Her first sensation was of cold sand against her back. That was unpleasant enough but it was nothing compared to the sudden spasm of coughing she had. Deep, hacking coughs that struggled to rid her body of the salt water she had inhaled. A strong arm wrapped around her and helped her to sit up, holding her there until it had passed. Her mind was very fuzzy and seemed to be working in slow motion. At first she didn't even know why she was lying in the sand, soaking wet. Then slowly the pieces became a bit clearer. She remembered swimming out into the now calm surf, remembered seeing a wonderful light and almost reaching it. 'I almost drowned!' she realized but instead of being thankful for being alive, she was angry at what she saw as rotten luck. She pushed her hair back from her face and stared off into the distance. Well, there will be other storms, other chances to try again she reasoned. She heard a mournful sigh coming from behind her and at first she thought it was the wind but then realized that the wind normally doesn't make sentences. "Why must I always rescue you from drowning?" She whirled around and came face to face with her past. Phil sat there, his legs crossed in front of him, still dressed in the clothes he wore that day in the car. His eyes pierced hers with such agonizing sweetness she couldn't have turned away if she tried. They looked deep into her soul like they always did, seeing past the surface straight to her heart. She could feel his energy wrapping around her, giving her goose bumps. She knew she was sobbing out loud, her hand over her mouth in shock. Then he smiled and the sun seemed to shine from his face. His smile was everything she had remembered it to be; little lines formed around his eyes and his mouth until it seemed his whole face was one big grin. That was the only invitation she needed. She was in his arms so fast she didn't even know how she got there. She laid her head against his shoulder and cried all the tears that had built up over the years. She was like the deepest well of sorrow that suddenly burst from holding in too much. He cradled her against him and rocked gently back and forth trying to soothe her but making no attempt to stop her. It seemed like she would cry forever but forever to him was the blink of an eye. She drank in every sensation; the solidness of his shoulder under her cheek, the pressure of his hand in her hair, the grip of his arm around her holding her tight. This was no ghost, at least not by any definition that she had known. She couldn't speak, there were no words that could express the depth of her feelings at that moment. 'There is nothing you have to say my love' he whispered in her ear. He heard her thoughts as clearly as if she had spoken them. She backed up and looked into his face again He was a wonderment, a vision of grace and charm to her weary eyes. He brushed the hair back from off her face, a loving gesture he had acquired while working with her on SNL. She remembered it well. Taking his palm in her hand she kissed it and held it against her cheek. "I told you in the car that day that I would never leave you and I never have. I've been by your side from that moment on and I will always be." He pulled her against him again and oh so tenderly brushed her lips with his. They were moist and inviting and as soft as a cloud. Her eyelids fluttered closed as his mouth hovered over hers, near but not touching. Seconds felt like hours as he waited there, sensing her breath quickening, her lovely heart racing. He traced his thumb over her lips making her gasp. It amazed him how good this felt. How much he had missed this and her. He knew love never died but he never realized that passion survived beyond the grave too. He wanted her with an intensity that was other-worldly, an old memory that was rushing back and filling him with an unstoppable need. It caught him off-guard, he never expected this to happen. A thousand voices inside of him screamed for him to stay in control, to back away now while he still could but he pushed it down until he didn't hear it anymore. Not only could he sense his own intensity but he could pick up on hers too. Like hearing her thoughts he could feel her feelings too and the combination was almost too much to bear. He looked up at the sky and begged in silence 'let me have this please?', then closed his eyes and in a flash they were inside her home, lying naked together on her bed. She felt disoriented for a moment but he steadied her with his eyes. She ran her hands over him and felt a tangible heat rising from him. He was literally burning under her touch, his body on fire for her. Without hesitating, without thinking he entered her body with his. It was too powerful, to perfect. It was more than sex, more than passion, more than love. Her eyes which had been locked on his snapped shut as her body arched upwards. He took her face in his hands and whispered for her to open her eyes and look at him. She did as he asked and choked back a sob. There, in his gaze was everything there was to see in this world and the next. The sun in all its glory, clouds, time, space, the stars, things that she understood and things that had no meaning for her were all part of him. From the smallest molecule in the tiniest grain of sand to the full expanse of the universe and beyond was reflected in the green of his eyes. She wanted to drown again but this time inside of him. She wanted to become one with him above and beyond this act of love they were making. He understood what she wanted, or what she thought she didn't already have. 'Don't you understand Jan that what you see in my eyes is merely a reflection of what I see in yours?' he murmured, 'we have always been one, and we always will be.' Tears began to roll down her cheeks again when he said this. How could she have forgotten the truth in what he was saying? When he died a part of her did die with him. She did not have the mirror of his gaze to see herself as she truly was. Until now. With him against her, inside of her both physically and emotionally she could feel the sheer wonder of life coursing through her again. She was ashamed at her foolish suicide attempt, how could she want to give up something so precious? 'I'm sorry' she cried to him and to anyone else who might be listening, 'I'm so sorry.' He had waited forever for her to understand this simple fact and now that she did he could finish what he had started. Just as she was about to speak again his mouth covered hers, silencing her words. There was nothing left for her to say, nothing more he needed to hear.
