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Letters From Rose

Two lovers are separated by circumstance, and two others are drawn together by fate.
John Henry Bartlett III laid back on his bunk and closed his eyes, exhausted after another long day at sea. It had been another stressful day, causing him to question once again why he had joined the Navy. The answer was simple: his family legacy. Father and grandfather before him, along with scores of uncles and cousins…men in his family were supposed to be Navy men. He hadn’t even questioned it; the choice was made for him before he was born and he stepped into his role like a pair of hand-me-down shoes. Most days he enjoyed it: the camaraderie, the challenge and the resulting sense of accomplishment. But there were other days, like today, when the monotony got to him and he couldn’t remember what he wanted or where he was headed. On endless winter days like this, he just wanted to sleep, lose himself in his dreams and forget the world.

John was just drifting off when the words “Mail Call!” sounded in his ear and jolted him briefly awake. Only briefly. He never got mail. With the exception of regular email contact with his immediate family, he didn’t correspond with anyone in the “outside world.” He fell into sleep once again, feeling his entire body relaxing and his mind letting go when he suddenly heard his name being called, and an envelope was dropped onto his chest. His eyes flew open in surprise. Rubbing the sleep out of them, he picked up the letter and examined it. “John Bartlett” was printed in a neat, careful hand, along with the name of the ship and its FPO number. Curiosity got the better of him and he quickly slit open the letter with his forefinger. It was penned in blue ballpoint, in a beautiful, casual cursive hand. With growing interest, he read the letter:

“My darling Bart,

I hope this letter finds you well. I cannot tell you how much I long to hear your voice, see your smile, look into your eyes, run my fingers through your hair. I would give anything to spend a few minutes alone with you, just so I could show you how much I want you. I would kiss your lips: sweet, brushing kisses while we look into each others’ eyes. Then I would let my lips linger on yours longer as I press my body against yours. You love when I brush my breasts against you; my nipples harden from even that slight contact and your fingers are uncontrollably drawn to them. As you knead my breasts with your hands, I part your lips with mine and explore with my tongue, searching, caressing, entangling in your mouth. Of course we can’t stop there. Our love-making is earth-shattering. You thrust into me slow and deep as my hips rise to meet you, until we climax together in a massive wave of unimaginable bliss. Oh, how I want that with you!

Every day I yearn a little more for the moment when we will be face to face.

Forever yours,

Rose”

John’s breath caught as he read the letter. He checked the address on the envelope again, just to be sure. Yes, it was definitely addressed to him. Even the name in the salutation, Bart, although not the name he normally went by, was a nickname that he reserved for those he held dear. He re-read the letter. Damn. Who was this woman and why was she writing to him as if he were a lover? He turned the letter over in his hands, hoping for some clue to her identity, but found nothing. Finally, he chalked it up to a mystery, folded it up, and stowed it with his gear before going back to sleep.

Weeks went by and John forgot about the letter, until one Friday when he was handed another envelope addressed with the same blue handwriting. He was surprised to find his heart pounding with anticipation as he slid his finger under the flap.

“My dearest Bart,

You are always with me, in my waking hours and especially when I sleep. We exist in separate worlds, but in my heart we are never apart. I long to feel your strong arms around me, holding me against the cold of the outside world, protecting me from danger. I hunger for your lips on mine, kissing me until I’m breathless, whispering words of comfort and desire. And, oh, that desire is so strong! My nipples harden in anticipation of your touch, and I am hot and wet in readiness for you. I ache to feel your cock inside me, stroking me, giving us both the pleasure we crave so much. I can almost feel you…your heart pounding against mine, your muscles straining, your body hot and sweating with the intensity of your passion for me…and my passion equals yours. I want to ride you, sliding your hard shaft deep into my hot wetness, bringing us both to our peaks together as we gasp and scream out in ecstasy. The thought of being with you touches my soul. I want that so much. I will wait for you, my love. With baited breath, open arms, and a full heart, I will wait for you.

Forever yours,

Rose”

John’s temperature rose a few degrees. He didn’t currently have a girlfriend, in fact he had never really been in love before so he had a hard time relating to the strong emotions pouring out of this mystery woman’s pen, but the passion behind her words stirred something in his heart, and in his cock. Once again he searched the envelope in vain for a way to identify the writer, but there were no clues to be found. He read it a second time, a third time, until he had the need to hit the shower, where he relieved his own erection by hand. 

This letter was not so easily forgotten. John found himself fantasizing about Rose at odd times of the day. He had no idea what she looked like, but he developed an image in his head. This fantasy woman became the center of his thoughts every night as he went to sleep. She invaded his dreams and was the first picture in his mind as he woke each morning. Weeks went by and he re-read the two letters every day, sometimes several times a day. Like a drug addict desperate for his next fix, he craved additional contact from Rose. He searched frantically for a way to quench his desires, but his frustration just seemed to grow with each passing day. Finally, in an attempt to satisfy his own yearnings, John penned a response to Rose’s letters.

