- Part 5
- The flight was uneventful, luckily
Ruffie was as good as gold, and when they landed in Florida,
Harry hired a rental car and they drove to the hotel where he
had made reservations. It had a view of the beach from all three
rooms of the suite, and Harry could see the look of wonder on
the children's faces. "Let's get unpacked," he said,
"And then we'll go down for a walk before dinner."
The children vanished into their room.
- "And tomorrow," Rachel
told him, "We look for a house to stay in."
- "A house?" he said. "Rachel,
we're supposed to be on vacation-" He saw the determined
look on her face. "A house. I'll see what I can do,"
he told her, pulling her into his arms. "I suppose a house
wouldn't cost any more than this hotel will, considering. Let
me make some inquiries."
- "How did you convince the airline
to let Ruffie ride with us?"
- "I had to use our- notariety
in the area. I told the truth, just embellished it a bit. I just
hope that no one finds out where we are. The last thing any of
us need are reporters descending on us. Especially the children.
They need to time to put what happened out of their minds."
- "I think we all do," she
told him. "Where's your medicine?"
- "In my jacket," he told
her, watching as she dug one out and found some bottled water.
"I'm supposed to take this with food," he reminded
- She went over to the table and picked
up a banana, began to peel it slowly. "Here," she told
him, holding out half of the fruit to him as she slowly ate the
other. Her smile told him that she knew exactly what she was
doing, and his eyes promised that she'd pay for her teasing later.
"I'd better go unpack," she said as the children returned.
"I won't be a minute."
- They walked down the beach, shoes
off, just in the edge of the water, and Harry was relieved to
see Lauren's natural ebullence returning as she laughed. "Wish
we could go in swimming," she said.
- "Not tonight," he told
her. "Perhaps tomorrow."
- They had dinner in the hotel restaurant,
then went upstairs. Lauren was half asleep when Rachel pulled
the covers over her, but she insisted on a hug and kiss from
her Daddy. Once the door had closed behind them, Graham lay there,
his hands behind his head, smiling.
- Rachel excused herself for a moment,
which left Harry to open the door when there was a knock. "The
champagne you ordered, sir." Harry asked the young man to
open the bottle before he left, and was just pouring the second
glass when the bedroom door opened and Rachel stood there- wearing
a satin and lace nightgown that almost exactly matched her eyes.
- "What is that? Champagne?"
She asked, crossing the room to his side.
- "Uh, yes. I ordered it when
I paid the check downstairs- You look-" words failed him
as he handed her a glass of the wine.
- "You weren't the only one who
bought something when a back was turned," she told him,
sipping the champagne. "I take it you approve?"
- "I'm-speechless," he admitted.
- "You, Harry? I find that hard
to believe." She took another drink, then turned toward
the bedroom. "Coming, Harry?"
- Harry finished his glass, then picked
up the bottle to follow her, closing the door behind him.
- She took the bottle from his hand,
and the empty glass, then started to unbutton his shirt, her
lips kissing his skin as it was revealed. He leaned back against
the door as she unfastened his pants and slid them and his shorts
down, revealing how ready he was. Harry groaned as she touched
him, as he always did at her touch, and Rachel smiled. Her hands
slid over his hips, then around to their ultimate goal. "Oh,
God, Rachel," Harry breathed, closing his eyes as she took
him into her mouth. He buried his hand in her hair, feeling as
if every nerve in his body was concentrated in one spot. When
he exploded into her mouth, Harry's legs gave out and he sank
to his knees before her. He kissed her, tasting himself on her
tongue. His lips moved down her neck, to her right shoulder,
and slipped the thin strap of her gown down with his teeth as
his hand did the same with the other one. Rachel freed her arms
from the straps, and when Harry finally rose to his feet, he
pulled her with him, leaving the light blue satin to pool around
her feet. She stepped out of it as he led her to the bed. "Now
it's your turn," he whispered as he slid between her legs.
He braced himself on his right arm, kissing her thighs, her stomach,
everywhere except where she wanted him to. He smiled as she brought
her hands down to tangle in his dark hair.
- "Harry, please," she whispered,
her voice husky with need. She lifted her hips when his tongue
found her, and when he touched the tiny bud of pleasure, her
breathing began to come in short, rapid bursts. He wanted to
be inside her, to fill her with himself, so he slowly drew himself
up, over her, pausing to kiss her breasts before lifting himself
to enter her, then stopped. Rachel opened her eyes, and her hands
moved to his hips, trying to complete their coupling.
- "I love you, Rachel. Now and
for always," he said.
- "I love you, Harry," she
returned, then sighed as he entered her in one quick movement.
"Oh, yes, Harry. Yesss-"
- Harry felt her inner muscles begin
to contract, and the pressure caused him to loose control as
he exploded again. He started to move off of her, but Rachel
shook her head. "Not yet," she told him. "Not
yet." She held him to her, kissing his face, and he realized
she had been crying.
