The Glenlivet flowed down his throat like a magic elixir, the fire muted by the whisky's extravagant bouquet. He needed it. Nearly twenty years had passed since the Stingfish had disappeared somewhere in the Pacific. Twenty years, and going to the memorial service hadn’t gotten any easier.
a handful of people had shown up this year at the Chapel of the Thames.
Right after the war it had been different; back then there hadn't been an
empty seat, attendees listening to speakers and family members sharing
heart-felt remembrances, often humorous, of Commander Vanderling and the rest of
his crew. The organizers had said
this year's service would be the last. He
wasn't surprised. Obviously the
widows had remarried or passed away themselves, the children getting on with
their lives, memories of a father that many had hardly known fading away.
Harry didn't really know why he still attended.
Truth be told, he never liked standing up in front of the families.
There was always the chance he would see the accusatory look in their
eyes, the stare that said, 'how is it that you survived?'
had not been his decision to make. Lieutenant
Harriman Nelson had instead been flat on his back in a hospital bed at Pearl
recovering from injuries received during a mission to the Japanese-held
Philippines. The boat had left
on its final war patrol without him.
No more yearly get-togethers, then, to remember the Stingfish. That such an event better suited him made him feel ashamed.
bar was located on the ground floor of his hotel with a street entrance on one
side and access to the hotel lobby across the room.
Besides the bartender, he was the only one in the place.
Cradling the glass, Harry contemplated his surroundings.
room looked familiar and comfortable, well-used, as most places in New London
were. In between the metal tins on
the walls advertising New England's best beers were photographs of submarines
and the men who have served aboard them. Many
of the photos were dingy with age. The
afternoon sun filtered through diamond shaped windows that allowed just enough
light in to be respectable. It
suited his desire to be alone. Each
year it was the same, the nagging feeling that he had failed somehow by
surviving. It hammered at his
senses and his short temper did the rest, the anger simmering just below the
surface. The almost empty bar was
the best place he could find to let everything settle.
light streaming in through the window panes suddenly changed as if the sky
outside had been turned off. The
shadow behind his glass disappeared. Harry
stared at the spot where it had been as if he could by force of will have the
sun return, brightening the walls and cleansing the corners of the room of their
dark matter. He was still staring at
it when the first faint mutterings of thunder shattered the silence and loaded
raindrops splattered the windows, signaling an early afternoon summer
thunderstorm. If it had come any
sooner there would have been no one at the chapel. That
that would have suited him caused another pain in his heart.
out of his uniform coat -- the service dress blues, not his NIMR uniform --
Harry draped it over the back of the bar stool.
Removing the outerwear might not have been regulation, but this was not
the time for strict adherence to rules. He
cleared his throat, a long rumble that hung on the air, hopefully chasing away
The bartender came over. “Were you here for the memorial service, sir?”
Harry took another drink and nodded.
When he put the glass down the other man plucked the bottle off a shelf
and poured another generous shot. “Thought
I recognized you. On me, Admiral
“That isn't necessary.”
“Yes, sir, it is.
I was in the first wave of guys who came ashore at Luzon.
Heard later about the intelligence you brought back.
If it hadn't been for you, I might never have made it onto that beach.”
“You're giving me too much credit, Mr.....”
“Just Charlie, sir. I was PFC Charlie Sanders back in '44. And no, sir, I don't think I'm exaggerating. We needed all the help we could get back then. You bringing those plans back detailing the Japanese defenses might just have been the edge we needed.”
Harry lifted his glass and acknowledged the
salute. “You're welcome, then,
“Not only me, Admiral.
My wife and my kids thank you,” Charlie said, grinning.
“I came back and helped raise a great family.
Got one at Harvard, even. If
you need anything else, sir, you let me know.”