“My dear Rose,

I long to see you, to touch you, and especially to taste you. I can only imagine the sweetness of your lips, the delicious flavor of your skin. I long for it. My entire body quivers in anticipation of the time that I can explore you with my tongue. I want to start with your mouth, running my tongue around your lips, sucking on the tip of your tongue before stroking it with mine. I want to kiss your neck, taking in your scent and your wonderful taste from your ear down your neck to your breasts. I would caress each nipple separately with my mouth: flicking them with my tongue, sucking them gently, worshiping them as you moan softly. But that is only the start of the pleasure I would give you. I want to lick every part of you, moving down your body to your legs, nuzzling and kissing the soft skin of your thighs before focusing attention on your pussy. I pause just above it, letting my breath softly caress your skin, anticipating your taste, before I plunge my tongue into your warm wetness, thrusting it into you, then sliding it upward to your clit. Your legs wrap around my neck and your hands reach down to my head, trying to pull me even closer, but I resist. I know how to please you…just surrender control to me and I promise to make you come. I circle my tongue around your clit, teasing you as I insert my fingers and search for your g-spot. I patiently pump my fingers into you while working your clit with my tongue, and your gasps of pleasure ensure me you are enjoying it. I increase the depth of my finger thrusts, and double the speed of my tongue as it flicks back and forth across your clit. You cry out as I finally bring you to an orgasm. Your right leg quivers, your muscles contract, you scream my name and frantically grab the sheets with your fists before relaxing on the bed with a smile on your beautiful face.

That is all I needed, my love. Just to satisfy you. I would gladly deny myself any pleasure for the experience of watching you climax with such exquisite ecstasy. I look forward to that day. It isn’t a fantasy, it’s a fervent wish.

Forever yours,

Bart”

John locked this response letter with the two from Rose, secure amongst his personal belongings. Periodically, he would pull out all three letters, reading and re-reading, sometimes working himself up to an erection he would relieve in the shower to images of Rose, standing behind him and bringing him off with her hands, all slippery and soaped up from the falling water.

Every time he heard the words “Mail Call,” John’s heart nearly stopped, but he was disappointed every time…until one rainy Saturday when another envelope was thrust into his hand. The sight of his name in that blue ink sent his heart soaring. With trembling fingers, he ripped into the envelope.

“My dearest Bart,

It’s a cold, dark night, peaceful and beautiful. I’m sitting in a recliner by my bedroom window, watching the snow fall on the nearby hills, and I can’t help thinking of you and wishing you were here. In these quiet moments, I would just love to have you near me, holding me, whispering to me, playing with my hair. I can practically feel your hand on my cheek, caressing me softly, kissing me gently.

This is how I want you…in all ways possible: the crazy laughter of your funny side, the gentle warmth of your romantic side, the wild abandon of your passionate side, the thoughtful contemplation of your intellectual side, the peaceful quiet of your sweet side. I want it all. Won’t you give me all of you?

Forever yours,

Rose”

Shaking, John read the letter again. And again. And yet again. The intensity of his emotions simultaneously excited and frightened him. He didn’t know what to think, but he penned a reply to the letter and locked them both away.

The letters from Rose continued to arrive, every couple of weeks. Each one provided clues to her personality, and John was intrigued by the woman he was learning about. He couldn’t shake this feeling, crazy though it seemed, that he was falling in love with this girl. How could that be? How was it possible for him to feel so intensely for someone he had never met?

Her letters never contained a return address, never a clue as to why they were being addressed to him. Every time he received one, John would write a response. He saved all of these letters, tied in a bundle. Together they painted a heart-wrenching portrait of star-crossed lovers, separated by physical distance as well as strange circumstances that limited their relationship to shared words and the exchange of written scenarios.

John was due for leave at Christmas. As he packed his belongings, he instinctively grabbed the bundle of letters, now quite thick after almost a year of correspondence, knowing he would feel the need to read through them several times over the next few weeks, just to satisfy his cravings. He shook his head at himself and smiled wryly at this addiction to a woman he had never even seen. There was something about her that was evident through her words. She was smart, sexy, funny, sweet, romantic and just irresistible to him.

John’s family traveled to his grandparents’ house on Christmas Eve every year. It was a tradition they all enjoyed, and John always looked forward to spending time with his extended family, especially his grandfather. John was named after his grandfather, and the two of them had always shared a special relationship. But this year, John was distracted, unable to concentrate on the usual Christmas festivities. His mood did not escape his grandfather’s notice, and the two finally sat down near the Christmas tree, in front of the window, watching the snow fall as they talked.

“What’s been bothering you, my boy? You’re not yourself today,” the elder John Bartlett asked his oldest grandchild.

John hesitated. Should he tell his grandfather what was going on? Slowly, he uttered his feelings out loud for the first time: “Well, Pop…for about ten months I’ve been getting these letters from a girl. And I’m kind of in love with her.”

