It was the one time her lack of height had been a distinct advantage. If she hadn’t been kneeling on the padded bench in the back on the bar to see the drummer in the band he would have never seen her.
“What are you doing? Didn’t anyone ever teach you not to put your feet on the furniture?”
“I’ll have you know,” She said huffily, “My mother used to work for as a nanny in the Duke’s vacation home.” She was a bit sensitive on the subject. Oh the teasing she used to get.
“I truly and deeply apologize.” He rumbled. “If you wish I can make amends…”
“Amends? Manners? What are you bloody royalty? No, scratch that, I’ve met ‘em all. They’re polite and would have never have mentioned my sitting on the furniture, even if it bothered the bloody hell out of ‘em.”
“You should meet my mother.” He simpered. She’d never seen a man simper before. “She’d LOVE you.”
She paused to wonder what he meant by that. He couldn’t mean that how it sounded. They had just met.
She had heard rumors about this town. Weird things seemed to happen here. When she had been planning this vacation, she had heard about women who came here to “find true love” or “meet the one”. She didn’t believe it, of course. She had a healthy skepticism about anything involving romance.
“So why would I want to meet her?” She waited a bit too long. His attention seemed to be elsewhere. She wondered if he had even heard her. He seemed to be moving.
“Maybe you should come home with me and find out.” Faster then she could blink he had moved beside her and whispered into her ear. She felt it down to her soul. He had to have moved faster than lightning. It made her wonder about his agility and fitness at other things.
What was wrong with her? She wondered where these thoughts were coming from. She had never had such a feeling down in the bottom of her belly before. She almost wondered if he had roofied her. She looked to her girlfriends for help. They had brought her to this pub; this was their fault, she figured. Maybe they had rooofied her. She wouldn’t have put it past them. They were known for playing pranks like that. Also they had told her in plain English, or rather plain British since they were locals, they were tired of her not giving a damn about men in general and “any particular man in particular”.
“So, you never mentioned your name handsome stranger, or are you the tall, dark mysterious type? You know the kind of men that don’t answer any questions?” She had no idea where this outrageous flirting was coming from. It must have been the booze.
“And you still haven’t told me yours, dear lady. A tit for a tat. That would be fair, don’t you think?” He questioned her with grace and such confidence she could barely stop herself from telling the truth.
It was as if she was under a spell. She was barely able to cover the truth with a lie. “My name is silly, I don’t like using it. My mother along with being a nanny was also a hippie. Let’s just go with… Mary.”
“It’s a grand old name.”
“Ah, I see you’re here for the band.” They were a new wave revival band who took old standards and put them to modern tunes. “I love the mixing of old and new. It is great tradition and a modern twist; I don’t know any way to explain it better.”
“Please to meet you Mary, Let’s both keep guessing. Call me John.”
“Ah, He has a spare career?” She had never had the nerve to make jokes like this to a man. What was he, that he could turn her life upside down in a few brief moments? “I’m sorry. It must be the liquor. It’s so much stronger here. It’s an interesting place to holiday.”
“I knew I hadn’t pegged you for a local. I know the accent and no offense, you haven’t got it. Also I’m fairly regular around these parts, although I’ve never been to this bar before. I also have never met you before. I would have remembered you. Can I just say you have lovely eyes?”
“Yes, my organ donor thought so too.” Just when she was on a roll, that mouth of hers reasserted itself. It always got her in trouble. His face dropped visibly. He looked ashen.
“I’m kidding.” She backtracked quickly. “I just HATE corny lines. I’d rather someone talk to me about something we have in common. I’d rather have a bloody argument than hear corny pickup lines!”
He stood visibly shaking. He looked up through his eyelashes at her. She hated puppy dog eyes but on him it looked cute. He reached across the seat and grasped her hands. She wasn’t used to such intimate contact with strangers. She stayed absolutely still although inside she was trembling with fear and longing.
“I will make you a promise, here and now, that I will never say anything to that I do not mean with all my heart. I sincerely do like your eyes. I believe that you can see a person’s heart and soul their eyes. I think I see something in you that calls to some part of me that I did not dream existed and will be left broken and wanting if I was left bereft of you. Is that any better than a cheesy pick up line?” He had spoken for so long the rest of the world seemed to drop away. The night had gone silent around them. He waited for her reply.
She melted. She had never before felt this longing in her heart. She had never heard such eloquence. In a bar of all places! She didn’t know what to do. She looked around for her friends again. There was no help coming in that direction. They had found what they were looking for in this place in the middle of nowhere, too. This WAS where everyone seemed to find the love of their lives. She was in love.
