Chapter 1 – The Naked Love

Midnight - well probably, it was too hard to tell it was so damn dark - on an empty beach the surf hit the sand hard, probably too hard, but that's how it always seems. There was no moon that night - I mean obviously if we're setting up a dark opening scene there's only a moon if a werewolf's involved - which made the darkness even more oppressive.

If someone had looked out into the surf through that deep darkness – probably with the use of night goggles, though I don't think they exist in this story – they wouldn't have seen much… except for the lone silhouette of a man coming towards the beach through the waters.

As he drew closer it was obvious he was naked – but believe me, clothes would only take away from his appearance – and not accustomed to his legs. He took long, gasping breaths, as though not used to the atmosphere entirely. With every step he took he inhaled sharply, as though each step was some kind of pain for him. The only part of him that made him look unnatural was his hair – well lack thereof- but his head was not shaved as was the style sometimes, it looks roughly chopped, and his head bore several cuts and scratches from whatever did the chopping.

Staggering and swaying he made his way up the beach, until finally he stopped, swayed momentarily on the spot, and fell face first into the sand. He didn't get up until…

"Hello? Hello? Hey, are you alright?"

The naked man stirred and tried to open his eyes, then winced and squeezed them shut again, because it was now day the sun was extremely bright – someone had obviously flipped him over off of his stomach. He grunted and rolled onto his stomach to get up on all fours.

"Fine," he said in a rich voice, made raspy by the sea, "I'm fine."

"Are you sure? Were you out in the sea all last night? If you were we should get you to a hospital or something?"

Naked man straightened for a second, he knew that voice, knew it so very well. Could it be her? He tried to stand up and open his eyes wider but the combination made him dizzy and he fell backwards into the sand.

"Ok tough guy, you're obviously not ok, sit up and let me look at you."

He felt soft hands pulling him into a sitting position and lifting his chin. Carefully shielding his eyes with his hand he opened them.

There she was, the girl he had loved his whole life, the woman who had occupied his thoughts and dreams day by day, minute by minute, the one he had given everything up for…

She was still looking at him, but not looking, inspecting, she had yet to look at his face as a whole.

"You seem to have no major injuries," she said, in a very matter-of-fact voice, "I guess you're just a little…" at this moment she looked into his eyes, and her voice faded away. The next time she spoke her voice was much softer, almost in awe.

"You're him," she said, her face filled with wonder, "you're the man from my dreams… you're the one that saved me when I got pulled into sea by that undertow… you're…" At this she looked down and saw his legs, and blushed, realizing how quickly she had slipped back into her fantasies.

"I'm sorry," she said, her eyes now downcast. "I must sound silly, talking about things like that… you can't be him, you don't have… well you just can't be." And with that note of finality in her voice she looked at him again, with a look that said she was shielding herself from getting too carried away by his face.

"Hi," she said, holding out her hand, "I'm Rhea."

The man took her hand, but he did not shake it. "And I," he said, lips brushing the top of her hand, "am Aengus."

Rhea stared, wide eyed as he kissed her hand, then as he lowered it she continued to look at him, almost bewildered. After a few moments she snapped out of her trance.

"Ok well," she said, trying to act more casual than she felt, "where are you staying?"

Aengus looked at her with a confused expression on his face. "Staying? I've been staying here."

Rhea was startled. "You mean you don't have a place to stay?"

Aengus was still perplexed by her words. "What do you mean by stay?" He stood up. "Right now, I stay here-" he took a step to the left "-now I stay here. I stay all the time."

Rhea looked at him, then burst out laughing. "Oh no that's not what I mean. When I say stay I mean where you live, where your home is. Where is your home?"

Aengus frowned and turned towards the sea. After a few moments he said, "I had a home… but now I can never go back there."

Rhea turned to stand next to him. "Never?" She asked softly.

Aengus looked into her eyes and felt such passion that he feared for a moment it would burst out of him. "Never," he repeated.

Rhea looked thoughtful for a time, and then seemed to make up her mind about something. "Well," she said, "if you have no place to go, I guess you can come home with me if you'd like."

Aengus looked deep into Rhea's eyes. "Yes," he said, "I'd like that… very much."

There was another moment of tension between to two that seemed to go on forever until Rhea said, "well… great. Come on, let's get you some clothes, I think you'll be needing some." Rhea ran back to where she had dropped her bag when she first found Aengus and threw him her towel. "Wrap that around your waist," she said, "we don't need girls following us home." Then she stopped, slightly embarrassed. "Well I mean," she said, "I'm sure you like girls… I didn't mean… I was just thinking you were maybe tired and…" She faded off, looking a little sheepish.

Aengus smiled, wrapped the towel around his waist and walked over to face her. "Yes, I am very tired," he said, "and I don't want any girls following me… except you."

Not being able to hold back any longer, Aengus put his arms around Rhea and kissed her with the intensity of a man not able to express his love for so long. Rhea pulled away after a moment, so shocked and startled.

"You are him," she gasped, "but… how?" She looked at his legs, she looked at the sea, then repeated those words Aengus said earlier, "you can never go back." She turned back to him, "I've been waiting for so long." And with those words they kissed again, their embrace full of the intensity of their passion for each other. After several long moments they pulled apart again.

"Come on," said Rhea, taking Aengus' hand, "let's go home."

And together they walked away from the sea and the beach, and towards the green grass and rich brown earth.