Harry took all this in with a wry smile. Family. That was something he didn't have. As a pompous fool at the beginning of the war he’d deluded himself into thinking that no woman should be subject to the pain and uncertainty of wondering if her husband would come back from the fight. Getting the news of boats disappearing and presumed lost had stiffened his resolve and made him sure he'd done the right thing. Afterwards he’d convinced himself he was too busy to settle down, what with his career skyrocketing; sub commands interspersed with NATO assignments, instructor duty at the Academy and a final billet as Director, Naval Nuclear Propulsion. The contacts gleaned from years of membership in an elite scientific community had afterwards crystallized into the majestic beauty and power of Seaview. Through it all, he’d somehow managed to keep up the simplistic idea that marriage wasn’t in the cards for someone like him. Had there been chances for a wife and children? Plenty. So why hadn't he taken the matrimonial plunge? He was musing about the deeper mysteries of that particular motivation when a soft voice interrupted his reveries.
“Mind if I join you?”
In the act of bringing his glass to his lips,
Harry arrested the movement and cocked his head, staring at the woman who had
materialized at his elbow.
Without waiting for an answer she slid into the seat beside him, a cool, knowing look on her face. “I'll have what he's having, Charlie."
Harry put down the highball glass and regarded
her appraisingly. He liked what he
saw. A man would be crazy not to.
Mid-thirties, he thought.
A definite local accent. Long
loose curls of honey brown hair fell over her shoulders, held back from her
forehead by jeweled clips. She
had a thin, straight nose and sharp cheekbones, a very kissable mouth and
rounded chin. The sleeveless dress,
v-neckline tantalizingly deep, exposed creamy shoulders and an enticing figure.
The outfit's blue color made her skin seem paler than it was.
Just saying “blue” didn't do it justice, he decided; it was a blue
close to the color of the water surrounding the islands of the Aegean Sea.
Dark brown eyes were staring down at the bar top, golden-tipped lashes
slightly lowered, while she waited for her drink.
Charlie brought the glass -- not without a
disapproving frown, Harry noticed -- and she took a long swallow of it.
She flicked her eyes in Harry's direction, and her mouth, her very
sensuous red mouth, parted a bit to show white teeth.
Very slowly she stuck out the top of her tongue and caressed her upper
lip, staring unabashedly at him. He
“Like what you see?”
The comment was accompanied by a smile that was nothing but a covert
He could smell her perfume over the whisky.
There was something about her scent that was familiar.
Discreetly he breathed in, trying to pinpoint the memory, but it remained
elusive to his alcohol muddled brain.
She tipped up the glass and took another drink,
her eyes never leaving his. “Interested?”
she murmured seductively.
A certain face flashed through his mind, and irritation replaced everything else. He hadn't heard from Galené in a month, not since they had spent a passionate weekend together, love-making sessions that still burned in his soul. He shook his head and brought his mind back to the present. How could any man say that he held a goddess in his hand? There was no hope of exclusivity, not with an immortal being, one that moved in and out of people's lives over the span of centuries. Including the lives of other men. The flicker of jealousy that whipped through him caught him off-guard, and he took refuge in the inward turning of emotions that he could always call upon when the necessity arose.
today,” he answered brusquely.
woman shrugged, turning back to her drink. “You
certainly don't look happy. I could
cheer you up a bit.”
was persistent; he had to give her that. Another
thought whirled around in his brain. Did
she know who he was? Beautiful women
had been used since time immemorial to seduce and betray.
There were governments in the world only too happy to get hold of the
secrets he held.
fine. I don't need cheering up.
Tell your bosses that your charms just weren't working today.”
spun around on the bar stool until her left shoulder was almost attached to his
right. “My bosses?
What are you talking about?” Leaning
towards him, her lips close to his ear, she whispered, “I'm just a girl
looking for a good time and a little friendly company. You
seem a little lonely. I could fix
that for you. Let's make friends and
go somewhere nice and quiet.” She
smiled playfully as she gently stroked his cheek with the back of her hand, her
lips coming closer.
close. Needs that he normally kept
in check rose up, taunting. He
leaned away, reddened skin darkening ever further as she tilted a finely shaped
eyebrow upward. He was saved from
his discomfiture by the bartender.
came over and threw down his bar towel, startling the woman. She
splashed a little of the whisky out of her glass and glared up at him in
he ain't interested. Why don't you
find someplace else to drum up business?”
