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 The Sequel: Renewal and Fulfilment By: MoeD

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PostSubject: The Sequel: Renewal and Fulfilment By: MoeD    Mon Oct 04, 2010 6:16 pm

Foreword:
So ... this is going to be a doddle, isn’t it ... after all ... she’s not much of an act to follow, is she ... oh pooh ... what have I got myself into? Those of you who know me know I don’t really do romance but at least I have Marie’s strong characters, sublime descriptions and wonderful storylines to work with ... here goes................................................................
Usual disclaimers by the way so insert the appropriate blah blahs as required and remember I love you all – if there will be an ‘all’ after the first instalment ... be kind to me!!!

Days came and went. They turned into weeks which in turn became months. Madeleine took great strength from her experiences on Dartmoor and continued to rebuild her shattered psyche. But her need for a real ’touch me’ love became almost tangible, especially since she had been reminded of its ecstasy in those fleeting hours when she and Urs were together. But that, of course, threw up a colossal problem … where would she find a real, living, breathing man to measure up to Urs. But she refused to be downcast. It would be unthinkable to denigrate what they had shared.

He, for his part threw himself into his work, finding the total exhaustion of touring to be the perfect balm for his recovering soul. He felt the need to encourage the bonds of friendship between himself and Madeleine and had been delighted when she was able to catch up with them in some of the locations. The manner of things between them was easy and their comradeship grew as the time passed. He was reluctant to test the water, so to speak, when it came to female company. He knew the wisdom of Maddie’s comment that one night stands just weren’t for him and anything more involved was simply unthinkable during the frenetic hurly burly of the tour. No, he would take his time and when he could relax and recharge his batteries he would be much more likely to make the correct choices this time. Madeleine was, of course, in complete agreement with this stance – after the precipice of despair caused by his last liaison, rushing into an unwise relationship could do far more damage than good.
Neither spoke of the events which began their healing ... it was as if it had never happened.

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PostSubject: Re: The Sequel: Renewal and Fulfilment By: MoeD    Mon Oct 04, 2010 6:17 pm

Chapter One:
And so they sat comfortably together on the terrace of the Hotel Napoleon in Paris. They had enjoyed a fabulous late supper and both were happily replete. The conversation was unhurried and meandered around the topics which made up their lives.

‘Have you finished that book yet? I’m dying to read it.’ Urs looked into her eyes as she prepared to make yet another lame excuse for her lack of effort on this front. She stopped without uttering the words which had been forming in her mind. He could see through her excuses so easily.

‘Okay, wise guy! You know I haven’t finished and I’m sure you wouldn’t be the least bit interested in a slushy romance for Mills and Boon … not many would.’ Her eyes suddenly found great interest in her fingernails and Urs had to lean over and lift her chin to make her look at him once more.

‘Why do you say that? You know that I am interested in everything you do. I am absolutely certain that there is at least one book in you and millions of people read romance; that’s why you chose to try out for them, wasn’t it.’ He paused suddenly as the truth of the matter hit him squarely between the eyes. ‘Why Madeleine Simmons … your heart isn’t in it because it’s not the type of book you want to write.’ He threw his arms open wide in a gesture of enlightenment … ‘so write something you do want to write!’

‘Oh! It all sounds so easy when you say it but I need to work my way up through the prescribed pathways before I can justify the jump from my articles to a real honest to goodness book. I will have a far better chance of writing for Mills and Boon who publish many untried authors than simply churning out my great masterpiece that no one will be the least bit interested in.’ She lifted her glass and took a decisive swallow of her wine before seeking out his all knowing eyes … ‘not everyone has a talent of the magnitude of yours, you know.’ He sat back on the plump cushions, a wry smile playing across his features.

‘Pftt, My ‘talent’ is 20% God given and 80% damned hard work and training. You have to start believing in yourself more. I wouldn’t be sitting here now if I had not believed that a move to Amsterdam to further my studies would be worthwhile.’ He leaned forward again and grasped her hands between his. ‘Don’t you ever forget, I love your writing and I know what you are capable of … and I want to see you succeed.
*****
The following day they took the chance to enjoy a walk, arm in arm, around the serenely beautiful gardens of the Tuilleries. Urs pointed out favourite shrubs and flowers, even showing off by quoting their Latin names and causing Maddie to smirk at his bravado. They found a secluded arbour and decided to sit and rest a while and Urs took the chance to return to his topic of conversation from the previous night.

‘You know I lay in bed last night thinking about what we had said about your writing.’ She turned her head quickly towards him, trying to calculate whether this would take on the feeling of a lecture. He saw her features harden and grinned. ‘Don’t look at me like that. We have to talk about it. It won’t go away.’

‘Well, not if you keep picking at it, it won’t!’ She smiled and prepared for the onslaught; she knew what to expect. He pulled her round to face him and leaned his face in close, laughing.

‘I – Don’t – Pick! … I merely assess and then make recommendations. … and my recommendation is that you write about yourself.’ His words were tapped out with the index finger of his free hand against the tip of her nose but he was unprepared for the genuine peal of laughter which burst from her throat as she returned herself to the relative safety of being at arms length from him.

‘And who, exactly, is going to want to read about me? I was a clerk, then a wife and mum, with various jobs which fitted around my family and now I’m a crazy woman who follows a group of young men around the world on the pretext of writing articles about anything that comes to mind. It wouldn’t be a very long book.’ She continued to giggle as he sought to enfold her in a bear hug in order to get her to listen, batting her hands down, playfully, to prevent her from holding him at bay.

‘What? Aren’t you forgetting Ian and the crash and all the horrors which came later? And then there are your children. People would be enthralled to know how you all pulled your life back together.’
Abruptly, she dropped her arms to her side, all vestiges of the happiness gone.

‘I couldn’t do that … it’s personal … it hurts…’ Her voice had dropped to a whisper and he drew a sharp intake of breath as he saw the hurt register in her eyes.

‘Ah, Liebchen, I’m sorry! I have such a big mouth sometimes.’ Once more he wrapped his arms around her but this time he dragged her in close, hoping to communicate the depth of his apology in his touch. The action, however, triggered a bewildering twofold reaction in Madeleine. Firstly she felt safe and protected as she had done when her beloved Ian had been alive and she revelled in this security but secondly and much more disturbingly, her body stirred in Urs’ embrace as it hadn’t done since their glorious night. She closed her eyes, lost in the memory of his caresses of that evening and her body reacted as a lover, clinging to his contours, moving against him. He drew his head back a little so that he could make eye contact again and a look of concern mixed with puzzlement filled his gaze. For her part she jumped back as though his skin suddenly had burned her and tried to cover her embarrassment with a nervous laugh. She picked up his hand and allowed herself a small caress of his folded fingers.

‘Don’t worry, my love, I love your big mouth and I promise you that I will give some thought to your suggestion.’ His tremulous return smile showed that he was glad that the Maddie he was comfortable with appeared to be back but as they silently walked on his mind played with the possibilities … and a forbidden door in his mind creaked open a little and a minute beam of light permeated the darkest recesses of his memories.

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PostSubject: Re: The Sequel: Renewal and Fulfilment By: MoeD    Mon Oct 04, 2010 6:18 pm

Chapter Two:


The next time they had the chance to be together was in New York. The tour was being interrupted by a few promotional performances on television and the boys were, consequently, to be based in the city that never sleeps for five days. Madeleine sat working on her laptop, a present from Urs … so that she would have no excuse for not writing, wherever she was.

She hadn’t seen him for almost three months and, as always she was tremendously excited to be waiting for him now. It was their custom to meet in the hotel room he’d booked for her. Neither wanted the possibility of fan encounters spoiling their reunions and the thought of the paparazzi picturing them together and coming up with suitably lurid headlines or the fans seeing them and filling the forum with pictures of the ‘new woman’ in his life was too awful to contemplate.

The familiar knock sounded at the door and her heartbeat sped up much more than she cared to acknowledge. She let him into the room with a joyous smile and was swept into his arms and swung around like a rag doll.

‘God, I’ve missed you so much! My, you look mighty fine, woman, what have you been doing to yourself – working out … hey, just a minute ... is there a man on the horizon?’

‘A man, heaven forbid … whatever would I want with one of those? I have enough dirty laundry of my own to do without taking on that extra burden as well.’

‘Mine’s in the suitcase, by the way, if you could just ….’ His words were cut short by his need to duck as she swung a determined hand at his ear and he gathered her up once more, as much to protect himself from left hooks as to show affection.

The gentle camaraderie continued for a few more moments until he spied her open laptop and scooted over to see what she had been doing. He was delighted to see that she had taken his idea on board and was working on the personal story.

‘Hey, terrific ... what made you change your mind?’ He scanned down the page, noting as he read that this was page 104, and that she was really getting on with the project. She leant over him, smiled sweetly and hit the minimise button.

‘I talked it over with the kids and some friends – anyone who would listen as a matter of fact and everyone agreed with you that it was a story that I could share and that it might even help others to come to terms with their own problems so ... here I am ... sharing – but not with you, not yet. I’ll do that when I think there is something here of worth. It needs a lot of work yet but don’t worry, you’ll be sick of it before it’s finished ... I’ll need a good proof reader and you’ve been volunteered for the job.’

‘Oh, thanks a lot! Just use me when you need me then toss me aside, I understand!’ They both smiled at the flippant comment but somehow the words struck a chord for quite a different reason and everything went quiet. Urs tried to make things easier. He clasped her trailing hand in his.

‘Hey! You can use me any time you care to, you know I don’t mind.’
For an instant Madeleine’s look betrayed her buried feelings. She had her own sealed door, hiding unthinkable hopes and dreams but for her peace of mind it had to remain firmly closed. With a determined smile she pushed her thoughts away and interred the possibilities thrown up by Urs’ remark to where they could do no harm.

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PostSubject: Re: The Sequel: Renewal and Fulfilment By: MoeD    Mon Oct 04, 2010 6:20 pm

Chapter Three:

Two days later they took the chance of a few hours break in his schedule and, ignoring the possibilities of recognition for once, visited the Empire State Building together. It was Maddie’s first time and she squealed like an excited six year old as they exited the lift at the topmost floor. The bright, crystal clear day ensured that the views were breathtaking and they leaned against the rail of the viewing platform in companionable silence.

