“What?” Ian asked with a smile, his Australian accent making my world tilt violently.
“You’re beautiful,” I said, eyes wide, taking in the man before me.
“You’re gonna make me blush,” he chuckled, and closed the gap between us.
Carefully Ian bent and gathered the hem of my long, clinging black dress and lifted it up my body. I held my arms aloft as the fabric slid up and over my head. He knelt before me and lifted a foot, gently removing the black high heel encasing it before repeating with the other. Still kneeling, his hands began at my ankles and traced up the outside edges of my calves and thighs, under my black satin spaghetti-strapped slip to the waistband of my hose. Ever so slowly, he pulled them down, stripping me of the sheer black bindings. As I stood there, in just my slip, he wrapped his arm around my waist and rested his head on my abdomen. Tenderly I ran my fingers through his thick dark hair, massaging his temples. He looked up at me.
“Marian, you have to know, this is special.”
“I know,” I whispered.
“But do you understand how special?”
“I don’t understand this,” Ian said, his voice cracking.
“I don’t either. But I’m not going to question it.”
“Me neither,” he said, standing and leading me to the bed.
He took off his shirt and underwear as I slid out of my slip. The small lamp in the room cast a silky glow across our bodies. Ian’s eyes were inky pools of passion as he watched me lie down, stretching on the creamy sheets, holding my arms open for him.
The weight of him on me was heaven. So much man, covering me completely. His kisses were passion defined, devouring my mouth, my throat, my breasts. In the dim light I gazed up at him, this man who resembled a Greek god. My legs spread of their own accord and we were joined, his muscled hips thrusting slowly.
I wish I had the words to describe what I felt in those moments as I clung to him, revelling in the pleasure… and something more. I wish you could know how it felt when at last he cried out, spilling his seed deep inside me, and then collapsed like a fallen marble statue on top of me. In those moments, whatever vestiges of self protection I had left vanished. And without him asking, I gave myself completely.
“Twelve fifty-nine,” he said.
“Hmmmm? What’s twelve fifty-nine?” I asked. I was drowsy from all the talking and love making we had enjoyed since closing the hotel room door four hours earlier.
“That’s the exact moment I saw you for the first time.”
“What? That’s not right. Wasn’t it 1:15 or so that you walked up?”
“No,” he said, stroking my hair as I lay curled up next to him, “I was there before, checking the start time of the tour. I saw you walking across the paddock and I felt this strange leaping inside my chest. It literally felt like my world shifted, like when two magnets snap together suddenly, only bigger than that. I thought, ‘This moment is important.’ And so I looked at my watch. It was 12:59 exactly.”
“I kept waiting for whoever you were with to join you,” I whispered, “I kept telling myself you couldn’t really be alone.”
Ian lay very still, looking up at the ceiling.
“How is a woman like you single?” he asked.
I looked away. I could not avoid telling him.
“I’m not,” I said.
Ian turned quickly and grasped my face between his hands, his eyes boring into mine with an intensity unlike any I had ever seen.
“I knew it,” he gasped, “I knew someone like you wouldn’t be. I knew you were taken.”
“You aren’t single either, are you?” I said, dreading the answer but knowing it had to be done.
He released my face and cradled his own.
“No,” came his muffled reply, “No, I’m not.”