Rose pulled me from the bar, down the street, and into the train station. Never once did we stop touching. I stood behind her with my hands on her hips as she paid for our tickets. We remained physically linked as we boarded and even as we sat beside each other. The train was not crowded. The Friday evening rush was already through.
"This is all too easy, Rose."
She tensed. "Yes, it is. Please, Charlie, trust me. We'll dicuss it in the morning. You're free now. Be my guest for the night and make the most of it. No commitments. Just a night."
"Of course, Rose. Madeleine has packed a bag for me. I'll have a cab pick it up and bring it."
"You can call from the train station. Here's my address."
We had to separate at the train station. I needed the Men's room to give back that beer. I called a cab and scheduled a bag pickup. We picked up Chinese takeout on the way to her house.
"I have a fine Pinot Noir that will complement this dinner nicely."
I wanted to take her right into the bedroom when we entered her house, but she held me off.
"We have all night and I'll need a shower and we don't need to be interrupted when your bag arrives."
It was enough that she knew I was eager. I knew as she rubbed my hardness that she meant to please me later.
We dined. The wine was exquisite. Bursting with flavors I've never experienced from a wine before. Everything tasted wonderful. Everything seemed brighter and more colorful. Everything smelled new and fresh. I suppose I was drunk on novelty.
As Rose showered, my bags arrived. Madeleine had packed two large suitcases very thoroughly. I tipped the cabbie and brought them in, opening them on the sofa and pulling what I would need for a shower.
"I want to be clean and fresh for you, too, Rose. This is a new beginning for both of us."
She smiled and showed me the way to the bathroom. As I showered, I sensed movement in the room and heard the jingle of change in my pants pocket. When I got out of the shower, my bathrobe was hanging on a hook on the bathroom door. All of my other clothing was removed. I donned the robe and left the bathroom. A soft glow came from a room at the end of the hall and Rose stood in the doorway, naked and backlit by candlelight, the only light in the house.
"I'm a little nervous, Charlie. It's been almost 16 years since any other man has seen me like this. I'm not the looker I used to be."
I went to her, letting my robe fall open. We embraced, touching skin-to-skin in such quantities that my desire for her almost pushed her away.
"I'm nervous, too. It's been longer for me. More like 20. But for the past 10 years, I've had an old song running through my head. It even has your name in it. Tonight I can throw it out, because, finally, I can
be with the one I love... and I am."
"Aw, that's so romantic."
We kissed. I didn't want to push her, but I did want to see her in the light. I had imagined what was under her clothing for all those years. I wasn't expecting perfection. She had started losing weight and exercising in an attempt to save her marriage, to look better for her cheating husband. I thought she looked good before then, and that some of the weight loss was from stress, because she did look unhappy and haggard for a while. But she was down two dress sizes and feeling better. She had inspired me to lose a few inches off my waistline and it was good to see the spare tire almost gone. I maneuvered her in front of the mirror on her dresser and turned her to look at it.
"I think we look good together, Rose. The beauty and the beast."
She looked into my face in the mirror and smiled. "Not a beast. A prince." She looked into my face above hers and kissed me again.
"should I hoist you up and carry you to bed?"
"Don't you dare, Charlie. I'm old enough and wise enough not to need that. The sheets are clean, that side is your side and this side is mine. How about we meet in the middle and take it kind of slow?"
We did. Very slow. We explored each other, mutually. We were so new to each other in the physical sense and so familiar with each other in the emotional sense that we didn't impose any boundaries. We touched, sniffed, kissed and tasted wherever we wanted to. We traced scars we were seeing for the first time. We squeezed vigorously or gently until finally, she took me in her mouth and I licked her most private folds. We continued passionately and experienced nearly simultaneous explosions of blissful release.
