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Submitted by Steven ODell on 9 July 2007 - 12:51am.

Chapter 2

Dinner was pleasant and the company was enjoyable, but Ron was antsy to get away with his new bride and let Denise know it by squeezing her thigh a few times as the food was nearly consumed. Denise made the excuse that she was getting rather sleepy, which was after all true. “The last month has been one you could scarcely believe.”

“Oh, really? You must tell me about it,” Lydia begged. “Yes, yes. Do tell,” George added.

“I am afraid that will have to wait for another day,” Denise replied.

“I’m afraid the story is so long and troublesome it might take twice as long just to convince you of its truth,” Ron explained.

Lydia leaned forward involuntarily. “My, my…it all sounds so mysterious and exciting.”

“That is an understatement if ever there was one,” Denise replied with an air of finality and wiping her mouth, placed her napkin on the table and rose to thank the Brennans and bid them goodnight.

“Perhaps the next meal should be our treat,” Ron offered. “Then we will share with you an experience you will be thankful you never had to live through, I assure you. Besides, we have a honeymoon to get started on, you know.” Ron winked at George, who responded with a simple, “Oh, of course.” Denise again delivered the same elbow technique that Barbara had mastered all too well-this time with a bit more enthusiasm.

“Ron, let’s show a little refinement, shall we?”

“Sorry, dear,” he responded unconvincingly and held her striking arm firmly. With another thanks to the Brennans, they excused themselves and headed straight to their room at the hotel. Ron locked the door and turned to Denise with full purpose written on his face. Denise held up her hand to stop him. “Hold on. Aren’t you forgetting something?”

Puzzled, Ron asked, “What?”

“It’s unsafe to exercise so soon after eating. You could get cramps.” She tried without success to conceal her laughter, but it came out much to Ron’s delight.

“I think that’s for swimming, young lady.”

“Swimming, exercise, whatever…you still run the risk of painful cramping, dear husband.” She placed her palms against his chest in pretense of objection.

“I’m willing to run that risk even if I die, dear girl.”

Denise stared wide-eyed at her man. “Even if you die?”

“Yes. I figure there is no better way to go that I can think of.”

“Well, then”, she dropped her hands and pulled him against her, “I will just have to be careful not to kill you, won’t I?” She began to unbutton his shirt and his heart began to race as his eyes closed involuntarily.

“Oh, what a woman you are…and what a lucky man I am.”

“Talk, talk, talk…” she quietly replied in mock impatience. As she reached to undo his belt buckle, he began also to help her from her own clothes.

The evening was perfect. Their bodies melted together and they moved as if they were one. Reason had dictated that there would be much to learn about one another’s likes and dislikes, about natural rhythms and responses, but somehow it all seemed absolutely perfect. Again, there was no one in the world but them. Again they were totally swept away in the tides of passion and again they dissolved together in exhaustion after their mutual satisfaction was reached. Perfection was the only word to describe it, for perfect it was.

In the morning Ron awoke first and pulled the covers from Denise as he stood beside her and looked admiringly on her smooth naked body.

“What are you doing?” she asked as she instinctively drew into a ball to cover herself.

“I am just admiring my treasure. Would you deny me that right?”

“Of course not, darling.” She again stretched out fully upon the bed so that he could feast his eyes upon all of her gorgeous lines.

His eyes drank her in completely and he shook his head in slow wonder as he pondered that he would have such a magnificent pearl to call his own.

“You are so incredible, Denise. Beautiful beyond words.” She read the amazement in his voice and in his eyes. It was sincere and profound and she melted again at the sound of it.

“How could I be so fortunate as to have a man like you, Ron?”

“What…?” His reaction was one of mixed amazement and amusement. “I’m the one who is fortunate. Just look at you. You are amazing. You are gorgeous both inside and out.”

“Then shut up and show me how much you love me, silly man.” Her eyes beckoned as strongly as her body and he was immediately willing to comply. He knelt over her and let his hands alternately please her and drive her crazy with desire. Then his mouth followed suit and she begged him to love her fully and completely. Ron complied with her wishes with all his heart, wanting only to make this most precious woman happy.

When their lovemaking was over, Denise whispered in Ron’s ear, “Thank you for loving me so much.”

“You’re more than welcome, m’lady.”

