Wednesday, February 22, 2006

then the moment came ... !!!

They both rose and Tamanna picked up both mugs as they made their way back to the stern of the vessel. Once there, Manas took the mugs out of her hands and deposited them safely on one of the cockpit seats. He turned and took both her hands in his and she felt the electricity of his touch as his fingers played subtly on her palms. "It was great meeting you, Tamanna." he said, softly. His green eyes caught her blue grey ones and she felt the intensity and passion that simmered just below his surface. "Would you consider dining out tomorrow evening? I don't mean "out" exactly. But, I'd be very pleased if you'd join me for dinner up at the house." Tamanna's heart almost skipped a beat. The combination of his hands on hers and the deep endless wells of his intense eyes were having an intoxicating effect on her. She managed to regain her composure and answered him with a smile. "Yes, I'd like that very much." Tamanna watched him as he made the short trip back to the little landing. He looked back across the water and gave her a quick wave before disappearing into the trees. She went below and tried, unsuccessfully, to put the final verses on a poem about the wind and sea that she had started earlier in the day. Somehow, Manas had managed in a few short minutes to totally sidetrack her. Tamanna gave up the effort and decided to call it a night. She went up on deck to retrieve the blanket from the foredeck and recheck the anchor line. She glanced up at the sky studded with the millions of tiny points of light not seen from the city and marveled, as always, at the vastness. When she was back below decks she pulled her journal from it's shelf and sat down to sum up her day. But where to begin, she thought !!! Who would have guessed I'd anchor right in front of Manas Mehta’s house!!? My God but he's gorgeous. I can't believe he was even here....seems like a dream. Get a grip, girl. He's just a guy...dinner...what is that? Probably has his own cook up there in that big house. Well, maybe I'm not being fair. I hardly know him. Oooohhh but when he touched me …. Uffffff !!!

Above her, in the house on the hill, Manas played on into the late evening. Running endless tunes through his head, trying to play away his tension. He kept reviewing his encounter with Tamanna trying to figure out just where and when it changed from idle curiosity to ... what was it now? Infatuation? She was quite different from the kind of women he was used to meeting. Good lord though, he mused, she really was pretty, in a very appealing tom-boy kind of way. What would tomorrow bring? He put down the acoustic guitar he had been playing. Manas crossed his bedroom to the window which looked out over the water. There was no moon so the night was profoundly dark here away from the city lights. But he could see the little anchor light glowing brightly from the top of the mast of "TAMANNA”. The sight seemed to reassure him and he sprawled across the big bed and slept. Tamanna didn't bring much in the way of clothing with her when she sailed except the practical and serviceable shirts, sweat shirts and canvas pants that wore well for the kind of physical activity that sailing required. But she had come straight from the office to the waters on this trip so she had the dressy blouse that she had worn with her business suit that day. It was a very summery mint green and would look just fine with her blue jeans for a casual dinner date. Manas was waiting there on the landing; this time helping her tie up the little craft. He then extended a hand and helped her out onto the float. "I'm so glad you decided to join me." he said. "I don't get a chance to cook for a beautiful lady every day." Tamanna recalled her musings of the previous evening about a cook and felt the heat rise a little in her cheeks. She smiled up at him, "I'm looking forward to it. Thanks for asking me" !

They moved off the little landing and she followed his lead up the pathway through the trees to the house. The path climbed quite steeply in places and several times he took her hand in his to guide her in the tricky footing. Each time he held her hand, images flooded her mind of those hands holding her much more intimately and she wondered if somehow he sensed her imaginings. They climbed a short wide wooden staircase at the side of the house which brought them up to a spacious deck. Manas opened the doors and ushered her in to the house. To her left was a dining area with a small round wooden table and four comfortably cushioned chairs. He had draped the table with a fine white linen cloth and added a single tall blue taper candle to the center. He really was trying to impress, she thought. To the left was a large living area, with floor to ceiling windows at the far end of the room looking out over the water. Tamanna was drawn to them immediately. "The view is spectacular from here." she told him. He had crossed to the kitchen and now came back across the room with two wine glasses in hand. "That's one of the reasons I bought the house." he replied, "Some wine?" "Yes please." she said, taking the glass he offered. She took a small taste of the delicate white wine and savoured the richness. "Mmm, this is very good." "Glad you like it. Hope you like seafood too." He grinned, "You're a sailor right? You do like the fruit of the ocean?" "I do like seafood, very much, Manas." she grinned back at him. "Besides, it's not often that a handsome man like yourself cooks me a meal. I think I should be thankful" "Oh I'm sure there are plenty of handsome men around who'd be happy to cook you dinner, Tamanna." he retorted, baiting her. "They're probably lined up round the block!" "Not my block!" she replied, with a rueful chuckle. She turned back to the window to drink in more of the view. He moved close behind her so she could actually feel his warm breath on the nape of her neck. She felt a sudden but very pleasant tingling sensation creep down her spine. He put one hand across her shoulder, pointing across the water to the south and west. Her eyes followed the direction he indicated but the rest of her senses were on the contact now between them.

