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“My name’s Henry,” he told her. “What’s yours?”
“Nina,” she replied.
He smiled at her. “Nina, a lovely name…,” Henry said.
“What did you say?” Nina said. “I can’t hear you! The music is too loud.”
“I love your name,” he said loudly.
Nina blushed and then the music slowed down and they started dancing to a passionate love song. Henry’s face touched her cheek and she did not react. She let the music drive her to a dream world.
As the night went by the girls were absorbed in their partners and nobody noticed the time. Nina was busy chatting with Henry in a dark corner of the disco, and when he bent over and kissed her she did not go away. She liked that warm feeling that flooded her body and wished it would never end. He kissed her again and again and they were still kissing when the clock struck twelve. Nina jumped up.
“Oh, my God!” She said. “It’s midnight!”
“So, what?” Henry said. “You are not Cinderella, are you?” he joked.
“This is not funny,” Nina replied and tried to think fast. “I must find the other girls!”
He let go of her and she ran around the place trying to spot her friends.
“Wait, Nina,” Henry shouted, “I’m coming with you!”
She did not find any of them.
“They’re gone!” she said in despair. “ So silly of me!”
“Come on,” Henry tried to comfort her," I’ll take you home.”
He got a cab and they drove silently for some time.
“What’s going to happen now?” Nina wondered. “The hostel will be locked up. I won’t get in!”
“Come on , love,” Henry told her. “Don’t look like this! We’ve had such a nice time together, let’s not spoil it. You’ll be Okay!”
“You don’t understand!” she said. “I live in a nuns’ hostel and they lock it up at 11.30. I’ll have to stay out – for the first time in my life!”
“No, you don’t! You can come to my place. I live in a flat, you know.”
“No, thanks,” Nina replied. Now she started feeling a bit scared for some reason. The magic of the night was gone all at once.
“I appreciate it though,” she told him a minute later.
When the cab reached the hostel, Nina and Henry got out and tried the iron gate.
“It’s locked,” Nina said. She looked around. All the lights were off.
“Nobody is around,” she said helplessly.
“Ring the bell,” Henry suggested.
“No way! ” Nina said. “I don’t want to wake the nuns up!”
“What will you do then?” he said. “I can’t stay here the whole night, I’ve got to work tomorrow,” he added.
“Go then,” Nina told him. “It’s not your fault after all… and I know what to do. The Police station is nearby.”
Henry said nothing for a moment but he looked at Nina in a way meaning ‘are you insane?’
He kissed her goodnight and left in the darkness leaving Nina all alone. She hurriedly walked to the Police station which was just a few meters away.
“Can I stay here till morning, please?” she asked a young policeman.
“Sure you can,” he replied. “Are you one of the girls of the hostel?” he asked her.
“Yes, and I was late tonight,” Nina said.
“I understand,” the policeman said and smiled. “Would you like a cup of coffee?”
The next morning, as soon as the door was unlocked, Nina got into the hostel.
Collette was waiting for her.
“What’s happened to you girl?” she asked . “We were all worried about you!”
Nina explained that when she noticed the time the girls were gone.
“But we looked for you around the disco and we couldn’t find you!” Collette insisted.
“Where were you hiding?”
“I was not hiding!” Nina defended herself. “It was so dark in there and you missed me, that’s all!”
She did not mention Henry.
On the same afternoon, sister Pia knocked on Nina’s door.
Nina guessed the reason for this visit.
“The Police said you stayed there overnight,” she said. “This is not right for a girl like you, so, please, don’t do it again!”
“I’m sorry,” Nina apologized. “It won’t happen again.”
Sister Pia looked satisfied and left. Nina thought that the trouble was over.
“Nina, someone is calling you,” a girl shouted from the telephone booth some time later.
“Me?” Nina replied. “Are you sure?”
“It’s your boyfriend,” Sherry shouted back. “He wants to talk to you!”
Nina rushed to the booth in the hall. Sherry had been shouting and everybody heard her.
“Hello,” she said picking up the receiver.
“Is that you, Nina?” a male voice asked. “I’m Henry.”
“Hi, Henry,” Nina said.
“Are you all right?” he asked. “I’ve called to check if everything’s Okay over there.”
“Thanks, everything’s fine,” Nina said.” “I’m fine, too. Thanks for calling.”
She was ready to hang up.
“Please, wait,” Henry said. “Will you meet me this weekend?”
“Don’t know,” Nina replied.
“I promise we’ll be back early,” he insisted.
“I’m busy, I’ve got exams,” Nina lied.
“I’ll call you back next week, then?” he asked.
“Okay, bye,” Nina hang up.
Sherry winked at her.
“Your new boyfriend, isn’t he?” she asked.
“He’s not my boyfriend ,” Nina said ,"but a plain friend!" She was not in the mood of joking. She was annoyed.
In the evening, sister Pia approached Nina once more.
“I’ve heard you’re having a boyfriend ,” she told her.
Nina got annoyed.
“What if I have one?” she said.
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