I spotted Wilf near the doors to the deck, two beers in hand. He caught my eye and waved me over.
He really was a striking man. Tall, bald, with skin the color of a burnished cello, he stood out among a sea of mop-headed backpackers all in need of a good trim. His long, narrow face framed a friendly smile atop a pointed chin with just a hint of a cleft, shadowed by a well-trimmed goatee.
When I looked at him, the word “trustworthy” came to mind. As a woman traveling alone, I’d honed my people assessment skills quite quickly. Nigel had been an unpleasant surprise, but at least I’d had the good sense not to get in a car alone with him. Wilf … Wilf had a spark that made me want to get to know him better.
He held out one of the beer bottles as I came within reach. “You need a drink.”
He wasn’t wrong. I clinked the bottle, still wet from the cooler, against his. “Thanks.” I downed a swig, the pilsner light and inoffensive. “Jules says you’re into paragliding.” Where had Jules got to, anyway? I’d lost track of her platinum blonde bob in the crowd.
“Yes. Have you ever tried it?” Wilf’s German accent turned the “have” into a “haf.”
“No. I’m … not a very good flyer.”
“Paragliding is nothing like flying in a plane. You should come up with me. I have access to a tandem rig.”
“I …” I’d always thought of paragliding as a bit like parachuting or bungee jumping, and no matter how much I hated flying, there was still no way I was ever going to throw myself out of a perfectly good plane.
Wilf’s eyes crinkled in amusement. As if he’d read my thoughts, he said, “We do not jump off cliffs, you know. Just a little jog on a slope, and we go up.”
I scrunched my face up a bit, still not convinced.
“The weather will be perfect tomorrow. I’ll take you up.” At my still doubtful look, Wilf laughed. “Did you not come to Europe to try out new experiences? It is perfectly safe. Look.” He pulled a card out of his wallet. “I am even a certified instructor.”
“Fine. But only if you promise to land when I ask.”
“As soon as it is safely possible.”
“Great. You’re on.” I took another swig of my beer to keep myself from backing out right away.
Wilf gave me a brilliant smile—as if no one else in the room existed for him—and I suddenly felt like the last thing I wanted to do right now was disappoint him.
There was always time for cowardice tomorrow.