After a short while, she turned to him, a question she had been mulling over playing on her lips.

‘So, Mr Buhler, now that the tour is slowing down a little … aren’t there any suitable young ladies crossing your path. You’ve been free and single for quite long enough. The women out there need a chance to get at you!’ In answer he laughed and shrugged his shoulders.

‘Well, they are certainly keeping themselves to themselves if they really are out there. Actually, it’s still much too busy for me to get the chance to look, if you know what I mean and anyway, I think celibacy quite suits me!’

‘Aww, Don’t say that! You’re much too young and beautiful for celibacy. I think that Auntie Mads is going to have to start finding sweet girlies for you. After all, we don’t want you to end up with hairy palms!’

‘Hairy palms? Whatever has that got to do with finding a girlfriend? Urs turned a mystified gaze on Maddie who giggled uncontrollably at her own daring. She attempted to explain.

‘Well … they say you get hairy palms ... of your hands, if you do too much … erm …sorting yourself out because you haven’t got a girlfriend.’ He still wore a bemused stare and Maddie covered her face with her hands, not knowing where next to take this conversation. She took a deep breath and plunged in. ‘Oh … no sex … so you take yourself … in hand!’ Finally he made the connection and his shocked gasp was accompanied by his eyebrows rushing towards his hairline.

‘Oh my, you are a terrible woman, what a thing to suggest!’ He couldn’t keep up the horror and outrage for long though and ended up laughing uproariously. He stared down at his upturned palms and then the two friends stood together checking for unwanted hirsute growth amid their howls of laughter.

Later that evening they lounged on the huge, overstuffed couch in his suite and listened to the haunting melodies of Grieg’s Peer Gynt. This was one of Madeleine’s favourite pieces of music and it never failed to put her into a mellow mood. She played, idly, with his hair as Urs lay along the length of the couch with his head resting in her lap. His eyes were closed as he allowed the music to wash over him.

As the last bars echoed around the tranquil room he stretched languidly before turning his face inwards towards her abdomen and snuggling into her soft body. Without thinking he wrapped his strong arms around her waist, clasping her to him.

It was not the gesture of a friend or confidante. It was the gesture of a lover. His gaze travelled up her body to her face and was met by another gaze … one full of nervous shock!

He stared deeply into her eyes for seconds, that seemed to Madeleine to be hours and then he slowly sat up. A little nervous cough betrayed his uncertainty but he quickly recovered and smiled softly.

‘Hmmm … the music quite got to me just then.’ He stood and moved over to the window, finding the lit up windows of the sky scraper across the street suddenly interesting. Madeleine followed him with her eyes, staring at his back and willing herself to find the right thing to say. She chose flippancy:

‘See, I’m right … you definitely need a girlfriend.’

He turned back to the woman who now meant so much to him, a wistful smile on his lips.

‘Yes, you probably are right … but whom?

The question went unanswered. Instead the two friends stared across the room in silence as memories fought their way to the surface and somewhere, like a drumbeat, each thought they heard a deafening knocking on those forbidden doors.

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PostSubject: Re: The Sequel: Renewal and Fulfilment By: MoeD    Mon Oct 04, 2010 6:21 pm

Chapter Four:

It was the fifth day and Il Divo had to fly off to their next destination in less than four hours. Urs had arrived at Maddie’s door just after first light, anxious to eek the last bit of togetherness out of their time in New York. He followed her to the couch and sat down intimately close, his thigh touching the length of hers. He took her hand in his and raised it to his lips.

‘Oh! Can’t you come with us? We’ve had such a wonderful time here. I don’t want it to end. It can be so bloody miserable when we’re on the road – I need my friend with me.’

‘You know I can’t darling. I have to go back to work … some of us have jobs waiting for us. My editor is a patient man but even he expects to see me in the office at least once in a while.’

‘Well I wouldn’t mind if you still enjoyed it but it has become such a chore for you, just lately. Why don’t you ignore the deadlines and we can travel the world together? You could still write articles as places or events interested you but you could be freelance and then you’d have more time to work on the book’ He knew what the answer would be before he had finished uttering the words but he felt compelled to ask it anyway.

‘You’re right, of course … but that ‘chore’ helps to pay the bills.’ She looked at him, glum-faced. Much as she would have loved to be with him more, there didn’t seem to be anyway round this.
His reply took Madeleine by surprise.

‘Sell the house then you won’t have any more bills. Your time can be your own and you can do what you really want to do ... and I’ll have my favourite companion with me in all those new places.’

‘Oh wonderful, I would be your kept woman. I wonder what the press and fans would make of that. Of course you could always pass me off as your dotty maiden aunt. That would enhance tales of your charitable nature, noticeably.’ She cocked her head, awaiting his next reply but he had none. He knew she was fiercely independent so he needed another solution. Maddie saw his struggle and softened her stance. ‘Think about what you are asking of me Urs. I would have to ask you for every penny. I simply couldn’t do that. Then, of course I have to consider the family. I know I sort of live alone now that Jake has gone off to university but he needs a home base to return to and the other two may have their own lives but they need the reassurance of me being there in a crisis. I suppose I could always get a nice cardboard box under a bridge somewhere - perhaps I could find one with a convenient electricity socket so that I could plug the laptop in.’
He sneered at her sarcasm but he wasn’t finished yet. After a few more moments’ thought he slapped his hand on his thigh in an emphatic gesture of triumph.

‘No, no! I know what you can do. If you are really sure that you don’t want to become a nomad on our world tour you could move into my place. Think about it for a minute. It would be so much easier for you to join me when it suited you because you’d have fewer commitments – you could b e more selective in the work you take. I never use it, well; except for a few days here and there, anyway.’

She considered the implications of his words and was briefly excited by the prospect ... a life of writing what she wanted to write, living in his apartment, among his things … bliss! Then doubts crowded out her options. She pouted as she reviewed these very real obstacles to her possible happiness but she couldn’t just ignore the needs of her kids.

Urs stood up and began pacing, threatening the pattern of the intricate Chinese rug beneath his feet. He smiled suddenly and threw himself down again and pulled her into his arms.

‘Of course ... let Louise and Mark stay in the house and pay the bills! They already do that in that grotty little bedsit you are always complaining about, don’t they? They could even pay you a little rent to ease your worries. Then Jake would still have his home base to come to and you wouldn’t have burned your bridges by selling your house.’ He kissed her mouth hard, delighted by his own brilliance.

Madeleine broke away, breathless, as much due to his surprise embrace as his suggestion. It could work. She smiled and kissed him back. She knew that her kids would have to be amenable to the plan for it to work but she was optimistic that everyone would love it as her children, too, were thrilled at the prospect of their mum finally writing the book she had always claimed was her destiny. This was her chance and if it was at all possible she was going to grab it!

‘You know, Urs Buhler, you are a bloody genius, sometimes!

‘What do you mean, sometimes?’

He hugged her to him and found himself suddenly unwilling to let her go. But from now on she would be in his home, waiting for him and he would make sure that those visits would become more frequent. The path his thoughts were now plunging down was a little scary but he no longer felt the need to turn away. The door was still there, with all those simmering feelings hidden behind it but he wasn’t as afraid to approach it anymore. Whatever time would bring he would be ready.

His reverie was interrupted by the insistent ringing of his cell phone. It was David, telling him that they were ready to go.

Again he took this woman who meant so much to him into his arms for one last regretful goodbye. He stared deeply into her eyes and couldn’t stop himself from kissing her mouth tenderly and murmuring against her lips,

‘I love you, my wonderful friend!

Maddie watched until the lift doors closed and he was lost from view before retreating into her room, glad that there was no one in that room to hear her belated reply:

‘And I love you too, my darling, oh how I love you.’

Now, safely away from his physical presence she was at last able to indulge herself. She closed her eyes and sighed before throwing open the forbidden door and revelling in her treasured memories and dreams.

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PostSubject: Re: The Sequel: Renewal and Fulfilment By: MoeD    Mon Oct 04, 2010 6:22 pm

Chapter Five:

Madeleine settled happily into Urs’ apartment and busied herself with the daily ins and outs of a would-be novelist’s life. She became extremely disciplined; conscientiously plodding away at the keyboard until she had filled her word quota for the day before letting herself relax. But everything would change now; at least for a few days … Urs was coming home.
This would be his first visit since she had moved into his apartment and he would only be in town for a couple of days, on his way to appearances in mainland Europe. Indeed his work schedule for the run-in to Christmas was frightening. The group was jetting across the Atlantic every week, it seemed and, as tempers and nerves were beginning to show signs of fraying, it was decided that a quick touchdown for a break in London would do much to recharge the batteries.

Once her work was finished for the day she busied herself around the apartment, making sure that it was ‘just so’ for its owners arrival. It was late in the evening before she was happy with the results and finally allowed herself the luxury of rest.

Of course sleep was going to be difficult. Ever since New York her need to be with Urs had been growing and so she was extremely excited at the prospect of welcoming him home tomorrow. She tossed around in the big empty bed and imagined how he would look, what he would be wearing. She wondered if he would hold her and, dare she think … kiss her and … finally her dreams claimed her.
*****
Urs placed his key quietly into the lock and opened the door without a sound. It was just after 4.00 am. They had been able to get an earlier than expected flight and he was delighted to be able to surprise her in this way … until he realised that she would be sleeping. He crept around making very little sound and decided to head straight to bed so that he would be much fresher for the day ahead but, no matter how he tried, he couldn’t resist the invisible pull of her.

He walked through into his bedroom. He knew that Maddie would be sleeping there – in fact he had insisted as it was a much larger and more comfortable room than the spare which would be more than adequate for his scant visits. He couldn’t resist just checking on the off chance that she would wake so he padded over to the big bed and saw her sleeping peacefully, her hair strewn over the pillow like a dark cloud. His fingers crept forward, as if taking on a will of their own and gently played with a stray lock.

She opened her eyes with a jolt and jumped in fear as she realised that she wasn’t alone.

‘Oh! It’s okay! It’s only me. I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to frighten you.’ He gathered her up into his arms and hugged her until she feared she would break.

