Tales of the South Seas:
"More Than Words"

This section rated PG13


It was late and he lay restlessly aboard The Rattler.

The day had been great, the party successful, but Grief never got a chance to tell Isabelle what was really on his mind. No, that wasn't entirely true. He had many chances but he just couldn't bring himself to say the words. She had pretty much made her decision. Isabelle was waiting for the right man and, right now, he wasn't it.

*We make sense*. she had once said. Isabelle was right and only now was he coming to realize just how right she was.

David Grief and Isabelle Reed were friends. That was something to be thankful for. She was a good lady, having turned her shady past around, and deserved a good man. She did not need someone in her life who traveled relentlessly about the South Seas looking for trouble seven days a week. On the other hand, Isabelle did signed on for that type of lifestyle herself when they became partners. 'Hell, what am I thinking?' Grief pondered. Miss Reed had been *living it* long before she met him! Isabelle had never been a woman who settled for the ususal, partly because she was so incredibly spirited.

Grief punched his pillow and turned again, laying an arm over his naked chest. It was a warm night, adding to his discomfort. At this rate he was never going to fall asleep.

"David ..." came a whisper.

Grief sat up quickly in his bed and watched the woman, decked in a long, bulky wind-breaker, descend the dark stairs into his quarters. In one of her hands she held what looked like a carpet bag. "Isabelle, what is it?" he asked, fearing the worst.

She stood there for a moment, looking at him, trying to get the words right. She had rehearsed them over and over again while she stroked the dingy to his ship. Yet, the only thing she could think of to say was in a form of an awkward question. "If we were to get together ... I wouldn't be a rebound affair, would I?"

"Rebound ..."?" Grief was so stunned by her appearance and the question he didn't know how to answer.

She came in further and stood straight in front of him as he sat up on the bed, "I mean, neither of us are saints." she said, "I might even understand if you felt you had to find satisfaction somewhere else once in awhile. It's not as if were picking out a China pattern together ... I just don't want to sleep with you a couple times and discover that it was a big mistake. I don't want to find out you're not experiencing the same feelings I am." Isabelle ran her lower lip between her teeth, struggling with her emotions. There was a time in her life where the mere idea of a casual love affair with David Grief was enough to set her blood afire. But now ... now she was looking for more. "If you were to suddenly become bored with me I don't think ..." Isabelle's voice began to quiver. She looked at his wide-eyed expression and suddenly got the impression she had misread ALL the signs, "Oh ... I'm sorry." Isabelle said quickly, in a small voice. "I made a huge error, didn't I?" She turned away, nervous and embarrassed, and started to make her way up the stairs.

"Wait!" Grief propelled himself out of the bed and came up behind Isabelle. He pulled her shoulders back, resting the bulk of her weight against his broad chest, feeling her soft hair with his cheek and chin. "I don't know what type of promises I can make, Isabelle. But one thing I can say for certain, here and now, is that you are *not* a rebound affair. Never could be." He then turned her about so they were facing one another, looking deeply into her wide gray eyes. "I've learned a lot about myself in the last few months. I was always the man in control of my destiny. No sincere commitments other than business. It was my moto. I had planned to live by it all my life."

"But Lavinia ..."

"I cared for Lavinia and I did try to be faithful. It didn't always work ..." he admitted, " ... but I tried. Our problem wasn't lack of love but the lack of myself being able to settle down, to commit to one person and one alone. Still, there was more to it then even that ..." He looked passed Isabelle, attempting to figure it out in his own head.

"It wasn't that you didn't love her," Isabelle said, "it was that she wasn't the one you were supposed to be with." She dropped her carpet bag and ran her hands gently up Grief's smooth, well muscled arms.

Grief again met Isabelle's eyes. It was true. He could not deny it.

"Perhaps you were running away from that woman, the one who could change your life, but never knew why it was you ran. You, dear brave Captain David Grief, were *afraid*."

"Maybe." Grief replied, pulling the woman to him, reveling in her warmth, sincerity and yes, her beauty and spirit. "But no more." He pulled her back with him, urging Isabelle to come to his bed, helping the woman to dispense with the jacket, revealing the bewitchingly sheer nightdress underneath.

He smiled. She was always prepared.

Their lips and bodies came together quickly and enthusiastically. Passions niether had ever experienced were shared. And later, when Grief held her in his arms, as she slept with her head on his chest, he understood something he couldn't have ever imagined when meeting this lovely lost soul over a year ago. She was right. They really did make sense.

But, even more than that ... There was no word for what it was they shared because their love and the affection they shared was unique and rare. No words were needed between them now. "What we have here," Grief whispered, "is a wordless relationship." He inwardly chuckled then felt Isabelle stir beside him.

"More than words ..." she whispered and in her sleep her lips once again reached for his.

Really this time.
April 2002.