G4 Chapter Fourteen – Part One, Isla Paradiso

It wasn’t a very long walk from the resort to Jayna’s dress shop, so Travis and Charlotte decided to go on foot, enjoying the cool, crisp morning. Much to her delight, the coffee shop next to the dress store was still in business, and they stopped in for a coffee and a scone with fresh preserves before their appointment.

“I’m excited to see Jayna,” Charlotte said, sipping her coffee.

“I’m happy to make you happy, honey,” Travis answered. “Whatever you want to do, we’ll do.”

“We have to do stuff you want to do, too, you know. It’s not just my vacation.”

“I know, but I want to make sure you have the best time ever.” He took her hand and smiled.

Charlotte’s watch chimed, and it was time to walk next door to Jayna’s shop. Hand in hand, they walked, and Travis opened the door for her, allowing Charlotte to walk in first.

Jayna recognized her immediately. “Charlotte!” she squealed. “Welcome back, sweetheart!” Immediately, Jayna enveloped her in a hug, and then she noticed Travis. “Oh my, what is the star of the Shores Llamas doing in my humble little shop?”

“Jayna, this is my husband, Travis.” Charlotte introduced them, but Travis really needed no introduction.

“Your mother never mentioned her son-in-law was a big sport legend!” She sheepishly held her hand out to Travis, and he wrapped her in a hug.

“Pleasure to meet you, Jayna,” he said.

“How is your mother, Charlotte? Is she still living?”

“We lost her and dad a few years ago. They died within a week of each other.” Charlotte smiled. “At least they weren’t separated for very long.”

“Oh, honey, I’m so sorry,” Jayna said. “Your mother kept in touch, emailed me pictures of your wedding. I didn’t know when I saw them who the handsome young man was, but I surely recognize him now!”

Travis blushed. Though he was used to recognition, he wasn’t used to being gushed over by a stranger, though Jayna was beginning to feel more and more like an old friend. “You’re too kind, Jayna,” he said.

“So, can I show you anything? Do you need a dress for a daughter?”

“Goodness, not yet,” Travis joked. He opened his phone and showed Jayna photos of Danae and Darcey. “Their weddings will probably break our bank.”

“Such lovely young ladies you have there, Charlotte! They look just like you.”

“Thank you! Hey, while we’re here, do you happen to carry cocktail dresses? I think I forgot to bring one, and I’m sure that restaurant has a dress code.”

“Are you kidding? Of course, I do!” Jayna looked at Charlotte and decided to bring out a few little dresses she thought would look stunning on her. “Here, I think you’ll look fabulous in this one,” Jayna said, holding out a fitted red dress.

“Try it on, honey,” Travis encouraged. “Let me see how gorgeous you are.”

Charlotte took the dress and wiggled into it, calling for Jayna to zip the back for her. She smoothed out the fabric and admired herself in the mirror. “He is going to love this,” Jayna whispered in her ear. “Let’s go out and show him.”

Jayna opened the door to the dressing room and Charlotte walked out and stepped on the mirrored platform. Travis’ mouth dropped open. “Holy wow, baby, you are breathtaking in that dress, honey.” He watched as she modeled it, and nodded. “Oh yeah, we’re buying that.”

“You think so, honeybear?” she asked, checking the fit all the way around. Even she had to admit it was perfect.

“Oh, I haven’t been this sure of anything in a while.” He didn’t care what it cost, he knew that dress was perfect, and he knew she had to have it.

“I guess we’re taking it,” Charlotte giggled. She stepped down off the platform and headed back to the dressing room to change.

When she was done, Travis had already paid for the dress and had it all packed up for her. “I’m so glad you came to see me, sweetheart,” Jayna said to Charlotte, hugging her. She turned to Travis. “Do you mind if I get a photo with you? I’m a big fan, but don’t tell anyone here! I don’t want to be disloyal to the home team!”

