“Did you mean what you said in the classroom about wanting someone to share your life with?” Laura asked, never once taking her eyes from his.
Sean looked back at this woman who he could not walk away from. These past few days getting to know her had made him realise how empty his personal life was.
“Not just someone Laura, you. But I still don’t know how much I can offer you. My last attempt at a relationship was a long time ago, and a dismal failure. But I’m willing to try again now.”
“Were you in love with the girl you were engaged to?” Laura asked, remembering he had told her that his fiancée had broken off the engagement the morning of their wedding.
“I thought I was, or rather I assumed I was,“ Sean replied with a sigh. I guess I didn’t think about it enough at the time. Carrie was a pretty girl, and her family was well connected. Our fathers introduced us and planted the idea of marriage very early on. As far as my parents were concerned, life is a series of business deals. You do what is best for business. That’s how their relationship worked and how they saw everyone else’s relationship. I didn’t know any different. I treated Carrie as my father treated my mother. I expected her to be there when I needed her for business functions and the like. We never spent any real time alone together. I had my life and she had hers. “
Laura thought about Sean’s words carefully. From what he was saying, his relationship had been totally devoid of emotion, certainly on his part. She found herself wondering if Carrie had been in love with him, and if she had, how hurt she must have felt when she realised Sean did not love her back.
“Were your parents in love do you think?” Laura asked.
“I think in their own way they were. They were both totally committed to the company, and business was everything. But their relationship worked. I never remember them fighting or arguing, but then again I never remember them hugging or kissing.“ Sean gave a soft laugh. “We were never exactly a very demonstrative family emotionally.
Laura reached out and took Sean’s hand across the table. She thought back to her own childhood and the constant love and affection she received and gave in return to her mother. Her mother had taught her to love wholeheartedly. Sean didn’t seem to have had any role models to show him what love truly was. No wonder he shied away from relationships.
“So what about me, Sean? What do you feel for me?” Laura asked. In her heart she felt the love between them, but the doubts remained on the surface, she still needed the reassurance of something tangible like words. She felt her heart thudding in her chest as she waited for Sean’s reply.
Sean took Laura’s other hand in his and held them both gently. Her skin was soft and warm, free of any rings and seemed to fit perfectly inside his. “When you aren’t around me, I feel like a part of me is missing. I don’t understand that feeling, or know that I can put a name to it, but it is such a strong feeling that I don’t want to leave here without you Laura.” He raised her hands to his lips and kissed them gently, closing his eyes as he did so. Laura felt intense jolts of pleasure stream up her body from his soft kiss, and her whole body reacted so fiercely she could not help herself. She stood up, Sean standing with her and moving slightly to the side of the table, their lips found each other’s and melted into a long, slow kiss. Tongues dancing lightly around their mouths, exploring and caressing, fuelled by uncontrollable desire and longing.
A wolf whistle across the street broke their kiss, and Laura flushed as she drew away. Sean brushed a stray strand of hair away from her face, brushing her skin with his fingertips as he did so. He then reached for his wallet, placed some bills under a glass on the table, and took Laura by the hand. “Come on, let’s walk a little,” he said.
They walked in silence for a while, each lost in their own thoughts. They looked like any other young couple in love, strolling through the streets of town, hand in hand. Sean turned his head towards Laura and asked, “So are you ready to leave this town?”
Laura nodded slowly, “Yes, Sean, I think I am.”
Sean kept on looking at her, wondering again, why she had hidden herself away for all this time, only now saying she was ready to experience life, and have adventure. The death of her mother had obviously impacted her greatly, but so far, she had not wanted to talk about that time of her life. Sean remembered how upset she had become when he had touched her scar as they sat on the beach earlier in the week.
As if she could read his thoughts, Laura reached up with her free hand and touched her scar. She tightened her grip on Sean’s hand and slowed to a standstill. They had reached the edge of the beach now, and Laura motioned to a bench nearby where they could sit. Once they were both seated next to each other, their thighs touching, Laura shifted slightly in her seat and turned so she could face Sean. “I need to tell you about my mother’s accident” she said. She took a deep breath to steady her emotions before relating the story for the first time in four years. She finally felt ready to talk about the event that had changed her life, to tell the man who had changed her life again seemed somehow the right thing to do. Sean listened intently, never interrupting, and never letting go of her hand.
“Mum and I had been planning a trip for years. Over my last few years of school, mum studied part time at Uni, majoring in anthropology. She had always wanted to go to South America. The Mayan culture fascinated her, and this was a trip of a lifetime for us both, a celebration of the bond the two of us shared, and our dreams for the future, before she went back to work, and I went off to University in another town.“ Laura paused and looked out to sea, allowing herself to remember again.
