I awoke to the feeling of my wrists being tied together in front of me. When I opened my eyes, I couldn’t see anything. I then realized I was blindfolded and started panicking, until a very familiar and comforting scent made its way to my nose.
Chris. It was just Chris playing tricks on me. It made sense, as he was the only person with a key to my apartment besides me. He was there more often than at his own place anyway. My couch seemed to be his favorite place to sleep, snuggling up to Yngwie, and, when drunk enough, to me. I had not seen him in a few days though, and that in itself was fairly unusual, but I thought he just had other things to take care of. We were going to be home for one more month before the tour started again, and I was happy to realize that he still wanted to spend time with me. I smiled and relaxed as I let myself get into his little game. Despite working on restraining me, his touch felt gentle, almost loving. Or so I wished...
"Please spare my life, I’ll do anything you want me to," I pleaded, pretending to be afraid.
"Don’t worry, I’m not going to hurt you," Chris replied as he helped me on my feet. His tone was warm and I could almost hear him smile.
"Where are you taking me?" I asked as I struggled to cooperate while he tried to put some clothes on me. "I can’t see anything, I can’t help you," I explained apologetically.
"It’s okay, sit down here and I’ll help you put your pants on. And you’ll know where we’re going when we get there. It’s a surprise," he said as he pushed me so that the back of my legs touched the bed.
"Hey, can I just go to the bathroom first?"
"Sure, I’ll help you."
"Chris, just untie my hands and remove the blindfold, I promise I’ll put them back on when I’m done, okay?"
"I don’t think so. I’ll help you, take my hand," he said and I had no other choice than to obey. He led me to the bathroom and I knew I could manage on my own.
"Can you wait outside and shut the door?" I asked. I certainly did not want to use the toilet while Chris was in the same room.
"Sure, I’ll leave you to it." Chris said and I heard him close the door.
I slowly walked up to the toilet. Since I sleep naked, I luckily didn’t have any underwear to pull down in order to use it. I did what I had to do, managed to grab some toilet paper and to wipe myself clean even with my hands tied, and flushed the toilet. I was amazed at how well I could navigate around my bathroom without seeing anything, but I was abruptly brought back to reality when my toe hit the corner of the cabinet.
"Shit," I shouted. It hurt like a motherfucker.
"Thobbe, are you alright?" Chris asked as he opened the door and rushed into the room.
"Yes, it’s just this stupid cabinet that was in the way of my toe."
"Ouch, that must have hurt," he said sympathetically.
"Yes it has, indeed. Can you turn on the faucet? I need to wash my hands."
"Sure." He said and I heard the water run. The sound helped me figure out where to put my hands and I was able to wash them without too much hassle. After a few seconds, I felt the flow stop and Chris started to pull me back so that we could go to my room. However, there was one more thing I needed to do.
"May I brush my teeth?"
"No, but I can brush them for you," Chris said.
What the fuck? My mouth felt dry and I could taste the morning breath, I really needed it. I figured out I’d rather have him brush them than keep the morning breath all day.
"Alright," I said and opened my mouth. I heard him fetch my toothbrush from the cupboard and soon, I heard the faucet being turned on again. Right after that, he started brushing my teeth carefully. It was a weird experience, but all I could think of was the way he was so gentle with me. Even handcuffed and blindfolded, I felt safe with him.
When we were done, we went back to my room and Chris helped me put underwear, pants, and socks on, and only then did we realize I still had no shirt on.
"Where is your bathrobe?" He asked.
"I can’t put a shirt on you with your hands tied together, but I don’t want you to get cold."
He wanted me to get out of the house wearing my bathrobe. Oh well, it’s not like I hadn’t done it before.
"In the closet. Or in the bathroom. Or maybe it’s in the laundry room. I don’t know. It may even be on the floor somewhere."
"You are so messy it’s adorable. We’ll have to work on that," he said and I heard his footsteps get further away from me.
Chris had called me adorable. And he wanted "us" to work on whatever "that" was.
It must have been my ears fooling me, hearing what they would have liked to hear instead of what was really said.
I laughed nervously and when Chris came back, I felt the soft and warm fabric of my bathrobe against my skin. Chris loosely tied the garment so that I wouldn’t get cold and took me near the front door.
"Sit here," he said, pushing me back so that I could feel the bench behind me. I sat down and I felt him take my right foot and put a shoe on it, and when it was tight enough to his liking, he did the same with to my left foot. This had to be the least scary kidnapping in history.