“Absolutely!” Travis posed with Jayna for several shots, and hugged her. “It was a pleasure to meet you.”

“The pleasure was all mine,” Jayna answered, still swooning over him. Charlotte laughed as she walked to him and took his hand.

“Thank you again, Jayna. I hope we get to see you again before we go, even if I just poke my head in and wave.”

“Stop in anytime!” Jayna waved to them as they left the store.

“So, I’m guessing you liked the dress?” she teased on the way back to the resort.

“I can’t wait for you to wear it, and I have the perfect occasion. Our anniversary dinner.”

“Oh right!” she exclaimed. “That is when I’ll wear it for sure.” She reached to kiss him. “Thank you, honeybear.”

“Oh, my pleasure,” he said, taking her hand.

*****

“Where would you like to go for dinner tonight,” Travis asked her, looking at a map of the village. “There’s a Spanish restaurant just a few doors down.”

“That sounds good. Is there a sushi place around?”

“It looks like that’s across town, but the shuttle could probably bring us there and back if you really want raw fish tonight.” He made a face.

“That’s a no on the sushi,” she laughed. “I won’t make you eat somewhere you don’t like.”

“It’s not that, it’s just… raw fish?”

“That’s what sushi is, love,” she giggled. “The place a few doors down sounds good, and it’s casual.”

He nodded. “Settled, then!”

Hand in hand, they strolled to the Spanish restaurant and were seated at a little booth in an alcove. The decor was quaint and rustic, and the staff was welcoming. Travis ordered sweet tea, and Charlotte had a glass of sangria.

“No sangria, love?” Charlotte asked.

“Nope, I’m not touching that stuff anymore,” he replied. “I never want to be out of control again.”

“One glass of sangria won’t hurt you, but I appreciate what you’re saying,” she cooed.

He took her hand and looked into her eyes. “My goodness, Charlotte. You are just so beautiful.”

She blushed. “I’m not even dressed up.”

“You don’t have to be. Your beauty shines from within.” He reached and caressed her cheek.

“Flattery will get you everywhere, Mr. Jones,” she said, flirting madly with him.

“I hope so,” he replied, winking at her.

They both ordered and sipped their drinks while waiting. Travis noticed a little dance floor, and there was a live band playing in the lounge. He stood and held his hand for her. “Would you care to dance, beautiful?”

She blushed. “With you, honeybear, anytime.” He held her close and they swayed to the music, her head on his shoulder. “Could this get any more perfect?” she asked casually, loving their time together.

“It can, and it will,” Travis flirted. “Just wait until our anniversary, honey.”

“Oh?” she looked at him quizzically.

“I’ve already said too much,” he replied, smiling at her.

They went back to sit down just as their meal was being served. They ate together, laughing and reminiscing about college, their first years together, the kids and work. None of the painful memories made an appearance. Tonight, and the whole trip was about reconnecting and falling in love all over again. They were well on their way to doing both by the end of dinner. They strolled back to the resort, hand in hand, stopping to admire the local flora. Travis picked a hibiscus flower and placed it into Charlotte’s hair, fixing it so that it wouldn’t fall out of her ponytail.

It was early, so they decided to sit by the pool and watch the sun setting. The pool bar was open, and Charlotte ordered a glass of wine, while Travis just got a sweet tea.

“I’m so impressed, Travis. You promised me no more alcohol, and you’re sticking with it.”

“It’s easy to keep. You are my whole world. I never want to disappoint you again.” Travis looked at her and took her hand. “I just love you with everything I have.”

“I love you more than I can say, Travis. I know now, I always have. I always will.” She took a sip of her wine. “Maybe I should do the same. This is my last glass of wine. It doesn’t seem fair I get to have it, and you won’t.”

“But you enjoy it so much,” he countered. “A glass of wine isn’t that terrible.”

“Well, there’s always nectar,” she answered.

He smiled at her. “That is true. We can both enjoy that.”