He parted her lips with his tongue and it danced against hers while his body pressed deeper inside. His palms slid between them and stroked across her breasts, a bit of sand left over on his hands grating against her sensitive flesh adding to the pleasure. That part of her that she thought she lost forever, had only been asleep. And like sleeping beauty, she only needed her prince's kiss and caress to awaken it again. She sensed something final in the air, as if this would be the first and last time they would love like this. She was seared to him, molded against him, her body wrapped tightly around his. His spirit glowed like the hottest of suns, flames teased and licked across her leaving her weak with desire. There was a frantic urgency to his movements, a need born of a deeper longing then he had ever known before. To Jan, it seemed as if he moved with the tides against her. Every forward thrust of his body was like a wave crashing on the shore of her heart. The deeper he buried himself the greater the need to delve even further into her. Where another man would stop, close enough to the edge of pleasure to be satisfied Phil took both of them many steps beyond. Like the hurricane the night before, his love was wild and untamable. And like the pounding surf of the hurricane, he pounded into her with the same force. She felt it. She remembered it. Remembered how the waves dragged the sand from underneath her feet into itself, like a hungry animal swallowing the beach inch by inch and taking her along with it. This was Phil. This was his essence. He revealed himself to her. The part in life no one could reach was now wide open. Underneath that smile that could melt her heart, those eyes that twinkled with a life of their own and that oh so balanced exterior lay a storm of unmeasurable fierocity. It did not frighten her, she did not fight against it. She gave herself willingly to it. The lips that covered hers before with such tenderness now crushed against her mouth with a strength that forced the back of her head further into the pillow. The hands that lightly brushed over her skin now roughly grabbed at her flesh. If this had been any other man, any other man at all she would have begged him to stop. She would have perceived this as pain under any other circumstance. But passion takes many forms and this was the most passionate moment of their existence. Her long nails dug into his shoulders but if he had noticed he didn't let on. His mouth released hers, his body suddenly stilled and their eyes locked again. 'Mine, you are mine always' he told her in a voice thick with emotion. Tears ran down his face because he knew, in his heart that she would find love again someday apart from him. A love that will sustain her until she could join with him again. He sensed it in the air surrounding them, the coming of another heart. Even though he knew that she deserved all the happiness her life could offer her, he couldn't help but cry. Jan placed Phil's hand between her breasts against her heart where he could feel it practically leaping out of her chest 'you will always be with me here' she told him 'I will never let you go again.' The love he felt for her at that moment was so all encompassing, it filled him up completely. His lips replaced his hand against her heart while she held him there for a moment. When he raised his eyes up to meet hers again they were clear and sparkling, the sorrow past, the worries left behind. He traced a line of hot kisses up her neck until he reached her mouth again. Once more, he crushed her to him and again he began to move inside her this time without any thought of stopping. 'Yes Phil, oh my love?.yes' she groaned underneath him, her body arched hard against his, her hips meeting every forward thrust he gave her. He brought her higher than she had ever been before, higher than he really should have dared to take her. He took her to the point where pleasure almost overloaded her senses. She cried out to him to never stop, to let this pleasure go on forever until she lost her life to it. And she would have died in his arms if he didn't allow both of them their release. Leaning forward he whispered in her ear 'let yourself go Jan, show me your pleasure' and as if on cue she did just that. Her small, graceful hands grabbed at the bedding around them and held on, knuckles white in intensity. She didn't know if the stars she was seeing were real or imagined but it didn't matter, they were all around her. She cried out his name in a mantra, repeating it over and over and over until each one flowed into the next and became neither a word nor a name anyone could understand. He followed right behind her telling her things with his body what his voice could not. He felt himself empty into her, that deliciously uncontrollable explosion he hadn't felt in so long. He held himself deep inside her body, pulsing and throbbing for what felt like an eternity. She could feel a sudden intense heat wash through her as she was being bathed in what poured from him. It surged from him into the center of her body, branching off into her very core. Sweat poured from both of them as they collapsed against each other, more complete than they had ever been before.
