Nymph of the Wood
Chapter 3

Copyright© 2012 by Lance Manne

I had completed my work project on time. My client was extremely impressed and expressed his appreciation to my superior. One more rung had been added to my upward mobility.

I do enjoy most of my work, however, now it was time to do some real living. I needed to get out into the clean air, feel the fresh breeze upon my face, and be surrounded by the majesty of the earth.

I thought I should celebrate that evening, so I called Valerie and asked if she would allow me to make dinner for her. On the way home, I stopped by my favorite Italian deli and picked up some incredible locally made sausage.

When I arrived home, I went out into the garden and picked onions, tomatoes, oregano, green peppers, and basil. I would use these and other ingredients to make my wonderfully fresh spaghetti sauce. I chopped up the vegetables that would be used in the salad and the sauce. I poured a little olive oil in the pan and then began sautéing the onions and garlic. After a few minutes, I added the remaining ingredients. I savored the smell that began wafting through the air. I gradually turned down the heat and allowed the sauce to continue to simmer.

I picked out a nice wine and carried that and the salad out to the garden table. It was a perfect evening and I knew the surroundings would blend in perfectly with my little celebration. Most of the flowers were in full bloom. The garden was looking great except for the few plants that the critters had been munching on. Here and there I would find clumps of flowers that had been bitten off. I collected those and put them into the compost container.

The birds were singing as if on cue. The Cardinal must have been having a great day because his song was coming through, loud and clear. I wasn't outside long before Valerie emerged from her part of the house. I believe I may have stood there for a few seconds with my mouth agape. She came out wearing a very long cotton dress, which seemed to make her float rather than walk. The color was that of a soft blue sky with a scattering of fluffy white clouds. She looked so beautiful in the midst of our little garden.

Her feet were bare and I watched as she walked. I love the look of a woman's feet, so delicate and petite. When properly displayed, they can be a very enticing part of a woman's body. She had added a delicate little ring on one toe, which only seemed to add to her femininity.

Her shoulders were bare and lightly tanned. The dress emphasized her delicate curves and shapeliness. Her hair was braided on the top of her head, exposing a slim and delicate neck. She was indeed a vision of wonder. I began to have second thoughts about inviting her to share my evening.

"It was so kind of you to ask me to join you," she said. "I had a dreadful day at work and was looking forward to another dull evening at home. Do you like my dress?" Her eyes twinkled as she spoke. I believe the look in my eyes gave me away. "It is beautiful," I replied. "You definitely bring this garden to life."

I showed her where to sit and then poured some wine into her cup. The evening was going to be somewhat difficult, I surmised, as I caught a whiff of her intoxicating perfume. She really was a lovely woman, I was beginning to realize. I wondered why she was alone and not out in the social scene, showing off her talents and beauty.

We had a wonderful time together and Valerie laughed allot. I loved the sound of her laughter. It blended in nicely with the songs of the birds. She told me the spaghetti was delicious. I had to agree with her. How could the dish go wrong with all those wonderfully fresh ingredients? We talked about many subjects but never touched on why we were both alone.

Valerie walked over to the swing that someone had hung from an old tree near the house. She looked over her shoulder and asked for a push. I walked over and gently placed my hands on her hips. I gave her a big push. She looked simply beautiful as she swung high into the air, her dress flowing like that of a mythical fairy. It was an amazingly beautiful scene. The look on her face was one of extreme happiness.

As she again soared into the trees; I watched as the leaves, backlit by the setting sun, provided an incredible backdrop for this amazing woman. I could not believe that this experience was happening to me. An event like this was something that only happened in music videos or in the movies. It didn't happen to real people, especially to me.

After the sun had set, I started a fire using the fallen branches I had collected and some pines boughs that I had trimmed. I lit the fire and stood back to watch as the tongues of flames licked high into the sky. Valerie's face looked beautiful in the light of the fire. Together we listened as the fire crackled and popped as it travelled along the pieces of wood.

The fire gave off a deep orange glow, which added nicely to this amazing summer night. We sat and listened to the frogs croaking in a nearby pond. The air was warm and soft. The wind wove its way among the trees and blew gently over our skin. A smell of freshness hovered in the air. The perfect setting seemed to lull me into a state of peace and contentment. I looked over at Valerie and noticed that her eyes were closed. She too must be experiencing that same feeling of satisfaction.

