Good morning. After the last vacation of the summer of 2016, I’m back with a new Tuesday Tale. This week, I’ve returned to Wedding Bell Blues and the adventures of MJ and Paul on Paradise Island.
Enjoy! Take time to listen to the song that inspired this selection. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2bigf337aU
Taking a swig of his beer, Paul watched as MJ laughed at something Ricky had said. If it were at all possible, she looked even more desirable than she had earlier in the evening. He’d probably consumed more alcohol than he should’ve have—hell they all had—but he refused to believe it was the booze talking. While the song might say “all the girls got prettier at closing time,” she was the only one in the room worth a second glance.
Dinner had been superb, though she hadn’t eaten all that much, but no one had noticed. He had, only because he’d seen her devour the lobster this afternoon. After the meal had ended, the head table had been cleared away, replaced by a round table, and at MJ’s request, Lindsay and Noel had joined them. The band had stayed partially hidden behind the diaphanous gold curtains, while the singer, dressed in a red sequined gown, stood in front of them, her sultry voice perfect for the jazz tunes she sang. He and MJ had danced several times, including to the first song as would the bride and groom at a wedding. He’d enjoyed having her in his arms, and while the ache in his leg was noticeable, he wasn’t about to forego the pleasure of one more dance.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” the singer said. “This will be our last song for tonight. I hope you’ve enjoyed this set and our tribute to the late, great George Gershwin. Here’s one of my personal favorites made popular by Ella Fitzgerald, the First Lady of Song.”
“Dance with me,” he said, standing and pulling her up, making it impossible for her to refuse. The first words of Summertime filled the room. MJ swayed, and he held her closer to him. “Don’t worry, I’ve got you.”
“I know,” she answered and giggled softly. “You’re my knight in shining armor. Good thing, too, because I think the island is moving.”
He chuckled. “Any time, my lady.”
Stepping onto the dance floor, filled with the last twenty or so couples who were still enjoying the festivities, he pulled her close to him, closer than he had previously, remembering how she’d felt in his arms when he’d held her earlier in the day.
“Having fun?” he asked, his lips pressed against her hair.
“Yes, too much fun. I keep waiting for the clock to strike midnight and turn everything back into what it was.”
“You’re forgetting the Quimbois magic here. Just remember, we’ve got another whole day and night before we even have to think about anything else but enjoying ourselves.”
She sighed and nestled into him. “I know. Cindy’s right. There’s something about this place that makes you believe all your dreams can come true. No matter what happens, I want you to know this has been the best evening of my life.”
The music ended. “Shall we go back and have that swim?” he asked, unwilling to ask her what her dreams were, knowing they didn’t include a loveless, childless marriage to him.
“That sounds lovely. Let’s say goodnight and go.
Paul turned toward the table, but it was empty.
“Looks like they’ve all left. Must’ve gone while we were dancing.”
MJ shrugged, tried to stifle a yawn, and picked up her bag. “Then we’d better get going, too. We do have to meet Monsieur St. Louis at nine and it’s after midnight.”
He led her out of the dining room and crossed to the side door leading to the lagoon and their bungalow. As soon as the door closed behind him, he lifted MJ into his arms.
“You don’t have to carry me again. I can take off my shoes and walk.”
“On the crush stone? I don’t think so. Besides, you might step in lizard doo-doo.”
“Yuck,” she said, putting her arm around his neck.
Paul walked slowly wanting to savor the moment. She was quiet, and it did indeed feel magical here with the twinkle lights and the torches lighting the way. He was only a few feet from the door, when her hold on his arm relaxed. Looking down on her, he realized she was asleep.
Reaching for the keycard in his jacket pocket, he opened the door, carried her over to the bed, and pulled down the covers. Laying her down, he removed her shoes and covered her up. He wouldn’t wake her. She was exhausted and so was he.
He ignored the sheet of paper on the table, no doubt it was simply the itinerary for tomorrow. There’d been one each of the last few nights. Stepping around to the other side of the bed, he undressed down to his shorts. The bed was wide enough for his platoon. Surely they could share it for one night. Beat, he lay down and closed his eyes. With any luck, he could sleep a few hours without the nightmares.
Please take the time to check out the other selections on Tuesday Tales.