- "I'm happy," she told
him. "I never thought I'd ever be this happy."
- She let him roll onto his side,
turning as well, a satisfied, sated smile on her face. "I
think I'm going to be sore tomorrow," she told him. "But
I don't care."
- "I'm a bit sore right now,"
- "Your arm?" she asked,
concern replacing the smile.
- "It's aching at bit. That wasn't
what I meant. My heart. It's so full to overflowing that it hurts.
I have everything I could ever ask for. A wonderful, beautiful
wife, two greats kids- "
- "And a dog?" Rachel reminded
- "Oh, I mustn't forget Ruffie,
must I?" He settled against the pillows, letting her get
into a more comfortable position. "I wonder what the chances
are that we'll have an undisturbed night."
- "Pretty good, I hope,"
Rachel told him. "Lauren seemed almost her old self at dinner."
- "I noticed that as well. But
just in case," he said, kissing her on the top of the head,
"I think I'd better put those running shorts on."
- Rachel nodded, giving him one more
squeeze before he moved away. "If you say so." She
watched as he walked naked across the room to the dresser, then
as he bent to pick up her gown and toss it in her direction.
- "I didn't mention it, but I
spoke to the desk clerk earlier- and he might have a line on
a house for us. He gave me the address. We can go look at it
- "Where is it?"
- "Just out of the city-"
he told her, coming back to lay beside her, pulling her to his
side. "On the beach."
- "Sounds nice," Rachel
mumured, her eyes closing as the long day finally took its toll.
- Harry kissed her hair and settled
back, smiling, trying to remember a time when he had felt this
content and happy. None came to mind.
- They drove the rented car north
to the house the next morning after breakfast, and within ten
minutes, Harry had been forced to agree with Rachel that it was
perfect for them. They drove back to the hotel, and Harry got
the number of the rental agency, then called them from the room.
By noon, they had checked out of the hotel, and were settling
into the house. After they unpacked, Graham and Lauren joined
Rachel and Harry on the wooden deck that overlooked the beach.
- "Can we go down to the beach?"
- "Not to swim," Rachel
said. "Keep an eye on your sister-"
- "Why don't you come down with
us?" Lauren asked.
- "I have to fix lunch,"
Rachel told them.
- "And I have to call a man about
a fishing boat," Harry reminded them. "Go on. Just
be careful. The water can be dangerous if you get out too far."
- "We'll be careful," Graham
promised. "Come on, Lauren," he said, heading for the
stairs, Ruffie running ahead of him.
- Rachel stood by the railing, watching
them play in the surf. "It's beautiful here," she told
- "Um-humm," Harry agreed.
"Espcially from where I'm sitting," he told her, and
she turned to see him looking at her. He got up and came over
to slip an arm around her. "Why don't we go out for something
to eat? You shouldn't have to cook on vacation."
- "I enjoy cooking," Rachel
told him. "Especially for my family. Why don't you make
that call? I won't be a minute. And while you're at it, set up
an appointment with that surgeon about your arm."
- "I don't have his number with
me-" he said.
- "It's in your jacket pocket,"
she called out from inside the house.
- Harry reached into the pocket and
drew out the paper. "So it is." He picked up the cordless
telephone, his eyes on the children below.
- "What time is your appointment
with the doctor?" Rachel asked as they ate the lunch she'd
- "Anytime this afternoon,"
he told her. "His office is only ten miles away, and he
said that Dr. Morrison had called him about the case already."
- "Then you'd better go after
lunch. What about the fishing boat?"
- Graham and Lauren's attention turned
toward Harry. "It'll be ready tomorrow morning," he
told them. "So you'd better get those lists finished."
- Graham cleared the table after lunch,
as Rachel told Harry, "You go on to see the doctor. We'll
be fine here until you get back. Won't we, Lauren?"
- She didn't look as certain as her
mother, but she nodded slowly. Harry knelt. "When I get
back, I expect to find a competed list of things to take on the
boat tomorrow," he told her.
- "You won't be long, will you?"
- "No. I'm just going up the
road," he promised. "Now go finish your list, and I'll
be back before you know it."
- Lauren gave him a hug, then turned
to go to get the list she'd started back in Portland. "Don't
worry about us, Harry. What could possibly happen?" Rachel
asked with a smile.
- "That's what worries me,"
he said, kissing her. "I'll be back as soon as I can."
- An hour and a half later, Lauren
was sitting at the front window, watching every car that passed,
waiting. Rachel found herself listening as well, worrying what
was taking Harry so long. When the telephone rang, she nearly
jumped out of her skin. "Hello?"
- "Hello, Rachel," Harry
- Lauren came running over. "Is
- Rachel nodded. "Where are you?
We were getting worried-"
- "Everything's fine- good news,
actually. But Dr. Richards wants to show me something. I have
to wait here for a little longer- I just wanted to call and let
you know I was all right- and to hear your voice."
