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In the final analysis, he was just too tired to attempt an explanation -
not physically worn out, but mentally. Since just before dawn, he felt
as though he had been on a fantastic merry-go-round. Feeling a bit
strange, he allowed her to lead him upstairs to the bedroom. The sight
of one bed startled him, even though it was a rather large double. He
slid eyes sideways, caught her smiling coyly and forced a grin. She
installed him in the bathroom, tossed a pair of pajamas to him and left
He took a long time showering and shaving. Then when he could avoid it
no longer, he went into the bedroom. She was combing her long satiny
hair at the dresser and had slipped into an aqua colored nightgown. For
a moment, his breath caught in amazement, then he slid between the
sheets of the bed and watched her. Finally she stopped combing and
walked over to look down at him. He looked back, feeling a little like a
caged animal - but enjoying it.
She fell to her knees beside the bed, her eyes shining with happiness.
The red lipped smile was again tugging at her full mouth. Her fingers
wound gently in his hair and the warm pressure of her soft breasts
rested boldly upon his arm as though they knew they belonged there.
"I love you so much, Nick," she whispered, her eyes half closed.
He reached out a hand to touch her cheek and the softness of it against
his fingers alarmed him, thrilled him. He knew what he had to tell her,
but it was a long time in coming. "I ... I love you too, Beth," he
Her soft, moist lips came gently down upon his like a twin promise of
the offering of love that awaited him and he felt his own lips
responding. A slight tremor ran through him as her fingers flicked at
the wall and the room became sheathed in darkness. Moonlight filtered
through the curtains and she moved into the bed, her lithe shape molding
into the hardness of his. Her voice was a warm breath in his ear and her
arms slid over his chest while she talked.
"You don't love me, darling. That's the whole trouble. We love with our
minds, and love is an accumulation of a million memories - but you have
lost yours. I know, I know. To you..."
"Beth," he began but she clamped her hand over his mouth.
"To you, darling, I'm a stranger, just another woman. I know I can't be
anything more right now. You'll have to learn to love me again.
"But me? Nick, it's different with me. I've waited for thirteen long
months for you to love me again, and by some miracle you've come back.
You're here and so am I. I love you and I want you. Oh, darling, pretend
I'm a whore; pretend I'm anything ... but make love to me. Pay no
attention to anything except to me..."
His mouth folded over hers, shutting off the flow of words in a
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