Under the Ivy

I extricated myself from the myriad of conversations in the room and extracted the note that Elise had slipped into my pocket. I sipped from my scotch and opened the note.

You know I’m not good with crowds. Please make my apologies to everyone. When the party’s over and the guests have gone, you know where to find me.

By one in the morning, a welcome silence finally descended on the house. I turned off most of the lights and opened the rear doors to the garden. A distant rumble of thunder added a bass counterpoint to the constant chirping of the crickets and the gentle rustling of the wind through the ivy leaves that draped over the grey stone walls. Closing the doors behind me, I stepped into the garden.

I walked to the pergola with its own cascade of ivy and crossed to its far side. There, I stepped through a nearly imperceptible gap in the leaves and made my way to the white rose bush in this, her sanctum.

Taking my hand, she said with an unusual quiver in her voice, “I have to tell you something.”

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