“Finally the day we were due to fly out arrived. We had talked and planned for this trip for so long, we were both just so excited. We decided to go to the shops to pick up a few things for the long flight ahead of us. Mum let me drive, I’d just recently passed my test and was happy to be able to drive Mum around for a change.” Laura paused again, and Sean could see she was struggling to fight back the tears that were moistening her eyes. He squeezed her hand reassuringly and waited patiently until she was ready to continue.
“It wasn’t a long drive, just a little further than we wanted to walk. It wasn’t a particularly busy road, but there were lots of side streets coming into it. Mum and I were chatting, talking about all the amazing places we were going to see. We were so happy, I remember laughing at one of mum’s comments, and that’s when the car hit us.” The tears now spilled over out of Laura’s eyes and ran slowly down both her cheeks. “I didn’t even see it coming Sean. If only I had been paying more attention to the road and not been talking then maybe I could have swerved to avoid it. I just didn’t see it.” She said, then lowering her head slightly, she leaned in towards Sean’s shoulder and let the tears flow freely. Sean held her as she finally opened the door to her past and released herself from the guilt and pain that had held her back for four long years.
When Laura’s tears finally ceased falling, she straightened up and wiped her tears with the backs of her hands before finishing her story. “The car came out of one of the side roads. The driver simply did not slow down for the junction. He clearly wasn’t expecting any other car to be on the road. His car hit us side on, directly into where mum was sitting. She was killed instantly, as was the other driver, who wasn’t even wearing a seatbelt. I walked away with just this small cut on my face.” This time it was Sean that touched the scar, gently stroking her face with his hand.
“I blamed myself Sean,” Laura said, lifting her head up now, facing him just as she was now finally facing up to the truth. “I convinced myself that if I had been concentrating solely on driving, and not distracted by thinking of our trip, that I could have prevented the accident. But I was driving safely. There was an investigation of course, after the accident. They told me that there was nothing more I could have done. The other driver was completely at fault, we were just unlucky to have been in his path. But I couldn’t accept that losing my mum was just bad luck on my part. I couldn’t stand that there was nothing I could do or have done. So I told myself that I needed to keep my eyes and my mind on the present from then on. I became terrified to look to the future, in case I got distracted from the present and lost anything I had left.”
“It seems silly now, to say that.” Laura smiled sadly. “That I somehow managed to blame Mum’s death on the fact that I had dreams for the future. But I guess everyone deals with grief in a different way, and that was my way.”
“Well, I think you’re right Laura, it’s time you let yourself dream again” Sean said. He finally understood now why such a beautiful and intelligent girl had been holding herself back. How she must have suffered, to have convinced herself that in some way she was responsible for her own mother’s death.
Laura felt as though an enormous weight had been lifted from her after telling the story of her mother’s death. It now seemed insane, that one moment could change her life so dramatically. Her mother had always taught her to cherish her dreams and reach for them wholeheartedly. She had encouraged her to live life to the full, take chances and embrace new experiences. “Bad things happen Laura, you just have to learn to get past them and concentrate on the good things” her mum had once said to her. How could she have forgotten all those lessons her mother had taught her? If she was here today, she would be shocked at how Laura had been living her life these past four years.
Laura looked at Sean, the last of her doubts washed away by her tears. She knew now that she would go with him. She recalled how she had first felt when he walked into Pedro’s restaurant for the first time just a few short days ago. She could not take her eyes off him, and her heart had known then, if not her mind, that he would change her life forever.
They sat holding each other for a while longer, Laura’s head resting on Sean’s broad shoulder, his arm around her, both of them looking out to the horizon over the sea. The sun was now casting long shadows onto the beach as the intense daytime heat started to lessen. Siesta was coming to an end and the town was beginning to awaken once more for the evening. Slowly, Sean straightened up, lifting Laura’s head gently with his hand under her chin. “Would you like to come up to my suite and have something to eat? I could order room service and we could eat out on the balcony. The view is quite fantastic.”
Laura smiled at Sean, but instead of replying she leaned closer and pressed her lips to his, reaching her hands up to hold his face in her palms. He returned her kiss with a growing intensity. Opening up to each other emotionally, only seemed to have strengthened the desire they both felt. “Come on,” Sean muttered, standing up and kissing her deeply, pressing his body up against hers, leaving Laura in no doubt as to the full extent of his desire for her. Sean led Laura by the hand to his hotel, and up in the lift to the penthouse suite where he swiped his card through the lock on the door and pulled her swiftly inside and back into his arms.
Sean rained kisses on Laura’s face and neck, groaning in anticipation of finally making love to the woman who had taken such a firm hold of his heart. He could still taste the saltiness of her dried tears on her face, reminding him of her story, and fuelling the need he felt to protect her against hurt and harm. He returned his mouth to hers and they were lost in a kiss that seemed to embody the undeniable connection that had formed between them on first sight. Unstoppable, warm and deep. Sean let his hands roam over Laura’s shoulders, arms and back, enjoying smooth silkiness of her skin stretched over her firm muscles. Moving lower he lifted her t-shirt up and over her head, drinking in the sight of her small, pert bosom, held snugly by a sexy lacy bra. With a deft flick of his fingers behind her back, Sean released the catch, and turned his full attention to Laura’s naked upper torso.