‘Urs, what are you doing here? You’re early; I didn’t expect you until morning.’ She pushed herself up on the pillows a little to get a better look at him and ran her hands over his arms and chest, almost fearful that he was some figment of her imagination or a wraith pulled from her dream to torment her further. But he was real! She smiled and rested her head in the crook of his neck, momentarily revelling in the desire to never move again.

He settled himself on the bed beside her, all the while keeping one arm around her shoulders and chattered on about the early flight and the other passengers and all manner of things. She, in turn, told him of her routine in his apartment and he nodded approvingly. Everything felt normal, comfortable … home!

The conversation grew sparse and they lay quietly next to each other, each unwilling to break the mood. Eventually she realised that his body had answered the call for sleep. She brushed a stray lock of hair from his forehead and tenderly kissed the place where it had lain and then she covered him with the duvet and revelled in the sensation of lying in the dark beside him once more. Their bodies were barely touching but she felt a contentment which had been missing from her life for so long. She closed her eyes, willing the moment of perfect happiness to last a lifetime.
Some time just before dawn she stirred again. Her vibrant dream had showed him holding, touching, loving her and the sensations were still with her. But the dream was becoming reality.
His hand was on her abdomen, circling on the soft silk of her nightgown. He murmured her name in his sleep and, in the grey glow of first light she watched a sensuous smile drift across his features. His hand moved slowly to cup her breast, kneading the flesh with his long fingers. She held her breath. She knew she should wake him but months of pent up feelings left her lost in the sensations his hand was causing. He pushed his body against hers in his sleep and his own arousal became very apparent to her. Then he woke.
They stared at each other. The forbidden doors were wide open now as each remembered, with exquisite and terrifying clarity, their stolen night. Both were confused. They were unsure what to do … so, for interminable seconds, they did nothing.
Madeleine stared into the chasm that had opened before her. In its depths she found all the longing and frustration that she had kept penned up for so long. It lay, festering and growing, trying to engulf the reasons for keeping the status quo between herself and Urs as it had been since they left Dartmoor. Her struggle was titanic. Her desire for this man was attempting to drive all reason from her mind.
Urs stared into the eyes of the woman lying within his arms. The need coursing through his body begged him to act. He could barely remember the reason why he had decided that she could only be a friend and nothing more. But they had made absolute sense in the bright daylight streaming into that cottage on that morning.
Slowly both remembered all the words she had said to him the morning after their one shared night and knew they were as true now as they were then. She couldn’t face the prospect of seeing regret on his face and he couldn’t let her be disappointed in him. She smiled tremulously and lifted his hand, holding his fingers momentarily before moving them away from her body. He immediately understood the signal. He got up from the bed slowly and, after a murmured goodnight, he left her in the warm bed and made towards the cold, empty spare bedroom but he couldn’t manage to keep the look of sadness from his face as he went.
Both now lay in their lonely beds and struggled to once more shut those damned doors before their memories could make them do something either, or both, may regret.

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PostSubject: Re: The Sequel: Renewal and Fulfilment By: MoeD    Mon Oct 04, 2010 6:23 pm

Chapter Six:

For the rest of his flying visit, Urs worked overtime to ensure that everything appeared to be the same as before his return. He was anxious to show her that he could control himself and was still prepared to adhere to the wishes that she had voiced that morning in the cottage.
In fact he tried too hard. He put flowers on the breakfast table – not a gift of love but of appreciation for the way Maddie had cared for his home during his absence. He listened attentively when she talked of her writing, suggesting enhancements or praising lavishly. He was bright and cheerful ... but everything was just a little too much.
Madeleine watched him closely, her own fears making her almost scared to breathe at times. His manner convinced her even further that she had been right in stopping him before things went too far, in fact it practically shouted to her that he was embarrassed and glad to know that everything was still the same as it should be. He needed a friend not an ageing lover and, after all ... it was only a dream.
They continued to dance around each other through hectic days of last minute Christmas shopping and evenings spent watching TV and eating quiet meals. Everything was peace and calm to the outward eye but beneath, thoughts seethed and emotions surged. They were two people who desperately needed far more than was being given and the real tragedy lay in the fact that neither recognised the concomitant need of the other.
When the day of Urs’ departure arrived they went through the usual routine; hugs and chaste kisses and wishes for safe journeys and good times. Urs was not the only one to be leaving that day as Maddie was going home for Christmas, just as Urs was after his work commitments. He had thought about asking her to join him in Switzerland, prior to this last trip but his faux-pas had made him glad that he hadn’t. Anyway, she had her own family to be with, he had no right to monopolise her. So the apartment was left empty, much like the hearts of the people who had so recently vacated it.
*****
By the time the jet rose from the runway Urs had made it pretty clear to his band mates that it would be better if they left him alone. He had snarled his way through customs before throwing himself into a chair in the farthest corner of the VIP departure lounge. David caught Seb’s eye and indicated with furious gesturing that he thought the Frenchman should intervene. Seb, however, shook his head vehemently and mimed the need to leave him alone ... he had seen this before and he wasn’t anxious to precipitate any deterioration in his friend’s mood. Once on the plane, Urs stuck his I-pod ear-buds into his ears and resolutely faced the window. The ‘do not disturb’ sign was well and truly in place.
*****
Urs stared at the grey clouds below them. It was an impenetrable blanket, much like the confusion that was banging inside his head. Now that he was away from Madeleine, the bitter disappointment that he had been holding at bay for the whole visit was cutting into him with agonising precision. He needed to sort his thoughts about the whole situation if he was to find any peace.
He let his mind go back to the morning in the cottage when Maddie had delivered her monologue about their situation. He understood her need to deal with it in her usual pragmatic way. She was of the opinion that the night was a necessary happening but that it wasn’t to be repeated because it had merely been a reaction to each of their sorrows and then their relief when he was safe. Of course she was right about that but that didn’t mean that it couldn’t be the springboard to more. She had also mentioned their age difference, as though the scant ten years was an insurmountable barrier but he knew that was nonsense. He had had older girlfriends before and he firmly believed that the way two people fitted together, physically and emotionally was of much more importance than age or looks or any of the shallow measures of compatibility that were usually used.
With head in hands he realised how ridiculous it all was. When he examined the facts it was plain to see that he had been stupid to accept Maddie’s words without question. He now knew, with a certainty he found frightening, that Maddie was everything he looked for in a woman. Try as he might, he couldn’t find a single thing to object to about her, well, maybe she wasn’t always as punctual as he liked but he could work on that. Finally a small smile crept over his face. Why, he wondered, was he letting her set all the rules ... surely he had a say in this!
He felt his mind clearing as he focussed his thoughts and he felt a new enthusiasm infuse his body. He had commitments for sure and they both had their family visits but after, when life returned to normal – if you could call his life normal, he was going to find a way to make his feelings known to her ... and she would have to listen to him. And as for that damned door ... it was gone and his memories were there, thundering their presence.
He turned to see Seb eyeing him speculatively and he smiled in answer to his friend’s obvious concern. Urs caught the eye of a passing flight attendant.
‘Could we have some champagne please, Miss? My good friend and I would like to share a drink; we have a long postponed celebration to enjoy.’
*****
Madeleine eased her key into the lock and entered the quiet house. The Christmas decorating had been done by others this year and that was good. This house had seen so much happiness; parties and good times, when no one could have guessed at the trials which would come to them. Then there had been so much heartache for everyone but now laughter would return and in time, maybe, there would be children again to complete the circle. She looked around the still room, lit as it was by only the street light streaming through the window. The essence of Ian had always been with her in here, through all the suffering but tonight she felt different. She had moved on. True she was living and working somewhere else but above all she was being overwhelmed by her changing needs.
Her needs ... why did these thoughts lead her straight back to Urs? Wasn’t there some other, perhaps, existing somewhere, waiting to be discovered ... and loved? Urs wasn’t hers, could never be hers so she had to learn to put him out of her thoughts and dreams – but that was far easier said than done. Part of her knew that living in his place, visiting him around the world, and clinging onto his friendship only wrapped her in more pain but she was helpless to break these ties. Her lot was to be around him whenever she could, revelling in him ... until the day dawned when he found the right woman... and he no longer needed her.
She shook her head, as if trying to drive the pain of her thoughts away by physical actions but, of course, the act was futile. The pain would always be there, next to the pain of losing Ian. A solitary tear rolled a crystal path down her cheek as she turned and climbed the stairs.



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PostSubject: Re: The Sequel: Renewal and Fulfilment By: MoeD    Mon Oct 04, 2010 6:23 pm

Chapter Seven:

The frantic bustle of the last few days leading up to Christmas prevented Maddie from dwelling too much on her worries. Her children were in fine form and eager to show their mum how much they had missed her. Her days were a whirl of shopping, eating, drinking and generally not knowing which way up she was - and that suited her just fine!
Before she knew it Christmas day dawned and she was hauled out of bed by children who still enjoyed the ‘presents’ ritual, even though they were no longer small. Gaily coloured parcels were passed around amid awed exclamations and, sometimes, guffawed laughter. Jake rummaged under the tree as though he was seven rather than seventeen.
‘What’s this ... who’s it for?’ He questioned, with his usual vigorous shaking of the small wrapped box that he had just dug out.
‘Ah, yes, that came by special courier yesterday, for you mum, with strict instructions not to let you see it before today.’ Louise’s eyes were alight with mischief; she loved being party to a surprise. ‘Can’t think who it’s from, though.’
Everyone was silent as they watched Madeleine finger the gift. She opened the attached card and read the words carefully.
The opal is thought to be unlucky but it is the birthstone for those born in October and holds a promise for them of special things to come. Wear this for me, my darling Madeleine and think what the future can bring. Love always, Urs xx
Her heart began a tattoo beat as she unwrapped the velvet covered box. Inside, on the finest chain imaginable, was laid a magnificent fire opal set in a delicate filigree of gold. Maddie touched the exquisite jewel as her children craned their necks to see inside the box.
‘Wow mum; that must have cost a lot of money ... its fabulous!’ Louise’s admiration was correct but the expense was unimportant to Maddie. She and Urs had drooled over a display of fire opal jewellery in New York and she had said how much she adored them but that they were considered unlucky. She wondered when he had found out about it being her birthstone and if the legend he had quoted was indeed true – and, if it was ... what he meant by it. So many questions crowded her mind and inevitably, her hopes were unleashed.

