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"Oh to be in Washington now that April's here," Fiona said, sniffing the newly washed air, pungent with delicate cherry blossom aroma, the orange glow of sunrise rising above the glistening marble sheen of Memorial Bridge where beams of golden light bounced off the glazed haunches of the bronze horses that guarded its entrances.
She leaned against Hal Perry's tall hard form, his arms enveloping her as she caressed his hands. His breath felt cool on her cheek. Her glance roamed the spectacular sight of the cherry blossoms in full pink bloom along the rim of the Tidal Basin from the steps of the Jefferson Memorial. At that hour the tourists had not yet begun to arrive and the area was deserted.
Drinking in the beauty of the lush cherry blossoms was certainly contrasting, an antithesis of the violence to which she bore witness on her daily rounds as a homicide detective. From where they stood, they could see the former home of Robert E. Lee on its hillside overlooking the serene Arlington resting place of valiant soldiers and northward the creamy plantation home of the sitting President.
It was impossible to believe that this hallowed place with its spectacular view of the Capital's wedding cake Greco-roman buildings, its stunning obelisk memorial to the father of the country, and the two temples that anchored the giant stone images of the great Jefferson and the martyred Lincoln, could exist side by side with the bloody horrors that took place within it's diamond shaped boundaries.
"In a week, they'll only be a memory," Fiona said, meaning the cherry blossoms.
"And pop again in another year," Hal said, tightening hisarms around her. "Let's not knock renewal, Fi."
"I'm renewal's biggest fan," Fiona sighed; certain he would get the sexual implication. Except for the dinner party at Daisy Hodges house, they had spent the past three days making love. No, she corrected, being in love, which was also renewal in a psychic sense. She had been on such a journey before and had tasted its ecstasy and betrayal. She was hoping this one was a "keeper."
After a few moments more observing the horticultural display, Fiona reversed herself in his arms and they kissed deeply. When they parted, he grasped her elbow and moved her gently forward.
"As green as an Irish Spring," he said, stooping suddenly, pausing again to study the color of her eyes, hazel but deep green now in this bright morning light.
"Only in the early sunglow," she laughed. "But still not the mesmerizing iridescent violet of dear Madeline Newton's orbs. I think she can create that color at will and make you men all go gaga. And not just the eyes' color. She can also inflate you with that practiced contrived look."
He shook his head and smiled.
"Didn't do a thing for me," he chuckled.
"You drooled over that gorgeous display of boobery." Fiona said, squeezing his hand. "She totally commanded your attention."
"You don't command a three-star General," he snickered. "Even a retired one."
"Alright then, a captain of industry."
"She's Madeline Newton, Fi, for crying out loud," he said going along. "She's an icon. She's been in our face for forty odd years, ever since she was a kid. She's been paid plenty of loot for those violet eyes and luscious breastworks. I kind of liked meeting her in the flesh."
"Much of it revealed. You appeared inspired by it." Fiona paused and let out a mock growl. "Both of them."
He lifted his head in a silent laugh.
"She's a movie star, Fi. Everybody loves to see movie stars in person. And she's a super star."
"An aging super movie star," Fiona corrected, then quickly amending the remark. "Now that was unkind."
"I'm also fifty-something, Fi," he reminded her gently.
"Ah, but you are a chronological miracle. No surgeon's knife nipped and tucked you to preserve that youthful look. Besides, you have a teenage libido. I'll sign papers on that." She moved closer to him as they walked and reached up to kiss his cheek. He was darkly handsome in that craggy way of athletic men, tanned, muscular, a focused lover, virile, exciting. He was also every inch the General, as they say, ramrod straight, a man of authority and charisma.
"And from what I hear she is supposed to be quite artful in that category," Fiona continued, deliberately rumor mongering, suddenly feeling herself move into darker emotional territory, from teasing satire to petulance.
Copyright © 2005 By Warren Adler