In The Moment

December 11, 1896
Penelope Sumter

I am cold.

The fire provides no warmth for me. My father would not approve. Wilbur would not even approve and if they would agree, then I must be very bad indeed. I wrapped the blanket tighter around me and moved closer still to the fire.

I noticed him from the beginning. His secretive glances were not lost on me although I pretended not to notice. Sometimes he seemed oblivious to me but that was just part of the charade. His wandering eyes are not for me alone, but they are mine for this moment.

And sometimes a moment is everything.

I remember the first time our fingers brushed. It was like a static shock between us. I jerked away as though burned in the fire but my eyes were filled with wonder. I think he saw it because he looked deep into me and then winked before turning away and moving on. I told myself it was only my imagination.

But dreams fill the emptiness.

There is something in his shoulders or maybe it is his smile. When I gaze upon him, the world fades. Only he and the things he touches are vibrant and alive. Is it wrong that I wanted to be vibrant and alive? No, I think we all are searching for that feeling. It eludes us in shadows and the dark corners where angels fear to tread, but I am no angel.

I am beautiful.

His eyes make no secret of his desires. His course hands on my soft skin sends a shiver from Heaven down my spine. The gentle touch of his lips on my earlobe followed by a nibble, forced my eyes closed. Every rational thought was banished as his fingers ran through my hair.

Steady fingers unfastened the buttons holding my dress up. It fell free to the floor, guided by gravity and his hands. An unsteady breath in the moment and my trembling fingers found the buttons on his shirt. One by one they slipped through the fabric until flesh and hair were all that existed between us.

And time was without meaning.

The floor was our bed. Our lips met with passion and left with the taste of sweet sweat. Hot and wet we rolled into each other, again and again. The flame of his desire devoured me from head to toe. His tongue caressed me until I could only lie limp in his arms.

But my heart would not be still.

Charles Birchwood can never be mine for more than a moment. I will take what I can and I promise not to mourn that which I cannot. The fire crackles in his fireplace as he adds another log. His warm arms wrap themselves around me and hold me close to his chest. It feels safe and secure, but it is illusion.

I am cold.

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