by David Cain
Gerald shook the snowflakes from his black wool coat and stomped his boots. His damp leather gloves slipped slightly around the brass doorknob, but finally released the mechanical latch. Gerald pushed the heavy door with his shoulder, anxious to escape the biting winter cold.
He shivered slightly as the warmth of his home tickled his nearly frozen nerves. Gerald sighed in surrender to the end of his long battle with the escalating snowstorm and began to peel away the weight of his winter layers. Wrapping his overcoat around a hanger, Gerald took a deep breath. The rich aroma of dinner prompted a smile.
“It’s getting bad out there,” he said as he walked into the kitchen. Ellen turned from the stove, startled slightly. Dropping the spoon she used to stir the simmering saucepan onto the counter with a clatter, she turned and rushed into her husband’s arms.
“Gerald,” she said, “they’re so beautiful.” Ellen kissed him hungrily. He wondered for a moment, and then saw the splay of deeply red roses on the table.
“But,” he began. Ellen interrupted.
“I never expected, never, I mean, you’re a sweetheart, but you haven’t sent me roses in ages and we didn’t . . .”
Gerald took a bottle down from the cabinet and poured himself a glass of Scotch. He took a sip as he watched his wife bubble.
“Judy was over, that was what made it so incredible, we were stuffing flyers for the concert and the doorbell rang and this boy stood at the door with a box and when I opened it up, Judy screamed and I screamed and we giggled for twenty minutes.” Ellen twirled in her delight and kissed Gerald again.
“Anyway, it was such a beautiful thing to do. Let me get the lamb out of the oven and we’ll have dinner. Lover.” Ellen smiled invitingly at her husband, who stood staring at his wife, a muddled look on his face.
A small florist envelope sat lying on the table next to the crystal vase. Gerald casually picked it up and withdrew the card. “Flames of Passion Kindling my Heart” He turned it over, but there was no signature. Gerald frowned slightly, wondering who had sent flowers to Ellen. She sang a wordless tune as she pulled a loaf of fresh bread from the oven.
He fingered a velvet petal bending away from one of the tight dark buds. He remembered the old florists complaint, that roses don’t like to blossom in winter. “They cost a fortune,” he scowled.
Snow piled high in the back yard, and drifts were already leaning against the house. The oak boughs sagged with long icicles, glittering with the porch light’s dim radiance. Gerald shook his head. Ellen pulled the hot leg of lamb from the oven, filling the kitchen with a rich fragrance that made Gerald hungry.
Two candles flickered romantically as he piled his plate high with the elegant repast. Gerald indulged himself in the unexpected feast, wondering if Ellen would have gone to so much trouble, absent the roses which burst in luxurious beauty over the meal.
“I’m just so touched,” said Ellen, her blue eyes reflecting the candle light flickers. “You haven’t done anything like this in ages. I remember when you sent me roses on our wedding day.” Gerald laughed, picking up his glass of Burgundy.
“It was an impulse. Even I get caught up in my emotions.”
“I’d almost began to think that fire had gone out.” Ellen grinned provocatively. “I guess I was wrong.”
Gerald leaned forward, lost for a moment staring into the reflections of flame and flower in the bell of his wine glass. Ellen looked lovely as she stared admiringly. He remembered other times, days long past when he’d really been caught in fiery passion for this woman. The crimson tint of her lips seemed to draw him, and he wanted to kiss her. He wanted the fragrance of her embrace. Gerald imagined more, and wished he had sent her roses.
She cleared the table and Gerald wandered into the family room, picking up the remote control out of habit. He saw one of Ellen’s books on the table, and putting down the remote, picked up the romance. A young stallion with wind-swept hair held a breasty young lass in his arms. The wind howled under the eaves of the house. Gerald frowned, thinking. Ellen loved to be loved. He went to the closet and pulled on his thick winter coat.
“Where are you going?” asked Ellen as Gerald stepped past the kitchen, bundled up.
“Just out back,” he said.
