“This place is,
uh, interesting,” Henry said the moment we walked into the room, pursing his
lips at the overenthusiastic beach cottage décor. The walls were covered in
whitewashed beadboard and the furniture was all white rattan, even the
headboard. Seashells, real and plastic, were scattered on nearly every surface.
He set the bags
down on the worn wood floor and entered the only other door in the room,
painted a faded blue. “Well, at least we have our own bathroom.”
sharing with other guests then,” I called, drawing aside the frilly white
curtain and looking at our view of the quiet street and the abandoned little
shack across the road with a large FOR SALE sign in its broken window. I
grinned to myself. This place certainly had its charms.
“This place is not like they said in the website,”
Henry said, emerging from the bathroom with a shaking head.
“I think it’s kind
Henry raised an
I jabbed a thumb
out the window. “Yeah, in the way that the hobo at the corner is cute.”
“There is not…” He
walked to the window and looked out. He let out an exasperated gust of air. “Of
all the bed and breakfasts in Key West, I chose the most ghetto one.”
I hugged him from
behind, pressing my cheeks against his back. “It’s fine, Henry,” I said. “As
long as we’re together.”
He grasped my
linked hands and held them up to his lips. “This is not how I pictured our
honeymoon, Els. I wanted to give you something classy and nice.”
“This is perfect,”
I insisted. We hadn’t been able to afford the trip to Prague that we’d
envisioned, so we had opted for something a little closer to home. Key West,
with its warm waters and lively atmosphere, seemed like a wonderful
Henry turned in my
arms and took my face in his hands. “You sure?” he asked, his dark eyebrows
drawn together. “We can get a room at the Waldorf Astoria”
I shook my head. “We
can’t afford that.” Both of our savings accounts had been depleted after the
wedding and putting a down payment on a house in Cherry Creek, Colorado; it was
a minor miracle that we’d managed to go on a honeymoon at all. I wasn’t about
to start nitpicking minor details because, at the end of the day, I was with
Henry, we were healthy, and we were in love. Everything else was just icing on
“How about the
Best Western then?” he asked with a teasing grin.
I squeezed him.
“This bed and breakfast is perfect. Really.”
He kissed my
forehead, inhaling deeply. “I just want to give you so much more.”
I pulled away and
walked over to the bed with the simple white covers and lay down, leaning back
on my elbows. “Give it to me then,” I said in the most seductive voice I could
behind his neck and tugged his shirt off in one swift movement, advancing
towards me even as he worked on the fly of his shorts. My eyes raked over his firm
and angular form, the perfect complement to my soft, smooth body.
With a dark look
on his face, he swooped down and captured my lips, kissing me with the same
passion we’d had since the beginning. He slipped his hands under my back and
held me close to his naked chest, his erection digging into my crotch. One hand
slid along my thigh and under the hem of my skirt where his fingers found my
panties. He tugged them down withand threw them across the
He crawled over
me, undressing me while we kissed, our lips only breaking apart long enough to
slide my tank top over my head.
“Starfish,” I said
against his lips, shifting my backside.
He pulled away
with a wicked grin. “You want me to play with your starfish?” he asked, his
fingers massaging my ass.
I burst out
laughing. “No, I meant there’s a starfish digging into my back,” I said,
shifting again and dislodging the large red starfish that had lain on the
pillow moments earlier. I held it up to him, still racked with laughter.
He chuckled with
me, grabbing the starfish and throwing it across the bed. He fell sideways onto
the bed, a smile still splitting his face, and pulled me close.
I gazed at the
beautiful man in my arms, having to remind myself that he was now my husband. When
he grasped my hip and slipped into me, I realized that no other man could ever
complete me like Henry could. Nobody else had even come close. I held onto the
back of his head and pressed my forehead to his, our eyes burning into each
other as we said with our bodies what our words could not.
We made love on
that simple bed that afternoon, bathed in the warm sunlight, completely absorbed
in each other. The outside world could fall apart around us and it wouldn’t
have made a difference.
We were together.
