It was her wedding day. In twenty minutes, she would be walking down the aisle on her uncle’s arm because her father had died three years ago. Theo would be standing at the altar, looking good in his wedding tuxedo. Theo was a wonderful man. He would be a terrific husband and father. She had known him for over eight years. They were friends before they became a couple.
Her mother adored him, the rest of the family liked him and all of her friends thought that he was the perfect man for her. Why then, wasn’t she excited about marrying him? This wasn’t a case of cold feet. This was something else and she knew what and why but she didn’t want to think about him–not today of all days.
What was he doing now? Was he on the island alone, thinking about her? She would never forget the look on his face when she told him that she was getting married this Saturday. “But you don’t love him. How could you still marry him after you have been with me?” When she left him that day, she was in tears. What they had was over. After she married Theo, she could never see him again.
Theo didn’t know about him. He didn’t know that she met him on one of her business trips. It was in Boston. They were staying at the same hotel. She was there, compliments of her company and he was there because he could afford it. They were the first to arrive at the meeting. When he walked into the enormous boardroom and saw her standing by the window, he went up to her and introduced himself. “Pietro Bianchi.”
“A pleasure to meet you, Erin. Is this your first time in Boston?”
“It is actually. I’ve heard a lot of nice things about it.”
“It’s my third visit. Perhaps I can take you for a bit of sightseeing while we are here the week.”
“I’m not sure that’s a good idea,” she replied and showed him her ring. “I’m engaged.”
“Your fiance is a very lucky man. I hope you change your mind about the sightseeing.”
He was not only very attractive but he was very charming. She found she enjoyed his company and they sat next to each other at the meeting. He persuaded her to have lunch with him at a nearby Italian restaurant. The owner was a very good friend of his. When he saw her, he smiled and said to Pietro, “La tua amica è molto bella.”
“What did he say?” Erin asked.
“He said that you’re very beautiful.” Pietro’s expression was serious when he looked at her. “He’s right.”
Erin was flattered. She didn’t know what to say. This was the first time she had been told that she was beautiful and it felt wonderful. “Thank you.”
Lunch with Pietro was a treat. It was such a pleasure talking to him. By the end of lunch, he had convinced her to go sightseeing with him that afternoon after the meeting was over.
“How come some lucky woman hasn’t snapped you up already?” she asked him as they headed back to the boardroom.
“Many women have tried but I wanted to wait for the right one to come along.”
“Will you know when she does?”
His eyes met hers squarely. “Yes.” The look he gave her made her pulse quicken.
During the week, in the afternoons, he took her sightseeing. They visited Freedom Trail, Beacon Hill where they visited the Nichols House Museum. Other museums they visited were the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Harvard Art Museum and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. On the weekend, he took her to the Boston HarborWalk and on a cruise followed by lunch. On Saturday night, after an early dinner, he took her to the Symphony Hall to a Boston Symphony Orchestra concert which she enjoyed immensely.
On the drive back to the hotel, he said, “I’m leaving tomorrow morning. I don’t want this to be goodbye, Erin. This week has meant a lot to me because of you. I want us to see each other again.”
With him holding her hand, it was nearly impossible to think straight. A part of her wanted to see him again but the other part wanted to walk away because of Theo. “This week has meant a lot to me too but I can’t see you after we say goodbye. I’m engaged.”
“Erin, I know that you’re attracted to me. Do you think it’s wise to go through with the wedding when you have feelings for me? Don’t you think you owe it to yourself to make sure that marrying Theo is what you really want?”
“Pietro…” she could feel her resolve weakening. What he was saying made a lot of sense. When entering into marriage, one had to be absolutely sure.
“Take a week off next month or in June and come and spend it with me on my island,” he suggested.
She gaped at him. “You have an island?” she exclaimed.
“Yes.” He told her where it was. “It’s very beautiful, idyllic and I can feel God’s presence there.”
“It sounds like paradise.”
“It is. So, will you come?”
“Let-let me think about it.”
