Jane Daffron and Linda Delaney
The house was silent now. All the guests were gone. Partially filled glasses of champagne were scattered throughout the house as were dirty plates and silverware. The wedding presents were piled high in one corner of the great living room on an elegantly decorated table.
Karen Nelson stood shoeless on the deck overlooking the calm Pacific Ocean and its star filled but moonless night.. She had removed her jewelry, her stockings and the chiffon overdress of her gown. In one hand, a glass of champagne and in the other, the rose nosegay that she had carried as 'mother of the bride'.
It's over. It's all over. Finally. Thank God.
She turned, put down the flowers and taking a sip of the champagne, surveyed the remnants of the wedding of her daughter to Captain Lee Crane, the Seaview's captain. Suddenly, a single tear slowly made its way down her cheek.
My baby. Oh, God, Caitlin, you looked so beautiful today.
Turning back around and leaning against the railing, she gazed out and watched the night sky.
I hope you saw her, Robert. You'd be so very proud of her now, not that you weren’t back then, but now…things are so different now.
She sighed just a bit.
She's happy…really happy, Robert. She loves Lee with all her being. And Lee, Lee's a good man. He loves her deeply…it just took him a while to realize it. She chuckled just a bit. He’s like most men. You included, Robert. Sometimes too blind to see what’s right in front of your face. He'll do more than right by her…I know that. I know you would have loved to have given her away. And she knows that and so does Harry. No one will ever take your place with her, but I guess he's been as close to her as you would have been. As close to her as you would have wanted her ‘stepfather’ to be.
She smiled to herself and took another sip from the glass.
So why am I feeling like I've lost my whole self? I haven’t felt this lonely since…
A slight breeze stirred and she shivered just a moment, not from cold but from sudden old and painful memories. Karen looked around and, recovering her sense of self, started to pick up some of the dishes then decided to let them set . The cleaning crew could handle it tomorrow. She had been on pins and needles for two weeks now, not knowing whether this wedding was actually going to take place. She’d been calming Caitlin down and telling her that, ‘Yes, Lee's going to make it back in time. He won’t miss the wedding. He loves you’ while having to deal with Sean and Christmas, and Caitlin and Christmas, and the rest of the wedding plans… And then there was Harriman and all the rest of everything thing else that needed to be done.
Admiral Harriman Nelson had actually made himself somewhat scarce the last few days as the tension intensified between mother and daughter. Unbeknownst to the women, he was actually trying to keep tabs on Crane and make sure that he did make it back in one piece.
And now, it was all over with. The wedding had gone beautifully, the bride was radiant, the groom, well, as usual, a bit banged up, but handsome, so very handsome, nonetheless. And then there was Admiral Harriman Nelson, step-father of the bride.
God, what did I do to deserve this man in my life? She smiled to herself as she remembered their own wedding several years earlier. She had been lucky to have two wonderful men in her life. One had helped conceive her first born and the other had fathered her second.
My second child! Sean Pearce Nelson, a carbon copy of his father, although the little boy had no idea of how much that made him even more special to his mother…Now where did Sean get to, I wonder? Oh, that's right, he went home with R.C. and Helen Crane. God, I'm brain dead about right now.
She sighed, sat down and raised her feet up against a post of the deck, leaning her head back against the back of the chair, then closed her eyes.
After an indeterminate period of time, she felt the light touch of her husband’s hand on her shoulder. She turned her head up toward him. Harriman Nelson was definitely dressed down, a sight uncommon to outsiders He was wearing his v-neck T-shirt, and his dress blue slacks; no shoes, only dark socks. Letting both hands slide lightly around Karen’s neck, he then gently slid his fingers along her collar bone, softly caressing her.
“How are you doing?” his resonant voice asked her softly.
“I don’t know…it’s so quiet…almost too quiet in a way.”
“Yes,” he laughed, “It is, isn’t it?…More quiet than we’ve had in a long time…” He paused. “I just talked to the yacht. They’re aboard and sailing as we speak.’
She reached for his hand, kissed it and held to it tightly, as he came around and sat next to her, facing her. “Thank you, Harriman. For everything.” Her voice was warm with love and appreciation of this very special man that she had married. “The wedding, the yacht, the honeymoon… Everything that you’ve done for Caitlin…and for me.”
He sighed and looked into her obviously tired eyes. “She’s my daughter too, Karen, for several years now. I just wanted the best for her. Besides, I also happen to be in love with her mother and I wanted her mother to be happy, too!” He leaned forward and kissed his wife. “Not to mention the fact that Lee Crane’s also very important to me. He is the Captain of my boat as well, not to mention one of my closest friends.”
Karen shifted slightly and leaned into his arms…his strong, steady arms. “And now, he’s also your ‘son,’ Harriman.” And she chuckled with slight irony. “Something that I don’t believe either one of you ever dreamed of!”
He harrumphed deeply and said,
“Well, you’re right about that. It is something neither one of us
ever imagined. I called him son, almost from the time he came onto
the boat, and I guess I felt, well, ‘fatherly’ toward him, for years. Until you
came into my life, and gave me Sean, I always thought it would be the only
‘father-son’ relationship I’d ever have. And I do imagine that the feeling of
being his father, in a way, will never change, but with Sean, well, it’s so
different, so much…more.”
“Lee’s the son of your heart, Harry. One that you chose, as only you can feel and understand. It’s almost like that of an adoption…you ‘choose’ each other. Sean is all yours… from conception to birth…every way possible. That’s what makes it different and special, and doesn’t make you see one as a competitor with the other for your feelings. Similar but different… that’s the way it is, the way it should be.”
He ‘mmmphed’ and then leaned back against the deck, and Karen leaning further into him, allowing her body to melt further into his.
“Harriman, you don’t know who much I was so frightened that it wouldn’t come off. That something would keep Lee from returning to us… I can’t even begin to imagine what Caitlin would have been like if something had happened to prevent Lee’s return.”
He laughed lightly again, the warm, rolling laugh that she loved so well. “But my dear wife, you forgot that I know Lee Crane, perhaps better than anyone else, and I knew that he was going to make it here no matter what!! The few times that he made contact with ONI, he gave them the same message for me, that he would be here and on time.”
Her tone turned to one of resignation and yet some worry. “So, how badly is he really hurt? I know what we saw, but…”
“Well, in reality, not too bad. Jamie examined him carefully. Just some bruises and cuts and three cracked ribs. I think Caitlin can handle that…she’s handled worse…and after all, it’s not as if they haven’t…” he cleared his throat, “…known one another.”
Karen began to laugh and laughed so hard that there were tears were soon spilling from her eyes with the laughter. She turned and looked at her husband, shaking her head. “God! You old New England puritan!!! You still can’t say that they were lovers, can you? For cryin’ out loud, Harriman, they were lovers for several years!” She was now grinning at the somewhat offended expression on his face. “Harriman Nelson, you know, you absolutely amaze me at times, particularly considering the fact that we certainly were lovers before we got married.”
He chuckled, pulling her closer, and holding her, murmuring in her ear. “I certainly hope that I continue to amaze you, Karen Nelson…otherwise, life’ll get pretty boring! And too damn quiet to boot!” He kissed her lightly, and continued, softly, “Besides, we were older and wiser, my dear! Caitlin was, is, still only a child!!! At least in my book!!! And you don’t seem to realize that not only was my ‘daughter’ having an affair, but so was my ‘son’! And they were having it with one another. It was a little bit much!!”
