“Sparsely decorated,” Joel said, turning on the light switch just inside the door of their tiny new apartment. Having stayed at his parents’ home for the past week in complete luxury, coming back to the real world was depressing. Especially returning to the cold Michigan winter after watching the sunset off the beach in California.
“Our furniture will be delivered in a few hours,” Winnie said with a teasing lilt to her voice. She dropped her purse on the kitchen counter along with her water bottle and turned to the empty living room. “We can dance without furniture getting in the way.” She leapt across the room and spun on her toes.
“Leave it to you to find a way to bring dancing into the equation.” Joel slipped his keys in his pocket and reached to pull her into his arms, swaying to an unheard rhythm playing out in his head.
“Not exactly the kind of dancing I was talking about, but this works too.” She swayed back and forth in his arms and rested her head on his shoulder.
Joel appreciated her allowing him to lead. He wanted to be man enough to be what she wanted him to be. To care for her. To provide for her. So far in their marriage he hadn’t felt much success in providing for her. Their honeymoon had been nonexistent, or frustrating at best. Sure, they’d gotten to spend time together but not in the way he wanted, not in the way he needed.
He didn’t want to put any pressure on Winnie. She was so vulnerable, thinking their failures in intimacy had been her fault. It was just bad luck that she’d gotten sick and then started her period, neither of which she had any control of. Now they’d been married close to two weeks and nothing.
There’s more to marriage than sex. He kept repeating that to himself, trying to convince himself. Joel had promised Winnie that he was happy and content no matter what, that he loved her, and he did. But dang, he wanted her.
Holding her in his arms like this, swaying to music that only existed in his thoughts, his body took his mind in a million directions and all of them led back to the bedroom.
Their bedroom currently had an empty floor without even a rug or carpet, not that he would subject either of them to such discomfort. The first time he made love to his wife would be on a bed. Period. End of story. As tempting as the backseat of his Mustang sounded right about then.
Broad daylight? Not a good idea. None of this was a good idea. He was pulled from his musings by her soft voice.
“We should get the groceries out of the car.”
“One more minute of dancing,” Joel insisted, not opening his eyes, just swaying in their empty living room, wanting so much more.
Winnie surrendered into his arms and sighed. “I could get used to this.”
“We should dance together more often,” Joel mumbled, rubbing his hands up and down her back while holding her close. With her body pressed against his, she lifted her face off his shoulder and they were cheek to cheek and then his mouth searched for hers. Before connecting in a kiss, he whispered in desperation, “Edwina.”
Her answering kiss was passionate, hungry, demanding. She wanted him as badly as he wanted her.
There was a clanking in the hallway and a man came around the corner pulling a dolly with a large box. Interrupted again.
“Got a dining room table delivery for”—the man looked down at his clipboard—“the Andersons.”
“That’s us.” Joel cleared his throat as he pulled away from his wife.
For the next several hours they had an almost continuous chain of furniture deliveries.
Shane arrived to help Joel set up the furniture, Danielle arrived to help Winnie organize the kitchen and by the time they were ready for bed, they were both exhausted.
Just as they’d done every night since they’d been married, they snuggled into bed together and fell asleep.
Book Club Discussion Questions: Super short chapter here that will need to be expanded when I have a few minutes. What would you like to see added here?