7

Bibliophile tropicale

A special thanks to my special beta!

The usual disclaimer applies.

Early in the Perry-Della Relationship

Being Alone

Dappled sunlight highlighted a cloud of insects swarming above the trout stream as Perry Mason moved quietly along its bank to his favorite spot. Hidden by rocks and low lying limbs, it was a challenging, isolated pool far from the crowd and other anglers who desired an easier more conventional fishing environment. There was only one way in, and five years earlier he had found it at the end of an unexpected downward slide which had started with a misstep and some wet needles. Stopping, he inhaled the cool air along the rushing water and smiled. The obscure tributary was just as he remembered. Hidden from the small elusive trail by rocks and low-lying branches it was a cool deep swirling pool. The largest of the brown trout enjoyed the hidden sanctuary away from the exposed shallow waters. He understood why they came. When the stress and pressure of cases required a release, he would retreat to this location and enjoy…. being alone.

While the setting was serene, the pool's complexities made it interesting. The hemlock branches laced like fingers over the water, creating a challenge for his line and fly. Adding to the challenge, the current wound itself around and over underwater obstacles creating unseen hazards. Casting would require skill and finesse to charm the large brown trout below the swirling waters into striking his fly. Then the life and death struggle would ensue…followed by the final reward of working the defeated fish into his net.

Moving to a smooth boulder along the edge of the water, the lawyer stretched out and enjoyed his surroundings. The warmth of the sunlight, the heavy perfume of the fragrant hemlocks, the cool breeze which wafted through the valley and moved the insect cloud like a gentle wave further enhanced the joy of his time away from it all.

The water surrounding him gently murmured, slipping and pouring over the exposed rocks and around fallen branches. Mason's eyes studied its dance and the open space overhead and visualized each swirling cast of his line and the placement of his jig. The mental gymnastics were satisfying as he reclined against some soft moss, his fingers gentling stroking the knob on his reel. In the past, this place had been a reprieve from his high stakes, fast paced lifestyle. A lifestyle he so dearly sought and loved, which in turn, created the strong desire for being alone…..and yet…. this time …..something was different.

Minutes passed as he quietly contemplated that difference. Slowly he pulled from his vest his collection of handmade flies. He had learned to make and create flies from his grandfather, a master angler. Wet and dry flies were arranged in an orderly fashion, with colors, textures, and shapes mimicking the trout's favorite prey. Skillfully his fingers teased a newly created wet fly from its home and held it in the light. The attached shiny disc sparkled in the sunlight as his fingertips twisted and turned the lure.

The music was soft, the lights low, silver pendant earrings glistened by candlelight against her dark wavy hair. Like a silvery beacon they beckoned him to nuzzle the soft nape of her neck.

Gently attaching the lure to his line, he closed his zippered case and returned it to his vest. Taking the rod and lure in his hands he sighed at the memory.

Wearing a dark lacy dress, she was easily the most beautiful woman in the room. The black lacy straps clinging to the top of her shoulders defied gravity. Candlelight danced in her dark mischievous eyes, poured over her flawless skin, and glistened on her moist kissable lips.

The lure sparkled and glistened in his hand. He understood why the trout could not resist…..why he could not resist his own sparkling temptation.

Standing, he felt the balance of the instrument in his hands. Stepping on the adjacent rock, he balanced and checked the area around him. He heard the music of the wind as he gracefully moved his torso launching the lure in an elegant swirl. Suddenly, he felt his cheek tingle. Was it the line, the air, or a distant memory?

The brush of her hair gently touched and caressed his cheek as they enjoyed the teasing closeness. Encouraged by the music, he felt her body move and sway seductively beneath his fingers.

The line turned, missing the boughs as it fell toward the water. With one quick adjustment he caused the lure to fall into the torrent. Turning the reel the line pulled against him.

Pressing, pushing, her firm body fit against his like a hand inside a glove. Gracefully and in perfectly synchrony they moved as one around the dance floor.

Suddenly the line jerked and became alive with action….. his heart began to race.

Delicately her soft lips moved along his neck, leaving a trail of warmth and seduction before whispering in his ear…. " let's go home".

Instinctively he worked the rod and line, his mind contemplating the three simple words and all their implications…

….let's go home.

Heart racing with anticipation, he used instinct to maneuver the trout closer and closer. In one gliding move, he unhooked the net from his belt and guided his weary prey to captivity. Quickly his experienced hands prepared the fish for its final resting place in the cool, moist leaves lining his willow creel.

Triumphantly he stood, his mind alive and filled with pleasurable thoughts. Normally, he would fill the rest of the afternoon fishing, thinking, communing with nature, being away from it all….being alone.