“Harriman, Caitlin’s no ‘child.’ She’s a grown woman and certainly more than capable of making her own choices and decisions, particularly about her personal life. And if her own mother can accept that, her ‘father’ most certainly has to.” She laughed lightly, “You know, I’ll never forget the look on your face when we found them in the bed in our room on Chincoteague.” Sighing, she said, quietly, “And now they’re married and off on their honeymoon, and Sean’s gone with Helen and R.C. You do know that we’re utterly and totally alone in this house for the first time in a long, long time, don’t you?”
“Mmmnn,” he pulled her closer, and bent his head to gently kiss her neck. “Yes, all alone!” She shivered as he laid more kisses along her neck, and his hand strayed to her breast, gently brushing the nipple through the thin fabric of the under dress.. He hadn’t realized until now that she hadn’t been wearing a bra under the dress. It had never even occurred to him to even imagine it. And what he could imagine in that one moment, well….
She quivered, not from the cool breeze, but in anticipation. She turned her face to his and kissed him, slowly, lingeringly. The taste of the Glen Livet he had been drinking mingled with the taste of her champagne. Her hand reached for his face and she drew her fingers gently down his craggy features. The remains of the candles flickered all over the deck, the sound of the ocean breakers rolling behind them, the only sound. He kissed her more intently, his hands gently becoming more demanding. She sighed deeply, desire slowly rising, feeling more contentment and love than ever in her husband’s arms.
“You know, Harriman, I slightly remember a certain weekend in Washington a few years ago… ” she mused as she luxuriated in his embrace.
“Uh hummm…I remember that, too. Not to mention the fact that you shocked the hell out of me,” he whispered as he continued to kiss her neck. “Not that I minded, but I’ll have to admit, I certainly didn’t expect that from you, Karen.” Stopping, he then took her face and held it gently in both hands. “’Course, then again, I guess I should’ve half expected you to surprise me in some way. You always do, you know that? It must be some helluva genetic trait that Virginia women have…or it’s prevalent in your family. You sure your mother wasn’t like this?”
“Well, as ah remembah it,” she softly replied, slipping into a deeply exaggerated southern accent as she kissed him lightly, “You, suh, didn’t do too badly yoah self on the turnaround at the Inn.” His hands then wandered down her thigh and, after catching the material of her dress, crept up underneath. “Why, suh, whatevah are you tryin’ to do?” slyly remarking in mock exasperation as his hands wandered further up the inside of her thigh.
“Not one damn thing that you don’t want me to,” came his husky, resonant reply. “You know, I wouldn’t mind making love to you right here and right now, Mrs. Nelson.”
“Oh, really?” she looked around and then a conspiratorial smile graced her lips. “Well, it is dark…and no one can see us up here…” Nelson couldn’t see the gleam of merriment and more in his wife’s eyes. Responding to his hands, she first slid from his embrace, and standing, slowly backed toward the wall and moved her hands to the hem of her under dress and in a slow and seductive move, pulled the dress over her head. Turning to him, clad now only in sheer silken panties, the rosy tips of her bared breasts pointed and aroused, and said simply… “Any time you’re ready, suh.”
She stood there, and all Harriman Nelson could think of at that moment was what a magnificent woman she was…and how totally uninhibited when it came to their sexual relationship! He never knew what she would do next!
His wife could be an enigma - driven, hard – a consummate professional. Yet she was easy-going and very much a woman. He reached for her and pulled her to him, running his hands down her silken form . God, she smells so good! Her vanilla scent still lingered on her skin.
He slid his hands to her waist, and his fingers into the waistband of her panties, in a single smooth motion, pulling them off of her, drawing her close to him. She wriggled seductively against him, and delighted in the feel of his hands all over her body. His thumbs began to circle, then stroke, her breasts, causing her nipples to pucker and harden. She moaned softly, a moan of pure sensuality, and he gave her a small smile as he kissed her lips, gently urging a deeper response to his attentions.
Her hands made their way to his chest, and she pulled at his t-shirt, and it soon lay on the deck, next to her dress. She began to kiss and stroke his chest, and as his hands stirred her, she began to concentrate on him, her hands working at increasing his growing state of arousal… he groaned with pleasure, and she looked at him with eyes heavy with passion.
“The trousers, Harriman… the damn belt is stuck!” and she laughed giddily, burying her head in his shoulder, as he struggled to free the belt. Finally, it fell free, and she swiftly aided him in removing the rest of encumbering garments until he, too, was as naked as she was.
Her eyes roved over him, and she smiled, appreciatively at how his body had responded to her.
He pulled her face to his and kissed her soundly, hungrily, she responded, kissing him with equal hunger in return, the electrifying feeling of flesh to flesh driving her hands to find their way to very heart of his masculinity. He groaned again, in pure pleasure, and she began to lay more hungry kisses over his chest and neck. Her hands deftly worked at his shaft, stroking it up and down, as he began to caress and tease her intimately… she shuddered as his fingers found their mark, the intense sensations of pleasure rippling through her. He bent his head, taking a breast to his mouth, sucking and teasing at it as he continued to fondle her.
She was becoming dizzy with the rapidly increasing rush of desire. With an easy, rapid move, that both surprised and pleased her, he wrapped his arms around her, and eased her gently onto the nearby a lounge chair, and onto her back. She opened her legs to welcome his entry, and he slid smoothly into her, penetrating her deeply. She sighed in ecstasy, as he entered her, shifting her body so that she could take more of him, and she softly moaned. She wanted all of him within her, and she pulled at him, holding him closer, keeping him close, as he began to ride her with a rhythm, primal and instinctive. The cool night air and the flickering of candles created an air of sensuality that enveloped them both. It didn’t matter where they were, it only mattered that they now sought release. Minutes passed as the ‘heat’ intensified between them until, finally, he led her over the edge and then followed her as he felt her climaxing around him.
On Harriman Nelson’s yacht, the Dreamweaver, Caitlin Davis Crane now looked at her new husband with a careful eye. Poor Lee, he was so very tired, had been through so much to get to her, to their wedding. He had made it, on time, and pretty much in one piece. Now, here they were, on the yacht, on their honeymoon.
Their lovemaking that night had been sweet, Lee had been so gentle and caring, as if it had been the first time they had made love,… it had been wonderful, and she sighed with absolute contentment.
At some point during the wee hours of the morning, Lee had wakened and left their bed. He was now standing at the forward port hole, looking out at the night sky and the sea. The sea that was always calling to him. It was something that she had accepted when they began their relationship, and something that she had ceased to question.
He was wearing light blue pajama bottoms, his chest tightly wrapped with an ace bandage. Even from the back, she could see bruises that she knew were matched with an equal intensity on his chest. Calling softly to him softly from the bed. “Lee…? Something wrong?”
He turned slowly to look at her and a gently loving smile lit his often somber face… “No, Little Girl. Nothing’s wrong - I just couldn’t sleep. This is our wedding night, believe me, nothing is wrong.”
“Couldn’t sleep? What is it? What’s keeping you awake?” She turned on her side and propped herself up with one arm.