After taking a nap
on the surprisingly comfortable bed, we headed out on a night on the town. We
walked down to Duval Street and took in the sights and sounds. The street was
lined with restaurants and souvenir stores, all of which appeared to be
overflowing with customers.
“I didn’t realize
how busy this place would be,” I said, feeling a trickle of unease at the sheer
number of people walking around us. Everywhere I turned there were people in
shorts and dresses, most in various stages of inebriation.
Henry squeezed my
hand, walking ahead of me to part the way like he’d always done. He must have
sensed that I was starting to feel claustrophobic because he abruptly pulled me
into a store alcove, a pocket of calm away from the crowds. “Better?”
I nodded, my
heartbeat slowing. “What’s going on? Is there a parade or something?”
“I think I saw a
flyer about a brewfest.”
“Figures,” I said,
laughing softly. “We schedule our honeymoon during drunkfest.”
“Same thing.” I
looked at him as he craned his neck around, no doubt in search of the location
of the festivities. “You want to go, don’t you?” I asked, a smile tugging at
the corners of my mouth.
His eyes flicked
back down to me, gauging my reaction. “Only if you want to go.”
His answer came as
no surprise. Henry was never one to turn down a cold one. “Come on then, let’s
find this brewfest,” I said, tugging on his hand.
“Are you sure?” He
pulled me close, holding my body against his. “We can skip it if you’d rather
do something else.”
“No, really. I’d
like to try a few beers myself.”
He hugged me
tight, lifting me off my feet a few inches. “Best wife ever,” he said into my
“Damn straight,” I
A little bit of
wandering later, we finally figured out that the brewfest had adjourned from
the beach to a place called The Porch. After asking around, we finally found
the place a few blocks from Duval Street. The Porch was actually a house that
had been converted to a bar. Patrons could either sit at the bar inside or take
their drinks outside and sit on rattan furniture on the porch. We did the
latter, preferring to steer clear of the rowdy crowds.
We took our frosty
glass mugs and sat in white loveseat at the end of the porch.
Henry automatically lifted his arm and I snuggled into his side; we sighed at
the same time. “I love you,” he said.
I looked up to
return the sentiment when I realized that he was looking pointedly at the beer
in his hand.
“I love you so
much,” he said before taking a sip. He glanced at me and grinned.
I smacked him in
the stomach. “I love you too, my pear cider,” I said, taking a large swig of my
drink. Henry chose the same moment to touch his cold mug to my cheek, taking me
by surprise. I gulped, tipping the mug too much and getting foam all over my
upper lip and nose.
He laughed, deep
then stared at me with a warm look in his eyes. He cupped my cheek in his palm
and bent his head down, but instead of kissing me, his tongue darted out and
lapped at the foam on my lip. A second later, he kissed the end of my nose. “Woodchuck
is a good taste on you. But if you tasted like beer, you’d be the perfect
I pulled away and
raised an eyebrow. “If you tasted like chocolate, I’d suck on you all day
His eyes widened.
“Well what are we waiting for?” he asked, taking a large swig of his drink. “Let’s
get out of here and go melt some chocolate.”
I laughed. “Fondue
for dinner then?”
“I’m not above
dipping my dick into scalding chocolate if it means you’ll suck on it all day
Whistle, you mean?” I asked with a grin.
He threw his head
back and laughed. “My purple-helmeted airman,” he said.
“Your Vlad the
Impaler.” I shook my head and giggled, realizing that other people had heard us
and not caring.
Henry was suddenly
close, his breath on my ear. “God, I love you so much,” he said and in the next
moment, his lips were on mine and the rest of Key West dissolved.
later, we were back in our room with a bar of chocolate in hand. We hadn’t
found a fondue set or even chocolate syrup, but hoped that melting chocolate
with our own body heat would be just as sexy.
Henry lay in bed
completely naked with his arms folded under his head as we watched for the
rectangle piece of chocolate to melt on his erect penis.
“Anytime now,” I
said, on my knees between his legs as I held his shaft steady.
He sighed. “We’ve
been waiting for ten minutes. My bushwhacker is very impatient to whack some
“Give it a few
more minutes,” I said, leaning down to study the chocolate. “It looks like it’s
starting to soften.”