The stars became more brilliant in the sky as the sun set, and they just sat together and stargazed for the longest time, until the evening got chilly. Charlotte started to shiver, and Travis looked at her.

“Time to warm you up, honey,”  he said, a twinkle in his eye.

“I can’t wait,” she replied, as they walked together to their room.

*****

A cool breeze blew through their open window, billowing the sheer curtains that hung. The sounds of birds chirping outside woke Charlotte as the sun was barely peeking over the horizon. Travis was curled around her as he had been since they fell asleep. She snuggled into his arms and kissed the fingers that touched her face. Gently, he stirred and noticed that Charlotte was awake.

“Mmm, good morning gorgeous,” he purred, kissing her shoulder.

“Good morning, honeybear,” she cooed back at him, relishing his tender affection.

“What’s on our agenda for today?” he asked.

“What would you like to do, besides what you’re fixing to do now?” she giggled, fully aware they were going to get a late start, regardless of what they chose to do.

“I think we should go to the beach today,” he suggested. “Maybe do some windsurfing, or hire a scuba charter and go diving.” He kissed her neck, and she melted into the bed.

“Diving sounds good,” she said, turning to face him. “When we get to it.”

A couple of hours later, they were showered and dressed for the beach. Travis decided to do some windsurfing and Charlotte was okay with that. They grabbed towels, lotion, and water and took the shuttle to one of the more popular beaches, where they could rent a sailboard for the day. The beach looked extremely tropical, with palm trees swaying in the breeze, the scent of coconut and pineapple hung in the air, and the warm sand felt good on their feet. Charlotte set their belongings down in the sand and took an umbrella to provide some shade and relief from the heat. Travis rented a sailboard, but brought it up on the beach where Charlotte was sitting, rubbing lotion on her skin.

“Aren’t you going to windsurf, sweetie?” she asked.

“I had to come and admire the local scenery,” he flirted, kissing her. “That bikini is insane.”

“I need to work on my tan, and this will leave hardly any tan lines.” The bottom was close to being a g-string but covered her enough to be more modest, and the top was just as sexy.

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“I might change my mind about surfing. You just look too good up here on the beach.”

“Go have fun while I work on my tan,” she suggested. “I will still be here when you’re done.”

“Sure you don’t want to come?” Travis tried to tempt her away from the beach to go with him, but she wouldn’t budge.

“Think of how awesome I’m going to look with golden tan skin,” she teased.

“Okay, you win,” he said, kissing her. “I’ll be back in a bit.” Taking the sailboard, he walked toward the ocean.

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The warm tropical sun slowly baked Charlotte to a golden brown, and she felt overheated. Putting her sunglasses on her face, she walked toward the water, where Travis had been windsurfing and waded in. The water was refreshingly cool and crystal clear. About 40 feet away stood a man who noticed Charlotte splashing around, and he walked toward her.

“Hi there, pretty young thing,” he said, trying to impress her.

Not wanting to be rude, she waved. “Hi.”

“What’s a beautiful lady doing here by herself?” He walked closer and held out his hand to shake. “My name is Bruce, what’s yours?”

“I’m married, I’m sorry.” She searched the water for Travis, but he wasn’t around.

“That’s a funny name,” Bruce quipped. “I’m sure that’s not it. You look like a Sophia.”

“No, that’s not it.” She turned to face him, when suddenly Travis appeared from nowhere.

“Hey honey,” he purred, stepping in front of her, between her and Bruce. “Who is your friend?”

“Bruce, and you must be the husband.”

“I am indeed. Is there a problem, sweetheart?” He looked at Charlotte, who was thankful he came to her rescue.

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“I was just going back to lay down in the sand. Are you done windsurfing?”

“I am now,” Travis replied, taking her by the arm. “Let’s go sunbathe for a while, my love.”

“Wait, I know you. You’re Travis Jones,” Bruce said.