Throughout the day’s revelry her fingers wandered to the pendant gracing her neck and her mind played with the possibilities. Could she dare hope? As evening fell to be replaced by night she stared into the glass in her hand, wondering if the wine was contributing to her fancies. Her musing was interrupted as; somehow, through the raucous racket of her family’s game of charades, she heard the phone ring.

‘Hello.’
‘Hello, my darling girl, happy Christmas. Are you having a good time?’
‘Yes thanks, are you? Merry Christmas to you and your family, by the way.’
‘Thanks, I’ll pass it on ... if I can manage a word in edgeways any time soon. We are having a great time; silly games and too much food and drink as usual but hey ... it’s Christmas!’ He sounded happy and she smiled. How she loved his enthusiasm.
‘Same here, oh ... thanks for the present by the way. You shouldn’t have, of course; you had already bought me my printer for the laptop. It was a lovely surprise though. Is the legend true or are you just trying to stop me worrying?’
‘Of course it’s true, the lady in the shop in Lucerne told me but to be sure I looked it up – yes I even went onto the internet, voluntarily, just for you. I’m glad you like it.’
‘Like it ... I love it! It makes my book choice look rather mean though, doesn’t it?
‘No it does not! You remembered how much I wanted that Fritz Wunderlich biography. I was thrilled when I opened it ... thank you so much Liebchen.’
‘I’m glad you liked it but it hardly measures up to my gorgeous pendant – that must have cost a fortune.’
‘What does that matter; it’s not the cost that’s important but the thought behind the gift.’ She smiled at the generosity of his words, knowing he meant them.
Both parties to the call fell silent, suddenly stumped for something to say.
Maddie knew she should finish the call but she couldn’t; the tenuous link that was his voice, his very breathing, warmed her heart, and here; away from his presence, she could indulge herself to the full. Her head swam as she evoked her memories and her voice was stopped – speech wasn’t to be trusted just at that moment.
Urs searched desperately for appropriate words but none came. The silence enveloped him and he felt he was intruding with this call. Indeed he had put it off for hours, picking up his phone time and again, only to replace it with a shake of the head. His new found confidence about his relationship with Maddie had evaporated when faced with making actual contact. Finally, he could hold off no longer and her voice had been like a balm to his nerves. The demons were dancing again now though ... Gott ... why did she do this to him?
‘Okay, I had better let you get back to your family. It was good to talk to you and I’ll see you soon.’
‘Oh, okay Urs, it was lovely to talk to you too. Enjoy the rest of your holiday and I’ll see you ... next year?’
‘Yeah, bye.’
‘Bye.’

She held the phone to her ear even after she heard the desolate click. She couldn’t put it down ... she hadn’t finished. Her inner voice was still screaming ‘I love you; I need you ...’ why, she wondered, hadn’t she let those words out. The pain stabbing through her was just too damned much to put up with.
‘I’m going to get an early night kids, I really don’t feel too well. Leave the clearing up and I’ll sort it tomorrow.’ Madeleine walked unsteadily across the room, hoping her children would blame an excess of alcohol. The lurch, however, had begun in her heart and she knew she had to lie down before her misery drove her to her knees. Goodnight my loves, I’ll see you in the morning. The chorus of ‘night mum and good wishes echoed around her as she stumbled up the stairs and into her room. She lay on the bed, unable even to undress and played an old favourite game – what is he doing right now? Is he laughing, smiling?
Urs was doing neither. His excuse had been much like Maddie’s and now he lay staring at the ceiling ... where Madeleine’s haunting shadow danced for him.

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PostSubject: Re: The Sequel: Renewal and Fulfilment By: MoeD    Mon Oct 04, 2010 6:25 pm

Chapter Eight:

Boxing Day dawned but Madeleine’s promise of the big clear up didn’t materialise. Louise had led her unwilling army of male helpers though all the required jobs by lunchtime but still ‘mum’ had not put in an appearance. This was an unusual occurrence; Maddie was normally an early riser – a morning person. Louise crept into her darkened room at midday, carrying the requisite cup of tea to ease all pain.
‘Mornin’ sleepyhead, are you going to stay in that bed all day? Madeleine looked at her daughter and offered the weakest of sorry little smiles. It seemed her excuse of the previous night was coming true.
‘Sorry, darling but I really do feel ill. My throat is hurting so much and my head is banging.’ Maddie was unsure whether her symptoms were virus induced or psychosomatic but at the moment she didn’t care.
‘Oh no, I can tell though ... listen to your voice.’ She leaned over and felt her mother’s forehead. ‘God, you’re burning up. You’d better stay there today and I’ll get you some paracetamol; that might make you feel a bit better at least
Louise scurried off to do as she had said while Madeleine pulled the covers back over her head and shut out the world once again.
The day passed in a haze after that. Louise kept up the solicitous visits; offering welcome fluids but Maddie refused all offers of food. The others visited her during her more wakeful moments and the unanimous verdict was a virus. Her voice dwindled to nothing but a barely audible squeak but she was oblivious as talking was just too much work right now.
The following day saw little improvement and Maddie slept though her normal ‘get up time. Her misery was complete and she wallowed alone all day after insisting, more by mime than words, that her family go to a family get together as intended, and leave her in bed.
*****
Moonlight was busy etching dramatic patterns on the room’s interior as she was awakened by the phone some hours later.
‘Hello Liebchen, how is your holiday going?’
‘good,’ - at least that was what she tried to say but the only sound now managing to escape her voice box was a pathetic squeak.
‘I’m sorry Maddie ... what did you say? I can’t hear you properly; this must be a bad connection.’ Maddie hacked out a cough in a supreme effort and managed to make herself just about audible.
‘I’m sick ... can’t talk.’ Urs paused as if taken aback by this.
‘Oh no – when did this happen ... no don’t try to answer ... I just wanted a chat ... but I guess we can’t really do that. Okay, I will let you rest. I will call again tomorrow to see how you are, look after yourself ... I miss you.’ Madeleine squeaked out a mournful ‘bye’ which Urs answered in kind and then he was gone.
This was the last straw. The lump in her throat felt like glass and forced big fat tears down Maddie’s face. Croaky sobs emanated from her desolate body ... she was bereft.
Louise found her in much the same state when she came up to check on her some hours later. She had been worried by her mother’s demeanour ever since she had returned home but she had been unable to get to the reason for it. But now it was as though Madeleine had simply given up. She didn’t want to know about the party or even what her own children had done and that just wasn’t like her, ill or not. She pondered if Urs could have something to do with it but that just mystified her more, especially after the beautiful surprise present he had sent. Louise knew her mother was more than fond of Urs but she had always assumed that she was happy to keep him as a friend. Now she wondered if that really was the case. Whatever was the truth of the matter she decided it needed investigating before her beloved mum disappeared entirely under this sad persona she now wore.
*****
Madeleine had not improved in either mood or health when morning arrived and she dismissed all who tried to make her feel better. Even though her voice had returned somewhat she insisted that Louise field all calls as she didn’t want to talk to anyone but just go back to sleep. Urs’ call that afternoon; therefore, was the opportunity Louise had waited for.
‘Hello.’
‘Oh, hello Louise, can I speak to your mum please?’
‘Hiya Urs ...I’m afraid that isn’t really possible. Mum is still feeling really ill and has asked that I answer all calls.’
‘Oh ... I was hoping that she would be feeling better today. I called last night but she could barely speak so we didn’t have much chance to talk. She sounded very miserable.’
‘Yes, I’m afraid she is. As a matter of fact, though, I would welcome the chance to talk to you ... about something that is worrying me. Would you mind?’
‘Of course not, if I can help. What’s the problem?’ He waited for an answer and heard Louise’s determined intake of breath before she continued
‘Well ... it’s mum, actually; she’s been really unhappy since she returned from London. Can you tell me ... did anything happen to upset her?’ Louise was nonplussed to receive only silence for long seconds.
‘Erm, Louise ... I’m sorry but can I call you back ... something has just come up that I need to deal with. It’s 2.30 now – I promise I’ll get back to you within half an hour.’
‘Oh ... okay! I’ll wait for your call then, bye.’
‘Yes bye!’
The two parties to the conversation looked rocked by what had been said ... and not said. Louise wondered if there was a rift developing between her mother and Urs – but couldn’t equate that with the happy voice of the first part of the call, never mind the extravagant present. Urs at first was wholly concerned with what he could say to Louise about the events in London but then he got to thinking about why Maddie might be so dejected. She had seemed fine, if a little strained, when they had left together – they both had been. Was she upset because he touched her inappropriately ... or because he stopped? This had to be sorted – and quickly. He reached again for the phone.
‘Hello again, Louise, I’ve thought a lot about what you asked me and I think I may have a solution that will help us get to the bottom of this ..

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PostSubject: Re: The Sequel: Renewal and Fulfilment By: MoeD    Mon Oct 04, 2010 6:26 pm

Chapter Nine:

