Chapter Fourteen

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Chapter Fourteen 

Scorpio: Love and romance is on your agenda today, so make the most of feeling special, we all need love in our lives, to help us through the tough times to come.

Winter grabbed the rope handles and slipped her foot onto the first rung. Gradually, she climbed up, too afraid to look down she kept her gaze focussed on the branches above and the rope rungs. As she got closer to the end of the ladder, she noticed a wooden platform built within the branches of the pine tree, completely hidden from the naked eye from below. Winter gingerly stood up on the platform, ducking her head from the overhanging branches, like fingers grabbing at her hair. Once she was more or less upright, she noticed a whole structure in the shape of a house had been built in the tree, -a tree house just like the one she had loved as a child, complete with a door and open windows. Winter carefully stepped closer, holding onto branches for support. She peered into the doorway and saw more flowers and petals strewn across the threshold and tea light candles in multi-coloured votives dotted along the wooden floor, shaping a pathway to a huge pile of rainbow coloured cushions scattered on the floor. Leaning back against the cushions was Dan, smiling lazily like a crocodile in its den, awaiting its prey. "Bonsoir mon Cherie. You found my clues then?" 

"You did all this? For me?" Winter asked, astounded at the romantic gesture and the effort it took to create such a cozy idyll. 

"I promised you we would have some time together alone, now we can have all night. No-one knows we are here and I'm sure we won't be missed for one evening. Now come over here, I have been waiting for too long to kiss you." Winter didn't need another invitation, she stepped carefully around the candles and plopped down into the cushions, and into Dan's waiting arms. In the flickering candlelight they kissed and made love on the cushions, then lay back in each others arms, whispering endearments in the darkness. "I love you Winter, I want you beside me all day, every day." Dan murmured as a tropical thunderstorm exploded around them, rain thundering on the roof of the tree house and the nearby branches drumming out a tattoo on the wood. The tiny house swayed in the strong winds and the rain was deafening but they felt safe and cosy with each other. It seemed as if they were alone on a cloud, floating along in the huge empty sky, nothing but the universe around them. This was their safe space, a space where they could be free to say or do anything from their hearts. This was the time to give their passion and love full reign. Winter knew that anything she said from her heart in this tiny bubble of love would be their secret to share. "So where do we go from here? How can we spend more time together when I am supposed to be working and you are the activities co-ordinator on the cruise? It is a bit difficult to spend time alone without jeopardising our careers." Winter spoke loudly enough to be heard over the pelting rain. "I have been thinking about that too, but we only have a day left before the cruise is over. Maybe we can work something out." Dan replied, pulling Winter closer to his chest so he could imbue her warmth and feel her heart hammering against his skin, as if they were one being sharing a heart. "I know you Win, I know you are wanting answers to the future, but sometimes you have to realise that there aren't any answers. Not yet anyway, I have to think about what to do after the cruise is over, whether I want to continue with that career choice or do something else so we can spend more time together. Whatever happens I want to spend the rest of my life with you, wherever that may lead us!" Dan reached down to Winter's lips and kissed her to seal the deal he had made. But he still felt uneasy about keeping a secret from her and how that may affect their future. "Have you got enough research and interviews for your article? Are you happy with the information about the resort, did you put a positive spin on the resort?" Dan asked, curious.  

"I got some great material from the interviews, all the staff were so friendly and helpful and I think the eco-angle will be exactly what I needed, so I'm just about done. The resort will get a positive wrap because the eco-practices they employed were great. But I'm still curious about the millionaire who had the place built. I'd like to know more about him and why he decided to build a resort and how he came into his money. Maybe it's just the journalistic bug in me that wants to know everything, I hate loose ends." Winter smiled up at Dan. "Anyway, what's it got to do with you if I write the article in a positive or negative way? What's your connection to the resort?" Winter asked, her curiosity peaked. Her journalistic instinct told her there was some link between Dan and the resort but she couldn't put her finger on what it was. "I was only asking because that is why you came to be on the cruise, if it wasn't for your writing skills we may never had met up again."  

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