Shrugging, she spun around and faced the bar top. “It isn’t what you think, Charlie.” Pulling a bill out of her purse she threw it on the counter, then turned to Harry. “I'll leave you to your drinking, unless....” The invitation hung enticingly in the air.
had returned almost as quickly as it had left.
If she was waiting for him to say something, she was going to be waiting
a long time. To reiterate the point,
he took up his drink.
a humph of exasperation she jumped off the stool and walked away, disappearing
through the door.
drained the glass. It went down his
throat less restrained this time and he felt it shudder along his veins like a
bucking horse. He contemplated The
Glenlivet bottle on the glass shelf opposite him.
There had been a lot more alcohol in it when he'd arrived at the bar.
Time to get up from this stool before he made a fool of himself.
Harry looked at the open doorway for a moment and then at Charlie, who
was busily engaged in polishing glasses again.
He dug into his pocket.
done, Charlie. Put all this on my
room bill.” He extended a hand,
and Charlie moved over to grip it as Harry slipped him a generous tip.
“Nice to meet you.”
pleasure was all mine, sir.”
Swinging around on the bar stool, which was a mistake, for the ensuing swirl of stars in his eyes left him with the realization that he was just a little bit drunk, Harry grabbed up his coat and his cover and headed for the elevator.
she wasn’t done with him yet.
elevator door opened and he turned towards his room – and there she was,
leaning against his door. How had
she known what floor he was on, much less the exact room?
Harry instinctively braced, taking up a defensive stance.
“Please, I'm not some Mata Hari waiting to seduce you,” she said, straightening up and putting up her hands. “I just thought, by the way you looked at the memorial service, you could use some company afterwards.”
she been at the chapel? Somewhere
she’d acquired a crisp linen jacket that was now draped over her shoulders,
and as she pulled nervously at one of the lapels he recalled that there had been
a woman sitting alone in the back. The
jacket had effectively hidden the plunging neckline of the dress.
Quite the transformation. The
perfume assailed his senses again, this time much stronger, and he finally knew
it for what it was. The smell of
seawater, of foamy waves on an open sea.
“Good lord! Galené! I'm drunker than I thought -- I should have known it was you immediately.”
“Better late than never, Harry,” she said in the familiar
British accent, her own voice. Then
she stopped and stared at his face, her eyes going wide.
“You're angry with me! Why?”
do you think you’re playing at?” Harry
pushed her aside and opened the door, throwing his coat on a nearby desk.
He turned and faced her, hands on hips, raking his eyes up and down.
“I was supposed to fall for this? For
some streetwalker? Give me credit
for better taste.” Then, because
it made him feel good to say it, he continued.
“Damn it, Galené! You
cannot show up in my life on a whim and expect me to be grateful!”
He gestured toward the desk in the corner.
His briefcase was open upon it, surrounded by sheets of paper.
“I'm leaving tomorrow for a conference in Newport News.
I haven’t even finished going over my presentation.
I don't have time for your nonsense tonight!”
Her eyes faltered, and then hardened. “Nonsense? I haven't seen you in a month. I've thought about you many times since then. I broke away from something I was involved in because I knew you were going to this memorial service, and I thought you might need me, that I could help you through today. I even dressed up a bit for fun! Just because you're entitled to a pretty girl. Nonsense, you say? Fine. Enjoy your time being alone.” She whirled to leave.
without deliberation, he pounced - he had had enough of her walking away when it
suited her only. With a grunt he
grabbed her around the waist and pulled her backwards into the room, then shut
the door with a muted bang.
spun around like a top and ended up facing him, her mouth forming a large
“O.” Harry had never seen her
look so surprised, and he was suddenly filled with a feeling of triumph and a
fresh burst of anger.
“Oh, no, you don't! It's been a bad day, and you've made it worse. You think strutting around like a cheap whore would get my attention? Well, let's see it, then! I'd like to examine the goods before making any deal!”
look of dismay replaced the surprise. “Harry!
