you open the can a long snake like thing springs out at you. Ann frowned. ‘You could be nice and get her something nice, Anne Lister.’ Anne frowned. ’I could be why should I. She would get this.’ Anne held up the joke can of nuts.’ if she was getting a gift for me.’ Ann shook her head. ‘Your sister isn’t that mean. Is she?’ Anne laughed. ‘Oh she can be especially when she is mad with me.’

Ann found something to give Aunt Anne. She had never seen anything like it before and she instantly knew Aunt Anne would like it. ‘I think this will do for Aunt Anne.’ Ann said. It was a lava lamp. ‘It will remind her of her youth. Weren’t they popular when she was a teenager?’

‘Yes only if you buy that we will need to wrap it up in our clothes in case of any bumps in the road, Adney.’ Anne said. ‘We could buy it on our way back home.’

‘No, I think I will get her something else. There is a souvenir shop in the Louvre?’ Ann asked. ‘Yes, I think there is, Adney.’ They walked around the shop for half an hour. Ann had downloaded all her photos and videos onto the photo stick she had bought. ‘Now, my phone has enough space to take more photos.’

‘How much space do you have on the stick?’ Ann checked. ‘I bought a 1TB stick so I should have lots of space.’

‘Goodness Adney that should store lots of photos and videos.’ Anne said surprised. ‘I don’t think you will run out of space, Adney.’

‘I hope not!’

‘What do you want to do now?’ Anne asked. ‘Are you hungry?’

‘The name’s Marvin Starving Marvin.’ Ann said cheekily. ‘So where do you want to eat.’ Anne asked as she pointed to a MacDonald’s across the street. ‘No thanks!’ Ann remembered a quaint cafe she saw as they were on the way to the Eiffel Tower. Anne slow navigated Bertha back through the streets which they took to the Eiffel Tower until Ann spied it. ‘There it is.’ She said as she tapped Anne on the shoulder.  It was called Cafe Gustave. Anne found a place to park Bertha. They strolled in. ‘I will be your server today. What would you like to drink?’

‘A craft beer for me and...’ Anne said. ‘A coke zero for me.’

‘Okay!! I will be right back. Here is the menu for you to browse while you wait for your drinks.’

‘What would you like to eat, Adney?’

‘Whatever you’re having I can’t decide today.’ Anne checked out the menu. She knew Ann wouldn’t have steak. So, that was a no-no. The honey pork ribs seemed like a good choice.

Their server returned with the drinks. ‘Are you ready to order?’

‘Yes, two servings of Honey pork ribs and for dessert we will have one serving of chocolate mousse and one serving of Pavlova. When you see my glass is empty bring me another craft beer. This is good.’

‘Not too many, Dearest you need to have full control of Bertha. Okay!!.’

‘Just a coke zero when this is done then thanks.’ Anne said. Then she looked at Ann. ‘You’re keeping me honest you know. If I had been on my own I would have consumed three or four more.’

‘Well, isn’t it good that I am here to stop you from riding Bertha inebriated.’ Ann said seriously. ‘Have you ever been booked for drinking while riding?’

‘Ah, I don’t know if I want to tell you that story. You might have second thoughts about staying married to me.’

‘Do tell! Anne Lister we are married so that means I want to be with you. Okay!!’

‘I do realise that, Ann Walker. Only this isn’t your average drunken stupor. I was so drunk I couldn’t even remember my name. I don’t know how I got home. Aunt Anne was so disappointed in me she nearly made me sleep in the barn only it was a cold night and she felt sorry for me after she sent me out there. Oh, I suffered. I had a hangover than would kill an elephant. No, I have never been that drunk since but aunt has a way of bringing it up in conversation if she even smells alcohol on my breath.’

‘Ouch!’

‘Yes. It was hard to get Aunt back on side again. I had to prove I could be responsible again. It was six months to the day when she spoke to me again. In that time I felt so isolated from her. My aunt is the mother I never really had.’ Anne said tears glistening in her eyes. Ann wrapped her arms around her tough bikie wife. ‘You’re just a big softie underneath all that bravado. Aren’t you?’ Anne nodded. ‘Let’s go back to the B&B. Okay!’

‘Okay!!’ When they returned to the B&B Ann flopped herself onto their bed. It had been a long day. The hike up the stairs had worn her out. She listened as Anne opened the fridge to find something to drink. There was only left over wine from the first night. ‘We need to get something for tea tonight, Ann.’ Anne said when Ann appeared after taking a nap. ‘How long was I asleep?’ Ann asked her voice rough from sleep. ‘About an hour.’

‘I was so tired after our trip to the Eiffel Tower. I just needed to sleep for a while. I hope you’re not mad at me for passing out on you like I did.’

‘Mad! I don’t think so. I could see you were tired, Adney. I am glad you slept. Are you feeling rested now?’

‘Yes!’ Ann said as she closed the distance between her and Anne. She wrapped her arms around her wife and kissed her softly on the cheek. ‘What did you have in mind for tea?’

‘I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind if we ordered in tonight.’ Anne said tentatively. ‘Good idea, Anne. Now, we just need to find a restaurant that does uber eats orders.’ Anne did a search to find a restaurant close to their location that delivered.  ‘I found Big Break, They deliver. I will check their menu and call them. Okay!’ Anne said. ‘What; is it called?’

‘Big Break, it’s a pizza place.’ Anne said. ‘I found their number. They’re only two minutes away from us. So, they will deliver without any problems. Okay! What do you want?’

‘Whatever you’re having I don’t mind.’ Ann ordered a large seafood pizza. When it was delivered twenty minutes later they devoured it wilt gusto. They found a show to watch on tv. A French show they could watch with English subtitles.

When the show finished Anne cradled Ann in her arms. She had fallen asleep. She carried Ann to their bedroom and undressed her. Ann was under the covers before she woke up. ‘How did you do that?’ Ann said sleepily. ‘How did I do what?’ Anne said innocently. ‘Put me in my pjs without waking me.’ Anne smiled. ‘It was easy.’ Anne changed into her pjs and climbed into bed next to Anne. They kissed softly then slept.