“If you are willing to forgive my jest. I believe, though, we should start with some more circumspect behavior. Could we just sit and listen to the last song? After that, perhaps, we could find someplace uninterrupted and chat.” She barely believed she was suggesting going off with a man she’d just met, whose name she didn’t know! She was beginning to feel strange like a trance was upon her. Maybe the time would give her a chance to clear her head.
“I would like that. Is it permitted that I remain seated here or is it too presumptuous?” He waited with baited breath.
She paused to collect her thoughts. It took the briefest millisecond. “Please. Stay.” The longing in her voice both thrilled and scared them both.
He had never believed the stories about this town either. He had a few friends who had come here to met girls and come home with wives. That was how it worked. But what about a town could make you fall in love with someone; the very idea was silly! But his older brothers too in their day had come here. Low and behold, they came home married men. His mother had gone as far as to say that he was welcome to his great aunt Marie’s ring any time he was ready. Funny how the offer hadn’t come until the day before his holiday!
As the music wound down, she began to think about what was being considered here. If she was wrong about his intentions, she could be harming a potentially good friendship. Somehow she doubted friendship was on his mind. But when she got to the point of being involved with a boy where things got serious, or more then friendship, she got awkward, painfully so. She wasn’t meant to have love. She didn’t think any spell or voodoo or whatever was in the drinks could stop that. He seemed to be heading towards a distinct endgame here and that required a long term commitment on her part. She decided that when it came to it, she would be brutally honest.
He, too, was thinking. He was trying to figure out how to tell her. Words didn’t seem to cover the secret he was hiding. He was new to this secret keeping business. He had recently found out, although he knew that he was rich (not rich, that sounded too posh), wealthy, he was a yet heretofore undiscovered cadet line of the monarchy. Not here of course. As she said, everyone knew everyone royals here. There were no such things as a private life for the king and queen. But this was a little country he had never even heard of before last month.
It was his great aunt Marie. She was a queen. She didn’t actually rule anything, it was a title only. They valvued her opinions ,maybe, but ruled no. She had sent her little brother, his father into hiding during the last war and had lost contact. His father had been a very small child, not even one year old and had forgotten that even had a sister. She had been working hard to bring her country into the modern age and switching the rule from monarchy to a democracy. She decided that she would contact her brother when she realized she was not getting any younger. She needed an heir. Her brother was too old but he had sons.
Why she picked him over his older settled brothers, he didn’t know. He had to be married to inherit though. He knew that he was moving fast with this girl and that was part of the reason. The other reason was that he could see living with her for the rest of his life. He hoped he wouldn’t scare her off but he had to be honest with her. He couldn’t start a relationship off with a lie of that magnitude. He couldn’t even bare the fact that he had deceived her by lying about his name but there was an off chance that she had heard it mentioned in the news. He hadn’t wanted to scare her off right away.
The song ended on a bittersweet note. They looked at each other and stood. The friends that had disappeared now wandered over looking concerned. He nodded slightly to her, giving her the chance to speak first if she wished. They already seemed to have an inside voice in each other’s heads.
“Guys, I’m going off to walk around the town square with this nice young gentleman. Don’t worry, I won’t be too late. I have my phone. I’ll call if I’m going to be past 2.” As if that had been some sort of code phrase, their friends scattered like dust in the wind.
They walked in silence for some time, simply experiencing the night and each other. When they reached a small clearing, he pulled her down to a bare rock after clearing it gently. He sat beside her and put his arms around her.
“I have to tell you…”
“You really need to know…”
They both laughed. He had a deep laugh that came from the belly. She had a laugh like angels lighting from heaven.
“You go first.” He was being a gentleman. He could be nothing less.
“I don’t know quite how to tell you this.” She started to speak but the words came slowly, then almost rapid fire as she began to expose her soul to this man she barely knew. “I have problems with men. I don’t know what to do around them. I get flustered and frustrated and then I do stupid thing like say that I don’t like compliments or call them hookers, Sorry about that by the way, and then they end up hating me, and I barely end up with any friends and the girls I’m here with barely tolerate me and I can’t even tolerate myself sometimes and this is really stupid to be telling you but I think I’m in love with you and I want to run screaming into the night because I know I’m going to screw it up.” She paused to breathe.
He reached over and pulled her close. “Don’t ever think that you’re not wonderful. You are the most wonderful thing in the universe. That’s not a line. I’m in love with you, too. But you may not be in love with me. I… I… I can’t.” He turned away. He had tears in his eyes.
“Whatever it is we can face it. I know we can.” She now had faith in herself. He had given it back to her. It was the best gift she had ever received. She was ready to battle dragons, if she had to. She secretly hoped she didn’t have to.
