Authors: Sarah Anderson
|Beyond the meet|
Beyond the meet
“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”
Beyond the meet
Risa was excited to go on a trip with her two sisters. She had a highly stressful job as a doctor, and often she worked late hours between visiting hospitals and running her own private practice. After her recent divorce, her two sisters, one older, and one younger, had surprised her with a hiking trip through one of the tallest nearby mountains. When she arrived, with her backpack slung over her shoulder and her light blonde curls tied back into a tight ponytail she forgot that she was thirty-seven and felt as if she was seventeen again setting off on a camping trip.
“Hi Risa!” Her younger sister called cheerfully. Aria was thirty-five with a boisterous attitude and an athletic frame that had always been a source of jealousy for Risa, whose body took after their mother's petite frame. She was standing with a young man, who Risa assumed would be their guide for the day. He was bent over a map spread across the hood of a jeep. The sleeveless shirt he wore revealed his muscular build, and the deep tan of his skin. His hair curled with sweat at the base of his neck, darkening its brown shade. Beside him Risa's older sister Mia was evaluating the map as well. She was always the cautious one, and always in charge. She glanced up with a warm smile when she heard Aria call Risa's name.
“Hey sis!” She said brightly, eager to enjoy their trip. When the guide lifted his head and canted it to the side to take in the sight of the new arrival, Risa had to look quickly away. He was astoundingly handsome, and extremely young. She guessed he could not be much older than twenty-three.
“Hello,” He said with a grin as he observed a subtle blush igniting in her cheeks. “My name is Tom, and I will be your guide.”
Aria leaned close to her sister and murmured in her ear. “He could guide me anywhere, huh?” She giggled as Tom flushed with embarrassment and turned back to the map. Risa swatted her sister lightly, but she could not blame her. Were she a few years younger, Aria would have some major competition for the guide's attention.
“Are we ready to go?” Risa asked. Tom glanced at his watch and then to the road that Risa had driven up.
“We have one more.” He said with a frown as he wondered why he had not arrived yet.
“Tom takes groups of four.” Mia explained when she noticed Risa's surprised expression. “So we will have company.”
Risa shrugged, she needed a chance to get out and meeting someone new could be refreshing. After her marriage had ended she had thrown herself mostly into her work, rather than embracing being single. She was a beautiful woman, with wide gray eyes and despite her diminutive size she had curves in all the right places. She did not doubt that she could easily attract a companion, but she had not been ready to. After all, she had thought she would be married to Steve for the rest of her life.
“Steve!” Mia cried out abruptly. Risa felt guilty as she thought she had been caught thinking of her ex-husband, until she caught sight of him stepping out of a car he had parked right beside Risa's.
Steve was forty-two with the patience of a toddler. His temper had finally caused Risa to crack and ask for a divorce. She had expected that he would mature over time, especially with a job as serious as a banker.
“What are you doing here?” Risa asked breathlessly.
Steve smiled, that wide charming grin that had always made Risa melt with desire. Despite her animosity at his intrusion, it still had the same affect.
“Oh, you two know each other?” Tom asked after greeting Steve.
“You could say that.” Steve replied with a smirk as he lowered his sunglasses long enough to take in the sight of Risa in little jean shorts and a loose t-shirt. He missed the way she fit in his arms, and the adventures they had shared together. Aria had mentioned the trip to a mutual friend and when Steve found out about it, he made it his mission to be part of it. He had not wanted the divorce, it was Risa who had given up on him, and he was not ready to give up without a fight.
He slid his arm around Risa's waist. “We know each other very well, don't we Risa?” He murmured seductively.
Risa glowered at him and pulled away. Tom noticed how this irritated Steve, whose ruddy face became even more red with frustration. He was a ruggedly handsome man with masculine features and short black hair. His body, though polished by the gym, did not make up for what he lacked in height.
“Let's just go.” Risa said, determined to have a good time regardless of the company. Along the first part of the hike Tom took the time to point out several interesting plants. He plucked a flower from one of the trees and offered it to Risa. Steve glared, while Mia and Aria giggled. Tom caught Risa's eyes and held them as he smiled softly.
