“You’re sure you’re not too full?” Joel was still hesitant, even though Winnie had insisted she was fine. Several hours had passed since having dinner with his family and they’d spent the past hour watching the sunset over the Pacific Ocean, holding each other and talking.
“Do I look too full to you?” Winnie held her arms out like a supermodel and spun like she was on a runway showing off the most fashionable bikini ever designed by man.
“You look incredible, Mrs. Anderson.” Joel recognized a husky growl in the back of his throat and fought the urge to rip the bikini off his wife’s body so he could finally see what was on the other side. They’d been married over a week and he’d yet to see his bride fully unclothed.
“Right back at you, Mr. Anderson.” Winnie stalked forward, crossing the room to where Joel stood beside the hot tub wearing swim trunks and holding a towel for when they emerged from the water. “Love the no-shirt look.”
“In that case, we might as well match.” He reached behind her neck and pulled the strings holding her swimsuit in place, letting the barely concealing bit of fabric fall to the floor. He didn’t go so far as to leer at her now exposed body even though that’s exactly what he wanted to do. Instead, he pulled her close and held her gently, whispering down to her, “I promised we’d try but I don’t want to overwhelm you.”
“We’ve been married over a week,” Winnie said. “It’s time we do more than try.”
“If you insist.” Joel pulled away and held his wife at arm’s length, allowing his eyes to travel all the way down to her calloused ballerina toes and all the way up to parts only recently exposed. He lifted his gaze back to hers. “You’re beautiful.”
Without acknowledging his compliment, Winnie pulled Joel toward the Jacuzzi tub and climbed the stairs, never releasing his hand. He climbed in after her and immediately lifted her onto his lap, wasting no time before pressing his lips together with hers.
Even their first kiss didn’t compare to this level of intensity. They were married now. He didn’t have to hold anything back, and he didn’t. He kissed her everywhere, her lips, her neck, her earlobes, her shoulders. Nothing was off limits. And she kissed him right back. She wanted him as much as he wanted her, and he wanted to give her every part of himself.
Forget the Jacuzzi. Within ten minutes of sinking into the hot water, he was carrying her right back out of the tub, barely pausing their kisses long enough to deposit her on their king-sized bed. The anticipation of finally making love to his wife was overwhelming. The rest of their clothes were quickly removed and he didn’t wait a second more.
“Ow! Joel, you’re hurting me. Get off!”
You’ve got to be kidding me! Joel pressed his face into the pillow beside her head and physically cried, This was not what he had in mind when he committed to waiting to have sex until they were married. They were married! It was time! If not now, then when?
“I’m sorry! I’m so sorry!” Winnie was crying too.
“You don’t have to be sorry,” Joel managed to choke out through his tears. “Not your fault.” He surrendered completely into her arms, not even trying to hide his tears.
“Feels like my fault,” she said thru wracking sobs.
Joel pulled away and propped himself up on his elbow, needing to provide reassurance. “Listen to me, this is not your fault.” He brushed a stray hair away from her face.
“I don’t know what went wrong,” Winnie said. “What did I do wrong?”
“You didn’t do anything wrong,” Joel said, still breathing heavy and frustrated beyond his own imagination. “Our bodies just need to learn how to work together. That’s all.”
“How are our bodies supposed to learn if it hurts to try?” Winnie asked.
“I don’t know, sweetheart.” He pressed his face into the pillow again and mumbled into the fabric. “We’ll figure something out. I’m sure we’re not the only married couple in the world who struggles with stuff like this.”
“I think we’re the only married couple in the world who’s never at least had a honeymoon.”
“We’ll have a honeymoon.” Joel lifted his head again and looked his bride firmly in the eye. “I promise. We might just need to get creative. And be patient with each other.”
“I can be patient,” Winnie squeaked out, her brow still creased.
“I love you,” Joel said definitively. “No matter what else happens. Please know that I love you.”
“I love you too.” Winnie nodded.
“Love is the foundation for a happy marriage,” Joel said. “Not sex.”
“I agree… but… I want to have sex too,” Winnie whispered.
“Me too,” Joel whispered back and grinned. “What do you say we make out for a little while and hope our bodies catch up to our hearts.”
“I love that idea.” Winnie pulled him down for another long kiss.
Book Club Discussion Questions: Statics show that couples who have a honeymoon are much more likely to stay happily married. What advice would you give to Winnie and Joel?