MERRILY, MERRILY, MERRILEE©2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 Martha S. Robinson
Bran Elliot lay in his room, in a disturbing state of disquiet. He’d
expected to retire to his bed, and sleep like a rock, having just spent a
very enjoyable interlude awakening Merrilee to some of life’s finer
pastimes. That she’d been willing was no real surprise, he decided-he
considered himself very persuasive, but that she’d set about to seduce him
had come as a shock. She’d mentioned the idea when she’d been tipsy, but
he’d never dreamed that she’d actually give it a try. He chuckled as he
thought of her attempts to get him to touch her, and of how he’d planned a
leisurely, well orchestrated seduction only to find that the gentle flame he’d
intended to ignite had turned into a raging inferno that had consumed
Laying back, he thought of how he’d caressed her, and of how natural her
body had felt against his, and of how she’d responded almost before he’d
touched her. In his mind, he went over the scene again and again, recalling
her creamy breasts, her slender waist, her wanton lips, reliving the
experience until he realized that he wanted her all over again. All over
him! But, she wasn’t with him-no, he wasn’t with her. One of his all time
stupid moves had been to walk out of the bedroom leaving her alone.
Definitely not one of his wiser moves, he decided, aching with renewed
desire. He’d sought to awaken her, and had succeeded. How well he’d
succeeded! Now, he was the one awakened, and still awake. He could hardly go
back into her room and ask for another go round, now could he? Besides being
in exceedingly poor taste, it would let her know just how interested in her
he was, and he wasn’t quite sure that he wanted anybody, especially
Merrilee, to know that just yet. There was nothing more dangerous than a
woman who knew that she was desired, and come to think of it, nothing
sexier. But, desired she was, and miserable he was, more miserable than he’d ever been in his life.
So, why had he made that crack about there being a world of brunettes out
there? He could’ve stayed there all night, making love to her as many times
as he’d been able, and she’d have been receptive. He knew it in his gut,
and now, that gut was twisting with raging need, as if taunting him for the
way he’d treated her. He’d left. Callously. Not so much as a thank you, it
was lovely. He’d treated it as if it was nothing more than a bit of
harmless recreation, or a test of her sexuality. God! How could he have been
such a complete jerk?
For a moment, he considered returning to her room and telling her
that...what would he say? Hey, Merrilee, you were great! Best I’ve ever
had! Want to do it again? Jeez!! He could just imagine her reaction, hell,
his own, if he were between her sheets, and it wouldn’t be nice. No, better
to let bad enough alone. So, he shut his eyes and willed himself to sleep,
which he did much later, and not at all well.
Dawn awakened Merrilee, and she gave a small catlike stretch, smiling to
herself. She eased out of the bed, brushed her teeth, looking at her
reflection in the mirror. There was something new in her eyes, a new sense
of herself, and she liked it. She slipped on the bikini, the wraparound
skirt, and the backless heels, while she planned on an early morning swim.
This time, however, it was no fantasy that caused her hips to sway
provocatively, and Bran, who’d sought relief from a fitful sleep, saw her.
He groaned deeply, and dove back into the pool Merrilee, fully aware of her
charms and more importantly, of their effect on Bran, took more time than
was necessary to remove her skirt, wishing for a moment that it had a zipper
to stick. Finally, she emerged from it, and smiling, walked over to the edge
of the pool.
Mother Nature, in her infinite wisdom, has given the female of the species
an innate ability to be maddening, to mystify the male, but more than that,
to be perverse. There are those females who’ve spent years trying to
overcome the basic differences between the sexes, attempting to meet men on
their own turf, to deny their femininity. Merrilee, for some time, had been
one of them, though more from her own feelings of inadequacy than anything
else. Brought in one devastating night to see the error of her thinking, a
changed woman met Bran, diving into the water, and slicing across the pool
in a manner calculated to gain his attention. She succeeded.
"Good morning," she greeted with a smile that rivaled the desert sun with
its warmth. "Has the sky ever been so blue, or the air so clean?" She lay on
her back, and floated close to him.
"Good morning?" he managed, treading water next to her, his eyes fixed on
the prickly pear cactus at pool side. He dared not look at the object of his
innumerable fantasies, indeed, his all consuming desire, until he got his
body back under control. Unfortunately, it wasn’t interested in
cooperation, just in Merrilee.