“I’m royalty. I know you’ve met the ones here. It’s another country. Some little country no one’s heard of, except my dad because that’s where he was born. The family sent him away when he was a baby and it wasn’t safe until now. His sister is Queen. She wants to pick an heir. She wants me. I have to go and live there. I have to get married. I don’t have to run the country, it’s an honorary title, but I still have to have functions and parades and help work with the council and all the fancy stuff.” Her run on sentences were contagious. He had never told anyone how he felt about being a king. He really began to cry. “The worst part is, now that I’ve met you, I will have to leave and get married to someone and I can’t have you.” He bent his head in sorrow as though he was Atlas and the world was on his shoulders. He knew that he could never have his love and he was devastated.
She looked at him. She had tears forming too.
“You mean… we can’t ever date? You have to marry one of those bloody, royal gits? Do you have to leave soon? Do we have any time at all?” She was still reeling. She was doomed. She would have him for one night. She would do that. If that was all she could have, she would take it and be happy.
“No. I can marry who I want. But who would want to marry a man, move to a strange country that they have to rule, mostly, and do it on short notice? No one would. I’m doomed! I swear, I will never be happy.”
The echo of her own thoughts in his words sparked something she thought long ago dead in her. She didn’t hesitate.
“If that is an honest offer, I will. I do. I will marry you. I will move to your strange country. I will be your wife, to have and hold, in sickness and in health, till death do us part.”
“Then it is an honest offer, and I do. I will marry you. I will be your husband, to have and hold in sickness and in health, till death do us part.”
“In some countries and religions, that makes us married already.” She giggled. He wiped the tears off her face, then off his own. “How would you like to consummate our marriage, husband mine?”
He bent down to kiss her. His lips were wet with both their tears. He grasped the side of her face. Her tongue darted wildly into his mouth. The first lights of exploration fueled the flame of fire and want.
“Let’s move somewhere more comfortable. I don’t treasure the idea of rocks up my… back.” He seemed like he had experience. She had none. She looked at him with a wry smile.
“I hate to be brutally honest again but… I may be a tad bit… inexperienced. Yeah. Let’s go with inexperienced.” She looked at him with a touch of concern and fear.
“Don’t worry. I’m not. Oh God, That sounds horrible! But someone once told me. Never have two virgins in the room. Also, would you go to a student for a tutorial? I’ve had a few pointers from professionals. Wow, that sounds REALLY bad! Also I looked some things up on the internet afterwards that she mentioned and I questioned. But the good part is that I have a good idea of what to do with a virgin.” He was a brighter red then the summer at high noon. He seemed to realize that if being a king wasn’t going to dissuade her, his sexual experience just might!
She looked at him with a knowing glance and worry. “Should I be asking if you have had an AIDS/HIV test lately? Do you have condoms? I don’t even know what to ask? I’m so stupid about these things! You could probably do things to me and I would have no idea, I’m that clueless. Okay. Maybe, I’m not that clueless. But I’m kind of… well, how do you buy condoms? Where does everything go? I’m green as grass. I wouldn’t leave you because you’re experienced but would you leave me because I’m a virgin?”
“God! no! I love you just the way you are!” He realized what he said and started humming. “Don’t go changing… Sorry. But we’ll work it out. Also I had blood tests, I haven’t been with anyone in over a year and I had a blood test at my annual last month. As far as condoms, I have some back at my rental. My friends aren’t there. By the way, since we’re engaged, and kind of married shouldn’t we actually know each other’s names? I’m Tim.”
“My name actually is Mary. The best lie is the one that’s true. I heard that somewhere. I better let my friends know where I am. Or tell them that I’m not coming home?”
“No, I think you should stay with me. Friends that don’t make you feel tolerated aren’t your friends really. You can stay with me as long as you like. We’ll be married anyway. I like saying that by the way. You are going to stay with me forever, why not start a little earlier?”
They reached a little cottage by the water. He reached into his pocket for his keys. His hands were shaking as he fumbled to get them into the door. She didn’t notice as she texted her friends the words, “not coming home, don’t wait up, balderdash” Balderdash was their code word for everything is kosher. No one had kidnapped them or something. She had picked it figuring that was the opposite of what people would expect to see texted and therefore no one could guess it.
He flipped on the lights as they progressed to the bedroom. She looked around awkwardly, not quite knowing where to look. She was not lying about her experience, or lack thereof.
He took the lead now, slowly having her sit on the bed. He waited until she was settled. “I’m not going to do anything that you’re not ready for. If at any time you want to stop, say so. I am yours to command”
She felt warmth spread through her middle. It was a sensation she thought she’d never experience. If she died now, she would die happy. “Okay. Teach me.”
He had her lay back on the bed. He removed her shoes and socks. Then he lifted her skirt only to discover she had on bloomer shorts.
