“I’ll buy you some new clothes. Would you like that?” Cam added to the chitchat they’d enjoyed throughout the journey all that day and during their stops for picnics.
Her stomach went into a wild dervish. Last night she had marred their evening with questions. Today she would show only love, no fretful questions, only trust.
He went into another shop up the street, leaving her still in the car. She did not mind when this honeymoon that he had planned so quickly was a dream of a lifetime come true. She only wished she could stroll along the narrow, winding street with him arm and arm. Glancing at the few English and Europeans in the street, perhaps it was best she wait until they were married to outwardly act his wife.
He came out a while later with several large flat boxes and put these in the boot of the car. The smile he sent her set her pulse to tripping. Since last night when he had held her hand and ran with her to the car they had not touched, not even a finger tracing the side of a cheek. Her breath ceased. But now he was here…sitting beside her…driving her to their wedding.
Trailing branches of willows whispered along the waterway as they glided past. For the first time since last night, Cam touched her by drawing her near to rest her head against his collarbone. She breathed in the clean scent of his cotton shirt as the sun set. Snow-packed peaks around them flushed like a ripe peach as their craft slid out to the openness of an immense placid lake, dotted with lotus blossoms.
She tilted her face up. Cam filled her vision with the angular line of his jaw, the strong mouth that appeared vulnerable the closer she inched toward him. His fresh, warm breath fanned her hair, and she arched closer as he drew her nearer, tracing his finger along the line of her cheek, the outline of her lips. “My beautiful—” His voice broke. “Sweet janu, I don’t deserve you.” He buried his face at the side of her neck, and she clung to him, looking over his shoulder, her mouth still yearning for the touch of his lips.
She stroked the roughness of his jaw where he needed a shave. “Will we be married tonight?”
He looked out to a light glimmering on the far side of the lake. In the growing darkness she couldn’t make out what it was. A house on the shore? Another shikara? “I hope so, janu. I hope so.”
She snuggled close, though he had said he did not wish for touch until they were married, but his use of the Hindi endearment filled her to overflowing.
“From this day forward,” he said, “nothing will ever separate us.” His gaze did not waver. “Not nationality, nor country, nor people. We’ll be one before God, forever.”