SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME Chapter 7 Fanfiction by Suz Home Page CHAPTER SEVEN


Pavlova - a dessert made of a large soft-centred meringue, usually roughly circular and having an indented top filled with whipped cream and topped with fruit.

Anzac Day - a public holiday in Australia that falls on 25 April each year commemorating the anniversary of the ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corp) landing on Gallipoli in 1915.

Glass Mountain - an Australian white wine, has a fresh fruity "grassy" aroma and this carries over into the palate, that is smooth and crisp. A sauvignon blanc with smooth edges.

Skippy - the kangaroo star of an Aussie TV series, ('Skippy, The Bush Kangaroo) that was very popular in the 1960's and who achieved some degree of international fame. Skippy represents kangaroos to Aussies in much the same way as Flipper represents dolphins to Americans.

Witchetty grubs - any of various large, white, edible, wood-boring grubs that are the larvae of certain Australian moths and beetles.

Pluto pups - an Aussie fast food comprised of a battered, deep-fried frankfurter skewered on a stick and usually accompanied by tomato sauce AKA tomato ketchup. Apparently a close relative to a 'corn dog' in the US.

A head full of dark wavy curls popped around the door.

"Hey, gorgeous," the voice purred.

Lizzy felt a quiver go through her, and without even looking up from the manuscript, knew straight away to whom that sexy voice belonged. Smiling to herself, she looked up, right into the seductive, dark chocolatey eyes of William Darcy.

She had become used to him phoning or popping in to see her. Apart from insisting on driving her to work most days and picking her up in the afternoons, he had taken to calling in for the odd lunch as well on the pretext of being in town, and when he couldn't, he would phone. A week had miraculously passed without a single fight or flare-up. Now that William was prepared to listen, Lizzy was confident to talk and at night after dinner, talk for long periods they did - about their lives, their wants and needs. It was the closeness of this period of revelation between them that had matured the caveman in William into the kind of man Lizzy had always imagined her ideal man to be: sensitive, open, honest and dependable. Not a single case of foot-in-mouth to be seen - so far.

Stretching over the desk, he kissed her lightly, humming to himself with pleasure. Lizzy reached up to wipe the lipstick off his lips.

"What? Not my colour?" he smiled. "Doesn't go with the shirt?"

"You're crazy," she laughed, coming around her desk to close the door. Reaching her arms up around his neck, she pulled his head down towards hers. "You're just lucky I have a soft spot for crazy guys, and this one in particular."

Perching on the edge of her desk, he pulled her up onto his lap.

"Care to elaborate on that a bit further?" he said, and lowering his mouth, traced the outline of her lips with his tongue, the shiver spreading throughout her whole body.

Feeling the softness of his freshly shaved cheeks, Lizzy inhaled his aftershave. They had discovered over the last week - one with surprise and the other with delight - that Will's particular brand of aftershave had a rather stimulating effect on her. So stimulating in fact, that Will now wore it every time he saw her.

"You've got that damn aftershave on again," she mumbled against his mouth.

"You better believe it. I'm thinking of bathing in it," he said as she clung tighter, her tongue seeking his as the intensity of the kiss escalated. Will loved kissing Lizzy and had discovered, most happily, that for someone who thought her experience was limited, her ability to kiss him senseless was unbelievable.

After an intimate dinner on Wednesday night at his place (compliments of Mrs Reynolds), they had been snuggled up on the lounge in what had become their favourite position. Lizzy had started to nuzzle on his neck, sending shivers of pleasure along all his extremities including one in particular, making him writhe with delight. Not satisfied with the effect this particular activity was causing, she had then moved to his lips, tasting and testing to see just what and how much of a reaction she could cause by licking his lips and teasing him with her tongue. The resultant feeling of this little discovery trip of hers was the closest thing he had ever had to sex, fully clothed. By the time she was finished, he felt limp and wrung out, amazed to find that they were both still sitting in the same position, fully clothed and not naked and sweating and rolling on the floor. He had been about to ask her where she had learnt to kiss like that, but then decided he really didn't want to know-he was just happy he was on the receiving end where he would hopefully stay-permanently.

Back in the present, as Lizzy came up for air and the initial thirst for each other abated somewhat, he reached up to kiss her lightly on her nose, pressing his forehead to hers as he got his breath back.

Suddenly remembering his reason for coming, he lifted her off his lap and stood her up. "Time for us to go."

"Go where? It's only lunchtime. I thought you were going to pick me up later when I finish work."

"You are finished, Lizzy. I asked your boss if I could take you on a field trip, and he said it would be fine for you to leave now."

"A field trip?" she asked, trying to hide her disappointment. She had been looking forward to Friday afternoon all week, wondering what William would plan. But a 'field trip' was not one of the possibilities she had considered. And where the hell does a romance writer go on a 'field trip' anyway?

"Sure. Come on - the car's waiting outside. Let's go."

Right, she thought dispiritedly. Maybe they would go somewhere nice after the 'field trip'.

As Will pulled into a private hangar at Mascot Airport, Lizzy became curious. "Where exactly are we going, Will?"

"Where would you like to go?" he asked back.

"Don't do that!"

"Do what?" he teased.

"Answer a question with a question. You do it all the time." Lizzy was starting to get a little peeved. She didn't want to go on a bloody 'field trip', even if it was with William, when she could have been finishing up the manuscript on which she was working.

Grabbing her hand, he smiled as he pulled her along. He could tell she was getting a little annoyed at not knowing what was going on. He had made the mistake once already in the past week, of making plans for an evening without consulting her first, and he had received the message loud and clear (and duly noted it for future reference) that unless he liked to live dangerously, she was one lady who liked to know what was going on all the time. But this time she had given him carte blanche to go ahead and surprise her and he intended to make the most of it. Besides, he was having so much fun, telling her would spoil it completely.

Handing her up the steps of the waiting Lear jet, he waited for her reaction as she stepped into the interior. Sitting on the plush leather seat, she waited until he returned from speaking to the pilot and fixed him with a quizzical glare.

"Whaaaat?" he asked teasingly.

"Start talking, big guy, or I'll come over there and tickle you silly until you 'fess up."

"It's a surprise. You told me to surprise you this weekend, and this is it."

"A flight in a jet. That's really … nice. You own it, right?"

"Me?" he asked in mock surprise and smiled. "No, actually I don't. Never had much need for one. It belongs to Uncle Tom. You know … Richard's dad?"

"Oh," she said. "I didn't realise …"

"That Richard's family is loaded? Okay, we're talking Richard here. He's not exactly the kind of guy to flaunt it, is he? I'm not surprised he never let on to you. He hated being a "rich kid" growing up. Anyway, the last thing I want to talk about is my cousin. Buckle up, sweetheart. We'll be taking off any minute."

"Where are we going? Aren't you even going to give me a hint? A little one?"

Will laughed, a glint in his eye. He was looking forward to Christmas, if this was what Lizzy was like with one little surprise weekend. "Okay, all you're going to need is your bikini, your toothbrush … and me."

"That's no help, you know - that only leaves … gee, let me see … half the country," she grumbled in exasperation. "And in case it escaped your attention, I don't even have a toothbrush with me, let alone a bikini."

"It's all organised, just trust me," he laughed.

She rolled her eyes at him and looked away, but smiled as she looked out the window. Secretly, she was thrilled, but it wouldn't do to let him off the hook too easily.

Puzzling over the meagre hint, she leaned back in her seat as they began to taxi down the runway.

A bikini, hey? Okay - somewhere warm. At this time of year, that could be anywhere between Melbourne and Darwin. And a toothbrush? That means it will be at least an overnight trip. Great! Still no idea. Frustrating man.

Lizzy woke to the sound of the pilot's voice asking them to fasten their seatbelts in preparation for landing, unaware sj he had even dozed off. She noticed the blind was down on her window and wondered if William had thoughtfully closed it when she had nodded off. She looked at her watch and realised they had been in the air for over 3 hours. She glanced at William and noticed him smiling at her smugly.

As the plane landed and taxied down the runway, Lizzy strained to see the name of the airport as it went flashing by.

She quickly caught it. Cairns!

