Marni, The Story Continues – Paradise Found
By Thom Cantrall
The rising sun had warmed the air just enough to melt the fine morning mist that had kissed the frigid waters of the tiny mountain tarn. “Do we have to go back this morning?” Marni asked of the man sitting beside her.
Mark put down his plate containing the remains of his breakfast, a small piece of the delicious steak they’d shared, a few slices of fried potato and just the aroma of fried eggs. He turned to the beautiful young lady beside him and said, “Marni, Honey, we don’t ever have to go back if you so wish, but, in reality, I’ve supplies for ten days or so, perhaps a bit longer if the trout cooperate. I’ve a couple of ready pack animals and no desire to be away from you, my Beauty. From where we are now, we can connect with the trails that will take us about anywhere we want to go, from Canada to Mexico or, no trail at all, just the two of us, our mounts and the wilderness. What would be your pleasure, M’lady?”
“Mark,” Marni asked softly, “do you have a place, in this grab bag of wonders you seem to possess, where we could just be alone for a few days? We need a place that will allow us to get to know one another better, without outside interference. I mean, Darling, falling in love is a process, not an event and, though the event has precipitated the process, it, if it is to be, needs time to mature, to grow, to consume us both.”
“I think I know just such a place, Dear Marni,” answered the tall, resolute man. “If you don’t mind a bit of a ride, we can probably be there by tonight.”
“Let’s do it then. But first,” she said cautiously, “I’ve got to contact my office to let them know I’ve not been kidnapped… Well, not unwillingly kidnapped anyway,” she giggled. “Do you suppose my cell phone might possibly work way up here?”
“Not a chance in a million, Honey, but I’ve got just what you need,” and from his saddlebags he produced what looked very much like the cell phone he’d just told the woman would not work in this land of mountain peaks two miles and more high.
At her look of askance, he produced that grin that so thoroughly disarmed the girl and said, “It’s a satellite uplink, not a cell phone. It works off a special power pack I carry and can, as long as it can ‘see’ the satellite in orbit, communicate anywhere on earth.” In answer to her question on cost, he just replied, “Not nearly as expensive as a search party or a funeral.” To which the Lady merely nodded, her understanding complete.
Through the day they rode, stopping often to let Marni’s sore muscles stretch and to actually feel the pull of the mountains as they cast their mysterious spell over these two people from so different times, from so different lives, as their bodies belied the incongruities that seemingly separated them. They took advantage, those two, of the many stops to come together, sometimes just to touch and thus communicate their common need, each for the other. It took the merest glance from her captivating green eyes to set his very soul on fire as did that unique, childlike, almost mischievous grin of his did to hers.
There is nothing so sublime in life as falling in love with the “right” person, as these two demonstrated on that perfect summer’s day. Stirrup to stirrup, when the trail permitted, in line when it did not, even as life should be, higher and higher the couple climbed into the lofty realms God reserves for only those of daring and resolve.
On they rode through the day so enjoying God’s splendor and each other, that Marni had quite forgotten her discomfort at the long hours in the saddle. He, of course, was accustomed to these extended wilderness trips, it being his livelihood, sharing this country with people from the low elevations.
The lady was sure she could no longer be surprised by anything the man did, nor by anything the mountains offered. She was in total awe of the grandeur surrounding her. The peaks seemed so impossibly high, yet seemingly so near as to be touched by merely the putting forth of her hand. The air was so pure and clear it could have come from Eden itself. The trees stood in stark relief against the panorama of the bare, treeless rocks of the truly high country above timberline, each tree individually defined in the mass.
When the trail dipped suddenly off a rugged ridge and into a copse of trees, Marni took it in stride, though the wide grin Mark turned and bestowed on her should have served as an omen of what was to be. As she puzzled over his action, she was so happy just to be with the giant Teddy Bear that her attention was riveted on him as he moved aside to let her draw abreast. The immediate area, which she scanned hastily, was, while so beautiful, nothing more than she had been in all day…until she came alongside the man, hoping for a chance to touch him again, perhaps to kiss him… He then pointed beyond, causing her to involuntarily pull her eyes from him and force them to follow his finger…
What greeted the awestruck woman was a scene of unfathomable majesty… In the glen was a lake, the water so clear she could see the trout cruising the shallows, searching for an evening meal of the myriad insects hovering close to the water, for it was, Marni realized, nearing twilight. Behind the lake, serving as a backdrop to the scene set before her, the high mountains, with their eternal snow crowns were reflected in the pure water. The small valley was belly deep to a tall horse in the emerald green grass, now waving in a soft, mountain breeze, bisected neatly by a particularly ambitious little stream, avidly searching its way through the meadow to find its fulfillment in the crystal pond. As she sat her horse, mesmerized by the wholly unbelievable set before, as only a painter with his brushes and oils might conjure, Mark shifted the point of aim of his finger, automatically drawing the beautiful Lady’s gaze to a structure set among the trees at the upper end of the glade, nearly obscured by the trees around it. In the slowly failing light, Marni was not sure of what she was seeing when the realization dawned on her… There was a cabin there among the trees! As she looked, her revelation made the scene come to life, the peaked roof with its moss coated shingles, windows, with glass even, a covered porch with a hitch rail in front. It sat there as part of the scene. Indeed, the glade would have been incomplete without it, for is not nature incomplete without man to enjoy, and sometimes endure it?
