tagRomanceDiscovering Daniel

Discovering Daniel


It was a few days after Thanksgiving when the Christmas music began. Traditional Christmas carols, jazzed up Christmas tunes and famous old Christmas songs. Each note seemed to taunt Claire, coming from shops in the mall, on the television channels, from radio stations, and even on cell phone ring tones. The once loved melodies now brought anger and rage to her, ripped into her troubled soul and caused her eyes to blur with tears.

How selfish to force this onto people, she thought angrily. The notion that Christmas was a merry time for everyone, that families would miraculously come together and that goodwill and cheer would prevail. She knew she would dread the holidays this year, Thanksgiving had been hard enough but somehow she had never imagined that the build up to Christmas would be so painful to endure. Thank God she had made the reservation to go to the mountains. A short vacation, somewhere far away from here was just what she needed, a place where there wouldn't be any Christmas music.

Seven months had passed since her son, Craig, had died in a Black Hawk Helicopter crash near Mosul, Iraq. He was 23, vibrant, filled with enthusiasm and a passion for flying. Her grief was profound, nothing and no-one could console her. Her anguished mind relived the dread of him leaving, the nights and days she had remained glued to the television where the war played out like some surreal movie and then the unspeakable horror of learning of his death. The loss of her only child had ripped open a chasm of pain that seemed unable to heal and which drove a wedge between her and her husband in their already faltering marriage. Stanley had been overcome with his own grief, but as always he managed to find solace in the arms of one of his mistresses.

A lone tear rolled down Claire's cheek as she stared out at the row of cars ahead of her. God, would she ever stop feeling sad? Would she ever feel normal again? She smiled desolately; if she was honest with herself she'd realize that some good had come out of this wretched year. She had finally taken the step to institute divorce proceedings against Stanley and end the years of his infidelity that she had always turned a blind eye towards.

She gripped the steering wheel with both hands and silently cursed the traffic that had ground to a halt in front of her. It was raining but that didn't deter the steady stream of shoppers who thronged the sidewalks. Yet another Santa clanged away with a shiny bell outside the cheese shop and despite Claire's attempts to turn the news on the radio up to almost full blast, the sounds of 'Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer' rattled from a hidden speaker above the sidewalk in front of Jessie's Toy Shack. Her eyes drifted idly to the cigar store window where the old Mexican who owned it was happily stringing lights across the glass, pipe stuck in the corner of his mouth, smoke drifting behind him. A fake tree was already in place complete with shiny adornments and sprayed with fake snow. The weather forecast predicted a possibility of real snow later in the evening and Claire hoped that she would make it to the Far Hills Country Resort before nightfall.

~ ~ ~

The resort was just as the brochure had promised. A country haven far away from the maddening crowd, built on a mountain surrounded by water features, birdlife and acres of indigenous bush. Pulling on a pair of jeans, boots and a thick sweater, Claire left her thatch stone cottage the next morning and followed one of the mountain paths. It was steeper than she had imagined and she pushed herself forward, the blood pumping in her veins as she sucked in the crisp thin air. By the time she reached the top of the steep hill her breathing was labored and raspy.

"Damn," she panted as she dropped onto a nearby bench. She had really become unfit since she stopped playing tennis. "And so much for tennis friends," she said bitterly. They had disappeared gradually after her trips to the country club dwindled. Somehow after losing Craig her zest and enthusiasm to socialize and get together with them had faded. Dashing across a court after a little ball seemed so pointless and just getting up to go to work each day seemed to be all that she could manage.

Her eyes flickered over the panoramic view. Below, in the valley the rooftops were still covered in light snow that had fallen during the night. It was achingly beautiful and Claire felt a sudden surge of power at being able to view all this serene tranquility from where she was sitting. No wonder Craig loved to fly; the world was his from that height stretching out for as far as he could see. She smiled gently at his memory and a strange sense of peace washed over her. He was okay, wherever he was – somehow, at this moment she knew that. And she sensed that he was higher than she was, smiling down on her with that crazy crooked smile of his. For the first time since his death, she was able to think of him without crying and an amazing feeling of lightness and relief came over her as she made her way back down the steep path.