Chris asked me to stand and I complied, and soon we started walking towards what I believed to be his car. He opened the door for me and held my head low so that I wouldn’t bump it on the car’s roof, and made sure I was settled and correctly buckled in before closing the door. A few seconds later, I heard the other door open and his familiar scent confirmed he had taken place besides me. That one scent was the one that was driving me crazy and that had pushed me to steal his hoodies and wear them to sleep sometimes. He’s a pretty heavy sleeper, so I always managed to hide them somewhere on the tour bus before he woke up and he would think he was so tired that he forgot where he put them.
"Are we going to drive for a long time?" I asked.
"Yes, we’re going somewhere pretty far. I have already packed our bags, I’ve brought everything we need."
A guitar. I need a guitar.
"Have you packed-"
He interrupted me before I could finish my sentence.
"I have your camo strat, our acoustics, and my black Horizon. Your old bass, too. I brought headphones, both of our interfaces and both laptops. I also packed my baby keyboard and a few microphones. Extra strings, picks, pedals, I think I even have a few pairs of drumsticks in there. Don’t worry, we have enough stuff to record an album if we wanted to." He said.
That man was perfect. Wherever it was that he was taking me, it was already a perfect day.
Why did I have to be blindfolded and restrained though? I guess it added to the suspense element, but it was pretty unusual. Or maybe he was afraid I’d want to leave? If only he had known...
"Do you mind if I sleep for a bit?" I asked. I didn’t want to make him feel lonely or worse, have him fall asleep at the wheel out of boredom.
"Sure, make yourself comfortable," he said, and I could swear I felt his hand on my thigh. It must have been my mind playing tricks on me again. Sleep would help.
I leaned my head against the window, closed my eyes and let the relaxing motion of the car lull me to sleep.
"My dear Thorbjörn, we have reached our destination, it’s time to wake up," Chris’ soft voice brought me back to reality. He unbuckled my seatbelt, reached under the bathrobe, untied my hands, and then removed the blindfold. I opened my eyes and saw that it was already dark outside. I seized the opportunity to slip my hands through the sleeves of my gown and tie it tighter. Chris offered me his arm and I held on to him as I got out of the car. I smiled as I looked at my best friend’s beautiful face. He had tied his hair up into a messy, loose bun. God, if only the man knew just how sexy he was. I looked around and was stunned by the view that met my eyes.
Before us stood a well-lit, beautiful cottage, surrounded by a dense forest. I glanced to the right and noticed that there was a lake right behind the house. This looked like the perfect home, one you would only ever see in movies. But why had he brought me there? It seemed like the ideal place for a romantic getaway- not that I wouldn’t have wanted one with Chris, that, I really did, but I certainly did not think that he would want to have one with me.
"What are we doing here?" I asked, puzzled.
"You’ll figure it out soon enough. Come with me, I’ll show you what’s inside." He said, and his voice sounded nervous. He was only ever nervous when he felt that a certain situation could either turn perfectly or go terribly wrong, with no in-between possibility. Something was up.
Chris took my hand and opened the door to reveal a big room that included the living room, dining room and kitchen. It looked carefully prepared, with the table set for two and I could swear it looked like it was prepared for a romantic dinner, with rose petals resting on the tablecloth and a candle providing just enough light to gaze into each other’s eyes. I had to reason myself yet again to avoid being disappointed. I knew Chris was not there to confess his everlasting love to me. This wasn’t a chick flick.
In the living room, the fireplace was lit and there were blankets and cushions laid out in front of it. There were pots on the stove and the whole place smelled like a good meal was being prepared.
"Did you leave those on the stove all this time? Weren’t you afraid to burn the place down?" I asked Chris, concerned.
"I didn’t. Thobbe, we’re in Norway. This is Jocke’s in-laws’ cottage. Jocke and Lene prepared all of this for us," he explained.
Norway? How had he managed to cross the border with a sleeping, blindfolded and restrained passenger? And why the hell had Joakim and Lene created such a cozy, romantic setting for us? It must have been a huge joke.
"Jocke showed me this hidden road through the woods, it’s a very easy way to cross the border without going through any kind of customs."
"Isn’t that illegal?"
"Since when are you worried about doing something illegal?"
Truth is, he was right. As always.
"You win," I admitted.
Looking around some more, I spotted all of our luggage near the staircase. Chris had taken the time to take it all out of the car before waking me. I smiled as I realized how lucky I was to have such a close friend.