“Yes, yes I am,” Travis answered. “And this is my lovely wife, and I’m very protective of her, so I suggest you leave her alone. Do we have an understanding, Bruce?”

“Yes, I’m sorry,” he replied, turning to leave. “Pleasure to meet you, Mrs. Jones.” He tipped his hat and walked away.

“Thanks, baby,” Charlotte said, wiping the salt water from her skin. “Great timing, as always.”

“I was watching you. I’ve been done surfing for a while, and I was having a sweet tea at the pavilion. I was on my way back to see if you wanted anything when I noticed you were in the water.”

“I was okay, he was just trying to pick me up. I told him I was married.” She looked at her wedding band. “I don’t know how he didn’t see this.”

“He might not have cared,” Travis suggested. “Some people like the challenge.” He noticed her bronzed skin. “You know, you’re right. You look amazing all tanned up.”

“I bet you would look amazing tanned, too,” she said, and then she giggled.

“You mean, darker than I already am?” Travis laughed. “I’m good, thanks.” But he did get a little darker being on the water, and she noticed.

“Did you have fun, baby?” she asked. “You looked like you were having a ball.”

“It would have been more fun with you, but I had a really great time.”

“I think I’m all sunned out.  Wanna catch the next shuttle out?” Charlotte felt warm, as though she had a sunburn.

“Yeah, I’m ready to go back. I need a shower,” he replied.

When they returned to the resort, Charlotte noticed how red she was, and the shower was uncomfortably warm to her skin. Travis, on the other hand, just got darker with no burn.

“It figures,” she said, pouting. “I get a sunburn, and you get a rich, dark tan.”

“The sun is hotter here, I guess,” he shrugged. “You’re so delicate, like a little porcelain doll.” He walked up behind her and kissed her neck. “Wow, you really are warm. My poor little honey.”

“It isn’t that bad,” she countered. “By morning it will be tanned. Now, where were we?”

“I believe,” he said, kissing her neck and ears, “we were right… here.”

*****

The next morning was their anniversary. Fifteen years and Charlotte could hardly believe the time had gone so quickly. She knew this man so well, even better than she knew herself at times, and yet she remained stymied at what to get him for such a momentous occasion. He was not a jewelry wearer, in fact, the only piece he owned was the wedding ring she had gotten for him a few months back. He had a fancy car, nice clothing and everything he really needed. And even on this day, when her time had run completely out, she still had no idea what to do for him. He had alluded to having something planned for her, which made her feel guiltier. She suddenly remembered her own mother forgetting their twentieth anniversary, and appreciated Bella’s guilt.

She hadn’t slept well the night before. Her sunburn, which was worse than she had originally thought, interrupted her sleep with intermittent pain and warmth. Having Travis snuggled up with her made the pain worse, but she wouldn’t tell him that. Being awake amplified her discomfort, so she tried to wiggle away from his loving grasp without waking him. She did not succeed.

“Good morning honey,” he whispered. “How are you feeling today?”

She couldn’t fib about it, because he knew her better than he knew himself, and he would see through any attempt to hide something. “I’ve been better,” she admitted. “I slept terribly.”

“We were at the beach way too long yesterday, I think. Even I’m a little warm, not to mention every muscle in my body aches from windsurfing. I’m not used to using those muscles for soccer.”

“We should do something subdued today. The museum has some beautiful artifacts and local art,” she suggested, though she knew that wasn’t his thing.

“Well, we have reservations for the on-property restaurant tonight, so I’d like to stick close by.” He had planned this for months when he knew he’d get the time off for their anniversary. Her new red dress was perfect, and his surprise would wait no longer.

“Then let’s hang out by the pool today,” she offered. “We can sit under the cabana and relax, maybe swim a little. But I need to stay out of the sun. I was miserable all night.”

“Why didn’t you say anything, honey?”