"I know, I know. Let me guess, Will," she grinned excitedly. "We're going to Bedarra."

He deadpanned her, but secretly he was laughing inside. "Just wait and see. It won't be long now."

"You're no fun, you know that?"

"Oh, I don't know, I'm having lots of fun," he said, unable to stop a chuckle from escaping.

Freed now of her seatbelt as the jet rolled to a stop, she stood over him in mock-menace, before landing in his lap and reaching around to tickle him where she knew it would have most effect.

Laughing, he grabbed her hands, curtailing her efforts to prise the rest of the secret out of him. "Hey, come on, we have a helicopter to catch."

"See, I knew it. Ha! You have to get up pretty early in the morning to pull the wool over this little girl's eyes. Okay, big guy - lead on."

The flight from the airport to their destination took hardly any time at all, but Lizzy's confusion was complete as they turned away from the coast and headed slightly inland toward the rainforest area of the Daintree. The lush tropical foliage, an encroaching myriad of greens against the stunning blue-green crystal clear waters of the Coral Sea, loomed up at them from the perspex bubble window of the helicopter. They landed on the small helipad, and Will grabbed their bags from the pilot before guiding them toward the beautiful lodge nestled into the edge of the trees.

"We're here, Lizzy."

"I can see that, but where exactly is 'here'?" she asked, looking around in confusion.

"It's called Cockatoo Hill. Do you like it?" he asked, as they walked past the pool that was being fed by a large rock waterfall."

"I love it," she said in wonder. "You aren't thinking of buying it, are you?" she asked, prompting a laugh from William.

"No, sweetheart. This is just for the weekend. And the best part is that as this is the Anzac Day weekend, we don't have to be back in Sydney until Monday night."

Her face lit up at the thought. The most she had been hoping for was maybe dinner out somewhere and a drive into the mountains or something, but this just blew her mind!

As she warmed up to the tropical heat, she shrugged out of her jacket and looked around her in fascination. The lodge was Balinese in theme, and apart from the main buildings, there appeared to be half dozen thatched roof treehouses nestled into the edge of the rainforest.

After they had checked in, they were shown to their own private treehouse. Lizzy walked around, quickly checking to see what the little cottage contained.

The huge bed was hard to miss-it looked big enough to hold half the local football team; underfloor lighting, cool; ensuite with shower partially open to the elements due to a huge tree growing up through the middle of the bathroom, nothing quite like bringing the rainforest right inside; a doorway leading onto a private deck with a big spa bath, wow! … she waltzed back through to the interior again …

"What are you doing?" asked Will in puzzlement, watching her checking out everything that opened and shut.

"Just checking it out." Shaking her head in bemusement she carried on …

… sitting area with comfy rattan furniture and out onto the deck which rimmed the rest of the treehouse … more easy chairs and a million-dollar view of the rainforest on one side and a peek of the Coral Sea on the other, breathtaking! She walked back inside to where William was waiting patiently, anxious for some sign of her approval.

"This is beautiful, William. It's fantastic. Thank you," she said, reaching up to kiss him lightly.

"I'm glad you like it. I want this weekend to be special for us. Come on, lets get out of these city clothes and go have a swim. There'll be plenty of time for you to show your appreciation later," he winked, as Lizzy playfully tossed a shoe at him.

He waited for her to come out of the bathroom, and smiled in unmasked admiration when he saw Jane had been able to fill his request for one item of clothing in particular - the little yellow bikini. Yeah, baby! he whistled silently in appreciation.

After an afternoon spent swimming, and lazily sunning themselves on deck chairs, Lizzy made her way into the shower to wash all the salt water out of her hair. Squeezing the water from her hair with a towel and wrapped only in a sarong, she came out to find William opening a bottle of Glass Mountain on the deck. Coming up behind, she wrapped her arms around him, laying her head on his back as she inhaled his musky scent. This was a particular habit of Lizzy's that Will loved and he held her arms there, loving the feel of her pressed up against him.

"Hey there. Feel better?" he asked and he moved her around into his arms.

"I feel fantastic - so relaxed. I can't believe that this morning I was in Sydney and now I'm here, with you."

"Nice surprise?" he asked.

"Better than nice. But tell me - how did you get my things packed? I sense a conspiracy …"

"I enlisted the help of none other than your dear sister, which wasn't easy, I can tell you. I just couldn't pin her down. I ended up having to go through Charles to reach her."

"Yes, I know. She hasn't been home much this week. Obviously long enough to pack a bag of my things for you, though. Pretty interesting selection too - I checked. Are we doing anything tonight? Do I need to dress up?"

"Just stay as you are, Lizzy, with one small addition." And he reached out to put an hibiscus behind her ear. "Perfect."

His reason became clear when a knock came at the roughly hewn wooden door. There, waiting outside, was a trolley holding a platter loaded with a plethora of delicacies: a selection of seafood … juicy king prawns, plump oysters with a light, fresh, saltwater taste, succulent lobster, huge, fleshy crab claws, mussels with a tart brunoise of tomato, onion and garlic sprinkled with Worcestershire sauce, and freshly cooked, crumbed calamari rings. There was also a variety of salad and bite size pieces of tropical fruits … watermelon, grapes, pawpaw, mango, pineapple and rockmelon. For dessert (if, indeed, they managed to get that far,) were mini meringue pavlovas full of whipped cream, stuffed with strawberries, kiwifruit and banana and drizzled with passionfruit.

Lizzy's mouth started to water as she watched William wheel the trolley out to the deck, light the candles, and stand waiting to seat her.

"You really are amazing, you know that? I can't believe what a day this has been. How … when did you organise this?"

"I've had a week to prepare, don't forget," he smiled, leaning down to caress her neck with his lips as he seated her.

They steadily ate their way through the seafood until all that was left was a small pile of empty shells. As they refreshed their palates with the selection of seasonal fruits, Lizzy moaned with delight as the juice of a ripe red pawpaw ran down her throat.

"You have to try this, William. It's divine. Paw paw with fresh lime juice and sugar sprinkled on it. C'mon, open wide." And she placed a chunk of dripping pawpaw in his mouth, watching him eagerly for his reaction to the taste.

"Mmmm, that's good, but this is fantastic." As he leant over to pop a dripping piece of pineapple that had been soaked in Grand Marnier into her mouth, juice ran down her chin and he reached over quickly to lick it up before it dripped lower. Food was momentarily forgotten as he tasted another delicacy that was not on the platter. "I don't know. I can't make up my mind which tastes better - you or the pineapple. Let's try that again - just to make sure."

"Oh, William, I couldn't - I'm stuffed," she groaned. "Let's have a break for a little bit."

They sat back, holding hands, and looked out over the rainforest, watching the darkness creep in as the sun finally set. A chorus of cicadas and crickets clicked and buzzed through the night air and as darkness fell, the myriad of stars - so clear in the tropical night sky - blinked and flickered into view. Held captive by the beauty before them, they sat quietly, sipping their wine.

As much as she was enjoying herself, there was just one thing concerning Lizzy - the huge timber bed looming right behind her. Even though Will wasn't pushing, Lizzy was feeling uneasy. Not that she didn't want William, she did. He made her tingle from her head to her toes, and had been so loving, understanding and patient, but "it" sat there like an ornate, ancient altar. Thinking of herself as the sacrifice was making Lizzy more and more uncomfortable as the evening wore on. She wasn't sure what William was expecting and she really wanted to be prepared. At least they didn't have to worry about her falling pregnant. She had already told William of her experience with Anthony. Falling pregnant would never be a problem for her, she thought sadly. But how could she tell William what was really worrying her without embarrassing herself to death? Her distracted air was not lost on Will and he brought her hand to his lips and kissed it.

"Talk to me, Lizzy. Something is bothering you."

Blushing at being so transparent, Lizzy struggled to find a way to tell William what was on her mind, tossing up and rejecting a variety of alternatives that ran through her head …

"Oh, it's just that huge honkin' bed in there and I'm a little bit nervous, because I haven't had sex for, oh, too long, and I might have forgotten how …"


"Is that an altar of love, and am I the vestal virgin you're going to sacrifice on it, cos if that's the case, baby, you're too late …"

or maybe

"I'm scared …"

Will waited patiently, watching the thoughts rush through her head. Patience, he had found, was the key to Lizzy, and so he waited. But when she blurted out her reply and spoke so quickly, he nearly missed it.

