“Because making love outside is not all it’s cracked up to be. Not to give too many details, but it’s highly overrated.”
She giggled rather nervously, her hands unconsciously going to her hair. It was beyond fixing, but he didn’t tell her.
“For our first time together, my girlfriend and I decided it would be romantic to make love outside. We’d seen it in some movie. So we got a blanket and found a quiet place under the stars, the whole shtick. We didn’t think to check for little things like rocks, bugs and snakes.” He shuddered as he remembered. “Let’s just say the next time we planned more carefully.”
Hana kissed his lower lip, nibbling on it. “What would make it perfect?”
“You and me, all alone somewhere, far from everyone else, inside with a soft, big bed.”
He kissed her again, driven by passion and desire. His lips traveled down her neck, to her collarbone and lower. He could hardly control himself anymore. It was getting painful to contain his desire. His hands massaged her breasts and she shuddered against him. A moan caught in her throat.
“Jasper!” Hana grasped his face in both her hands, drawing his lips to her chest. She lifted her shirt, putting his mouth on her breasts, pressing against him.
“Hana! God, I want you!”
“Please, here—now! I can’t stand it!”
“No. Not here.”
She sighed with frustration, pulling her shirt back down. He knew he’d hurt her feelings, but he also knew that if they didn’t eat and start back soon, they’d be out after dark. He wasn’t going to risk that out here. She was entirely too precious to him.
“Maybe we’d better eat our lunch,” he said flatly, knowing it wasn’t what either of them wanted.
“I suppose we should,” she replied crisply.
She was angry, hurt. He could hear it in her voice. She didn’t understand his reasons, and couldn’t possibly unless she’d experienced what he had.
“I’m sorry, Hana. Please don’t feel like I’m rejecting you, because I promise you I want this just as much as you do.”
“Do you? Really? Because it seems to me that every time we start getting serious, you pull away!”
Jasper hung his head. He supposed he deserved that, but it hurt. He had his reasons, and she wasn’t willing to understand them. It was in an effort to protect her that he’d carefully guided his actions. Suddenly, he realized that what she wanted was him. She didn’t care about whether the conditions were optimum, or it was too soon after they met. She knew what she wanted, and she was telling him it was all right to pursue the course of action he was bent on.
“I’m being as big an idiot as Jeff,” he told her quietly. “I’m sorry. I’ve been trying so hard for things to be perfect, I didn’t realize they already were.”
“You have a point about the great outdoors,” she told him. “This rock wouldn’t be the most comfortable to bounce around on.”
He chuckled, taking her hands in his. “No. And horses won’t stand still long enough for us to use them.”
Hana giggled, glancing at the horses who were nibbling scrub nearby. “How did you and your girlfriend solve the problem?”
“We used the flatbed of my pickup truck with an air mattress in the back. It wasn’t perfect, but it worked.” He shrugged apologetically.
She wrinkled her nose, the idea not appealing to her at all. “I’d have to pass on that idea. We’ll figure it out somehow. In the meantime, let’s eat. We need our strength.”
Jasper laughed softly as he stood and dusted off his pants. “I like the way you think,” he said as they unpacked the food.
They ate in companionable silence, looking at the landscape, watching the birds and other wildlife. A gentle, warm breeze blew in their faces. Jasper sniffed, looking up at the sky. He stood quickly, giving her his hand.
“We need to get going,” he told her, a worried frown flickering across his face.
“There’s rain in that wind. Can’t you smell it?” He inhaled deeply.
Hana shook her head. She took his word for it. This was his home, and he was as much a part of the land as the trees and grass. She started packing the food and containers back into the saddle bag as he gave the horses a drink in his cupped hand. With everything secured, he lifted her back into the saddle and mounted his horse once more. Turning sharply, he headed a slightly different direction from the way they had come in.
“There’s an old house not far from here. It’s not fancy, but it’s shelter from the storm. It’ll hit us before we get back to the ranch. Got your phone?”
She reached into her pocket and handed it to him. He turned it on and sighed.
“I had a feeling. We don’t have any signal. Maybe once we get to the house. It’s an old sheep herder’s cabin that was here on the land when Granddad bought it. He kept it up for folks to camp out in, if they wanted a more rustic experience.”
They tapped the horses’ sides to encourage them to trot. The clouds moved in quickly. Jasper wasn’t worried about getting wet, but there was a hint of ozone in that wind, which meant lighting. He didn’t want to be the tallest thing on the landscape in a thunderstorm. They trotted quickly to the cabin.
©2022 Dellani Oakes