"When you came up the channel did you see the rocks way down there on the other shore? There's always a big group of seals there." he asked her. "Yes, I remember them well. They sure were noisy." Tamanna laughed a little nervously. Manas had dropped the hand that was pointing but made no move to break the contact between them.
"The fishing's really great just around there. Those seals know what they're talking about!" he laughed. "Come on. Let's eat." With one arm around her shoulders, he lead her back across the room and then pulled out her chair to help her get seated. The sun had all but gone so the candle light made beautiful patterns on the wall of the room as they began to dine. He had made a light salad of Italian , almond slivers and raisins in a wine vinegar dressing to start ( as told to me by the Chef at NEWYORKER … Pune ) . Tamanna was quite surprised and found herself reassessing her opinion of him quite drastically. For the main course, he brought out ………which were served on a bed of ……with a rather delicate …..sauce.( I donno much about cooking folks ….. so plzz !!! ) The meal was totally tantalizing and the wine complemented it perfectly. As they ate, he put her at ease with his uncontrived interest in who she was and what she was about..

"Do you write then?" he asked, as he poured her a little more wine. She chuckled almost to herself. "Yes I write. But most of it will probably never leave my computer's hard drive. I'm kind of a perfectionist, so it's never good enough to show to a friend let alone a publisher." "You have to step out there and take that risk." he urged. "It's like my music. You just reach a point where even if it isn't perfect you commit to it, record it and move on." "That's a great philosophy, Manas" she said softly. "Maybe I'll do that ..." Her eyes were sparkling in the candle's glow and Manas was reminded of the stars in the sky. "You have stars in your eyes, Tamanna" he told her. "I have a 'star' across the table." she quipped back, and giggled. His laughter mingled with hers and he reached across the table and gently took the wine glass from her hand.

He then took her hand in both his, caressing it softly from the inside of her wrist to her finger tips. She trembled a little as the sensations of his touch traveled with electric speed to her core. "You're hands are so soft and small." he marveled, thinking of his first impression of her as she sailed the little boat so expertly all alone. "Would you let me read some of your writing some day?" he asked. "I'm not as intimidating as a publisher might be." "I could I suppose." Tamanna said quietly. "I will think about it Manas. It's a kind offer." He released his hold on her hand and smoothly started to clear their empty plates from the table. "I'm not a harsh critic at all" he reassured her, "I'm awestruck by anyone who can express themselves in writing." Tamanna took a deep breath and another short sip of her wine. Is it the wine that's going to my head, she thought. All she wanted was for Manas to touch her, take her hand again. Instead, he merely put his head around the corner of the kitchen doorway. "Hope you like strawberries," he announced. "Dessert too…..!" her surprise evident in her voice. "Thank you, I love strawberries. They are one of my favourites!"
He returned with the strawberries, sliced and served with ice cream. As he placed the bowl before her with a flourish, she became quite conscious of his closeness and fought an urge to reach out for him. Manas sat down again, stretching his long legs out beneath the table and folding his hands together across his stomach. "You're not having strawberries?" she queried, noticing that he'd brought only the one bowl. "I thought perhaps you might share one or two of yours." he told her, his green eyes twinkling in the candlelight. She lowered her eyes quickly from his, feeling a certain heat rise in her cheeks. "Sure." she whispered. She spooned out a mouthful of the fruit and cream extending her arm towards him. Manas took the proffered spoonful, leaning forward toward her a little but not altering his comfortable stretching posture. Tamanna had to slide her chair closer to his to reach his mouth safely. "That's good." Manas murmured, and she wasn't sure if he was referring to the strawberries or not. She took a spoonful of the fruit herself and savoured the taste.

"Yes they are good." she agreed. When she again extended her arm to feed him another spoonful, he unclasped his hands and grasped her wrist very gently. He extended one finger to caress the inside of her wrist again as he took the fruit into his mouth. "Very good indeed." he stated quietly. He rose and crossed to the big windows with his back to her. She was taken aback by his sudden departure which left her with feelings that were all mixed up. Tamanna toyed with the rest of the fruit and ice cream in the bowl, watching Manas' back as he gazed out the dark windows. After a couple of more mouthfuls, she laid the spoon aside and wiped the corners of her mouth with her napkin. His voice, when it came startled her. "Had enough?" he asked, without turning around. It took her a second to realize that the darkness outside allowed him to see her reflection without turning. "Yes thanks, Manas. It was delicious" She crossed the room to where he stood but stopped one pace short of being right at his side. She extended one hand and touched his shoulder. "Manas, what are you thinking?" He turned towards her all smiles, but the green eyes had a much heavier emotion apparent in their half lidded sultry look. She found herself drawn into them like a moth to a flame. "I was thinking how strange it was that you came and anchored right here." he said, he grasped both her wrists in his and pulled her towards him. She came willingly and found herself cradled against his chest. "You're so completely unlike anyone I've met before," He had not released his gentle hold on her wrists until he had guided them comfortably to hold him around his waist. When he did let go, he again gently caressed her with his fingertips. Tamanna drew in a breath and wondered would it be her last. She though she could die right here and now in his embrace, in arms that were now enfolding her and gently caressing her back and neck through her blouse. "Manas ..." she started tentatively, but the words just escaped her. "What love?" he murmured, his lips against her forehead, his warm breath making her head swim. "Manas I want ..." she again choked on the words. Her arms and hands held him very tightly as though she were drowning and he was her saviour. Manas placed several tiny kisses on her forehead, then spoke again.


Blogger noxious-mortal said...

nice description....and a superb style of writing.... wow!!!

2:38 AM  

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