Satisfied that everyone at this dinner party was on the up and up, Marti realized it was the perfect time to stroll the grounds. It was just light enough to see. She looked at Chuck and decided she should rescue him from Charlene. "Maybe we can take that after dinner stroll you mentioned earlier."
Chuck looked surprised then smiled, "Sounds good to me. I’m ready anytime you are." Sliding back her chair, Marti leaned forward, "I’m ready now," she mouthed silently. Standing up she felt a tiny wobble but steadied herself on the table. Too much wine and worry about seeing naked people she realized. I need a breath of fresh air.
Meeting Chuck at the end of the table they headed toward the street. Other guests were stretching after the meal so they slipped away unnoticed. "Thanks for rescuing me," Chuck said touching her elbow to turn her toward the pond.
"I saw her with Tom the other day so I knew her MO."
"She’s harmless – just needy. I’m sure she misses Harry. He doted on her."
"I haven’t heard that word in a long time. Do people dote anymore?
"Only when they are in love, you don’t have someone doting on you?"
"No, how about you?"
"A long time ago, but now that I think about it, it was probably infatuation."
"Just good old puppy love in high school and college for me. Once I got my internship at the TV station, it’s been all work and no play. That was four years ago."
"I’ve been there. I felt the same way about getting my pilot’s license."
They had arrived at the pond and Marti searched for the critters that Tom had mentioned on their tour. She could hear the crickets and an occasional frog. But, mostly it was peaceful. "I could get used to this," Marti said leaning on a tree trunk and looking up at the sky.
"There shines Venus," Chuck pointed out.
"Did you learn the stars for navigation?"
"No, I got an astronomy badge in Boy Scouts."
"Don’t tell Charlene you were a boy scout. She’ll want you to start her campfire."
"I’ve dodged her so far. Tonight I was just a sitting duck."
Grabbing Marti’s arm, Chuck quickly jerked her away from the tree pulling her toward him.
"Hey, what are you doing?" Angry, she turned just as Chuck batted a spider off her back and stomped on it.
"A spider bite’s no fun," he said looking at her arm for a red spot and rubbing where he grabbed her. His touch sent shock waves down her skin as he gently pushed her back.
"Well, thanks. Now you’ve rescued me," she stammered brushing her arms.
He studied her face. "What did you think I was doing – making a pass at you?"
"Maybe, I don’t know." she said slowly glancing at him. Touching her forehead, "I’ve had three glasses of wine. I’m a little fuzzy headed at the moment," she confessed hugging her arms under her chest.
Reaching out he tugged her arm gently bringing her back to his chest. Bringing his hand under her chin, "I know what I’m doing," he whispered slowly looking into her eyes as his mouth covered her lips. With his arms on her waist he pulled her close and took his time exploring her lips. Marti’s heart raced as she began to return his kiss.
Sighing, she laced her hands around his neck. He was warm and solid. She could feel his heartbeat, too. Maybe it was the alcohol, but she felt a surge between them. Moving his arms up and down her back, Chuck kept his touch light focusing his attention on her mouth.
She broke away first, breathless from their contact. Touching her chest, she felt her racing heart and looked up at him, "I guess you do know what you’re doing." She stared at him before moving forward for another kiss. Wrapping her arms around his waist, she raised on tiptoe to meet him in a more passionate kiss that brought a moan up from Marti’s throat.
"I need some air," she panted.
"You’re as fiery as you look," he said as she turned away to catch her breath.
"You’re a real firecracker yourself."
"Two combustibles - imagine what we would be like together," he said in a low voice.
Turning back she searched his face to see if he was serious and let it drop when he simply laced his fingers around hers.
"It was just a thought. Let’s walk some more. I think we both need to cool down."
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