11:50 p.m. Back in our room, Nigel confessed that he didn’t know whether to reserve two rooms or one. “I went through quite a dilemma on that one.”
He held me tightly. I couldn’t breathe.
“Nigel, I’ve never felt safe, before tonight. Never in my entire life.” I looked up at him while I spoke. I could see the effect my words had on him. Whatever he was before tonight, my words made him stronger.
“Nigel!” I screamed at the sound of the explosions. I knew it. Something had gone terribly wrong. Was it Leslie or the RICO guys?
We raced to the windows.
“Oh Nigel, look.” The night sky was alive with fireworks – wonderful, beautiful fireworks. The heavens rained down color on the Thames and the river returned the lights in dark ribbons of red and white and purple. I fought for my breath.
Nigel held me close. We kissed while another explosion lit the sky.
Just to the left of the windows was a small door with a little gold knob. We scrunched down and wonder of wonders, my Brit followed me through the door and out onto the ancient roof tiles, made slippery from the evening dew.
“Oops.” I felt my feet heading south.
Strong arms grabbed me.
“I’ve got you.” Nigel stood behind me. He held me while we watched the fireworks.
“It’s a wedding. The celebration looks like it’s running down to the river.” On this magical night, two people had promised to stay together forever. What does forever really mean?
It was cold, very cold. I could see my breath and feel his heart. I turned to look up at him. I liked what I saw. Long before we met in person, we had been able to feel each other across an ocean. There was no doubt in my mind that we would be able to leap across any physical ripples in the pond that was our love.
I had been waiting for Nigel since I was three years old. My White Rabbit had come back to me.
Minutes later, we were back in our room. I shook but not from the cold. Waiting for the other shoe to drop can make you pretty quaky. I retreated to the bathroom to calm my jitters. I thought I knew the heart of Nigel, but was I ready for his body?
After a proper amount of time, I peeked out the door. Nigel stood there holding a shirt to hide his tummy. He was a large man with an excess of stomach that rolled over his boxers. He had a burly mat of chest hair. His most redeeming quality was that in the half-light of our room he did look a bit like a shorter, chubbier version of John Cleese. My prayers were answered. I kissed his cold cheek. “Show me how an Englishman makes love.”
“Darling, I’ve not had much experience. I must claim a certain innocence in sexual matters,” he confessed.
I had to let him know how I felt about who he was behind this bulky thing that was his body. I was at once Alice with the Rabbit and Beauty and the Beast. I felt good and comfortable and un-threatened. I watched him trot about in his Marks and Spencer tailored striped boxers and knew he was mine. What other woman could see past his appearance to the gem that lay beneath?
I slipped into the marble bathroom and took out my bag of tricks. I slathered on the most expensive of fixings designed to make me appear dewy and freshly scrubbed. Half an hour later I emerged from the bathroom. Being seen as natural can take a long time. I was wearing my new ivory satin Victoria Secret bias cut negligee and a smile.
Nigel lay in the bed, his eyes two big blue eggs above the cream colored sheets. I scrambled under the covers and slid my legs down along his.
“Ouch.” I yelped and jumped from the covers, afraid I had been attacked by some exotic animal.
“What is it? Is it something alive?” He scrambled from the bed, terrified.
This was the first of many quirks I would learn about my lover. Lessons are part of relationships aren’t they? I pasted a band-aid on the four-inch scratch on my right leg. I would have to politely tell him about cutting those toe nails. They were as large as Wilkinson’s swords and twice as sharp.
I scrambled back to the sheets and he kissed my eyelids and then my mouth. “Please take off the gown,” he whispered. “It has been so long since I lay with a woman next to me. Just let me hold you.”
Since his kids were in college, I assumed he meant he had not had sex in twenty years. He must have spent all those years waiting for this night.
I took off the gown and lay my head against his chest. I could hear his heart in the darkness. His bulkiness enveloped me and I delighted in the quirky contrast of my body next to his. Our love reached its peak and I physically faded away. I melted into an exquisite mind-meld.
As he slept, I watched his face. A tear slid down my cheek. “Oh White Rabbit…” I whispered. What I felt was a pocket of peace, a safe harbor which I knew could not last forever. I didn’t want to sleep because those minutes were so rare and life raced by. I told myself his was the last face I would see before I left this earth. I kissed his forehead.
All thoughts of home evaporated and I could have, would have stayed curled against his big body until I died.