Awkward. That’s how Levi felt standing just inside the door of their tiny cottage near the outskirts of the village. They were actually quite close to where Nicholas and Becky still had their tent set up but had no intention of seeing them anytime soon.
Tiani excitedly showed Levi around the cottage, where she had already moved her belongings and his, tucking things away into cupboard spaces in the walls. There wasn’t really a kitchen because the villagers ate in a communal fashion near the large eating area. But some corn breads and flat breads and tortillas had been placed upon a shelf with fruits and nuts and jugs of fresh water. Tiani even bragged that she’d remembered to have the water purified by the scientists so that Levi didn’t get sick.
Levi would eventually need to drink small amounts of water from the cenote to gradually build up an immunity to the microorganisms in order to live here long-term, but not during their honeymoon.
When she had completed her tour of the one-room cottage, Levi realized this little space was just for them, a honeymoon suite designed for isolation. The thought reminded him the reason they were here and again he was nervous.
“Would you like me to help you with your braids?” Levi asked Tiani, stepping closer to her and lifting the longest and thickest braid, which hung to the middle of her back. Just touching her for the first time was enough to send his heart and body into overdrive. The honor of using his fingers to comb through the interwoven locks of her hair was a sweet bonus for this night.
He took his time, unwinding each part slowly, then moving on to the next braid, gradually making his way around her head, letting the thick, brown locks fall across her shoulders and neck. When he turned her around and gazed upon her with her hair down for the first time, his breath caught. A sweet innocence replaced the stoic façade Tiani conveyed to everyone else. The soft smile on her face was reserved for him, and him alone.
Without another word, Levi stepped closer and lifted her hair off her shoulders, letting the silken waves hang down her back. Then he leaned forward and kissed the right side of her neck, just behind her ear. A soft moan escaped her throat as he moved to the opposite side and kissed her there as well.
Kissing was a unique concept. Lips were such a sensitive collection of nerve endings that the mere act of pressing his lips to her body, anywhere on her body, elicited a reaction that flowed through him from the top of his head down to his toes.
The sleeves on the elegant wedding gown of silk and linen, slipped easily over her shoulders, exposing her entire neck and upper chest. As Levi continued his path of kisses, Tiani reached for the buttons of his shirt, unbuttoning one at a time until his chest was exposed. She pulled the now unnecessary article of clothing down and off, and it landed in a heap on the floor.
That simple act of his shirt hitting the floor at his feet was like permission to remove all other hindrances until they were skin to skin and pulling each other toward the bed. Joining himself in marriage, body and soul, with Tiani was the greatest experience of Levi’s thirty years on earth.
Now Levi understood what Nicholas had meant when he’d said there was nothing in the world better than this.