Claire's body ached the following day. Muscles that had been neglected shrieked with pain and stiffness as she climbed from the warm soothing heat of the indoor jet pool and made her way gingerly towards the massage room. She glanced at herself in the floor to ceiling mirror as she toweled off and pulled on a pair of high legged blue panties. It was the first time in months that she had looked at herself in the nude and she surveyed her body critically.

"Definitely no swimsuit model," she said grimacing at the extra few pounds that had packed onto her hips from not eating properly and her lack of exercise. She cupped her breasts in her hands and evaluated them. They still felt firm without any significant droop and the nipples perked up beneath her palm. She groaned cynically at the thought of her self imposed celibacy as she lay face down on the padded massage table. Her sexual self had died a long time ago and it was a wonder that her nipples were still responsive.

"Daniel will be with you in a few minutes," a young female attendant said as she draped a warm fluffy towel over Claire's buttocks and thighs and pinned her thick hair up on her head.

"Thanks," she replied, resting her head on her arms and closing her eyes.

There was a slight movement of air in the room as he entered but she didn't look up.

"Hi Mrs Lewis, I'm Daniel," he said as he squirted a small stream of warmed oil onto her back.

Claire mumbled a noncommittal response. She was in no mood to talk.

His hands felt strong and warm as he firmly kneaded the back of her neck. The muscles were tight and hard and his first touch of them had her flinching slightly as they burned with the pain of built up stress.

"Just try and relax," he soothed in a voice that was rich and smooth like melting chocolate. His flattened hands had moved to her shoulders and she felt her muscles loosen up under the stimulus of his probing fingers. They moved slowly down each side of her spine towards the small of her back and she let out a small groan of pleasure as he worked the tension out of her.

Daniel smiled at the sound she emitted. He knew that his hands were skilled. They were instinctive hands, able to locate the knots and tensions in a body by pure intuition. He had once been told by his massage teacher that the hands of the best masseurs were the hands of an artist, part pianist and part sculptor. He manipulated the warm smooth flesh rhythmically, completely absorbed in his art when the woman beneath his palms suddenly stiffened.

"Get that music off," she snapped and then grudgingly added "Please," as an afterthought.

"What? You don't like music?" Daniel asked a little surprised by her sudden knee jerk reaction to the muted background sounds that were filtering in from the speakers. They had been there since he entered the room and now a gentle Christmas tune was being played on Japanese wind instruments.

"Fuck! What are you deaf? Didn't you hear me? I said get it off!"

Daniel shook his head and made his way over to the sound system. Shit, he had to work with weird types sometimes. He turned the volume dial off while he fumbled to eject the offending cassette.

"So you don't want any music playing at all?" His voice had become cold and hard. He always worked with music.

"I didn't say that," Claire retorted, raising herself onto her elbows and glancing at his back. I just fucking hate Christmas music. So anything except that is fine. Silence is good as well!"

Christ he thought as he pressed an Andrei Bochelli cassette into the tape deck. This spoilt bitch didn't need a masseuse, she needed a fucking psychiatrist. Well fuck her too. He deliberately upped the volume and felt his annoyance ease away at the first strains of 'Melodramma.'

He took a few deep breaths and tried to concentrate, starting again with the slow, sensuous circular motions from her shoulders towards the small of her back. He spread his fingers like a starfish on her lightly oiled body and kept up the firm kneading down to her lower back and over her kidneys until he felt her body pulse and relax again.

Claire felt a twinge of embarrassment at her outburst. It really wasn't his fault and she had been unreasonably aggressive. His hands were magnificent; easing the pain and anxiety from her muscles as he worked. She had felt a slight difference as he restarted the massage, almost like he was pissed off, but it had melted away as the rich voice of the Italian tenor rose and fell with the orchestra. Despite herself, she began to enjoy the haunting strains of the romantic love song as Daniel's hands worked the muscles of her buttocks through the thin fabric of her panties. Inexplicably she felt a faint tingle in her groin as his hands moved along her taut thigh muscles in time with the music and massaged down to her calves. She groaned again, overcome with delicious sensation as his fingers attended to the intricate architecture of her feet. Claire squirmed slightly and felt her face burn. To her horror, her pussy was moistening and an excited throb had started up deep inside her where she had been dead for so long.