“Dunno, a few things, I guess…You know, winding down from the mission and the wedding, having missed Christmas with you and Mom, and R.C. No, nothing’s really wrong,” he sighed, “I just couldn’t sleep…”
She slipped from the bed, grabbing for her sheer negligee’s robe and wrapped it around herself as she crossed over to him. Carefully placing her arms around him, she drew his face down toward hers and lightly kissed him. “I know you, much better than you realize. There is something.” She shook her head, and smiled, “C’mon, Lee, what is it?”
He looked at her, the burgundy negligee covering nothing, causing him to reach for her and hold her to him, his hands trailing along her body. “Nothing…it’s just, well, there were some moments that I wondered if I was actually going to make it back in time. I certainly didn’t want to disappoint you, Caitlin Marie Davis Crane. I love you far too much.”
She looked up into his hazel amber eyes and saw the flickering of some far off sadness. Cathy…That’s what this is really about. But why?
“Lee, are you sure that’s all it is?” she gently probed. “Are you sure this might not be a little about Cathy?”
Crane looked down at his tiny, blonde bride, pulling her closer to him, and lightly kissing the top of her head, asked, “Now, why would you say that?”
“’Cause I’ve seen that look in your eyes before, Lee Crane. And it usually has to do with some memory you have of her,” she said gently, without any jealousy or anger. She had long ago accepted the presence of Cathy and the Seaview in her relationship with him. She knew that they both would be a part of their joint lives, and she had no regrets about it. She had him, here and now. Nothing, or no one, would change that. She let go of his waist and took his hand, leading him back to the bed. She climbed back up on the bed and then sat on her knees in front of him, holding both his hands as he stood there. “Lee, it’s ok. Really, it is. And I do understand, believe it or not.” Her arms slid around his waist and her and the embrace tightened, as she continued, “Let me tell you something. You didn’t know, did you, that about a week before Mom married HN, she made a trip to Richmond by herself. I mean, everything was going crazy with the wedding arrangements, then she just up and took off for the weekend. When she got back, I asked her why she went. Know what she told me?”
“No, what?” he asked as he held both her hands, then brought them up to his lips and kissed them.
Caitlin took a deep breath and slowly exhaled, then looked into his eyes. “She told me that she went to talk to Daddy. To tell him about marrying HN. She wanted him to understand. At first, well, I thought Mom was a little nuts, but now I understand. In a way, it was her way, I guess, of making sure it was all right, even ‘tho she knew it was. She loved Daddy and I know she always will. But marrying HN was the best thing in the world for her and she just wanted Daddy to know that she was finally happy.” She paused, carefully choosing her next words. “Lee, I know you loved Cathy and that you always will. R.C.’s the proof of that love. And I know that when you look at him, you see her…just like Mom remembers Daddy when she looks at me. I also know that’s one of the things that made starting this relationship so hard. So it’s okay to think of her. I understand that.”
He shook his head, in some disbelief, wondering at this young woman who had agreed to become his wife, “Caitlin, how did you get so wise, you’re still so young. Thank you, thank you…more than you know,” he replied as he carefully pulled her up closer to him.
She took his hand, and pulled him to sit on the bed, next to her. “Well, you’re more than welcome…but I just want you to remember one thing. I am not her. I’m me. I love you, Lee, with all my heart and soul. I’ve loved you for a very long time. I also know, that like Mom and HN, I’ll have to share you with another very special ‘lady.’ That the boat has always been, and will always be, an important part of your life. I accept that, too…But you married me, Caitlin Davis, and I promise you one thing. I fully intend to keep your attention for a long, long time!!!” Her arms went around his neck, taking care not to put too much pressure around his injured chest.. She gently laid her hand over his heart, smiling slightly, at the strong steady beat beneath. “This,” she whispered warmly, “This belongs to me…” She then let her hands slowly travel over his torso, the injured and the uninjured parts. “You know,” a mischievous grin slowly spread across her face, “You may not be able to do very much in this condition, however, there are ways around that.” Looking about the cabin, she casually asked, “Now, where in the world did that bowl of strawberries and whipped cream go? Oh, that’s right, they’re over near the stereo.”
She hopped down off the bed and left him sitting there, telling him, “Now, don’t you move!” as she walked slowly over to where the bowl of fresh strawberries was sitting. She turned towards him, sliding off the sheer robe, letting the gown fall in a puddle of burgundy lace. Then, she reached for the bowls, of fruit and cream and brought them back to the bed.
“Now what are you going to do with those, if may I ask?” he questioned as he smiled at her. He watched her, as she climbed back onto the bed and she offered him her hand. Carefully, he moved beside her and then leaned back, up against the headboard.
Caitlin looked at him with a degree of both sensuousness and mischief in her blue eyes. “I’m going to teach you the correct way of eating strawberries and whipped cream, Captain!”
“Oh, really? Well, it seems to me that I had a rather ‘informative’ lesson the day of your mother’s baby shower,” he lightly remarked as he watched her take one of the luscious berries and dip it into the thick whipped cream. “Remember?”
“Oh, yes, I remember all right…and I also remember ending up in the floor after you dropped me. However, this is a bit different. No one around, no chance of any interruptions. So, are you ready for your first lesson?”
His only response was a warm, loving smile. He watched as she put the berry to her lips and the tip of her tongue licked at the cream as she slightly sucked on it, then bit off a small piece. There were several smudges of cream left on her lips as she bent over him and proceeded to kiss him slowly, seeking out his tongue to allow him to taste hers. And taste he most certainly did. The juice from the berry had mixed with the sweetness of the cream to provide a very erotic tang.
When she broke away, he almost wouldn’t let her go. It was painful for him to move, but he wanted to hold her close, to feel her warm, soft body next to his. At the same time, he was somehow totally mesmerized by what she was doing. Oddly enough, it reminded him of the first time they made love…in his hospital bed at the apartment while he was recuperating from being shot. He’d been unable to ‘properly’ participate then…but the evening had proven to be an enlightening, absolutely erotic experience for them both.
“So, that’s the right way to eat these things, huh?” he lightly teased her. “Now where, Little Girl, where on earth did you ever learn such a thing? Certainly not from me…”
There was a mischievousness, yet husky tone in her voice. “Oh, you’d be surprised if I told you. Actually, no one ‘taught’ me.” She smiled almost shyly . “All you need to know is that I was just very ‘observant’ one day.”
Lee quirked an eyebrow at her answer as she proceeded to take another one of the berries and fingered it lightly as she again dragged it through the creamy sweet mixture. She sat up and then took the berry, bit the tip until the juice began to flow from it, and held it to the cleft of her chin, proceeding to draw it downward, circling each nipple, and moving it slowly toward her belly button. A visible path of cream, pinked with the sweet juices enticed him to reach for her. Caitlin slowly moved over to him, very careful not to have him move too quickly.
“Observant, hmmmmm?” he muttered as he shifted his weight to hold her and bury his face in her hair as his hands started to roam over her lithe body. “Playing ‘peeping Tomasina’ were we?” As his mouth followed a path around her throat, he started to taste the sweet cream and berry mixture on her skin. She moved just a bit to allow him full access to the path she had drawn. He slowly bent and captured one of her hardened nipples in his mouth, lightly biting and licking the delicious taste of her skin, and the sweet mix together.