Risa felt a little flustered as she wondered if she was reading Tom's signals correctly. When he gave her a playful wink, she blushed and glanced away, and right into the Steve's jealous eyes. For the rest of the day she stayed close to Tom, and did her best to avoid Steve. No matter where Steve was, his eyes were on Risa, as his irritation with the guide's flirtation grew.
That night they set up camp in a beautiful clearing. A small stream ran past their campsite and provided a soothing sound of rushing water. Tom ignited a fire and they all sat around it for a little while, enjoying the stars above them, and the sounds of nature around them. Mia and Aria did their best to encourage the budding attraction between Tom and Risa.
“You know, Risa is a doctor.” Mia pointed out. “She is one of the best.”
“Mmhm, and of course, she is beautiful.” Aria added as she smiled sweetly at her older sister.
Tom laughed as he sat down beside Risa. He sat close enough that their knees touched. Risa pretended not to notice.
When Steve saw their knees brush together he was furious. He threw down his plate of food and stormed off into the woods.
“Should we go after him?” Risa wondered. Tom's hand curved over her knee reassuringly.
“Let him blow off some steam.” He met her eyes and held them for a long moment, seeking any sign that she was as interested as he was.
“Maybe we should turn in.” Mia said, as Aria watched Risa and Tom dreamily.
“Oh really?” She sighed with disappointment, but let Mia lead her into the tent.
Tom pretended to be concerned about the fire so that he could remain with Risa whose gaze was fixated on the stars above her. When she felt Tom begin to lean closer to her, Risa's heart began to flutter. She had not felt the lips of another man in several years. The heat of Tom's breath grazed her cheek and instead of pulling away Risa turned toward his lips, and met them with tentative passion. Her eyes were closed, as if she could deny that it was Tom who was crushing his lips against hers, that it was Tom who had slid arm around her back and was drawing her body closer to his. The crackling of the fire mingled with the sounds of their lips as they met and parted, and met again. Risa was dizzy with the urgency of her desire as she found herself engulfed by Tom's arms. He pulled her up from the log they had been sitting on, and with his eyes remaining on hers he led her toward his tent.
When Risa heard the zipper of the tent being opened, she pulled sharply away. Tom followed her, a frown creasing his handsome features.
“What's wrong?” He asked with concern, he hoped he had not offended her.
“Nothing.” She forced a smile. “I just think maybe we should call it a night.”
Tom searched her eyes for an answer to why all of the sudden her passion had faded. Perhaps he had been too forward with her, but the beauty of her skin, the taste of her lips, the heat of her eyes had been all that he needed to be driven into a frenzy of desire.
“Don't be afraid.” Tom murmured as he stepped closer to her. “I only want what you want.” He caressed her cheek softly, and his words seemed genuine.
Risa smiled at his sweet words. She did want him. She wanted his arms around her, his lips against hers, his fingertips exploring her body.
From the trees, Steve watched as Risa leaned up to kiss Tom. When Tom's hands curved along her waist, he could not restrain himself.
“Stop it!” He hollered as he burst out of the trees. He was shoving Tom before he and Risa had even broken their kiss.
Steve grabbed Risa with his burly arms and held her tightly against him. “She does not belong to you.” He growled as Tom got his footing back. He had nearly been knocked over by the force of Steve's shove.
Tom narrowed his eyes sharply. “She does not belong to anyone.” He said firmly. “I think you need to go home.”
Steve released Risa and balled his hands into fists, ready to pulverize Tom for his words. Before he could, Tom had struck him right across the mouth, sending him backwards on to the ground.
“Go home.” He repeated in an authoritative tone.
When Steve began to stand up, Tom raised his hands threateningly. Steve backed away as his jaw felt like it was broken.
“Fine.” He spit some blood on the ground beside him. As he stalked off into the night, Tom turned back to Risa.
“Are you okay?” He asked tenderly.
“I am now.” Risa replied as she laid her hand against Tom's chest and placed a gentle kiss on his lips. Tom smiled through the kiss and this time when he opened the flap of the tent Risa did not resist. She knew that Tom had her needs at heart, and she was eager to discover how he would meet them. They spent the entire night enjoying each others bodies, from lips to toes. Hours slipped by as they gazed into each others eyes, and sensed the connection that was deep within them. It was beyond age, it was beyond reality, it was something only they would ever share.