Alone. The trout in his creel would not be enough, he needed another…..he needed two. Taking the line and rod he began the process of casting. Again the shiny wet fly struck the surface right on target. He smiled and felt his heart flutter, the soft wind moving by his ears whispering…..

….. "let's go home".

Pulling the shiny lure through the swirling water he detected a streak, a swirling wake disturbing the pool's surface and his line became taut.

"Yes," he whispered, working the line, reeling, guiding, as the fish fought for its life.

"Yes, let's go home," he murmured again, turning his rod from side to side, feeling the excitement, the anticipation.

Sliding across his front seat, her hand cradled his chin, guiding his lips to hers in a hungry kiss. The privacy of his car was not enough. Let's go home…..

Pulling the brown trout into his net, he felt breathless. But then….where was the normal satisfaction he felt after a catch? When had it ceased to be enough on its own? Was there any part of his life he didn't feel the desire for her to share?

Glancing at his watch, feeling the fish moving in his net, he was reminded of his renewed purpose. Quickly the second fish was prepared and neatly placed next to the first… a meal for two. Smiling, Mason began his journey back to his cabin, pausing briefly along the meadow path to gather fresh flowers.

~~~PD~~~~~~PD~~~~~~PD~~~~~~PD~~~~~~PD~~~~~~PD~~~

The golden glow from the fireplace illuminated the vase of wildflowers surrounded by used empty plates and wine glasses. Turning on his side amid a tangle of pillows and comforters, Perry propped up his head and felt the warmth and glow from the fireplace as a slow steady fire burned.

How did she know when to give him space or draw close? He smiled at the far wall where her jacket hung next to his. Burger would love to have her instincts for reading him.

His eyes lowered and lingered on the woman beside him. Stretched contentedly, strong, gentle fingers modestly held the edge of the comforter to her chest. The soft supple skin of her waist and hip were bare and bathed by the warm fire's golden light.

Rushing to a phone he'd called and held his breath until she'd answered. As an afterthought, he quickly stated it wasn't a case. The line was silent. He was away fishing…taking time for just himself. If it wasn't a case, what was it? He was at a loss for words. A situation he didn't know how to remedy.What could he say? Please come, I miss you.

The silence on the line ended with her husky laugh. "I can be there in an hour."

Feeling like an awkward schoolboy, he merely replied, "Great."

Again, a throaty laugh as she added. "See you soon, Counselor."

Softly, Della stirred and moistened her lips and stretched luxuriously in the tumble of bed linen. Mason resisted the urge to kiss her, as though he hadn't kissed her enough or could possibly ever show her how much she meant to him. Did she know or could she possibly understand how much he'd missed her?

An hour….. she'd made the trip in forty minutes and had sworn she'd driven the speed limit and hadn't received a speeding ticket…. then winked. That's my girl!

Resisting no longer he moved closer and allowed his fingertips to glide along the satiny skin of her hip, narrow waist and soft shoulders. Wordlessly she moved closer, allowing his hands greater freedom.

There was no more satisfaction in being alone, Gone…..forever.

Fishing, hunting would never be the same. He couldn't even make a lure without wanting to show it to her. Would she understand its complexities and tell him he'd done a good job or would she watch him explain them to her just like she watched and listened during a challenging case … always ready to learn something new?

She would need fishing gear. He did have an extra rod and reel and could envision her gracefully maneuvering the line like a master. Della did everything well….why should fishing be any different? But, did she know?

Stirring beneath his touch, her lashes fluttered, and opened. Firelight illuminated Mason's face revealing a visage of great concern. Her experienced eyes studied him while a lone finger delicately trailed down his bare chest.

"What is it?" she whispered.

Heaving a great, exaggerated sigh he began. "I hope you know you've ruined 'it' for me."

For a moment she was totally confused. His hands were lovingly stroking and caressing while his eyes and face expressed grave concern. Removing her hand from his chest, Della leaned back, scrunching up her pillow beneath her head. Eyebrow cocked, eyes narrowed, she took the bait.

"Please tell me…..how have I ruined 'it' for you?"

"I might as well admit it."

Della waited, watched his lips feign exasperation then rolled her eyes. "O. K. Counselor, admit it. How have I ruined 'it' for you?"

"Only you could do it!" he insisted, prolonging and enjoying their game.

Tilting her head provocatively, her eyes swept over to meet his, and felt his hands pulling her even closer, pressing her bare skin against his. Della smiled lovingly and watched the dimple in his cheek appear as he grinned.

"Only you, Miss Street, could do it. Only you could ruin 'it' forever…for me being alone.

~~~Fini~~~

All those fishing, hunting trips, now we know.