“Because I wanted you close. I’ve been loving you being so close at night. We don’t get to do that with Devin underfoot.” The little boy had been prone to nightmares, and many times they woke with him between them, having no idea how he got there in the first place.

“Are you going to wear that bikini again?” His eyebrow raised, hoping her answer was yes.

“No, I have a one-piece for the pool. I can’t swim in that thing. It will come right off.” She could see him making mental notes for the pool at home, and she giggled.

“Oh, alright,” he relented. “I’m sure your one piece will be just as sexy.”

“I think you’ll like it,” she flirted.

They ordered breakfast in and sat on the balcony that overlooked the resort’s larger pool, the one they would be lounging at after their meal. The pool was landscaped beautifully, with large hibiscus bushes, azaleas and date palms.  Royal palms dotted the walkways between the buildings and honeysuckle and jasmine were planted by their room. The aroma was intoxicating. Charlotte sipped her coffee, watching families gathering by the pool to let their kids swim. The resort was busy with activity, but still, the surroundings were serene and peaceful.

After breakfast, they dressed for the pool, bringing a few towels and some sunscreen. They picked out adjoining lounge chairs under the shade of a thatched umbrella and set their items down between the chairs. “I’m going for a dip,” Charlotte announced. “I need to cool this fire.”

Travis smiled at her. “I’ll be here, honey.” As he settled down, a waitress appeared to take orders for a drink or whatever they desired. “We’ll have two sweet teas, please,” he requested. The waitress nodded and walked away.

Charlotte returned shortly after the tea was delivered. “Ooh, thank you, baby,” she said, sipping the cool, sweet beverage.

They sat and talked about the kids, work, and they even discussed their real estate holding back at the Shores. They still owned a majority stake in The Grind dance club, thanks to Bella’s early investment, and the bungalow near Verde Park. Travis suggested that they sell the bungalow at some point. It had no renters and was just sitting there unoccupied. Charlotte didn’t disagree, either, but at the same time, she knew the house was special to her mother and held sentimental value.

“I have never even been to that house,” she said. “I don’t know what, if anything, is still there.”

“We can make it our project when we get home. Fix it up, sell it or keep it for one of the girls.” He kissed her hand.

“Hmm, I like the idea of keeping it for one of the kids.” She thought for a moment. “It probably does need some work. It has been sitting empty for years.”

“Sounds great, honey.” He took the last sip of his tea, emptying the glass.

They both took a swim for about an hour, and when the sun got very warm, they packed up and went back to their room.

“Do you mind if I take a nap, baby?” Charlotte asked.

“Only if I can curl up next to you.” They had five hours before their dinner reservation, so he set the alarm on his phone to wake them.

“Good deal,” she replied, laying down on the bed, her eyes closed and sleep overtook her before her head hit the pillow. Travis watched her sleep for a few minutes and then snuggled up beside her.

*****

The alarm on Travis’ phone woke them several hours later. “My sweet Charlotte,” he cooed, kissing her neck. “Time to wake up, my love.” She stirred slightly and opened her eyes.

“Already?” she asked. “I’m still sleepy.”

“We have reservations in 2 hours, and you have a dress to wiggle into for me.” He was already imagining her in it, and the thought got him flustered. He kissed her shoulders and neck. “Come on, sweetie, we can shower together.”

She pulled herself out of bed and stumbled to the bathroom with Travis right behind her. As much as he wanted to get romantic with her, he was waiting for after dinner. Charlotte wrapped her hair in a towel, and retrieved the dress from the closet where it hung, admiring it. Travis emerged from the bathroom wrapped in his own towel and rifled through his dress clothing. He pulled out his favorite comfortable dress slacks, a shirt and a vest, with a tie. It was similar to his PR outfit for work, but much classier.

Charlotte fixed her hair and makeup before she got dressed, and then stepped into the form-fitting red dress that Travis loved. “Baby, could you zip this for me?” she asked, walking to where he stood.