As he caressed her cheek, Denise smiled dreamily and suggested, “Well, we’ve had our dessert. Maybe we should have our breakfast now.”

“One thing first. I’m not anxious to see it end so soon-sweet tooth, I guess.” He grinned and lifted her from the bed, carrying her to the shower to play some more.

“I never thought I’d be so excited about soap. I love it,” Denise spoke breathily.

“Want to skip breakfast and just have dessert again?”

“Yes,” she whispered softly and held his naked body closer. For the next half hour they just enjoyed the feel of their wet, slippery bodies on one another.

“Denise, I never thought you could do this in a hotel, but I think the water is getting cold. We’ve begun to use up all the hot water. We’d better get out.” He reached above her and turned the spigots off.

“Promise to warm me and I’ll follow you anywhere.”

Even so, as he stepped out of the shower, she instinctively tried to pull him back. It surprised her to have such an urge and Ron noted that she appeared stunned and breathless. “What is it, babe?”

She let out a nervous giggle, but was shivering and looking to be in mild shock. “You have no idea what you’ve done to me, Ronald Lawrence Jameson.”

Now Ron was worried. To hear what he perceived to be concern in her voice and then hear his whole name so formally spoken gave him cause for slight alarm. “Are you okay? What did I do wrong?”

“Wrong?” She laughed again. “You’ve done nothing wrong, you dear man.” She hugged him closer and squeezed tightly. Her naked breasts against his body thrilled him intensely and he, too, pulled her closer in return. “You’ve done everything right. Perfectly.”

“What, then?” he whispered in her ear, still puzzled by what the problem could be.

“I’ve never felt like this before. The more of you I get, the more I want.” She laughed briefly and added, “I may very well be a nymphomaniac before this honeymoon is over. You’re addictive.”

Ron chuckled with relief. “What better wedding gift could a man ask for, Denise? Whatever your addiction, I will try to be your cure--even if it kills me.” He grinned slyly.

“Okay, then take me back to bed,” she announced seriously. Ron wrapped her in a towel and lifted her into his arms, carrying her again as he had recently done so often. He laid her onto the bed and was beside her in one indivisible movement.

A few hours later, the two were exiting their room when they saw the Brennans coming down the hall toward them from their own suite.

“Hey, neighbor!” Brennan seemed more cheerful today.

“Hi,” Ron responded. “Sleep okay? I notice you’re getting a late start.”

“No later than you.” He winked slyly grinned. Noting that the ladies were exchanging pleasantries, he pulled Ron aside and slapped him on the back. “You’re a major inspiration, buddy! You’ve done wonders for my love life.”
“I’m afraid I don’t understand, George.”

“Well, Ron, our rooms have beds on an adjoining wall and let’s just say you inspired us, alright? I owe you one, buddy!”

“Oh…uh…no problem.” Ron found himself nearly speechless while George walked off with a contentedly smiling Lydia and rounded the corner to the elevators.

“What was that all about?” asked Denise, having noticed the little face to face and somewhat secret meeting that had just taken place between the two men.

“Uh, I think we inspire them.” He said this as nonchalantly as possible.

“Well, good. They looked really happy. Maybe we will inspire others as well,” she replied, locking arms with Ron.

Ron fought back a laugh and said only, “Who knows…it could happen.”

Later, after a bit of shopping, Denise asked, “Do you have your phone with you? I promised to keep in touch with my Mom, Barb and Paul.”

“Yes, I have it, but I’ve kept it off until now-didn’t want any interruptions, if you know what I mean.”

“I know just what you mean. I couldn’t agree more, but a promise is a promise.”

“Alright, you win.” Looking somewhat dejected, he fished the small phone from his pocket and turned it on for her. No sooner had he done so than it rang, surprising them both. “Hello? Yeah.” He whispered an aside to her, “It’s Hunter.”

“I’ve been trying to get you almost since you left. Has your phone been off?”

“Of course. I’m trying to get some quiet time after all we’ve been through. Besides, this is our honeymoon, remember?” He winked at Denise and she smiled back sexily.

“I remember…and I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it looks like trouble is coming your way.”

“What are you talking about?” Ron’s expression took on a stony seriousness that brought immediate concern to Denise. She was suddenly all ears and eager to know the cause of this drastic change of emotion.

“Uh-huh. Did they let Bill go?”

