December 30, 1950

Win and Katie exited the hotel’s elevator and walked down the corridor to their room.  Up until now, Katie had felt like the whole day was like a dream, a fairy tale come true.  But now, here in this room, it was going to be real, and she didn’t know if she was ready for reality to take over.  She shivered, and her hand felt cold, even tucked into the crook of Win’s arm.

Win inserted his key into the lock.  “Well, Mrs. Frayne, here we are.  Are you happy?”  He looked down at her with his sweet, kind smile.  Kind, and what else?  How does he really feel, she wondered.  What have we done?

He turned the key and pushed the door open.  She could just get a glimpse of a pleasantly furnished, if not luxurious, room, with a large, high bed as its centerpiece.  Win flicked the light switch and turned to her.  “Mrs. Frayne,” he said again, bending over and scooping her up into his arms.

“Oh!”  She couldn’t say anything else, but threw her arms around his neck and buried her face in his shoulder.

“It’s traditional for a man to carry his bride over the threshold,” he told her with a chuckle.  “You’re not afraid I’ll drop you, are you?”

“N-no, n-not really,” she stammered.  “I just wasn’t expecting it.”

He set her down at the foot of the bed and went back to the hallway to retrieve their two small suitcases, and she took the opportunity to check out her hair and makeup in the mirror.  As she did, her gaze fell upon the orchid pinned to the lapel of her gray wool suit.  Gently, she caressed the beautiful flower, before carefully removing it from the garment.  She held it to her nose and inhaled.  The scent was very mild, but pleasant.

“So, did you like your wedding corsage?”  He’d come up behind her and placed both his hands on her shoulders, dipping his head to nuzzle the top of hers.

“Oh, Win, it’s so beautiful!” she exclaimed.  “I wish I could save it forever!”  She spun around and smiled at him, laying the flower on top of the hotel dresser with a final pat.

“Well, put it in some water,” he suggested.  “I’ll get a glass for you now.”  He took one of the glasses from the dresser and filled it at the bathroom sink, while she examined the corsage.

“I don’t know, Win.  It looks like the stem’s been replaced with floral tape and a wire,” she said.  “There’s no way of saving it.”   

“We’ll just have to remember it,” he decided.  “Just leave it where we can see it.” 

Katie laid the beautiful orchid on the table, next to the tray that held the ice bucket, where she could see it from the bed.   Walking back over to the dresser, she removed the little gray pillbox hat with its wisp of veiling and released the pins holding her curls in a grown-up French twist.  Even though every action she took signaled that the inevitable was getting closer, she felt more like herself with her hair down.  Pushing her high-heeled shoes off, she felt more relaxed.  Win had gone out to fill the ice bucket, and she drew a long sigh of relief and sat down in the room’s armchair, stretching her feet out in front of her and wiggling her toes.  In seconds, the room grew dim and blurred, and she gave in to the urge to close her eyes.

“Katie, darling,” a voice was saying in her ear.  Her eyes sprang open.  It was Win.  Where had he come from?  Oh, yes...they were married.  He was still talking.  “Now, I know you’re bound to be tired.  Why don’t you go ahead and take a bath?   I’ll listen to the news, and then I’ll get cleaned up when you’re finished.”

“Um, sure.  Yes, I’ll do that.”  She stood and walked over to her suitcase, opened and lying on the low dresser.  Pulling out her few toiletries, she flicked through the two changes of clothing she’d brought for her blue flannel gown and a pair of bobby socks.  She always got so cold at night, and the gown and socks kept her from shivering.

But just as she pulled the nightclothes out, Win was next to her with a flat box wrapped in pale pink paper.  The ribbon on it said “Parisian” which Katie recognized as the name of an exclusive ladies’ shop in White Plains.  “Wear this,” he said with a warm smile.  “I promise I won’t let you get cold.” 

She stared at the box, her face heating.  In fact, a rush of warmth suffused her whole body.  But obediently, she dropped the blue flannel gown back into her suitcase and pulled the ribbon from the box.  She felt Win watching her as she carefully pulled apart the paper and let it drop onto the floor.  The box was fastened with tape at both ends and her fingers were shaking so she could hardly slit the tape with a fingernail.  The box popped apart and a pale pink negligee of shimmery nylon and lace slid out onto the bed.  Katie was still staring at the end of the box, which read:  Vanity Fair  Size: XS  Color:   Blush.               