Her hands softly raked his back. The bandages were a constant reminder of his limitation of mobility and so she was mindful of his needs as well as his pain. “No, hardly…” she whispered. He grunted as a sudden move made jolts of pain shoot thru his chest.
“Easy, Lee…we do have all night. Besides, there are many more where this came from,” she told him lovingly and then giggled, as he continued his gentle assault on her breasts. “I just happened to come home a couple of days too early one time.”
As he gingerly laid back on the pillows, she sat up again on her knees and, taking another berry from the bowl and dipping it in the cream, again put it to her lips, this time locking eyes with him. As she took a small bite from the berry, she put it to his lips and then took another bite from it. The nectar dribbled down their chins and dripped onto their chests. He took the rest of the berry into his mouth, and her mouth joined with his. Her hands lightly pressed against him as his lips followed in pursuit. Slowly she rose above him, and before he knew what was happening, she straddled him. In an instant, she had the tie of the pajamas undone, loosened, and then opened. Feeling him beneath her, his hardening shaft beckoning her, she picked up another berry and offered it to him. As his mouth opened, she placed it between his teeth, then leaned forward to take a bite, forcing him to open wide and meet her probing tongue with his own. His hands caressed her breasts and then suddenly without warning, she came down on him, taking all of him inside her.
Lee gasped at the sudden sensation as she started a slow but rhythmic motion with her body, entreating him to respond with those of his own. As her tempo increased, he reached up and took a rosy nipple in his mouth as his fingers played with the other. Then, all too quickly, she started to contract around him, her muscles grabbing and caressing him but refusing to let go. His own body responded as she entered the last throes of her climax, and he came, filling her until he fell back against the pillows, exhausted and spent. Carefully, she lay her head on his chest, taking great care not to hurt him, their union unbroken. Listening to his heart beat as it slowed, she smiled to herself.
Mom was right! This is the ‘right’ way to have strawberries and whipped cream.
After a time that seemed almost endless and yet no time at all, Harriman Nelson shifted slightly on the deck chair. Karen kissed him softly and sighed. “Thank you, Harriman, you always seem to know what I need and when I need you. As wonderful as today was, it was also one of the hardest days I’ve ever known. And as always, you knew…”
He held her tightly and slyly grinned. “Part of the job, ma’am, part of the job! And a very pleasurable part, I might add.” He chuckled as his hand slid down her back, and softly caressed her back and buttocks, beginning to make more urgent demands. Her body responded in kind, their passions igniting once again.
Karen began to giggle, and her husband looked at her querulously. “I’ve got an idea, Admiral…” She stood, the moonlight making her body glow with a silvery sheen.
Nelson grinned in appreciation of her form… “Mrs. Nelson,” he softly whistled, “You are one fine figure of a woman!”
“Why, thank you, suh!” was her teasing reply. Then she reached over and grabbed a bottle of champagne from one of the silver buckets. Allowing her breasts to lightly brush against him, she turned to him and had a very mischievous twinkle in her eye as she held the neck of the bottle in between her fingers. “How about if I teach you the best way to taste champagne, Harriman? Think you’re up to the task?” She extended her other hand to him, which he took and rising from the chair, moved directly to her side.
He slid an arm around her waist, and asked her, amusement and passion reflecting in his steely blue eyes, “Oh, I think I can learn anything you have to teach, Captain. Your methods have a certain inspiration about them.”
“Hmmm, well, now…” she replied huskily, “Then why don’t you just come with me and I’ll show you…” and she kissed him warmly, her tongue lightly exploring his mouth, touching his tongue, and then withdrawing.
“Tease!” he said huskily, pulling her into an embrace, and kissing her forcefully, while his hands ran all over her body. She moved seductively in his arms, responding to his kiss enthusiastically. She was breathless when he released her mouth from his.
Catching her breath, she whispered in his ear, “Harriman!…” and she smiled a smile that was at once both inviting and mysterious. Pulling his hand, she led him into the house, and towards their bedroom. A transient thought crossed his mind that one of them had better get to the deck before the cleaning crew arrived, if innuendoes and questions were to be avoided, but it quickly fled, as he watched his very naked wife beckon him into their room.
When he reached the doorway to the bedroom, he was surprised at how quickly Karen had transformed it. She truly is an amazing woman! There were lit candles all over, making the room glow in a golden light. The coverlet was thrown back on the bed, and lying on it, was his wife. Where the moon had made her naked body silvery, here, in the glow of the candles it was warm and golden in tone. Her breasts teased him as they moved with each breath she took. Her right hand lay across her most private of places, her left hand flung above her head. Her eyes were half closed, and she smiled invitingly at her husband as he stood equally naked and aroused in the doorway. He smiled back at her…
“Come closer, Harriman…” she murmured. On the table, next to the bed stood the bottle of champagne and a single glass.
He was at the bed in quick strides, and knelt on it. She rose on an elbow, reached over and picked up the glass, then held it out to him.
“Pour some,” she sexily commanded. As he picked up the bottle, she leaned into the pillows, holding the glass even with her breasts. She smiled at him, a look on her face that he couldn’t mistake, “Well…?”
He leaned over and began to pour some of the sparkling wine into the glass she held. He smiled back at her…”What…?” he asked in a voice that was warm with passion, “No slipper, M’lady?”
She laughed and as she laughed, the champagne spilled over the sides of the glass, and onto her body. “No, Harriman…no slipper…just the glass,” she looked at him in a way that he had never seen before, a look of simple, lust… “And now, me…so, drink up!”
“And here I thought you were tired from all the wedding ordeal,” he amusingly countered and offered her some of the wine, then tossed off the rest of the glass. He leaned over to kiss her, fully and completely. As he broke away, he began a thorough exploration of her body, moving first to her breasts. He kissed first one and then the other as he seemed to concentrate his attentions on again bringing her to the brink of no return. Once he heard her moan in total pleasure, he moved along the valley between her breasts, tasting the path that the wine had left. She moved sensuously, her wine soaked hands stroking his body, finding his shaft already hard, and stroking it further. His mouth sought out and found her belly, and the small puddle of the champagne in her belly button.
“You know, I didn’t realize that you wore champagne so well,” he commented and kissed her stomach, tasting the wine that had collected there. As he did, his hand found that small pearl of pleasure and began to slowly stroke it. She gasped and her body arched with the contact. He lifted his head, and smiling at her, “I just wonder if…” and he began his final assault on her body, his mouth and tongue tracing patterns of the wine until he reached her secret self. First he tongued the tiny organ, causing her to cry out in ecstasy, then he suckled at it, and gently brought her to the edge of fulfillment. He stopped his attentions, and moved to her innermost lips, the entrance to her inner self. He paused, and then ran his tongue over her inner lips, tasting the wine, as well as the mix of the taste of the two of them from their prior lovemaking. It was the most intoxicating liquor he had ever tasted, and he drank lustily of it, and of her. She cried out again and again, her senses reeling to the very edge of no return. He felt her muscles begin to tighten, and in a swift move, pulled himself over her and entered her quickly. He was so aroused by her reactions that he found himself reacting as her body spasmed in orgasm, sweet and consummate, and he found he followed her over the edge into complete gratification. He collapsed to her side, arms and legs entangled, exhausted. He whispered into her ear, as she drifted into a blissful and contented sleep, “Champagne never tasted so good, Karen…never so good!”