What are you saying? I never meant--”
didn't you mean? Were you testing
me? Is that what that
obnoxious display downstairs was all about?
Did you think I'd fall for any piece of tail that stuck her ass in my
face? That's not how people who love
each other behave, Galené.”
he had been vulgarly crude and yet used the word “love” in the same breath
didn't escape either of them. The
heat in her eyes softened and became a questioning look.
you? Yes, I was, in a way,” she
answered breathlessly. “You must
understand how hard it is to think the man you love is attracted only to
illusions, to someone that isn't real.”
dismissed that with an angry wave. “That's
just crap. When are you going to
believe I've come to know the difference? That
wasn't an illusion I took to my bed the last time you were with me!”
raised a hand to her hair, dislodging one of the clips.
The curls slipped forward over her face, and she pushed them back, her
eyes coming up and meeting his, their darkened depths revealing her confusion.
“I believe you. I do. You are a special case, Harry. I revealed myself to you almost from the beginning. But it always begins with the illusion...what other way is there? I can't just walk into a public place as I truly am.”
Damn the woman! Of course she was right. The first time he had seen her it had been as someone else, and even then, they had butted heads. No matter what she apparently thought it was the goddess he cared for, the real woman, intelligent, wise and stunningly beautiful, albeit with green tinted skin and swirling hair that was never still. Silver eyes that tilted at the corners, full of fire and passion. A body that fitted perfectly in his arms. He could almost taste her sensuous lips that caused his blood to boil on contact. A glorious creature that flitted through his life all too infrequently!
The windows of his hotel room had a view of the river, and he pushed roughly past her to fetch up against the expanse of glass. If he could have calmed down enough to contemplate the view he would have seen a magnificent sky, dark-bottomed clouds moving out towards New London harbor, wavelets catching the last glints of the setting sun and sparkling like thousands of miniature stars. Instead he stared unseeing, forming the words that bubbled up to the surface from an agitated mind. He was angry, angrier than he had been in a long time. Angry that he had survived when so many others had not and angry that she could always stir him so. What was the truth? Was she sincere? Or did she just like to toy, to play with emotions. She had had thousands of years to get good at it.
“I'll grant that you're right about one thing -- showing up as yourself in a public place is impossible. But you chose to believe that pretending to be a prostitute would pique my interest. What does that say about how you think of me?” He was becoming more and more conflicted by the second. “Is this what you do when you’ve realized you’ve made a mistake, and want to get rid of the inconvenience?”
She stopped still, as if she'd become encased in ice. “No, no! How can you say that? What have I done that could make you believe I have regrets?”
saw her in his mind’s eye, in the blue dress that reminded him of...now the
reference in his head made sense, damn it all!
Her scent was stealing towards him on the air, and impulsively he
breathed in the exotic taste of the sea. He
stayed facing the window, determined to ignore how it was teasing his senses.
have you done? You treated me as if I would be interested only in a body, a
beautiful face. As if the person
inside meant nothing to me. A piece
of tail, if we want to get vulgar about it again, and I rather think I do!
A man more interested in sex for the sake of it than the pleasure of it.
Is that how you see me? Is
that how you see all the men you've been with?
Your arrogance is revealing, goddess.”
He turned fiercely, the color in his face rising again, the blade of one
hand stabbing the air. “Tell me --
did I pass your test?”
answer was shockingly feeble. “Perhaps
I planned it as a test of lo--of loyalty, perhaps--” she stammered, the words
I am a United States Naval Officer! It
may be the world’s biggest cliché, but my entire adult life has been framed
by loyalty and fidelity!” With a
weary sigh Harry looked around the room, wishing he'd brought the bottle of
whisky back with him. “By God, how
did we ever get to this place,” he said more to himself than her, running a
hand through his hair in tired despair, dark feelings slowly being replaced by
fatigue. “Especially after the
last time we spent together.” His
troubled eyes sought hers. “Have
you forgotten that already?”
