He saw her before she saw him. . .on a bench in the distance, she sat. She looked depressed, this disturbed him. Her mood seeped into his bones. Brianna was married. . .and miserable. The mountain on his heart crushed him more. His leg hurt again, the old injury revived itself. He limped. He'd give his life to see happiness in her eyes again. In his imagination, her warm body and skin warmed his, and his presence caused her to resonate with joy. The drooping neck was foreign to him. Legs and arms sagged as she dragged them about. He wanted to drape her, kiss away her hurts. She was still beautiful. Her hair cascaded on her shoulders and reflected her former glory. But her shoulders used to be firm and high. He turned his head to view the Douglas Firs; he couldn't bear to see her this way.

Yesterday, he bought her a pearl necklace at Seattle's Pike's Place. He wanted to take her there. Its free-spirit reminded him of her. He pulled the necklace from his jeans pocket and clasped the Bible. He would bring a smile to her face.

The attractive dark haired woman jammed beside him. Startled, he almost dropped the pearls. Brianna lifted her head and saw him--with her.

The strange woman flounced ahead of him to Brianna.

He mustn't let this woman intimidate him. How he wanted to kiss Brianna now. She looked like she drowned in the ocean. The strange woman brought more sadness to those soft eyes. His hand went for the pearls; he held them out to Brianna. But Brianna stared at him in bewilderment.

It was the other woman, she was in the way.

The stranger laughed. "See those pearls? He gave those to me last week. I gave them back to him when I learned about you. I can't tell you how disgusted I was."

Dor stiffened. "She's lying. I have no idea who this woman is." He took Brianna's hand. "I swear she's never been my girlfriend. I can see how you've suffered because of her." He ran his hand across her hair.

A new life came to Brianna's eyes. She squeezed his hand and her eyes observed his, a tint of sadness fell over them. "You look ghastly.” A tear trickled down her cheek. “Did you send Dr. Rubenstein to me, at Yellowstone?" Her chest heaved and rivers came from her eyes.

“I did.” Dor’s eyes lowered. “It was my way of being with you.”

Brianna’s eyes observed his. "Did you believe I was married to Aaron Segal?"

The strange girl paced several feet away.

He felt a stab. The answer came like a knife. "Yes." He couldn't hide the pain in his eyes.

She jumped and brought her hand to her mouth. "I hate them."

He had to get rid of that woman. How could he nourish Brianna with her around? He faced the brilliant eyes, which leered at him. "If you don't leave, I'll call the police."

The woman traipsed to her car and locked herself in it, but didn't leave, and stared at them from the car.

Brianna touched his arm; volumes of feeling that lay buried within, erupted in him. An overwhelming desire to transport her to oneness swelled over him. She needed to be loved, to feel his warmth in her.

She pulled a box from underneath the bench and opened it. There was satiny material in the box. Her face had more color now. "I bought this for you."

He took the box and pulled out what was inside. The material was silk. A weight lifted from him and in its place came a joy that flooded his eyes. Her soft hand was within his reach. “Did you think that woman in that car over there was my girlfriend?” Their fingers laced together. He kneeled and saw the reflection of the sky in her eyes. "This is the most beautiful tallit I've ever had." He watched the sky and said a silent prayer of thanks.

Brianna bit her lip. "Yes, I thought perhaps. . .because of me. . . you were in such despair--that you went crazy."

His head rested on her lap and he sobbed; his arms wrapped around her legs. "It's only been three months since you said goodbye. It's too soon. . .too soon. . .never. . .never. . ." He rose. His old injury returned to haunt him and he limped.

"I'd never marry Keane."

"Did you see yourself on television?"

Brianna's lips quivered. “Yes. . .” She closed her eyes . . . inhaled deeply.

His head rested on her lap and wept for joy.

“You know what Keane did to me. . .don’t you?”

“What?”

“He said he had photos of you with your girlfriend that I must see—that he’d only show them to me at the studio when I arrived. When I showed up and saw the photos, I didn’t believe she was your girlfriend, and wanted to cancel my appearance with him. But he said if I didn’t appear on the show with him, he’d announce on the air I was his wife and that I canceled my appearance because I caught the flu.”

“So your appearance with Keane was purely professional. And you didn’t want to be there at all.”

She bit her lips. “I would have given anything if it was you with me on that broadcast, instead of him. I told them on the air I wasn’t married to him. It got edited out. Oh, how I hate Aaron Segal.”

Dor lifted her to him. “Let’s pretend it never happened.” He led her behind a Douglas Fir, which blocked the view of the wild woman. Brianna leaned beside him, looked at the sky. He plucked some blackberries off their prickly bushes and offered them to her, and smiled. Sunlight streamed through towering branches, the air like fresh oxygen. Brianna leaned beside him on the tree and sighed, and looked at the sky. Her eyes, such depths of sadness. He turned toward her, and yearned to comfort her.

His lips brushed hers. . .the blackberries in her hand fell to the ground. As he brought her next to him, he embraced her, and about him stirred her arms and body. Then in a fire of fury her mouth engulfed his; and into him her dreams and passions poured; his arms and fingers coursed over her. The warmth from her mouth, and the feel of her against him thrilled his soul; how often he’d dreamt of this moment; he’d always imagined it, but now with her lips on his, this that he felt from her was real. No, this was not a dream; the feel of her mouth on his infused him, streamed a fire to his heart and filled him with a passion to be all she dreamed him to be; his doubts soothed. . .and into him infused a euphoria that tripped through his heart. How good her mouth felt. How he wanted more of her.

She embraced him and kissed him again and again, and into him sweet dreams waltzed. The Douglas Firs melted with him; he fell down to the ground with her and rolled with her on the ground, rolled and kissed her mouth and hair, which soothed his wounds and lifted his heart, tall, like the trees. This forest – a retreat from the cruel demons which whizzed about them. He flowed his love into her, strengthened her, and prepared her for calamities; each caress. . .a sanctuary, to remove the pain from her eyes so that they would radiate softness again. He held her, as if to never let her go.

 

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