(Image source: http://artfan24.blogspot.in/)
She thought he'd be older and wiser. He turned out to be younger and handsomer. 'Win-win!' she thought. Blind dates weren't really her thing, but deep bass voices were. She couldn't believe she had been talking to the same man over the phone over the last month. He was so unlike what she had imagined. She was told he was perfect for her. 'Perfect, indeed', she said to herself. Tall, intelligent and with a zest for travel... That first call through the dating service had turned into a flirtatious friendship, and he had finally asked her out.
"Hello," he said in a booming voice. She felt weak in her knees already. "Hiya!" she returned. He smiled. She panicked, and said, 'Say something, stupid' to herself. "So..., we finally meet!" she quipped. He looked at her with smiling eyes, soaking in her nervousness. "Why don't we head to the bar and get comfortable?" he suggested.
He then led the way, and she followed obediently. She sure needed a drink to break his spell. "I'd like a whiskey; neat," she said when they reached. He looked at her, pleasantly surprised. "Single malt?" he inquired, raising an eyebrow. "On the rocks, please" she answered back. He placed the order with the barman in his impossibly suave manner. She admired his broad back, slim waist and a firm behind. She could almost see those muscular lines under his clothes. Her reverie snapped as the drinks arrived. She took a deep breath, and summoned the courage to ask him the question that was burning inside her...
"Do you want me?" she posed.
Taken aback by her forthcoming blurt, he set his drink down. He thought he'd have to play the games eventually, but perhaps life was too short.
"I do," he said, smiling. "How can I not want the woman, who I have grown to admire, respect and trust over the last month?"
She smiled with relief, but her heart pounded with excitement, thinking of the end she wanted for herself. "I need you," she confessed. "I need you to love me," she continued. "I notice love hasn't found place in that list of things you have for me," she said swigging the cold-burning fluid in her mouth.
He shuffled about and chugged down his tonic water. She was making this difficult. He wanted her, yes, but love? He couldn't love her, he thought, as he subconsciously played with a gold band in his pocket. The band was his constant companion now; once worn by the woman he called his life, his love. His wounds were still raw, but his soul was begging to be healed. He closed his eyes.
She reached across, and touched his face. Suddenly, her eyes lit up. "Let's get out of here," she said and turned to the door. He followed, hurriedly stuffing some notes into the doorman's hand. He needed to do this. He needed to free himself of his past. He needed to take this pleasure plunge. Pain had won too long.
As the valet drew up with his sedan, taking charge, she settled into the driver's seat. She turned and looked at him. "Come on!" she half begged, half ordered. "Are you sure?" he asked, "You're a few whiskeys down." "Ahan," she said, and he submitted to her easy confidence. Woman on top.
She fished a scarf out of her handbag, and tied it around his eyes. "Let's go for a spin!" she laughed and rolled down the windows. It was his turn to go weak in the knees. He felt her soft hands on his face, a whiff of her heady perfume and wind in his hair. The miles began to run away under him.
As she shifted gears during the silent drive to his one salvation, she brushed her fingers upon his thigh, ever so lightly. He grew stiff with anticipation. "Would this be the right time for you to need me; need me to love you?" he asked. Her laughter resonated within the confines of the car. "Not yet," she said, pulling the car over and shutting off the engine. He could smell salt.
The sea. 'Oh God, not the sea.' He could not bear the sea since after that fateful drowning accident. "Let's leave," he said silently, his blindfold still in place.
"No," she firmly denied him, reached down to slide off his leather shoes and led him down. With every sinking step into the sand, his heart sank deeper into the quicksand of images from the past. He stopped and took off the scarf. Holding her by her shoulders, he said, "You don't understand."
"I do," she said, and kissed him. As she kissed him, she felt the turmoil within him and held on to him, as he fought his demons. He looked at her, and saw this woman holding the key to his future. "Love me now," she said softly. They went down on the sand, and made passionate, desperate and honest love; saving each other.
(Co-authored with Shweta Kaushik @ShwetaKaushik)