"I'm nervous about the bed and I'm scared of making love. God, I sound like some virgin bride on her wedding night."

"Hey, it's okay," he said softly. "I didn't get you up here to make love, Lizzy." He paused as she raised an eyebrow at him. "I said I wouldn't push, remember? That doesn't mean I can't hold you and cuddle, does it?" he asked, squeezing her hand.

"You're a very strange man, William Darcy. Most guys would be busting to get a girl into a bed like that and shag her silly."

"Yeah, I know. I wonder what's come over me?" he half-joked. But turning serious, he attempted to soothe her mind. "I told you before that I didn't want to rush, and we will both know when the time is right," he said looking at her intently. "Believe me?"

Sighing with relief, Lizzy nodded.

"Good. Now that you don't have to worry about a roll in the hay, how about a piece of this delicious pavlova?" he winked.

Lizzy laughed, but in her heart she realised what a lucky girl she was. William really was the best man she had ever known, but the effects of the sun earlier, a full tummy and the wine were starting to have an effect and Lizzy was soon struggling to keep her eyes open.

"Come on, sweetheart. Time for bed. We have a big day tomorrow, so we had both better get some sleep."

Lizzy's nerves hadn't completely abated, and when she came out of the bathroom in a skimpy little lacy nightie (Gee, thanks Jane!), she was relieved to see William still standing out on the deck drinking the last of the wine. Quickly she ducked into bed between the cool, crisp sheets. William wandered in, stripping off his shirt as he went. Lizzy couldn't resist a peek. Nothing she hadn't seen before, but the sight always made her a little hot and bothered, and the thought of sleeping next to him all night set her pulse racing. What a gorgeous bod!

Knowing how nervous Lizzy was, Will waited on the deck until he heard her open the bathroom door. The last thing he wanted to do was spook her. He wanted her to feel comfortable, to trust him. They had fallen asleep enough times on the lounge with her on his lap and he had been able to control himself. This shouldn't be any different - it was only a bed.

By the time William came out of the bathroom in his boxers and turned off the light, Lizzy was almost asleep. Slipping in beside her, he cuddled up to her back, draping an arm over her stomach to hold her close. He smiled to himself as he felt Lizzy wriggle back closer to him and he closed his eyes, inhaling her sweet fragrance and slipped quickly into a deep, even slumber.

A silvery mist swirled and eddied in the morning air as the dawn broke through the humid rainforest, drops of dew glistening off the dewy fronds of the native ferns. The sounds of life filtered through the dense undergrowth and wafted up on capricious currents to the open treehouse where at least one of the occupants was already awake.

Streaks of sunlight filtered through the cracks in the thatching, a subtle incandescence casting golden shadows about the room.

The beauty of the dawn was not what had awakened Lizzy. As magical as it was, she had awoken many moments before to the feel of something nudging her, and her memory of another time and another place was still clear enough that she knew what it was. Still snuggled up, her back to William's chest and lying quietly so as not to wake him, Lizzy was effectively forestalled from moving by William's possessive hand on her tummy, not only holding her there, but pulling her into him - hence the reason for the gentle prodding. But what held Lizzy quiet and still was the slightly incoherent mumbling coming from her companion, for it would appear that the pushing against her buttocks notwithstanding, he was in the midst of a very nice dream. Instead of feeling nervous or shy, Lizzy's pulse had started to race when the mumbling was accompanied by a gentle nudging. As enjoyable as the experience was, and Lizzy was definitely contemplating continuing at this point in time, she would have preferred her man to be awake for the momentous occasion. As he started to kiss her neck, her breaths coming more quickly, she whispered his name softly, attempting to ease him slowly out of his dream world and into the much more promising reality.

"William?" she whispered. "Are you awake?"

She was answered by a deep rumble as he moved from her neck to her ear, his hot breath sending a shiver down her body. A hand moved up to cup a breast through the thin lace of her nightie, the nipple firming instantly at his light touch.


"Mmmm, Lizzy … my Lizzy …" he murmured into her ear.

"Yes, William, it's your Lizzy, but it's time to wake up now, honey," she said softly.

The sound of her voice filtered through his sleepy consciousness and gradually Will's eyes opened as he reluctantly exited from the grasp of the delightful dream. Unlike all his other dreams of Lizzy, this one had possessed a depth, a tactile quality, and the combined senses of smell and touch had seemed heightened, real. A perception of why this was so became immediately apparent. He finally comprehended where his hands were, what they were holding and what a certain other part of his anatomy was doing as reality rushed at him, shattering the remnants of his dream like a lightning bolt.

Mortified, he slowly retracted his hand from the fullness of a beautifully curved breast. Trying to ease himself away from Lizzy was no easy task, but somehow he managed it. In light of his "condition", the haven of the bathroom beckoned, and as he reluctantly slid out from under the covers and stood up, he leaned over to kiss Lizzy softly on the neck.

"Back in a just a sec, gorgeous."

Thankful for the screen of the netting surrounding the bed, Will hurried to the bathroom as quickly as he was able. Even though he had never had a problem with the hardness of his erections, he could never remember ever waking up with one this hard and uncomfortable before. Standing in the bathroom for what seemed an eternity, he groaned as he pushed it down, willing it away and waiting impatiently for the tumescence to subside.

Finally presentable and in control once again, he gingerly climbed back into bed, almost unable to look at Lizzy who had rolled over to face him.

"Hey, look at me, big guy. I'm not a virgin, remember? And it hasn't been that long that I've completely forgotten what mornings are like. I enjoyed it; I've missed that feeling. And besides, it was very sexy hearing you murmuring my name in your sleep. So, whatever it was you were thinking, just hold that thought, honey," she teased.

Will looked at her sheepishly, the thought already tucked away for future exploration.

"So what do we have planned for today?" asked Lizzy as she cuddled in under his chin. "I suppose staying here like this and just snoozing isn't an option?"

He smiled at the thought, but realised that for him at least, it was not an option.

"For starters, breakfast, then you and I are going to take a walk through the rainforest. And after lunch, I thought we might go horse riding up at Cape Tribulation. How does that sound?"

"Horse riding? Wow, I haven't been riding for years," she gushed, jumping out of bed and leaving a cool spot next to him where her body had been.

"Let's go, handsome. The day's a-wasting."

He laughed at her sudden display of enthusiasm, realising he had obviously hit the nail on the head with his choice of activities.

The sight of all the food laid out for breakfast in the main hut made them realise how full they still were after last night's feast, so following a light breakfast of toast and tropical fruit, they headed out on a little trek into the rainforest along the paths and boardwalks that led in a wide circle through the rainforest and back to the retreat.

One little detour following a startled tree kangaroo uncovered a waterhole that was not on the main path, complete with a mini waterfall splashing out over the rocks and emptying into a fresh, cool pool. Taking the opportunity for a breather, they sat on the edge and splashed their feet in the icy water.

"Isn't this beautiful?" sighed Lizzy, dangling her legs in the refreshing water. "So peaceful and unspoiled." Sitting on sun warmed rocks under a natural canopy of ferns and conifers, they relaxed, taking in the smells and sounds unique to the rainforest. "It's like being on another planet."

They watched as overhead several kingfishers and multi-coloured parrots flew from tree to tree, eating the fruit and seeds.

Deep in the rainforest, the silence was loud to their city ears. Birds screeched as they fought for the best trees, the fan palms rustled as the wind whispered through them, the undergrowth crackled with the activity of thousands of ground animals and bugs, and the water gushed over the rocks in a mini-torrent, splashing as it emptied into the waterhole. All around them, the energy-sapping humidity prompted an outbreak of little streams of perspiration from their bodies, plastering their clothes to them in the muggy heat.

"That's enough nature for me, William. I don't know about you, but I'm ready for another shower," said Lizzy, taking off her hat and wiping the sweat off her brow, fanning her face to cool it a little.