Her hands came up, pleading for understanding. “No, dearest, I haven't. All the apologies in the world won't make up for what I've done here today, I can see that. I started out with honest intentions. Then I went too far. All I can do is ask your forgiveness.” She reached out and took his wrists, turning the palms up, placing a soft kiss first on one and then the other. She stepped closer and moved his hands until they were wrapped around her waist. Her face came up to his in tempting anticipation.
caught her scent again, hauntingly familiar and dangerous. Not
this time. Not yet.
He felt his temper rising, flare anew and soon every inch of him was
rigid with indignation. He broke the
embrace, stepped backward so rapidly that she almost lost her balance, and heard
her sharp intake of breath.
baritone voice became harsh and hurtful. “And
what then? What happens the next
time you decide to have a little fun with a mere mortal?
And don't try to tell me there won't be a next time.”
caused an instant reaction. Her
brown eyes flashed with indignant fire. “Do
you presume to think you know me better than I do myself?”
“I think I know you
as well as you let anyone
know you! I've
seen you in many guises, Galené, and all at your own convenience! You
may think you can pull strings and have me become one of your puppets, as you’ve no doubt done
to countless others. Well,
I don't dance to anyone's tune. You
want to play games, you'll have to find someone else.
won't be me.”
and confusion sweep over her face, to be quickly replaced by something else.
“I thought I was doing the right thing.
My mistake. I've apologized,
and it should be enough. It would be
best if I just left until you’re feeling better.”
She took a determined step towards the door.
overtook him again. “Don’t think
you can pull away from me now!” he thundered.
Harry crushed her to him. His hands gripped her shoulders, pulling her closer, his lips buried in her neck, the fire consuming his senses. His breath caught and then mingled with hers, shuddering as he took her face in his hands and savaged her lips. He was rewarded by her transformation into her real body, the goddess’s body. The mass of grey-green hair twisted up to entwine him. He could feel the web of skin between her fingers as her hands circled the back of his neck. Then those fingers were in his hair, pulling his head back, her lips playing over his jaw line, nipping then soothingly sweet.
voice was low and urgent. “I will
try never to make you so angry again, agapitos.”
enormous pounding of his heart softened, the fury dissipating like the storm
outside that had gone as quickly as it had come.
Love, sweet and mellow, flowed through him.
The time they had been apart melted away.
He studied the startling, exotic face, the pale green skin that shaped
over sharp cheekbones and a wide brow, quicksilver eyes staring at him, the lips
in a darker shade of green, parted now as she took tiny breaths.
He traced his thumb down the soft skin of her cheekbone, knowing that the
taste was just as exquisite. The
mass of hair that was never still twined up and above her head, strands circling
around them both as she circled his back with her arms and held him in a strong
yet gentle grip.
face was very close to hers, bodies melded almost as
one, the heat racing in both. He
wanted just to stay together like this, to never let go.
How could he make that possible? Why
did he know by even thinking it, the wish was impossible?
He touched her lips lightly, and felt her slight tremor.
want to believe that's true. I
want to believe that you understand who I am and what's important to me.
But you come to me like a--” he couldn't use
the modern parlance for some reason “--like a harlot, and wonder why
* * * * *
nuzzled up under his chin and kissed him softly on the throat.
She could feel his skin getting warmer as they clung together.
Had centuries of omnipotence dulled
her senses to the feelings of these more fragile creatures?
had to make him understand.
“A long time ago I decided that being the Goddess of Calm Seas meant nothing. I needed to engage myself in the world I was supposedly guarding. In the course of doing that I've saved many lives. I've also taken lives. I'm capable of both. In doing all this it was necessary to become many different people, all with personalities and stories of their own. I've come to know what it means to be human. That’s dangerous. And I’ve come to know you. That may prove to be even more dangerous.”
pulled his lips to hers again and they kissed in unrestrained passion until
breathlessness drove them apart. But
there was more to this than a crescendo of heady naked desire, much more which
needed to be said. She tore her arms away and dragged
her fingers through her hair, lifting it up like a fountain, the memory
of his kisses sending electricity through her veins.