For all Marni knew, she had just stepped back in history about one-hundred-fifty years. The scene was literally breath-taking. The cabin was so much a part of the glade that she would have been disappointed had it not been there!
It seemed that minutes had elapsed since she’d breathed last. As she finally remembered that her body still needed air, she realized she’d been waiting for people to emerge from the door at the front of the home, for home it obviously had been, lovingly fashioned and painstakingly formed, not for an individual, but for a woman, for who else would a man build such as this? She was drawn to the little house as surely as a moth is drawn to a flame. She didn’t even realize she’d ridden the last bit to the hitch rail until, behind her, Mark said, “Honey, get down and go in, I’ll put up our mounts and bring in the pack boxes.”
She was off her pretty paint pony in a flash and up to the door where she hesitated, stopping and looking back at her man, breathing quietly, “Dare I?”
“Yes, Dear One, you dare,” answered a smiling Mark. “After all, it’s ours.”
The portent of that phrase escaped the girl in the emotion of the moment as she cautiously tried the door, expecting it to be either locked or for the interior to be trashed with the travails of time and intruders in this far off wild place, as it would be in her world. What Marni found was that neither was true… The door was open and the interior looked like the people who lived here had left but minutes before her arrival. She looked expectantly to the kitchen, half expecting to see a fire in the stove.
There was no fire burning, the woman saw, but there was one laid on the hearth at the end of the room, awaiting only a spark to bring it to life. The tinder was there, carefully covered by a bit of kindling and topped with fuel in increasing size such that a fire could be had with but a single match… which was also available next to the lay on the hearth, ready to hand. The wood box by the kitchen stove, she noticed, was full, as was the kindling box next to it. A large coffeepot rested on the cold stove, with its innards set close by for immediate use.
Her curiosity peaked, she began to explore… There were but two rooms to the home, for that’s how it felt to her, like she was home… The main room, where she now was, entered from the door to a largish open area, the kitchen, which had so captivated her, was to the back, along the wall. There were furnishings there, though sparse, roughly made and very rustic. Seats crafted from the native woods of the area and covered with animal hides, deer, elk and others she could not identify, the hair still in place. A table was there as well with but two chairs and, overhead, a loft with a ladder leading to it.
The one large window by the door provided a commanding view of the meadow and the lake with its emotionally powerful backdrop. Another, smaller window opened above the sink in the kitchen, with its single spigot that issued forth cold, clear, pure water, the girl found out. This window opened to a small cleared area behind the cabin, obviously a kitchen garden at some time, now, a blazing bed of multicolored flowers. As she studied them, she realized they were indigenous species, but obviously transplanted here to provide a nearly spectacular bed of color.
The lithe girl then scaled the ladder to the loft where she was surprised to find a bed. It was not a mere cot, but a full sized bed, all made up with a very comfortable looking quilt covering it. She resisted the urge to climb onto it, below the low roof of the cabin, though the temptation was great. Her eyes fell on the lamp on the stand beside the bed, not electric, for sure, but a very clean, old fashioned chimney lamp. Probably burned kerosene, she imagined. By the lamp was a book, the only thing so far that was out of place in the 19th Century for Tom Clancy was not writing then, but there it sat, waiting for its reader’s return. The pegs on the short walls held a coat and some other odds and ends of apparel, its exact type being obscured by the oncoming darkness.
Marni then returned to the main room, determined to explore the side room, when Mark’s large frame entering the door distracted her, he had that effect on her, she’d come to learn. She ran to him, her arms going around him as far as they would reach and she was babbling, she was sure, in the enthusiasm for the place. She was telling him in great detail of her love for the place… and how did he ever find it, and who owned it and would they get in trouble for using it and could they come again and, and….
