She clutched at his broad shoulders as he moved back to her lips. Their tongues meshed, dueling in the warm cavern of their open mouths. His hand left the zip to push her skirt up her thighs and she lifted herself till it was bunched around her waist. Both hands moved once more to her aching breasts, lifting both together as he sought the pouting nipples. Gladys pulled him closer and ran her nails down his back. The deep suckling dragged the moans from her again. His hands moved to her hips and brought her closer to feel his hardness. The ringing phone vibrated under her, they were lying on top of her purse. She pushed his hands away and scrambled up.
“Just ignore it.” Edward mumbled and tried to pull her back.
“We have to stop.” Gladys mumbled. She stood up and did up the buttons of her blouse.
“Baby we don't have to, come here.” He lounged back with open arms. A quick glance around the room showed his jacket on a chair, his tie draped on the coffee table. Gladys smoothed down her skirt, picked up the fallen ruffle and began to put her hair in order.
“Don't tell me you're ending this here, now?” Edward ran a hand over his head and looked down at himself. His shirt buttons were all undone and his erection was throbbing.
“Darling, you've said how much you care about me several times, but it's not enough. I'm sorry to bring this up again but frankly, we're both adults. We should...” He stopped.
Gladys prompted him after a while. “What?”
“Don't you want to see how this ends? Can you just imagine the two of us together fully? I know I want to fill you, make love to you completely…”
The muscles in her stomach jumped but Gladys tamped them down. “I would like that a lot Edward, but we've not planned for it or any of the outcomes.”
“Well there's a way to resolve this. I want us to get married.”
“How do you mean?” They'd never talked about marriage in relation to themselves.
Edward said the first thing that came to his mind. “Will you marry me?”
Gladys was confused at first. This evening that had started off so well had not worked out in any way she could have imagined. What he'd just said made no sense at all, and then it sank in.
“Is this a ploy to get me into bed or are calling my bluff?”
“No, I am serious Gladys. It's time to take this relationship to the next level.”
Gladys considered him in silence for several minutes. What kind of proposal was that? If she had fantasized about how this would go, this was no way near it. He still hadn't said how he felt about her. “Based on what?” When he didn't reply she added.
"I love you Edward, but how do you feel about me? I know you find me attractive but do you love me?”
Edward came to stand before her. He took her hands in his. “Doesn't it matter that I'm attracted to you? I really care for you Gladys and I want us to be together.”
“If we're to think about marriage, it has to be more than that. For goodness sake we'll be planning to spend the rest of our lives together. Edward, marrying someone means being exposed to them, trusting them with your emotions.” She paused and considered his words. “Can you be sincere and give me an answer from your heart? Can you do that?”
That was crux of the matter, Edward wasn't sure if he could do that. He'd thought about marriage to Gladys; they got on very well and after the dream on the beach, it was like - why not? But he hadn't considered love. He still didn't know if he was ready to trust his heart to someone else. He cared deeply about Gladys but he didn't want to label it. He came to stand before her.
“Let's not make this such a big deal. OK, I admit I may have brought up the topic the wrong way but I mean it. Maybe you need to go away and think about it?”
Gladys stood up and picked her bag. It was very plain that Edward did not love her. If he couldn't say it, marriage was out of the question. She would be deceiving herself to think seriously about his proposal, if one could even call it that.
“I love you Edward, but it is now obvious that you don't feel the same way.”
She ignored him and walked towards the door.
Edward's mind was in conflict as Gladys left the room and closed the door quietly. He sighed heavily and picked up his phone. He called the driver as he walked to the window and looked out. Almost immediately, Bonny came running from behind the house and into the garage. When he backed out the car, Gladys walked into view and Edward noticed that she had begun to cry. While he debated whether to run after her, she got into the car which then drove out of the compound. He allowed the curtain to drop and slammed his right fist into his left hand. Things had not gone well at all. Damn!
Gladys cried all the way home even after assuring Bonny that everything was alright. He kept glancing at her through the rearview mirror and murmuring “Madam sorry, e don do. E don do.” For her, no tears would ever be enough, at least not as far as she could see. What she had thought was a solid foundation had now proved to be only castles in the air. Her first major relationship had just crashed down around her ears. Edward had not even bothered to explain himself or follow her to the car.