“All right.” He didn’t press the matter any more after that. When they saw each other the following morning, he gave her his number and other contact information. They hugged and after he kissed her on the cheek, he got into the airport limousine and left. She watched him go, feeling bereft. By the time she got back to Seattle, she had made up her mind to go the island in June for two weeks. She told Theo that she still had a lot of vacation time which she was trying to use up. She promised that she would call him while she was away. He took her to airport.
When she arrived at T.B. Lettsome International Airport on Beef Island, Pietro was waiting for her. The broad smile on his face and the bear hug were indicators that he was thrilled to see her. After his driver took her bag, they drove to the pier and took the 5 minute ferry ride over to the Island. It was exactly as he said–the island’s natural beauty was breathtaking. It looked and felt like paradise. He gave her a tour of his home which was huge before taking her to the room that was to be hers. It was absolutely beautiful. She had an unobstructed view of the sea. He told her that lived in his luxury apartment in London for most of the year but came here for his vacation or when he needed a break from the city. “I’ll let you get settled in and then we can have lunch by the pool.”
She smiled. “All right.” After he left, she unpacked her things and freshened up. She made a quick call to Boston to let Theo know that she had arrived safely. After stepping on to the verandah for a few minutes to enjoy the sea breeze and the view, she went in search of him. Lunch consisted of Jerk Chicken wings, tropical salad and scrub island fish sandwich with two tall glasses of lemonade to wash it all down. Afterwards, they went for a walk on the beach. Then, he suggested that she take a nap because he was going to take her out that night. He took her to dinner first and then to the Full Moon beach party on Trellis Bay, a family-friendly beach party which featured live entertainment. It was an unique experience for her. She had a great time.
The following day, after breakfast, they went for a swim and then he took her sailing. Another day, he took her paddle boarding which she enjoyed. It was a fun way to get a full body workout which combines strength and cardio and improves balance and a great way to see the waters and marine life surrounding Scrub Island. They went sailing on a private charter, had lunch on board and afterwards went shopping in Marina Village. Another time they went snorkeling, something she had never done before but had always planned to the next time she visited the Caribbean.
She was having such a wonderful time but the days were going by so quickly. Soon, she would be returning to Seattle. She didn’t want to think about it. As she had promised, she called Theo to say hi. She was on the verandah of her room and had her back to the room since she was facing the ocean. As usual, it looked so calm. She didn’t hear Pietro enter the room. She sucked in her breath sharply when she felt his arms go around her and him pull her against him. “No, no, nothing’s wrong,” she assured Theo although she was sounding a bit breathless. She could barely concentrate on the call with Pietro kissing her on the shoulder. After a while, she said, “I–I have to go. I’ll call you again tomorrow. ‘Bye.” She ended the call, dropped the phone on the chair and leaned against Pietro, her eyes closed. She reached up and clutched his head, holding it against her as he kissed her on the side of her neck.
Then, he swung her around to face him and he was kissing her. They exchanged wild, passionate kisses. She had never been intimate with Theo because she wanted to wait until they were married. Yet, here she was, in a passionate embrace with Pietro, her body on fire. They tore at each other’s clothes until they were naked. Then, he picked her up and carried her over to the bed where they made love. Afterwards, they fell asleep in each other’s arms and didn’t stir until it was time for dinner.
The following days were packed with a lot of activities and the nights were romantic with candlelight dinners on the terrace, by the pool or on the beach. They even went skinny dipping one evening before dinner. It was something she never imagined she would do but it was so exhilarating. Afterwards, they ran back to the house and showered. They ended up making love in the shower.
Then, it was time for her to leave. The day before her departure, she was feeling very down but tried to be upbeat. They didn’t go anywhere but spent the entire day on the island. The two weeks she had been there with Pietro had been the happiest moments in her entire life. On her last night, after they made love, he fell asleep in her room. It took a long time for her to fall asleep. She lay there with Pietro’s face buried in her neck, his warm breath on her skin, thinking about how much she was going to miss him. If only they had met before she had agreed to marry Theo. Theo. How was she going to pull off being a happy wife when she was in love with Pietro? What was she supposed to do? The wedding was less than two months away. How could she not go through with it? Everyone was excited about it. It was all her family and friends talked about.