He finished the massage without saying a word and began clearing away the bottles of oils and lotions. Claire eased herself from the massage table and wrapped the towel around herself before turning to him. He was young, maybe twenty five or so with well defined muscles under the tan skin that peeked out from his white sweater. His hair was jet black, worn a tad to long, but it was thick and shiny. A sharp pang of shock hit her when she glanced at his shockingly blue eyes. They were gentle eyes but filled with great lakes of agony. They didn't meet hers, but it was not that he avoided eye contact, they looked passed her into some faraway black space.

Daniel with the wonderful hands was blind.

"Thank you," Claire stammered. "And I'm really sorry."

"Sorry for what? Being rude? Or because you've just discovered I'm blind?"

Claire was taken aback by his bluntness. He appeared a little amused by her apology and sudden awkwardness. A small smile played around his lips but his eyes remained fixed and unmoving.

"Well, truthfully… a little of both," Claire hesitated, pleased that he couldn't see her flush of embarrassment. Shit, she felt like a stupid bitch and to top it all off he had got her aroused.

"Yeah well, I'll accept your apology for the first, the second is not your concern," he said harshly as he sauntered towards the door. "See you around, Mrs Lewis."

~ ~ ~

Claire barely slept that night. The image of Daniel haunted her mind like a lost ghost ship floating aimlessly in her thoughts. It was impossible to get him out of her head. Every time she closed her eyes, she recalled her brazen rudeness and saw his youthful looks with the crystal blue pools staring past her. She tossed and turned in her bed as she guiltily remembered his agile hands on her body, moving sensuously over her naked flesh, awakening the sex that nestled between her legs. Her pussy seemed to have remained slickly warm and aching, insistent on getting the attention it suddenly craved.

Finally, in the early hours of the morning, unable to deny her body what it needed she slid her fingers through the wet folds of her labia and marveled at the amount of lubrication that had pooled there. Thinking back to the last few times she and Stanley tried to make love, she recalled being dry and non responsive. "Frigid," he had called her and truthfully she had come to believe that. Her nipples hardened proudly to dispute his cruel words and she pinched them softly as the thumb and index finger of her right hand found her swollen clit. Her strokes were slow and steady as her breath quickened, and then her actions became more rapid, moving almost in a blur as the glorious sensations of release thundered through her throbbing pussy and washed over her body.

She woke to dark overcast skies. Her original plans for the day were to lay in bed for a few extra hours and then waste away the rest of it paging through a stack of magazines. But gazing out of the window at the gardens under the slow groggy clouds she felt a renewed sense of eagerness. She got the urge to be out among people and to see Daniel again. She dressed rapidly in warm clothes and pulled her hair up into a pony tail before making her way down to the main building which housed the sumptuous dining room where breakfast was served.

The smell of hot, enticing Java drew her attention as she found a table next to the wall length window and gave her order to a young waitress with fiery red hair and a welcoming smile. Claire sipped her coffee as she contemplated making another appointment for a massage. She fidgeted a little, uneasy at her thoughts. God, what was wrong with her? Was she now hankering after a boy young enough to be her son? He probably thought she was some rude old bitch anyway. She nibbled on her blueberry muffin and chewed thoughtfully. No, she decided, she was not hankering or lusting after him. He was a good masseuse, she was on a much needed vacation and was entitled to be pampered. Her cheeks flushed as she pushed aside ridiculous thoughts of touching his face, his hair and running her hands over his body.

~ ~ ~

"An appointment with Daniel today?" the receptionist asked as she glanced at the schedule.

"Yes please," Claire said, "He gives a remarkably good massage." Why the fuck am I trying to justify this? She thought angrily. The receptionist doesn't give a shit either way.

"Mmm seems Daniel is fully booked this morning and he has the afternoon off, but I can fit you in with Jill," she said brightly.

Claire tried to smile and hoped that she didn't look too disappointed. "Uh-um don't worry, perhaps I'll make an appointment for later in the week." Her stay ended the day after tomorrow, so that was it, she probably would never see him again. She shrugged her shoulders and fled, going directly back to her cottage. Her early morning elation and energy had faded and suddenly the pile of magazines seemed very tempting.

