Saturday, July 20, 2013

Love's Vengeance~~a taste of romance

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     The light thrown by a single candle at the bedside stand cast shadows upon the timbers above Stephen, where he lay on his pallet staring up at them, his head resting upon his folded arms, his mind filled with Desiree. Perhaps he had made a fatal mistake last evening, he thought dejectedly, missing an opportunity to ease the ache in his loins for no purpose but to trap himself within his words. Once he had unknowingly given up all of Desiree for the want of her form beneath his own, and now he had given up that one attainable aspect for the want of more and again he was the loser.
     He had not realized she would still be so vehement toward him but it appeared her hatred had grown to include an irrational fear and kind of hopeless resignation that she had no choice where he was concerned. Well, he had done and said all that he could, he could do no more. 
     His eyes were drawn to the door where a slight creak of the hinges announced an entry. Desiree moved within and closed the door behind her. She leaned against it watching him silently for a time, then slowly moved across the room to stand next to the bed. He did not make a move, fearing she might flee. He waited on her to proceed.
     Desiree nervously ran a hand through her hair which lie upon her shoulder then breathed deeply and knelt beside the bed, resting her arms before her and plucking self-consciously at the sleeve of her dress. Tears well up before she even could begin to speak but she made no attempt to hide them.
     Stephen turned to lie upon his side facing her, his head propped up upon one hand, while taking care that his sheet remained carefully draped across his waist. He waited for her to speak, leery of opening his mouth and saying something which might spoil this chance for a civil discussion. Desiree wiped at her tears and with a shake of her head stood again. He was afraid she was about to flee and his hand shot out, taking one of hers lightly in his own. Her eyes probed his and he could see she was in utter turmoil.
     “Please talk to me, Desiree.”
     “I—I am afraid,” she said softly, taking a trembling breath while drawing her hand from his.
     “You have nothing to fear from me. Talk,” he urged gently, patting the bed beside him invitingly and coming to a sitting position, leaning back against a pillow to wait. After a few moments hesitation, Desiree took the proffered seat facing him and tucked one leg up beneath her.
     “I want to ask you something Stephen and I want the truth from you,” she began, controlling her voice and wiping the tears from her eyes with the hem of her dress. “You spoke last night of what we had shared before and your desire to share that again. The talks, spending time together. Would you be content then if I once more welcomed your company and leave it at that?” She watched his face carefully for any hint of his anger but detected none.
     “Honesty, truthfulness you want, correct?” he asked with a soft smile.
     Desiree nodded.
     “And if I answer such will you also answer my questions the same without flying into a rage?” he frowned slightly, wiping a lingering tear from her cheek with his fingertips. Desiree nodded once more.
     “No, Desiree. I would not be content to leave it at that. I want you and could not honestly agree to anything less for I would not be able to stand by it.”
     “So you leave me with no choice but to sever our relationship completely,” she stated matter-of-factly. “Then it shall be so,” she shrugged her shoulders dejectedly, starting to rise from the bed but Stephen touched her arm, halting her.
     “Is that the end of it then, without a touch of feeling? Just cast me aside as though deciding against buying a new hat? This is much too important, at least to me, to let it end with one simple question and answer. Now it is my turn—remember, truthfully,” he paused, then asked softly. “Do you want me?”
     Desiree felt the color come up in her cheeks at the bluntness of his question. She could not meet his gaze.
     “Desiree, answer me,” he coaxed, lifting his hand to gently touch her chin and turn her face so he could look into her eyes.
     “I…please. Let’s just end this entire conversation. I should not have come.” she breathed nervously, attempting again to rise but again being halted by Stephen.
     Ever so gently, he reached out with both hands cupping her face. His mouth brushed hers in a gentle kiss, a second kiss clung and slightly parted her lips, and finally he kissed her deeply. 
     Desiree felt as if she would die from the sheer bliss of it. She responded to him, tilting her head slightly, forming to his mouth. It was as though she was in one of her dreams but this searing warmth was real. He pulled back and she sat stunned by the loss of his touch.
     “You want me,” he confirmed. “So what is this about? Why the fear, your aversion toward me? Why the lack of interest you profess?” he asked, fixing her with a level stare.
     “Stephen, you want the truth, you shall have it. Making love is for a marriage bed, at least in my part of the world,” she blurted, wishing at once that she could take the words back. It sounded like a proposal or an ultimatum and she had not intended that.
     “So if I were to ask for your hand in marriage, then it would be acceptable?” he asked seriously. “I will.”
     “No! Please do not jest at my expense, Stephen. I am so confused—I—I am making a fool of myself!” she said softly, looking to her hands in her lap. “I did not mean to insinuate such—I–I am leaving. This is getting us nowhere!” she stammered.
     Stephen prevented her from rising once more as he spoke. “I am not jesting by any means. I will do whatever I must to gain your trust again. I would marry you this minute if it would bring you back into my life.” He lifted and kissed her hand lightly, while his eyes probed hers. “But dearest Desiree, I do not believe marriage is any assurance of an undying devotion and I don’t feel it should be used to barter with, but if that is what you require, would you then believe I mean you no harm?”
     His words struck like lightning. She was trying to force him into something for passion’s sake, which in her opinion should be entered into for one reason only—love. How often had she heard the girls at school speaking of using this very tactic to force a man’s will and bring him to the altar? She was amazed that he was willing to do such but she knew she would not hold him by those means.
     “To possess me you would go to such an extreme? When you might find the same in any number of women throughout the world?” she asked, her voice echoing her amazement.
     “Your innocence is showing, my sweet, for what you have to offer me I would find nowhere else, even if I searched a lifetime.”
     “Are you saying you love me then?” she ventured and was surprised when he looked away, all at once flustered. “You didn’t answer me!” she prodded, smiling with amusement and enjoying his unrest.
     He squirmed under her regard, looking about the room uncomfortably, then growled, “That does it, I’m leaving! You are tormenting me!” When he made as if to rise from the bed, Desiree laughed brightly and he settled back once more, watching her thoughtfully. “Do you know how long it has been since I have heard your laughter?”
     “Quite some time,” she sighed softly. She realized then how much she had missed him, his easy charm and silly playfulness. She further realized that she, indeed, wanted him under any circumstances and she would no longer deny it.
     He pulled her gently to him, kissing her long and sound. “Stay with me tonight, Desiree,” he whispered. “Stay.” His lips brushed hers as he spoke and his voice was not pleading, simply asking.
     Desiree stood and slowly began to unbutton her clothes but Stephen rose to stand before her, moving her hands aside. He kissed her gently, while with nimble fingers he unbuttoned her dress, slipping his hands within and the fabric moved off her shoulders, sliding from her arms and dropping to the floor. His lips caressed her shoulder, where his thumb moved the strap of her chemise and he unlaced the satin ribbon at the valley between her breasts and the garment slipped to join the gown.
     He lifted her effortlessly and laid her across the bed, lowering himself beside her. His lips tested hers, while his hand savored her skin, moving from her throat down to her flat stomach and then his kisses ceased and his eyes rose slowly to meet hers. He rested his hand along her narrow waist while his expression was warm and tender. “You will not rush out hating me after?” he pleaded in a husky voice.
     Desiree smiled and touched his muscular shoulder. “I fear I must be insane but no, I will not rush out. I am going to trust in you, Captain Colter and believe in you and pray that I do not regret that decision.”
     He enfolded her in his arms, pulling her close as his lips savored hers once more. His whisper was barely audible, a commitment spoken between fevered kisses. “You can trust me.”
     And he took her with the utmost of care, binding her to him once more with tender, giving passion. They were alone in the world and nothing mattered but this moment.

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