“Oh, Harry, we are combustible together, you and I. We are too accustomed to infallibility, my fine admiral. Passion aside, we both like our own way far too much.” Frowning, she said, “Do you think a future together is possible? Didn't today show you that our limited time together makes you angry with me? I'll never be able to be with you every day, you know that.”
Harry sighed deeply. His left hand was around her
waist, keeping her close. He used
his right hand to pull strands of hair away from her cheek, so that he could
kiss the pale green skin ever so softly.
let the memorial service cloud my reaction.
I'm angry at myself, not you. The
reality that you’re a goddess still boggles my mind, but I’ve seen the
evidence of it. How can I change
what you are? Why would I want to?
All we can do is learn to adjust to each other,” he murmured, brushing
his lips over her forehead.
tenderness Galené remembered was in his eyes and his hands.
It gave her a complete sense of satisfaction that what he hid so well
from others was hers to see and appreciate.
It underscored the responsibility she had to keep his trust.
“I want to say something, and I want you to listen. It's not an excuse. It's an explanation. Today, at the memorial service, I saw the way you looked when they had the tolling of the bell. I watched you at the bar for a few moments before I came in and saw the sorrow on your face then. My little charade ended up making you angry, angry enough that you forgot your guilt at being alive and that you just wanted to be alone.”
it alone a long time, Galené.”
And where do love and marriage fit into that plan, my dear?”
that was a question he hadn’t been expected to be asked.
The growing flush on his face wasn’t just from her closeness alone.
It was a great many seconds before he answered.
tell me you don’t read minds, but I wonder.... I was thinking about that very
thing while I was down in the bar. I
came close a few times. But then
I’d get a phone call about some new challenge that I couldn’t wait to take
on. And I’d go.
That didn’t set well, as you can imagine.”
“So you made up your mind on a course of action, and that was that.” She shook her head violently, the green-gray strands flying. “Oh, love, you’re so damn good at just pulling yourself in. But I've seen a chink in that armor. I've seen how you are around people at the Institute, how you feel for the men aboard Seaview. There's no need to hide your feelings any more. There never was, but I know how the military has always felt about that. You're a good actor, Harry. You can retire from the stage now, and become the human being that you have always been. No one is going to think less of you. They might even admire you for it.”
everything. Even how I feel about
She could feel the
beat of his heart, the heat from his body penetrating to her soul.
She closed her eyes and pictured him in her mind, imprinting the image
onto her brain forever. Physically
he was not a tall man, nor heavy or muscular.
He did not command with his bulk, but with the extreme force of his
personality, dominating any gathering he was in.
He was like metal to a magnet; people flock to him, military and
civilians alike. He did not suffer
fools gladly. All those who came in
contact with him knew that when those bright blue eyes flashed, attention to
detail had to be their byword as it was his.
She had seen him rub his ear when pondering a knotty problem.
It was a sure sign that his complex mind was working, seeking a solution.
When he spoke
his voice was hypnotizing, the sounds deep and rounded.
The intimate tone it held when he was using it against her mouth or neck
sent a tingle up her spine. In his
years of service he had acquired knowledge of language that formed a common bond
among sailors, of Anglo-Saxon phrases that could not be uttered in polite
society. But he was also a man of infinite learning, from English poets to Latin
philosophers, an intellectual giant who could hold his own in any situation.
The scientific turn of his mind, the brilliant analysis he could summon
was legendary. She could only hope
that she could prove worthy of his attention.
“What do you really want from me, Harriman?”
better question is what you want from me,” Harry
said thoughtfully. “I am
not a patient man. I know that
better than anyone.
My life has been one of unrelenting
service and while I regret nothing, it has left me lonely at long periods in my
life. Relationships have been
difficult to sustain when duty has intervened.
I made that decision many years ago.
Duty will always come first. For
both of us. Not coming home to you,
not finding you near me when I reach out for you in the night is a price I'm
willing to pay for the time we do have together.
When I love someone, there’s no other path for me, Galené.
