The day was young and the colour of the sunlight was butter in the vineyard. Maggie clutched Émile’s hand and pulled him slowly between the gnarled old vines where heavy clusters of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes hung waiting for their time – waiting for their moment.
Maggie had had her eye on Émile since the day he came to work for her daddy. Émile was interning here as a viticulturist assistant. Maggie and her sister Emily had competed for his attention to no avail. She thought he was beautiful. He was actually from France (like in Europe), he had dark hair, broad muscled shoulders, and a square jaw with a perpetual 5 o’clock shadow. She loved the way he spoke. His heavy accent sounded to her ears like the language of love. The problem was that her sister felt the same way so in desperation Maggie had set this plan into motion. Her intention was to lure him to the equipment shed and wantonly throw herself at him before her sister, Emily, got the same idea.
The early bird gets the worm, she reasoned, trying to convince herself that her victory was assured and Emily, who had always been daddy’s favorite, would lose.
Last night she had tapped softly on the door of Émile’s room. When he answered she had told him that she was concerned about something going on in the equipment shed. She asked him if he would go there with her in the morning so they could check it out together.
“We can go right now,” Émile said to her and turned to fetch his keys.
“No, we need the light,” she responded. “Meet me in the kitchen at dawn.” They agreed and she stole back to her room to spend an almost sleepless night; anticipating the joys of passion that the morning would bring with Émile. He would fall in love with her and forget all about Emily.
In the kitchen the next morning they gathered some bread and cheese. Maggie found a plum and they packed their plunder in a brown paper bag, heading out into the dawn. Arriving at the equipment shed Émile unlocked the door and held it open for her. She entered and keeping her back to him walked slowly into the room, unbuttoning her blouse as she went and delivering the speech she had rehearsed last night.
“Émile,” she said, “I recognize that we don’t know each other very well but I feel like I’ve been waiting for you my entire life. You are the answer to all my questions. You make me stronger. You make me a woman. You complete me.” She grimaced a bit and thought that last line had sounded better in her head that it did when articulated. She hoped he wouldn’t notice.
She turned, her breasts bared, ready to give herself to him but he wasn’t there. Crap, now she would have to do it all over again. She buttoned back up and went to look for Émile. He was standing outside the door waving into the distance.
Annoyed she squinted her eyes and peered into the morning sunlight trying to see who he was waving to. Her older brother, Johnny, was walking this way.
“Look Maggie,” Émile said, “its Johnny. I’ve been trying to find a way to spend more time with him and now here he comes. This is perfect.” He looked at her and she recognized the love in his eyes. Émile wanted her brother; he didn’t care about her or Emily. She understood everything.
“Well, let’s go meet him,” she said. She turned and pulled the door to.
“Wait Maggie, what did you want to show me here?”
“Never mind Émile, it’s not important. It’s not important at all.”