Ch. 23.1 One Night Is All...

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***Beth

When Beth woke up the next morning, she was disappointed to see that Russell had already gotten up and left the tiny tent. She had been hoping to catch him half asleep and ravish his aroused, early morning body before he could remember that their deal had been for the previous night.

What were the chances he had changed his mind and had decided that lots of sex with her was way better than no sex at all? Her heart skipped a beat at the memory of him kissing her neck, holding her trapped beneath him.

He had been so desperate to convince her stay and make love to her again. For her, he had explained. Irresistible was the only word she could use to describe him. Once again, she was weak, but she didn't exactly have any other men as fabulous as Russell beating down her door. No, she thought, there simply weren't any other men that could compare with Russell. He was the only one she wanted, ever again.

Oh, no. No, no, no. She shook herself mentally. After what Brian had done to her, that kind of thinking would invariably lead to trouble, complications and heartache. Spending the night with him did not mean she should have feelings for him—to the contrary—having fun is fine and healthy; falling for him would be a catastrophe.

Yet, when he had pulled her on top of him before entering her, saying he wanted to feel her bringing her pleasure, how could the storm of emotions not threaten to sweep her away? Was she confusing concern for her sexual satisfaction with feelings he might have for her?

She found him feeding branches to a small fire a few feet away from the tent, a silver colored, Italian coffee pot close by. He had his back to her.

"Morning," she said.

He turned with a smile; a warm inviting smile that brightened his eyes.

"Good morning. Did you sleep all right? The mats weren't too thin, were they?"

Admittedly, it had been a little uncomfortable and she had a few aches and stiff spots. But she had dropped off like a stone when Russell was done showing her what he thought of her body.

"Great. What time is it? How long have you been up?"

"For a while. It's about a quarter till seven. Here is your camping tooth powder; one hundred percent natural and biodegradable and I am heating the coffee right now."

"Wow. Thanks. I could grow to enjoy this. You picked up everything at the rental place? I'll go brush my teeth now and um...my bladder is rather full."

"Bladder needs can be taken care of in the bushes, same as brushing your teeth," he said, pointing to the trees and lush tropical underbrush behind the tent.

She took care of her necessities, exchanged the t-shirt she had slept in for a low cut tank-top and a loose cotton skirt. She left her bra off on purpose. She had noticed Russell's eyes straying to her chest twice already and she was not above employing cheap tricks to spark his interest. When she returned, she knelt to take the steaming cup he held up for her. She was halfway to her knees when she saw the winding cliffs below and the ocean unfolding to the distance.

"Oh, wow," she said, quite inadequately. She soaked it in; the aquamarine shallows darkening to cobalt blue in the soft morning light, the faint tendrils of steam creeping up the deep grooves in the hazy cliffs and Russell's broad back and side that she was just barely touching.

This moment could not last, was not meant to endure. She could pretend it would, though. She could imagine that the morning would stretch on and on, that the night she had spent making love to Russell and being loved in return was not an isolated encounter, but a promise for a lifetime. Not knowing what he expected from her, she took the risk to carefully place her arm around the front of his chest and to lean against him. He reached up to take her hand in return and she laid her head on the back of his shoulder. The trade winds spun around them, gently teasing Beth's skin and hair. There are many things, unfortunately, that cannot be caught by her camera.

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