Maddie winced as the crisp morning light flooded the room. She squinted over the duvet to see her daughter smiling determinedly at her.
‘Are you staying in that bed for the rest of your life ... surely you are feeling a bit better by now?’ Louise’s words were accompanied by a sharp tug on the bed clothes; revealing her mother to the day.
‘Yeah ... I am ... but I’m not ready to get up yet, leave me alone.’ She went to pull the covers back over her but was stopped by Louise’s body sitting down firmly and holding them where they were.
‘You sound much better; your voice is almost back to normal and you have some colour back in your cheeks. I’d say you look much better, mother, but I’d be lying ... you are in severe need of a shower and a hair wash. A bit of make-up wouldn’t go amiss either.’
‘Well, thanks for that vote of confidence, dearest daughter of mine. Just remind me ... how long was I in labour with you?’ Finally a smile creased the corners of her mouth. It was the first for many days.
‘I am duly grateful for your hard work then, mum – that’s why I am acting in your best interests now. Now get yourself up and clean and we can have a nice day. You never know who might come a calling – it is Christmas, after all.’ Maddie went to ask who she might be expecting but stopped as Louise was disappearing round the door in rapid time so, instead, she hauled herself out of bed and tottered towards the bathroom.
In fact, standing under the stream or warm water really did make her feel better. She felt as though it was washing away her troubles as well as the accumulated grime of her illness. As she stepped out and grabbed her towel she decided that it was time she stopped feeling so sorry for herself. She was with her family who meant so much to her and she needed to start enjoying them again.
Louise popped her head round the door again as Maddie was drying her hair.
‘The fellas want to know if you fancy lunch at the carvery.’
‘Good idea, I’ll put something decent on and be down when I have finished my face.’
‘Okay but make it warm and comfortable ... it’s really cold outside. I’ve done your ironing so you could put your good black pants on and that lovely new green sweater that sets off your eyes.’
‘Thanks darling ... what would I do without you?’
‘Have to iron your own clothes, for a start.’ They both laughed; Maddie hated ironing.
*****
As she entered the room Maddie heard Louise answering the phone. The handset was quickly thrust at her though, with a muttered ‘It’s for you.’
‘Hello.’
‘Hello Maddie, good, you sound so much better.’
‘Hi Urs, yes, I am! How are you?’
‘I’m fine, just fine ... I feel great. Listen, though, Liebchen, I have a favour to ask of you. Everything is winding down here in Switzerland ... and I’m bored. So ... I wondered if I could come to spend a few days with you ... we could see in the New Year together!’ Maddie said nothing; her heart was beating much to fast to leave any energy for speaking. ‘Are you there Maddie – don’t you think it would be a good idea?’ Finally she spoke.
‘Yes, it’s a great idea ... but when ... will you be able to get a flight?’
‘Of course, I’ll be with you before you know it. What’s the weather like there, do I need a coat? Go and look out of the window and tell me, darling.’ Madeleine did as she was told; her heart was too full of delight to think to question his request.
Her eyes travelled from the clear blue sky, down to the trees on the opposite side of her road ... and then moved to the sleek Mercedes parked across the top of her drive.
‘The weather’s fine, clear and crisp; it’s lov...........’ Only now did she notice the man exiting the car. She dropped the phone.
*****
Urs draped himself against the car, ankles crossed, urbanely casual. He shook the cell phone in his hand miming the loss of the connection, then dropped all pretence and started jogging towards the door. Maddie met him there and he swung her up into his arms. He crushed her to him and for a moment she felt complete happiness. Eventually it was possible to make out words in the hubbub.
‘How ... why ... you’re here early ... why the change?’
‘I wanted to surprise you – to cheer you up ... did it work?’ As he spoke he manoeuvred her backwards into the lounge where her smirking kids were all sat. ‘Hello everyone.’ A chorus of greeting answered him but it was their mother they were all watching. Her joy lit up the room – there was absolutely no need for her answer.
She pulled Urs by the hand ‘til they were both sitting on the couch together, then she kept hold, unwilling to let him go.
‘Oh, it’s great to have you here. We were going out for lunch; you’re just in time to join us.’
‘Erm ... no you’re not!’
‘I’m not ... why?’
‘Because you have to go pack; we have a plane to catch, woman.’
‘A plane - why ... where are we going ... and when?’
‘We are going to Madeira; Louise tells me you love it there ... and our flight leaves in less than three hours ... so get moving.’
Madeira; how lovely but three hours ... are you mad? I’ll never make it.’ Finally, someone else spoke up instead of merely sitting, watching the verbal tennis.
‘Yes you will mum; I told you I’d been ironing. Your clothes are all ready and the rest of your things are almost packed. Come on and let’s get it finished.’ She cajoled her mother into the dining room where her necessary belongings were waiting and the two women had the job finished in no time. As they prepared to take the luggage through to the lounge, Maddie kissed Louise’s cheek and held her close.
‘My clever darling, thanks for this; it’s just what I need. I don’t know how you got him to do it, mind you ... but I’m glad you did!’
‘It was easy mum; he suggested a trip to aid your recuperation and I told him how you have always wanted to see the New Year spectacle in Funchal. He certainly gets things moving quickly, doesn’t he; I suppose it’s all the travelling he does ... must be used to it.’ She chose not to reveal, however, that they had actually talked for almost an hour until they had worked out that a trip away might just provide the answer to her mum’s ills. Urs hadn’t divulged the reason for her mood change but Louise knew something cataclysmic had happened. She was pinning all her hopes on this plan ... whatever it might bring.
Urs stood up and took the cases so that he could load them in the car while Maddie said her farewells. Her children were, in truth, glad their time together was being cut short; they needed their mum, not the shadow she had been during this visit.
Soon they were loaded and ready to go and it was a very happy Maddie who waved goodbye as they pulled away. Jake put a brotherly arm around his big sister.
‘Is it me, Lou, or do they look good together?’ He smiled as his sister nodded.
‘Yes, Jake, they fit together very well ... very well indeed.’

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PostSubject: Re: The Sequel: Renewal and Fulfilment By: MoeD    Mon Oct 04, 2010 6:28 pm

Chapter Ten:
The somewhat hectic journey was sheer bliss to Maddie – every minute of it! The swish hire car had whisked them to the airport in record time but all she was aware of was the man she was sitting beside. The first class cabin of the plane was comfortable and well serviced but she hardly noticed, being much too engrossed in the way Urs’ hair fell across his cheek as he looked out of the window. If life got better than this she hadn’t yet experienced it. The air around her seemed charged with electricity which was heightening her perception of every passing second. Eventually she closed her eyes and willed herself to a calmer state ... but it was hard. She had no idea what, if anything would come from this trip; the best she could think to do now was to sit back and enjoy the ride!

The plane began its descent over Funchal then carried on to the airport, some way off to the east. The runway juts out over the sea and although Maddie had experienced a ‘Madeira landing’ before, Urs was unprepared for it. As soon as the wheels touched down the brakes were applied with all the urgency of a formula one racing driver but to the unwary traveller it looked for all the world as though stopping the aircraft in time would be impossible and they would all plummet to a watery grave. Urs clasped her hand, barely daring to breathe as Maddie soothed him with baby ‘tutting’ noises. Disaster was, of course, averted and the flight attendant’s announcement showed how used they were to this occurrence when he quipped:

‘Well, at least we know the brakes work, ladies and gentlemen.’

Urs laughed self consciously and reassured Maddie that he’d known all along that everything would be alright but Maddie remembered how she had screamed on her first visit and simply laughed. Soon they were in a limousine and heading to their hotel.

The luxurious hotel that is known as Reid’s Palace stands on a rocky headland to the west of the city and is renowned throughout the world for its elegance. When Maddie saw their destination, she clasped her hands in delight.

‘Ooh, you got rooms at the ‘Palace’ and at New Year too – how lucky are you?’

‘Luck had nothing to do with it, my darling girl, I got the Sony people to pull a few strings and they managed to come up with a cancellation ... like magic.’ He laughed as he assisted Maddie through the door that was being held for them. Maddie stared open-mouthed at the sheer grandeur of the hotel lobby as they were shown to the reservations desk.

‘Wow, Urs, you’ll have to wait a while before I can pay my half of this holiday ... I’ll need three best sellers at least!’

‘Okay, I’ll just write that down on your bill ... three best sellers .......’ He mimed writing on his other hand and Maddie swatted at him to stop his teasing. As Urs filled in the necessary paperwork and handed over his credit card a thought suddenly struck home ... what were the sleeping arrangements? ‘Oh dear ... was she being presumptuous ... was HE being presumptuous ... oh God!’

As usual she was underestimating him – he had thought of everything. Their Presidential suite was, as the name suggested, an imposing sight. The Churchill Suite was so named because of the penchant of the British statesman to holiday at this hotel while planning his memoirs. There was a twin suite named after George Bernard Shaw, who learned to Tango in the hotel and it was said that so little had changed in this monument to colonialism that you could almost see the celebrities still haunting the grounds.

If Madeleine was dumbstruck when she entered the hotel then she was transported to Nirvana when she saw the interior of the suite. Since being Urs’ companion she had stayed in some pretty special hotels but this broke all the barriers. The mixture of Mediterranean meets English antique should have been odd but it was so well done that it was a joy to the eye. Soft florals were laid against stout wooden pieces to perfection. And it was huge!! A beautiful lounge, from which a kitchen area, two magnificent bedrooms and a stately marble bathroom opened off, all completed the perfection within.

As the bell boy closed the door behind him she could contain herself no longer and began to dance on the spot in childish glee. Urs was enchanted to see her so happy – part one of his plan accomplished! She turned to see him watching her and giggled:

‘Oh, I do love you, Mr Buhler, thank you so much for bringing me here. It’s the sort of place where dreams can come true.’ She ran to him and wrapped her arms around his neck before placing a soft kiss on the corner of his mouth.

‘Yes,’ he thought, ‘dreams really might come true here.’

*****

The island prides itself on having companionable temperatures all year round so it was decided that they would have dinner served on their balcony overlooking the sea. A soft breeze wafted up the heady scent of the bougainvillea from where it cascaded in a heady display below them and the moonlight illuminated the darkness of the ocean beyond. Urs was struck by Maddie’s fragile features as she sat taking in her surroundings. All pretence was gone from him now; he longed to make his feelings known but he knew it was crucial that he didn’t rush her. He wondered what she was thinking but, had he the power of looking into her mind he would still have seen the doubts there. Their positions were very different – he knew he loved her and that any obstacles could be overcome but she saw those obstacles as insurmountable. She simply couldn’t see her own worth in their relationship so how could she think he would? But she was fighting her own battle now ... what, she wondered, if he did want her but only for the short term ... could that be enough? Both closed their eyes and thought of what the next few days might bring.

*****

After a restful, if thoughtful, nights sleep both Urs and Maddie were ready to explore the island. Throughout breakfast Maddie had enthused about all the things they could see and do so they couldn’t wait to go, hand in hand, into the soft morning sunshine.

After catching the shuttle into Funchal they browsed the ancient streets and markets before walking to the cable car for a scenic ride on the new marvel of the city. The views were breath-taking as they hung high above the mountain side and when they reached the village of Monte they were able to investigate the church and cobbled streets.

As they came out into the square below the steps to the church Maddie began to smirk; here was one Madeiran tradition she hadn’t mentioned ... the toboggan ride. The toboggans had been in use for over one hundred and fifty years and were originally a quick form of transport for the locals who wished to get into Funchal quickly – and quickly was the word. Urs held onto Maddie tightly as they careered down the hillside at break-neck speed. The traditionally dressed drivers steered and ran along, even using their rubber soled boots as brakes, miraculously avoiding crossing cars or unwary pedestrians. Maddie had never heard Urs laugh so much, although she thought she detected a touch of hysteria in there too. Once of firm ground at the bottom, he claimed the need for a drink ... to steady his nerves.

