The phone had been ringing all morning, but so far the callers hadn’t been Angela or related to her. Judith was getting a little restless. Had Angela just pretended to be interested in seeing her again? But then why had she kissed her? Or had she just been too polite to resist Judith’s advances?
Judith let out a frustrated sigh. She’d already talked to her parents about the possibility of three people coming for a tour, but as it was summer, there really wasn’t a guarantee that someone would be free to show Angela and her parents around. And her mom had asked her to tell her as soon as she knew, but until 11 at the latest. Now it was almost half past ten. If Angela…
The phone interrupted Judith’s thoughts.
“Lammert Weinbau. Sie sprechen mit Judith. Wie kann ich Ihnen helfen?”
“Judith, it’s me.”
About a million butterflies started flapping their wings inside Judith’s stomach at the sound of that voice. The sudden giddy feeling errupted as a laugh.
“Hey, you called,” she stated lamely and rolled her eyes at herself.
“Did you think I wouldn’t?”
“I wasn’t sure. I guess I kinda got nervous or stupid. I don’t know.”
There was a pause and Judith bit her lip. Had she said something completely off or insulting?
“Yeah, me too. I mean, nervous, not exactly sure about the stupid. I just… I wasn’t sure if you’d really wanted us to visit, which would be cool. I mean, I already asked my parents and they were delighted, but if you just wanted to be nice, don’t worry about it.”
“Does that mean, you don’t want to come?” Judith didn’t understand all of what Angela had said. It had come out in a breathless ramble and Judith’s English hadn’t been able to keep up with it.
“No, I do. So do my parents, if you’ll have us.”
Judith let out a sigh of relieve. “Good, ’cause I already told my parents, so…”
“Yeah, so, when should we be at your place? My mom would also like to know what it’ll cost, you know… sorry.”
“Not at all. We have our usual tours during the day, but I talked my mom into doing this just for you and your folks. I’ll come with, of course, and it won’t cost anything. They do this all the time for their friends and relatives, too, so I asked and my mom said it was okay. So, free of charge.” She’d looked that last term up. She didn’t want there to be a misunderstanding.
“Wow, I feel so special,” Angela said and Judith could hear the smile in her voice. Which made her smile in turn.
“Well, you are,” she said, before she could stop herself and felt her cheeks heat. “I mean… you are.”
Angela’s chuckle told her she was being an idiot.
“You’re sweet. And I think you’re pretty special too. I’m telling my mom. She’ll be thrilled. When should we be there?”
“Well, it’s a little late to go up there before noon now. You could come around four and it should be okay, but it’s actually nicer in the evening. Around seven. The winetasting will start at that time, but it’s usually going until one or two, so there’s plenty of time to, you know, taste it all.”
“That sounds great, the evening thing. I’m not much of a wine afficionado, so maybe we could hang? Unless you’ve made plans with your friends, I mean–“
“No, no plans with friends. I told you, I’d rather spend time with you as long as you’re here.”
Another pause and Judith bit her lip again. Was she being too forward? She wasn’t sure if her English was actually good enough to say what she meant.
“Great, then we’ll come by around 7. Looking forward to it.”
“Me too. I’ll tell my parents. Will you find it okay?”
“I have your card. We’ll probably be taking a taxi, so.”
Judith nodded, before realizing that Angela couldn’t see it. “Yeah. Well, until later then.”
“Yeah. Hey, Judith?”
“Yeah?” She couldn’t believe how breathless she was.
“Thanks. I’m really glad I met you, and not just because of the free wine I’m getting out of it.”
Another wave of giddy made Judith laugh. “I’m glad too.”
“‘Kay, see you soon.”
“Yeah.” Judith listened for the click to tell her Angela had hung up, but it took a long moment until she did. She grinned like an idiot, she knew, but it made her inexplicably happy that Angela had obviously waited for her to hang up as well.
* * *
The day got even busier and Judith was glad for it because even between phone calls and people checking in and out, she couldn’t help thinking about Angela, wondering what to wear that night, obsessing that everything was going to go smoothly. Her mother, smiling and indulgent in the morning, was slowly losing her temper with her by afternoon as she kept reminding her about the tour. Her dad seemed puzzled by the commotion, but he had his own tour to guide in the evening.
He didn’t even know why they had to leave earlier than usual, but since everybody had arrived by a quarter to seven he led them out the back door and up the hill – just moments before Angela and her family came in the front door.
Judith looked down at her t-shirt and shorts, which she had worn all day – rumbled, sweaty. She sighed. She had so hoped she could change before they got here.
“Hey,” Angela said, leaving her parents standing by the door as she came closer.
“Hey, there you are.”
“We’re a little early, sorry.”
Judith smiled. “That’s okay. My mom will be here in a minute.” She then turned to Angela’s parents. “Welcome to our vineyard. I’m Judith.”
Angela’s parents came closer. They were smiling. Angela’s mom shook Judith’s hand warmly. “It’s good to meet you. I’m Sarah, and this is my husband Ben. Thank you so much for the invitation.”
“Well, Angela said you’d be interested and it’s really no big deal.” There was a semi-awkward pause as they were now looking at each other, maybe assessing each other. Judith felt like she was put under a microscope, but thankfully her mother just came down the stairs at that moment.
“Hello and welcome,” she said. Judith made the introductions and this time it was Angela who had to endure a moment’s scrutiny.
They set out, following the bigger group of Germans Judith’s dad led. Her mom explained the winemaking process to Sarah and Ben while she and Angela lagged a little behind.
“You and your mom shouldn’t have gone to all that trouble. We could’ve gone with that other group, you know?”
“It’s easier this way because they all speak German. If there had been any English speakers, it would’ve been one group because my dad doesn’t speak English. But it tends to get a little confusing when two people try to explain things in two different languages. I thought it would be better this way.”
Angela nodded, a smile on her lips. “Your mom’s English is very good.”
“Well, she has done the tour about a million times. She knows the words, I mean, the wine vocabulary…” Judith wasn’t sure how to put this, it must have shown on her face.
“Yeah, I guess. It’s more difficult for her talking to people on the phone, making arrangements for rooms. We rent rooms, too,” she explained. “Do you speak another language?”
“Not really. I tried to learn some Spanish for this trip, but… I don’t know, I didn’t quite get the hang of it.”
Judith nodded, then looked up to see her mother gesticulating at her to keep up. “Looks like my mom needs me to explain something now.” They joined their parents and it took a little time to translate a question Ben had had and her mom’s answer. They kept close for the remainder of the tour since Ben had a bunch of questions. He seemed really interested in every aspect of winemaking and owning a vineyard – or maybe he was just a little overprotective of Angela, which was what Judith suspected.