It was late when Elias and Jaime found their way back to the room they had already rented for the night. It wasn’t overly spacious or elaborate in décor. There was a table with two wooden chairs and a double bed with a straw tick mattress. A single candle flickered on the table, casting a soft glow on the rustic furniture.
Elias closed the door behind him and slid the bolt into the latch. The solid thunk of the wooden bar rang through the silence physically jolting Jaime who stood only a few steps past him. She seemed to tense in the ensuing quiet, and her eyes were wide and frantic as her gaze darted all about the room, looking at everything but him.
Perhaps it was a mistake to ask her to refuse the gypsies’ offer of wine.
His palms were clammy, so he tugged off his gloves and tossed them on the table, trying to seem nonchalant. A losing battle. His heart felt as though it would burst out of his chest at any moment. He swallowed hard and realized how dry his throat was.
A pitcher of water sat in the middle of the table for washing. How long had it been sitting there? At this point, he didn’t care. Even if there were things visibly growing in it, Elias would drink some.
He stepped to the table and lifted the pitcher and a nearby wooden cup. Tipping the pitcher, he poured a small amount into the cup and lifted it to his lips. The cup was a bit stale smelling, but the water was fresh and clean. He swished the mouthful over his tongue and swallowed then turned to Jaime.
“The water is good.” His ears burned. Had he just said that? He cleared his throat, perhaps he could make it better. “Would you like some?” He lifted the cup toward his bride and immediately cringed at his own ineptness. Why was this so difficult?
Elias refilled the cup and extended it once more. Jaime took it from him and sipped it. Her gaze remained on Elias’s face as she drank. She took another draught from the cup and returned it to him. A single clear droplet remained on her lower lip for only a moment before her tongue slipped between her lips and swept it away in what seemed an agonizingly slow movement.
He was transfixed and painfully aware of the tension between them. Glancing at the cup in his hands, Elias realized his mouth again felt like an Arabian desert. He drained the cup of the remaining contents and set it on the table with a heavy clunk. Much louder than he had intended.
“So…” Jaime seemed to scan the room as she turned away from him and began to loosen her own gloves one finger at a time, finally slipping them off in a slow deliberate motion.
Tracing her movements with his eyes would certainly send Elias over the edge of control, but he could hardly help himself. However, it wasn’t until she laid her gloves on the bed and faced him again with those wide, imploring golden brown eyes and asked him to help her with her boots that he realized his long habit of practiced control was no longer necessary. They were married.
~Pirate's Ransom (work in progress)