Her face was alive with the sheen of her earlier exertion. The warm glow of the lamps cast a pleasant spell on Sari’s face as her smile slowed Gunnar’s thoughts and drew him into her voice like a soft melody. The clink of forks on Stoneware and the exciting breath of happy expression conducted a rhythm that kept time with excited hearts and mesmerized minds. It had been a good week.
Gaston thought if those two get any more sugary, he was going to hack up a hairball. He abandoned his bowl of food to go take a dump in his cat box. He bet that would break up the googly-eyed BS.
Gunnar appeared animated about the day’s events. He paused and looked longingly at Sari, who no longer cared that her smock was careless in its duty to protect her modesty. She signaled Gunnar that she wanted him to want her, to admire her for more than his vision of her on canvas.
A lively discussion of nature and the beauty of the spirit of late autumn invaded their senses and struck the right chord. Their collective past faded from the forefront of their thoughts. Gunnar sensed Sari’s acceptance of him. He wanted to show her his growing love for her in the one way he connected with his feelings. He stood to escort her to the bench for the last sitting of the day before bed.
When he offered his hand to Sari, she stood close to him, placed her hands on his chest and looked up. Her smock remained open like a door, inviting him to experience her and the beauty of her nature. Neither knew how long that kiss lasted. It signaled the wait for each other was over. Sari eased herself away and took Gunnar’s hands in hers.
“Paint me with your passion, Gunnar.”
Memories flashed in Gunnar’s mind. The metaphor had meaning to him. It connected him in ways he was unable to find otherwise. His thoughts of painting on canvas evaporated like the fine mist of hot breath in the cold night. He wanted to paint Sari with his senses. He wanted to paint her skin with his fingers; the blush of touch was his color of choice.
“Sari, you are the only vision in my mind that I could ever reproduce with these hands and hope for any clarity of the feelings in my heart.”
Sari led him to the tub that offered a warm respite from those memories that bound them in the silence of their past. Gunnar and Sari became each other’s present and future, one kiss and one caress at a time. Steam from the tub condensed on the window and mirror. Diffused light reflected from the window on the light dusting of snow in the branches of the fir trees giving the branches an eerie glow, like outstretched arms seeking the comfort of night.
Soft warmth from the Turkish towel left on the radiator felt luxurious on Sari’s skin as Gunnar wrapped it around her and closed his arms around her waist. She turned to face him and pressed herself against him. Their breath came in shallow waves of emotion as the heat of passion burned off the hinges to the iron gate of their last defense.
Gunnar picked Sari up and carried her to the bed. She kept her arms around his neck and tugged him over on top of her where she wrapped her legs around his waist and held him tight as she attacked his neck. Her entreaty of pleasure ripped the bondage of loss from Gunnar and he responded with a desire to consume every centimeter of Sari’s body as she flung herself into his passion. They burned together like the pine in their iron stove until exhaustion left them in the heap of disheveled sheets and dreams.
Sari awoke entangled in Gunnar’s arms and legs under the down comforter. She felt a strange revelry in the warmth of his eager flesh nestled against her and her breasts held tight against his chest. She felt wicked and sensuous. Gunnar was ready for her again, even as he slept. Too energized to sleep and too timid to wake Gunnar with her yearning for more of him, she decided she would treat him to brunch instead.
They were a real couple now. Gunnar was growing more aware and focused. He was happier and always in the present. Even Gaston was taking advantage of Gunnar’s new presence by demanding meals served on schedule and belly rubs to suit his mood. Sari’s gamble had paid off.
For a few short weeks, Sari revelled in their reawakening together, like newlyweds. The chores of maintaining the cabin in the crush of winter snows were now invigorating games of look what we accomplished.
Poor Gaston was already suffering cabin fever. He feared his cabin mates would soon be insufferable with their constant banging and knocking about. At least Gunnar could chop and stack wood on the porch to keep the fire going in the stove while he wallowed on the bench by the window until sleep eased his distress. The girl was sweet but that damned singing while washing dishes made his hackles rise. Why couldn’t she meow properly?
The bench by the window was abandoned except for a towel and Gaston’s imprint. The scent of fresh paint was long gone. An old paint smeared piece of sheet hung over Sari’s portrait. There was no room in Gunnar’s life for painting obsession and he talked about someday finishing the painting, maybe in mid spring when the light shifted to a less austere color.
The warm cabin glowed with a cleanliness and order only a happy and dedicated woman’s magic can create. Gunnar and Sari had spent the winter cleaning, repairing, and freshening every inch of their home. At dinner, Gunnar shared his newest plans.
“I talked to Johann today at the store. He plans on opening the mill as soon as the lumber supply picks up during logging season. He offered me a job in the yard running the logs into the mill for sawing. I can get all the splits and sides I want free, and we can build a garden house on the back of a studio. I can do all my work out there instead of bringing it in the house. Hey, plus he pays well.”
The brightness and enthusiasm in Gunnar’s eyes filled Sari with so much love, she felt her heart couldn’t take it.