The doorbell rang. It was ten o’clock in the evening and I was watching Suits on TV with a tub of Ben&Jerry’s Peanut-Butter-Me-Up ice-cream in my lap. Normally I don’t like it when people bother me while I’m watching Suits, for I like to be left alone when I’m gawking at Harvey Specter’s marvelous behind. For some reason, which I would later come to understand is called “destiny”, I did manage to get up from the couch and walk my way to the door wearing nothing but a pair of fluffy pink socks and a XXL “Future Mrs. Styles” One Direction t-shirt.
“A delivery for Ms. Versluys,” A middle-aged man in a red velvet suit was standing on my doorstep with in his one hand a tiny little box and in his other what appeared to be a letter in a golden envelope. “Do you have any idea how late it is?”, I grunted bitterly, “Since when do you guys deliver so late at night?” The man was taken aback by my rather rude response and obviously had no idea it wasn’t a very good idea to interrupt a girl while she was watching Suits. “I’m sorry, Miss. We didn’t mean to interrupt your…” he looked at my t-shirt and I suddenly felt really self-conscious about standing in the doorway with Harry Styles’ face on my chest “…me-time,” he finally added. “My boss doesn’t really care about the nine-to-five rule.” Before I had any time to ask the man who his boss was, he had already pushed the envelope and box in my hands and made his way back to his car, a Toyota Prius with tinted windows.
I went back inside and opened the seal of the golden envelope, revealing a handwritten letter:
“To get the full value of a joy you must have somebody to divide it with.” ~Mark Twain.
In this spirit, I’m inviting you to join me on my trip to the ruins of Pompeii this weekend.
I will pick you up on Saturday morning at 6 o’clock so we can be there by nightfall.
PS: Please accept these earrings as a token of my affection and a promise of what is yet to come. The rest of the outfit will arrive tomorrow.’
I was gobsmacked. If this is one of my brother’s silly pranks, I’m going to kill him. I looked at the box beside me and opened it with shaky hands. There it was, the most beautiful looking pair of earrings I had ever seen. Obviously diamonds. Obviously ridiculously expensive.
I had no idea what to make of all this: the letter, the earrings, the creepy man in the red velvet suit. And who for God’s sake just travels to the ruins of Pompeii on a weekend? Normal people would go to a museum to see antiquities, not travel hundreds of miles with a girl you’ve never met.
But then again, Leonardo DiCaprio probably didn’t do normal. He’s Leonardo DiCaprio.
The next morning, I woke up early, made myself a large cup of coffee and camped in front of the front door, waiting for the middle-aged man in the red velvet suit to reappear. At 9 o’clock sharp the doorbell rang again. I quickly opened the door and saw the same man that stood on my doorstep last night. For some reason he looked less creepy in broad daylight; more Santa Claus, less midnight rapist. He was holding a large cardboard box with a red ribbon around it and looked at me with a big frown on his face. Fuck, I’m still wearing my Harry Styles t-shirt! That is so not how I want Leo to remember me. (I thought I was allowed to call him Leo. I was going on a date with him after all).
I quickly accepted the box and went inside. In one swift movement I opened up the box as my heart beat wildly with excitement… It was The Chandelier Dress, worn by none other than Carry Mulligan in The Great Gatsby. The crystal-coated fabric was simply drool-worthy and must have been worth millions of dollars. Don’t spill your damn coffee. I put my coffee mug on the counter, took off my Harry Styles t-shirt, all the while swearing to never ever wear that again, and very carefully stepped into the dress. I felt like I was the image of glamour personified. I’m going on a date with Leonardo DiCaprio. In the chandelier dress. I have got to be the luckiest girl on the planet.
My heart started beating quicker as the clock neared 6 a.m. The doorbell rang. I’m starting to grow fond of that sound. As I swung open the door, Leo was already leaning against the side of his car, the same Toyota Prius from a couple of days ago. He was smoking a battery-powered cigarette and was wearing a delicate cashmere sweater and a smart-looking pair of stone cotton trousers. His pure Hollywood glamour made me catch my breath and the intensity of his expression as we shook hands- his skin soft but his grip strong- made my blood run fast. “Eveline,” he said with a husky voice, “you look absolutely breathtaking in that dress. Much better than that One Direction t-shirt,” his smile bright and genuine. “You saw that?” I exclaimed in utter shock and embarrassment. “Yes, I was sitting in the back of the car when my driver delivered the envelope” he explained matter-of-factly. I blushed. Damn those tinted windows.