“What are these?” He growled gently. “They will never do.” He used his teeth to remove them. Her eyes shone with the light of a thousand suns and she felt warmer than a million stars. He then proceeded to do things she hadn’t known were possible. He started right away with his tongue and teeth. He was fierce and gentle at the same time. She had read things. They hadn’t prepared her. It was like the best ice cream she had ever had was melting on her tongue but it wasn’t her tongue. It was the core of her being and no one had ever told her it could feel this way! She was feeling a pressure build but it was a good pressure, like the kind of pressure of taking a test. She felt like she was striving to reach the stars. She felt as if she would explode! How much of this could one person take? Was there any way to stop this? Yes, he had said he said could stop anytime she wanted. But did she really want this to end, ever? No. She wanted to stay here, in this moment for the rest of time. There was something coming. There was something much bigger. She waited. He paused while she was right at the top, hanging at the edge.
“Are you ready?”
“Yes, Love. Take me home.”
He took her over the edge. She was flying. She now knew what all the fuss was about. Suddenly, all of those stupid love poems she read made sense. She was one of those girls. She was spiraling on the brink of oblivion. When she looked up, he was watching her. He had the biggest smile on his face.
“What?” She was the cat who had the canary.
“Just admiring a good night’s work. Now maybe you would like a shower then its bedtime.”
“But we didn’t… I mean I don’t know much, but I do know that.”
“Patience, love. First times, shouldn’t be rushed. Also, if we did, it would be extremely painful. We need to stretch you out a bit, so to speak. You wouldn’t run a marathon without having jogged for a few weeks before, would you?”
“Weeks?” She looked like she wanted to die. “Lord in heaven, take me now. I can’t have you for weeks? I thought you loved me.” She knew she was pouting, but she was a wonton woman now. “Take me and damn the consequences.”
“Honest, if I could do it without pain, I would. I’m dying here too. But you can return the favor if you like. You can take a course in male anatomy.” He seemed to be blushing with furious abandon. He leaned over and whisper directions in her ear.
She began to remove his pants. She started with his belt. She slowly unbuckled his trousers, determined to not botch this like she had botched all her previous relationships. As she reached his manliness, she decided firmness and gentleness, the same as he had used was in order. She bowed and placed her mouth on him. As she ran her tongue up and down him, he seemed to quake internally. He grasped her head to pull her closer. She liked it. It made her feel a closeness that she knew would never be matched. It was like pleasuring a god. She knew that what he had said about the after effects. He had said that she should move away. But he was her husband, or would be soon. This was hers by right and she was going to claim it. She felt him thrust into the back of her throat. This was the agreed upon signal. She felt him begin to pull away. She grabbed his butt and pulled him closer. A heavenly liquid spilled down her throat. This was what it was like to be wanted, loved and part of a relationship. She was content. This was as good as experiencing her ecstasy again. She took pleasure in his pleasure. She looked up at him with love in her eyes. He looked down at her with amazement.
“I told you not to swallow. Are you alright? Do you need something?”
“Let’s go shower.” She dragged him by the arms, throwing clothes as they ran, laughing. “I’ve never felt this good in my life. I want to run. I want to sing. I want to dance. Let’s dance.”
“First, let’s shower.” He laughed. “You want to shower afterwards because you could get an infection. You don’t want that. That would hold us up. I think we might be looking at days instead of weeks, you seem to be pliable.” He grinned. They entered the shower.
The water was cold when she got in. “Oi! What’s with that?” She was indignant, like a drowned cat. “Why the cold shower? Weren’t we having fun?”
“One. Bad things happen with hot water and sex. Trust me. It’s horrible to clean up afterwards. Two. You are going to feel it in a few minutes. This is an adrenaline rush. It will wear off in a bit and then you will be so tired you can’t open your eyes. I’d rather not have to carry you. So let’s shower quickly and go to bed. To sleep.”
“Spoilsport. I hope you have good conditioner.” She grumbled and grabbed at the bottles lining the shelves. She picked one and started lathering.
“Here, let me help you with that.” He began to apologize for the cold shower by warming her up with a tender scalp massage. It was truly lovely. She couldn’t stay mad at him for long. He knew when they eventually made love she would be grateful for the time spent here and now, preparing her.
“Alright, I get it. I understand. I’m starting to feel it. Or maybe it’s just the massage. I’m bushed.” She giggled. “Bed?”
He rinsed her off. “Yes. Sleep. Tomorrow we have thing to talk about and people to see and a wedding to plan.”
“A wedding.” She sighed. “I never thought I’d hear that word said to me, mentioned in regard to me, or talked about in my presence.”
“Well, we have a long journey ahead.”
They headed toward the bedroom and he picked her up and put her on the bed. He covered her up with a blanket.
“Wait. Aren’t you joining me?”
“I have to check and make sure I locked all the doors. I’m not sure I did in the rush of coming… in.”
She was too sleepy to argue. She closed her eyes and began to dream.