The early morning light filled the room with a translucent orange glow that filtered through the threadbare curtains. As the rays of sunlight crept across Anna's face her eyes flickered open to find a head of tousled black hair nestled against her and below it she could feel the heat and pulse of a strong muscular body pressed against hers its arms wrapped protectively around her waist. Suddenly she was acutely aware that they were both naked, obviously naked if everything she remembered about last night hadn't been just a dream. In the four years she had spent with Jeremy she had never slept naked and having known Declan only a short time she was surprised and not a little embarrassed by how uninhibited she had been but it had felt so right, so natural, so perfect like it never had before. As she lay still Declan's breath against her neck sent shivers up and down her spine and as she watched his chest rise and fall she had an irresistible urge to reach out and run her hand across its smooth curves. Anna's touch made Declan stir and as he awoke his arms unwrapped themselves from around her as he stretched and yawned like a sleepy lion. Her lovely lovely lion, she thought.
"Good morning beautiful, how did you sleep?" he said as a bright smile of contentment stretched across his face as he saw her looking at him.
"Not much if I am not mistaken it was quite an eventful night," she whispered in his ear as she rolled over to face him.
"A marvelous night," said Declan as his smile took a more mischievous twist.
Anna blushed uncontrollably and Declan leaned over and planted a kiss on her cheek as he propped himself up on one elbow. His eyes were as green as the ocean outside the window and they glinted wickedly as he reached out and touched Anna's shoulder with his finger before he traced it down the length her arm. An electric tingle ran through Anna's body arousing her as he leaned over to kiss her passionately she ran her hands ran through his dark hair grabbing a handful of unruly curls. She loved his hair wild and uncontrollable like his life, dark like the mystery she had yet to unfold on this new journey she had undertaken with him.
"Ok this is getting a little bit out of control," he said "I don't want you to think I only want you for your body".
"You mean you don't find me so irresistible that you can't keep your hands off me."
"I had better get down to the kitchen and see what's cooking before I really show you what you do to me?" he replied as he swung his legs out of bed.
Anna's mouth dropped at the corners, "promises, promises I can't believe you are leaving me already?"
"I am going down to get us some breakfast and if I remember correctly and from what my stomach is telling me right now neither of us had any dinner last night."
Anna suddenly realized she was famished she had not eaten since she had left Boston yesterday in fact her last meal had been on the Aer Lingus flight.
"Ah ok that sounds good you have my permission to go and prepare my breakfast but I must insist that you don't be too long."
"My permission indeed," Declan reached over and gave Anna a playful slap on the backside and as she let out a little yelp of shock he quickly jumped out of the bed grabbing his shorts and t-shirt and made a run for the door.
Downstairs the kitchen was cold especially the quarry tile floor and Declan regretted the fact he hadn't pulled on any socks as he hurried to get the breakfast ready. It was a simple Irish affair, toasted batch bread, thick cut orange peel marmalade, two fried eggs, cereal, juice and a huge pot of Barry's tea. As Declan walked back into the bedroom Anna was pulling on her dressing gown the same floral robe that he had first seen the morning he walked in on her many weeks ago.
"Oh lovely," Anna's eyes ran eagerly over the loaded breakfast tray, "I didn't realize I was so hungry till you mentioned food."
Declan set the breakfast tray down on the bed as Anna sat on the bed across from him totally relaxed in the lotus position that woman find so comfortably easy, she hadn't even bothered to tie her robe closed and as she leaned forward to take a piece of hot buttered toast the front of it fell open. Declan couldn't resist letting his eyes wander up her body, she was so beautiful but not in that stereotypical supermodel way, Anna had a natural beauty that was non-contrived, effortless even, sitting cross legged with her hair a mess and not a scrap of makeup to Declan she was irresistible. Anna noticed him staring and pulled her gown closed.
"What are you looking at," she half laughed.
"You! Can I not look at the woman I love?"
Anna blushed again, "Well how do I look after a night of passion do I meet your approval Mr O'Callaghan."
"You are goddamn beautiful Anna and you know it, the thought of you marrying your doctor has been driving me crazy these past weeks. I tried to forget you but every time the pub door opened I would look up hoping it was you coming back to turn my life upside down again."
It was the most she had ever heard Declan say in one sentence at that moment she realized she had made the right decision to come back.
"I know," she said, "I felt the same way there I was in Boston all my plans had finally worked out but I didn't want to be there, because you were here."
"What made you come back?"
"It was a lot of different things really; I have to admit our little adventure together has given me many sleepless nights. Jeremy actually had a recording of the proposal I must have watched that clip twenty times watching you in the background walking out of my life, wondering what you were about to say or do, thinking would I ever be kissed like that again. I knew if I didn't come back to tell you how I felt I would regret it for the rest of my life."
"Yeah that was a good kiss," laughed Declan.
As she spoke Anna looked down hiding her face from Declan's gaze, "When you walked away yesterday it felt like my hopes and dreams were ruined."
Even though he couldn't see her eyes Declan could hear the tremor in her voice and only now realized how badly he had hurt her. That he had caused her pain was tearing at his heart strings and Declan saw for the first time that behind that confident business persona, the always immaculate appearance and the expensive tastes was a little girl who had never been given a chance to grow up. A little girl who had been constantly let down to the point where she didn't trust anything she couldn't control or understand, a little girl who craved a future life of prestige and privilege in exchange for a past of disappointment and heartbreak. For her to come back to him must have been one of the toughest decisions she had ever had to make in her life, to give up everything she knew and had worked so hard for, on the chance that he might want her. How had he rewarded such a leap of faith, with silence and ambiguity that inflicted a heartbreak that had caused her to run from him? Declan's stomach was in knots but he resolved from that moment forward he would never cause her another moment of suffering;
"Anna darling I am so sorry I think I must have been in shock that you were here or delirious with joy or something, anyway I wasn't thinking straight all I knew was I wanted that ring and I wanted to marry you, I promise I will never hurt you like that again."
Declan set the tray on the floor and took her face in his hands and kissed her softly on the lips.
Declan wrapped her in his arms and he could immediately feel the tension relax in her body as she buried her head in his shoulder he could hear the first muffled sob. He held her gently until the sobbing subsided and as she looked up into his face he wiped the small tears from her eyes. Anna smiled;
"You must think I am one of those histrionic Americans who can't survive without her shrink."
"No, I am just glad that you came back to me, I want you to know that you never have to feel that you need to hide from me I love you no matter what."
Anna kissed him;
"Thank you for breakfast and for being you."