Part 45: www.fanpop.com/spots/arthur-and-gwen/articles/143487/t...-45
“Told you so,” Arthur whispers into her neck.
“I didn’t doubt you,” she tells him, still running her fingers through his hair.
He straightens up and looks at her, his face still sad. “That news article just makes it so… real,
you know? Not that I didn’t think it wasn’t real, but actually seeing it documented in black and white, so detached like that, as if she wasn’t the love of someone’s life, wasn’t someone’s mother…”
“Shh, love,” she gently pulls his head back down to her shoulder, kissing his head.
They sit there a few more moments, holding each other in the dim light as the storm rages outside.
“Arthur?” she finally says.
“You smell like fish.” She kisses his head again.
“Oh!” he says, lifting his head, feigning a look of hurt. “And I suppose you don’t?” He leans back in and sniffs her, making a great show of it, sniffing everywhere he can find as Gwen descends into a fit of giggles.
“Hmm. You don’t. That’s hardly fair,” he pouts.
“Yes, well, I wasn’t the one swinging fish guts around the kitchen, either,” she laughs.
“So are you suggesting that I shower?”
“Probably couldn’t hurt. And I’d go now if I were you.”
“No, you’ll want to take advantage while there’s still hot water. With the power out and all, you know.”
“Good point.” He helps her out of his lap, and stands. Before she can walk away he pulls her to him for a great hug, completely surrounding her.
“Thank you,” he whispers to her. For making me confront this, for being here, for making me laugh when it was time.
“You’re welcome,” a muffled voice comes from the vicinity of his chest. He loosens his grip enough to bend down to kiss her, a soft, longing kiss, his way of saying the words that he isn’t always able to form. One hand slides up to touch the bare skin on the top of her back, to her shoulder, the other hand around her waist.
He breaks the kiss, and with a last, “I love you,” he goes to shower the fish smell away. Gwen picks up the box and follows, placing it on a side table in the bedroom so they don’t forget to bring it along when they leave tomorrow.
Dining room? Too formal. Kitchen? Not intimate enough.
Gwen wanders the house, formulating plans for the evening. And lighting candles, as it isn’t getting any brighter out and soon it will be evening. The days are getting shorter already.
She enters the parlor.
Hmm. That table will do nicely. Just need to move a few things.
She goes to a low, wide rectangular table in front of a sofa and pulls it into the center of the room. There is a large shallow bowl in the center of the table with some artificial lemons in it that she removes to a side table.
She turns and takes some throw pillows from the furniture and puts them on the floor on two sides of the table before going in search of table linens.
She goes to a hallway closet. Nope. Not here.
She hears the shower turn off, so she walks to the bedroom.
“Do you know where I might find a tablecloth?” she asks as he emerges with a towel wrapped around his waist.
“Here,” he removes the towel and hands it to her.
“Very funny,” she says, not taking the towel and stubbornly not
looking anywhere but his face.
“Try the sideboard in the dining room.”
“Oh yeah, silly me.” She turns and walks out, but not before noticing Arthur’s pout at her lack of reaction to his behavior. She grins once she’s out of sight.
Gwen sets the table for two, places some candles on it, and steps back. Candles don’t match, but who cares? Not like he’ll notice.
As she exits the room, something catches her eye. It looks like another sideboard, but there is a power cord coming out of the back of it. She goes in for a closer inspection, and finds that it’s actually an old hi-fi record player console, complete with a large collection of record albums.
“No way,” she mumbles, and starts flipping through the records.
“That was my Gran’s,” Arthur says from the doorway.
“Does it work?” she asks.
“Not a the moment, but when there is electricity, it does. At least it did last we checked.”
“Your Gran had quite the collection here. Bach, Beethoven, Beethoven, Chopin, Haydn, Holst, Liszt,” she pauses, looking up with a smile. “They’re alphabetized.” Arthur laughs at the fact that Gwen seems pleased by this as she continues. “Mozart, Mozart, Mozart, Mozart, Mozart, Prokofieff, Schumann – Robert and
Clara, Strauss, Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky, Wagner. Wow.”
“Gran was a concert pianist.”
“Did she give you lessons?” she asks, remembering that he used to play.
“No, she was away a lot,” he says. “But she arranged for me to have them and even paid for them.”
Clearly his grandmother was someone special,
Gwen thinks, smiling.
“There should be more yet in there,” he says, stepping closer.
“Yes, there’s a divider and another stack. Oh! Louis Armstrong, Tony Bennett, John Coltrane, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Dean Martin, Glenn Miller, Bud Powell, Frank Sinatra, Mel Tormé. Your Gran had some taste.” I wish the power were on.
She sighs and slides the lid closed. “Do you think you can handle getting a fire started for me while I prep dinner?”
“Yes, it needs to be nice and hot with enough coals for me to cook on.”
“Yeah, I can do that.”
She kisses him. “If you need help, let me know,” she teases.
“I’ll just throw some petrol on it,” he kisses her back.
“Don’t you dare. You smell good now, don’t ruin it.” She kisses him a final time and walks away before he can persuade her to stay longer.
