Part 47: Wonderful Tonight
By the time the band picked things up again, we were ready to go. With another song from my youth, “Sweet Virginia Breeze”, playing perfectly at our backs we walked back up the gravel drive to Orchard House. If upon our arrival at the party everyone was watching us, we felt they were watching us still, and as we reached the top of the hill we turned to see everybody still having a good time dancing and hanging out on a Saturday night. We shared a kiss by the magnolia tree and then went inside, closing the outside world from us for the rest of the night. Summer went and sat at the kitchen table, stretching her legs out in front of her. “Tonight has been so wonderful,” she said.
I sat down beside her, draping my tuxedo jacket on the back of the chair. “Yes, it has. Out there, dancing in front of everyone, I have never felt so alive.”
“I know. I felt it too. I’ve been dancing before, but tonight was truly special. Thank you.”
“I should be thanking you, Summer. Every day you liberate me further and further from my old life. And I’m all the better for it. You are the best thing to ever happen to me.”
She raised an eyebrow. “Ever?”
She smiled and stood up. Leaning over, she kissed me lightly on the lips. Then she turned her back to me. “Unzip me?” she asked.
I easily obliged her, slowly pulling the zipper down her back, until it stopped just above her panty line. My finger traced a path back up her body to her neck, marveling at her soft skin and the way her breath changed from even to heavy. She stepped away from me, as my fingers made the descent once more, tracing down her back to stop at the top of her panties, tracing a new line across its soft silky fabric. She stepped further out of my reach and headed into the living room. I followed in her wake and as she rounded the corner to leave that room and into the hall, the dress slipped from her shoulders. She peeled it from her frame and allowed it to slide down her body to the floor. She stepped out of it, her bare back fully revealed in the dim lights of the corridor. She slipped her fingers into the band of her underwear, also allowing it to slide down her legs. She stepped out of these too and moved like a beautiful wraith down the hall and into the nearest bedroom, one that until now had been untouched by either of us.
Following her into the room I shut the door quietly behind me. Though we were the only two people in the house, it made me think of us as secluded and shut off from the entire world. Here it was just she and I in our own realm of love and existence.
Summer stood in the corner illuminated by the small lamp that sat on the nightstand. Her body in the glow was heavenly and I found myself just as nervous as the first time we made love. Shakily, I unbuttoned my shirt and let it drop at the foot of the bed. I heard her intake of breath as I unfastened my pants and let them fall at my feet for me to step out of. Removing my last articles of clothing, I walked slowly to her and turned off the lamp. Through the slightly parted curtains, the light of the moon as well as the glow from a dusk to dawn light outside, now outlined her shape, and my hands reached for her, settling gently on her hips. I drew her to me, and as her body came to rest against mine, her bare breasts resting softly against the hair on my chest, it was as if an electric current coursed through us both, and our lips crushed and melted against the other, as if it was to be our last kiss.
A thought rushed through my head as the street party went on without us in the field by the road. Was the party so exciting because it would be the last time we’d have a wild, abandoned time before having to leave Orchard House? At this, I held her tighter, not wanting to let go, and as I guided her to the bed, she took the lead, easing me down to the mattress. She lay over me with a sweetness and desire that not only was of physical pleasure, but of a deep, emotional, perhaps even spiritual longing that had finally been fulfilled.
The music down the hill played on, Eric Clapton’s “Wonderful Tonight”. I found myself swimming in the beautiful rhythm of love that Summer brought to me in this most intimate of moments. And while the music eventually faded with the most romantic version ever of “Lady In Red”, and the noise from the street party dissipated, all the participants headed back to their homes. The sound of our gentle lovemaking echoed through the house, until even we too were settled in the safety of each other. Summer fell asleep atop me, her face buried in my neck, her body perfectly curled with mine. And somewhere in my thoughts, right before the pleasant easing of sleep after the fire of two bodies has faded, I believed that the heart and soul of Orchard House was smiling, it too touched by the passions that spun us in their beautiful, comforting webs.
The morning light coming through the window played across Summer’s body. This was the most beautiful sight I could ever behold upon waking, her naked body half splayed across mine. One of her legs was draped over mine. Her head had slid from my neck to my chest. One hand rested on my stomach, the other on my thigh. Her brown hair seemed to shimmer in red highlights from the thin sunbeams that illuminated the room. Her skin seemed even softer in the morning than it had during our lovemaking, and I counted the freckles on her shoulder with my fingertips, touching each one once, as if I were touching the heavens and personally naming the stars. Her eyes fluttered and opened.. They went from groggy sleep to wide awake knowing, taking me in just as my eyes took her. If a person’s eyes could smile, then hers brightened up the whole room. From there the smile went to her lips, followed by a long loving kiss that warmed me just as surely as the sunlight across the bed.
“Good morning beautiful,” I whispered.
“Good morning, handsome man.”
“I love you.”
She closed her eyes and opened them again with a smile. “I love you, too.”
There was nothing more to be said. We lay there for what seemed like hours, but was certainly just minutes, holding each other close, wrapped up in each other, lost and amazed in each other’s eyes. And it was there we lay until we both heard a rapping on the back door.
At first, I thought it were just the sound of the house settling in the early morning hours, but when the rapping sounded again I knew we had a visitor.
“Stay here baby,” I said. “I’ll be right back.”
I gave Summer a quick kiss and got out of bed. Since we weren’t in any of our usual rooms, I threw on the tux pants and shirt I had discarded the night before and headed barefoot out into the hall. Rounding the corner into the living room, and then entering the kitchen, I could see the shadow of someone through the back door window.
“Hold on,” I called out. “I’m coming.”
I opened the door just as the figure was raising his hickory walking stick to tap on it again. He smiled apologetically, while Jackson sat at his feet, looking up imploringly at the man as if waiting for a treat. The old man sighed, reached into his pocket and pulled out a dog biscuit, giving it to our poor excuse for a watchdog.
“I’m sorry to bother you on a Sunday morning,” the man said, “but we were getting ready to go to church and a discussion came up about you.” I didn’t know if that was good or not, and I told him so. He smiled at this. “Well, if you could walk with me just a moment, I have another story to tell.”
I looked at Gunboats, then behind me to see if Summer hadn’t gotten curious and followed. She hadn’t. “Okay,” I said, “But I should tell Summer…”
“This is just between us for the moment,” he replied.
I hesitated for a few seconds, not really wanting to leave Summer without explanation, but this seemed important too. “Okay,” I finally said. “Let’s go then…’
“Orchard House & The Heart Of Everything” 2016 Paul D Aronson