Lee and Caitlin finally slept as Dreamweaver glided silently off the point near the Institute. For the first time in longer than he could remember, Lee Crane had filled his night’s dreams, not of Cathy, but of Caitlin. Though his bruises and other injuries caused momentary pain, the immense pleasure he had received at the loving hands of his new bride were far more memorable. He held her in his arms as she slept, careful not to wake her as he watched her after he awoke. She’s so beautiful…How did I manage to get so damn lucky!
Looking over at the clock beside the bed, he finally was able to make out that it was nearly 0520, almost dawn. Carefully, he slipped from the bed and walked over to the portal. Looking out, he could see the vestiges of a new morning beginning to manifest itself. The moon had been half-full, yet had provided the sky with ample light to give the surrounding sky an incandescence glow. As it slowly made its silent journey toward the horizon, Lee looked out at the calm seas before him. He could see the Institute in the distance, the floodlights sparkling like diamonds against the mountain behind it. Somewhere in all of that sat Seaview, his beautiful ‘gray Lady’. And now, officially, he had another Lady, his ‘Little Girl’. And somehow he knew, deep down, that the first would be very mindful of the second and there would never be any resentment between the two.
He moved back to the bed and sat on the edge, watching her as she slept, barely able to contain his wonderment about her. He was still amazed that she had loved him so long. He still remembered the day when she had blurted out that she loved him. And then further explained later on that she had loved him since she was 17 years old. He was so much older than this ‘Little Girl.” But as she had told him many times, she wasn’t that much younger. ‘Age is only a matter of the mind, Lee,’ she had told him. ‘If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter’
Ironically, Aliysha el Fayad had said something similar to him a few days earlier. She told him that she had been married when she was 14 and her husband 45. Almost 35 years apart, yet she called her late husband her ‘Beloved’ and spoke of him with loving remembrance.
Lee also remembered the weekend in Virginia when the Admiral and Karen had walked in on them at the Cedar Gables Inn. The feelings of ‘being caught’ by her mother and step-father; at the time, they weren’t funny, but now…he found it amusing. Harriman Nelson had talked to him as a father talking to his ‘daughter’s’ prospective suitor.
Now, that was one thing he couldn’t quite get use to. He was now Admiral Harriman Nelson’s step son-in-law He shook his head. This was one idea that it would take him awhile to get adjusted to. Nelson had often called him son, and Lee knew that it was indeed a sign of affection that the older man had for him. Yet now, it would take on a whole new meaning, and Lee did have a concern about it. Until the birth of Sean Pearce Nelson, Lee could have thought himself to one day be Nelson’s ‘son.’ Stranger still, he was the godfather to Nelson’s son, who was now also his brother-in-law. Shaking his head somewhat, he had to wonder at what a convoluted set of relationships they all had created.
Suddenly, something Caitlin had said early this morning, during one of the times they were making love, came into mind. She had said something about coming home early and observing something…something about the the strawberries and whipped cream. Glancing over, he saw that there was over half a bowl left.
Hmmmm, well, I’ve got to hand it to her. I don’t think I’ll ever think of those berries in the same way again. Now what was it she said about seeing something…
Karen awoke the next morning to the sound of running water. Stretching, she grabbed the top of the sheet and gathered it around her, then turned over.
God, what a night! Rolling over, she realized he wasn’t in bed and it was, in fact, Harry she heard in the shower. Listening closely, she heard his wonderful voice as he sang a selection from a Puccini.Opera.
Dear Lord, do I love to listen to him.
She glanced over at her night stand and focused in on the almost empty bottle of champagne sitting there. Her eyes then spied the empty champagne glass lying on the floor. Hmmmm. Damn! I have got to remember to try this more often. What in God’s name did we do last night? She started to giggle just as he walked out of the bathroom, a towel draped around his waist and another towel in his hand drying his hair.
Seeing her awake, he grinned slyly and slid in next to her in the bed. Leaning over to kiss and softly caress her shoulder, he whispered, “Good morning, Mrs. Nelson. And just what are you laughing about?”
“Oh, just thinking back on our escapades last night. God, I hope we weren’t seen while we were outside,” she laughed and then an eyebrow rose. “Course, I also remember drinking some very interesting champagne.” She turned her head slightly and hungrily sought out his mouth. The fresh scent of his after shave coupled with his still damp skin aroused her still hungry body. Karen shifted and pressed herself against his chest, feeling the combination of warmth and dampness upon her breasts.
He returned her kiss with a probing one of his own. Letting the towel in his hand drop, his hands started to stroke her back and then drew her closer to him. His own mouth explored hers as he tasted the remnants of the champagne from just a few hours earlier.
His kiss left her gasping.. “Mrs. Nelson, you are a very wicked lady. Do you know that?” He quirked an eyebrow and glanced over at the bottle of champagne. “I don’t think I’ll ever think of drinking champagne in the regular way again. Don’t you agree?”
“Why, Admiral Nelson,” she intoned in that overstated southern drawl she could use. “Ah have no idea about what you mean, suh.”
“Hmmm, I just bet you don’t.”
“Now, Harriman Nelson, whatevah are you accusing me of, suh?” her eyes brimmed with mischief.
He nuzzled her neck and whispered, “I don’t make accusations that I can’t prove. Now, you’ve got a choice this morning. Breakfast before or after I draw you a very hot bubble bath, that is, if you’re so inclined.” His hand had strayed to her breast where he lightly played with the nipple between his fingers.
“And you say I’m wicked? My dear, I do believe I could take lessons from you, especially after last night.” She was now fully awake and her body had started to respond to his caresses. There was a longing that she felt that needed to be filled. Breakfast could wait for a bit. Reaching for him and pulling him closer, “I do hope you’ve called the office and told Angie that you’re going to be in late.”
"Late? Actually, I never had any intentions of going in at all today. I spoke to Helen last night, right before she left, and Sean’s staying with her for the next couple of days. R.C.’s feeling a little lonely, and she thinks that our son is the perfect 'pick me up' for him! Besides, she figured you needed some down time to recuperate from all the planning. She noticed you’d been a bit on edge the last few days, so when she offered to take Sean, I accepted. So I’m not going to the office, and neither are you! Your daughter just married my Captain, who almost didn’t make his wedding. We definitely need a day to ourselves! The cleaning crew will take care of downstairs and outside. We don’t even have to go down, if we don’t want to.” He kissed her shoulder. “Frankly, this house has been in a total uproar for the last few weeks and it’s about time it got back to some kind of normalcy.” And then he chuckled. “Even if that is only for about 48 hours and our son comes home. Now, the way I figure it, I fully intend to spend that time making love to my wife. Angie and Terri have both been advised we won’t be in so they know not to call here unless it’s a national emergency. Now, ” he said as he started to plant more light kisses down her shoulder, “Which will it be? Breakfast or bath first?”
“Hmmmm,” she purred as her hand sought out the hardness she felt growing against her, “Well, considering that you’re making me hornier than hell, I’m gonna choose the bath. Breakfast can wait until after…”
“I do believe that both could be arranged. Why don’t you get up and come in the bathroom…the tub’s already filled,” and he stood up, reaching out his hand.