"Yep. Let's go, before I throw caution to the wind and dive in that water," he grinned.

After a light lunch and an opportunity to get changed into more appropriate clothing, they jumped into one of the little 4WDs belonging to the retreat and headed up the coast for the short drive to Cape Tribulation.

The horse ride was an exhilarating adventure in itself. In a small party of four, they picked their way carefully along a winding trail through the rainforest; over shallow, rocky creeks, under dense leafy canopies; eventually clearing the darkness of the forest into the bright sunlight and cantering along Myall Beach in the late tropical afternoon sun before heading back through lush, grassy paddocks with the picturesque Mount Sorrow in the background.

Lizzy was exhilarated … but tired. Muscle weary, she struggled to keep her eyes open on the drive home, frequently nodding her head into sleep, only to be jerked awake at the next bump in the road. She willingly offered Will first shot at the shower so that she could lay down for a bit and recover. As soon as she heard the water running, she dug through the backpack she called a handbag and pulled out the tattered and dog-eared manuscript that had taken up permanent residence there and, putting on her glasses, curled up on the lounge to read and relax while she waited.

The warmth of the water penetrated his stiff muscles and felt so relaxing that he had loitered in the shower longer than normal, soaking out the soreness. When Will finally came out of the shower, he was amused to find Lizzy asleep on the rattan lounge, curled up like a pussycat. Deciding to let her sleep a little, he reached over to take the manuscript she was about to drop, out of her hand. He looked in surprise as he noticed it was a very beaten-up copy of his manuscript - Undesirable Stranger. Noting the page she'd been reading when she'd fallen asleep, he grinned to himself. Smoothing her hair off her face, he leaned down and kissed her softly, his heart full with love. When he was with her, he felt alive - awake to every sensation and feeling imaginable.

Reluctant to disturb her, he sat nearby and watched her sleep. Casting his eyes over her, he was struck once again at how completely she had captured his heart. Nothing in his life or his writing had prepared him for the tumble of emotions he felt for her. Neraly every waking moment of every day, she was in his thoughts. He laughed inwardly at his presumption of thinking he knew enough about love to write of it. He realised that until he had met Lizzy, his understanding and perception of what it was to truly love someone so completely, had been baseless and clichιd. Lizzy had shown him that there was no formula, no recipe for real love - only hard work followed, in hope, by the sweetest reward. He had been selfish; he understood that now. His life had been such that he had always been handed what he had wanted. But with love, a surrender was required - a surrender and a sacrifice he had never been prepared to make before; one he had never even considered. Now, he would give up everything if it meant she would say those three little words he longed to hear, for she had come to mean more to him than all his wealth. She had become the riches, and the richness, in his life. And now he, who had always been reserved, the one who had held back from love, wanted to rush pell-mell into all that it offered. He laughed to himself at the irony of it. He so badly wanted to shout it to the world, but he couldn't. He had to be patient.

The sound of stirring behind him disrupted his musings and he glanced up to spy a yawning Lizzy stretching, limbs going in all directions. Still half asleep and unaware she was being observed, she idly ran her hands up and down her belly, softly scratching and stroking a trail from her breasts to below her cute belly button, her eyes showing an unfocussed, faraway look.

"I could sit here and watch you do that all night, but I think that eventually one of us would start to get hungry," he said quietly, so as not to startle her.

Her eyes slowly swung in his direction and she smiled, a hazy, lazy smile that set his pulse racing. "I'm disappointed, Will. Always thinking of your stomach."

"Stomach? Who said anything about stomach?" he purred.

Lizzy swung her legs over the side of the lounge and stood up. "You're a bad boy, William Darcy," she chuckled softly. "I think I had better go wash up so we can eat."

"Would you like a hand?" he called after her.

"No, thanks, I'm a big girl now."

"Believe me, sweetheart, I've noticed," he said softly, admiring her subtle wiggle as she headed to the shower.

She emerged half an hour later dressed to kill-her long hair pulled to one side and cascading over a shoulder and her short, red jersey dress - miraculously held in place by a knot on one shoulder - hugged and caressed every curve on her voluptuous body. Gold sandals that laced halfway up her tanned calves drew his eyes up her legs to where the dress stopped just short of being indecent.

Will felt an irrational rush of jealousy that other men at the restaurant would be looking at Lizzy tonight and thinking the same primal thoughts that had just rushed through his head. "Baby, please promise me you won't ever wear that little combo unless I'm with you, okay?" he asked helplessly.

Lizzy smiled, her breath taken away by the look that had flashed in his eyes when he saw her, and she reached up to kiss him. "I promise."

Sighing with relief, Will took her hand and they strolled down the path to the garden restaurant. Recognising the appreciative glances of a waiter and a couple of patrons, Will put his arm possessively around Lizzy. This woman is mine.

Of all the things he had discovered about Lizzy so far this weekend, the latest one surprised him most of all. When the waiter had brought the menus, a slight look of desperation had passed over Lizzy's face as she read further and further down the menu.

"What's up? Having trouble deciding?"

"I'm so hungry, I could eat a horse and chase the rider, but this food is so … different. Can't I just have a huge T-bone and chips or something?

"Lizzy! You can't come all the way up here and eat what you'd eat at home. Be daring. Try something new. How about the Roast Emu with Green Peppercorn Sauce? You like peppercorn sauce."

"Sure, on a steak, but emu? I used to go to the nature park in Sydney as a kid and feed emus. How can I eat one? It'd be like eating a pet. Maybe I can just have a plate of steamed veggies?"

"Come on, sweetheart, what about the crocodile? Here, this looks interesting: 'Crocodile Fillets in Rosemary Sauce' or what about 'Outback Kangaroo Striploin Pan Roasted on Balsamic Mash'."

"You want me to eat Skippy?" she asked in disbelief. "Ugh - no way. Okay, okay, I'll give the crocodile fillets a shot. Never did like crocs much anyway. They usually eat people, so I suppose that's poetic justice. Anyway, from what I hear it tastes just like chicken - everything that isn't normal tastes like chicken."

Will laughed. You'd think I was asking her to eat witchetty grubs, he thought, and laughed even harder at the thought. That was one delicacy that he would never be able to get Lizzy to try. Although he had heard that they tasted like chicken too …

He watched smiling as she tentatively prodded her meal when it arrived before cutting off a small bit for a test taste.

"It's dead, Lizzy. It won't bite," he teased.

Her attempt to fix him with a supercilious stare fell a little short of the mark, due in part to the fact that she was also trying not to laugh.

Apparently the crocodile wasn't too bad, or she was as hungry as she said, because Lizzy's plate was clean as a whistle when the waiter came back for their plates.

"That wasn't so bad, was it?"

"It was fine. But tomorrow night I get to pick the restaurant. Is it a deal?"

"Knowing you, it will probably be Mick's Cafι de Wheels down on the corner in town. We'll be eating pluto pups with sauce or something equally gross."

Will yelped as he felt a finger jab him in the ribs.

Over coffee and a very mellow vintage port, Will's hand reached across the table to take Lizzy's, looking into her eyes in the candlelight. "What are you thinking about, gorgeous?"

Lizzy had developed a disconcerting habit of watching William's lips as he spoke, pondering the softness and fullness of them and thinking about the way they felt on hers. It was a moment before she realised he had asked her a question.

"I beg your pardon? Oh, sorry," she said, realising what he had asked. "I was just thinking how glad I am that we talked last weekend. And now a whole week has passed without a fight. For us, that's pretty amazing, isn't it?"

"Very. I don't want to fight with you, Lizzy. I guess we just push each other's buttons too well. I think I prefer this way - especially this 'having you all to myself' part." He watched as she sipped her coffee and smiled.

"Coffee good?"

"Hmmm - very nice. But something's not right."

"What?" he asked, wondering if she was thinking the same thing he was.

She leaned closer to whisper in his ear so that the other diners couldn't hear.

Great minds, he thought as he heard her suggestion. "You have a very good point there - I was thinking something similar myself."

"Why don't we continue this in our little abode?"