Although the drive to Pompeii took hours, time seemed to be flying by. He sat next to me in the back of the Prius, one leg slung over the other, while our good friend in the red velvet suit drove us to the ruins. We talked about our hearts’ desires with an ease as if we had known each other for years. That is to say, I talked about my heart’s desires, he talked about global warming, gay rights, how to stop ivory poachers and how to save the Siberian tiger. It was a joy listening to him passionately raving about the things that were important to him – God, environmentalists are sexy– but I admittedly found it rather hard to focus on the gravitas of his words when he was staring at me with those strikingly beautiful eyes and dark, mischievous eyebrows.
It suddenly dawned on me that I still hadn’t asked about the elephant in the room- or better: the elephant in the Toyota Prius- and gently inquired as to why we were going to the ruins of Pompeii. “ It’s the ultimate unfiltered world, untouched by the hands of media and fame. Pompeii is my way of escaping Hollywoodian reality. It reminds me that all of us are just grains of sand in the desert of eternity. Nothing lasts forever. Everything eventually crumbles down. Even Hollywood fame.”
Swoon. Could he possibly be more perfect?
Apparently he could, because when we arrived at the ruins of Pompeii – night had already fallen and the sky was dotted with stars- he revealed a giant picnic basket from the trunk. “I hope you’re up for a picnic?” He smiled and winked at me. I giggled, which wasn’t a very grown-up thing to do but I just couldn’t help myself. He took my hand as we walked across the ancient Roman city and he came to a halt in the middle of the Amphitheatre. He pulled a soft, checkered blanket out of the picnic basket and laid it across the ground. We both took of our shoes- thank God I had just had a pedicure– and we snuggled up against each other as we looked up to the stars; the lights reflecting against the crystals of my dress, making me look like Tinker Bell from Peter Pan. While I was admiring my luminous outfit, Leo opened up a bottle of organic champagne. “Friends of mine own an organic vineyard in France. They truly make the best wine.” Of course they do. They are friends with Leonardo DiCaprio.
It was indeed delicious champagne, although everything would have tasted great in such fine company. He had also brought an entire box of Turkish delight, “because I know you have a sweet tooth.” They were sticky and sweet, just how I like them and while I was licking my fingers I was suddenly overcome with emotions. I was on a date with Leonardo DiCaprio. For real. How did that happen?
“Why me?”, I asked with a far too high-pitched voice, my nerves clearly audible. I cleared my throat and started over: “Why did you ask me to go on a date with you?” For what seemed to be minutes, but in fact were probably just a couple of nanoseconds, there was silence. A fine smile appeared across his lips as he leaned forward and whispered in my ear: “Because I love your blog.” My face went totally red. “You read my blog?” I said in complete astonishment. I was definitely not expecting that answer .He lay his one hand on my knee and lifted my chin up to meet his face with the other. “Only when you write about me”, he replied. I giggled. I really need to stop doing that.
For hours we lay in each others’ arms, looking at the stars, not saying a word. A silence that was both comforting and intriguing at the same time. When the sun appeared across the horizon a couple of hours later, Leo lifted me up in his arms and carried me all the way back to the car, where the red velvet suit had been watching James Bond movies on his laptop. Leo gently lowered me into the back of the car and he looked me in the eyes, his eyes so close to mine I was practically swimming in their immeasurable blueness. It felt as if I was floating, floating between dream and reality. Floating with the fear of falling, but with the promise to fly…
“Hold on! Are you telling me you went on a date with Leonardo DiCaprio and you didn’t as much as kiss?” That’s what you are all thinking right now, isn’t it? Where is the sex?
Well, if you really need to know… we had wild and crazy sex in the back of his Prius when the red velvet suit was having breakfast in a Diner on our way back to my apartment.
Notes from the author:
• This story is purely fictional and should not be considered real. Everything is based on nothing but my frighteningly extravagant imagination and on some previously published interviews with, and well-known facts about Leonardo DiCaprio)
• In reality it would probably take much longer to drive from my apartment in Belgium to the ruins of Pompeii in Italy. Unless the red velvet suit drove excessively fast…
• I do not- I repeat- I DO NOT own a Harry Styles One Direction t-shirt in real life.