Their day took on a more staid appearance now. They shopped for trinkets and little presents but, as their stomachs signalled that lunch time might be approaching, they felt the first drops of rain. The afternoon shower was short; a frequent occurrence in the weather pattern of Madeira but it was enough and so Urs suggested they return to the hotel to see what it had to offer in the daytime.

As they walked through the airy lounges they heard the strains of a violin and followed its pull. In the conservatory a young violinist was torturing his strings to produce a haunting Paganini solo. Urs sat on a convenient couch, side on, the better to see the artist, then pulled Maddie into him so that she could rest against his body. Together they sat; his arms around her as they lived the highs brought on by the music. As the piece drew to a close Urs came down slowly and; still lost in the moment, pressed his lips to Maddie’s hair. She turned her face up to him and both smiled. Their lips were so close ... what could they do ... but touch?

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PostSubject: Re: The Sequel: Renewal and Fulfilment By: MoeD    Mon Oct 04, 2010 6:28 pm

Chapter Eleven:

Can a second last a lifetime? Madeleine and Urs would answer an emphatic ‘yes’ – but, of course, they were wrong. But while the kiss might have been fleeting, their eyes were timeless; man and woman as fate meant them to be. Nothing could be the same from now on. It was a beginning rather than an end and two minds pondered as they returned to their suite.

Urs felt only hope that his wish for a proper loving, lasting relationship with the woman he loved was now becoming fact and Maddie; what of Maddie? She was daring; daring to hope, daring to remember ... daring to love.

*****

Once inside the suite it was unanimously decided to rest and shower before joining the other guests for a gala dinner as the build-up to the New Year’s celebrations began. In truth both were grateful to use some of the time to work out their feelings. Urs was more sure than ever of the need to take things slowly. His belief that Maddie could be spooked by too forward an approach was entirely correct. She lay in her room now, letting the doubts crowd back. But then a new resolve pushed them away as she decided that she would see what Urs expected of this change before worrying unduly.

So it was two rested and happy people who emerged later; ready to join the festivities. Urs looked striking in a black silk shirt and tailored trousers and Maddie was radiant in a soft turquoise cocktail dress.

As they entered the grand ballroom heads turned to see the handsome couple. The room was set out in large round tables which would aid the ambience of the evening and Maddie and Urs were seated with one other couple and a family group. The food was exquisite and the wine flowed freely and friendships were soon made. The couple were Richard and Claire and the new foursome seemed to get along right from the outset.

Over a glass of port, while the ladies went to the powder room, the guys got to know each other.

‘So Urs, what do you do for a living?

‘I’m a singer. I trained in opera but I am now part of a four man group. We sing something they have given the name ‘popera’.’ He laughed but Richard’s eyes suddenly lit up.

‘Hey, I thought your face was familiar ... its Il Divo isn’t it ... I have one of your CDs. Claire loves it.’

‘That’s great; I’m glad you like it. What about you, how do you make the money to afford this place?’ Both men sniggered as they considered the obscene amount each had spent on this vacation.

‘Stockbroker, actually I have my own firm. It’s not as glamorous as your line of work but it pays the bills.’ The conversation continued as all the ‘getting to know you’ questions were answered until both men were happy. In the powder room a similar chat was taking place but, as is so often the case with girls; it was getting a lot more personal.


‘So Maddie, how long have you and your gorgeous Swiss been an item? He’s very handsome and, if you don’t mind me saying, a bit younger than you ... lucky you!’

‘Oh, we’re not an item; well, not really. We have been friends for a long time and we are just having a nice holiday together.’ Maddie was unwilling to let Claire in on her aspirations so she left it at that.

‘Really? I thought you were a couple, like Richard and me. He is a lot older than I am, and people think I am only interested in his money ... but they are very wrong. I love every bit of him!

‘Oh ... good, I’m glad you’re happy.’

‘You might be happy with Urs too ... if you just let yourself go. He certainly seems to be very fond of you. I have never seen such an attentive man. You should give him a try!’ Claire snapped her Prada bag shut decisively. The conversation was over but Madeleine’s thoughts were in turmoil.
‘Give him a try ... give him a bloody try ... if only it was that easy!’

It would, of course, have been that easy but poor Maddie wasn’t yet ready to accept that as a truth.
*****

Urs and Maddie sat close together and watched while Richard whirled Claire round as they danced a hectic salsa together. When the sinuous rhythm ended they clung in a possessive embrace with made Urs think that maybe he should take up dancing. He turned to Maddie and wondered if the earlier kiss which was still burned into his mind would perhaps mean more of the same later. He lifted her hand from the table and squeezed softly but, when she looked quickly at him in response he was dismayed to see only confusion and doubt in her eyes.
As they returned to their suite that night each was no clearer than they had been before – it was all one step forward and two steps back. They stood together in the lamplight that bathed the lounge, each unwilling to leave the other but both equally unsure what to do if they stayed.
‘Erm ... I suppose I should get some sleep, Urs, if we are going to walk up to the lido tomorrow we will need our strength.’
‘Yes,’ he laughed, ‘don’t want you fainting on me half way there.’
‘Don’t worry, I won’t ... but I am tired. I’ll ...erm ... see you tomorrow ... goodnight.’ Urs studied every beautiful feature of her face and acted, finally, out of the need burning inside him. He pulled her gently towards him and brushed her hair away from her face.
‘I had fun tonight ... I always have fun with you. Goodnight.’

The words were spoken but neither breathed as time once again ceased. Urs’ mouth moved in a sensuous half smile; glad that she wasn’t making her escape and slowly, very slowly he bent his head until his lips were on hers. Softness, sweetness ... hopefulness before each turned and entered their bedrooms ... and their dreams.


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PostSubject: Re: The Sequel: Renewal and Fulfilment By: MoeD    Mon Oct 04, 2010 6:30 pm

Chapter Twelve:


The sun warmed their grateful bodies as they lay on adjacent loungers by the pool. The morning had been pleasantly warm as all the brochures promised and the pool was heated to a refreshing temperature so they had alternately swam and lazed away the hours. Richard and Claire had joined them around 11.30 am and the new friendship of the previous evening had been reinforced. They enjoyed a late lunch together as the sky clouded over; as it had a habit of doing over the south of the island in the afternoon. It was unanimously decided that they had had the best of the day and that they should abandon their lazy time by the pool in favour of something more active. The guys chose a visit to the gym and the girls; well they were girls ... they chose shopping.

Good hotels the world over are prone to filling their lobbies with stores and boutiques from the high end of the market and this one was no exception. Claire delighted in showing them all to Maddie; suggesting colours that were perfect for her colouring or picking out dresses and handbags that were ‘to die for’ as she was so fond of saying. Madeleine was entranced by the exquisite jewellery and dazzled by the sparkling dresses but above all she was appalled by the price tags. Claire had shrugged her shoulders after Maddie had refused to buy the umpteenth item that had been declared ‘must have’.

‘Get Urs to buy it for you,’ was the shrieked comment to yet another shake of Maddie’s head. Eventually Claire gave up and concentrated on spending Richard’s money rather than Urs’s. Maddie gave thanks to heaven that she had finally shut up and vowed that it would be a cold day in heaven before she would throw someone else’s money around in the manner of Claire.

The guys, meanwhile, were much more attuned. Although he was a good deal older than Urs; Richard had always believed in keeping fit and active and the advent of a young, beautiful girlfriend had encouraged him to step the workouts up so that he looked the best he could. Urs, of course, took every opportunity to hone his physique but both had to agree that today they had needed to work extra hard to shake up muscles lazy from too much holiday laxness. It had been punishing but invigorating for both and afterwards they sat together in the hotel lounge for a reviving cup of coffee.

‘God that is getting harder every time.’ Richard stretched as Urs nodded ruefully. ‘Still, our girls are worth it, aren’t they? I know you don’t have to worry about Madeleine; you being famous and all but Claire is prone to wandering eyes so I like to feel on top of my game where she is concerned. It seems you’re very lucky though, Maddie only has eyes for you.’ Urs looked slightly startled by the comment.
‘Does she ... what makes you say that?

‘What ... don’t you know? She watches you constantly. She adores you. It’s always good for a man to be adored by his woman. You’re a lucky man.’

‘Hmm, I wish that was true but unfortunately ... she’s not my woman ... we are more like very good friends.’

‘What, are you mad? If she isn’t your woman she surely should be ... I’m telling you buddy, from long experience ... that woman loves you. What is it with you then ... don’t you want her? If you don’t, you should drop the friendship thing and let her find someone else. She is too good a woman to waste.’ Urs was taken aback by Richard’s brusqueness but the comments certainly provoked thought.

‘It’s not that I don’t want her, really it isn’t but she is afraid of being with me ... the age difference ... she thinks it wouldn’t work.’ In answer Richard threw back his head and laughed.

‘So you are letting a few years stand between you and happiness. Take my word for it, my boy; you are made for each other ... make her understand what she is passing up. We don’t get too many chances to be happy in this life so when they come along we have to grab them. I think its time you decided not to take ‘no’ for an answer!’

*****

Urs’ mind whirled as he walked back to their suite. He had asked Richard to inform Madeleine where he was, should she return to the lounge with Claire but he needn’t have worried as she reached the main lift at the same time as he did.

‘Hello you, hey, why didn’t you buy anything nice?’ As they entered the lift he took her hand and smiled, waiting for her reply.

‘You must be joking! I will have to have that best seller made into a film before I can afford to shop at such places. They did have some lovely dresses though.’ She stared absent-mindedly at the closed doors of the lift, obviously thinking back to the delightful creations she had seen.

‘Well, let me buy you something … for the New Year’s Eve Gala ... it would really make me happy’

‘Oh Urs, I couldn’t ... I could never repay you, I don’t have the money for expensive gifts!’

‘For God’s sake, Madeleine, Can we stop the comparisons. You don’t have as much money as me … yet! When you do I will be happy to let you but me expensive presents.’ She looked at him sheepishly but decided to say no more on the matter.