They dine by candlelight, sitting on the floor at the low table. Gwen has changed into Capri pants and has put a short-sleeved blouse on like a light jacket over her tank top, and her hair is now loose. The change in the weather has caused a drop in temperature, but the storm is winding down. Every now and then they hear a distant rumble of thunder, and the rain has slowed some.
“So if everything is in foil pouches, how do you know when it’s done?” Arthur asks, peering at the perfectly-cooked bite of fish on the end of his fork.
“Well, I do open them and look periodically, you know. I’m not a magician,” she chuckles.
“You are to me,” he says. “The things you do constantly amaze me. I mean, how lucky am I to find a woman who can not only cook fish this good but it also willing to go out and catch
“You are very lucky,” she smiles impishly at him. He picks up her hand and kisses it.
“And you are very beautiful,” he tells her, enjoying how the light from the candles and the fireplace glints warmly on her skin and reflects gold in her eyes. He kisses her hand again before releasing it to take a drink.
“I wish the power were on,” Gwen says.
“I don’t. I’m rather enjoying this,” Arthur says.
“No, what I mean is if we had electricity, then we could have some music while we eat.”
“I could sing for you again,” he laughs.
“Um, no, that’s all right,” she joins his laughter.
“I was thinking,” Arthur begins after a minute.
“About having dinner with my father. He usually goes to his club on Wednesday nights for dinner. I’ll see if he wants some company.”
“Sounds like a plan.”
“I mean, I know I’m just getting off work that day and it’s not exactly fair to abandon you for dinner…”
“No, this is important. I think I’ll survive. Besides, I’ll be waiting for you when you get home.”
He smiles. “Always something to look forward to. And I’ll come have lunch with you for sure, then.”
“I think it’s brilliant, going to his territory. He’ll be comfortable, and since it’s his
club and there will be people around, he’ll be less likely to make a scene if he gets agitated.”
“My thoughts exactly.” He takes a bite of potato. “These potatoes are really good, too, by the way.”
“Thank you. It’s all very simple cooking; don’t be so impressed. Campfire food. Even you could manage it, probably.”
He laughs again, and the power suddenly snaps back on. They look around, blinking, forks paused mid-air, mouths open.
Arthur shrugs. “No lights on in here anyway,” he says, continuing to eat.
Gwen stands and goes to the record player. She flips through the albums and decides on Frank Sinatra.
“Need any help?” Arthur asks.
“No, I’ve got it,” she says, and the music starts. She adjusts the volume down. “Too loud? Too soft?”
“Nope, it’s fine, love.”
She walks back to the table, pausing to throw another log into the fireplace, and sits back down.
“Happy now?” he asks.
“Yes,” she smiles at him, content that the final piece of the romantic atmosphere is in place.
“We have a whole room full of records in the basement of the library,” she tells him, setting her fork down. “No one is interested in them anymore, so they sit.”
“That’s really too bad. Couldn’t you find a collector or something?”
She shakes her head. “We tried. Collectors only want albums in pristine condition, not ones that have been handled and mishandled by careless library patrons.”
Arthur finishes as well, and Gwen stands to clear the plates. He stands to help her, and the song changes on the record. Strangers in the Night.
He listens a minute. This is a good song,
he thinks. He takes the plates out of Guinevere’s hands and sets them back down on the table.
“Arthur, what…?” Gwen asks, as Arthur pulls her into his arms.
He takes her hands and puts them up around his neck. “Would you like to dance?” he asks softly in her ear, the exact same thing he said to her when they first danced.
She smiles, his warm lips and breath on her ear sending shivers down her spine. They dance slowly to the music, completely absorbed in one another, much like they were that first night.
Her fingers once again find their way into the hair at the base of his skull. His hands once again rove around, this time more boldly, sliding up underneath the back of her blouse so he can feel her skin under his fingers.
She leans closer and turns her head, resting her cheek on his chest and closing her eyes, trusting him to keep her upright. I can hear his heart beating.
Her shoulders start to ache slightly, and she slides her hands down his chest and threads them under his arms and around his back. One of his hands wanders down to rest on her backside and he rests his head on top of hers.
There is no world outside of this room.
As the song ends and the next song (That’s Life,
which is hardly romantic) begins, Gwen realizes that they haven’t really been dancing for the last couple minutes so much as they’ve been standing still and holding each other. That’s okay, too.
“You were supposed to be being compliant to my
will this evening, you know,” she reminds him, smiling against his chest.
“One little dance doesn’t count,” he says, kissing her hair.
She leans back and kisses the hollow between his collarbones, touching her tongue to his skin briefly as she does so. He sighs and closes his eyes.
“I’ll clean this up, since you cooked,” he declares. He bends down and kisses her on the lips before reluctantly releasing her from his arms.
thinks Gwen. She goes to the stereo and takes the record off, puts it back in its sleeve and places it back exactly where she found it in the stack. Once Arthur is in the kitchen, she slips back to the bedroom.
Part 47: www.fanpop.com/spots/arthur-and-gwen/articles/143942/t...-47