Finally, Mark put his finger on her lips, quieting the flow of words as he flashed her that grin again. “Honey, let me get these supplies in and light the lamps and we can talk while I fix us something to eat, ok?” As she nodded her head, blushing profusely at her antics, he took two oil lamps from the sideboard, raised the chimney of one, and, using a large wooden kitchen match, produced from a box on the counter by the stove, he lit the wick, causing a bright, smoky flame. As the lamp began to wick the oil up, the smoke cleared, and he then lowered the chimney as he lowered the wick, resulting in a most satisfactory, comforting yellow-orange light.
With this accomplished and two lamps now burning brightly, he turned his attention to the stove, kindling a fire quickly, the fruit of long practice, the girl realized, and sliding the now full coffeepot over the flame while he went about putting the groceries away and readying his supplies for his evening meal…
Bathed in the warm glow of the ancient appearing lamps and entranced by the man’s willingness to do for her this way, she asked him, tentatively, “Mark, how did you know of this place? I mean, I’m sure you happened on it while hunting or fishing or something didn’t you? Who does it belong to, or is this government land we’re on, or is it just a remnant of another time?”
“Well, I’m not sure when I first saw it, I was just a kid then, I guess. I used to come here with my dad when he was still alive. As to ownership, no, it’s not government land, it’s a patented mining claim from the 1860′s, deeded and titled, taxes paid. But really, don’t you think, although I own that title, it belongs to the land?”
“Oh Yes,” she blurted out too loudly, and softening her voice she continued. “But how? And what do you really mean about belonging to the land, I mean, I know how I feel, but what do you mean?”
“I bought it,” he explained simply. “The mine played out several years ago, the shaft is back of the trees behind us, and the original owners were long since gone, even he who built this cabin is long since gone, it was about to revert to the state for unpaid taxes when it came to my attention, so I simply paid up the taxes and claimed it myself. As to the other, look at those hills,” he said as he swept his had toward a “hill” that seemed to reach to touch the emerging stars. “Did you not notice that a fire was laid on the hearth and the wood boxes full?”
“Yes,” she answered, “but I merely assumed you’d done that.”
“Yes, and no, Honey. Yes, I set it up originally, but everyone who uses it keeps it up. That’s the code up here.” When she looked at him in shock, he continued, “In these mountains, a storm can come upon you at any time, winter or summer. We’re over ten-thousand feet elevation here, and anyone caught in a sudden storm is in real danger, sometimes critically so. The difference between survival and death could very well be, and has been, actually, the ability to gain this shelter. Can you imagine being up here in a blizzard that appeared out of a sunny, summer sky, no way down or out of here and having no form of shelter?”
“Oh my,” she shivered, seeing at once what that would mean. “That’s why the fire is ready then, so someone stumbling in, frozen and lost can warm himself with practically no effort! Cold fingers would not be asked to perform tasks they might not be up to. Yes, I see that, now.”
“You got it in one, Sweetheart! I’ve come here to find notes so many times from people who have done just that, though more often they’re from a hunter, or climber who’s happened by, used it, and went on his way. You’d be absolutely amazed at how many times I find money left in a coffee cup in the cupboard. It happens often enough that it actually pays the taxes on the place.”
As the evening progressed, a hearty meal was had, a long evening of conversation while the couple sat, legs entwined, on the rustic furniture. At last, Mark rose and, taking the lady’s hand, he led her toward the second room. She was not sure she was ready for this, but she was game to try and as these thoughts crossed her mind, it dawned on her that she’d never completed her exploration and she didn’t know what to expect as he opened the door for her.
What greeted her was a beautiful, old, brass bed. A double, and the girl was amazed at what she was seeing… again… It was simple to be sure, but, unexpected as it was, it was, in its special way, elegant, even as this large, enigmatic companion of hers had his own elegance. She turned to him, inside his arms that wrapped fully around her, looked up at him with tears of utter joy in her eyes and softly whispered, “Thank you!”
Again that grin! He then leaned to her and kissed her lightly on the lips, softly….then, to her total surprise, shock and dismay, he released her, turned her around and, swatting her bottom playfully, pushed her into the room and pulled the door to him, saying gaily, “Good Night, Honey, I’ll wake you in the morning early enough to try your hand on those trout!”
“B-b-but Mark,” she sputtered, “what do you mean? You’re not sleeping here too?”
“No, Dear One, I’m not,” he answered. “You said you wanted us to get to know one another, did you not?” At her assurance that she did, he said “Well, Honey, if we’re to know one another well enough to form a life-long bond, we cannot do that on sex, so, you sleep here tonight, and I’ll be in the loft. If you need anything, or if anything threatens you, just holler out and I’ll be right there.” With that, he finished closing the door and was up the ladder to the loft, leaving a totally astounded and dumfounded girl standing in the beautiful bedroom.
