Nanny has grown tired of waiting for the Professor to officially pop the question, so she takes matters into her own hands, leading to one of the shortest engagements in history.

I do not own these characters and make no profit from them.

This story exists as another, more explicit story rated 'M' entitled "Passages"

Destination Home

Chapter 1: Commitment

Following the departure of Cholmondeley and the threat that his coming had caused to the blossoming romantic relationship between Nanny and the Professor, and after a couple of months had passed, things once again settled into their normal routine. Since the crisis was over, much of the anxiety that had been created when Phoebe had been anticipating his arrival, not to mention coping with his presence, had also passed.

Once he was gone, however, she was drained. The summer months had been filled with their own drama. After nearly six months of moving from one traumatic event to the next, her emotional resources were empty and she was physically exhausted. She was fortunate to be living with a family that cared so much about her. She was also in love with the most wonderful man in the world and he returned her feelings in kind.

Once school started again and the new routine established, she finally began to feel more like her old self. She was no longer physically wiped out by simply getting through her typical day. She could go through several days at a time without being overcome by the tremendous sadness that remembering her parents could cause.

She was more relaxed, less tense, and much less obsessed with the idea that her relationship with the Professor must be definitively settled as soon as possible. She no longer felt that urgent desire to marry and have children. She was secure in the knowledge that it would happen. She just didn't know when. However, she was now beginning to feel that the tension and urgency of those earlier months, had perhaps been the only thing that ever moved things forward.

It was not as if the Professor took her or their relationship for granted. In fact now that her mood had improved, he was beginning to show his feelings of impatience in their present "holding pattern" by what she considered to be unproductive ways. His attention to her shifted between the playful and the sensual. In front of the children, he would take a good deal of pleasure out of suddenly grabbing her for a kiss. In fact he had finally begun to figure out how her mind worked and would often fix another thought in it so that he would catch her off guard. The kids all found it very amusing.

When they were alone however, each encounter became more intense. Alone they stirred each other ever more powerfully. The feeling of his arousal against her body made her long for him to complete the act, but he held back. She knew that he was still fearful that she wasn't ready. But she knew that she finally was. She was longing to simply move forward, to end the suspense. She wanted him as completely as she knew he wanted her.

Finally she decided that enough was enough. If she didn't take things into her own hands, nothing would ever happen to move the relationship forward. Their days and nights were so filled with work, commitments, and the needs of others, that it seemed that their own relationship never got the time it deserved. She knew that if she didn't act soon, it might move so far down the priority list that it wouldn't be seen until the end of the semester, if not later.

She was deeply in love with Hal. She knew what she wanted, in fact what they both wanted, and she decided to go after it. Skillfully arranging that all the children would be out of the house overnight one Friday, she made her plans. An elegant dinner at home and a cozy night by the fire would perhaps help her achieve her goal. She wanted him to take her fully and completely. She viewed this as a sacred act, to be shared with one's life partner, not only for the sensual pleasure of it but also for the blessing of children. She was not making this choice lightly or without thought. It was time.

She was no longer prepared to wait for an engagement ring or a wedding. She knew that they would happen in time. But in what time she had no idea. Despite the lack of these outward signs of commitment, she knew that for a long time they had had an understanding that went beyond words, ceremonies, and symbols. That all of that had not taken place was due to less the Professor's complacency that life was settled and more with his focus on trying to keep his professional life in order. The fact that he had yet to find the perfect engagement ring was not helping the matter along either.

Mathematician and scientist though he might be, he was also very disorganized. He was able to disguise it under an apparent mask of efficiency, but she was really the one who kept his life in order. When he wasn't home, she went into the study and tidied it up. While he was initially bothered by her intrusion into his space, he finally realized that he could find things. His personal affairs were not much better. While he was ready to seize any opportunity that presented itself for engaging in a little hanky-panky, he never seemed to plan anything. Or if he did plan something, he became so obsessed with making it perfect, that he never finished. Therefore she decided to make the first move.

Her friend Joni had given her a rather graphic description of what to expect. She was a little nervous about the pain, but she had been promised that it would pass. After all these years with her desires held in abeyance, now was the time to set them free. And of course, Hal was the only man she trusted to do that. Considering the degree of intimacy of involved, she wondered how other women could enjoy multiple partners. However since she was a private person about all of her other affairs, perhaps it was in her nature to entrust herself to one man who would not only get pleasure from the use of her body, but would also cherish, protect, and respect it.

She had literally searched the world for Hal. Now was the time to declare victory and make things permanent. She tried to fool herself into believing that tonight was all about the physical union, but in truth she knew that once it had happened, Hal would want to marry her quickly. And she wanted to be married quickly. She had her own reasons for wishing to control the kind of wedding they had and she knew that if the engagement, when it finally happened, was to last too long, that she would lose control of that. And knowing Hal as she did, there could potentially be a large amount of time between the engagement and the wedding.