Denise now registered shock at his words. “What…. what happened?”
Ron held up a finger. She would have to wait a moment, but that moment seemed endless to her and she fidgeted nervously, rocking back and forth from one foot to the other. She began to nervously twist her hair around her finger and Ron took her hand, trying to smile reassuringly to calm her. It didn’t work and she still rocked back and forth.

“Okay, thanks for the heads up, Cuz. I’ll keep the phone on now. What? Oh, really? Yeah, weird. Guess we really lucked out on that one, then.”

Denise was about to explode from curiosity and she bared her teeth and growled, eyes wide and intense. Her whole expression said, ‘Tell me now!’

“Okay, we’ll talk later, after I have a chance to decide what we need to do. Thanks. Uh-huh. ‘Bye.”

“Well?”

“What do you want first, the good news or the bad news?”

"No, not again…I can’t take much more bad news." She had been very strong through all her trials and he knew that she could hold up to almost anything that was thrown at her, but such sustained stress over such a long time was sure to deplete anyone emotionally. And of all times to get hit with this news….

“Alright, then I’ll give you the good news. It seems that when we were in the mountains my cell phone should not have worked. According to Hunter it was a major miracle I got reception each time I needed it to have it. Pretty awesome, don’t you think?”

“Yeah…I would say so.” She was unmoved by past history. She was afraid of right now. He pulled her close and held her affectionately until she quietly announced, “Tell me. I need to know.”

“Let’s find somewhere to sit first, okay? I think we need to rest while we discuss this.”
When they had found a comfortable place to sit, Ron began to unfold all that developed in the last few days since they had left the mainland. “You recall that we departed rather abruptly and left Hunter, Billy and the others to fill in the pieces for the authorities? Seems that we left a bit too fast for their liking. I don’t know any other way to tell you, so here goes-they think I fled the state to avoid prosecution for murder.”

Denise went white and was unable to utter a sound. She shook her head vigorously and started to cry silently. He reached to console her and she pulled away, her eyes tightly closed and her fists clenched. Ron knew she was not angry with him personally. It was a normal reaction when one is near the breaking point-or at least thinks she is. He had more confidence in her than she had in herself.

“Bill and the guys answered all the questions they could. They held Bill until they verified that none of the bullet wounds were delivered from his rifle. That left me only. All the shots were from me. Hunter says the police will have contacted the authorities here by now and he didn’t want me unprepared. We should decide if I turn myself in or wait for extradition.” He reached to take her hand. He needed support and consolation himself right now. Again she recoiled at his touch, physically drawing into herself and attempting to shut out the world-to shut out the hurt.

It was the inevitable fulfillment of the officers’ prediction. She had held out so long that he had begun to think she was invincible. Ron now felt foolish. He should have known better, but what was there that he could have done about it? Nothing…nothing at all.

“Denise?” The tears were welling in his eyes and he was hurting deeply in his heart as he looked intently at her, waiting for a response. When it came, it was not what he had expected or had hoped for.

She spoke barely above a whisper and her stance changed not at all toward him. Can you leave me alone? Please?”

Yesterday…no, just this morning-she had not been able to get enough of him. Now she couldn’t stand the sight or the touch of him. She wanted him to leave and he knew he must or there would be no healing for her…for them.

“You go back to the hotel and I’ll be there later…much later, okay?” His voice was so tinged with emotion that he could barely speak, but Denise nodded her head and immediately stood to go to their hotel. She did not so much as make eye contact with him as she left, nor utter another word to assure him. Ron felt as if his heart was being torn out. The hurt was so bad that he didn’t know where to turn. Incredible as it seemed, the dream Ron had experienced on the plane was beginning to become true, after a fashion. Ted might as well be alive and pushing Ron into the sea to drown him…to separate him from Denise. It was happening just as effectively either way. Even in death Ted would not leave them alone.

Ron started walking and just kept walking until he hit the end of the city, then turned the block and walked the other direction until he had reached the opposite end of the city. Several times he was nearly hit by traffic as he stepped into the street without looking. Ron would have welcomed it the way he felt now. Years earlier he had a cost a man his life. He had forgiven himself for that with prompting from Denise. Now he may have killed any love that Denise had for him-he may have destroyed their brand new marriage. For that, he could never forgive himself.

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