Ben fumbled with the colorful array of bags like an interested customer, but all the while, slyly checking his watch from time to time, wondering what on earth was keeping her. She ought to have been here long before now.
"Hey honey," Tara's sweet voice suddenly called from behind.
He turned to see her beautiful face lit up in a smile as she hurried toward him, her long arms spread wide for a hug.
"Don't honey me," he frowned and folded his arms across his chest, but that didn't prevent her from hugging him tight and bathing him with kisses.
"Ooh baby. I'm so sorry I kept you waiting. The traffic was hell."
He said nothing, but continued to frown. She looked at him and smiled slyly.
"Come on, sweetheart. Won't you forgive me?"
"Why should I?"
"Because I love you soooo much!"
"You don't keep someone you love waiting for soooo long."
"I'm sorry babe," she cooed. "You know that, right? Truly, truly sorry. Come on, give me a smile."
He had immediately forgiven her upon hearing her voice when she came in, but he was not going to let her know that. She wouldn't get off the hook so easily this time, even though God knows he was fighting hard to avoid sporting a face-splitting grin. The sound of her voice always had a way of changing his mood.
"Come on, baby pleeeeease," she whined.
"No," he said stubbornly, looking away to hide the constant twitching at the corner of his lips. He loved the attention he was getting.
"Okay then," she pouted. "You leave me no choice."
He turned to her in confusion, wondering what she meant.
He didn't get to finish the statement. She put those soft, snaky fingers of hers a little below his armpits and began tickling him mercilessly. The laughter he had been holding back burst out and he squirmed in hapless delight as she continued with her sweet assault.
"Okay okay," he gasped between laughs. "I forgive you! Completely!"
"You sure?", she asked, still not letting up on the tickling.
"Yes yes yes. Just stop.. please."
She stopped and looked him in the eye for a while. Then she closed her eyes and brought her face closer to his. He met her halfway and their lips joined in a romantic dance as they kissed softly and smoothly. He always loved the way she kissed. Her long tongue would snake around his mouth sucking him in and her teeth, those perfect white teeth, would nibble on his tongue ever so lightly. She would pull in his tongue, slowly and nicely before moving her attention down to his lower lip, sucking it softly and tugging at it in a way only she could do.
"Hmm," she moaned as he sought to prolong the kiss.
She pulled away and touched lightly on his nose with her forefinger.
"Later, lover boy. We're in a boutique, not your bedroom."
He sighed as he felt the loss of her sweet tongue in his mouth. She laughed and with a toss of her head, sent her long, dark hair flowing behind her. Her laughter was like the twinkle of Christmas bells to his ears.. and her face? Oh the very representation of beauty. He watched dreamily as she sashayed over to the shoes section, her generous hips swaying from side to side. He was a lucky man, he knew that. Not many guys could boast of such a loving, playful, free and beautiful girlfriend. They had met few months ago at Salmon Beach. He was first struck by her extraordinary beauty and fell to gaping as she walked past in a swimsuit that left very little to imagination. She had waved to him and he had waved back. How it happened, he couldn't really recall, but they soon fell into conversation, then fast-forward to a few hours later, he had himself a brand new girlfriend. The most beautiful he'd ever had and perhaps, would ever have.
Ben could stay there all day watching Tara as she moved from one section to another. The moments she moved out of his line of sight, he became miserably impatient. When she reappeared, he was relaxed and content. If watching her was an occupation, he'd gladly forgo the salary. She was now moving to the bag section and he changed his position, not only to get a good view of her, but also to make sure he was the only one looking. Tara really liked her fashion. Everything she wore looked good on her and he had never seen her wear one dress twice, but the only part he was not very comfortable with was that she always paid for everything she bought. She never allowed him to take care of anything for her financially.
"Almost done, honey," she called out to him with a smile, breaking into his thoughts.