Laura whimpered, unsure of how long she could stand this much pleasure. All the attraction and desire that she has felt building up inside her from her first encounter with this man, she could now fulfil. She reached for his shirt as Sean took a step back, those black eyes of his, glinting like a panther, dangerously fierce, causing Laura to feel a melting sensation between her legs. She slowly unbuttoned his shirt, to expose that manly chest that was firmly etched in her mind’s eye after seeing it when they met running on the beach. The perfect outline of his muscular chest and stomach were just begging to be caressed. She reached out and traced the outline of each muscle in turn, using both her hands, marvelling at the perfection of him, and the fact that she was here with him.
With a low growl, Sean pulled Laura to him and lifted her as if she weighed nothing onto the soft downy cover on the bed. Their lovemaking was alternately hungry and passionate, then slow and tender, just as their emotions had been over the past few days, highs and lows reflecting an intense desire and a deep emotional understanding of each other’s fears and expectations.
When they finally lay naked and entangled in the remaining bedclothes, Laura pushed herself up on one elbow and eyed Sean with a teasing smile. “So what happened to something to eat out on your balcony?”
Sean laughed out loud, a deep throated, totally relaxed sound that made Laura feel completely at ease and more content than she had ever felt. Being here with Sean just felt right. It was where she belonged and she now knew that with such a certainty, it surprised her to think that she had only known him for four days, yet those four days seemed like a lifetime when she thought of the change that it had brought in both her and her life.
Sean took a long look at Laura, her hair loose and draped seductively down, just covering her breasts. She was still wearing the diamond necklace, which was glinting out between the strands of dark hair, catching the last of the daylight as the sun finally dipped down to the horizon, continuing on it’s never ending circle, bringing light and warmth the world over. Having a beautiful woman in his bed was no new experience for Sean Fenton, he was no monk, but this woman lying next to him now had opened up a whole new world of emotions he had barely been aware of. His physical desire for her was tempered by that strange need to protect her. Not because she was weak, and needed help, no Laura was clearly a strong woman, more than capable of taking care of herself. No, he thought, it was more a feeling he felt towards her, rather than because of her. He cared for her, he realised. Had he ever really cared for anyone before?
Sighing as he disentangled himself from Laura, Sean reached for the phone. “What would you like for dinner?” he asked, clearly reluctant to think of something other than their lovemaking, his eyes still roving hungrily over Laura’s supple body.
“Seafood,” Laura said decisively, but as she said it, she rolled towards Sean kissing his magnificent chest, mumbling “just first, let’s....” she trailed off, as she felt Sean’s manhood pressing against her stomach urgently, as she heard the phone drop to the floor the clatter barely heard over another of Sean’s panther-like growls as he rolled her over and pinned her to the bed. “I see you’ve finally decided what you want to do!” he remarked, before they were both swept up to new heights of ecstasy as they explored every inch of each other’s bodies, both of them lost in the moment, totally unaware of the slowly darkening world around them.
By the time they eventually sat down to eat a sumptuous dinner laid out on the glass table on the balcony, the sky had become completely black and was filled with billions of tiny, twinkling stars, like diamonds laid out on a jewellery shop counter. Sean had been right, the view was magnificent. They had chosen to eat on the eastern side of the massive wrap around balcony, so they could look out over the sea.
“There’s something about staring out to sea” said Laura as she sipped her champagne. “The limitless stretch of the horizon and the constant motion of the sea, it’s very calming.”
“I agree, and to sit on a boat and look out, so you can feel the motion as well as see it, there’s nothing quite like it!” Sean replied.
They sat looking out over the ocean, chatting amicably as they finished the champagne. When Sean set down his empty glass on the table, he turned to Laura, “Dessert?” he asked, his eyes clearly suggesting that dessert did not mean more food! Laura set her glass down next to Sean’s and hand in hand they retired inside, once again becoming oblivious to anything other than each other.
When Laura finally fell asleep, much, much later, safely wrapped in Sean’s strong arms, her heart was full, and her mind finally at ease. She had taken that first leap into the unknown, she had opened up and given of herself wholly and completely, body and mind, to Sean Fenton. She didn’t know what the future held, or where she would end up, and right now, she didn’t care at all. For once she was happy to revel in the moment, tomorrow they would talk about tomorrow! She no longer had any doubts about how she and Sean felt about each other. Their current lives may not be compatible, but Sean and Laura were, and they would find a way to be together, of that she was sure. No more worries, no more doubts she told herself, and snuggled into Sean’s warm body, his chest gently rising and falling like the sea they had watched together earlier. She laid her head on his chest content at last.
The story continues tomorrow....