Isabelle's happiness filled him with an unexpected joy and the emotions Grief had held suppressed began
to bubble to the surface. Suddenly, mesmerized by the inner beauty of her radiant smile, his expression grew sober. He had
fought against falling in love with Isabelle Reed for so long.
"I mean it. Every word." he breathed, softly.
couple stared at one another, aware of their closeness both physically and emotionally.
Bewildered, Isabelle searched
his face for something she desperately needed to see ... and it was there. Not lust. Not desire. Not even the unsure
passion of a struggling lothario ...
Isabelle saw tenderness and, dare she even think it, devotion. Love. She and David Grief
had never really explored that particular emotion with one another. Certainly she had felt his pity and, yes, he had been
her hero on more than one occasion but they had never exchanged a passionate touch that meant anything more than hunger and
need between a man and a woman. Yet, even that had been so very long ago.
When was the last time they had
Slowly and very gently Grief moved forward and met Isabelle's inviting lips with his own. The kiss was
as affectionate and tender as he could give and Grief became aware that Isabelle's hands, shaking slightly, had moved from
clutching her blanket - which had fallen from her shoulders onto the landing she sat on - to rest behind his neck. They gently
fed on one another, experimenting, and feeling the simple pleasure such a doting act manifested.
Then reluctantly, their lips parted and, especially for Grief, it was nearly painful. He wanted more
... so much more. His forehead leaned against hers and Isabelle, taking a breath, appeared reluctant to let him go. Yet, eventually,
Isabelle pushed back and her hands fell away.
Isabelle's eyes stared into his.
Grief felt loss.
you sorry?" she asked, unsure.
"No." he said promptly, lifting a hand to touch her hair. His pained expression must
have confused her. "Are you?"
She averted her eyes and smiled, teasing. "Ask me next week."
Grief chuckled softly
and watched as Isabelle lay back on the flat, allowing the sun to caress her luscious, harem garbed skin. He lay beside her,
staring up at the sky. They would talk more, find out new and wonderful things about one another, learn all those little secrets
that made them the complicated human beings they were. Eventually, when it was right, they would also throw caution to the
wind, he thought, and indulge in physical passion. However, until then he would wait patiently. Isabelle needed time to feel
her worth and he didn't want to rush the process. He already had heated passion with her, the hungry kisses and outrageous
flirting, but now she needed tenderness and to be as sure of David Grief as he was of her.
"David, do you think there
will ever be equality between men and women?" Isabelle suddenly asked, eyes closed and hands tucked underneath her head.
uncertain where the question was leading, propped himself up on an elbow and stared at Isabelle. Laid out as she was the woman
was making it a bit hard to concentrate.
Isabelle was well aware that he was looking at her, admiring her
figure and the barely there harem outfit. She could feel pleasure about that now.
"I don't know." Grief said but smiled
when anticipating her mind set. Still, Isabelle valued honesty. "It's a nice thought but I don't think so. The world is just
too large and men will always be men." Satisfied with his answer, Grief lay back down on the flat again, closing his eyes
against the bright sunshine.
"Too bad." Isabelle sighed, "I was rather hoping that one day a man might actually come
up to my level."
His laughter was like sweet music to her ears.
July 27, 2002.