Her life was in Seattle. It was where she had lived all of her life. Her job, her family, friends, and Theo were all there. How could she leave all of that for this? Who knew how long this would last. She knew that Theo loved her even though she didn’t love him. Did Pietro love her? She knew he desired her but did he love her? Even though she loved him, she couldn’t take the chance. It was best to go back to Seattle and to Theo.
The next morning, after breakfast and it was time to leave the island, she asked Pietro not to go with her to the airport. “I–I would rather we said goodbye here,” she said, blinking back the tears.
“Why?” he demanded.
“I–I don’t want to make a scene at the airport.”
“No, I meant, why is this goodbye?”
“It has to be, Pietro.”
“Why does it have to be, Erin?”
“I’m–I’m getting married in August.”
“So, you’re still going through with it?”
The expression on his face could only be described as anguish and it broke her heart. “But, you don’t love him. How could you still marry him after you have been with me?”
“I–I can’t let him and everyone else down. Please try to understand.”
“What I understand is that you’re doing what everyone else expects you to do and that you’re throwing away your happiness.”
“Goodbye, Pietro,” she cried before she hurried, almost ran from the room. All the way to the airport, she was in tears.
“Erin, in ten minutes, you’re going to walk down the aisle and marry a wonderful man. Are you nervous?”
Erin turned to face her sister, Danielle. In the next ten minutes her life was going to change forever.
Here he was on his own private island, surrounded by his wealth but what good was all of this when he couldn’t share it with the woman he loved. By now she was married. He closed his eyes in despair. How could she still go through with the wedding even after those glorious two weeks they had spent together? That morning when she told him, it felt as if someone had punched him in the gut. The pain was excruciating but short of keeping her a prisoner on the island there was nothing he could do but watch her walk out of his life and begin a new one with a man he knew she didn’t love.
The months and weeks following had been torture for him. He kept reliving their moments together and the first time they made love. Those two weeks had been the happiest in his entire life. And now, he was alone with nothing but painful memories.
Maybe his eyes were playing tricks on him but when he opened them he saw a figure approaching him which looked very familiar. Then, his heart leaped in his chest. It was Erin. He leaned away from the rock and turned so that he was facing her. She was running towards him. What on earth was she doing there?
When she reached him, she leaned against the rock to catch her breath. “I knew I would find you here,” she gasped.
His expression was guarded although he longed to hold her. “What are you doing here?” he asked. “I thought you would have been a married woman by now.”
“I–I couldn’t go through with it. I couldn’t marry Theo.”
A muscle began to throb in his cheek. “You mean you called the wedding off?”
“Yes. Ten minutes before it was to begin, I asked my sister to let Theo that I needed to see him and after she went on and on about it being bad luck for the bride and groom to see each other before the wedding, she finally went and got him for me. As soon as we were alone, I told Theo that I couldn’t marry him.”
“Did you tell him why?”
“Yes. I had to be honest with him. I told him about you and the island. He was understandably upset. I told him that I was sorry that I hurt him and I gave him back his ring. Then, I left and called the airport for the first available flight to the island and here I am.”
Unable to contain himself any longer, Pietro pulled her in his arms and muttered thickly, “I’m so happy to see you. My life, this place felt so empty without you. Promise that you will never leave me again.”
She put her arms around his waist. “I promise.”
“Te amo, Erin,” he groaned. “I love you.”
Her heart leaped for joy in her chest. “I love you too, Pietro.”
There in the warm sunshine, they kissed.
Erin left her life and everything in Seattle to be with the man she loved. For the first time in her life, she put her happiness first. And in a small and intimate ceremony, she and Pietro tied the knot. They spent most of their time on the island–their own private paradise.
When you’re experiencing cold feet, don’t dismiss it as just pre-wedding jitters. Explore why you are having them. That could be the difference between a happy marriage or a giant mistake.