I could have stayed in that setting all night. Suddenly, we were startled out of our trance when a young person roared down the street with their music blasting. With laughter in her voice, Valerie commented on how beautiful the night was. I agreed. I appreciated the fact that she didn't try to force a conversation. Instead, she seemed content to enjoy the special time we were having.

At last, she finally stated that she had to go to bed. We stood up and faced each other. Valerie reached for my hands and held them in hers. She looked into my eyes and said, "Thank you for an amazing evening. I have not enjoyed myself so much in years." Then she leaned forward and planted a kiss on my cheek. It was so delicate. She smelled so good. Her presence was intoxicating.

With that said, she turned and walked to her door. As she walked through the door, she paused and turned to flash me a beautiful smile. Then she was gone.

I stood there for a few minutes and thought about what had just transpired. I had spent the evening with an amazing woman. I had enjoyed it immensely. I wondered how this relationship might end. I was beginning to experience emotions that I had not wanted to feel. I needed to get back out into nature and clear my head.

The next morning I loaded my bike on my rack and headed up north. I had made reservations at a B & B that was located on a beautiful lake. It was also close to a bike trail that ran for miles. As I drove up the freeway, I couldn't help but think about the previous evening. I began to recall that I had dreamt about Valerie during the previous night. As I remembered, the dreams were quite realistic.

After a couple of hours of driving, I took an exit and proceeded to drive through a small town. The cars and trucks were angled in the middle of the street and the sidewalks looked busy. I stopped at the local bakery, (fortunately, this town still had one), and picked up a couple of bakery items. The placed smelled so good and the air seemed so clean. I could feel the city oozing out of my pores. I was adjusting back into the country and it felt so good.

I stopped at the local grocery and picked up a couple of items that I would need for snacks. From previous trips, I knew that the store made its own cheese. And boy was it good! I sat on a bench for several minutes and watched as the people went about their daily lives. Then I prepared to head out of town. I loved watching the pickups as they rumbled down the street. Out of one pickup climbed a tall handsome young man who was soon joined by a beautiful country girl. I loved the way she hung on his arm and swayed as they walked into the store. I mentally wished them the best of luck.

I thought about the country songs that I loved to listen to. Many of the songs dealt with the pain, sorrow, and cheating that went on in a marriage. But there were also those that dealt with the love between a man and a woman. Was it really possible, I wondered? Was there truly a chance that a woman would long for your return and run with arms opened wide? Was it possible to laugh and giggle as you chased her through a field? Do ladies really dance in cotton skirts on the tailgate of your pickup truck?

I arrived at the B & B and found it to be quite nice. The hostess was a friendly woman who explained to me all the amenities the house had to offer. I thanked her and then headed to my room to unpack my belongings. After that, I unloaded my bike and headed for the southern section of the trail.

I rode for about twenty miles before heading back. The scenery was beautiful, but I didn't see much wildlife. Portions of the trail passed along the side of the highway, which took away from some of the ambiance. I headed back to the B & B and was pleased to find that some wines and cheeses had been placed out for the enjoyment of the guests.

I moved to the deck so that I could savor the last remaining rays of light over the lake. The water was calm and smooth and I enjoyed watching the ducks and seagulls as they landed and chased each other. A slender lady, that I later learned was a professor, came and sat a few chairs down. She tucked her legs up under her bulky sweater and appeared to also enjoy the waning light.

I slept well that night, except for a brief interruption by the couple in the room next to me. I heard some giggling and surmised they might be getting ready for a little frolicking. I drifted off to sleep knowing that a least someone was experiencing the pleasure of endorphins coursing through their body that night.

The next morning, I awoke at my normal time and went out onto the deck to enjoy the freshness of the new day. The sun was just beginning to rise. I watched the fog as it appeared to parade its way across the surface of the water. Some of the clouds seemed to be hurrying forward, while others seemed content to lag behind.

The tall wisps of water vapor made their way to some unknown destination. Trees in the yard rustled and shook as the squirrels went about their mischievous activities. A flock of geese crossed the sky; mere silhouettes, due to the angle of the rising sun.

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