Trudging his way through the tall piles of snow, Gerald made his way back to the woodpile. Brushing a wet blanket of snow from the logs, he began to pile the cold wood into a cradled arm. One last log gave him more than he could comfortably carry and he struggled his way back to the porch. Leaning his burden against the house, he yanked open the door and stepped gingerly inside. Snow fell in clumps on the rug. Gerald stamped his boots and carried the wood to the fireplace.
Ellen carried the vase of roses into the family room as Gerald finally managed to get the fire set, and she placed it on the mantle.
“Gerald,” she said, teasingly. “You are full of surprises today. We haven’t had a fire on a weeknight in, well, I don’t remember you ever doing that.”
“It’s a cold night,” he said. “And I thought we might want some extra heat.” Ellen leaned on his arm, staring into the growing flickers of flame. Gerald kissed her.
“Aren’t you supposed to go to the club tonight?” he asked.
“I’m pretty sure they’ve canceled,” she said.
“Yes, I suppose so. I don’t like you going there alone, you know,” Gerald said abruptly.
“It’s safe enough. The Morgans and Prestons are always there.”
“You’re just . . . .”
“You could always go with me,” Ellen said. Gerald paused, considering the roses.
“I might,” Gerald said. “Next week, I will.”
Ellen nuzzled close to him, endearingly and they slowly sat down in front of the fire. Nestled together on the floor, Gerald caressed his wife, stroking her with the possessive instinct of his kindled desire. He wondered what she would do if he told her about her roses. He kissed her, not wanting to find out.
In the glow of the fire, the gentle orange light warmed her creamy flesh, inspiring Gerald and he spoke in the way he used to tease a girl he once knew.
“Do you remember the night at the cabin up at Snowpeak?” he asked, tickling her neck with his lips. “You were such a frisky girl.”
“Warm fires on snowy nights,” Ellen purred, “and the strong arms of romantic man.” She shuddered as he squeezed her breast. “Melt me.”
Gerald pulled at her red and yellow sweater, slipping his hands underneath to find her warm belly.
“Oh,” Ellen said, jumping away. “Your hands are frozen.” He laughed and tried to touch her again. “Here,” she said, taking his snow chilled hands into hers and rubbing them briskly. Lifting his strong hands, she placed them on her neck. “That’s better.”
He lifted her sweater up over her head. Ellen tossed her hair loose and Gerald looked deeply into her eyes.
“Oh, Ellen,” he said, unbuttoning her blue cotton shirt, “you are so precious to me.”
“Hmm,” she said. “Isn’t that what you said at the cabin?” Pushing open her shirt, he pulled at her bra. Ellen reached behind to unfasten the clasp.
“It worked before,” he said, taking her pale nipple in his mouth.
“Yes,” she said, feeling the fire of his lust tickling her nerves, “it did.” He paused to think.
“And I sent you roses, when was that?”
“October seventh. Nineteen . . .” Gerald stopped her with a kiss, pulling at the zipper of her slacks. Ellen put her arms around him and he eased the soft cloth down past her hips.
“I know how to keep your fires lit,” he said.
“Yes,” she murmured. The fire cackled gently and then popped.
Gerald kissed Ellen’s breast and teased his lips down to touch the soft release of her ribs into her tummy and kissed until he teased the soft hairs that curled out from under her panties. He bit the elastic and tugged downward.
“Ow,” she said, twisting to free the hair he had pulled. Gerald snarled, laughing and deftly pulled her panties down. Ellen sighed, wiggling under his gaze, as the soft glow of the fire teased her milky flesh.
Gerald kissed her warm snatch fiercely, teasing the supple lips with his tongue. Ellen giggled as he stroked her pussy open, melting her inhibitions with the heat of his lick. She arched her back, eagerly taking his kiss. Gerald worked his pants loose and as Ellen shivered in her first eruptions, he sank his hard wood deep into her flames.
Bursting with a rage that had smouldered too long, their love burned wild. Gerald stroked his dear Ellen ferociously, driving his want within her, consuming her with his lust. She kissed him and gave herself to his blasts of raging desire.
Languishing beneath the covers of their nuptial bed, as the chill of the night enveloped their snuggled warm nest, Ellen kissed Gerald again. He pulled his wife close with gentle flames of affection. Then, dreaming like roses in winter, the pair of young lovers drifted softly to sleep.