Our marriages were over and perhaps that created a certain post-marital vigor. After sipping some dessert wine and cuddling for a while, it was clear that there was more exploring to do. I entered her and we both laughed with the sheer joy of it. We rolled and she was on top of me. We kissed and she unleashed her inner cowgirl. Slowly. We poured our long restrained lust into the Universe and felt the joy of it and then enjoyed the warm glow after it was finally sated.
We brushed our teeth and prepared for sleep like an old married couple, sharing the bathroom like we'd been doing it for years, but watching, learning each other's styles, drinking in each other's nudity. Crawling into bed both naked, we murmured soothing wishes for pleasant dreams. We fell asleep holding hands.
I woke to see her smiling at me. We kissed and that lead to more exploring with the light of day on us. Hands touched now familiar curves, angles and textures. Tongues licked now familiar erogenous points. Passions pulled us together and pleasure ensued as we coupled like lovers who had been too long apart. Both of us shuddered with the ecstasy of desire and finally mutual fulfillment. It was our first morning as lovers in more than just the emotional sense.
We eventually threw on sleepwear and made it to the kitchen. Rose brewed a pot of coffee and prepared breakfast. I poured both large mugs as she set a stack of French toast, real maple syrup and warm plates in front of us. We modified our coffee ritual. There were no lids to remove and we had to add cream and sugar at the table, but we both sniffed, sipped, savored and smiled together. Her eyes danced merrily as we faced each across the table, completing our ritual in pajamas for the first time.
We enjoyed the breakfast and poured a second cup. "Okay, time to face the music. I'm the rose and you're the dove. It's time for you to know about the eagle and the fisted glove. Madeleine is the most conniving woman I can imagine. She called me yesterday and told me she was divorcing you. She explained that she knew she had lost you to me all those years ago when you and I first met. She didn't know who I was, but she knew there was another woman in your heart and she was hoping you would cheat and leave because of me.
"She said she had wanted out of your marriage for several years, but didn't want to be the one to break it off. She claimed that if you hadn't met me, your marriage would have dissolved, but that seeing me in the mornings somehow made you immune to the unhappiness she was relying on to trigger the divorce. She didn't understand how a twenty minute bright spot with me every day was enough to sustain you.
"Somehow, she watched us, or had us watched by someone. I'm not clear on that. Eventually, she learned who I was and who my husband was. I'm pretty sure he's cheated on me before, but I learned yesterday that she's the other woman that I learned about. I didn't know her name when it happened, but I think she made sure I learned about her existence.
"Should I be angry at her? I feel manipulated, but I think she did me a favor. It was over between me and Brian, I just didn't have the excuse to make it clear. She waited for me to quit trying to fix us and timed "setting you free" as she called it, to within one day of my filing. Your daughter apparently said something to her quite a while ago that triggered this.
"So now you know my part, your part, Brian's part and Madeleine's part in yesterday's events. If I hadn't seen how happy you were, I would have stayed on the other side of the Chinese Wall. You would have had a few months without our morning visits so that I could avoid an ethics investigation. I'm glad you enjoyed that hamburger.
"Here's the kicker. Your wife and my husband are together this weekend, with our children. Who knows what they're telling them, but they've decided to make a go of it. Brian knows about you and me. Apparently, Madeleine has quite a hold on him. I don't see it lasting a year, but I'm biased.
"Now we have to decide where we go next."
I was a little bit shocked at what she had told me, but I could completely see Madeleine being the puppeteer that staged this. I felt a little like a stud horse that had been traded between two owners, but I was out of a lifeless marriage, and looking at a better future.
"Do you..." we both said at the same time. We laughed and she said, "I've been doing all the talking. It's your turn."
"Do you think we're moving too fast, Rose?"
"We're just celebrating our freedom, Charlie. I think I know where we're heading, but we can take our time getting there. Tomorrow you'll find a hotel and then start looking for a place. It would be great if it was nearby so we could ride the evening train together. Later this week, you'll meet my kids. How's that sound?"
"Like a wonderful new beginning, Love."
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