Merrilee, the object of said fantasies, made a point of looking at the spiky
plant with its broad, pan shaped, gray green leaves and asked, "Does it
"The cactus. I know that the native Americans used them for a variety of
purposes, but I didn’t know that they carried on conversations with them."
Bran turned his gaze to her and smiled. Damn but she looked good! Better
than any fantasy! "Uh, no, to my knowledge, they don’t talk. I guess I was
"No problem," she said, beginning to backstroke around the pool. "What’s on
our agenda for today?"
"Not much. We review all our information on Drake, pack, and that’s about
"Sounds easy enough." She swam past him, aware of him, and of his awareness
of her. Finally, she stopped next to him and looked lazily into his eyes. It
was incredible that even in the cool water of the pool, he could make her
blood heat. "Bran, about last night.."
His smile vanished, and he wondered what she’d say. Did her good mood mean
that she thought he was in love with her? How was he going to get out of
this? Worse yet, did he even want to get out of it? Trapped, he asked, "What
about last night?"
The imp of perversity that had nudged Merrilee in Texas, nudged her again,
and she smiled sweetly, still floating in the water. "I just wanted to thank
you. It was wonderful. I admit that I set out to teach you something, but it
seems that you’ve taught me something instead. I wanted to open your eyes
to the fact that there was more out there in the world, but it appears that
my own eyes have been opened to that same fact.
"Bran, I’ve missed so much, and now I’m going to find out everything that
I’ve been missing! And I have you to thank for it!" With that, she resumed
backstroking around the pool, careful to swim by him as often as possible,
her movements causing the fabric of her swimsuit to strain against her. His
swimsuit was under no less stress, Bran thought, disgustedly. Merrilee
stopped again, barely a stroke away. "You know, I’m really looking forward
to Savannah." Flashing a dazzling smile, she swam over to t he edge and
climbed out, waving as she grabbed her things and then disappeared into the
Bran was numb with horror. Fortunately for him, treading water was
automatic, else he’d have sank slowly to the bottom of the pool. As he
watched the young woman enter the house, he felt much as Dr. Frankenstein
must have felt when his monster had walked off without him. What had he
done? Good God!! What would she do? As impulsive as she was, as enthusiastic
as she was, what disaster was awaiting? He was pulling himself out of the
water when Aunt Emma stroke out of the house, the flaming orange marabou
boas waving about her head in an agitated frenzy.
"Have you been making love to Merrilee?" she asked, mincing no words with
her only relative. Bran was appalled at his own reaction. He blushed to the
roots of his hair, like a teenager discovered with his girlfriend in the
back seat of the family car, and just stood there. "Have you?"
He nodded, and she sniffed. "I thought so. You’ve really done it now. The
way she looks and acts, she’s thinking about taking on the whole male
"She could probably handle them," he gritted. "I thought she was a shy,
backward little thing who’d be so easy to deal with."
"She was," sniped Aunt Emma, though she was smiling to herself. The older
woman was delighted at the way things were going, and she had an excellent
idea of the way Merrilee’s mind worked. "Of course, now she’ll fill the
role of Marilyn MacKenzie even better. You realize that the author changes
men like most women change their clothes."
"You made that author up," objected Bran, heatedly. "Merrilee has more sense
"Does she? She was all but innocent when you brought her here. You may have
taught her about sex, Bran. Did you teach her that it was a pleasant
recreation? An enjoyable way to spend an evening? You taught her the
mechanics, but did you teach her the meaning? Do you even know it yourself?"
With that, Aunt Emma stalked off briskly in search of the morning paper, the
electric orange boas and royal purple lounging outfit flapping around her
Bran, on the other hand, was wondering if there was a chance to undo the
damage he’d obviously done. He’d awakened a relative innocent to the
glories of passion without awakening her conscience and good sense. He’d
unleashed a walking pleasure palace upon an unsuspecting male population,
and with a feeling of foreboding, he headed into the house.
The pleasure palace was busily spooning sugar into her coffee, and she
flashed him another smile. "Coffee, tea, or...?" Merrilee gave her lips a
quick lick, taking a secret delight in the dumbfounded way his mouth dropped
open. Evidently, her shock treatment was working.