Once in their suite Urs went for a shower while Maddie sat on the balcony and gloried, once more, in the view. He joined here there shortly and she was surprised to see he was wearing nothing but a towel, slung around his hips. The chiselled lines of his upper body still glistened with droplets of water and his hair was slicked back, only the stubborn curls at his nape spoiling the smooth outline. He looked devastating!

Unexpectedly he sat on the floor in front of her, his back against the parapet. After a moment he leaned forward and began to stroke her ankle with great interest. It was time, he decided, to jump in.

‘You know, Maddie, I have been thinking about our relationship an awful lot just lately and I think the time has come for me to make something clear to you … I want more!’ He looked up into her eyes and saw the doubt and uncertainty immediately register there. ‘Don’t be so worried, it’s a natural progression. I want to be more than your friend. I always knew I would one day.’ Now Madeleine looked confused.

‘Wha … what exactly do you mean?’ she stammered. He raised himself up onto his knees, close to her legs and slid his hands up along her arms ‘til they cradled her face.

‘You know what I mean … I want to be everything to you … because you are the woman I love. Yes I said love Maddie; I want to be more than a friend or a mate. I need to be your partner … your lover.’

Her breath caught in her throat as she studied the dark fathomless pools of his eyes and she found there the thing she had always longed to see … love!

‘Oh, my darling, how can this be? What about our age dif …’ He cut her words short by physically placing a hand over her mouth.

‘No! I’m not going to listen to that any more. We have to learn to ignore it. The point you seem to be missing completely is that it doesn’t matter one jot to me. I think you are a beautiful woman but much more importantly, I love you … your kindness and generosity of spirit, your sense of the ridiculous, your inner strength and integrity, your intelligence … I could go on all day if you want me to! Lord knows I’ve spent enough time listing your good qualities in my head just recently.

Finally something broke through the fog which was encasing her brain and she smiled tremulously whilst gently moving his hand.

‘Ah, but what about my bad qualities ... my lateness, my untidiness, my fussiness … see I could compile quite a list too? He smiled and pulled her firmly to him.

‘I’m not interested in that list; I don’t care about those things. I care about you … and I want to be with you properly. No more hiding away. No more denying our feelings … they are your feelings too, aren’t they?’ Finally doubt crept into his eyes and his sudden insecurity was more than Maddie could stand and she wound her arms around his neck.

‘Yes, my love, they are my feelings too but I’m still scared. You will have to be very patient with me’

‘So … that’s a ‘yes ... really?’

She didn’t speak, she merely nodded her affirmation and reached across to cover his mouth with hers in a kiss of such sweetness that both wished it would last forever.

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PostSubject: Re: The Sequel: Renewal and Fulfilment By: MoeD    Mon Oct 04, 2010 6:31 pm

Chapter Thirteen:

Urs and Madeleine had much on their minds. Although they were both ecstatic to finally be able to revel in their feelings both were still unsure about the pace needed when moving into a relationship. Physically, each knew that they wanted the other with a fierce passion but both also knew instinctively that the moment had to be just right … and this wasn’t it. After a few more moments Urs held her at arm’s length.

‘Let’s go do some shopping. You need a special dress for this evening’s festivities and now that you are my girlfriend I can buy you what I like.’ She surprised him by uttering one simple word;

‘Okay!’

They were soon to be found in the same dress shop she had been drooling over earlier and she pulled one delicious creation off the rail and showed it to Urs. Black lace which was delicately sequined with scattered little starbursts covered the inner sheath of black silk. The shoestring straps were finished with tiny diamante bows. She tried it on and the suggestive smile on Urs’ face as she modelled it for him was all she needed to see. It looked as though it had been made exclusively for her, fitting, as it did, every curve like a second skin.

That evening they had planned an intimate little dinner at a nearby restaurant along with Richard and Suzy, before rejoining the New Year celebrations at the hotel so they returned to their suite to get ready to enjoy themselves.

The restaurant was delightful. They sat on the terrace beneath heavily blossomed arches of hibiscus bushes and enjoyed a wonderful meal of espetada – two inch cubes of succulent beef which have been marinated in herbs and garlic. This was cooked over an open fire of vine and bay leaves on a skewer made from the branch of a bay tree on which it was then served. This was followed by a wonderful array of fresh fruits. The meal was all the more delicious for its very simplicity

Once back at the hotel they joined in the dancing, amid great hilarity. Although Urs privately loved to dance he found it difficult to give in to the music and consequently when the band began to play a salsa rhythm he beat a hasty retreat. Richard asked Maddie to dance with him. He was an excellent dancer and led her strongly; a fact which Urs found disturbing, so much so that he felt constrained to cut in. Slowly Urs started to let himself go with the beat and held on to her hips as she swayed sensuously in his arms. Their bodies moulded to each other as they moved. The wine, the music and her body all conspired to arouse him and his eyes darkened with passion as he held her gaze with his. Despite all her earlier determination a tiny doubt crept back into her thoughts but she was saved from any decisive action by a drum roll from the band.

The compere announced that it was almost midnight and that the party was moving to the terrace to enjoy the renowned firework display. Excitedly, Madeleine tugged his arm as she led him outside. As he passed Richard knowing looks were exchanged.

‘I see you are ready to grab that happiness!’

‘Yep!’ was Urs’ only reply.

*****

The crowd gravitated towards the walled area of garden which looked out towards the harbour. From there the viewpoint was stunning and as twelve-o-clock struck the night sky was turned to day as fireworks without number exploded in multi-coloured splendour. The huge liners which had moored just off the harbour for the spectacle joined in, adding their own colour and sparkle to the event.

Urs stood behind Maddie and circled her tightly with his arms. They stood this way for minutes allowing the breathtaking display to thrill and delight them but eventually Urs’ thoughts returned to the need that was screaming now for fulfilment.

‘Let’s go and watch the rest of the display from our balcony. I don’t want be with all these people now.’ His words were whispered in her ear and as he finished speaking he trailed his lips down to her neck, settling on the soft area of her nape. Madeleine groaned as long suppressed sensations shot though her body. Without really trying Urs was concentrating her thoughts exactly as he wished to and she slowly nodded her acquiescence.

As they rode up to their floor in the lift Maddie went over all the reasons why intimacy could be madness – a spoiling of all their safe friendship. But in that moment of knowing the risks she also knew that she wanted him more than she had ever wanted anything. He drifted long fingers up her arm possessively and the act found an echoing movement deep in her stomach. She shivered and he pulled her closer, touching her temple with his mouth. Suddenly and irrevocably, all the doubts about age gaps and losing him in the future were pushed aside. The door; that blasted forbidden door was nothing but splinters now and the merest touch of his hand was enough to send her back to that bedroom in the cottage on Dartmoor. The memory of his caresses when he had discovered her body that night, seared once again in her soul and she was lost … deliriously and happily lost ... his for as long as he wanted her.

And finally she realised that she could ask for nothing more.


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PostSubject: Re: The Sequel: Renewal and Fulfilment By: MoeD    Mon Oct 04, 2010 6:32 pm

Chapter Fourteen:

They entered the lounge, each vibrant with need for the other but also wary of doing something which might wreck the fragile mood. Madeleine crossed immediately to the French doors and walked through to the balcony. All of Funchal was alight by now; every house was outlined in tiny coloured lights and doors were thrown open everywhere, adding the inner light which they had been guarding to the overall dazzling glow. Urs joined her. As they watched the spectacle he rested his hand in the small of her back and then began a delicate tracing of her spine with the tips of his fingers. Pleasurable sensations screamed along the pathways of her nerves and her eyes lost their focus at this magical touch. A small sigh escaped her lips as she realised that finally she no longer wanted to beat these feeling down but, rather, to drown in them as a gift from the man she loved.

Urs stepped around her and turned his back to the night sky and as she looked at him she saw that he wore an almost ethereal smile. This was the moment at last.

The exploding fireworks caused a halo effect around his head as he slowly and sensuously took her into his arms. The first touch of his lips was like fire as he rained small, sweet kisses along the outline of her lips. Finally he covered her mouth and showed the passion he was feeling. His tongue sought out hers in a demanding dance, teasing and playing until all of her senses were inflamed. Next his mouth found her throat, drawing succulent patterns as it drew an intricate path inexorably downwards.

He paused and once more looked into her eyes for any sign of doubt but he found only desire there. Again he dipped his head until his mouth rested on the soft swell of her breasts and he let his tongue tease as before. Throughout all this time Maddie had remained immobile, with only her arms around his neck and her hands entwined in his hair but now she untangled herself and took a small step back. Uncertainty flashed across his face momentarily but was quickly replaced by euphoria as he watched her slowly slide the straps of her dress over her shoulders and down her arms. Once she had freed herself from their binding she allowed the dress to slide to the floor in a glorious silken puddle.

His eyes travelled over her body hungrily. He paused, fleetingly, to enjoy the exquisite matching lingerie before grasping her to him again, this time sweeping her up into his arms and carrying her, exultantly, to his bed.

*****
Throughout the long night of lovemaking that followed they both came to know, again, each other’s body as they kissed and caressed and touched until, just before dawn, they lay entwined in each other’s arms ... sated and at peace. Each act of love had been lovingly given and received and nothing had been too much to ask. Once the barriers had been overcome they had searched, with love-filled determination, until a sense of oneness was achieved. Long months of denial and celibacy were finally wiped away as they each gave everything in this ultimate outpouring of love.

In a quiet moment of rest after the heady turbulence of their passion had waned, Urs lay beside his love simply enjoying the sight of her. He pushed tousled locks of hair back from her face, the better to take in every minute detail.

‘God ... you’re beautiful, I never tire of looking at you.’ He ran a tentative finger along her cheek bone then down to her lips, which he traced with infinite care. Maddie opened her mouth and captured the finger tip trailing there, then sucked gently while he watched, fascinated. At the same time she moved her hand across the smooth plain of his abdominal muscles before releasing his finger to speak.

‘Beauty; I can tell you all about beauty. You have no idea how long I have ached to touch you like this.’ She circled her fingers while he closed his eyes and moaned softly. Eventually he was able to speak again.

