Salsa and Valentine’s Day in Dublin

from the book i-Land – A double Irish and a Dutch

In the evening Avoka went to a Salsa class at the River Bar. They offered dance classes from beginner to advanced almost every night. It was a great atmosphere and she met a Spanish girl who also was waiting for the Salsa class.

The two were sitting at the bar having a Caesar salad. Elena was having a beer and Avoka a glass of prosecco. Elena was working as a project-manager and was complaining about her colleague who would actually do her work and make her look like she couldn’t perform her own job. She also moaned about the other colleagues who left her out who had only shown a tired wink in the morning to say hello, acting like she was no one who they could interact with.

They had another drink and went to the Salsa class which was great fun. After a short warm-up session, similar to a Zumba class they had split the class into beginner and advanced people. Elena and Avoka went to the beginner class and luck was with them as they got a really great teacher, Stephanie, a girl from Argentina and she was brilliant in teaching the class. At the end of the lesson, she came over to Avoka and said, “You can go to the next class, next time go to the improvers, tell them Stephanie said so.”

Avoka smiled and said thanks. They moved over for the next class, Kizomba, a hot, erotic dance which is danced very close with the partner and you do good if you like the guys you have to dance with. After the second class the two were really happy. They felt great. Going upstairs, the dance teacher from the improver class, came over to Avoka, “You were great, you really did well”!

Avoka replied “Thanks.”

They walked out the door. Avoka turning to the dance teacher, “See you next week.”

They walked over to the bikes and Elena was saying, “Ah, all we need to do is dance more Salsa that lets one forget about all work issues and trouble.”

Avoka agreed, “Okay, let’s dance more Salsa; see you next week.” She walked over to her bike and took a ride home.

She arrived at around eleven. Looking at her mobile phone a good night message from Hunt with a kiss and a heart appeared on her screen. She wrote back how she wished it was him in the Kizomba class then sent a good night kiss, finally lying in bed.

She remembered the day when she went to a trip to Dublin, the time she had lived in Cork while working for the Fruit of the Loom and when she thought for the first time this Dublin would be a nice city to live in and work.

It was the 14th February, Valentine’s day. She had wished Hunt would have come over; she had made so many attempts, by sending nice hotel pictures and a great weekend but he had not gotten into it. So, she had made that weekend trip to Dublin on her own, not aware that this was one of the biggest nights in town and she really hit it.

Not knowing that these were two highlights at once the 14th of February Valentine’s day and in Ireland also a day of the Big Game, the Rugby plays.  It was really difficult to find a room for accommodation on that short term. The prices for rooms were outrageous; the hotel rooms started from 200 € a night. Luckily, she had found a Bed & Breakfast, Berrie’s.

She arrived Friday late evening and was surprised as she found a beautiful room in a well styled Georgian townhouse, beautifully decorated in a mix with clean modern elements and traditional wooden furniture. The room was with lilac flowers, lights and pillows in cream, really charming. So, she had a good night’s sleep and woke up Saturday morning, a sunny day perfect for  Valentine’s day.

Of course, this day would have been better waking up with someone called Hunt on her side and she was thinking, One day I will wake up, roll over, and kiss the love of my life good morning but this wasn’t today.

Instead, the sunlight was shining onto her face like kissing her good morning. She got up and had her breakfast downstairs in the salon, a typical English breakfast with bacon, toast, hot coffee orange juice and she was ready to start her day. She walked towards the Stephen’s Green park which was crowded with couples, some families walking with their children in the middle a little lake with ducks and swans swimming on. A beautiful scene.  She walked over to cafe Nero for another coffee and checking out places to explore in Dublin on the Internet.

Walking towards Grafton Street, one of the main shopping roads, she passed the Shelbury, the first hotel in town where all the prominence would stay when visiting the town. Next to it was a spa and some restaurants in the basements. Avoka was looking around, excited, as she loved the Georgian buildings with those typical black English fences, and stopped in front of the spa, staring at the spa prices which, of course were kind of out of range.

