Click here for parts 1-5
They passed the early morning hours sleeping. The darkness of the room created a safe cocoon. The early afternoon brought her to wakefulness. He was still with her. She listened to him breathing, his hands were holding her close to him. She reached to touch the silky hair on his chest, lightly tracing her fingers though its softness. He was so beautiful, that was the word for it. He wasn't just handsome; he was beautiful. She wondered how long she would be permitted to have him with her. He had told her that he could not stay long, that the fates would not allow him to be with her. She thought it was unfair that he would be taken from her.
“Don't think about it,” his voice rumbled. The sound was like silk. “Just be with me while I am here. I am your muse. I was made just for you. I'll always be right here.” He touched the side of her head. “I've always been there — that's how you know me, that's how I know what you are thinking.” His lips rested against her temple, “Now come here, I'm going to make love to you again.”
She ached to feel him touch her, to hold her, to press his mouth against hers. He soothed that ache, several times before he took her to the shower where they bathed one another.
He stood behind her, holding her against his chest as she prepared breakfast for them. It was two o'clock in the afternoon, but it was the first meal of the day. Sitting on the deck drinking coffee, they watched the ocean and listened to the gulls calling as they dove for food.
“I'll never be able to write a love scene again without thinking of you,” she smiled. “Now I have so many words in my brain that I just may spend too much time talking about it when I write.”
He reached to hold her hand with strong, long fingers. He knew the time was slipping away. He wanted to make sure that she would remember him when he had to go back and just be part of the way she thought about her writing. He had asked to be allowed to save her, it was for a limited time and he hated the fact that he would leave her.
They wrote the afternoon away. As the sky darkened and the moon rose again, he pulled her away from the story to the bedroom. He devoured her with his body, marking her, leaving her so that she would know that he had been deep inside her. He knew that he would be gone when the sun rose. He made love to her until it was almost dawn, then tucking her beside him he told her to sleep. He kissed her as if it would be the last time, it was. When she woke late in the day, the place beside her was empty. Jason was gone. She did not need to call him. She knew he would not answer. Her heart wanted to break but it didn't, he was with her, but it did not stop the crystal tears from falling. She heard him in her head, he was there again; he was her muse after all.
The house where she lived was a duplex, a large one, but a duplex just the same. Two days later, she returned from a walk down the beach to find that the house beside her was open, music coming from the inside of the house. The decks were side by side. As she walked up the steps, her new neighbor came bouncing out the glass doors chasing a German Shepherd.
The dog seemed to laugh and ignored the command of her master.
She looked into the laughing face of a man who looked just like Jason. It took her breath away, her eyes filled with tears.
“Oh, hey!” He was laughing at the dog. “You must be Leigh. The realtor said that was your name. I'm Jackson, but everybody calls me Jack.” He held out his large beautiful hand to shake. His fingers curled around her hand and it was as if they had both been struck by lightning. His gaze softened as he took her in, she was busy trying to remember to breathe.
“Hello, Jack.” She smiled at the beautiful dog. “Hello Mitzi, welcome to the beach.”
He was still holding her hand, caressing the top of her hand with his thumb. Jack turned her hand loose reluctantly. He knew in those few moments that she was the one he had been looking for his whole life. His father had told him it would be like this. He had said, “Son, you'll look up one day and she'll just walk into your line of sight, and you'll know that it's her. Your problem is going to be convincing her.” That's exactly what had happened to him. She was just standing there on her side of the deck, the breeze lifting her hair, the sun kissing her skin with its golden light. She smiled back at him, he couldn't figure out why she had tears in her eyes. He wanted to stop those tears, he wanted to hold her against his heart and comfort her.
“Is everything all right?” The sound of summer thunder in his voice stirred every fiber of her being.
“You just remind me of someone very dear to me.” Her voice cracked when she spoke, she was fighting the tears. She knew that Jack was not Jason, but he spoke to her heart just like Jason had. She could feel him in her head, purring as she imagined that Jack would be special. She had written about love at first sight in a light romantic way. Now, here he stood and she knew she would love him.
She felt a yearning deep inside her; it was Jack that caused the yearning. “Would you like to share dinner tonight? I've got some steaks, I can put potatoes in to bake and I can throw a salad together.” She brushed away the tears. The offer was spontaneous and surprised her as much as it did Jack.
“Sure, I've got some wine chilling and I have some brownies that my mother sent with me to tide me over until my next chocolate attack.” He laughed softly. “I so hope you can't go a day without chocolate.”
“My favorite food group.” She laughed back at him.
