When the morning came, Nathan was the first to wake. He did not think anything special and did not immediately remember the past couple of days, being in his own bed and in his own place. He did wonder, though, who this immensely comfortable female creature was that was snuggled so tight against him. He heard her let out a little sigh or sound of utter contentment and it prompted him to look down. She had the most radiant, raven hair that came back easily to his hand and that revealed a face that was absolutely stunning with high, thin brows and rosy cheeks, long dark lashes which somehow he knew covered big, beautiful brown eyes. She had a little nose and sweet little ears and wonderfully luscious thick lips, but not too thick, he thought. Then he looked further and let his hand run down her back. She was young and masterfully made, slim in all the right places and well toned, and all her curves were perfect in every way, and she had the most utterly gorgeous bumps. He sat up like a rocket. Mya opened her eyes slowly at first. Nathan hopped out of bed and grabbed the clothes he had set on the back of the chair.
“So is it that bad?” He heard Mya ask, but he had already shut himself in the bathroom to try and get his racing heart to calm down. He could not help a look in the mirror. He looked to his own eyes to be about twenty-four, or anyway, not over twenty-five. He looked at the back of his hand and there were no spots or wrinkles, and not even a hint of such things. The skin was firm, but with the elasticity of youth. And he had abs, and a perfect hairless chest, and he could not help but lift his arm and making a muscle; but then all that time he was wondering if Mya would like it. He could not stop thinking about her. She was perfect. She was too perfect.
There was a knock on the door. “So was it that bad?” Mya asked through the doorway.
“No,” he shouted back. “It was that good.” It was too good. It frightened him, and what he felt frightened him even more. He was not going to be able to hold out very long. If he thought Mya was beautiful, absolutely attractive and sexy at eighteen, that could hardly describe what he thought now that she was twenty-two. Anyway, she was certainly over twenty-one. “I’ll be right out, and it was perfect, only I think we need to get dressed.” Nathan put his ear to the door for fear that he might hear her start crying again. He breathed because of the silence, and then he dressed in his slacks and polo shirt. He did not even realize that the suit was gone. Then he had a thought and promptly accused God. “You knew this from the beginning. You set this up. How could you?” He did not expect an answer, but he felt now that him being eighty-four and her being seven should no longer be an obstacle. In fact, it took a second for him to remember how old he had been and how old she had been.
There was another knock. “Are you coming out?” Mya was getting impatient.
“Hold on,” he said. He looked in the mirror again. He looked twenty-four and felt twenty-four, and he was thinking like a twenty-four year old and could hardly help it considering what was waiting for him in the other room. Then he realized that he was acting like a twenty-four year old as well, locked in the bathroom, scared out of his wits by the beauty of the woman.
He opened the door. She sat on the edge of the bed, mercifully dressed in a purple sundress with white flowers. Mya stood right up and he saw that the dress was quite short, and she was standing in high heels. Along with everything else, he was not surprised that she had incredible legs, and those heels. He bit his lower lip and noticed she was biting hers and looked at him with big eyes filled with trepidation.
“You look spectacular,” he said in complete honesty except for thinking that the word spectacular was not good enough so he added the word, “Awesome.”
Mya reached out and grabbed him by the arm. Only his head had been sticking out the door. She pulled him all of the way into the room and said, “Wow!” and rather loudly, and she made him turn around once so she could get the full view. “That does it, I don’t care what you say. You are my boyfriend and I am your girlfriend whether you like it or not. If I so much as catch another girl looking at you I’ll poke her eyes out.” Her mouth was open that whole time and Nathan had to reach out and tap it closed.
“Scratch,” Nathan said. “Women scratch each other’s eyes out.”