Thus on the appointed night she managed to surprise him. He was pleased to discover the children out when he came home and a special dinner waiting for him. With his usual focus on his academic life, he had somehow missed that fact that each kid had something different to do and some place to go overnight. In the candlelight he looked into her eyes and kept picking up her hand to kiss it. She was beautiful. Her soft, blonde curls fell loose around her face, and she was wearing one of her soft white blouses. Her smile was gentle and provocative at the same time. Her very being seemed to radiate with passion. In the back of his mind he knew it. She was ready.

The wine she had chosen not only affected him, but her. She almost never drank any kind of alcohol when working as a nanny. She didn't realize it, but she was looking at him with "bedroom eyes," those tantalizing gazes that promised to fulfill all of his wildest dreams. After dinner she cleared the table and came back to lean over him, surrounding his shoulders with her arms. Whispering in his ear, she suggested that he build a fire while she did something upstairs. With a quick nip at his ear, she left room knowing that he would do what she asked.

For his part, the Professor, warmed by the wine and her intoxicating presence went to the living room and started the fire. The wood caught quickly and began to burn brightly. Realizing that they were alone in the house, with no possible interruptions, he began to feel an internal fire beginning to glow. Knowing Phoebe as he did, he realized that she must have something special planned. Just as he was getting up from the hearth, he heard her footfall on the stairs. It had been several months since she had come down in her great-great-grandmother's wedding dress looking exquisite, but what he saw now took his breath away.

The white garment she wore was long, but what it covered, it seemed to reveal even more. The silky, diaphanous material clung to her every curve. It left nothing to the imagination. Most revealing were her eyes. Within their deep blue depths he read her amorous intent. It was compelling and he finally realized that she would no longer be denied. She stood before him, trembling in anticipation. She was presently herself to him as the lover he had always known she would be. The inevitable must now happen. She was ready.

Silently taking her hand, he led her to the floor before the fireplace. He could feel the tension in her fingers. This was an enormous, life-changing step for her. Slowly she lay back on the rug and held out her arms. What could he do? They had waited too long. Too many times they had come to the edge of their desire and then stood back. He knew that if he failed to take what she was offering him, that she would be cruelly disappointed.

"I am giving myself to you. Take me," she said quietly. Despite the seductive dress, her declaration was simple and straightforward. There was no way to refuse. This was a huge risk that she was taking. He had said so many times that he would not take her until they were safely married. But tonight was different. She had prepared herself and planned this moment with care. She was ready.

Looking at her he felt the familiar ache his groin. But tonight, no cold shower would relieve it. She was so beautiful. It was not just her deep blue eyes and soft blonde hair. It was her vulnerability. She was completely opening herself to him in heart, body, and soul. She was waiting for him to enter. It was time.

Tonight, she alone could satisfy his desire. He fell into her waiting embrace, putting his full weight on her, and, in between deep sensual kisses, said softly, "Yes," over and over. This time it was she who molded his body to hers. She was leaving him no choice. The time to consummate their love, their as yet unspoken commitment to one another, was now. She was ready.

The light in the room was low. The light from the fire cast a warm glow on their bodies. The white gown came off; it had served its function. She lay back before him in all her glory, her golden curls sprawled around, and watched as he shed his own clothes with open curiosity. It occurred to him that she had never seen a real man undressed before, or if she had, it had not been as a lover. Deep inside it pleased him to be the first. She must have read his mind, because she smiled seductively and with obvious pleasure at what she saw. Her admiration added to his pleasure. For a moment he lay beside her, lifted up on his elbow, simply enjoying the view. With longing in her eyes, she whispered, "Please."

Phoebe trembled with anticipation. Once the gown was off, there were no longer any barriers. His eyes were looking at her, taking in every inch of her with desire and admiration. No man had ever seen her like this. This was what she had truly saved for him and now it was his alone. She might have begun as the seductress, but now their roles were reversed. It was he who must lead her down the last mile of the journey to fully realizing her potential as a woman. Unsure of how to proceed next, she looked at him with longing and whispered, "Please."

As his lips met hers, she drew him down and for the first time felt his body in direct contact with her own. She could sense the hunger in him that had been building for months. She felt her body respond in a completely new way. She suddenly realized that she did not need to think any more. Her body knew what to do even if her mind didn't. She let go and surrendered herself to her feminine instincts.