Still shocked about the prices, she turns around, her coffee in the hand, when she stumbles over a foot, bouncing against a bold shoulder. A short moment of blackout and finally finding herself crashing into the arms of a really, handsome guy with her coffee now spread all over the floor.

Feeling the pain on her nose, she didn’t really realize how attractive this guy looked like, nor who he was. The guy who had just caught her was one of the guys who would play the Big Game tonight. Covering her nose that started to bleed, the guy helped her to walk over and asked her to come into the hotel lobby.

The guy got some staff who brought ice to cool down the red nose, helping to stop the bleeding. Avoka was a little dizzy and it didn’t take long till an ambulance arrived. The guy wanted to make sure that nothing was broken. And the doctor assured that the nose was okay, she should just rest for a moment, till the bleeding stopped and yes, it might take a little time till the swollen nose would get back to regular size. She should just keep on cooling it. The guy smiled at Avoka then, suggesting, “Well then, I think it’s best you join me. I have one of the most comfortable suites here. I think there wouldn’t be any better place to rest comfortably for the moment, or do you prefer one of those white, clean, chic hospital rooms?”

Avoka replied, “I’m booked in a nice room in a B&B too, not far away from here. I can take a cab back; that will be fine, too.”

The guy looked at Avoka then the doctor interfered. “I think it’s better if you don’t move the head too much for the next 1 or 2 hours and put the ice on it for keeping the swelling down.”

The handsome guy, still looking at Avoka, said, “Well, you hear the doctor, I think you should listen to him. You really can stay in my suite; I won’t bite.”

Avoka started to smile but was stopped from the pain, finally agreeing, “Okay, then I take your offer, but originally I had this day somehow planned differently. I wanted to walk through Grafton Street and have lunch at the Pygmalion.”

The handsome guy replied, “Well, right now I think that’s really not the best idea.” Then he introduced himself.

“Hi, I am Ian; I’m here for the big game tonight. And you, you are not from Dublin, are you?” While they were walking over to the elevator, Avoka replied, “No, I’m actually from Cork but originally from Germany. I’m Avoka by the way.”

Ian smiled, “Oh, Avoka, that name sounds nice, from Germany and what are you doing in Cork?”

Avoka replied, “Well, I came over to Cork to work here for one of the number one brands for German Customer Support.” Ian replied, “Oh, you work for the Fruit of the Loom?” Avoka said, “Yes, exactly.”

Ian said, “Wow, what exactly are you doing there?”

Avoka said, “I’m in the German team as a technical customer service advisor.”

Ian said, “Oh, you are a tech savvy girl, then you might have some advice, for my phone, too?”

Avoka replied, “Well, maybe, what’s the issue?”

Ian said, “I’ll show you later, and do you like it?”

Avoka, “Well, I don’t really like this team structure and the kind and attitude of people working there. I thought it would be better; most of the training is so semi-professional. I thought it would be some kind of entry card to get a chance to work in marketing communication later on; that’s what I originally have studied. But this seems totally, out of scope. All they do here is the customer service; it’s like a slum. There is no chance to move up anywhere else than team leader or senior advisor. There is one guy who had started here in Cork then moved up to the engineering in the US then lost it all and now starts all over again; they don’t really care about the people’s experiences and skills.”

Ian said, “Yes, actually this company has not the best reputation here in Dublin; they are known for a high fluctuation and bad work policies, the same as Amazon.”

Avoka agreed, “Yes, one of my colleagues also said yesterday, one can’t get old here, can you? And I agreed, I’m already looking for something else.”

She explained that she also had a yoga teacher license and had sent some applications for those holiday resorts to teach the summer classes.

She explained, “It’s the right time, at the right moment; they are looking for teachers.” Ian said, “Oh, that sounds good, then you must be flexible, are you? You should teach our team a yoga session. I can imagine that would be great for the guys but maybe we shouldn’t call it yoga, they might be a little “allergic” to that; they are real guys, you know?”

