After they had eaten, Winter packed the empty contents into the basket, her mood suddenly sombre. Her reminiscing had left her with more questions than answers, she was still unsure of Dan's feelings for her and she wanted with all her heart for him to declare he still loved her. Dan sensed her mood and decided to lighten things up, so he reached over and grabbed the empty wine bottle from her hands. "How about a game of spin the bottle?" he suggested, his right eyebrow raising. Winter busied herself with the picnic basket, hiding her blushing cheeks. "Ok, but how about we get to ask a question for each piece of clothing that gets removed", Winter suggested. She wanted to hear every detail she had missed in Dan's life for the past year, and she wanted to judge his mood so she could decide whether to tell him about her father's death. "You're on!" Dan grinned as he spun the bottle enthusiastically, so it rotated several times before pointing at Winter. "I bet you did that on purpose!" She shrieked. Winter slowly unstrapped one of her sandals, muttering "why didn't you tell me to wear more clothes? Ok, what's your question?" she asked apprehensively, hoping she wouldn't have to bare her soul already. "I'll start with an easy question, until we get warmed up a bit. How many stairs did we climb up to get here?" Dan's tiger eyes were dancing with mischief in the milky darkness. Winter sighed with relief and laughed, before answering "I can't remember I was too puffed out to count! All I could do was concentrate on climbing, not counting! Were there two hundred and seventy something stairs?" It was Winter's turn to spin the bottle next, and as it spun noisily she tried to think of a question she would like an answer to. As the bottle slowed down, then stopped in front of Dan, she leant back to watch him as he removed his left shoe. "I want to know if you remember the tree house dad built for me in the back yard." Winter had tried to remain light and playful, but her intense nature always took control. She always wanted to get straight to the nitty gritty of people's problems, and hated small talk. It was unsettling for people if they didn't know her to be suddenly asked in depth and personal questions about their lives.
"I don't know if that really constitutes a question. It seemed like more of a statement to me." Dan replied laconically. "Well are you going to answer my question or not? Otherwise you have to forfeit with a kiss" Winter leant across the space between them where the bottle lay on the floor. Dan reached up and stroked her jaw, holding her chin while he kissed her slowly. "I do remember your tree house. I also remember what we did in it on those rainy days and nights!" Dan whispered as he placed light gentle kisses across her jaw, then he moved away, resuming his cross legged position on the floor. Winter's cheeks flamed scarlet, as the memories of their tangled limbs, and flickering candlelight taunted her. After Dan had left, she never visited the tree house again and she rarely visited her childhood home either. Her mother still lived there but Winter didn't have the heart to visit since her father had died, there were just too many memories stored away in the books he had left on the shelf, in the photos that adorned the walls. The tree house would be in disrepair now, just another bead to add on to the necklace of grief she wore around her neck every day. Winter grabbed the bottle and spun it hard for her turn, watching dizzily as the colours merged into the darkness and the world grew fuzzy, like being a bubble in a lemonade can. It stopped abruptly but this time it pointed to herself. She was about it grab it and spin again, to make it point to Dan, but he reached out and held her wrist gently. "It still counts as a turn. You have to take off something and ask me another question." Winter removed her other sandal this time, taking her time to undo the strap. She could feel Dan's gaze burning her skin, could feel the sexual tension in the air. "Why didn't you stay around and fight for me? I was only with Alex because you never declared your feelings for me". Winter sat up, straightening her spine, and looked Dan right in the eyes, trying to gauge his reaction. "I loved you Win, I always have and I thought you knew that. But maybe I didn't make myself clear. I regret that now if that was the reason I lost you. I didn't fight for you because our last conversation made it clear that you didn't want me around. Besides, Alex was a very dangerous foe".
YOU ARE READING
Voyage of DiscoveryRomance
Winter and Dan were childhood sweethearts until tragedy drove them apart. When they meet again on a cruiseship, Winter as a travel writer and Dan as the activities co-ordinator on the cruise, their feelings for each other again rise to the surface...