Basking in an afterglow of the most exquisite lovemaking she has ever indulged, Joanna stirs with a total body yawn, stretching her extremities in a lazy arched-back sprawl, ironing the bottom sheet with her outspread knees and elbows like a pastel snow angel. Top sheet, blanket, and comforter (wrestled asunder and heaped upon the floor) share space with unzipped bodysuit (half detached from half), discarded bra, and inside-out-turned panties. Sunshine, filtered by the gauze of creamy curtains splays yellow squares of warmth across the room. Nude, recumbent, resplendent under its influence, the bride-to-be awakens... to find herself alone (?).

Stymied, momentarily, by the fact of her abandonment, Joanna strives to salvage equilibrium, reasoning it is better, perhaps, that her enigmatic lover has disappeared, slipped out unawares, sustaining the impression that their almost speechless interlude was a torrid dream-come-true.

From its serendipitous outset to this open-end conclusion, Rockefeller’s unannounced return (and singular behavior) have so smitten his intended that their pending marriage stokes licentious thoughts anew, promising a bond of connubial bliss, lubricated liberally by excretions he elicited so unselfishly, thus atypically, having sated every urge as if determined she should climax uninterruptedly, time after time, faithfully abiding by her 'curative' demand that he keep his britches on—though more than once his wounded member posed a huge temptation (jeopardizing its recovery). Fortitude, however, proved a powerful aphrodisiac; pleasures held at bay giving zest to those un-harnessed, the couple’s sexual repertoire was enhanced tenfold.

Somewhere underneath the dislodged bedclothes chimes resound, their muffled tune denoting IN-COMING-CALL on Joanna’s mislaid Nifty. Shaking off a lethargy bred of orgiastic excess, she exhumes her purse, extracts the phone, unfolds its sundry features, notes NEW ZEALAND as the point of origin, activates RECEIVE and stares in utter disbelief at the face that comes into focus.

"Sorry, did I wake you, Jo? I’m afraid I have bad news. I’ll be staying on in Wellington for at least an extra week. School will have to wait. Pa’s had a nervous breakdown—don’t look so surprised; he’s always been pretty schizy. Go on back to sleep; I’ll call again later."




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