“The chocolate or
My tongue darted
out and licked the tender skin at the base of his penis. “Better?”
“Mmm,” he said,
closing his eyes. “Maybe you need to do a bit more of that to melt the
I took a deep
breath, inhaling his masculine scent. “Ah fuck it,” I said and bared my teeth. I only
saw a glimpse of Henry’s wide eyes before my open mouth descended on his cock
and I bit the piece of chocolate. I let it melt in my mouth for several moments
before I took his cock into my mouth and coated his skin with the chocolate. I
pulled away and studied my handiwork. “Yum.”
“You are a
genius,” he said between breaths. He sat up and kissed me, the milk-chocolate
flavor intermingling between our tongues.
I pulled away and
focused on my chocolate treat, wrapping my lips around the tip and, with a
vacuum-tight seal, sucked my way down. His fingers laced through my hair and he
held on, neither speeding up nor slowing me down.
“God, Els,” he
groaned, his hips coming up off the bed when I cupped his balls. I stopped when
I heard his breathing change, when his taut muscles signaled that he was . His eyes flew open. “What is it? Do you need more chocolate?”
he asked, his hand scrambling for the chocolate bar.
I wiped at the
corners of my mouth. “My turn.”
He tried to catch
his breath and nodded. “You’re a genius, yes, but an evil one.” With a deft
motion, he flipped me over so that he was on topput two
pieces of chocolate in his mouth and chewed on them. He moved to my crotch but
I stopped him.
“Not there,” I
said. When he frowned, I added, “Just trust me.”
He nodded and
moved up my torso, stopping at my breast. He covered one mound with his mouth
and I felt his gooey tongue sliding along my skin, making circles until he
reached my nipple. He took the tip between his teeth and smiled up at me a
second before he bit down gently. He and moved to the
other breast, laving it with the same loving attention.
Struck with an
idea, I slid out from under him and stood up. Hey, we’d already played with
food. Might as well try this too.
“Where do you
think you’re going?” he asked, taking hold of my wrist.
“Just wait,” I
said, digging into my luggage then running to the bathroom to change. “Did you
know this place used to be a bordello?” I called out.
“Yeah, I read that
somewhere on the website.”
minutes later, I came back out and struck a pose in the doorway. Henry’s jaw
dropped as his eyes raked over me, making me feel every bit as sexy as I felt.
I sauntered over
to him in my fire-engine corset and lace
panties, a whip with a feather in my hands. He visibly swallowed when I straddled
him, running the feather down his torso.
“Elsie, you’re so
sexy,” he said, his fingers digging into my cheeks.
“I’m not Elsie
tonight,” I said, leaning over so that my breasts were nearly falling out of
the tight bodice. “Just call me Madam.”
“You planned this,
huh?” he asked with a grin. “I approve... Madam.”
please my one and only customer,” I said, raking my nails along his sides.
He folded his
hands behind his head. “Then go ahead and please me.”
I leaned down and
grabbed his wrists, taking the opportunity to run my tongue along the
pronounced cupid’s bow of his upper lip. “Keep your hands up here,” I ordered
in a husky voice. “The one rule in this bordello is that you must not touch me
with your hands.”
He lifted his
hips, his erection nudging me in the most delicious way. One dark eyebrow rose
“Yes, you may
touch me with that.” I sat up and with the
He made an
inarticulate noise like ungh before I
whipped the other nipple. The muscles along his jaw were jumping but he kept his
hands by his head. “I didn’t know you liked this kind of stuff.”
“I like anything
that involves teasing you.” I ran the feather end of the whip along the length
of his erection.
“Teasing?” he said
in a pained voice. “More like tormenting me.”
With a smile, I
sat back on my heels and gave little gentle lashes on his penis, making it jump
each time. Six, seven, eight times, each time hitting a different area, finishing
with one final whip at the tip.
His chest was
heaving and the muscles in his arms were straining. “I want to try that whip
out on you,” he gritted out.