Smiling, he kissed her hand in response, stood and led her out. After looking at her in that outfit all night, getting her alone was at the top of his list of priorities.

Within a matter of minutes they were back in their treehouse, changed and snuggled up on the lounge.

Winding a curl around his finger, he watched it slowly unravel as he let it go. In her favourite position on Will's lap, Lizzy relaxed, eyes closed, soothed by the feel of William's hands and fingers running through her hair and skipping lightly over her face.



"Why did you bring my book with you? Surely you haven't found more stuff you want to change, have you?"

Damn! thought Lizzy. Bust-ed. "No, I was just … reading … well, actually re-reading … Um, I was wondering if …"

Will's hand running lightly up and down her leg was playing havoc with her ability to concentrate. His lips moved in concert to nuzzle her neck, the flutter of his warm breath sending shivers down her body, making her nipples harden under the thin fabric of her sarong.

"You were saying?" he whispered against her ear, prompting a flood of warmth through her.

"I wanted to … aaaah," she moaned as his hand moved higher, slipping through the folds of her sarong and running lightly over the warm skin of her ribcage and the curve of her waist.

He nibbled and licked his way to her mouth, momentarily startling her when his tongue flicked out and slipped between her lips, seeking out hers. As he kissed her tenderly, his hand strayed up further to circle a full breast with the tips of his fingers, rubbing softly over the sensitive nipple, so softly she wondered if she had imagined it until the shafts of pleasure began shooting through her body. Unable to stand the teasing, she reached up to grasp his face, deepening the kiss, and as she did so, the loosely tucked folds of her sarong fell away, leaving her naked to his touch, physically and emotionally.

"Oh, baby!" he moaned huskily as he looked at her lying naked on his lap. Even though he had seen her in various stages of undress as well as a bikini, there was something vulnerable and incredibly sexy about seeing her, finally, like this. "That dream I was having this morning? Sweetheart, it was nothing to this - you are so … beautiful."

Although never prudish about her body, Lizzy would have expected to feel a flush of embarrassment or a ripple of tension to run through her body at being so exposed, but she accepted that with William she was safe, and also very ready for what she hoped was coming. Her heart had started to thud wildly in her chest, her adrenalin pumping, and for the briefest second, she had instinctively wished for the security of her sarong, but the thought passed so quickly, replaced by feelings of desire and excitement. The light of love in his eyes had not dimmed nor flickered as his look of hunger grew.

Her silky, glowing skin, her nipples puckered with excitement, her breathing coming in quick breaths - it was all he could do not to take her there and then. Trying to bring himself back under control, he breathed deeply to slow his racing pulse, and picked her up in his strong arms, carrying her through to the bed and placing her down gently on the soft, yielding mattress.

She watched his movements with dazed eyes as he stripped off his shirt and lay down beside her, continuing the intense kiss of moments before. Unsure what to do, she did nothing, and with her eyes closed, gave herself up to the erotic sensations running through her body - the stimulating feel of his fingertips as they ran over her feverish skin, the touch of his hot lips on her neck and face. He kissed her again, more gently, as he caressed her skin from the calves of her legs to her stomach, brushing the curls of her damp mound in passing, as her muscles clenched tight in anticipation.

"Sweetheart? Do you want me to stop?"

She could only shake her head in response, the power of speech deserting her as she closed her eyes and focussed once again on the feel of his fingers as they fondled the heavy fullness of each breast, the nipples hardening under his hand.

Kissing and nibbling his way down, he sought her nipple, and the feel of his searing lips encasing and sucking on it gently, sent a spasm through her loins that made her gasp at the intense pleasure. Deaf to the sounds of encouragement she was making, Lizzy moaned and arched as she felt his sensitive fingers fondle its mate, lightly squeezing and teasing it to equal hardness. Sensations she had never felt before flooded through her.

Lifting his head, he looked deeply into her eyes, taking in her flushed face, the parted lips, and he picked up her hand, kissing and licking circles on her palm before trailing his tongue up through the curve of her arm and back around to her breast. The warmth of his lips against the cool dampness of her skin sent a small shiver through her as he suckled first one breast and then the other, her breathing coming harder as she raised herself up to him.

"You like that?" he asked, softly.

A quick nod was his reply. As his fingers trailed up the inside of her thigh, her legs involuntarily parted and he reached up to cup the damp, curly mound, feeling the heat of her desire. Nibbling his way back to her mouth he kissed her and felt a jolt surge through him when she held his face and invaded his mouth with her tongue in that way she had that could leave him weak and gasping.

Trying desperately to maintain control, he left the sweet torture of her mouth and licked and traced his way down her body, nibbling her stomach and rimming her belly button, leaving her rearing and squirming in his wake.

She gasped and mewed as she felt the wet rasping of his tongue working up the inside of her thigh, travelling higher to the sensitive crease at the top of her leg, and then moving down over the curly hair of her mound, his hot breath warming the shivers of anticipation shaking through her. Finally, the first tentative exploration of her folds with his tongue, lapping up the sweetness and causing her to cry out in surprise at the intense pleasure of his touch. Trying to keep his own need under control, he almost lost it when she arched up against him.

"You taste wonderful, sweetheart..."

Lizzy could hear Will, but was oblivious to everything else but the pleasure shooting through her, intensifying and escalating with each touch. She could feel herself spiralling out of control as the sensations crescendoed within her.

As he fondled her breasts and caressed her skin, his tongue worked its way deeper into her folds, running over every centimetre of skin before pausing to lick and nibble gently at her engorged nub. His tongue traced circles around it, firing the nerve endings. Lizzy's legs started to tremble as the vibration of Will moaning against her nub sent her tumbling over the edge. At that moment, she arched her back and cried out, holding his head still as spasm after spasm shot through her - her nerves on fire and every muscle clenching and straining with the deep release of her orgasm.

Feeling like she had just run a marathon, she fluttered down from the peak, her breathing ragged and her body still shuddering and twitching. Will moved alongside her, reaching over to cuddle her to him, surprised to feel the wetness of her tears on his chest. Concerned, he lifted her head, worried he may have done something wrong.

"Baby? Did I hurt you? Are you all right?'

The saltiness of the tears running down her cheeks, she struggled to find the words to describe how she was feeling.

"I'm fine, Will. It's just .., I've never … I never knew it could be like that," she said, smiling through the mist of her tears.

Hugging her tightly to him, he held her, rocking her gently, pouring all the love he was feeling into her. "Oh, baby, I want it to always be like that for you."

Completely exhausted, but feeling safe within the security of Will's embrace, the sound of his heartbeat lulled her into a deep sleep. Feeling the remaining tension leave her body, Will kept hold of her, an instinctive need to cherish and protect the fragility of her spirit almost overwhelming him in its fierceness.

He wasn't sure what woke him - the sound of the birds in a feeding frenzy in the trees off their deck, the sun lazily streaking across the bed, or perhaps it was the feel of Lizzy, her legs draped across his and an arm flung across his chest, snuffling softly in her sleep. Whatever it was, he wanted to capture this moment and burn it into his brain forever. Thinking back to last night brought back all the feelings of love and tenderness he had felt, the look on her face as she came, the aftermath and the tears of happiness.

As he looked down at her lying naked next to him, he wondered how on earth he could ever have believed he could describe with something so inadequate as words, the feelings of passion and love they had experienced. More than the mental, more than the physical, the night had surpassed all his wildest imaginings on every possible level.

The wait had been oh, so worth it.

He realised that he was still dressed in his shorts from last night. When Lizzy had fallen asleep in his arms, he had been reluctant to move and risk waking her and had eventually nodded off as well. Slowly, so as not to wake her, he untangled himself from her loose embrace and gently eased off the bed. Heading through to the shower, he stripped off and turned on the taps, sighing as the cool water hit his body.

Stretching languorously, Lizzy slowly awoke, a feeling of complete relaxation suffusing all her limbs. Opening her eyes, she reached for William and felt a momentary disappointment to find him gone and the bed empty, but when she heard the sound of the shower running, she laid back and smiled, stretching out over the whole bed. As she reminisced over the events of last night, she remembered once again the incredible intensity of what she had experienced. She had always believed the female orgasm was just a myth perpetrated to soothe the fragile egos of men; but to discover, so unbelievably, that it really did happen, had blown her mind.