“As you wish,” he replied, as he watched her smooth the dress over her shapely figure. He felt like he needed to pinch himself to know the moment was real.

She looked at him staring at her. “What’s wrong, love?”

“Nothing.” He couldn’t think of one other thing to say.

“You’re creeping me out,” she teased. “Is something wrong with this? Does it look okay?” She double-checked her reflection in the full-length mirror, looking for some imperceivable flaw.

“Baby, you are simply magnificent, honey.” She blushed, almost matching the deep red of the dress.

She smiled sweetly at him. “You always know the right things to say.”

Holding his arm for her, he whispered, “Are you ready, my sweet Charlotte?”

“I am,” she said, taking his arm as they walked together to the restaurant.

“Jones, party of two,” the Maitre D’ announced, “Your table is ready.” He looked at Travis with recognition, but kept his professional decorum. The dining room was simply elegant. Rich, dark cherry wood paneling adorned the walls, with crystal chandeliers suspended in four distinct areas of the room.

Each table had a small vase of flowers, and was illuminated by the sconces that were affixed to the walls. The tables were dressed in crisp, white linens, and the chairs were heavy, dark wood. Travis held her chair as she was seated, and seated himself in the chair directly to her left. A pianist played on a grand piano in the center of the room, his artistry audible from anywhere in the dining room. Charlotte gazed around as though she had never seen such a beautiful scene.

“Wow, honeybear,” she remarked. “I do not feel overdressed here!”

“This is even better than I pictured when I made the reservation months ago.” He gazed into her blue eyes and smiled. His surprise was killing him, and he couldn’t wait.

The waiter introduced himself and handed a menu to Travis. “What can I get for our esteemed guests this evening?”

“I think we will have a bottle of your finest champagne for the table,” he said, winking at Charlotte. “And just a few more moments to peruse the menu, if you don’t mind?”

“Take your time, Mr. Jones.”

“Champagne?” she asked, smiling.

“It’s our anniversary. Besides, we don’t have to drive, and it’s only a glass or two each in the bottle.” Travis kissed her hand.

“I don’t mind at all. In fact, I was hoping we would.”

The waiter returned with the bottle of champagne and popped it open, pouring a glass for each of them. He set the ice bucket on a small table by Travis, and gently placed the bottle on ice.

“A toast,” Travis offered. “To the woman I love and cherish more today than I did fifteen years ago. Here is to a lifetime of love and adventure.”

“Here here!” Charlotte toasted, as they clinked their glasses together. “Baby, this is amazing. I will never forget this night, ever.”

“Oh, I haven’t even gotten started yet,” he countered. “We’ll see what you say tomorrow.” His smile was huge, and though she already suspected he had something planned, she still had nothing to give him.

“Well, I have a confession to make, honeybear,” she said, feeling extremely guilty. “I do not have a gift for you.”

“Yes, you do. You just don’t realize it yet,” Travis replied. She blushed. “And I don’t mean that, either, though that will be more than enough.” He winked.

They discussed the menu briefly and decided on two different dishes they could share. Everything looked so good. The waiter returned and took their order, and left. Travis stood and held his hand for her to take. “Shall we dance?” he asked sweetly.

“It would be my honor,” she answered, standing and taking his hand. Neither of them knew the song the pianist played, but it was romantic anyway. He wrapped his arms around her waist and held her close as they swayed to the music.

“I love you so much, Charlotte,” he whispered, stroking her cheek as they danced.

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“I love you more than you know,” she whispered back. The song ended a few minutes later, and they returned to their table.

Travis was ready to spring his huge surprise on her. For months he had this planned, and the wait was more than he could endure, but now it was over. He took her hands in his.

“My sweet Charlotte, I never imagined when we met all those years ago that our lives would be this amazing together. I couldn’t see past next week, never mind almost nineteen years into the future. I know when I asked you to marry me, I couldn’t give you what you deserved. That ring,” he paused, chuckling at the memory, “I think I paid less than I paid for my science textbook, but it was all I could do on a starving student’s income. And I love how you still wear it like it is your most prized possession.”