“No touching me remember?” I
asked and stood up on the bed. I slid my palms along my waist, my fingers
hooking into my panties pulling them down as my hands continued
sliding down my thighs. Completely bent over, I stepped out of my panties and flashed
him a seductive smile, knowing my breasts were in his full view. I walked my
fingers from my feet to his legs, up his muscled thighs and to the twitching
muscle in between. My nails raked at his velvety skin, teasing him.
“That’s it,” he
said and bolted upright, capturing me in his arms. In the next instant, I was
on my back and Henry was crouched over me, his face dark and triumphant.
the bordello rules,” I said breathlessly, completely aroused by his show of
rules,” he said and grabbed my thighs, pulling them apart with no amount of
gentleness. Then he was surging inside me, taking me like a man deprived. He
pushed my legs upwards, resting them on his shoulders as he thrust into me over
and over. He leaned forward, the strain on my legs a delicious mixture of pain
and pleasure, and nudged at me even deeper. He caressed his cheek against the
inside of my leg and then bit at my skin.
I came instantly,
my legs trembling above me even as he licked at the tender spot on my calf. He
continued the assault, taking me over and over before he grabbed both my ankles
and plunged one last time, his face contorted into ecstasy.
Later that night,
after the chocolate and costume had all been put away, we lay together
wonderful, Madam,” he said, kissing my head. “I think I might have to hire you
“Works for me,” I
said, snuggling into his side, feeling the hair on his chest tickling my cheek.
“Do you like that
stuff?” he asked. “Play-acting like that?”
I opened my eyes
and lifted my head. “Like bondage?”
“Not just that,”
he said quickly. “I mean, just trying other stuff.”
I bit my lower lip
and considered his question. I looked down at the man, his face open and
hopeful, and I knew I would do anything and everything with him. “I’ll try it
all with you.”
He grinned like an
excited little schoolboy. His expression changed a moment later as his eyes
took on a meaningful glint. “You sure? I can think of a lot of kinky things to
do to you.”
“Kinky, huh?” I asked,
my heart beating wildly at the thought of things to come. “Bring it on.”
The next day we
woke to the smell of cinnamon rolls. We dressed and wandered downstairs until
we came upon the dining room. Jan, the & owner, was setting up food at the sideboard
while guests sat at the dining table. My mouth instantly watered at the sight
and smell of it all.
Jan called and motioned to the table. “Find yourself a seat.”
he dining table
was already full, with only one seat left open. ith everyone still eating, I guessed one of
us would have to stand to eat.
Henry walked over
to the empty seat and promptly sat down. I was about to grumble about chivalry
when he patted his thigh. “I have the seat in the house for you,” he said with
I sat on his leg, slightly
concerned about propriety. Sitting at the table with us were two women in their
twenties as well as an older couple, a man and a woman with grey hair and
“You two on your
honeymoon?” one of the girls asked, eyeing our wedding rings.
Henry wrapped an
arm around my waist. “Yes. Is it that obvious?”
Jan set two coffee
cups in front of us and filled them. I reached for the cream and sugar and
fixed our coffees.
The girl, who had
long dark hair and a beautifully exotic face, nodded. “Yes. You two have the
“What look?” I
asked, taking a tentative sip.
“The just fell in love look,” the other girl
The older lady
shook her head. “I think they look more like they just had some wild sex,” she
said with a faint smile. “Of the sweet kind.”
I nearly spit out
my coffee. Henry let out a low, deep chuckle. “That obvious, huh?” he asked.
“Our room is right
next to yours,” the older woman said, causing my face to flame instantly. I
didn’t realize that Henry and I had been so loud.
gentleman touched her arm. “Lori, stop. Can’t you see you’re embarrassing the
“I’m sorry if we
were a little loud,” I said.
The woman named
Lori shook her head. “No, there is nothing to be embarrassed about. You’re on
your honeymoon. Be as loud as you want.”
“So tell us your
story,” one of the girls said. “How did you two meet?”
“Well, her brother
was my best friend, so we pretty much grew up together,” Henry began, his palm
warm and comforting on my back. “We were just roommates until Elsie here changed
“It wasn’t my
fault,” I said in indignation. “At least, not entirely.”