“That too.” Mya said with that irresistible smile and she stepped up, right into his arms. What could he do but hold her? She certainly did not mind. He noticed that barefoot, Mya topped out at his chin, but in those heels her eyes came up to where he could kiss both eyelids without bending in the least. He did that, and watched her flush. She pulled in closer, if that was possible, and raised her lips. He met her half way, and he thought all sorts of terrible, wonderful thoughts when he remembered her again as a child. He broke it off, broke free and turned his back like when he turned to the sink. He knew the issue of their ages was a sham. He had no excuse there. It seemed on that score they were designed for each other, and judging by her reaction to him, he imagined on looks they were equally designed for each other, and he knew in terms of compatibility, they were also designed for each other. He was already reading how she felt about things. It was how he felt. And he understood the way she thought because that too was how he thought. Yet there was one other thing, a small thing perhaps, but very important.
“No.” He shook his head sharply in denial. “It’s just. I can’t.” He paused because even he knew that was not true. He could so very, very easily. “I just want you to be happy, that’s all.” He did not say anything about his own feelings of inadequacy. He hurt his mother when he married a Baptist. He failed to make Penny happy. He failed with Lisa. He hurt and failed with every woman who ever loved him, and likely every person who loved him. He would rather die than hurt Mya. He did not say these things, but it was in his voice. When he said “I just want you to be happy,” he might as well have added, “And I don’t believe that I am able to do that.”
Mya sat on the edge of the bed and sniffed just once. “But that is all I want, too,” she responded. “I mean, I just want you to be happy.” She sounded utterly sincere before her voice took on the sound of determination. “And I feel if the only way I can make you happy is to go away, then I will go away.” She sounded sniffly again with those last words, and then Nathan heard her crying, but softly, as if she was trying to hide it.
Nathan spun around to face her. “No. Don’t do that. That isn’t what I meant.” He lifted Mya from the bed so she could stand and face him, and he held tight to both of her hands while she sniffed back the tears and looked into his eyes. “I don’t ever want you to leave me. I would die if you left.” He was serious. He was afraid to be with her, certainly in that way, but he knew he could not live without her. “Please stay.” Nathan pleaded and he almost got to his knees to say it, and then he really looked at her and he saw the slow spread of Mya’s lips until she grinned at him like the Cheshire Cat. Nathan pulled back a little to look sternly in Mya’s eyes.
“I was hoping you would say that.” She spoke through her grin. “I really, really wanted you to say that.”
“Why you…” Nathan had to think for a second to come up with just the right word to get his revenge. “Why you woman.” He concluded and with that word, he surrendered.
Mya stepped up a little and put her arms up on his shoulders, clasping her hands around the back of his neck while he dropped his hands to her slim waist and slowly found them encircling the small of her back.
“You’re a Pinocchio,” Nathan said, now grinning as broadly as Mya. Mya laughed just a little, and it was no child’s giggle but a wonderful, warm and tender genuinely grown-up laugh. And she nodded.
And all this time they remained locked in eye contact. Then all at once the smiles vanished and Mya’s lips parted ever so slightly and they drew in to each other just as tight as they could and they kissed. Mya kissed him, not like a little girl might kiss her grandfather or even as a daughter might kiss her father, but as a woman who was absolutely and completely in love with this young man; and Nathan kissed her back like a vital young man who remembered, no, knew for certain what it was like to be on fire for the woman he loved. It was perfect, and they might have remained that way forever if not for the tug.
The lips parted first so they could look into each other’s eyes and note that they both felt some sort of tug on their backs. It came again, stronger than before, and became a steady pulling that wanted to separate them, pulling them in opposite directions, away from each other, and it was growing in strength. At first, they clung to each other and tried to hold on, but the pull became too much to resist. They held each other by the shoulders, then the elbows, then the hands as the room around them began to fade away to be replaced by a kind of gray fog. They grasped hands in mid air, their legs straight out behind them pulling ever so hard. They struggled equally hard to hang on to each other, Nathan finally called her for the first time by name.
“Mya!” And they parted, speeding up as Mya was pulled away, and she screamed her response.
“Nathan!” It echoed in the gray mist.