Marni’s first reaction was fury to be rejected so, but, slowly, a smile crept to her face as she realized that he must have felt her reticence and unease, and the reality of what he’d said. How too much, too soon could destroy what promised to be a very special relationship. Besides, she thought, why would I ever expect him to be predictable? At last, after thoroughly pondering all that had happened to her today, and loving every bit of it, she slept.
Oh, such a wonderful sleep it was… as the poet once said… “To sleep, perchance to dream…” and did she ever dream! Of Knights on Chargers, of Damsels in distress, of being rescued from that distress… and always there was her Knight, the one on the Blood Bay, the one in the largest suit of armor, the one with the lopsided grin that stirred her heart and lit the fires of her soul.
Morning came too quickly, but with it came he…fishing gear in hand, a grin on his face, asking if she intended to sleep all day? “No way,” she announced, throwing back the quilt and leaping from bed… only to find every aching muscle that had been abused by horse and saddle on her ride…”Ohhhhh,” she gasped as the pain wracked her body and, limping weakly, she sent a pillow flying at his now laughing face. “You go along, I’ll be there shortly. I seem to have some things that need to be put right,” she admitted, trying to maintain a degree of poise here. When he protested, she insisted, she’d be right along… as soon as she could walk without looking like a duck, she didn’t say.
Finally, he gave in and told her where he’d be and went along ahead. When she finally did arrive some thirty minutes later, he had three nice trout on the bank and was sitting on the remains of a log that had been washed up in times of more plentiful water. “Hi, Honey,” he said cheerfully, waving as she approached. He accepted a tender morning kiss from the Beauty and asked, “did you want to catch your breakfast, or would you rather I did it for you?”
“I’d love to, but would you help me, please, Mark? I’ve never done this but I think it would be such fun!”
It was the evening of the sixth day they’d been here, the couple again on the rustic couch, again, legs entwined and talking… It seemed they never ran out of things to talk about. Marni had been telling Mark about her time spent at Princeton University, of the social life there and of her education she’d received, eventually earning a degree in Marketing and an MBA.
“Mark,” she began, “you’ve not told me of your education. I mean, I know you’ve received one, a good one, from all your insight, but where did you go to school?”
The man’s countenance sobered and, thinking quietly, said, “Well, Dear One, I earned a BS in Forestry from the University of Washington, but I’d say the insight comes from post grad work…”
“You’ve done graduate studies?” she asked, somewhat impressed. What did you do? What courses did you take, and where did you take them?”
He grinned a bit, looked at his beauty, for she was his now, and continued, “Well, I guess you’d have to say that over the years, I’ve earned a Masters in People, and a PhD in Life, both from the University of Hard Knocks.”
“I’d given up on life, especially on love, reconciled to living out my life alone… ‘til you came along and taught me what love really is. Marni, whatever happens from here, wherever we end up, please know this above all else,” and he turned to face her fully, his gaze lost in her deep green eyes… “I love you as I’ve never loved anyone in my entire life. You are the depth of my being and the height of my soul. You are my life from this day forth. For as long as you’ll have me.”
Marni, unable to speak for the sudden constriction in her throat, simply took his large hand and brought it to her mouth… and sat this way for several moments, her lips pressed to his hand. Then, tears forming, she whispered huskily… It’s time.”
At that, the woman rose from her seat and, still holding his hand, led him to her bedroom. She seated him on the bed and turned. She watched him closely through smoldering eyes as she opened the soft, forest green blouse he loved so well… one button at a time, until it fell from her shoulders. Next, her pants, and as her Levi’s were quite tight, she struggled a bit, but when he would have helped her, she motioned him back, completed that task and now her bra… Slowly she opened it, her green eyes never leaving him as her breasts were bared to him. She lifted them, bringing them together, her nipples nearly touching. Her breathing quickened as she massaged her nipples erect to stand like berries, ripe for the succor…
One hand left her breasts and drifted down, across her flat stomach to the bright green bikini panties which was all she still wore, sliding them downward as far as she could reach, then, with a kick, they were gone, left to reside with the rest of the apparel she had worn today, their need served as her body turned to another pursuit, one as old as time itself. This action revealed a mound of soft, exotic fur covering her nether regions. She allowed her hand to slide between her legs, across her mound, fluffing that fur to its full glory and relieving a bit of the itch she was beginning to feel there.