‘You know, I desperately want to say something profound and meaningful ... something we will remember in years to come when we look back on our lives together but all I keep coming up with is ... I love you. I love you, heart and soul, my darling girl and the very best wish I can have is to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you grant me that wish?’ The breath caught in Madeleine’s throat as she considered his words. He loved her, now and forever ... what more could any woman ask for?

‘It will be very easy for me to grant your wish, my sweet, sweet love because even a lifetime with you will not be enough for me. I will be praying for an eternity with you. Surely God will smile on us ... it’s taken us so long to find one another.’ She smiled and so did he ... it was a blissful shared thought with which to begin the rest of their lives

Eventually they slept and both dreamed of a new tomorrow filled with the other … and happiness. There were no dark, forbidding doors and no hidden secrets. Light danced about their memories, both old and new and all trace of fear was gone.

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PostSubject: Re: The Sequel: Renewal and Fulfilment By: MoeD    Mon Oct 04, 2010 6:33 pm

Chapter Fifteen:

Maddie woke from her dream; the same dream she had had so many times before. Urs was kissing her and touching her; leading her to paradise. She sighed and stretched and her eyes flew open. The warm flesh her outstretched hand was touching crystallised her thoughts ... her dream was no longer a wistful but guilty pleasure but was now a reflection of her new reality. She turned to face him and saw the golden glints flash in the eyes she loved so much.
‘Morning, I was beginning to think I would have to find a drum to beat in order to wake you. Still, the dream you were having looked very interesting – I hope it was about me or I am going to have to confront the man that made you look so sexy.’ He pulled her into his arms and claimed a possessive kiss which left Maddie breathless. Eventually she was able to think and then speak.
‘Oh yes, my love, it was most certainly about you. I was making an inventory of all the new and ...erm ... interesting things I learned last night.’ She giggled coquettishly as she traced one scarlet fingernail around his nipples. With a swift movement he flipped her onto her back and rose above her, a wolfish grin proclaiming his intentions.
‘Mmm, you were a very quick study ... but I was thinking that a recap might be in order.’ His words were accompanied by extremely distracting and determinedly wandering, hands.
‘Oh my ... are we going to go over everything?’
‘Well ... as long as my stamina holds out ... I will do my very best.’
Words were redundant now and Maddie sighed as Urs set about making all of her dreams come true – they crashed against his own dreams until they both realised that there was only one dream now and it was there for them both to live.
*****
Madeleine laughed as she finally escaped grasping hands that were trying to keep her in the shower. She wrapped a soft towel around her then had to dodge again as Urs took this item as an affront and did his very best to remove it.
‘Sorry, lover boy but I am hungry. I happen to think that dying for love, especially of starvation, would be vastly overrated.’
‘We can order room service ... and eat in bed!’ His eyes glinted wickedly
‘Don’t you want some fresh air?’
‘Nope’ Hands snaked out again and Maddie was constrained to run through to the lounge where the handy couch made a good barrier – that is until the naked Adonis pursuing her decided to climb over it. She backed away grinning but she had nowhere to go and he pinned her to the wall ... triumphant.
‘Can we at least go out to the special dinner tonight? It’s the last proper celebration of the festival and Richard and Claire will be expecting us. Oh God, I can’t think straight when you do that ... oh Urs ................................’
*****
As the evening air filled the rooms with the sound of preparations for the gala, the two lovers made ready to join the festivities. Urs, as usual looked splendid in a soft white linen shirt and dark trousers which made Maddie give silent thanks for his tailor. She was no slouch in the looks department herself though and Urs was captivated anew when she entered the lounge clad from shoulders to ankle in a sheath of midnight blue velvet. Her pendant was the only adornment she wore, the jets of multi-hued light it gave out dazzling those who beheld it.
Urs had one more surprise gift that he had always intended to give her to mark the start of a new year, whether they were together or not. He produced another velvet covered box from his pocket and held it out to her.
‘What’s this ... another gift? Urs, you really don’t have to keep buying me presents, my love, I have everything I want and more in you.’ She held the delicate little box for a moment until Urs demanded she open it. Inside a pair of drop earrings to match her pendant nestled, the stones were enhanced by the same filigree work as on her necklace – it was obvious that he had bought them as a set. ‘Oh, Urs, they’re gorgeous ... thank you my darling, you really are too good to me.’ She quickly put them on and preened before the mirror as they both enjoyed the moment.
Suddenly she startled.
‘Oh, wait a minute ... I have something for you.’ She ran off into her room and dragged around in her carryon bag until she came up with a small black velvet drawstring purse. She returned to the lounge and placed it into his hand. He looked at her and then opened the gift. Inside was a sterling silver money clip with his monogram on it. Urs looked at her with gratitude and love.
‘It’s beautiful ... and I need one so much. You know how I hate carrying a wallet. And it’s got my initials on it too. I love it darling ... thank you. When ever did you buy it though?’
‘I bought it in London before you came home that last time. I intended to give it to you as an extra Christmas present but after ... well, you know ... I thought it was too personal. I decided to bring it here because you were taking me on this lovely holiday and I wanted to give you something back. I just hoped the right moment would come along ... like now.’
‘Yes, the right moments; that’s all we’re going to have from now on ... I love you Maddie.’
‘And I love you, my darling Urs, oh how I love you.’ The words echoed a memory in her heart; of an earlier time of saying them ... unsure then that they would ever be said aloud. She smiled as her love took her into his arms and matched her smile ... and love ... with his.
*****
The party was special and, when they came to remember these events in their future, they would always think of it as the beginning. Richard and Claire celebrated with them, glad that their new found friends had found each other. But what of Urs and Maddie; what occupied their thoughts? In truth, they weren’t really thinking at all – they were enjoying and living, as couples in love everywhere do - and surely we who have been observing their struggles, can’t ever hope for more than that for them ... after all – isn’t it what we hope for ourselves – I know I do.

The End


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PostSubject: Re: The Sequel: Renewal and Fulfilment By: MoeD    Mon Oct 04, 2010 6:34 pm

Author’s Footnote: I hope you enjoyed this little story – I certainly enjoyed writing it, even if it really was a huge departure from the kind of stuff I usually like to write. I intend to write a small epilogue for tomorrow – to let you know what the families think and how they settle into normality ... well, normality for them, anyway. Thanks for reading and commenting – it means such a lot to me.




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Humor : I found it and as always the joke is on me!!

PostSubject: Re: The Sequel: Renewal and Fulfilment By: MoeD    Mon Oct 04, 2010 6:34 pm

Epilogue:

Reid’s Palace had welcomed the extended family into its elegant portals, the first return for Maddie and Urs since their beginning. They had intended to return on numerous earlier occasions but life had always managed to intervene but they had made it now – and brought their whole brood with them.

*****

The sun blazed down on its worshippers that were dotted around the glistening pool. Some, however; those younger members of the family, chose to use up some of their boundless energy in games of ball or races in the water. Sometimes they even begged the adults to join them but without much luck it has to be said. That is until Urs took pity on them and just had to answer their call.

‘Come on in daddy.’

‘Come on in grandpa.’

‘He’s my daddy; he’s coming on my side.’

‘Well he’s my grandpa.’

‘Is not!’

‘Is!

‘Boys, boys ... there is no need for this squabbling. I can play with both of you. Let’s pass the ball ... Christian you start, and stop upsetting Alex. We all know I am only his grandpa because I married his grandma but he likes to call me grandpa and I like it too.’ Urs tried his best to look sternly at his cherished son but Christian knew it was an act and laughed.

‘Okay, daddy, I’ll stop upsetting Uncle Alex.’ Now both little boys laughed infectiously. Their relationship was an object of great hilarity to them and each had spent most of their respective six years on this planet enjoying it.

Maddie watched the three ‘boys’ with a wistful smile. If someone had told her that life would bring her these bounties after she thought she had lost almost everything, she would have thought that someone was crazy. Yet here they all were. She had longed for her grandson and then found out, on the day her daughter announced her happy news, that the miracle she hadn’t dared to hope for had happened and she was carrying Urs’ child. She was 46 by then and convinced that her childbearing years were past. Urs had been magnanimous about this, saying he wanted her for herself, not as a brood mare but ... oh, the joy on his face that day. A wedding had quickly followed. Urs was adamant that his child had to be born inside of wedlock but Maddie had at first dug her heals in, quoting his usual statement of ‘not needing a piece of paper’ But she could never deny him anything for long and an intimate ceremony for those closest to them took place in Willisau a few weeks later.

Madeleine’s older children embraced their mother’s new family and soon their unit was as seamless as if it had always been that way. They all knew that Urs had brought happiness into their mother’s life and they would ask no more for her than that. Maddie began to travel with Urs, seldom leaving his side from that first return to England until the worries of a pregnancy in an older woman had intervened. Then, of course Urs had found every excuse to fly to his wife’s side; even when this was often difficult, until finally he skidded into the delivery suite minutes before Christian’s birth.

Life had changed then, of course, for a while at least but Urs’ career had also changed and he had more time to do what he wished; whether it was spending time with his family or exploring alternatives in his music. But Il Divo had gone on – well their public loved them and still clamoured for them so what could they do but give them what they wanted?

And what of Maddie’s career – did she make that best seller list, I hear you ask? Her new life fitted easily around her work now and, who knows, maybe being loved so well provided her muse. She wrote her story and it received critical acclaim but it was the towering romance that really made her fame and her fortune. Who’d have thought a story of a singer and his love would do so well?

Urs looked up and caught his wife watching him. He smiled and his love shone out in the very act. When he had taken the chance of happiness, as Richard had put it, all those years ago, he had no idea that life would be so good. There was a contentment about him ... a peace. He had thought then, that loving Maddie would be enough, and it probably would have been but the gift of Christian had sealed their union as only a miracle could. Now they were a family and each day that life presented to him was filled with the extraordinary love that this brought. But he remembered now as he always did that it was that bright, shining love that burned so fervently between him and Madeleine that had made everything possible

Love is a precious gift, whether it is given for a lifetime or a moment. For it to last it must be nurtured. To believe that the one you love will love you for as long as you live is an act of trust but one which brings more rewards than it is possible to number. Urs and Maddie now knew that they had been entrusted with these special gifts. They vowed, privately and to each other to hold them close to their hearts so that they could grow throughout the rest of their lives. Life is good but life with love is better.

The End

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