He wanted to protect her, to take care of her, to see that she had everything that she needed. He wanted her to be his and only his. He walked down his steps and up onto her side of the deck.
“My side of the house is a mess, everything is still in boxes mostly.” He gestured to his part of the duplex. Mitzi started up the steps; he turned to stop her. He loved his dog but he wasn't going to push her on Leigh.
“No, let her come on in. We're going to be neighbors, she needs to become accustomed to my place.”
Mitzi's tail was wagging with joy. She liked this lady that Jack was talking to. Leigh went to the kitchen to prepare the potatoes. Jack found her writing on the computer screen; drawn to it as if it had called him, he began to read. When she looked up he was reading, intently.
“This is beautiful.” He touched the screen with his fingers. “It's like music, only it's words.” She smiled at the compliment. “Is this your only story, or do you have more?”
“I have a great muse, he talks to me about the stories I write.”
He could sense a sadness in her voice.
“Your muse is a man. Do I need to be jealous of him?” His question made her come closer to him. “Should I be like the sultan, and have you tell me stories each night?”
“No, he's in my head, but he was made just for me.” He reached to touch her face. “I have a good many stories and poems. I'll be glad to share with you.”
“I'm glad he's in your head. I don't think I could stand to share you with another man.” They looked at one another, once again lost in the feelings that were building between them. Neither had spoken the words yet, but they would come. The fates were not so cruel; they were each made for the other one. They would find their way.
Several weeks later he was awake watching the ocean and the sunrise. He became aware of movement on the beach; he realized it was her. The morning wind was blowing her hair, her dress swirled around her; she looked like some wild thing come from the sea. She was walking toward the surf. He found it hard to breathe. Without prior thought or plan he opened the door, walking toward her. His physical need to touch her had increased as days had turned to weeks; he watched her take off her suit cover and walk into the ocean's waves. There was way more skin there than swimsuit. She walked out on a sand bar and caught one of the waves, body surfing all the way to the shore. As she stood to go back, he put his arms around her and walked back out to the breakers with her. They rode waves to the shore until they were breathless; no words exchanged until she dropped to the sand to catch her breath.
“Good morning,” she smiled between deep breaths.
“Good morning.” Mitzi was playing at the water's edge, barking at the calling gulls that had just come to life. He leaned in to kiss her, watching to see if she pulled back. She didn't. He brushed her lips with his. His arms pulled her across his chest, their sea-wet bodies sliding together. He deepened the kiss, tasting the salt on her lips, his tongue tasting the sweetness of her mouth. “I've been waiting to do this since the first day I found you.” He whispered between kisses. He could feel the way her body reacted to him. “You make me get all possessive and I want to say crazy things to you.”
“Like what?” She ran her finger over his mouth.
“I want to tell you not to wear this bathing suit out in public anymore. Woman, you almost have no clothes on, this should be for my eyes only.”
She found the beach towel she had brought with her and offered him a part of it to dry the water from his beautiful golden skin.
“It's actually not so public out here, the beach is private, only for the houses along the way here.” She was trying to explain about the houses along the beach, but his fingers traced down her side. She was finally in his arms, a breath away; he did not want to let her go.
“Please, tell me this isn't too fast. I've tried really hard to be patient and give you time.” He rested his forehead against hers.
“It feels like this is where I need to be. Why do you think I needed to have time? ” She moved her hands into his hair.
“It seemed that you were longing for someone that you had lost. I did not want to intrude, I wanted to give you time to heal.” He looped the towel around her and pulled her close.
“You want to come to my house and have breakfast?” She smiled up at him. “I'll tell you about it. I'm okay.”
“I want to be in your house. I'm not sure that it's just breakfast that I want.” He walked toward the house, pulling her up beside him. He picked up her beach wrap dropping it around her. Tucking her close to his side, he called for Mitzi as they strolled back to the beach house. “I need a shower. I'm going to go change out of these wet clothes.”
“I need to rinse the salt off of me as well. Come on over when you finish, I'll prepare breakfast when I get out of the shower.”
She enjoyed the way it felt to be close to him with his arm holding her secure beside him.
When she got out of the shower she could hear “Do you want to make a memory” floating though the early morning air. She was wrapped in a terry cloth robe, with a towel soaking up the water from her hair. She found him at the window; coming up behind him she slipped her arms around him.
“You smell so good.” She was breathing him in, listening to the beautiful words of the song.
He turned to face her; his mind almost came to a dead stop. He knew that under that robe was pure, naked Leigh. His hands itched to pull the robe away and move over her. She smelled like flowers, her skin still warm from the shower.
(to be continued...)