So we told our
story, beginning the night at Tapwerks when we’d danced and the flames of lust had devoured
us both. Breakfast was long over by the time we’d finished. The younger girls
had excused themselves and gone on their way to meet with friends, but the
older couple, Lori and Stan, had stayed until the very end of the story.
young man,” Lori said, wagging a bony finger at Henry. “If I were her, I would
have moved in with Seth and told you to take a hike.”
I felt Henry’s
muscles turn to stone beneath me at the woman’s words, but he said nothing. He
just sat there silently while Lori gave him a tongue-lashing, telling him
things that he’d no doubt thought of already.
Finally I couldn’t
take it anymore. I mean, this was my husband we were talking about. “Trust me,
Lori, he knows, and has been trying
to make up for it ever since,” I said, squeezing Henry’s leg under the table.
Her face softened.
“I’m glad to hear it.”
“On paper Seth
seems like the logical choice, but I didn’t love him,” I said, leaning into
Henry’s chest. “I love this guy here, the one who makes mistakes and admits to
them. The one who’s loved me since I was a little brat.”
Stan gazed at us,
silent and strong, reminding me of someone else I knew. “Indeed,” he said. “If you
had done the logical thing, you wouldn’t be here right now on your honeymoon.”
Lori smiled with
some mischief in her eyes. “I just wanted to make sure your husband knew how
lucky he is.”
“I’m very much
aware of it,” Henry said, his breath so close to my ear it was almost a private
moment. “I’m the luckiest guy in the world.”
After breakfast we
walked a few blocks to the scooter rental store. We had enough money for two
scooters but decided one was much more romantic. Henry was suffering
that I would be passenger, which didn’t pan out for him when I insisted I take
the proverbial wheel.
It was a tiny
scooter and I’m sure he felt like a giant on it, but he didn’t complain. He
just climbed on behind me and grasped my waist.
“You ready?” I
asked and twisted the throttle. The bike jumped forward, throwing us backward
in our seat. Henry’s feet immediately found the ground and he steadied us as I
pressed on the brakes.
“Please don’t kill
us,” he said, laughing.
I turned around
and flashed him a smile. “Chicken?”
“With you at the
I tested the
sensitivity of the throttle and, after a few test runs in the parking lot, we
were finally off.
I took us around
Key West in a nonsensical fashion, driving by Ernest Hemingway’s home then
taking in the open-air aquarium. It was wonderful, being in control of where
and when we were going. Whether it was imagined or not, I felt a surge of
power, as if I was finally in charge of my destiny. Henry had given up control
of our relationship and was allowing me to take the lead. It was exhilarating
and scary, but most of all it was liberating.
It was around fourthirty by the
time we found ourselves at the southernmost point of the island, at the famous
red, black and yellow concrete buoy. We got off the scooter to take pictures
like the rest of the tourists exhilarated that Henry and I were here
together, at the southernmost point of the continental United States during the
northernmost point in our lives.
After dinner of delicious
Cuban food we took a walk on the beach and watched the sun set. As the sun went
from orange to purple, Henry pulled me to a stop by the water’s edge and
gathered me into his side. “There is nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean
refuses to stop kissing the shoreline no matter how many times it’s sent away,”
His words sent tingles down
my spine. “That’s beautiful.”
He squeezed my shoulder.
“It’s a quote from Sarah Kay, a spoken word poet. I just thought it fit the
moment.” He turned and faced me, his face rendered in shadows by the waning
light. “You’re the shoreline and I’m the ocean, and I will never stop coming
back to you.” He led me deeper into the , the wa now lapping nearly up to my knees.
He faced me, cupping my
cheeks in his hand.
“Every time I look at you, I can’t help but want to tell you how much I love
you,” he said then grinned. “Corny, isn’t it?”
I dug my toes into the
sand to keep from swaying. His words coupled with the tender look on his face made my heart
clench in my chest with a feeling so powerful it rendered me speechless. I
simply nodded and tried my best not to cry.
He looked away to the
horizon where the sea was kissing the last remnants of the sun and took a deep,
cleansing breath. “Life is good.”
I was about to issue a
heartfelt agreement when I felt a sting on my leg that began at one point and
quickly spread around my calf. “What the hell?” I asked, jumping backwards. “Ow.”
