tagRomanceA Perfect Gift

A Perfect Gift

byNatural Born Eros©

Tiny clouds appeared behind them; snow dust scraped from the hard-frozen ground by their boots as Matthew and Jennifer walked along the deserted beach. Matthew, although he found the cold night air exhilarating, was walking quickly to keep up with Jennifer, who had finally become too cold to stay outside. It was only a short walk along the shore to Matthew’s cottage, and soon they were inside.

Jennifer sat in front of the fire, watching Matthew expertly coax a flame from the logs he placed on the embers, before he disappeared into the kitchen. As she removed her boots and began to warm her feet before the fire, she watched him. He opened the oven, and the tantalising aroma of a spicy stew reached her quickly across the tiny cottage. Soon Ben Webster’s silky tenor sax was wrapping itself around the room like a blanket. Matthew glanced up from the stove, and grinned. “A very wise man one described this as music to make love to,” he said.

The firelight reflected the glint in his eyes. His hair, slightly tousled from confinement in his hat, sprang out in dark, unruly curls above his bright blue eyes. As he returned to the stove, Jennifer admired yet again the broadness of his shoulders, the impression of restrained strength. This single sentence had caused her heart to beat forcefully against her ribs, and a thrill of anticipation to run through her. The magic of the evening, the beautiful Nova Scotian scenery, the gently romantic jazz and the incredible smells from the kitchen kindled a feeling of being cocooned in Matthew’s world.

He had been coming here for years, with his parents, and lately on his own. They had met at university in England, where Matthew’s parents had moved. He loathed London, and whenever he had the time and money to spare, he returned to this tiny cottage beside the Atlantic. He had implored her to join him on this trip, had paid her way as a Christmas gift. They had left dark, rainy Heathrow on Boxing Day to see in the New Year in perfect peace and solitude. It was Jennifer’s first visit to Canada, and the beauty intoxicated her, by the silence and the emptiness. When they were silent, the only sound she could hear was the breaking of waves on the rocky coastline beyond the picture windows. However, it was Matthew that made the trip feel so perfect. There had been an instant attraction between them when they met after her first week at university, and they had been dating for three months.

Although he was attentive and caring when they were together, Matthew was often busy, with his many friends and his rugby team. Jennifer had been surprised when he offered to take her away for the New Year, assuming he would have wanted to enjoy Bacchanalian revels with his gang of mates. She had leapt on the opportunity to get him to herself, to have a chance to really get to know him. The holiday had been everything she had hoped for. He revealed a new side to himself, an introspective, compassionate man. He had refused to let her lift a finger after their arrival, and as he turned on the water, lit the fire, and cooked the stew, he told her stories of his childhood holidays here. Taking her for a walk along the beach, looking at the icebergs illuminated in the dusk, he revealed for the first time that he was aware of her frustrations with their relationship in England. He offered to give up his rugby, to live with her next year, and, sitting on a rock with waves lapping below them, for the first time he had told her that he loved her.

The part of Jennifer that had resented his public façade had melted in the last few hours. Jennifer felt comfortable and happy with Matthew in a way that she would never have expected. Their mutual declaration of love, and his willingness to place her at the centre of his life had brought a sense of magic to the holiday. At home, Jennifer had listened with envy to her friends’ stories of sitting up all night just talking, and of romantic candle-lit dinners. Every couple seemed to have a magical moment when their relationship clicked into place, a day that they would remember forever. Now, Jennifer realised, she had hers, a moment far more romantic that any she had heard her friends discuss. She was in a perfect place, with a perfect man, and for the first time, she was pleased to hear him talking about sex. She was ready.

Matthew spoke softly at her ear. He seemed to move more quietly in this cottage, she thought with a smile. “Jen, you’ll get warmer faster if you take off your hat and coat. Why keep outside wrapped around you?” He helped her take off her coat, took her hat and hung them carefully by the door. He came back with two plates loaded with food. Ravenous as ever, he was eating before she had reached for her fork. They sat in silence for a few minutes, watching the fire, and enjoying the cous cous and stew. Although Jennifer had known he was a keen cook, she had been amazed to hear him talking at length about the traditions of Moroccan cooking, and she was now delighted to find that the food was delicious.

Matthew had been unusually talkative until they began to eat. Now he looked at her quixically, and said only: “Penny for your thoughts?” She laughed, as she always did when he used old-fashioned English expressions in his maritime drawl. “Nothing really. I mean, I’m thinking a lot, it’s just really hard to express. Oh, Matt, thank you so much for this holiday. Its perfect, I’m so… it’s so… magical. It feels like magic.” “It does, doesn’t it? I suppose I wanted it to. I wanted you to see how much this place meant to me. I wanted to show you how much you mean to me. I want to come back here with you until we’re too old to light a fire.” Again, hearing him speak, Jennifer was aware of a tightness in her chest, the excitement expanding, making it hard to speak. She smiled, kissed her finger and placed it to his lips.

Matthew felt the softness of her fingers, warm now, against his lips. He had known that this holiday would have some of the magic Jennifer described. Never had he realised how much. He in turn kissed a finger and held it to her lips. He gazed at her. She was more beautiful than ever in the flickering firelight. The cold had brought a glow to her cheeks that he had never seen before, more attractive than the make-up he tried so hard to stop her using. Her shoulder length blonde hair, rolling onto the high collar on her white cashmere top seemed to frame her face. Her blue eyes shone above her high cheekbones, and the smile remained on her tiny mouth. He could wait no longer. He placed a hand around her neck, pulled her gently towards him, and kissed her passionately, gently, yet with strength.

Jennifer, still cocooned in the perfection of the evening, allowed herself to be kissed, to kiss back. He was the only man she had ever kissed, and it was a sensation she adored. She clasped her hands together behind his neck as he pulled her towards him by the waist. She smiled again, dreamily, as he moved his lips to her jawline. She felt his breath under her collar, felt his warm tongue run up the groove behind her jaw until he reached her ear. “Take my hand,” he whispered, breathing in her ear, causing her skin to prickle with goosebumps at this delicious sensation. “I want to take you upstairs.” She followed him willingly, trusting him to take control, allowing herself to be led.

As they climbed the final pine stairs, Jennifer gasped at the change in the room. Matthew had lit candles, had moved the two beds together, and remade them with double quilts, and had removed the piles of clothes, books and rucksacks that had dominated the room. She had not even heard him go upstairs. “Matt,” she said, suddenly and unexpectedly on the brink of tears, “I hoped this night would come, but I never thought I would enjoy it.” ”Come here,” he said, pulling her into his strong embrace, lifting her chin until she stared into his eyes, “I wouldn’t have let this happen unless I knew you would enjoy it. Now don’t be so serious. Smile.”

I had no warning. I suddenly felt Matthew’s hand behind my knees, and I was lifted into his arms. I heard him laugh out loud as he placed me on the bed and lay down beside me, his leg heavy across mine. This sudden exuberance ended my emotional “moment” and I laughed at his eagerness, revelled in his power. I felt my collar rub against my neck, a second before he began to kiss the skin he had exposed. I lay back, feeling his hands exploring my body, knowing that I was safe, loved, and protected.

Afterwards, I slept in his arms, the most comfortable night’s sleep I have ever enjoyed.

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