She sat up and swung her legs over the side of the bed. “What? You’re not going to join me?”
“Actually, I’m going to fix breakfast while you unwind in the tub.”
She put her arms around him, pulling his body tightly to hers. “I know what I’d like to have for breakfast,” she leered.
“Patience, Karen…patience,” he lightly kissed her and patted her bare derriere. “Now, go on and I’ll be back shortly.”
Caitlin Davis Crane stirred and gradually turned over, opening her eyes slowly. She hadn’t felt so content in a long time. Never had she felt so totally loved! Mrs. Lee Crane! She was finally Mrs. Lee Crane!!!!! Turning her head toward the inside of the cabin, she saw him sitting there, staring at her. Smiling, she slightly propped herself up on one elbow and looked at him.
“Good morning, my love…” she called out softly.
Lee Crane smiled and carefully got up out of the chair and walked over to the bed, and sat down next to her. Taking her light blond hair in his hand, he fingered it gently, then gingerly leaned over and kissed her passionately, savoring her mouth with each probing movement. He reluctantly withdrew from the kiss, sitting up next to her.
“Good morning to you, Little Girl. The steward brought our breakfast.”
He looked over at the tray that sat on the table. It had arrived not 10 minutes before as he sat watching her sleep. The crewman had been perfectly quiet, not wanting to disturb the sleeping bride. He’d seen the exact same scenario several years before, when his employer had married, and spent the first night of his honeymoon on the yacht.
“Hmmmmm, that sounds heavenly. What’d they send up?”
“Eggs, bacon, juice, coffee, and I think, some bagels. Oh, and there’s another bowl of fresh strawberries.” He grinned and then remarked curiously, “Ok, you’ve got to explain that remark you made last night.”
Her arms encircled his neck and pulled him down toward her as she rose slightly to engage him in a long and passionate kiss. When they parted, she laid back on the pillows, one arm under her head and the other hand was entwined with his. “Remark? What remark?”
His eyes twinkled with a bit of merriment. “The one you made about coming home a couple of days too early one time and observing something…about strawberries.”
“Oh! That!” She shifted her weight and stretched out on her side. Laughing, she told him, “Well, it’s just that one day a few years ago…I guess it wasn’t long after Sean was born…I came home unannounced. Helen had Sean for the weekend. I think you were on an ONI mission, and Mom and HN thought they had the house to themselves. They were out on the deck – apparently they’d finished dinner, I think. Anyway…there was this bowl of strawberries on the table and a bowl of whipped cream that Mom had in her hand and she was ‘feeding’ the berries to HN.”
Crane lifted an eyebrow. “And you stood and watched your mother and the Admiral? Caitlin, I’m surprised at you!” he mockingly replied in a tone that was almost scolding. The images her recitation stirred was beyond comprehension.
“Oh, come on. Look, I’ve known those two were lovers ever since Mom got hurt in the Azores. Remember who kept pushing them together, huh? They were perfect for each other and I knew it. Mom was too…professional in one sense to see that he felt something for her and HN, well, HN is HN…what can I say? I guess he was just afraid to get involved with someone again.” She looked at her new husband lovingly “Just like someone else I know, hmmmmm?” she paused, and smiled at Lee. “But they ‘feed’ off each other. They needed each other, so I just helped push it along. Anyway, getting back to my explanation here…” she was grinning as she recited the event. “They didn’t know I was there, and frankly, there really wasn’t anything to see anyway.” She giggled. “Besides, from the looks of things, they were just getting started and I certainly didn’t want to be around for the rest of it, so I decided that they deserved to be left alone. I grabbed my things then went to the apartment. Never even told them I’d come by.”
“Don’t tell me that your mother was doing to the Admiral what you did to me,” was the amused question.
“Well, yes,” she hedged, “…and then some. You know, you never want to think of your parent in that situation, but the reality of it is, they are there, they have sex. After all, we wouldn’t be here if they didn’t, now would we?” she said matter-of-factly. “But really, I didn’t see anything more than Mom with the berries. She would have killed me if she’d known I was there then so I’ve never said anything to anyone until now. Besides, Mom’s still young. She had Sean, didn’t she? And they love each other…so…”
Her frankness was refreshing and amazing as well. However, the image she related was hard for him to visualize. The Admiral? Well, after all, Sean had been born, hadn’t he? He had to admit that Karen wasn’t an unattractive lady, with a somewhat bawdy sense of humor at times. And as Caitlin had so aptly put it, it was hard to think of them in that manner even though he knew it to be a fact of life. He certainly wasn't naïve, he'd been married before and had a child. But…
Does Robert think of me that way?
He’d always looked upon the Admiral like a father…and Karen was most definitely a breath of fresh air in his life. Knowing her these past years made him suddenly realize that Nelson had indeed married a very vital, alive woman who was most definitely sure of herself and what she wanted in life. Now looking at Caitlin, he could see some of the same traits in her…maybe not as ‘hardened’ by the life experiences her mother had had, but they were there nonetheless. She had her mother’s strength and fortitude as well as her love of life, but there were differences, too.
He smiled to himself. Very marked differences…
Laughing to himself, he leaned over and kissed his new bride lightly. “Somehow, I just have a hard time seeing the Admiral in our position here. But as you’ve said before, they do love each other.”
“Well, they were in our position and if memory serves me correctly, my love, the first night of their honeymoon was spent in this very bed. Now, knowing my mother the way I do…I’d say that they certainly didn’t sleep the night away. And you wanna make a bet? I’d say that the very real possibility exists that last night the Nelson household wasn’t exactly quiet either. I overheard Helen offer to take Sean off their hands for the next few days. I think she must have figured Mom was so stressed out over the wedding that she and HN needed some time alone. Now, enough about my ‘parents’. I’m more interested in you.” Caitlin’s eye caught something and she reached for a small, prettily wrapped box that was on the tray. “What’s this?”
“I don’t know, it was there when the steward brought the tray.” He raised an eyebrow as she reached for it.
Grinning, she opened it, and continued to smile as she handed the box to her husband. “It’s a little something from Mom.”
He peered in and saw the contents – a bottle of Vanilla scented/flavored massage oil - and looked at her with a mischievous gleam in his eyes. “You know, somehow, I think I like my mother-in-law’s idea of gifts. Now, let’s see, little girl, does this come with directions or should I experiment on my own?”
“I don’t know what you mean, Captain.” She giggled. “Guess you’re on your own.!”
He pulled her close, in a warm embrace, and then said huskily, “Now, little girl, it’s my turn. You taught me about strawberries, so let me teach you about this!”
She giggled again and stretched out on the bed, her arms above her head. Her body was glowing in the sunlight that filtered through the portholes of the cabin.
“Don’t move, little girl…just lie there, and allow me to teach you!”
He smiled at her, the warm, loving, sexy look in his eyes causing tiny thrills of anticipation to run up her spine. “Whatever you say, Captain, sir! Whatever you say!” Her blue eyes offered him a warm invitation, and he took the contents of the box into his hands.
Looking carefully at the small bottle, he looked back at his wife and smiled at her. ”You know, I always had a fondness for vanilla. Kinda reminds me of Grandma’s and baking cookies.” He poured some of the oil into his hand. Gazing at her with undisguised desire, he knelt next to her… “Let me see… Where should I begin…?”