“That’s because you gave it to me, Travis. I love my engagement ring.” She gazed lovingly at the ring that took the place of her purity band, the one that she gave Danae. “This was all I ever needed.”

“Sweetheart, I always felt guilty that the ring was all I could ever afford. But now, now we have a life of abundance, of privilege, and I want to make this right, once and for all.” He reached into his pants pocket and pulled out a white velvet box, with a red satin bow around it. “Charlotte, I would marry you all over again, no doubt in my mind.” He opened the box to reveal the almost two-carat diamond he had purchased nearly six months prior.

Charlotte couldn’t believe her eyes. “Oh Travis, is that…”

“Yours, baby. It’s all yours, honey.” He took the ring from the box and slid it onto her finger. “Would you marry me again, my sweet Charlotte?”

Tears filled her eyes, and she looked at him, on one knee. She never even saw him get out of his chair to kneel, but there he was. “I will!” she exclaimed, as he kissed her hands. “This ring, Travis, it’s amazing. How? How can we afford this?”

“Don’t you worry about that. I got a nice raise and a bonus for the season. My first thought was to spoil you with it.” He pulled his chair back to him and sat down. “Baby, I wanted you to have the engagement ring I know you have always deserved, honey. Do you like it?”

“Like it? Oh my goodness, Travis, I love it, and I love you so very much.” She stood to hug him, and he pulled her in a warm, tender embrace. Onlookers cheered for them as they had witnessed the whole proposal. “I am so overwhelmed,” she exclaimed, as she wiped tears of joy from her eyes.

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“Happy anniversary, my love,” he whispered.

“So, tell me, what gift did I give you, honeybear?” She was so curious.

“Baby, your reaction, your love, your affection. It’s all I ever need from you, honey.” Travis kissed her hands, and she melted. He couldn’t be any sweeter if he tried, and she was falling in love with him all over again.

“Travis, you are amazing in every way. I will never deserve you.” Her emotions were getting the best of her.

“Now see, that’s where you are wrong, love. It is I who will never deserve you, but I will spend every hour, every minute of my life trying.”

Their romantic exchange was interrupted by the waitstaff, who brought their meals to them. They had planned on sharing, and fed each other bites of food, laughing and talking. Travis poured the last two glasses of champagne, and they toasted one last time.

They both declined dessert, and left the restaurant, charging their bill to their room. “Let’s walk around for a little bit,” she suggested. She slipped out of her stiletto heels and carried them in one hand, and Travis untied his tie, getting a little more comfortable. Hand in hand, they strolled around the property, enjoying the evening, enjoying the scenery, and each other’s company. They had gotten to a particularly shaded area of the walkway, where there wasn’t much ambient light, and she pulled Travis to her. “Baby, I’m so in love with you. Just when I think I couldn’t possibly love you more, you do something like what you did tonight. And then, you let me off the hook big time when I had nothing for you for such a huge anniversary.”

“But you did have something for me,” he countered. “This right here, this confession of your love. This is all I need for as long as I live. There isn’t a piece of jewelry or an article of clothing that I could wear that would look as good on me as your love does.”

“Honeybear, you really do say the sweetest things,” she cooed. They started back toward their room, when a chilly wind picked up, and a flash of lightning lit the sky. Travis looked up at the sky and saw no stars, and he knew they didn’t have much time before they got soaked.

“We need to hurry, baby, or we’re going to get drenched.” They ran together past the pool and made it to their door just as the heavens opened up. Hurriedly, he unlocked the door to their room and just stopped. “As long as we’re dry, I’m doing this right,” he said, as he picked her up effortlessly and carried her inside the room. He set her down on the bed, and went back to the door, put the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the doorknob, and locked it behind him.

Up Next: Chapter Fourteen, Part Two, Generation Four

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