Never in her life had she ever felt so beautiful, desirable and loved than she did last night. Her body still tingled with the memory. She missed William. Hearing the shower finally turn off, she lay quietly waiting and hoping for him to come back.

A towel wrapped around his hips, Will walked back out to the bed, peeking to see if Lizzy was still asleep. A beautiful smiling face, still puffy with sleep, greeted him, and he leaned over to kiss her soft lips.

"Morning, gorgeous," he whispered, his voice still gravely from sleep.

"I missed you when I woke up," said Lizzy. "I was hoping you'd come back to bed."

"Well, I might, if the temptation is sufficient," he teased.

"Only if you lose this," she said, tugging on the corner of the towel and watching it drop to the floor. "I want both of us naked this time." Hungry for him, she grazed her eyes over his body from knees to chest, the sight filling her with lusty thoughts.

A change came over Will as he took in the seductive sight of her, long hair spilling over the pillow and a thick curl looping down over one tanned shoulder to partially conceal a full breast, rosy nipple peaked in anticipation. He felt the stirrings of his erection and watched her eyes widen as he came to full attention.

"See what you do to me?" he growled softly to her. "You don't even have to lay a finger on me and I'm ready."

Lizzy reached out to touch him, fascinated with the sight of his rampant manhood. Not that he was massive, but thick, yes, and so hard. Unable to resist, she ran her fingers over the velvety tip, watching it throb and pulse in response to her feather light touch. Grasping its length gently in her hand, her fingers stroked his full length, William closing his eyes and moaning at the sensation of her warm hand on his cool skin. As she started to increase the pace of her stroking, William grabbed her hand, stopping her motion.

"Baby, if you keep doing that, it will all be over in two seconds. And I had something much longer in mind …"

Slipping in beside her, he pulled her to him, kissing her deeply, seeking and finding her tongue and feeling her eager response as she pressed her body hard up against his.

"I'm so glad you didn't put all your secrets in the book."

"What do you mean?" he asked, confused.

"That I think you're a much better lover than Damien will ever be."

He laughed at her honest opinion. "But you don't know that for sure. You've only had the appetiser so far," he winked at her.

"But I've read about what comes next," she laughed back at him.

"Oh, you have, have you?"

"Uh-huh. Lots."

"So the pressure is on?"

"You better believe it, big guy." She chuckled at the look on his face, but her laughter was cut off as his mouth descended on hers effectively halting any further teasing.

"Hey, not fair!" she said as she came up for air.

"Oh, I don't know - it's the only way I know to stop you talking," he laughed, the happy rumble coming from deep in his chest as he watched her try to pout before she collapsed into fit of the giggles.

Moving over her he started nipping the side of her waist in a way that he had recently discovered drove her wild. Enjoying the salty taste of her skin, his lips soon found their way up to her full breasts, still bobbing from her mirth, and he grabbed a nipple in his mouth, noticing the change in her movement as he started to suckle.

Laughter transformed to soft sighs, and her fingers ran through his hair as she gave herself up to the sensations coursing through her.

Not content with the reaction he had received, he trailed his tongue further down Lizzy's body, inhaling the scent of her as he licked a random trail up the inside of first one thigh and then the other.

What had started as a game soon developed into something more consuming, and lost in a flurry of lips and tongues, Will's hands roamed her body, feeling the silkiness of her soft skin, tracing her curves and pulling her against him. Lizzy could feel the heat rising between them, and reached down to touch him again, anxious now for the feel of him inside her.

But William effectively forestalled her as he hopped off the bed and walked over to the switch on the wall to turn the ceiling fan up to maximum. Lizzy watched him walk away from her, admiring the spread of his shoulders and the tan line on his tight buttocks where his swimmers ended. His long legs flared into well-defined calves, and she was caught staring, mouth open, as Will spun around and headed back to the bed.

"Are you perving on me?" he chuckled.

Lizzy blushed at being caught.

"Baby, you can look all you like. I'm all yours. Have been since the moment we met."

The impact of his words was not lost on Lizzy, and she could only look, pleading wordlessly with her eyes for him to come back to her.

Crawling up onto the bed, he kneeled over her, dipping to kiss her softly before trailing down over her chin and neck, settling finally on a plump breast where he lightly nipped and tugged at a tight nipple, ringing it with his tongue before finally sucking it - the pull of his mouth sending an answering tingle much lower at the base of her tummy. Lizzy moaned, trembling at the sensation.

Concern for Lizzy made him pause. Even though last night had been magical for them both, he was sensitive to her desire not to rush. He needed to be sure before it went too far.

"Are you ready for this, darling? Just say the word, and I'll stop …"

Reaching for him, Lizzy assured him in the only way her desire-crazed brain could think of - with her lips, pulling his head down to hers and kissing him wildly. Breaking momentarily to catch her breath, she could see in his eyes that her message had gotten through.

Fanning a fire in Will, what her lips had begun, his finished. A thorough tasting of her body was made, every inch of her skin, was either licked, nibbled or caressed leaving Lizzy almost screaming with the need for release.

As he neared her sweetness, Will paused and watched as Lizzy whimpered and strained for his touch. Her eyes pleaded with him to continue. Dipping his head, he flicked at her wetness, the warmth of his breath sending a shiver through her. He loved the taste and smell of her, and his cock throbbed in eager response.

As his tongue explored her folds, he felt her muscles tense, and her legs lock him in place. Gentle flicks and nips sent an early shudder through her body, but rather than allowing her such a quick release, he wanted to give her an experience she would never forget.

On his knees in front of her, he parted her legs and hesitated, needing to reassure himself that she was ready.

"Oh God, Will! Pleeaase," she pleaded.

"Now?" he asked huskily, his voice cracking with his want and need of her.

"Yes! Yes!"

Whether it be male pride or something else he didn't know, but he wanted to see her face as he entered her, and watching her all the while, he lifted her legs onto his shoulders, and with as much control as he could muster, gently parted her wet folds and slowly eased the tip of his cock into her moist warmth. The feel of her tightness grabbing on the head took his breath away, and he moaned, struggling against the urge to thrust wildly and bury himself in her completely. Sighing, he gradually eased his full length into her, body shaking with the effort of holding back, spellbound by the look of surprise that came over her face as he finally filled her with his full length.

Then reaching over to take a nipple in his hand, he fondled it gently as he began to stroke. Lizzy's breath came in short gasps as the mixed sensations ran through her. There was little she could do but watch and feel, and leaving his face, her eyes travelled down to watch his hips pump against her as he thrust into her, steadily picking up the pace.

She watched, mesmerised, her chest heaving, as his hand moved from her breast to her mound, a finger gently rimming around her clit, propelling her into a dizzying spiral of pleasure.

But it wasn't enough - she needed more. She wanted to feel his body stretched out over hers, his weight and the momentum of their bodies driving her into the soft mattress, and she slid her legs down until he could lay over her, suspended on strong, muscled arms.

Lizzy was through with slow and steady, reaching up she took his nipple in her mouth and nipped on it lightly, unleashing a deep growl from Will as purely animal instinct took over and he lost control, driving into her again and again in a tempest of lust.

Swirling somewhere in the back of his mind, was the knowledge that he should be slower, more gentle, but as he leaned down to kiss Lizzy, the feel of her hands on his arse pulling him even harder into her, blew all reason from his mind and he matched her rhythm thrust for thrust.

As Will moved over her body, the slickness of their sweat-streaked bodies set up a sucking, slapping rhythm as they both clenched and grabbed at each other in the heat of the moment.

Like the strings snapping on a tightly strung violin, Lizzy started to unravel in his arms, spinning out of control in a vortex of intense pleasure.

As her muscles tightened and clenched in anticipation, Lizzy could feel the tension singing through her body, and all it took was the feel of William's tongue sliding into her mouth to push her that final millimetre over the edge into a shuddering climax. She lost the battle to hold on and clung to him fiercely as the waves pulsed and throbbed through her body.