Avoka said, “Well yes, I’m sure that might be a cool class; we can arrange something.”

Ian opens the door to the suite, “Come in and make yourself comfortable.”

Avoka is impressed as she walks through the first room, which includes a huge sofa, chairs, an open fire place, a huge TV, everything is decorated in a mix of modern and Victorian styles and very tasteful. All she can say is, “Wow!”

Ian smiles at her, “This is not the only room; have a look at the bedroom. Don’t hesitate.” Avoka passes through the double wing door to the bedroom, a wonderful box spring bed, and a huge window front.

The suite also includes a bathroom with whirlpool. Avoka is speechless. Ian says, “You can choose where to rest, but I think you should lie down a little. The bed is freshly made. I think that’s the best place for you at the moment. And don’t worry, you will have it all for you. I won’t fall over you, even if this is hard with a beautiful woman lying in the bedroom next door.”

Avoka, standing there with an open mouth, then swallows, “Ha, ha, don’t exaggerate, but thanks for the compliment. Why you think I wouldn’t like it?” And she adds, “Just kidding.”

Ian thinks she looks to too cute with a little swollen nose, the big red lips, but also a little pale and a little sleep would be the right thing for her now. Ian says, “Aha, maybe you just lie down, and I bring you a bit ice, to cool down.” Ian walks back to the living room, calling the room service.

Five minutes later the ice arrives at the suite and Ian brings it over to Avoka with a towel. “I think sleeping would be the best for you now. I will leave you alone, maybe for two hours? I can check back on you. I will be over with Owen, if you need anything just call the room service, I give you my number and you can call any time.”

Avoka is glad this guy is really nice and it seemed to be a good idea to stay here; she really feels the pain on her nose and the ice feels good on it but she also got a little headache. Ian is looking at her. “Everything okay, Avoka?”

Avoka nods, “Sure, just a little headache, one of those guys just bumped into my nose, you know, one of those rugby players who needed some sparring partner just before the big game.”

Ian laughs, “Oh, really, and did you hit back or do you need to improve your defence? But maybe you should look for another job. I could imagine better things for a Saturday afternoon than lying in bed with a headache and a swollen nose.”

Avoka smiles, “Oh, really, could you? Me, too. I will remind you of this one, tomorrow, after the game.”

Ian smiles at Avoka, “Reminding me about what, better things to lie with?” 

Avoka throws a pillow towards Ian. “Get out!” Ian shuts the door while joking, “Sleep well, sweetie.”

Two hours later Ian opens the bedroom door, Avoka is lying relaxed and fallen into a deep sleep. He looks at her nose, the swelling seems to be reduced a little and he decides to just let her sleep. The crash must have been really, heavy on the nose, more than just a bump on his chest. Looking at her, how she sleeps in his huge bed, he feels like he could get a crush on her. He hopes that she will be fine when she wakes up to join the big game live. Owen has already arranged a seat in the first row and he would love to have her there.

Six o’clock and the guys have to get ready. Avoka meanwhile, awake, gets the okay from the doctor who just gave some pain killers and leaves with the words, “Enjoy the game, but no more crashes on the nose.”

Avoka replies, “Well, I do my best not to crash into anything.”

Owen who is waiting in the living room turns towards Avoka, “Don’t crash into Ian, I heard this can be painful.”

Avoka, “Yes, well, I just had this experience, and I think I can take it.”

Owen says, “Oh well, then let’s go.” Avoka walks out and Owen comments, “Well done, Ian, great catch, you really hit it.”

Ian flashes a smile at Owen, “Yes, I would not have assumed to make a strike like that!”

It’s an amazing night, the arena is sold out, and the game is pure action with a final result of 4 – 14! It’s an amazing atmosphere and Avoka can’t believe she’s here seeing the game live. Right after the games at the Aviva stadium, the bottles open. One of the guys comes over to Avoka, offering her a bottle of Champagne, putting his arm around her.