"Are you hungry?" He asked, and only then did I realize I had not had anything to eat all day.
"That’s what I thought. Dinner is almost ready, just sit at the table, make yourself at home, I’ll take care of everything."
"Let me put a real shirt on first, okay?" I said as I walked over to the pile of luggage.
"As you wish!"
I rummaged through the pile of luggage to locate my suitcase, and when I did, I took the first t-shirt that I could find in it. It was black, with a V-neck. I thought it made me look pretty good. I also grabbed my hairbrush and explored the hallway to find the bathroom. The first door I opened was what I was looking for, so I turned on the light, put on the shirt and then brushed my hair so that I would look okay. I had no idea what Chris had in store for me, but I didn’t want to take any chances. I had to look and feel my best. If I was at my best, then maybe he would confess his love to me.
Who was I kidding, he wasn’t in love with me. I needed to stop having these ridiculous thoughts.
Get a grip, Englund!
When I was satisfied with my looks, I got out of the bathroom and went back to the kitchen. Chris was nearly done preparing dinner and it smelled wonderful.
"What’s for dinner?" I asked, creeping up behind him like I always did. I was feeling extra confident, so instead of trying to make him jump as usual, I wrapped my arms around his waist and rested my head on his shoulder, his back against my chest. He responded by closing his arms around mine and resting his head on top of mine.
It felt like heaven.
"Meatballs with lingonberry sauce and mashed potatoes," he replied and kissed my forehead.
That must have been my crazy mind again. Or I was dreaming. Yes, this was all a dream. It was the only way any of this made any sense. I would wake up alone in my own bed the next day.
"How did you know I was craving it so much?"
"It was easy; you went on and on about it for the last week of the tour, and knowing how you cook, I knew you wouldn’t bother making it yourself."
Damn right. The guy knew me better than I knew myself.
"You’re too good to me," I stated and he shook his head in disapproval.
"I am not, you deserve all of this. Now go sit at the table and take care of the wine, I’ll bring our plates."
Wine. Why not beer? We always drank beer; wine seemed unusually official.
I sat down and looked at the bottle he had picked. It was a merlot. I grabbed the corkscrew, opened the bottle and poured myself a glass. I took a sip to make sure it was good- and it was, so I poured some wine into Chris’ glass too. I watched as he set our plates on the table with shaky hands. He was clearly nervous.
Chris sat down in front of me and raised his glass.
"To us," he said, his big brown eyes looking through my soul.
What did it mean?
"To us," I replied and smiled at him.
We took a sip simultaneously, and when I set my glass back down, he placed his hand on top of mine.
I melted inside.
"Thorbjörn, I guess you must still be wondering why I brought you here," he mumbled.
"Alright, I just can’t hold it in anymore, so here it goes; Ever since we’ve joined Sabaton, I have felt a really strong attraction towards you. At first, I thought it was just true friendship, until I realized that I wanted to be with you all the time. I don’t really sleep on your couch because you live closer to the studio than I do, I sleep there because it allows me to spend as much time with you as possible. Thobbe, I am madly in love with you, and tonight, I am offering myself to you. If you don’t love me back, I hope you’ll still want to be my best friend, but If you do feel the same, I’ll be eternally happy to be whatever you want me to. I want to be your lover, your boyfriend, or even your husband if that’s what you would like. I just can’t live without knowing anymore."
Was this really happening?
I got up, walked up to him, pulled his chair back a bit and sat astride him.
"Husband huh? Did you just propose to me?" I asked, grabbed his pretty face and kissed his perfect lips. He tasted like heaven. Of course I wanted to marry him.
"Yes, but wait!" he said as he grabbed my hips and lifted me up so that I was standing again. He got up and walked me over to my seat "Sit down, my love," he continued.
I obliged, a huge smile plastered across my face as I heard him call me his love. He reached into his pocket and produced a small velvet box from it.
It was really happening.
He got down on one knee and revealed a beautiful ring as he spoke the words I had longed to hear for what felt like forever.
"Lars Thorbjörn Englund, will you make me the happiest man alive and marry me?"
"Yes! Yes, Christoffer, I will marry you! God I love you," I said and kissed him again.
When we both recovered from the initial shock of reciprocated feelings, we sat down again to eat. The meal was perfect, but we did not have time to finish our plates before desire took over us and led us to the bedroom.
That night, he cried out my name for the first time as I made him mine. When I woke up the next morning, he was lying in bed next to me, as he should have been from the very first day. We belonged at each other’s side, now and forever.