He drew back and plunged deeply into her again, and as she wrapped her legs tightly around him, Will felt every throbbing caress of her climax run through him as it roared through her, picking him up with it as she rode the crest.

Basking in the exquisite pleasure of her release, the clenching and releasing of her muscles driving him wild, he thrust into her one final time and felt the tidalwave surge of his orgasm wrack through his body, revelling in paroxysms of inexpressible pleasure as he emptied into her.

Utterly spent, he shakily dropped down onto an elbow, hanging his head in utter exhaustion. Ragged breathing the only sound to be heard other than the swirling hum of the fan.

Looking down at Lizzy, her eyes still closed, he felt he would never, for as long as he lived, forget the look on her face at that moment in time. For on her face was a look of such utter joy, that he could have wept with happiness.

The sound of Lizzy quietly saying his name pierced his consciousness, and giving in to the shaking tiredness of his limbs, Will lowered himself to lay alongside her, cradling her to him, loving her more with every breath.

As she came back from the brink, Lizzy looked up at him, her heart tight with the feelings flooding through her. To realise and finally understand what it meant to have someone make love to her, make love with her, left her breathless.

Will hugged her tightly, neither one able to speak, but knowing that what had just passed was much more than the joining of two bodies - for that brief moment in time, they had become one.

When they finally awoke for the second time that morning, the sun was high in the sky, and the humidity in the room was growing, the fan doing little more than circulate the moist air more quickly.

Catching Lizzy looking at him intently, Will looked back, curious to know what was going on behind those beautiful eyes of hers.

"What?" he asked softly.

"Wow," she whispered back, resting her chin on his chest.

"Wow' is good?"

"Wow' is awesome. Where did you learn to do that?"

"Would you believe me if I told you I read it in a book?" he asked jokingly, laughing out loud as she rolled her eyes. "What matters most, sweetheart, is that you enjoyed it."

"You fishing for compliments, Tiger?" She playfully growled at him and laughed then, loving the sound of his laughter filling the intimate space. "So, do I still get breakfast?"

"Um … I think we may have missed breakfast. Can I interest you in a nice picnic lunch, Ms Bennet. I happen to know of a particularly private waterhole just a short distance from here," he said, running his finger down the side of her face and picking up a droplet of perspiration from her cheek. "Does that tickle your fancy?"

"Honey, I think we can safely say that my fancy has been well and truly tickled," she grinned at him. "But if you're talking food … well, that's another matter. I'm starved."

While Lizzy showered and changed, Will wandered over to the restaurant to pick up the picnic hamper he had organised with reception the previous afternoon. As he walked back to the treehouse, he peeked inside and smiled to himself. There was enough food to satisfy even Lizzy's raging appetite.

Holding hands, the intimacy of the morning still with them, they picked their way along the paths through the forest, looking for the spot to turn off for the waterhole. Eventually they found it, but not before the humidity had soaked through the light clothes they wore. The sound of the waterfall rushing over the rocks as they neared the spot, made them hurry even more.

Searching around for and finding a nice shaded spot on some rocks allowing easy entry to the water, they placed the hamper under some nearby foliage, protecting it from the worst of the day's heat.

"Swim first and then eat?" asked Will as the perspiration trickled down his face.

"Sounds good," agreed Lizzy.

After testing the depth of the water, they stripped down to their bathers and dived in, the coolness of the water as they hit it sending goose bumps over their bodies as it whooshed over them. Surfacing, they both laughed, teeth chattering slightly. But soon they acclimated and started to enjoy the refreshing feel of the water. Lizzy tread water as she admired William's easy stroke as he swam towards the waterfall and back again.

"You ready to eat? I'm starved," she called to him as he peered closely at the waterfall, trying to determine what was behind it.

"Yeah, I can explore this later."

Climbing out of the water, dripping and cool, they spread out on their towels in the filtered shade, and slowly picked their way through a selection of fruits, cheeses, fresh bread rolls and cold marinated chicken pieces before they felt full.

"I didn't realise how hungry I was," said Lizzy in amazement.

"It figures. We've been burning up a lot of calories the last 24 hours," he winked at her.

"Hmmm," said Lizzy, looking at him intriguingly. "I guess you're right."

But the combined effects of not enough sleep, full tummies, warmth and sun took their toll, and they lay back on their towels under the semi-shade of the palms and nodded off. They woke up about an hour later, hot and sweaty, and in need of a cool off.

"Feel like a swim?" she asked.

"Uh-huh," said Will lazily.

The last vestiges of sleep dropped away from him as Lizzy stood up and started to take off her bikini.

"Sweetheart - what are you doing?" he asked nervously, looking around to see if anyone else had stumbled on their little waterhole. "What if someone comes along?"

"We're off the beaten track. Nobody else is here. Look, if you're worried, I'll just leave my swimmers here where I can get at them quickly if need be."

He nodded, dumbfounded, as she proceeded to remove the top of her bikini, displaying her breasts, full and firm. Unable to do anything but stare, he licked his lips as he watched her slowly lower the bikini bottoms and step out of them, his eyes following the pleasing curve of her hips and the rounding of her shapely bottom as she bent down to pick them up. Winding them around her finger, she turned to look at him, a wicked smile on her face.

Will could feel his erection growing bigger by the second as he watched.

"Coming?" she asked suggestively, and standing on the rock like a Greek goddess, she paused a moment before diving in, the water rippling softly at her passage.

Will was still sitting watching when she surfaced, the hungry look of moments before deep in his eyes. To be truthful, all he could think about was Lizzy - wet, naked and waiting for him.

This was no time for bashfulness - the challenge had been issued - and standing, he eased his swimmers down over the fullness of his erection.

"Woohoo!" yelled Lizzy in admiration, admiring the view she had from her vantage point. There was nothing but a small splash as Will hit the water, and she looked for him to surface, but instead felt his hands travelling up her body as he popped up right in front of her.

"Now, you were saying?" he asked, as his arms circled her and his lips devoured hers.

Whilst Lizzy was new to the experience that followed, William obviously was not, and she gasped as he pulled her legs around him and slowly entered her warm depths.

From his branchy perch above the waterhole, the tree kangaroo cast a disinterested glance at the interlopers to his feathered glade. The raucous noise that had attracted his attention initially had stopped, and the noisy strangers seemed to be quiet for once. Glad for that, he sniffed the air and went back to his quiet feeding.

As the water rippled around them, Will panted as he looked at Lizzy, an unspoken question in his eyes locking with hers, waiting for her answering nod. When he received it, he kissed her then, pouring his passion into her, leaving her clinging and breathless as the tremors ran through her.

"You okay?" he whispered into her ear.

"Uh-huh. Will? Please … tell me … you have a pool … at your house …" she whispered back, her breath still coming in short gasps.

When they arrived back at the treehouse that afternoon, William stopped her before she could make a beeline for the shower - dinner, she was told, was on its way. Curious, she watched while he ran the spa, filling it almost to the top with lovely warm, bubbly water. At a sign from him, she sank into its depths, sighing to herself, as William answered the door and came through carrying a platter of fingerfood and an open bottle of champagne in an ice bucket.

"Dinner is served," he announced, putting the food and champagne on the side within easy reach as he stripped off and joined her in the huge bath.

As Lizzy lay in bed that night, snuggling in to the feel of a softly snoring William curled around her, she pondered on the very great pleasure a wet, hungry William can bestow. Smiling to herself, she closed her eyes and drifted off into an exhausted sleep.

The next morning as they stood on the helipad waiting, Lizzy couldn't resist asking why they didn't just take a car and drive down to Cairns airport.

"We don't have time, Lizzy. There is one more surprise before this weekend is complete."

"Another one? Heaven help me if I ask you to plan a surprise for a week! So where are we going in such a hurry that we need a helicopter? C'mon, Will - don't keep a girl in suspense."

"Trust me, sweetheart," said Will as he caught sight and sound of the chopper coming in to land.

"But, William …"

As the sound of the chopper blades pounded the air overhead, Will turned to Lizzy and smiled, mouthing something that was lost in the thudding beat of the rotors, the wind snatching his words away before Lizzy had a chance to grab them.