He recovered quickly, he had no choice. He hesitated to leave her body knowing it would be a long time before he would be there again but time didn't allow him the luxury of waiting. Taking her by the hand, not saying a word he pulled her to a stand and lifted her in arms. She wanted to ask where they were going but his eyes begged her silence. As they left the bedroom she noticed they were once again fully dressed but she didn't know how and she really didn't care. Carrying her out the door and back onto the sand outside her home he put her down so she could walk beside him. He took her hand and walked toward the water. 'Look' he told her, motioning to something floating in front of her in the surf. She reached down for it and saw that it was an oyster. 'Go on, take it' he said with a smile so she bent and picked it up in her hand. She could see it was partially open, probably from the beating of the storm the other night. She wanted to open it but looked over at him first to make sure that this was what she should do. He nodded yes to her. She placed her finger inside and pressed upwards, unhinging it as it were. With unnatural ease the bottom and top separated and then popped apart. Jan gasped out loud when she saw what was held inside. It was a string of pearls, a lovely string of pure white pearls. It stirred a memory in her but she couldn't put her finger on it. Then, as she lifted it up to inspect it further Phil took it from her and placed them around her neck. The memory rushed back at her with almost enough force to take her breath away. 'You remember?' Phil asked from behind her but all she could do was stand there, awe struck. 'Now look at me' he said turning her toward him. He stood there as she had remembered him from a long time ago, dressed in military garb, smiling and handsome and waiting for her to take his hand. She looked down at herself and noticed that she too was dressed as she had remembered. Lovely ivory wedding gown, diamond studded tiara and of course the string of pearls around her neck. She could hear the sound of the waves behind her suddenly turn into the only waltz she ever knew. 'May I have this dance?' he asked her lovingly, his gaze drinking in her image from so long ago. She took his hand and they danced together, and for a brief moment in time they were back in NY, both very much alive and in love with their whole lives ahead of them and nothing to fear. They seemed to float around their imaginary ballroom, as graceful as the gulls that flew above their heads. As much as they both wanted to cling to that moment, the music ended all too soon. It was the last gift he could give her before leaving her behind again. He took her in his arms one last time and they both held on tight. 'Remember me' he whispered as he backed away from her and stood an arms length in front of her. He smiled at her and blew her a kiss. With tears in her eyes she smiled too, blew a kiss back and watched as his image faded away with the wind.
She awoke with a start, the dream still fresh in her memory. Her eyes darted to and fro, seeking Phil out her heart pleading for him to be there. But she knew he wasn't. She knew she dreamed it all, that none of it was real. Once again she let herself be fooled into thinking Phil was with her. She couldn't take it anymore. If she could only have him in dreams then she would sleep forever. She put her feet on the floor and rubbed her eyes. 'Ouch!' she said out loud when she felt the sand on her fingers chafe against her eyelids. Sand on her fingers? She thought to herself, how could that be? She jumped to her feet and ran out onto the beach. Her feet splashed in the water as she hunted for the oyster. She looked and looked but could not find it. Sobbing, all hope lost she sat down in the sand at the waters edge. 'It really was just a dream' she said out loud to no one in particular. She didn't know what made her turn her head at that moment and look at the sand next to her but turn she did. There, written in the sand in what was unmistakably Phils handwriting were the words that still echoed in her head from the night before?