It’s all or nothing, no matter what.”
sounded so right, so matter of fact. So
perfect for the both of them. But when would he get
restless with her? When would her
absences be too much? The threat
caught up her senses. She had lost
her heart to him, but that could be remedied.
What had been lost could be found. She’d
know when it was time to walk away, know when her going would cause him the
least unhappiness. She’d make that
decision, for both of them. For now
all she wanted to do was to lean over and press her lips to his, and make him
She smiled adoringly. “Then come to bed, my love, and prove it.”
Harry woke quietly, only opening his eyes, afraid that if he
turned he would find her gone. Then
a thick braid of green-grey hair fell across his arm, and he sighed loudly in
Galené gasped ruefully, forcing a smile.
“You're supposed to be asleep!”
wrapped his arms around her and pulled her onto his chest.
The events of the night before exploded in his brain, the sweetness of
her body and the passion of her mind-numbing caresses making him forget anything
past the emotions of the moment. That,
he realized, was her secret.
rolled off and turned on her side, propping her head up on an open hand. The
covers slipped down and exposed her breasts.
over and slid her hand over the silky skin, glorying as her eyes darkened and
then flared. To calm the fires
rising inside he looked around the room. His
eyes fell on his briefcase, now closed and resting squarely in the center of the
summarized your conclusions and prepared some points for a position paper.
It’s a long enough drive, you can work on it in the car.
Which, speaking of, will be here within the hour.
Time to get up and get dressed.”
planning to get rid of me?”
have a touch so wicked that if I stop to think about it one more minute, you
will never make it to Newport News.”
“Wicked, am I? I don't think I've ever been described like that. The car can wait.” He twined a lock of her hair around his finger, smiling when it tightened and held tight. “You're coming with me, of course.”
was watching her, with the deep, guarded look he used to good advantage. The
one that said no more discussion was coming.
She curled into his shoulder, taking in his strength, and smiled up at him. “I don't think I have anywhere I need to be in the next few hours,” she confirmed lightly.
certainly hope so.”
grinned and then
laughed out loud when he sputtered an oath as she nipped at his skin.”And
I need to tell you? I thought
words were cut off as Galené silenced him by putting her fingers to his lips. When
she spoke, her voice resounded with passion.
“You don't need to tell me,” she replied softly.
“We will always have these moments, my love.
I want you to be happy.
I want to be a part of that happiness.
But there will be times when I cannot do or be all you want me to.
For both of us, our work is our lives.
Whenever we’re apart, which will be often, remember how I feel about
you. I need your strength, and your
solidity. I need everything that you
are....” The words faltered as she stared at his face.
“Have I said something wrong?”
was all he could get out. She was a
goddess, and she was telling him she needed him.
But this was always going to be the elephant in the room, he realized.
It had been evident from the moment she’d told him what she was.
When would she get restless? When
would his world not be enough for her? He’d
make that decision for her -- for them both before loathing drove them apart.
He’d know when to walk away. For
lass,” he said, speaking slowly. “You
didn't say anything wrong.”
she pulled herself up until she was again stretched full length against him.
She was rewarded with a deep and meaningful groan.
“I'm glad. I did a bad job
of it for a while there. I thought
perhaps you wanted me to say something else.”
didn't know if he could live up to her expectations.
What he did know was that the desire in her eyes reflected his own.
Harry laughed a throaty laugh and hugged her closer,
refusing to let his thoughts linger too long on what the future
might hold. “There is one
Her brows knit together. “And
what would that be?”
He kissed the little space of wrinkled skin in the center of her forehead, and felt her whole body relax.
“That you’re mine.”
“I’m yours, Harry. I’m
I will keep you safe and strong and sheltered from the storm
No matter where it's barren, a dream is being born
No matter who they follow, no matter where they lead
No matter how they judge us, I'll be everyone you need
No matter if the sun don't shine or if the skies are blue
No matter what the ending, my life began with you
I can't deny what I believe, I can't be what I'm not
I know this love's forever, I know no matter what
No Matter What
by Jim Steinman, Music by Andrew Lloyd Weber
Agapitos - Ancient Greek word for “beloved”