“The beginning, my love…. The beginning…..” was her husky reply and she stretched out as far as she could to allow him total access to her body.
Lee poured a few drops of the oil on her stomach and he gently began to massage her belly, running his long fingers around her belly button, and allowing his fingers to continue a downward passage to her thighs, and her lower body. He began to massage and stroke her thighs, working the oil deep into her soft skin. The scent of vanilla began to permeate the cabin, as Lee gently eased the oil into her body.
Caitlin lay there luxuriating in feeling that the now warming oil and his fingers were drawing from her. Her body began to respond to his hands as he stroked and massaged her. She let small sighs of contentment fall from her lips, as he continued to gently worship her. His hands eventually found their way to her innermost being, and he began to slowly knead and manipulate that tiny core of her womanhood. She moaned in pleasure, totally involved in his adoration of her body.. His hands moved back up her belly and caressed and brushed at her breasts. His attentions became more intense as her response increased. She cried out, small cries of delight. He softly rubbed and massaged her breasts, bringing them to hardened peaks. Then his fingers began to stroke and caress her neck, her face. He slid his fingers into her mouth, and she sucked hungrily at the vanilla oil that covered them. Writhing sensuously, she reached for him, but he gently pushed her hands back down.
Huskily, he said to her, “Oh, no, Mrs. Crane, I’m not finished yet! I’ve got a great deal more to do for you!” Slowly, he moved his head to her thighs, and began to kiss, and lick her. She gasped aloud, and he looked up at her.
He stopped and looked at her, amber hazel eyes glazed with lust. “Yes..?”
His hands moved over her, as his mouth paid homage to her. His tongue found ways to elicit more cries of pleasure as he caressed her inner lips with his tongue. She moved beneath him, twisting slightly, and he began to trail kisses and more licks up her belly to her breasts. He began to suck hungrily on one and then the other, her cries pleasure becoming more and more frequent…
His mouth moved to her neck, kissing and sucking at it, and his long slender fingers slid inside of her, finding her wet, and ready to receive him. He was long ready to enter, but he had one more place to venerate before he did. He could see she was now beyond all comprehension, focused on reaching that point of satisfaction to which she was so close. Her soft cries were becoming more frequent and he moved over her face with light soft kisses, finally lightly setting on her lips. He rose over her and entered her, his mouth taking hers, as he drove into her. She wrapped her legs around him, pulling him more deeply within, while he continued to kiss her. They reached their peaks as one, and lay together, exhausted, but satiated.
Karen Nelson was contently lying in her husband's arms amidst the bubbles of the hot bath he had drawn. Candlelight flickered all around them in the semi-light room and soft music emulated from the speakers over head. There were two glasses of half-filled orange juice on the ledge as well as a plate of half eaten bagels and some assorted fruit. Slightly shifting her body to sit between his legs, she leaned back against his chest and let herself be enveloped by his strong arms. Closing her eyes, she thrilled in his embrace as he softly kissed her neck and shoulder.
"Now this is the way to wake up in the morning," he quietly declared, his fingers straying over her neck, and breasts.
'Hmmmmm, funny that you should say that," she quipped and looked up at him. "Didn't I sort of tell you that in Williamsburg a long time ago ?"
"True, that you did. Only I'll admit that I didn't know entirely what you meant then, but believe me, I do now. You are a very unusual woman, Karen Nelson."
Turning around to face him, the soap bubbles clinging to her chest, she queried, "Unusual? In what way, Admiral Nelson?" She backed away from him and stretched out on the other side of the tub, her feet now in his lap, her toes touching his groin.
"Just that you managed to pull off an unbelievable event that almost didn't take place because one of the main participants nearly didn't make it. And you did it with a cool, calm demeanor befitting the nickname you earned." He slowly was massaging one foot under the soapy water while feeling the other starting to drive him insane. "There are times like these, Karen, that I truly would not want to be on your bad side."
She leaned over and 'swam' back to him, sliding in and taking her place on his lap. Kissing his cheek softly, she purred, "You on my bad side? Never. Besides, I could never find another man who could make love to me the way you do." She kissed him, slowly at first, then probed deeper and deeper with her tongue, entreating him to return the adoration in kind.
When he loosened his hold on her, she sighed contently and then molded herself into his body. He could feel her body relax, the tension of yesterday being drained slowly away. She truly is amazing. That whole ordeal took on the fervor of a battle plan, with her its General. No, strike that. He chuckled to himself. ‘It’s admiral!!’
After a few minutes, her breathing had evened and she whispered, "I can't believe it's all over, you know."
"What? The wedding?"
"Yes, all of it. The advance planning, the fittings, the worry. The actual wedding. I'll be truthful, Harry, I was really beginning to doubt that Lee'd get here on time. And frankly, I don't know what I would’ve done with Caitlin if he hadn't. She would’ve been a total basket case. And you only think I had a cool, calm demeanor. Humph! There were times I was about ready to kill that child of mine. Why do you think I was so thankful that you got me out to the yacht for the night?"
"But it did come off, Karen. And now they're married. I just have to get used to the fact that Lee's my ‘son-in-law'," he remarked, an amused lilt to his voice as he softly kissed her shoulder.
"You're telling me. Funny, I think I'd known for a long time that she was interested in him. I remember when we first came here - the day we moved into the apartment and he and Chip showed up with sodas and a bottle of wine and offering to help. It wasn't long after that that Cathy was killed and left him with Robert to raise. Thank God that Helen came out. And then when Caitlin started helping with Robert, it just seemed to progress from there…"
"Hmmm, and Lee was so twisted with grief and guilt for so long that he never really saw how she felt."
"Very true, but in retrospect, I can understand why. In spite of all the hints that she told me she dropped, including the day of the baby shower, he never took notice…at least, not until his recuperation period after Gamma shot him. I understand from the 'grapevine' that she blasted him one day, I think not long after I tore into him. That was when she apparently let it slip that she was in love with him."
"But I think he was starting to notice before then. Remember the party we gave here before the shooting and the incident with Anita Vincenza? Her father apologized a few days later, by the way…”
“You never told me that.”
“Sorry…slipped my mind,” he stated absentmindedly and tightened his hold around her. “Tomas called me about the plans we’d gone over with him and he, ah, apologized for Anita’s behavior. Seems that she has a tendency to use her father’s position to get men and when Caitlin broke up her little scheme, she apparently went into a rage on the way home that night. Once he put two and two together, he realized what had happened.”
“Yeah, I noticed she wasn’t exactly a happy camper when she came off the deck. Thank God that Tony diverted her while you all were in the study. That little firecracker would have exploded in the middle of the crowd if he hadn’t managed some damage control.”
Nelson laughed at the thought of the tall Texan consoling the angry woman. “Tony does have his uses at times. But I think that the good Captain was a bit more embarrassed about it because Caitlin was the one came to his rescue. And, if I remember right, he was rather fixated with that dress she was wearing.”
“Oh, that’s right! I remember that one…the blue one with no back. She told me she’d bought it and intended to wear it that night. I think she wanted to make sure it was appropriate for the occasion.” Karen grinned just a bit. “Personally, I think she bought it just to see if she could get a rise out of Lee.”
“Oh, she did…as well as from just about every other male in the room.”