"Love is a dream, yet it's so real"
A grin as wide as the sand beneath her spread across her face. She noticed something peculiar about the words so she bent closer to get a better look. Reaching out she touched the "o" in love and noticed that was solid like a bead. Doing as little as she could to disturb Phils message to her, she pulled up on the bead until a string of pearls was revealed, one by one. He stood at her side and watched all this, invisible to her but there nonetheless. He couldn't let her go another night thinking they were only dreams that she was having. He broke a rule and let her know the truth but he didn't think he would get in too much trouble. Anyway, whatever the punishment would be it was worth it. He kneeled down next to her and planted a kiss on her cheek before leaving her and was gone before he could see her hand reach up to her face, to the spot where his lips had just lingered. He promised he would always be there and Jan understood that he meant it.
Everyone gathered around her as she lay in the hospital bed. People came and went, left flowers and cards and well wishes with her. It had been a hard few months leading up to this point and the look of concern on all her friends and family's faces told the story in volumes. When she first found out she was pregnant she was overjoyed. Her mother made her take the test 3 times because she just couldn't believe that she was going to be a grandmother. She kept bothering Jan about who the daddy was and why she wasn't planning a wedding to go along with the baby shower. She never gave anyone a direct answer; no one would believe her if she told them the truth anyhow. So she went through this moment alone which was fine with her. Jan wanted to be wide awake when she had this baby but as her labor progressed she started doubting her sanity at that idea. Phil paced the room, watching her, watching the monitors, watching the doctors?he never had to take in so much at once before. He hated to see her in pain. With every contraction she cried out for him, puzzling the doctors and her family. Phil stroked her hair, telling her that he was there with her, that he was proud of her even though she couldn't hear him. Yet every time he touched her and every time he spoke to her she visibly calmed down, her body relaxing. 'Here comes the head' the doctor announced telling Jan to reach down and touch it if she wanted to. She felt her baby's hair between her fingers and thought to herself how soft it was. Phil reached with her and felt it also. From that simple touch he knew that he had a son. 'Come on little guy' he said out loud 'come and meet your mom'. As if he heard him, Jan's last push propelled him into the doctors arms. 'You have a son' the doctor told her, but Jan was too awestruck looking at him to even hear him. He was a miniature version of his dad. 'Have you thought of a name?' a nurse asked as she took the baby to the other side of the bed to wash him and warm him up. Jan pondered that for a moment and then, as if on cue both she and Phil blurted out "William" together. The nurse handed him to her and Jan opened her arms to receive her newborn son. 'But we'll just call you Bill' she murmured to him. As if he knew his name he opened his eyes and looked steadily at his mom. Big green eyes, just like his dads. 'Now that's unusual' the doctor commented, 'newborns eyes are never any other color but dark brown or dark blue. They change after a few months.' 'But you're not your everyday kind of baby are you Bill?' she said to him and if she didn't know better she would have sworn he smiled. He looked away from her for a moment and stared over her shoulder. Another smile spread across his face. 'Who do you see sweetheart?' she whispered 'daddies here isn't he?' It struck Phil then that the other love of Jan's life that he was so worried about was his own son. He laughed out loud at the irony of it all and baby Bill laughed right along with him. 'I've gotta go now slugger but I won't be far' he said, kissing his sons forehead, 'take good care of your mom, ok?' Phil reached across his son to kiss Jan on the lips. 'I love you' he murmured against her mouth just as the doctor was giving her something to help her sleep, 'sweet dreams my brave and beautiful lady, sweet dreams.'
If you got this far.....my thanks :-)