- Rachel smiled. "I'm glad you
did. How much longer are you going to be?"
- "I shouldn't be too long. Another
- Lauren was tugging on her sleeve.
"Can I talk to him?" she asked.
- Harry heard her and smiled. "Put
her on for a moment, Rachel."
- "Daddy? When are you going
to be home?"
- "Just as soon as I can, sweetheart.
Have you and Graham finished your list?"
- "You be a good girl, okay?
And when I get home, you and Graham can go swimming."
- "Okay. Hurry home. I miss you."
- "I miss you too, sweetheart.
Let me talk to your mother again."
- "She's been sitting by the
front window," Rachel told him when she came back online.
"I wish you were here, Harry," she told him softly.
- "I have an idea- why don't
I come and pick the three of you up and we'll go for a drive."
- "Sounds good to me." She
could hear him smile across the lines.
- "I'll be right there."
- He was barely out of the car when
Lauren ran from the house and threw her arms around him. Harry
knelt to return her hug. "Did you really miss me?"
he asked. She nodded. He picked her up with his good arm and
started toward the house, smiling as he saw Rachel and Graham
standing on the porch, waiting. He put Lauren down, then gave
Rachel a kiss. "Are we ready to go?"
- "Let me get Ruffie's leash,"
- Rachel noticed his cast was different.
Not plaster, but a strap on plastic shell. "What did the
doctor say about your arm?"
- "As far as he can tell at the
moment, I won't need surgery. It's healing well, and there's
no sign of a major infection."
- "Thank goodness for that."
She had been more concerned about infection than anything else.
He'd spent two days in that truck with an open wound. "What
about the cast?"
- "It's something he's been working
with- it's lighter weight than plaster, and just as strong. He
said I could put plastic over it to take a shower if I wanted
- Ruffie barked, signalling that she
was ready to go, so they returned to the car. "Where are
we going?" Rachel asked.
- "Well, I was talking to Dr.
Richards about our planned fishing expedition, and he mentioned
that he has a boat in that he's not using- and he's offered it
to us for the length of our stay. If we like it, of course."
- "How far away is it?"
- "There's a marina just ahead-
here we go-" he said, turning into the parking area. "Slip
17." The children started running down the wooden pier.
"No running, kids," he warned. He and Rachel followed
more slowly, her hand in his.
- "Thank you," she told
- "For what?"
- "For coming back and getting
us. I can't explain what was different- you'd been out of my
sight when you were at the doctor in Portland, but today-"
- "I wasn't as close," he
said. "I was just in the next room, so to speak, in Portland.
Here, there were ten miles between us-"
- Rachel looked up at him, hearing
the fear in his voice. "You felt it too, didn't you?"
- He nodded, but before he could say
anything, they caught up with the children. Graham was standing
before Slip 17, staring the white cabin cruiser. "Looks
like this is it," Harry said. "What do you think?"
- "It's big," Rachel commented.
- "Why don't we go aboard and
check it out?" He handed Graham up the ladder to the deck,
then Rachel, but Lauren hung back, her eyes wide. "Come
on, sweetheart. It won't hurt you. I promise." He knew she
was remembering their ride across Mirror Lake, their fear as
the small metal boat was slowly eaten away by the acidic lake
water. "I thought you wanted to go fishing." He pointed
to the other boats. "See all of these boats, Lauren? All
afloat- and not a metal one in the bunch." He tapped the
hull of the cabin cruiser. "Fiberglass. Acid proof."
- Her eyes widened. "Really?"
- "I guarantee it." He knew
it wasn't, but he had to convince her that the boat was safe,
as safe as being on shore. "Are you ready?"
- She still looked a little uncertain,
but she let him help her up the ladder before waiting to make
sure he followed her. Once he was on deck, she clasped his hand
in a death grip.
- They explored the boat from stem
to stern, and Harry checked out the controls, started the engine.
Even with one arm, he could handle this. "You've done this
before?" Rachel asked, watching him.
- "A friend of mine in Hawaii
has one. While I was there a few years ago, he taught me how
to handle it. This one's smaller, I think." He turned to
the others. "Shall I tell Dr. Richards that we accept his
- "What about the other boat?"
- "I'll call and cancel it,"
Harry told her. "I don't think the owner was too thrilled
by the idea of two kids and a dog being on his boat anyway. Let's
go home so I can call him and Dr. Richards."
- Sometime during their tour, Lauren
had released Harry's hand to go with Graham to investigate the
boat, and Harry watched as she went back toward the car with
her brother and Ruffie. "You handled that very well,"
Rachel told him. "Acid proof fiberglass, Harry? You realize
that one day she's going to find out that you lied to her."
- "By that time, she'll be over
her fear of going onto the water," Harry said, keeping his
voice low as they reached the car.
- To Be Continued...
- || Back
|| Home || Dante's
Peak || E-Mail
|| Next ||