Avoka says thanks, but is actually not into alcohol for the night, as she had taken the valium, which would not be a good idea with alcohol. The guy insists, “Hey, come on, don’t be a pussy!”

Ian is already walking over. “Paul, stop it, she’s here with me, and if she says no, she means no. Got it?”

Paul says, “Oh, sorry, I did not know, of course, such a cutie.”

He turns to Avoka, “Sorry, Avoka, I apologize.” Then he turns to Ian, “Got it. This shouldn’t be anything.”

Ian smiles, “Okay, man!”

Paul says, “We’re going over to the Pyg; will I see you guys later over there?” Ian turns towards Avoka, who has a bright smile on her face.

“Are you fit for a party?” Avoka agrees, “Sure, we can join the crowd.”

Paul says, “I’m not really sure if it’s a good idea; you should not drink with all these pain killers and they are going to get really wild and drunk; you don’t know how much. This here is nothing compared to how they will be like in about an hour.” Avoka rolls her eyes then looks in the air. Ian comes a step closer towards Avoka, placing a hand around her shoulder. “Okay, let’s join them; we don’t have to stay too long.”

They walk over to the limo. Owen takes a seat in the BMW behind, Paul shouts out of the Limo, “You can have a seat here, Ian; we have three more spaces.” They take a seat in the limo and start the drive towards the Pyg.

Paul opens another bottle of champagne, mixing one glass with orange juice; they put the glasses together and shout “Cheers”. Ian looks towards Avoka, who sits next to him. He holds his left arm around her, turning his head towards her, and gives her a soft kiss on her lips and for the next five minutes, the two are lost in each other.

Paul shouts, “We are there, hey guys, stop now, let’s get off here, the party goes on inside.” Ian looks over to Paul, “Oh, really, we’re already at the Pyg, how comes?”

He looks at Avoka, giving her a sweet smile. “You want to come?”

Both get off the Limo, walking down towards the Pyg entry, which is crowded with people, cheerleaders, people clapping, high-fiving and so on. At the end of the room at the VIP table, Paul is shouting, “Come over, come over here, Ladies.”

A band is playing and nobody really sits down, some start dancing, the champagne is running and the party is going wild.

A cake arrives with girls jumping out and the party goes on.

Ian is coming over to Avoka, “And that’s how you imagined the party?”

Avoka says, “Well, maybe a bit more dressed for some of the girls, but yes.”

Ian laughs, “Aha, more dressed.”  Holding both arms around Avoka, “You’re not a fan of undressed girls, I see?”

Avoka says, “Yes, guys in those outfits were more fun.”

Ian laughs, “I don’t think you would get any of the guys in that outfit.”

Avoka says, “No?”

Ian says, “Are you sure your head is okay, that it’s just the nose that got a hit?” Avoka nods, frowning her face.

“What do you mean, Ian?”

Ian smiles benignly, “Just asking.” Putting his lips on Avoka’s and kissing her breathtakingly, he looks into her eyes, “You look so beautiful and you taste so delicious.”

Avoka laughs, “Are you kidding? I have a red swollen nose on my face, but you must like the taste of champagne, don’t you?”

Ian replies, “Yes, I love it sparkling. How does your nose feel; do you still feel the pain?”

Avoka says, “As long as I’m some kind of dazed and the painkillers still work it’s fine, and of course when you kiss me.”

Ian laughs, “Ah, when I kiss you, that helps?” Avoka, “Yes, your kiss and my world is perfect.” Ian gives another kiss to her and then whispers in her ears,

“I don’t want to be too pushy, and I know we only met today, but if you would like to stay with me, I have a lot of space in my room. We don’t have to play wild.”