Win listened to the broadcast of The Cavalcade of Sports on the radio with one ear, and the occasional splash or the thunder of running water from the bathroom with the other.  The door was closed and he wondered what the evening would bring to him and his brand-new wife. 

Wife.  It gave him a warm feeling, although at the same time a shiver of apprehension disturbed his peace of mind.  They barely knew each other, and he’d been uncharacteristically impulsive in proposing marriage—to save a girl who he considered a good friend from the fate of applying to the Olyfants for a place to live.  Uncle James would not be pleased, he was sure.  Still, Katie was a sweet and beautiful girl, and he was prepared to keep his vow.  He was sure he could make her happy, and certain that Uncle James and Aunt Nell would love her once they took the time to know her.

The sound of the bathroom door opening caught his attention.  Katie emerged, wearing the delicate pink nylon gown and matching short robe.  Okay, short is relative he corrected himself.  Katie was petite and the robe and gown dropped nearly to her ankles.  He noticed another thing—while the cut of the peignoir set was modest, the silky, flowing fabric hinted at an enticing body beneath.  His breath caught and he had to force his thoughts away from the vision his mind conjured of that body.  

 Her blonde hair was gathered into a loose knot on top of her head, and damp tendrils clung to her forehead and neck.  She reached up to loosen the bobby pins holding it up, and looked at him with big eyes, like a child.  “You can use the bathroom now if you want to,” she said. 

Had he made a terrible mistake?  But he went on into the bathroom to shower and shave for the second time that day.

Katie stood in front of the mirror and brushed her hair until it was smooth.  The shower was still running.  She climbed into the bed and tucked the waltz-length nightgown around her icy feet, pulling the covers up around her neck.  Next would come the part she’d been pushing to the back of her mind.  She and Win had shared a few brief kisses.  And there was no doubt in her mind that she was strongly attracted to him.  Sometimes she felt weak in the knees when she just had a fleeting thought of him, or saw him at a distance.  He could make her feel special, just with that smile, or a look in his eyes.  But did she really love him?  Love him enough to spend the rest of her life with him?  She barely knew him, really. And what about him? He was defying his uncle’s plans for him by marrying her. She knew that.  If she caused him to be alienated from the only family he had, how would that affect their future?  She shivered and hugged her arms together, noticing that the water had stopped running.

More immediately, could she...satisfy...him, as a wife?  This was their wedding night, after all, and they hadn’t even come close to intimacy before now.  She’d had no other experiences, although she’d dated a few boys at school, so she didn’t know how she was supposed to act.  No boy or man had ever seen her unclothed. 

Win emerged from the bathroom, dressed in dark green pajamas.  She could see the white of a T-shirt in the v-neckline of his top.

He slipped between the covers, into the bed next to her.  “You didn’t warm up the bed much,” he teased, putting out an arm for her to cuddle up to him. 

“I know,” she admitted with a sigh.  “I’m freezing.”

He stroked her arm through the robe she still wore.  “I can warm you up.  Move closer.”  Shyly, she obeyed, accepting a sweet kiss as he reached down to pull her feet closer.  The heat radiating from his body did help, and she began to relax as his hand continued to rub her arm.  After awhile he unbuttoned the front of the robe and pulled the edges apart, easing it down over her shoulder.  

“Your skin is so soft and smooth,” he murmured, kissing her again.

She felt she should do something, so she reached up to caress his cheek.  “Your face is so smooth now.  Did you shave again?”

“Absolutely.  I didn’t want to leave scratches on my new wife’s face,” he replied.  His teeth flashed in a smile she could see in the dimness.  “Are you getting warmer?”


“You’re not going to sleep in that robe, are you?”

“No, I suppose I’m not.”  She allowed him to raise her up enough to slide the robe off her other shoulder as well.  In a moment the slippery garment was flying across the bed to the foot of the bed, and he caressed both of her arms with a gentle touch. 

