We were chatting on my radio show about how a scene from a romance novel can be hot even if it doesn’t involve actual sex. It put me in mind of this scene from Indian Summer. Manuel and Gabriella find themselves desperately attracted to one another, but society’s standards are strict. It’s not proper for them to be alone together, but Manuel senses they need to talk about their relationship. They find a chance the night of her sister’s wedding. Most of the household has gone to bed and they snatch some precious moments together outside on the logia.
I hugged him as if my life depended upon it. I didn’t want a kiss, not then. All I wanted was to feel his arms around me, holding me, promising me his heart, his strength, his trust. I whispered into his chest. “I love you so.”
He stroked my hair and held me close. It was not like sometimes, that burning, aching feeling. I felt whole, complete, as if half of me had been missing for years and I hadn’t known.
“I love you more than words can ever tell, Gabriella.”
“And I love you with all my heart.”
I don’t know how long we stood there, I didn’t care. All I wanted was for him to hold me. He spoke quietly to me again.
“So, do you forgive me my transgressions?”
I looked up at him with tears in my eyes. “Whatever transgressions you may have committed, that’s between you and God. That you love me and you’ve honored me with the truth, that’s enough. But if you must have my forgiveness, then I give it to you freely.”
He held me away from him, gazing at me. A look of wonder filled his handsome face. “You’re an incredible woman, do you know that? I’ve wanted to tell you this for so long, but didn’t know how. We’ve had so little time alone. I thank God for providing this opportunity to us.” He embraced me again.
“It’s a terrible thing that our society is so very strict about what is proper to discuss or not to discuss. I dream for a day when men and women can talk freely about whatever is on their minds. And they can have time alone together without someone watching over them for fear they’ll get to know each other too well.” He cracked his wry smile, his eyes twinkling like twin stars.
“You sound just like Maria. She’s always talking about how to change things, how the customs are foolish. If she could, I think she would run naked down a street in broad daylight just to set people off.”
He laughed quietly at this so as not to wake Papa. We were enjoying our privacy too much for that.
“Well if you were to do that, I would be running wildly after you, ripping off my own.”
I didn’t know whether to be shocked or laugh, so I settled for laughter. “I believe you would too!”
“Dressed or not I would follow you to the ends of the earth, I promise you. You’re my heart and my soul. If you were taken from me, I’d look until I found you, or I died trying. Since we are telling the truth, I’ll share something else with you I’m sure has been on your mind. You’re scared of the ways between men and women, aren’t you?”
I couldn’t speak to him, the answer burned in my face and showed in my eyes. He took my chin in his hand. Raising it gently, he looked me in the eye. I tried, but couldn’t meet his gaze.
“Mi Cariña, there is nothing to fear, I promise you. Would I ever do anything to hurt you?”
I shook my head, wide eyed.
“Then don’t be afraid of this, for it’s wonderful, not something to fear.” He held me close, but gently. “When we are close, or we kiss, don’t you feel something stirring inside you? And does it please you, what you feel?”
I tried to meet his gaze, but found that I couldn’t. “It makes me feel good, but ashamed as well.”
“Why ashamed, my sweet?”
“Because I’m not sure I should feel these things for you right now. It’s wrong.” Sighing, I hesitated. I simply didn’t know what to say.
“You think it’s wrong for you to want me to touch you, to get to know your body?”
He was nuzzling my neck as he moved us out of the direct line of sight from the window. His voice changed, grew deeper, more sensual, full of barely controlled passion.
“You don’t think it’s right, but you want it, don’t you?” His breath was hot on my neck, his lips demanding mine.
I couldn’t restrain myself. I wanted him, in a way I couldn’t describe. It felt so very good to have him touch me, kiss me, hold me. I could feel him hard against me and I knew that was what I wanted. That would ease the burning inside me. He could quench the fire with his power. But I knew we couldn’t, mustn’t, wouldn’t until we married. I clung to him, my passion meeting his own, with his hands traveling my body in an erotic journey, exploring with his hands and lips.
The words exploded in my mind and I jumped as if someone had shouted behind me. Summoning all my resolve, I pushed gently away from him. At first I thought I’d made him angry. Then I realized he was not angry with me, but with himself. Anger fought with lust as he gazed down at me, embarrassed by his behavior. I could read shame in his eyes.
“I’m so very sorry. I’ve dishonored you with my conduct. I’m like a stallion after a choice mare. I’m so ashamed!”
He grabbed his hat and started for the gate. I took his arm, holding him back.
“You’ve nothing to be ashamed of. Nothing!” I took his face between my hands, kissing him hard on the lips. “If you’re guilty, then so am I, for all I could think of was how much I wanted you! I need you to quench this fire inside.”
“But you had the control, you pulled away. Gabriella, don’t you understand? If you hadn’t stopped me, I would have ravaged you here and now! It’s how I am. I’m a wicked man and I don’t deserve you!” He made as if to pull away, but I restrained him once again.
“No you mustn’t say that! You’re not wicked, only human. God doesn’t expect us to be perfect, my love, but society does. So we don’t embarrass our families or dishonor them, then we must not.”
He agreed hesitantly, desire fighting honor. I could see the inner struggle pulling him apart. This love, this great passion would drive us both mad!
“You’re right. Of course you’re right. Oh, God, Gabriella, I can’t wait to marry you! If I could shout our love to the four winds and marry you tonight, I would do so! This just isn’t enough. I want all of you, not the little bit we’re allowed when we can snatch it.”
He buried his face in my hair and I breathed in deeply his scent of sandalwood.
“Perhaps someday, sometime in our future, our lives can be different, Manuel. I can only hope.”
He kissed me again, deeply, his tongue probing my mouth. I couldn’t get enough of him. I felt if I had to stop kissing him I was going to die on the spot. I knew my father was near, my sister was just inside, but I didn’t care.
His hands fondled me again in places he shouldn’t touch, but I wanted him to. I gave myself over the passion I felt, but part of me knew it was wrong. A tiny voice kept insisting that we must stop and yet I knew I didn’t want to.
But I couldn’t, mustn’t – not here, not like animals! This should be a beautiful moment, not one of harsh lust. I tried to pull away, but he held me tightly, not wanting to let me go. I grabbed his face as he leaned over to kiss my breasts.
“No,” I whispered, not wanting to. “No, not this way.”
I wanted more than anything to let him touch me again, to kiss me, but I couldn’t allow it. There was much anger in his face. But I saw reason prevail as he stood straight, adjusting his coat, shirt and tie. Briefly I saw the temper flair that Aunt Securo had mentioned. It was not directed at me, but again with himself. He was furious at his own weakness.
“I’m so sorry.” I started but it hardly seemed enough.
© Dellani Oakes