“No! No, Hana! I can’t do this. I won’t!”
“I know,” she agreed quietly. “I know. I wanted you to touch me. I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have.”
“I think maybe I should take you to your cabin,” he said awkwardly. His voice sounded tight and strained.
“Yeah, nothing would kill the mood quite as fast as being reamed by Aunt Enid. Oh, if she could see me now!”
“She’d probably be less shocked than you think,” he grinned. “You did hear the story of how she met Ed, didn’t you?”
“Yes, she invited him to take a bath with her in the pond.”
“Uh huh. And did she say anything else?”
“Nothing specific— Oh!” She remembered what Enid had said in passing. “We didn’t exactly bathe, that’s what she said. Oh!”
Jasper was chuckling. “Don’t ever tell your mother, she’d have a heart attack.”
“I’m sorry, I’m just—stunned. She was just about my age when they met.”
He nodded, chuckling. “And your uncle was built like a Greek god, did she tell you that?”
“She said his butt was so tight, she could bounce a quarter off it.” Hana paused a moment, then took his hand. “Thank you.”
Jasper sat beside her, holding her hands. “For what?”
“For making me stop and think,” she said quietly. “For making me realize that it’s you I’ve been waiting for all this time. I think Aunt Enid knew. I think she’s been trying to bring us together for a while, but the time was finally right.”
“Why now? Why not a year ago, or two years?”
“I don’t know. I guess we’re both finally ready.”
“I’d better take you home now,” he said, putting his arm around her waist. “Or I’m going to forget my own advice and start kissing you again.”
“It will happen when the time is right, Jasper.”
He nodded, hugging her with one arm. “Let’s get you home. Your aunt’s going to burn a trail up and down my spine, if I keep you out too late.”
They walked back to her cabin, holding hands, talking about inconsequential things. Just being together was enough, they didn’t even have to speak. Both fell silent when they reached the cabin.
Jasper embraced her, holding her close. Hana put her arms around his waist, hugging him tightly. He leaned over and gave her a chaste kiss on the cheek, intending to leave. Hana turned her head to meet his lips, daring him to pull away from her. There was a challenge in her that he couldn’t deny, and he let his lips fall on hers.
I can stop. I can stop kissing her, turn and walk away. Anytime now. Anytime I want. But he couldn’t. He felt himself falling into her, wrapping her around him like a warm, soft quilt.
The porch light clicked on, startling them both. Hana wiped her lips with the back of her hand and ran fingers through her hair. Jasper shoved his hands in his pockets and backed away a step from her.
“Night, Hana. I’ll see you in the morning. We’ll plan our day at breakfast, okay?”
“I’d like that,” she nodded. “Night, Jasper.”
He kissed her hand, letting it go reluctantly. As he walked away, the door behind Hana opened slowly.
“I thought I heard voices out here,” Aunt Enid said with a sly grin. “Did Jasper leave?”
“Yes, Auntie, he left. Subtle.” She chuckled and flicked the light switch. “Yet it made the point.”
“Oh? What point?” she tried to sound and look innocent, then lost control and started to laugh. “I’m sorry, Hana. It’s me being an old busy body. If the boy gets what he wants right off, then you haven’t got the fun of being pursued.”
They walked back into the cabin together. Hana turned off the porch light and locked the door.
“Did Uncle Ed pursue you?”
“He had to.” She chuckled as she remembered. “I ran off with his clothes.”
“Is that what happened when he joined you in the pond? You ran off with his clothes?”
Enid’s eyes took on a dreamy, faraway look. “He was the best looking thing I’d ever seen. He’d been watching me most of the day, following me around and snapping pictures wherever I went. So when I went to bathe, I knew he’d be there and I lured him in. He wanted to fool around of course, but I wasn’t about to do that. Instead, I got him all lathered up with soap, ducked him under water and when he was trying to get the soap out of his eyes, I jumped out and grabbed his clothing.
“I ran off with his things, and he had to follow me, butt ass naked until he caught up with me. I let him, of course. I could have outrun him, because I had a hell of a good head start. He stayed in the pond a while trying to decide what to do. Once he made up his mind, he caught up fairly quickly. It was funny as hell watching him run after me with his hands over his privates.
“After he apologized for stalking me, I gave him his things back. We hung out the rest of the day, listened to the bands and enjoyed one another’s company. He didn’t try to touch me again, until I gave him permission, and that wasn’t until we’d been dating a while. A man needs to know his limitations, and it’s up to us to give them to him. I’ve often said the woman is stronger than the man. God made him a lustier being. Of course, if men weren’t so damn persistent, the human race would have died out a long time ago.”
“If they weren’t so damn gorgeous and sexy, then we wouldn’t fall all over our tongues and slip in the drool either.”
© Dellani Oakes 2022