It was late and he lay restlessly aboard The Rattler.
The day had been great, the party successful, but
Grief never got a chance to tell Isabelle what was really on his mind. No, that wasn't true. He had many chances but he just
couldn't bring himself to say the words. She had pretty much made her decision. She was waiting for the right man and, right
now, he wasn't it.
'We make sense.' she had once said. Isabelle was right and only now was he coming to realize
just how right she was.
David Grief and Isabelle Reed were friends. That was something to be thankful for. She was
a good lady, having turned her shady past around, and deserved a good man. She did not need someone in her life who traveled
about the South Seas looking for trouble seven days a week. On the other hand, Isabelle did signed on for that type of lifestyle
herself when they became partners. At least part time. She had never been a woman who settled for the ususal.
punched his pillow and turned again, laying an arm over his naked chest. It was a warm night, adding to his discomfort. At
this rate he was never going to fall asleep.
"David ..." came a whisper.
Grief sat up quickly in his bed and
watched the woman, decked in a long bulky wind-breaker, descended the stairs into his quarters. In one of her hands she held
what looked like a carpet-bag. "Isabelle, what is it?" he asked, fearing the worst.
She stood there for a moment, looking
at him, trying to get the words right. She had rehearsed them over and over again while she stroked the dingy to his ship.
Yet, the only thing she could think of to say was in a form of an awkward question. "If we were to get together ... I wouldn't
be a rebound affair, would I?"
"Rebound ..."?" Grief was so stunned by her appearance and the question he didn't know
how to answer.
She came in further and stood right in front of him, "I mean, neither of us are saints." she said, "I
might even understand if you felt you had to find satisfaction somewhere else once in awhile. It's not as if we're picking
out a China pattern together ... I just don't want to sleep with you a couple times and discover that it was a big mistake.
I don't want to find out you're not experiencing the same feelings I am." Isabelle ran her lower lip between her teeth, struggling
with her emotions. There was a time in her life where the idea of a casual affair with David Grief wasn't such a bad idea,
but now .... "If you were to suddenly become bored with me I don't think ..." Isabelle's voice began to quiver. She looked
at his wide-eyed expression and suddenly got the impression she had misread all the signs, "I'm sorry." Isabelle said quickly,
in a small voice. "I made a huge error, didn't I?" She turned away, nervous and embarrassed, and started to make her way up
"Wait!" Grief propelled himself out of the bed and came up behind Isabelle. He pulled her shoulders back,
resting the bulk of her weight against his broad chest, feeling her soft hair with his cheek and chin. "I don't know what
type of promises I can make, Isabelle. But one thing I can say for certain, here and now, is that you are not a rebound
affair. Never could be." He turned her so they were facing one another, looking deeply into her wide blue eyes. "I've learned
a lot about myself in the last few months. I was always the man in control of my destiny. No sincere commitments other than
business. It was my moto. I had planned to live by it all my life,"
"But Lavinia ..."
"I loved Lavinia and I
did try to be faithful. It didn't always work ..." he admitted, " ... but I tried. Our problem wasn't lack of love but the
lack of myself being able to settle down, to commit to one person and one alone. Still, there was more to it then that ..."
He looked passed Isabelle, attempting to figure it out in his own head.
"It wasn't that you didn't love her," Isabelle
said, "it was that she wasn't the one you were supposed to be with." She dropped her carpet bag and ran her hands gently up
Grief's smooth, well muscled arms.
Grief again met Isabelle's eyes. It was true. He could not deny it.
you were running away from that woman, the one who could change your life, but never knew why it was you ran. You, brave David
Grief, were afraid."
"Maybe." Grief replied, pulling the woman to him, reveling in her warmth, sincerity and
yes, her beauty and spirit. "But no more." He pulled her back with him, urging Isabelle to come to his bed, helping the woman
to dispense with the jacket, revealing the bewitchingly sheer nightdress underneath. He smiled. She was always prepared.
lips and bodies came together quickly and enthusiastically. Passions niether had ever experienced were shared. And later,
when Grief held her in his arms, as she slept with her head on his shoulder and chest, he understood something he couldn't
have ever imagined when meeting this beautiful lost soul over a year ago. She was right. They did make sense.
even more than that ... there was no word for what it was they shared because their love was unique and rare. No words were
needed between them now. "What we have here ..." Grief whispered, " ... is a wordless relationship." He felt Isabelle stir
"More than words ..." she whispered and in her sleep her lips once again reached for his.
Really this time.