Now that the moment was imminent, neither felt in a hurry. Hal knew that she was a virgin, but she seemed to have no fears, no second thoughts. There was nothing tentative in her kiss or her touch. He could feel her thrill to his every touch. She was both exciting and excited. He felt her desire. But it was more than the purely physical act. Once he entered her, he knew that she would be his alone. He could sense that in her old-fashioned values that this act was now for him and no other. She was committing herself to a lifelong fidelity to him. And he would give her nothing less in return.

It was a heady sensation, the idea that this woman had such deep, long suppressed needs only he could fill. And oh, how he wanted to fill them and her! The tension built as they moved towards the moment of complete physical intimacy. His need of her was offset by the fear that he would not do it right. It was one thing to make love to an experienced woman, but the one in his arms had never known a man before. She was soft and warm, her responses indicating to him that she had let go. However in the end, his masculine instincts overtook him and he was no longer thinking with his mind.

It was only a matter of time before one of them would be overwhelmed and yield. So lost were they in their enjoyment of each other that it was hard to know which surrendered first, but it didn't matter. The pleasure that they shared in one another was mutual. There was no need for words. Their bodies spoke to one another at their own level.

When he was spent, he relaxed. Breathing heavily, he rolled off her and then reached back for her, to hold her in his arms. Breathing a little heavily herself, she clung to him. He sensed that insecurity seemed to have come over her. She had been so confident when she had presented herself to him for that first time as his lover. Yet he sensed in her what he believed were the doubts of a first time lover.

She was the first woman whom he had ever initiated into this ultimate act of womanhood, and he was her first man. She had the very natural desire to please yet she lacked the experience to recognize that more than satisfying him she had brought him to new heights. She had yet to learn that their love was so deep and so exclusive that there was no comparison with any other woman he had known. He sought to reassure her.

"That was beautiful," he said quietly. "You are beautiful."

He knew that there was still a question in her mind, but he was not ready to answer it. He gently caressed her soft skin, this time not to stimulate, but to sooth. He held her more closely, more tenderly. He wanted her too know that now she had presented him with this most precious gift, that he had accepted it and would cherish for the rest of their lives. However, before he responded to her question, he needed to set his own mind at ease.

"Phoebe?" his voice called to her. She looked up.

"Did it hurt?" his voice was filled with concern.

Not knowing what he expected to hear, she admitted, "A bit."

"I was afraid that it would. I had always heard that it would be . . . uncomfortable . . . for a woman the first time," he said gently, as he pulled her more closely to him, stroked her hair softly, and kissing her forehead as if she was a child. She could feel his protective instincts taking over and she loved him all the more. He made her feel safe.

"I'll . . . get used to it, I know I will, but haven't you ever . . .?" suddenly feeling shy she couldn't finish her question.

"No," he said. "You are the first woman that I ever have . . . taken for the first time. I wanted to be more gentle, but I was so caught up in . . . you. It was impossible to hold back."

After a pause, he said, "From this moment, you are the only woman I will ever know this way. No other woman could possibly come close to you. You are my ideal match, my other half, not only in body, but in soul."

"You are the only man who will ever know me in this way," she replied quietly, with all the solemnity of a vow. She could feel his arms tightening around her.

After a moment of silence, he said, "Now your turn. What is it?"

She hesitated and then looking away again she said, "Was I. . . adequate? I know that you've had other women before . . . like this . . . I hope that I haven't disappointed you."

He wanted to laugh at her choice of words, but he knew that she was very serious. Gently turning her head back so that he could look into her eyes, he answered, "You were perfect and you are perfect. No woman has ever or could ever compare with you. Never doubt that."

A warm smile filled her face. It clearly pleased her to have given him pleasure. Looking up at him like that, knowing that he had finally released her full womanhood, she seemed to glow. However, the floor was hard and his back was starting to hurt. The romance was starting to escape the moment.

"Unless you want to sleep here," he suggested. "We should go up to bed," then playfully, "Your bed or mine?"

"Yours," she answered immediately. "And who says all I want to do there is sleep?"

He looked down at her. Once again there was a passionate longing in her eyes, and he didn't want to waste any time going upstairs before he satisfied it. He immediately forgot about the pain in his back and drew her closer, determined to be more gentle this time.

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The next morning she awoke to find him gazing down at her in wonder. "So last night wasn't a dream."

Reaching up to stroke his face she said, "Is this real?"

She pulled him down to her mouth. Feeling the passion welling within her again he did what any healthy man would do. Her hunger for him was all the encouragement he needed. It seemed that now that she had tasted what for years had been forbidden to her, she couldn't get enough. If she had waited longer than most women to surrender herself, it certainly seemed that now that she had, she was trying to make up for lost time. The fact that all of desire was for him alone made it all the more

After, as he held her in his arms he said, "I must admit that I am somewhat amazed by the fiery woman I've released. Who would have thought that under that cool British exterior lurked such a hot-blooded, sensual woman."