Avoka looks at him then looks down, a little shy of course, she would like; the guy is incredible even she normally doesn’t go down the first night when she hardly knows someone. But this feels so good in his arms and she replies, “Well, your place really feels as comfortable as in your arms, to be honest, yes, I would love to sleep in both tonight.”

Ian holding her a little closer and giving her another kiss, whispers in her ear, “Then let’s go?”

Avoka agrees and repeats, “Okay, let’s go.”

Remembering the line one day I roll over in the morning and kiss my love good morning. That could be today. That’s what Avoka is thinking the next morning.

She opens her eyes; big curtains are in front of the window; sunlight shines through at the end of the curtain. She feels like in heaven lying here in Ian’s arms who is still sleeping. She feels so comfortable and the headache is gone. She turns around and rolls over, kissing Ian’s lips.

He opens his eyes and smiles on her face, “Like the sun shines on my face, good morning.”

They both kiss intensely, Ian holding both arms around Avoka, and rolls over. Both start giggling. Ian asks, “And have you had a good night; did you sleep well?”

Avoka replies, “Yes, and I had sweet dreams.” Ian, “Oh, sweet dreams? And what was in your dreams, this here?” They roll over and Ian totally rocks it.

They both disappear under the duvet, rolling between the sheets. Avoka could feel every bit under her skin and it felt incredible; touching his well-trained muscles, he feels so strong. Avoka feels like rocking in another world.

At eleven o’ clock someone is knocking at the door, “Room Service!” Ian pulls his head from under the duvet, asking, “Do you like some coffee, ready for breakfast?”

Avoka surprised answers, “Breakfast? Of course, I’m ready.”

In an underlying tone, Ian smiles at her, “Or do you want more of that?

“Avoka smiles back and Ian adds, “Well, we have the whole afternoon if you like. I need some energy, I had a hard play last night, you know.”

Avoka agrees, “Yes, I’ve seen the big game, match 4-14.”

The butler comes in and they both are having breakfast in bed. Ian is making jokes about Avoka’s nose but it already looks much better than the day before and they both decide to go for a stroll through the city, visiting some of Avoka’s favorite shops around Grafton Street–the reason what she originally came for to Dublin.

Avoka feels like in heaven, this was the last she had expected from her disappointment with Hunt, who did not make the least effort to come over. For whatever reason, she could somehow imagine as Hunt probably into some kind of hardcore valentine, like a dungeon, which would not be her kind of thing ever.  But her valentine had actually turned out into something like this so wonderful.

Now they were walking at the little lake in the Stephen’s Green Park. Avoka had one more hour till she had to take the bus back to Cork. Ian stroked her hair back, “I would love to see you again, how about you?”

Of course, she would love to see him again but she was in a tricky situation. Looking at him with big eyes, she says, “Of course, I would love to see you again. But at the moment, it is somehow difficult, as you know I don’t want to stay with this company in Cork and chances are good that I will be teaching classes during the summer at the Mediterranean Sea, which means I won’t be here. Actually, I like Dublin and I also have applications open here.”

Ian interrupts her with a kiss. “Don’t worry, where there is a will, there is a way; we can take it slow, no rush, and I can take time out for a holiday, meeting you at the Mediterranean Sea, wherever.” The two walk back through the park towards the bus station. At seven Avoka is sitting on the bus on her way back to Cork.

Remembering this was the moment she decided Dublin was a city worth it to live in.

But right now, she was frustrated. Ian wasn’t even in Ireland; he was in a training camp and would hardly be here this summer. So, she had to deal with her new workplace on her own. The general crowd and living wasn’t really luxury and this workplace with these colleagues had turned out as such a nightmare which seemed to be the average workplace situation. All these multinational twenty-something year olds were from all over Europe: Portugal, Spain, Hungary, Poland and Romania. Even from across the Atlantic, Brazil or Canada. Somehow it was an interesting mix but she didn’t really felt comfortable with her present workplace situations.

Read the full story, get the book here

To be continued…..

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