“I’m hot now.”  His voice was thick with...what?  “Do you mind if I take off my pajama top?”

“N-no.”  she watched as he unfastened the buttons and the pajama shirt went sailing across to join her robe.

He reached for her and now his hands began to reach around to her back, and his uppermost hand settled on her hip, rubbing its swell with strange, but pleasant, circular motions before it moved on down to her thigh and then her knee.  She wasn’t sure what she should do, but her fingers found the tuft of chest hair that poked above his T-shirt’s neckline, and she began to play with it, marveling at the crisp, springy texture.  From there, she moved to the coppery hair on his head, softer and smoother.

“Do you mind if I take off my T-shirt?”  He was so sweet, she decided, asking her permission.  This time, he sat up completely as he tossed the garment to the foot of the bed.  When he lay back down with her, his breathing was a little ragged, and she found herself in a slightly different position, pulled right up against his body.  “Katie, do you mind if I take your gown off?” he asked next.   

“Oh!  Please don’t be angry!”  Katie’s voice caught in a little sob.  “I’m sorry, I really wanted’s just so fast, I never did anything before...Oh!”  She dropped her face, covering it with her hands in total humiliation.  What must he think of her?  He’d saved her from going to Olyfant, and whatever life held for her now, it had to be better than scraping out a pittance as a clerk at Clayton’s Drug Store and living in a shabby little room at the Hawthorne Street Hotel.  And how had she repaid him?

“Never mind,” Win replied.  “There’s no rush.”  He was over at the folding luggage stand, digging around in his suitcase.  He’d already buttoned up the top of his pajamas again.  She looked up but couldn’t see exactly what he was doing in the dim light.

“What are you doing, Win?” she asked when her curiosity overcame her shyness.

He held up a worn, thick but flexible book covered in a dark material.  “Uncle James gave me this Bible a few years ago.  I’m no Bible-thumper, but I like to read a little before bed.”  He raked the fingers of his other hand through his thick red hair.  “Sometimes it helps me think about things in a clearer way.  Maybe both of us could sleep better if we read now.”

“Sure.”  This had to be the most—well, the most unique honeymoon ever, Katie decided.  But nothing could be worse than what had just happened.  Her face flamed again as she remembered.   

Win sat down on the bed and swung his legs under the covers.  “Here, move closer,” he said.  “I won’t bite, I promise.”  He smiled at her as she scooted over next to him, then reached over to switch on the lamp on his right side.  “Remember the scripture the judge read before the vows?”

Katie nodded, relaxing a little as she felt his warm hand on her bare arm.

“He said it was from the Song of Solomon, and I’ve heard that’s supposed to be a great allegory of the pleasures of love between a man and a woman,” Win explained.  “I don’t remember ever reading it, so let’s try it.”  He flipped through the pages until he found the passage, and started to read.

Katie listened as the pleasant baritone voice washed over her, soothing her nervous apprehension.  The first part of the reading raised visions of strange and exotic sights and smells, as well as hints of sensual enjoyment.  Then he reached the section she recalled the judge reading:      

“The voice of my beloved! behold, he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills.
My beloved is like a roe or a young hart: behold, he standeth behind our wall, he looketh forth at the windows, shewing himself through the lattice.
My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.
For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;
The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.”

“That’s beautiful,” she exclaimed.  He stopped and looked down at her, smiling and stroking her arm softly.  “Go on—I mean, please keep reading,” she said, scooting in a bit closer.  He nodded, kissing the top of her head before continuing.  Katie listened, sometimes feeling the language and imagery were just a little...strange...but at other times feeling stirrings of delight that she couldn’t explain.

“Thy navel is like a round goblet, which wanteth not liquor: thy belly is like an heap of wheat set about with lilies.”

A giggle escaped from Katie’s lips.  “I’m sorry, that’s just funny,” she gasped, breaking into a fresh spurt of giggles.

“Well, why don’t you let me be the judge of that?” Win asked with an answering grin.  “Lie down and let me see.”  He laid the book carefully on the nightstand next to him.