Pop raised an eyebrow, but John quickly brushed away that notion. “No, Pop, she’s not like a girlfriend or anything. I don’t even know who the letters are from. They’re addressed to me, and there are no other John Bartletts on board, but the letters are not really mine – I don’t know this girl.”

Pop’s eyes twinkled. “That is a very romantic mystery. Can I take a peek?”

John shrugged, and pulled out the packet of letters. Thumbing through them quickly, he retrieved the third letter…one of the least sexually explicit but most romantic examples. He watched his grandfather’s face as he read the letter, and was surprised to see the old man go completely pale when he reached the end.

“What’s the matter, Pop?”

“I…I know who this is,” he stammered.

John went cold. How could his grandfather know Rose? Pop stood up slowly and shuffled across the room. Opening a drawer, he took out a newspaper clipping and brought it back to John. It was the obituary section, dated January of that same year. With a trembling finger, Pop pointed to one of the death announcements: Rose Marie Johnson, age 85, died of complications related to Alzheimer’s disease.

John was confused. Never in all of his imaginings had Rose been an 85 year old woman. And how could she have written all of these letters if she had died in January? John hadn’t even received the first letter until February. He gave his grandfather a questioning glance. The old man took a deep breath, then told John a story.

“Rose Johnson was my first love. A beautiful woman. Brown hair, gorgeous eyes so dark you couldn’t see her pupils. We dated through high school, and she meant the world to me. Then I went into the Navy, her family moved away, and we lost contact. I was distraught. I tried for years to find her, but by the time I did she had married someone else. I never stopped loving her. She ended up moving to the next town with her family, and I was able to keep tabs on her through most of our lives. If circumstances had ever allowed, I would have been with her forever. But we were both happily married, and we never got that second chance together. It just wasn’t meant to be.”

John watched his grandfather intently. He had never heard stories about any woman other than his grandmother. It was fascinating to think that this man he knew so well had a life beyond his knowledge. A shadow passed over Pop’s face as he continued.

“She passed away in January. One of the most beautiful women this world has ever known.” He sighed, and stared out the window.

John was still confused. “Ummm…Pop…that’s a beautiful story, but how does that relate to these letters?”

Pop squinted at the obituary and pointed to the bottom. John read the names of Rose’s surviving family members…including her granddaughter, Rose Marie Johnson.

Understanding flooded through John, and an urgent need overtook him.

“Pop…you said she lived in the next town? Do you have the address?”

“Rose’s daughter’s address is listed at the bottom of the obituary as a location for sending flowers.”

John grabbed the obituary and his bundle of letters and jumped in his Jeep. He stopped quickly at a florist, which was just preparing to close for the evening, and bought a bouquet of red roses, then raced to the address listed at the bottom of the obituary.

The house was all lit up for Christmas and the number of cars parked outside suggested a party was going on. John ran to the front door, took a deep breath, and rang the doorbell. It was answered by an attractive, middle-aged woman.

“I’m looking for Rose Johnson?” John said with a smile. The woman returned his smile.

“That’s my daughter, dear. Let me get her for you.”

John held his breath on the front porch for the longest two minutes of his life, before a beautiful girl with long brown hair and dark eyes stepped in front of him. His breath caught and his heart started pounding in his chest. He handed her the roses as a look of surprise crossed her face. Then he handed her the packet of letters.

“I’m John Henry Bartlett III,” he began. “Bart.” A flush sprang to her cheek and she grabbed the doorway for support. “You may have heard stories about my grandfather, John Bartlett, Senior, who I believe was once in love with your grandmother.”

“Oh, my God…” she said. “Are these my letters?” John nodded. Rose flushed even deeper, which John thought made her look even more beautiful. “My grandmother talked about him all the time once the Alzheimer’s took hold. She used to tell us the most incredible stories. I found myself fantasizing about him…that’s why I wrote the letters. I didn’t think they would reach a real person…I’m so embarrassed.”

“I have his name…I serve on the same ship he did…what are the odds?” John asked, smiling. “Please don’t be embarrassed. I loved reading your letters. I wrote you back. They’re all in there, in that packet. In the process of reading about you and writing to you, I fell in love with you. I know that’s a terribly unfair position to put you in…you don’t know me at all, but I’d like to fix that if you’re interested.”

Rose stared wide-eyed at this handsome man on her doorstep, but she was still embarrassed and uncertain what to say.

“Read them. Read all of them, then decide if you want to take the next step. My cell phone number is in with the roses.” John grabbed her hand and kissed the back of it before walking back down the steps. “I hope to hear from you.”

Rose stood frozen in the doorway, watching him drive away, then she slowly retreated to the study to read the packet of letters in privacy. Each one made her smile and awakened feelings in her heart that she was unable to explain. His words aroused her, and his obvious affection touched her. By the time she was finished, she was overcome with a desire for this man she didn’t even know, and overwhelmed with a need to learn all about him.

She picked up the bouquet of roses and inhaled their scent, deep into her soul. Heart pounding as she reached in among the flowers, she retrieved Bart’s phone number and dialed…

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