"So much for stereotypes," she said with mock annoyance.

He laid back and held her closer. At this moment she was very precious to him. He would cherish her forever. However, as the full realization of the enormous step that they had just taken in their relationship struck him, his face began to cloud with concern. Involuntarily his hand wandered to her stomach. She closed her eyes and could feel his gentle caresses. She knew that he was trying to discern if the seed planted had taken root. Yet it was much too soon to know.

"Are you afraid that you may have given Prudence that baby sister she been looking for all these years?" she asked lightly.

He didn't answer right away and he hugged her a little tighter. His silence confirmed her hunch. Then he spoke,

"In waiting for the perfect moment, I can see that perhaps we waited too long, no I waited too long. I am afraid that we may now be in the very situation I had hoped to avoid."

"Oh Hal, you don't know that." she answered. At this moment, she didn't care. Nothing mattered but now. The future would take care of itself.

"True," he said, but he was thoughtful. He could feel her warm body and soft skin in direct contact with his own. The sensation was one that he had dreamed of for months, yet the actual feeling exceeded his imaginings. He knew that it was a sensation that he would enjoy for the rest of his life.

"Phoebe?" he asked.

"Yes?" she pulled herself up so that she was looking down on him, her blonde hair spilling over her shoulders. He looked up into her blue eyes, attempting to penetrate their depths with his gaze.

"Last night, I made the ultimate commitment to you. I am yours," he said softly.

"I know," she said. "I would not have opened myself up to you, if I did not know that you were taking me, not for a moment, but for a lifetime."

"I am yours," he repeated, "For a lifetime. But to set the record straight, I did not take you. I gave myself to you and you gave yourself to me. There was no taking involved."

She smiled at him and said, "I know."

He did not want the beauty of the last twelve hours to be destroyed by the rumors and innuendos of those who did not know them. If she refused to look beyond the moment, then he must. When their lifelong commitment and its fruits were announced to the world, he wanted no taint on their names or reputations. For his part of the commitment, he knew that he must now protect her.

However at this moment, he felt incapable once more of restraining himself from his own impulses. He prepared to take her again. He could feel her body trembling with anticipation below his. In between kisses, he managed to restrain himself enough to softly whisper,

"My desire to have you completely, body and soul, may have overwhelmed my desire to take things in their proper order, but I will make this right."

In response she murmured, "This is right. There has never been anything more right for me in my life."

They came together once more. There was a deepened knowledge and recognition of one another. And when the intensity died down, a sense of contentment and fulfillment entered Phoebe and sank to her deepest core. Her wanderlust dissipated because she was home. One does not need to wander, when one has reconnected with the other. In the future, the only wandering that she would do, would be at the side of her man.

But their bubble of warmth and passion could not remain intact forever. All such bubbles are fragile and must break. She was so comfortable lying there in his bed that she would happily stayed there all morning, talking and making love when the spirit moved them. But she knew that that was not possible. Getting up, she suggested that they have breakfast before the kids came home. He didn't have to think twice about the fact that he didn't want the kids coming home and finding them in bed together before the wedding. Looking at her as she prepared to return to her room to get ready for her day, he decided that he had no intention of waiting any longer for the wedding.

After she left the room, he let his full concern wash over him. She had no idea of the dangers that lay ahead, or if she did, she was choosing to ignore them. This was his fault. He had known that she was ready, and yet he had chosen to put everything else ahead of her. She was his to cherish and protect, and he had fallen down in this responsibility. In his quest for perfection he had missed the obvious. But perhaps it was not too late.

He could get a ring and become engaged to her today. He knew exactly what he wanted now and somehow knew that today he would find it. The bigger problem was the wedding. If they rushed into anything at this point and the nine months from now. . . It would be a declaration to the world that he had lost control, or worse yet that she wasn't the woman everyone thought she was. It would also open the door to questions of how long it had been going on.

He knew that she had no regrets. Her love for him was absolute. In fact it was only a few months ago that she had been begging him to take her in order to break her previous engagement. He had restrained himself then when the stakes were much higher. Why couldn't he have held himself back last night? It then occurred to him that often, once things got started, they often worked out, with solutions to seemingly impossible conundrums arising out of nowhere.

He knew that if he could keep his faith in the impossible that in the end things would work out for them, perfectly in fact. He said a silent prayer that God would hold in reserve that greatest blessing until the time was right. However, it was now time to act. It was time to worry less about perfection and more about outcomes. Hadn't Phoebe said that anything he did was perfect? She was ready. It was time. The first step was the ring . . .

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To be continued . . .