“Well,” and he kissed her shoulder and laughed. “Your daughter can be very calculating when she wants to be, Karen., whether you realize it or not. I know I’m her stepfather, but let’s face it, she’s a beautiful woman and she wore that dress for one obvious reason. The one thing I've learned about the Davis women is that they're very head strong, very strong willed, and usually get what they go after."
Karen turned around and faced him, a slight grin on her lips. "Now really, Admiral, suh, whatever makes you say that? After all, I do believe that it was Caitlin who decided to play matchmaker between us. Remember?" Her finger slowly traced a line down his cheek and to his lips.
“No more memories now, Captain,” he murmured as he buried his face in her wet hair, “I think it’s time for action, not words…”
Karen laughed and slipped from his grasp. “Forty-eight hours, huh? No distractions, no work, no interruptions?”
“None,” he stated.
She grinned, then slid beneath the water and resurfaced for a breath as she pulled him towards her…
A week later…
Lee took a last look around the cabin. He and Caitlin had spent little time anywhere on the yacht but here. Their time, their Idyll, was ending, and reality was calling. Their bags were packed, and they were going to wait on the deck, until they docked. An Institute car was waiting for them, to bring them home. Home… Caitlin and he would be going home. To the house. Together. She had closed the apartment the week before the wedding, and put things into storage, and brought many of her things to the house. Their house. He and Caitlin and Robert would be a family. And his house would be a happy one again.
Later on that afternoon…
Caitlin Crane paced the Great Room of Lee’s house… Her home… the home that she now officially shared with Lee Crane, her new husband, and his son,….No! Our son! There was something still bothering him… eating at him as it were. Something had been bothering him since he had made it home for their wedding…something to do with the mission…something he didn’t want to discuss with her… but she would find out what it was!!!
Lee came into the Great Room and extended his hand to her…. “Well, shall we go, Little Girl? The lion’s Den awaits!!”
“Lion’s Den!!? Really, Lee.
Mom and HN having us to dinner is hardly going into the Lion’s Den.”
He grinned at her.. “Ooooo, do I detect the beginnings of a squabble, Mrs. Crane?” He grinned at her. “I don’t believe your parents would expect us to be disagreeing so soon after our wedding!”
He reached out, and pulled her close, wrapping a long arm around her. He could feel her warmth against him, and bent his head, and tenderly kissed her. She smiled at him, her blue eyes full of love.
“No, no squabble… what do you call your first official dinner at the house as son-in-law?”
He shrugged his shoulders grinning at her, … “I dunno…my first official dinner at the Nelson home as the official Son-in-law?”
She playfully slapped at his arm. “All right, Mr. Smart Ass. Let’s go…we don’t want to be late for dinner and we have exactly eight minutes to make it up the hill. We are walking, aren’t we?”
“Yes, we’re walking, I don’t think my father-in-law would approve of my using valuable gasoline to go about a quarter of a mile!” Lee grinned at his wife and extended his arm for her to take. “Have I told you lately how much I love you, Caitlin Davis?”
“Mmmm, yes I think so, but don’t hesitate to continue to do so, Captain.” She grinned, standing on tiptoe to kiss his cheek. “But we have to put those demonstrations aside, or we will be late… Very late! “ She tugged at his arm, and he reluctantly joined her, leaving the house, and walking up the hill to the Georgian Brick at the top of the hill.
They walked to the front door, and stood momentarily, Lee hesitating a bit before he raised his hand to knock on the massive wooden door. He looked at Caitlin and smiled, as the door was opened by Maria.
The housekeeper grinned broadly at the newlyweds, “Ahhh… Captain Crane… Miss Caitlin. Welcome back!! The Admiral and Mrs. Nelson are out on the deck. Dinner will be ready in a half hour. The Admiral has drinks waiting for both of you…” She hurried them into the house, through the Great Room, and to the deck.
They stepped through the sliding doors and stood for a moment. The difference in the look of the deck from when they were last there was amazing. Back was the easy, relaxed look of the expansive deck, the comfortable chairs. Gone were the tent, tables, platforms and all the many things that had transformed the beach and deck only a short few days ago. Karen and Harriman Nelson were sitting at the edge of the deck, involved in conversation when Lee and Caitlin walked out to the deck. Nelson looked up.
“Lee! Caitlin! Welcome home!” He rose and moved toward the both of them, followed by Karen. He hugged Caitlin warmly, and engulfed Crane in a bear hug. “How was the trip?” he asked, smiling at them.
“Nice….” they both replied in concert, and then they all laughed at the response. Karen kissed Lee lightly on the cheek and then hugged her daughter, “How are you? Lee, how’re the ribs?”
“Healing, thank you, Karen… How were things while we were away?” Turning to Nelson, “The boat?…”
Nelson laughed again, “She’s fine, Lee, so is the crew, the XO, your son, our son, your mother and anything else that you may want to worry about….” He took his Captain, and stepson-in-law by the arm, and guided him to a chair on the deck, offering him a glass of wine as he did so.
Karen hugged her daughter again, and then linked her arm in hers…”So, Sweets, how are you doing? Some of your emails puzzled me a bit. Is Lee really okay? Is he really getting better?”
“Oh, I think so… he’s moving a little better…and the bruises are fading. But I know there other things bothering him, and he just won’t talk about it. The biggest one, I think, is Cathy.”
“That could very well be, Sweets, but I think he will
eventually open up to you. You just have to give him time. You,
above all, know how long it takes for our dear Captain to share his deepest
thoughts. Now that the two of you are finally together, it’ll be easier,
You’ll see.” She hugged her daughter warmly again, “Are you happy, Caitlin?
Is this all that you thought or hoped it’d be?”
Caitlin smiled at her mother, “Oh, yes!! Definitely yes! I
know that this is what I’ve wanted for a very long time, and now it’s here, and
I am happy, so very happy! I think I’m beginning to
understand how you felt when you finally married HN, Mom. That you were in love
with him and loved being with him, but how different you felt, after the
wedding, when you were finally, really together. I know how I feel… thanks for
it all, Mom. Now, what about dinner? I’ve been waiting all day for that
Cornish hen that you do…and the dessert… “ And then there was a mysterious
twinkle in her eye as she grinned at her mother. “Well… there are some
things that I could tell you about dessert…”
“Hmmm, well I’m sure in the course of this evening, you’ll share some of it with me, Sweets!” Karen took her daughter by the arm and they moved over to the two men, who were sitting, deep in discussion… She looked at her watch, and then at her husband and son-in-law, “Gentlemen, I do believe dinner is ready and if we don’t sit down, it’ll spoil. And if you two are talking work, it can wait ‘til after dinner.”
“I was just trying to catch him up on what all’s been going on,” Nelson laughed.
Karen kissed Nelson lightly on the forehead, “Uh huh…I
figured as much. C’mon, Admiral, we have the whole evening to talk… let’s
go inside for dinner.”
Nelson and Lee rose, and each took the arm of their respective spouse. “Lead on, Madame!” Nelson said to his wife, as they moved to the doorway. Lee and Caitlin followed close behind, into the house and to the dining room. Crane turned to close the door, and watched the last bit of sun slide beneath the horizon, quietly thanking the powers above. He was a lucky man, a very lucky man, and it was about time that he admitted it to himself, and others…
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