Last week was my ninth wedding anniversary. Nine long years. Am I allowed to say long? Nine years, feels like longer. My granddad used to say that every year to my grandmother and they were married for over 60 years, so that can’t be a bad sign.
As a reward to reaching an anniversary of such epic proportions, by today’s standards at least, we decided to go away for a romantic weekend. To Cleethorpes. With my two little girls.
For those of you who don’t recognise the name as the popular haunts of lover’s getaways, Cleethorpes is a family seaside resort on the east coast of England, high on sand, ice-cream and chips, low on peace and quiet.
I think we would have managed a bit better if Nancy hadn’t managed to climb out of her cot. She’s never done it before, but obviously she sensed her company would really be appreciated every few minutes, and that in the absence of crooning ballads, she should do her best by screaming her head off at every available opportunity.
A good time was had by all. Sandcastles were made and stomped on by eager feet, ice-creams were eaten with abandonment, and enough chips were scoffed that by Sunday evening no-one could actually face eating another meal.
In the extract below, Betty and Edward show they have a much more intimate evening ahead of them.
Edward’s gaze dropped deliberately, sweeping downwards before lifting to meet hers again. “Of course not; rakes are rarely shocked or overexcited.”
There was a trace of a quiver in his cheek muscles, so faint she nearly missed it, but it had definitely been a quiver. He was keeping himself under tight control. She lowered her gaze a couple of inches, following the hard line of his jaw. If only she could slip her fingers against the snowy folds of his cravat, feel the heat of his skin and know if the beat of his pulse was accelerating as rapidly as hers.
She deliberately looked down the length of his body, copying Edward’s own recent behaviour; past the draping lines of his great cloak, from one coat button to the next, the pale horn a burnished bronze in the warm firelight until she reached his unmentionables.
She shouldn’t be staring. No real lady would. But if he could look then why shouldn’t she? She remembered the quiver in his cheek. Brazen and confident, she was the one in control.
She looked back up. He was watching her. Chestnut strands threaded his iris, whispering of the warmth of an autumn sunset.
“Then the evidence of my own eyes, Lord Carrington, proves you are quite definitely not a rake.”