The Obstacle

Lionel Boucher

Chapter 1

The light summer rain that had been falling all morning ceased only moments ago, leaving everything dripping and sparkling in new sunlight. The gunmetal sky was clearing, uncovering a brilliant blue, and the imported palms whispered as a cool easterly breeze brushed their long, sensuous fronds in a tender caress. On this bright August afternoon in 1992, a Sunday, a young man and a woman were making love in a hotel room in New York City.

It was hot in the room, and clothes were strewn all over the red-carpeted floor as the couple lay naked across the double bed, his body moving rhythmically on top of hers, making her moan with pleasure. Her eyes half-closed, she ran her fingers through his hair as his mouth left hers to rain kisses on her chin, her throat, her breasts. His mouth traveled up against hers again, and as he gently caressed her breasts, he excited her more and more until she gave a loud, ecstatic cry of total satisfaction. The mutual climax seemed endless, and when they finally stopped, she lay weakly in his arms. They were both covered in sweat, and he ran his fingers through her hair. Her breath was uneven as she looked up at him and smiled, her look inviting an answering smile from him.

He reached for the half-empty bottle of champagne on the bedside table. “Would you like a glass?” he asked.

“No, thanks,” she replied. “I’ve had enough champagne for now. But a cup of tea would be lovely.”

As he nodded, she brought her lips against his, then reached over and picked up her creamy silk peignoir, wrapped it around herself, and walked across the room to sit by the large window. A minute later, having called room service for tea, he joined her. From here on the ninth floor, the view of the city stretching out before them was incredible.

Frank Dawson, a tall, muscular man with light brown eyes and dark hair that hung down across his forehead, looked to be in his early thirties, but was in fact twenty-four. He had an attractive, sophisticated face with an expression that suggested he had already seen a lot in his life.

Christine Barkley, who was nineteen, also looked older. She was tall and slender, with blue eyes and long blonde hair that framed a face of finely boned, perfectly proportioned features.

The noise of the traffic below was barely audible as they sat in silence for a moment.

“Thanks for the wonderful, romantic weekend,” he finally said. “Usually, this kind of thing comes with a small gift and a letter of apology, saying that you’re sorry for never telling me that you were actually a lesbian.”

She smiled gently at his little joke. “Very funny.”

“I’d still love you just as much even if you turned out to be a lesbian.”

She crossed her bare legs on the big couch. “Oh, stop it!”

He laughed shortly. “We can go for a ride,” he said. “The rain’s stopped.”

“Now?”

He looked at his watch. “It’s still early.”

“I know, but I’m having quite a good time right here.”

“Well, then, I suppose you don’t mind at all that we’ve been stuck here in this hotel room since Friday afternoon?”

“Not at all.” She moved to sit in his lap. A loose strand of hair came down over her face as she leaned closer to him and gave him a quick kiss on the mouth.

He rolled the stray lock of hair round her ear, and then wrapped his arms around her waist. “I wouldn’t mind being stuck here with you forever.

“The feeling is mutual.” She looked at him affectionately as she stroked his face with her hand. “We hardly spend enough quality time together. I just want us to make the most of every moment we share right now. No people, no joyrides, no restaurants. Just you and I, enjoying each other’s company.”

He gave her a questioning look. “Apart from talking and all the board games we’ve been playing for the past two days, what else do you suggest we do for the rest of the afternoon?”

She gave him one of her big smiles, warm and seductive. “Well, how about we go back to bed and continue what we were doing a few minutes ago?”

“Now that sounds like a very good idea.”

She giggled.

“Come here.” He took her hand and they walked back to the bed. “You’re so irresistible,” he murmured against her throat as he slid her peignoir down to her waist. Then he bent to kiss her breasts. Her hands in his hair, she began to moan, but then there was a knock on the door.

He sat up. “Damn!”

“Room service,” a man’s voice called from outside.

Frank stood up while Christine hastily pulled up the peignoir. Then he picked up their clothes from the floor before he went to open the door. The waiter came in with his tray of tea and its accompaniments. Frank pointed to the bedside table.

“Put it over there.”

The smiling waiter set down the fine china teapot and cups, sliced lemon, sugar, and some cookies and slices of fruitcake. After Frank signed the bill, the waiter inclined his head and left.

Christine poured the tea. “I think I should give my father a call,” she said. “He’s been back from London since yesterday.”

Frank squeezed some lemon into his tea. “When you do, please give him my love,” he joked.

“And give him a heart attack?” She sipped her tea.

“The man who produced you must be worthy of affection…even if he doesn’t approve of me.”

“That’s not funny,” she said, her expression suddenly solemn. “My parents still think I’m nine years old and that they can bully me into submission.”

“Relax! No one has a clue where we are. Not even the paparazzi. And they seem to follow you everywhere you go.”

She frowned. “See? That’s the problem. I’m tired of the secrecy! I want my parents to know about our relationship. We can’t go on like this.”

“Hey.” He looked at her thoughtfully. “Where’s all of this coming from all of a sudden? We promised each other we wouldn’t let anything spoil our weekend.”

“I’m sorry.” She made a frustrated gesture. “It’s just that I don’t want this. We love each other and being scared about it is not right.”

“Look, I know it’s hard, but everything will be okay. Just give it some time.”

“I’m just so tired of all the sneaking and lying. I’m tired of pretending that we’re merely friends. I want my parents to know that we’re in love. Only that way can we truly be happy and get married.” Her eyes had taken on a faint sheen of tears.

The subject of her parents was a sensitive one and they had talked very little about it.

“I know that’s what you want, but we can’t lose focus now,” he said. “I haven’t said we’re going to keep our relationship a secret forever. It’s just that now isn’t the right time.”

“Sometimes I wonder if the right time will ever come.” She looked away as she wiped a tear from her eye.

“Christine, look at me.” She did, and he touched her cheek. “Do you understand? We can’t let your parents find out about us now.”

“No,” she replied in a tremulous voice, “I don’t understand. Why does this have to be so complicated for us? Why can’t we be like other couples?”

 

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