"uh, coffee." She handed him a cup, filled it, and sat down to an enormous
plate of pancakes dripping with maple syrup. "Isn’t that a lot?" he asked
eyeing her breakfast.
"I’m going to need my energy," she explained. "Bran, I feel absolutely
"Great," he muttered as Ms. Lowden loaded his plate with a similar meal,
adding sausage links. "Merrilee, we need to talk."
"So talk." She met his eyes over a cup of coffee. "Anything at all."
"I mean after breakfast. Privately."
"I’d enjoy that," she smiled, winking at him.
Bran winced as though she’d struck him, and managed about half the pancakes
before he gave up in disgust. Excusing himself, he left the table and headed
back to his room where he changed into a well worn pair of denim shorts and
a tee shirt. As he pulled on the shirt, he wondered what he’d say to her.
Why should he say anything? She ought to have sense enough to behave
herself! Why should she be his responsibility, anyway? He didn’t care, not
really, did he? He paused there, wondering briefly what he was asking
himself, returning to the issue that his mind had danced around last night.
Did he care about Merrilee. Really care? Did she honestly mean more to him
than he’d been prepared to admit? That line of introspection was damnedly
uncomfortable, so he refocused his thoughts on the problem at hand. How had
he gotten himself into this mess, anyhow? He didn’t even bother to ask
himself if he’d do it all over again. He knew.
Seconds later, Merrilee knocked at his door. He opened it, and with an
uncertain temper, jerked her inside, closing the door behind her. She stood
staring at him, the man she loved, and again, that built-in imp whispered
instructions into her willing ear. She gave a slow smile, and then fitted
herself to him, reaching her arms around his neck, rubbing the tips of her
breasts against his chest. "Let’s...talk." She pulled his head down to hers
and took his lips in a long, steamy kiss. This was communication at a very
basic level, she thought, her resolve weakening at the onslaught of his
Feeling himself responding in spite of his need to do otherwise, Bran pulled
her arms from his neck and held her off. It was insane, when all he really
wanted to do was to hold her, make long, lasting love to her. "Merrilee,
that’s not what I wanted you here for."
"No?" she pouted. "I thought you wanted me."
"I did. I do. But, you have to understand that you can’t go around like
"Like you’re planning on seducing any available male."
"I won’t," she promised him. "I’ll be selective."
"That’s not what I meant, either. You can’t just go around looking like
this." He gestured at the silky, dusty rose blouse that she’d donned, and
the clinging skirt that matched it. She looked lovely, provocative and more
desirable than ever. "It’s all wrong. It’s not you."
"It is now," she purred, running her fingers over his shoulders, then up his
neck and into his hair. "Really, Bran. You should see the delicious
underwear that I have on." With a courage born of the need to prove
something to him, she unbuttoned her blouse, and opened it, showing him her
lacy, sheer bra. "Front fastener."
Somewhere, between anger and exasperation, Bran reached over and busily
rebuttoned her blouse. "You can’t just go around opening your blouse like
"Why not? You’ve seen me in less. Nothing, in fact. Didn’t you like what
you saw? Didn’t I please you?"
"You pleased me," he began, and she beamed, throwing herself into his arms.
"Then, let’s do it again!"
"Why not? Too tired?"
"No!" His patience was wearing very thin, what with having Merrilee throwing
herself at him, willing to do what he wanted very badly to do. "It isn’t
"I don’t understand," she said slowly, dropping all pretense. All the
flirtatious, wanton behavior had vanished, and she allowed her pain-filled
words to sink in. "Last night it was all right, and it didn’t mean anything
to you then. Why isn’t it right now?" She turned her back to him and stood
quietly, waiting for him to answer.
Then she turned to face him. "Bran, last night you taught me to enjoy
something that I honestly knew very little about. You taught me that men and
women could enjoy themselves and each other, and then walk away like you do
after a tennis match. I liked making love with you, Bran. I never knew I
could feel like that, to give and receive pleasure. I want to feel that way
again." But only with you! She wanted to say, but dared not. She hated her
own cowardice, but knew that if he rejected her, she might not have the
courage to tell him again. "If not with you, then..." and she opened the
room, leaving Bran alone with several questions of his own.