She turned now to him, popping the snaps open on his western shirt, then removing it, revealing a body that was scarred and that most would not consider as attractive as she found it. She’d studied it closely this evening as they’d swam and bathed in the cold waters of the lake, so the myriad scars there were not a surprise to her, though she wondered how he’d attained them all. “No,” she thought, it’s not a beautiful body, but it’s my body now,” she thought as she opened his belt and unbuttoned his Levi’s… motioning him up as she slid them and his briefs down and off in one fluid motion, revealing his more than erect manhood, straining for release, evidence to her of the success of her plan. She sat him back on the bed, kneeling before him, removing his jeans over his bare feet. She was entranced by the sight of him. Marni was not a virgin, not by any means, but she’d never really taken the time to look at a man here.
She allowed her head to bend to him now and was amply rewarded by the sigh that emanated from his lips as she took his engorged organ into her mouth, stroking it slowly with her lips and tongue, emulating the motions he’d feel if he were buried in her. The girl marveled at the feelings within her. She had done this before, but usually, like most women, she’d given to receive in kind, not really enjoying what she was doing. This was so different, so wonderful. She reveled in what she was doing to and for HER man, to the passion she was building within him. Suddenly, she wanted to do this to him to completion, something she’d never done or ever wanted to do before, so when she felt him begin to swell even more in her mouth, she began to work it harder, using more pressure, wanting his release.
When she felt her man reach down to stop her, she was surprised, and a little bit disappointed, but one look at the love in his eyes dispelled that entirely.
He whispered, “Darling, I’m an older man, you know, and I don’t recover as quickly as a young man does. You know, Honey, I’m not as good as I once was, but I think I’m better once than I ever was…” The lopsided grin not even out of place here, now… “So, lets, for tonight anyway, save that ‘once’ and make it special.” With that, he lifted her from the floor like she was a child and kissed her like no child had ever been kissed. Oh, how he kissed her… beginning by just brushing his lips, slightly parted, lightly across hers. He leaned in and melded his lips on hers, working his mouth so his lips rolled on hers, his tongue, a thing alive, probing searching, tasting. His hands were all over her body, down her shoulders, across her tummy, caressing her breasts, rolling her nipples between his thumb and fingers, across the mound, feeling of her soft fur, on her bottom, pulling her to him, behind her head, fingers wrapped in her hair, holding her for his probing kiss. It seemed to the woman like he had four hands as they played their songs, strumming the music from her now impassioned body.
As the kiss ended, he laid the woman on the bed, on her back, and began to pay oral tribute to her supreme Temple. Caressing and kissing her everywhere, his tongue again alive as it found places that drove her wild with emotion. Her body was out of her control, she was now his entirely, body, heart, soul and passion, to do with as he would. It was a delicious ecstasy and she felt like she would explode and never feel any greater pleasure when his mouth covered her mound and those lips so close thereto. His tongue found its way inside, caressing the heart of her womanhood in a way she’d never known in all her life. Then she felt it rising, her passion her love, her release. Her breath was gone and her voice was full as his tongue inspired her to a fantastic peak and her orgasm shook her to the depth of her being. Her body writhed, she screamed out his name as the waves coursed her body as she held his head there firmly as she came and came and came, riding the crest of both his tongue and this wave as one.
As the orgasm passed, slowly, the pulsations waning, she pulled him up to her so she could kiss him. As she did so, she felt him enter her, his so hard member penetrating her still mildly pulsating body. She gasped in pleasure and delight as she felt him working her, knowing that, now that she had found heaven in him, he would likewise find it in her as she relaxed and allowed it to happen to her, helping where she could… exciting him further as possible… But it wasn’t working that way… her body had other ideas entirely… responding deliciously as he slid in and out of her, massaging that special point that gave her such pleasure. In glory, she again rose, her hips now alive and under none of her control as she rose to meet his every thrust, stroke for stroke, feeling his wonderful weight on her… just enough as he held himself up so as to not bury her as he stroked her. Again the breath was gone, again came the sounds of ecstasy, but this time it was from two voices. As the crescendo rose, the world closed out and the two were one, for now and forever as she reached a new peak… Together this time, two together, and it was there again as she screamed his name to the everlasting mountains. This time, as her release came, she felt his too, doubling hers, as she felt him pumping his life’s essence into her depths, that exquisite fluid that spelled completion.
…It was sometime before either felt like moving again…so wonderfully spent together. “Now, young lady,” he grinned at her, “is that ok for an old guy?”
She just looked at him, unable to speak, her breathing still ragged… so she just smiled…but it was THAT smile… The smile that said the world was right and they were one…
“21 Days to Destiny – The Real Story of Bluff Creek”
By Thom Cantrall