Henry scooped me up into
his arms and carried me back onto the dry sand where he set me down and
crouched by my leg. “Jellyfish,” he said with deeply furrowed eyebrows. He
picked me up again and started towards the water.
“What are you doing?” I
“We need to wash the
venom off,” he said, looking at the water closely for any signs of jellyfish
before dropping me in ankle-deep. He reached for his wallet and pulled out a
then began to scrape at the tentacles that were still on my leg.
I winced, hissing between
my teeth to keep from crying out loud. I didn’t know what hurt more: the stinging
tentacles or the plastic grating along my tender skin. Either way, that shit
“Sorry,” he said,
scraping gently but insistently. “We gotta get all of it off.” When he was
satisfied, he scooped up some seawater and poured it over my leg where several
angry lines were already puffing out. He repeated the process a few times and
asked, “Does that feel a little better?”
“Surprisingly, yes,” I
said. I thought the salt in the water was going to make it sting worse but it had the
“Let’s go to the
drugstore.” Henry tried to pick me back up but I wriggled out of his grasp.
“I can walk,” I said,
wincing with each step.
He rolled his eyes, bent down,
and threw me over his shoulder. “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should,”
he said, walking back towards the street.
“I’m fine,” I protested,
noting a few people glancing our way. “I’m not completely useless.”
He set me down by the
scooter. “Listen,” he said, rubbing my arms. “I promised in front of God and
everyone that I would take care of you o just let me, okay?”
“Okay, fine,” I said then reached
into my pocket and handed him the key. “Here. You drive.”
We stopped at the drug
Henry asked the pharmacist for jellyfish sting treatments, then proceeded to
buy everything that was suggested.
My leg was stinging and
itching something fierce by the time we got back to our room, but we were armed
with a bunch of stuff that included a bottle of vinegar, some hydrocortisone
a can of shaving cream should the vinegar not work. Henry emptied the plastic
bag on the bed and scrutinized the loot with his hands on his hips. “Which
should we try first?”
“Vinegar,” I said and got
up to get a washcloth.
Henry grabbed me by the
waist and set me back down on the bed. “Let me,” he said and went to the
bathroom with the bottle of vinegar. He came back a few moments later with a
damp, smelly washcloth in his hands and a towel over his shoulder. He laid the
towel underneath my leg and placed the washcloth over the puffy red welts on my
leg. “Okay, so thirty minutes of this,” he said, sitting down beside me. “How
does it feel?”
“It’s nice and cool,” I
said, leaning back on my elbows. “It still stings pretty bad.”
“You want an Advil?”
I shook my head. “The
pain’s still bearable,” I said. “It just sucks that it ruined our moment. It’s
not everyday you recite poetry to me.”
Henry grinned. “It’ll
happen again. Maybe.”
“Now?” I asked with a
He stared at me for a long
time. Finally, he said, “Nothing. I got nothing.”
“Why Henry, is this your
first case of performance anxiety?” I teased.
A wicked grin split his
face. “I don’t get performance anxiety,” he said and crouched over me. He took
my face in his hands and kissed me insistently. “It’s just that you smell like
a jar of pickled onions.”
“Aw, you know just the
right words to make a girl’s panties melt.” My hands stole under his shirt and
played along the taut muscles of his stomach.
“How does your leg feel?”
he asked in that raspy, turned-on voice.
“Still hurts. I think you
need to kiss it better.”
“Oh, I’ll kiss it better.
I’ll kiss it all better,” he said,
running his palms under my skirt, up and down my thighs. His lips captured my
mouth again, but as turned on as I was, the stinging on my leg wrenched me out
of the moment. Henry must have sensed that I wasn’t in the mood because he
pulled away and peeked at my leg under the washcloth. He patted the cloth back
into place and fell back onto the bed beside me.
“Hey Henry,” I said,
holding his blue gaze captive. I licked at my lips, my mouth suddenly dry at
the thought of bringing up a subject that I’d wondered about for months.
“Hey, Elsie,” he with a
tug on the side of his mouth.