He didn't really want her to be done. He wouldn't mind watching her all day, all year and forever till the end of the world. Everything about her was beautiful and flawless, almost too real to be true. Her long, sexy legs, her super-smooth skin, oh! those lovely sea-blue eyes that sparkled with love and warmth, and those soft luscious lips. He could kiss them all day if she'd let him.
"What are you dreaming of, lover boy?", she pinched his cheek to draw him back to planet Earth.
"Oh.. you of course. Who else?"
She flashed him a toothy smile and linked hands with him.
"Come. Let's go."
He allowed her to drag him along as he watched her beautiful dark curls flowing behind her. He'd seen hair, but none like this. So soft, long and fragrant. He deliberately leaned closer to inhale the sweet scent.
"Shopping was short today," he whispered in her ear.
"Oh they didn't have all I want. Let's try another place."
Saying that, she turned to the left and pulled him with her into another boutique, a much larger one. She already had quite a number of bags with her that contained clothing she had bought from the other boutique, so she handed them over to him.
"Would you please hold these for me, honey?"
"With pleasure," he smiled as he took them from her, eliciting a grateful smile from her.
It was when he had them in his hands that he knew their true weight. Wow, these were the things that she had been walking around with as if they were paper!
"I might be a while. Hope you can wait here?"
"You mean I won't see you?", his voice advertised his disappointment.
"Oh honey. I'm coming home with you, so don't worry about that, okay?", she smiled and touched his face affectionately.
"Okay," he smiled back, the burdens already feeling lighter all of a sudden.
She kissed him lightly on the lips and then hurried away while he stood there with those heavy bags, staring at her retreating figure like someone in a trance.
"Excuse me," a deliveryman said as he sought to take the way Ben was blocking.
"Oh yeah.. um.. sorry," Ben stuttered as he jumped out of the way as much as the bags could allow him and promptly returned to staring after his girlfriend.
What with all the heavy bags and moving about from one boutique to another, Ben was dog-tired when they got home, but Tara was still as energetic as ever. He wondered how she did it. She prepared dinner, served it and sat beside him to watch the latest episode of Merlin. She loved such films and would never miss them for anything. While she concentrated on the TV, Ben was trying hard to stifle yawn after yawn. At last, he couldn't hold it in anymore. He felt it would be disrespectful to fall asleep beside her, so he had to speak out.
"Hey darling, I'm really sleepy," he murmured tiredly.
"Oh Okay. Just hold on for a few minutes, the episode will be over by then and we can go to bed, Okay?"
Just few minutes? I can do it, he said to himself. He widened his eyes and kept them fixed on the bright television screen as Merlin said 'Tospringe'. Not that he really cared what the 'young warlock' was doing. His goal was just to remain awake and to achieve that, he had to find something to engage his attention.
It felt like ten hours had passed when he heard his name being called and his cheek being pinched.
"Hmm?", he looked around him drowsily.
"You fell asleep, baby. Let's take you upstairs."
So he had fallen asleep. Hmm, so much for widened eyes and 'Tospringe'. Wordlessly, he allowed Tara lead him up the stairs to his bedroom. The house was his. He'd never visited Tara's yet. She had told him to hold on for a while. She had just gotten a new job, so had just moved to a new area. She was a banker while he was a computer programmer. Both were in their early twenties and they were madly in love.
Ben rolled over on the bed, throwing his arm on the other side hoping to feel that lovely body, but instead, he felt just the bed sheet. He flipped open his eyelids to confirm. Yes, Tara was not there. Well, he was used to it by now. Anytime she stayed with him, she always left sometime during the night. The next time he would see her would be the next morning. He had always wanted to ask her why she never stayed the whole night at his place, but that was easier said than done, because immediately he caught sight of her, everything in his mind just went out the window. All he thought about was her, her and her alone. Sighing deeply, he closed his eyes, making a mental note to talk to her about it the next day, but as he drifted back to sleep, he knew that that was a mission that would never be accomplished.