The tinkling of wind chimes roused her from an afternoon slumber. She had dozed off to the low rumble of thunder but when she opened the door she saw that it had not rained. The clouds above were heavy and threatening and the wind whipped around her with an icy bite while a faint scent of rain permeated the air. The heavy sound of hiking boots on the cobbled path caught her attention and she glanced out to see a figure dressed in black jeans and a jacket. A golden colored Labrador walked alongside him.

Claire's heart leapt. It was Daniel, purposefully striding towards the mountain path.

She grabbed her jacket and called out,

"Hello Daniel, its Claire! Claire Lewis from yesterday..."

He stopped and turned to face in her direction. The wind ruffled his hair and he smiled slightly. "Ahh that must be angry Mrs Lewis. How are you today?"

"Please call me Claire," she said abruptly.

"Ok Claire, still angry, I see."

"No," she said softening her voice. "Just surprised, and pleased to see you again."

He grinned and bent to stroke the dog's head. "Sheena and I are going for a walk, want to come?"

"Which path?" she asked warily. "The steep one or the very steep murderous one?"

Daniel laughed. It was a laugh unlike any Claire had ever heard. It was deep and sexy and filled with warmth and excitement.

"You worried about your muscles?" He teased.

"Yeah," she laughed, "and you have a fully booked schedule."

"Nah don't worry, I'll do you later."

Claire swallowed hard and smiled nervously at his words, "You'll do me later?"

Damn, was he flirting with her?

"Yeah, I'll give you one of my famous after hour's massages. Now let's go," he said picking up his pace and gesturing in the direction of the hill. She closed the door to her cottage and hurried after him. Shit, yes! He was flirting with her. Did he know how old she was?

"It's nice to hear you laugh," he said as they began their slow climb up the mountain path.

"Thank you," she said, "It's been a long time since I have laughed."

He nodded and kept silent. The mist drifted slowly through the sky and around the jagged peaks of the mountain as they walked up the steep path. Only the sounds of their footsteps and heavy breathing could be heard until they reached a fork on the path and Sheena turned left, guiding them into a relatively flat area lush with trees and plants.

"This is my favorite place," Daniel said softly as they made their way through a clearing of foliage and came upon a natural rock pool and small waterfall. "Did you know that deep within this mountain there is a river? Somehow some of the water ends up here." A puzzled look crossed his face, "But I don't hear the water running," he said, cocking an ear and listening closely. "It must be frozen."

Claire watched him closely. He was beautiful, his face so vividly alive with curiosity. God, she thought, why was he blind? He didn't deserve that.

"Yip you're right," she said bending down and scooping up a handful of the frozen water from the pool. She took some of the slushy mass and placed it in his hand. He smiled and rubbed some of the melting ice over his face and playfully reached out and rubbed some on her cheek catching her nose as well.

"Hey, that's cold!" She exclaimed letting out a long unsteady breath as the rest of the ice slid from his hand and he began trailing his fingers over the contours of her face.

She stood perfectly still watching him as he brought his other hand up to join the first in its exploration. His touch was light but firm as his fingers traced her forehead and trailed along the curve of her face, around her eyes and down to her mouth. He lingered there until she opened it slightly so his finger could feel the warmth of her lips and the heat of her breath. Her heart pounded as her face came alive for him, like a book written in Braille. Being this close meant that she could gaze unashamedly into the impossible blueness of his eyes, see the faint shadow of his stubble and the determined set of his jaw. The melting slush had left a trickle from his cheek down to his lip and she wanted desperately to lick it. She swallowed hard and felt her pulse race as Daniel's hands moved down her throat to the top of her sweater.

"You're beautiful Claire," he said huskily as his hands fell away from her.

The compliment made her flush with excitement and embarrassment. She hadn't felt beautiful in a long time, but his hands exploring her made her feel lovely and she missed them already.

"Oh yeah," she said, "I bet you say that to all the girls."

"No I don't," he said in a serious tone. "Most haven't got unblemished skin and chiseled cheekbones with full lipped mouths. What color is your hair, your eyes?

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