Sitting in the front seat next to the pilot, Lizzy watched spellbound as they lifted off and tracked the coast south a short way before swinging out over the shimmering sapphire waters of the reef just south of Cairns, skipping low over the water for a closer look at the amazing kaleidoscope of colours that comprise the Great Barrier Reef. The white, sandy beaches of the island approached and Lizzy held her breath as she realised where they were headed. Turning in her seat, she looked at William, sitting back in his seat, a huge smile on his face. She felt her heart tumble as she smiled back at him, her eyes sparkling with delight.

Landing on the jetty, they quickly scampered, hunched over, away from the downdraught of the rotors, turning to watch as the chopper lifted off and banked away, heading south to Dunk Island.

"Surprise," said William, turning to take Lizzy in his arms.

Not knowing what to say, Lizzy reached up to kiss him instead, wrapping her arms tightly around his neck as he lifted her clear off the ground.

"I don't know what to say, Will," she said uselessly. "This weekend has been unbelievable. And now this. Thank you."

"No thanks necessary - the look in your eyes says it all. All I want is to make you happy. Now, you ready?"

At a nod from her, he took her hand and they set off up the path leading to the resort. Lizzy, apparently, was the only one not let in on the surprise, for waiting at the top of the path were the two people that Lizzy felt closer to than even her parents - Uncle Edward and Aunt Maddie.

"Welcome back, Lizzy," said Maddie, grasping a squealing Lizzy in a firm hug as she ran to her. Hellos, hugs and handshakes from Will, passed around the happy group.

"Okay, let's not stand out here in the hot sun," suggested Maddie. "Come on up to the house. Let's get something cold to drink."

As they sat on the covered deck sipping iced lemon tea, Lizzy gushed with most (but not quite all) of the details of their weekend. Will sat back holding her hand and watched, smiling, as she chattered excitedly, spilling the details of their trip since the flight from Sydney on Friday afternoon.

Tearing her eyes away from her excited niece for a moment, Maddie glanced at Will sitting there watching her, the love evident in his eyes. She thought back to the last time they had been on the island and the pain that had been etched in both their faces on the morning Lizzy had left so abruptly. Things seemed to have worked themselves out, and Maddie was glad. Lizzy was sparkling with the joy of life again, and she could only feel the deepest gratitude to anyone who had been able to achieve that.

Lunch was a simple affair - cold seafood and salads, all washed down with icy cold beer. As Maddie stood to clear the plates, Will jumped up, offering to help.

"Thanks, William, that would be wonderful."

As Will rinsed the plates, Maddie stacked them in the dishwasher, the silence between the two easy and companionable. But before they went back out to join Lizzy and Edward, Maddie put her hand on his arm to pause him for a moment.

"Lizzy looks the happiest I think I've ever seen her, William. It is obvious that you two are very much in love, and I want to thank you for bringing that back into our Lizzy's life."

Will looked embarrassed. "Well, I don't know about Lizzy, but I know how I feel, Maddie. I hope that someday she will feel half as much for me as I feel for her," he said honestly.

"I see couples in love here all day, everyday, William, and believe me - she may not know it herself yet, but she loves you. It shines in her eyes every time she looks at you. She's glowing with it. Just take good care of her. I don't want to see her hurt again, okay?"

"I would never let anything happen to her, Maddie. You have my word on it."

They hugged then, Maddie feeling confident that Lizzy was in good hands. Even with his unusual occupation, she knew that William Darcy was not a man to trifle with the hearts of young ladies, and besides, it was clear to anyone that the two were completely besotted with each other.

Soon it was time to go, and sadly Lizzy said goodbye. Holding her hand for comfort, Will lead Lizzy to the waiting helicopter for their return flight to Cairns. As they lifted off, Lizzy turned once more to wave to Edward and Maddie as they stood there, waving back.

The flight home was all too brief. After about an hour, William nodded off, and Lizzy was left alone with her thoughts. After the heady whirlwind of the last few days, she finally had time to think, and her thoughts were a lot more jumbled than she realised.

Most confusing of all to her were her feelings for William. Sure, she was completely amazed with the trouble he had gone to in his efforts to surprise her, but there was something else. Something had changed. Not once, the entire weekend, had William told her he loved her, but she felt his love and affection more keenly now than she ever had when he had spoken the words to her. Every action, every thought had spelled it out, as clearly as white chalk on a blackboard. The tender moments, the soft caresses, the care he took with her all the time, touched a chord within her that she found impossible to ignore.

But where do they go from here? She had no experience with this, no point of reference. Do they go back to the way they were and just date? Did he expect her to move in with him? How serious was it? Questions with no answers tumbled through her head.

She thought about going back to her apartment tonight, cuddling up in her bed, no William there beside her to snuggle up to and wake up with in the morning. How empty would that feel? How did she know she would miss him so much, so quickly?

She needed to talk to him, she wanted his reassurance that things would be okay, that they wouldn't lose what they had found, that there was more to this weekend than just a little holiday. But she hesitated to wake him. What would she say?

As the plane began its descent into Sydney, Will stirred, stretching his long legs out in front of him as far as the seats would allow. Smiling, he turned to Lizzy, surprised to see her looking at him, a strangely confused expression on her face.

"Lizzy? What's wrong?"

She just looked at him. Where to start? Is there enough time? Should I wait until later? I'll sound like an idiot. Damn! I'm no good at this stuff.

"Talk to me, darling. Tell me what you're thinking."

"I don't know. I'm scared and confused, William. I don't know what happens next. Where do we go from here?"

He could see the distress in her face. And more importantly, he could understand it now, too.

"This is not the end, sweetheart - it's just the beginning."

He had suspected something like this might happen, and he had planned for that as well.

"If you'd like, tonight you can spend at my place, we will talk all you want, and then tomorrow I'll drive you in to work. How does that sound?"

"But my clothes? I have nothing to wear to work. I can't wear what I wore on Friday …"

"It's all organised, Lizzy. I asked Jane to give me one of your suits when she packed the bag for me because I wasn't sure what time we'd get back. Just relax. We'll talk tonight and work it all out." He squeezed her hand to reassure her.

Caught up in the clog of traffic travelling home at the end of the long weekend, the trip seemed endless, but finally they arrived at Will's. As she wandered through the house, Lizzy couldn't help reflect on a different visit here. Her attempted seduction of William had been a bad idea. She realised that now, and she was glad, very glad, that William had stopped her. He had said their first time would be magical, and it was. But what now?

As if sensing her uncertainty, William came up behind her and wrapped his arms around her. "Come with me," he said, nuzzling her ear. And leading her over to the sofa, he sat down and waited for her to take up her usual position. Just taking time to hold her and reassure her, it was many moments before he spoke.

"I deliberately avoided talking about the future while we were away, Lizzy, because I didn't want you to feel pressured or tense. But you're wondering where we go from here, right?"

She nodded.

"That's up to you. You know how I feel, and I know I have tried to rush you in the past, but now we are taking this at your pace. One step at a time. I don't expect you to do anything you're not ready to."

"So, I can keep my apartment?"

"Yes," he smiled.

"But what if I want to spend the night with you? I've gotten pretty used to the feel of you beside me at night," she blushed.

"What? You think I'm going to say no? Baby, I would love it if you stayed here every night, but I realise that that's pushing, so whenever you want is fine with me. Look at me, Lizzy. What can I do or say to convince you I'm in this for the long haul? I'm not going anywhere, and when you're ready to take this, us, to the next step, you just tell me, okay?"

"But I don't want to be bothering you if something unexpected comes up or you've already made other plans. There may be other obligations you have that I would be interrupting. How about if I call first?"

"No plans or obligations that I have will ever be more important than you." He kissed the top of her head as she snuggled into his chest. "I want you to think of this as a second home. I'll even give you a key if you want. Anything …"

Lizzy looked at his face, taking in the loving eyes, tracing the line of his lips with a look. She could not miss the earnestness of his expression, and what he was trying to communicate to her. She realised that she trusted him - his words, his feelings, his heart. Finally, Lizzy smiled. "Thank you, William. For everything," and she kissed him, sweet and hot.

Chapter Eight