Katie was laughing too hard to protest, and slid down into a supine position.  She took a deep breath, willing herself not to laugh as Win reached down her leg and drew the hem of her gown up slowly.  When her underwear was exposed, he pulled the waistband down and gazed at her navel, his lips inches away from her skin, his warm breath heating her in a way she’d never felt.  She wanted to laugh again, from simple nervousness, but found she couldn’t make a sound.  Then she felt his tongue in the hollow of her navel, warm and wet.

“I don’t know about any heap of wheat,” he said, his voice oddly thick.  A warm hand stroked the smooth flesh between her hipbones.  “And I didn’t find any wine in that goblet.”  He raised his face and stared at her.  “But it tasted good.  Maybe I’d compare it to the land of milk and honey.” 

“Read some more.  Please.”  She drew in a deep breath and released it with a shiver.  He sat up, took up the book again, and resumed reading.  It was only a few lines before he stopped again. 

“This thy stature is like to a palm tree, and thy breasts to clusters of grapes.”

“Clusters of grapes?  I thought they were a little bigger than that.”  He winked at her, and she blushed, but couldn’t help giggling again.

“You can look, if you want to,” she breathed.

Win was reading again.  “O that thou wert as my brother, that sucked the breasts of my mother!”

“I’m sorry, but that’s just...disturbing!”  Katie grimaced.  “I hope it’s not sacrilegious to say that!”  She was sitting on his lap now.

“I’ll grant, it doesn’t do anything for me,” he agreed.  “I’m glad I’m not your brother.”  He bent his head and gave her a most unbrotherly kiss.  “Shall I go on?  It’s almost over.”

“Yes, do.”  She played with a button on his unfastened pajama shirt as he read.  His arm encircled her body and his hand caressed her ribcage through the silky fabric of her gown.

“Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame.

Despite the fiery imagery, she felt a sudden chill.  “That’s beautiful, but I don’t think I like that last bit.  Put it away.”

“It’s only a few more lines, and it gets better,” Win told her.  She nodded, helpless to argue.  Obviously he hadn’t been affected the same way she had.

“Make haste, my beloved, and be thou like to a roe or to a young hart upon the mountains of spices.”

“That’s all,” he said.  He closed the book and set it carefully on the nightstand again.

“Let me see if your legs are as pillars of marble,” Katie said, scrambling off his lap and putting her hands upon the elastic waist of his pajama pants.  “I didn’t notice any gold sockets in your joints earlier, either.” 

“Fair enough, and I want to see if the joints of your thighs are like jewels,” Win retorted with a chuckle.

“Come, young hart!  Sample my spices and feed among my lilies,” she invited, lifting her gown.

Much later, Win sighed and pulled his wife even closer.  He murmured into her ear, his voice thick with fatigue.  “And the hart rested among the lilies.”  

Katie turned herself to face him, and snuggled into his shoulder. “And the lilies raised their faces to the sun and rejoiced.”   

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Author’s Notes

2500 original words

Many, many thanks to my lovely editors, Ronda, Ryl, and Trish.  Their input made the story so much better!  Thank you as well to AprilW, who gave it the once-over early on. The Song of Solomon (also called the Song of Songs) is widely considered a very sensuous allegory of physical love between a man and a woman. If I was going to use a Biblical passage, I wanted to be as certain as possible that the material was not used in a way that would offend believers. It was reassuring that April and my editors were okay with it.

A great big thank you to Vivian, my wonderful webhostess, partner, and html guru.  I couldn’t do anything without you!

Although I couldn't post the story in time to win a badge for CWE #1, it was inspired by the very first prompt, posted on January 1, 2012: "blush", and completed during Jixewrimo 2012. Many thanks to Susan, Dana, and Misty for a great challenge!

Selected excerpts from the King James translation of the Song of Solomon have been used. The full selection can be found at Bible Gateway.

Disclaimer: Characters from the Trixie Belden series are the property of Random House. They are used without permission, although with a great deal of affection and respect. All other material on these pages copyright 2013 by MaryN/Dianafan. Images from; manipulated by Mary N in Photoshop. Graphics copyright by Mary N 2013.

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