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Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?
The Art of Acceptance
The sinking sun of the late spring day sent its last streaks of amber light into the hotel room where they performed a vivacious dance in the mass of elaborately pinned-up dark golden curls.
Adam's glance followed one stray lock to her long slender neck and went further, over her creamy shoulders and the luxuriously embroidered emerald silk of her sumptuous ball gown, lingered a moment on her slim waist, then trailed down the voluminous folds of the full skirt.
"Is everything all right?" How someone in a wardrobe as majestic as the one she wore could sound so insecure, he'd never understand.
"It's not too tight, is it?" She looked at him over her shoulder and then back into the large standing mirror, picking at her dress where the fabric clung smoothly to her shapely form.
Adam approached her, close enough to be able to wrap his arm around her waist and bend his head down and kiss the point where her neck melted into her shoulder. "Nothing is too tight. Everything is just as it is supposed to. This dress is beautiful. You are beautiful."
"I thought I might have gained some weight after Henry..."
He tweaked her waist. "Where? Here?" He tweaked again, then planted another kiss on her shoulder and whispered into her ear, "I don't know if you put on some weight or not; it doesn't feel like it for sure, but that doesn't matter anyway: you are perfect the way you are."
She leaned into him, but still looking into the mirror. "You're just saying that to humour me. I know I'm not a match for—"
He silenced her with a finger on her lips. "Shh."
She looked down, but his finger made the short trip from her lips to her chin and lifted her face.
"Look," he said and pointed to their reflection. "What do you see?"
"I see the most beautiful dress I ever had. I suppose that should be enough for this ball." She sighed, and made to turn, but he held her back.
"And do you know what I see?" he asked.
A smile jumped into her face, her eyes widened, just a fraction, but enough to let him see the sparkle, the delighted anticipation.
"Tell me," she breathed.
"I see you, Juliet. You and me together. And that's the most beautiful thing I can imagine."
Her smile made a quick transition from delighted to coy to mischievous. "Maybe the display would be prettier with...let's say Miss Crabtree."
"Never," he said and then tweaked her waist again. "And stop fishing, Mylady."
She tried to look dignified when she said, "I have no idea what you are talking about," but for once in her life she failed at that. Instead, she snatched at his wandering hand before it reached her neck line and sniggered, "So...beauty is in the eye of the beholder, huh?"
"Mhmm, it most certainly is." He wriggled his hand free and nestled at her cleavage. "And you know, Mylady, this particular beholder would love to see more of thy beauty."
He would nearly have bought the noble indignation her tone indicated, but the way she pressed herself into his hand betrayed her.
His right hand still trying to pull down the fabric at her front, Adam started to fumble at the hooks and eyes at the back of her dress with his left.
"Adam..." She grabbed for his hands, struggling half-heartedly for domination. "It took Millie twenty minutes to dress me."
He managed to catch her hands and to hold both of them in one of his while his other continued its naughty assignment. "Shall we see how fast I can undress you?"
"We'll be late..."
"Oh, I most certainly hope so." He let her hands go and turned her around. "This room has a rather imposing bed, Mylady, and I have every intention of using it to our utmost satisfaction."
Her eyes were nearly black, her lips slightly open, her breathing heavy. She held his gaze, her hand darted out and she hooked a finger into his waistband, tugging lightly. Her mouth curled into a lopsided smirk, and her right eyebrow rose.
"Shuck them already," she grinned.
They never made it to that ball.
And now here is my secret, a very simple secret;
it is only with the heart that one can see rightly,
what is essential is invisible to the eye.
~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery