HOW BEAUTIFUL

by JoAnn Baca

Rated Mild R

With enormous thanks to Carole W for the inspiration of, and permission to use, her artwork, and her selection of Tyler Knott Gregson’s poem I Had No Idea.

V and C sitting together in an armchair in a loving, intimate pose, gazing out a window

I had no idea
it would be
this much.
I had no idea
I could handle it.
I had no idea
how beautiful
it all
actually
is.

~ Tyler Knott Gregson

It had rained hard all night, the storm beating against the windowpane, hammering against the roof tiles, the pounding clamor overwhelming all other sounds in the teeming city. Inside, it had felt like a world apart. A world of only two, the rain a cocoon, at once lulling and enervating. Now the watery dawn light was sifting through the gauzy curtains of the brownstone’s topmost floor.

Vincent rose, throwing off the rumpled bedclothes. He slipped on the worn jeans that had been tossed carelessly onto the carpet and moved to the cozy armchair by the window. Feet bare, shirtless, hair in disarray as if windblown, he sank into the cushions.

He was gloriously exhausted, having resisted sleep far into the night. Rapture had called, and he had not resisted that at all.

Catherine had decorated the room as a surprise, lacing the ceiling and wall fixtures with fairy lights, their tiny bulbs twinkling, covering the bedroom in a profusion of pinpoints of illumination. They were reflected in the window glass, although slowly losing the competition to the rising sun as it fought to become the strongest light in the room. But for a few more minutes, their impish glittering still made everything inside seem like part of a fantasyland.

And so it had been…all night. All the stunning, revelatory, delicious, fulfilling night.

He heard the bed creak behind him, and a moment later Catherine was by his side, sweetly naked, a cashmere lap robe pulled casually around her against the morning chill. With a languidness borne of her own happy exhaustion, she settled herself on his lap, her bare legs lying across his jeans-clad ones. When she wrapped her arms around him, her makeshift robe slipped slightly, revealing her bare shoulder.

A subtle shiver flowed through her body, which was pressed so close to him the trembling felt like his own. He moved his free arm to her thigh, stroking it with his hand, meaning to warm her, yes…but also to lay claim upon her. This woman, his woman, so tenderly embracing him, had claimed him utterly during their long night of passion. The mere thought sent his heart racing. As it had for hours before.

They sat so for a long while, gazing out into the dawning day, twin smiles on their faces – equal parts contentment and wonder.

“It’s so beautiful,” he murmured.

“The rain?”

He squeezed her thigh lightly. “That, too.”

“Yes.”

She snuggled more deeply against him, causing a delicious frisson of contact to stoke visions of their night together. As her hand tenderly stroked his bare chest, the pressure grew, more insistent now. His smile changed, the dreamy quality transforming to one of desire. But…

“It’s morning,” he reminded her. There was much to do. Their lives, while now intersecting in this new and profound way, still awaited beyond the entries of the brownstone – hers outside the front door, his through the tunnel access panel.

“Let’s enjoy this moment a while longer,” she whispered, her slender hand gently grasping his chin to turn his face to hers.

What followed could only be described as another in the breathtaking shower of perfect kisses they had shared throughout the night. It intensified the vibration pulsing between them, building to a tipping point. He knew what she wanted…it was what he wanted, reflecting back to him. That awareness surged into acknowledgement of their undeniable shared desire, a force stronger than the storm that had crashed in furor over their heads throughout the night. It could not be denied.

As their lips finally parted, Catherine murmured, “’Once more unto the breach’?” Her seductive tone had nothing to do with Shakespeare, and was certainly not what Henry V was thinking of when he uttered those words.

“You should be punished for abusing Shakespeare so,” he mock-lectured her, meanwhile rising from the armchair with her in his arms and heading back to their bed.

“Whatever form of torment you think is best, I shall endure,” she said, smiling impishly.

“No torment, no punishment…” He kissed her again, hungrily, before adding, “Only love, my Catherine…only love.”

V and C sitting together in an armchair in a loving, intimate pose, gazing out a window

It had rained hard all night, the storm beating against the windowpane, hammering against the roof tiles, the pounding clamor overwhelming all other sounds in the teeming city. Inside, it had felt like a world apart. A world of only two, the rain a cocoon, at once lulling and enervating. Now the watery dawn light was sifting through the gauzy curtains of the brownstone’s topmost floor.

Vincent rose, throwing off the rumpled bedclothes. He slipped on the worn jeans that had been tossed carelessly onto the carpet and moved to the cozy armchair by the window. Feet bare, shirtless, hair in disarray as if windblown, he sank into the cushions.

He was gloriously exhausted, having resisted sleep far into the night. Rapture had called, and he had not resisted that at all.

Catherine had decorated the room as a surprise, lacing the ceiling and wall fixtures with fairy lights, their tiny bulbs twinkling, covering the bedroom in a profusion of pinpoints of illumination. They were reflected in the window glass, although slowly losing the competition to the rising sun as it fought to become the strongest light in the room. But for a few more minutes, their impish glittering still made everything inside seem like part of a fantasyland.

And so it had been…all night. All the stunning, revelatory, delicious, fulfilling night.

He heard the bed creak behind him, and a moment later Catherine was by his side, sweetly naked, a cashmere lap robe pulled casually around her against the morning chill. With a languidness borne of her own happy exhaustion, she settled herself on his lap, her bare legs lying across his jeans-clad ones. When she wrapped her arms around him, her makeshift robe slipped slightly, revealing her bare shoulder.

A subtle shiver flowed through her body, which was pressed so close to him the trembling felt like his own. He moved his free arm to her thigh, stroking it with his hand, meaning to warm her, yes…but also to lay claim upon her. This woman, his woman, so tenderly embracing him, had claimed him utterly during their long night of passion. The mere thought sent his heart racing. As it had for hours before.

They sat so for a long while, gazing out into the dawning day, twin smiles on their faces – equal parts contentment and wonder.

“It’s so beautiful,” he murmured.

“The rain?”

He squeezed her thigh lightly. “That, too.”

“Yes.”

She snuggled more deeply against him, causing a delicious frisson of contact to stoke visions of their night together. As her hand tenderly stroked his bare chest, the pressure grew, more insistent now. His smile changed, the dreamy quality transforming to one of desire. But…

“It’s morning,” he reminded her. There was much to do. Their lives, while now intersecting in this new and profound way, still awaited beyond the entries of the brownstone – hers outside the front door, his through the tunnel access panel.

“Let’s enjoy this moment a while longer,” she whispered, her slender hand gently grasping his chin to turn his face to hers.

What followed could only be described as another in the breathtaking shower of perfect kisses they had shared throughout the night. It intensified the vibration pulsing between them, building to a tipping point. He knew what she wanted…it was what he wanted, reflecting back to him. That awareness surged into acknowledgement of their undeniable shared desire, a force stronger than the storm that had crashed in furor over their heads throughout the night. It could not be denied.

As their lips finally parted, Catherine murmured, “’Once more unto the breach’?” Her seductive tone had nothing to do with Shakespeare, and was certainly not what Henry V was thinking of when he uttered those words.

“You should be punished for abusing Shakespeare so,” he mock-lectured her, meanwhile rising from the armchair with her in his arms and heading back to their bed.

“Whatever form of torment you think is best, I shall endure,” she said, smiling impishly.

“No torment, no punishment…” He kissed her again, hungrily, before adding, “Only love, my Catherine…only love.”

19 Comments

  1. JoAnn, I love this story — sensuous, romantic, heartwarming — it has it all! It pairs perfectly with Carole’s amazing and most definitely inspiring art, and, as always, your story is beautifully written. You’ve shown us the way life should be for our beloved Vincent and Catherine, and I like to think of this as their reality. This story is yet another of yours that now is on my all-time favorites list.

    Reply
    • I agree, Linda – JoAnn’s story is on my all-time favorites list now too.

      I’m so happy you liked the art and really happy JoAnn brought it to life – better than to life … brought it to such sweet and lovely glory.

      Carole

      Reply
      • Thank you, Carole! Your stunning work is always an inspiration!

        Reply
    • Thank you for your kind words, Linda!

      Reply
  2. Oh, JoAnn!…sigh:) what a wonderful combination of words to Carole’s beautiful artwork…I delight in these moments, their closeness, every touch and word. I love stories like this that show their happy time together, it’s incredibly romantic!

    Reply
    • Paula, thank you for liking the art! I love JoAnn’s story, the love and life she brought forth. I’m really glad to be a part of V and C’s happiness!

      Carole

      Reply
    • Thank you so much, Paula!

      Reply
  3. Oh my! This was … luscious! Thanks JoAnn!

    Reply
    • Thank you, Karen!

      Reply
  4. Lovely and I love how the love between them comes to the fore . No surprise my kind of story , I love the love . Started one the other day and abandoned it after the second line. Was a S3 and I didn’t see it.
    Perfect Joann

    Reply
    • I love the love, too! Perfect description! Thank you!

      Reply
  5. So sweet and poignant. Thank you for a perfect moment to go with such wonderful artwork.

    Reply
    • Thanks for liking the graphic, Tasha! I loved where JoAnn took them in her story.

      Carole

      Reply
    • Thank you, Tasha!

      Reply
  6. What a warm and loving look at them making a life together, sharing all the good times after enduring so much of the bad times! Your evocative words and Carole W’s sweet art blended perfectly together. I loved the twinkly light reflections, as if their love was radiating outward to warm the city. Or maybe creating a protective shield in which to wrap them.

    Thank you both for creating that special time and space for them, and for sharing it with us!

    Reply
    • ArwenOak, thank you! Thank you for liking the graphic. JoAnn really brought it to life and I’m honored to accompany it!

      Carole

      Reply
    • Ahhh…their love radiating outward – what a wonderful compliment! Thank you, ArwenOak!

      Reply
  7. Joann, thank you for this experience of spiritual and sensual love that only our Vincent and Catherine share. What a sublime piece! A gift! Thank you.

    Reply
    • Oh, Nancy, I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Thank you!

      Reply

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