Soon you were happily being tossed about in the surf and enjoying every minute of it. Ben had taught you how to catch the wave just as it reached its peak and swim like mad to keep up with it when it was breaking. And you didn't even mind being "dragged" to shore by the force of the waves as they hit the beach. But as the afternoon sun began to grow cold, so did you--and finally, with your teeth chattering, you confessed to Ben. "I've had enough. Besides, I forgot my beach towel--can I borrow yours?"
"Of course," Ben smiled, and none too soon you were wrapped in his huge beach towel, with Ben alternatively drying you off and affectionately hugging you.
When you were nice 'n warm 'n dry, Ben said, "Well, if you can perform your gymnast act again, we'll attempt dinner."
You couldn't wait to get out of your sand-filled bathing suit--even if it meant scrunching on the floor of the car again. Ben wandered off, carrying slacks and a sports jacket over a hanger--so you took this as your cue to put on your ruffled dress. While you were combing your hair, you noticed in Ben's rear view mirror a new sprinkle of freckles across the bridge of your nose and your cheeks were pinker than they'd ever been. You decided you really didn't look bad at all. In fact, you were willing to admit you looked the best you'd ever looked.
And as if to confirm your thoughts, Ben said, as he approached the car, "Wow--you look fantastic!"
"So do you!" you exclaimed, admiring the soft, warm earth tones in his suede jacket.
"Shall I put the top up?" Ben asked. You shook your head. "O.K., if you get cold, just cuddle up next to me and I'll keep you warm."
Sitting next to Ben, driving along the highway, you were struck once more by the thought that you must be the happiest girl in the world, and you drifted off into a maze of your own fantasies. Ben startled your out of your reverie by saying. "Well, here goes the next lap of our journey to summer paradise." And he pulled up in front of a rustic stone cottage with lighted torches in front. It was now dusk and the sky was picture-postcard-perfect. You and Ben were bathed in the glow of the rosy setting sun and the golden light of the torches. Ben leaned over, gave you a quick hug and said, "I hope you're hungry, cos I'm starved!"
He took your arm and escorted you into the restaurant, where you were seated at a lovely, private table by the window overlooking the magnificent Pacific Ocean. As you read the menu, you became more and more confused--cos you didn't understand enough French to know what was what. Ben quickly sensed your agony and said, "Do you mind if I order for both of us?" And you nodded in agreement with the wisdom of that suggestion.
After a delicious dinner of duck a l'orange, you and Ben lingered over a chocolate mousse and stared soulfully through the glow of the candelabra into each other's eyes.
"Happy, little one?" Ben asked.
And you said, "Yes--but I really ate too much."
But inwardly you began to panic. The evening was almost over and actually you and Ben had said very little that was terribly personal. Maybe you had been to giddy or too shy. Now you were not sure that you'd ever see Ben Murphy again. You tried to force these thoughts out of your mind, but you felt yourself giving in to this attack of anxiety. You almost wished that the waiter wouldn't bring the bill which would symbolize the end of the evening to you. But of course you were powerless to stop him. All too soon, Ben was leading you back to the car.
You were so saddened by these thoughts that you were unable to think of a single thing to say during the ride you knew was taking you home and possibly away from Ben forever. And the inevitable happened. Ben Murphy pulled his green Chevy up in front of your house and turned off the motor. And, as you silently wished this evening would never end, Ben turned to you and slowly took your face in his strong but delicate hands. "Has anyone ever told you that you're absolutely love?" he said softly. "Because if they haven't, they're crazy. Thank you for making this day wonderful. I'm sorry it went so fast."
Before you could answer, Ben was at your side of the car, holding the door open for you. You found yourself choking up and blinking rapidly. Ben seemed completely unaware of what was happening to you until he reached your doorstep--then he turned you toward him, took you into his arms and kissed you tenderly. You felt as if your heart might stop at any moment and, thought you'd never fainted before, you thought it might happen then. All you could really do was stare into Ben's blue eyes. Ben stepped back, opened the door for you and said, "In fact, I think we should see each other again--soon. Good night."
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