“Remember when you said
at the museum that our memories gave you a sense of identity?” I asked.
He twisted to the side
his head on his hand. “Yeah?”
“But in the tapes, you
said that you’d lost sight of who you were because I consumed you?” I said.
“It’s both,” he said with
all sincerity. “They’re two sides of the same coin. That thing that confused
me, that made me feel lost, turned out to be my salvation in my darkest hour. Everything
changes. That changed.”
I swallowed. “What if ?”
“That will never happen.
You’re my wife now.”
I turned away. “That’s
sweet,” I said with a voice as sour as the liquid on my leg. “Staying with me
because some piece of paper said so.”
He held up my left hand
and fingered the rings there. “Please stop trying to pick a fight,” he said,
kissing my knuckles. “I’m not staying because a piece of paper or some priest
said so. You know that.”
“You’ll change again,
Henry. We both will.”
“Els, leaving you was the
hardest thing I’ve ever done, but it helped me come to terms with myself.”
“What if I need to leave and find myself?”
“Then I’d let you.”
I recoiled. “You’d let me
“If that’s what you
“And if I don’t come
“Then I’ll come and get
you,” he said simply, lacing a hand around the back of my head. “You’re stuck
with me forever, remember?”
“We’re back to staying
together because we’re legally bound.”
“I see our marriage as a
give and take, a pliable, moldable thing that will transform over time. A
house, children, grandchildren; all of that will inevitably change us. But the
thing that you can count on is that I will be there for you, because I made a vow.”
He kissed my forehead. “And I wholeheartedly intend keepit.”
H blue eyes bore into mine, me
to believe. “I’m never leaving you again, Elsie,” he said. “And if need be, I
will reassure you every single day of our lives. If that’s what it takes to
I nodded, .
“I’m sorry,” I said, shaking off the nerves that seemed to sneak up on me at
random times. “This is not appropriate honeymoon conversation.”
He swallowed, his Adam’s
apple bobbing up. “I hope one day you’ll finally, completely forgive me.”
I didn’t say anything. I
just looked into his face and hoped the same thing for myself. For as happy as
we were right now, our old issues were still lingering under the shiny surface
of our new life together, and sooner or later the sheen was going to wear off
and the issues would show once again.
Henry got up then and
went to the bathroom to rinse off the washcloth. “Another thirty minutes of
vinegar?” he called.
I looked at the red welts
and weighed the pain against the smell. “No. I think it’s ready for the
He came back out with a
non-smelly washcloth and wiped my leg before applying a healthy dose of the
feel better?” he asked, moving all of our drugstore purchases off the bed and
onto the bedside table.
“It’s getting there,” I
said with a meaningful look. “Thank you for taking care of me.”
He resumed his place on
the bed beside me. “Anything for you.”
That last night of our
honeymoon was the only time we didn’t make love. We were happy enough to simply
snuggle, bare skin touching, and talk. Henry tended to my leg a few more times
before he finally gave me some peace about the damned sting. It was only later,
when his breathing against my hair had deepened, that I finally understood his
Our honeymoon came to an
end the next day. We woke up early to return the scooter, Henry riding it to
the dealership while I followed in the rental car.
Then began our 3-hour
drive back to Miami to board the plane that would take us back to reality. Back
to the fixer-upper we had just put a down payment on, back to my job at Shake
Design, and back to the Police Academy where Henry would take the 27-week
course to become a cop.
The sun was only just
beginning to rise when we traversed the bridge over the body of water between
Stock Island and Boca Chica Key. I gazed out over the horizon, at the brilliant
yellows and oranges staining the sky, finding it an appropriate symbol for the
dawn of our new life.
Henry reached over and
grasped my hand. “What are you thinking?”
“I was just thinking
about , wondering what’s in store for us.”
“It will be perfect,” he
said with a confident nod of the head. “We’ll be that boring old couple with
the drama-free life.”
I smiled up at him,
hoping he was right. “I’ll learn to knit and you can smoke a pipe while reading
the newspaper every evening.”
He caught my teasing tone
and tickled my sides. “Exactly. It’ll be smooth sailing from here on out.”
~ the end for now ~