Rings Rings

Romantic Marriage Stories

Story 11
Our Anniversary: A Thousand Stars in the Sky

by Bill Quinn

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This story features the song, "A Thousand Stars in the Sky," by Kathy Young. After reading the story, you can hear the original song by clicking the link to my favorite love songs at the end of this story (or on the home page).

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Our wedding anniversary was coming up. For the last several years, Laurie and I had not done anything very special--just dinner at a restaurant nearby. This year I wanted to do something really romantic.

Of course, the male mind has difficulty coming up with truly creative ideas along these lines. I am sure Laurie would have been a veritable fountain of romantic suggestions. However, I wanted our celebration this year to be a surprise, so I was on my own to make the plans. Remarkably, a few ideas had been taking shape over the last week or so. Hopefully, Laurie would find the evening a truly romantic experience.

The big night was still a week off, but I needed to make the necessary reservations today. I did that from my office at school, but here hangs a tale. The "second sight" of which the female mind seems capable never ceases to amaze me. Up to this point, Laurie had not mentioned our upcoming anniversary at all. Then today when I arrived home, the very day I had finalized my plans and made the reservations, Laurie asked, "Hey, what are we going to do for our anniversary this year? I really want to be wined and dined--no expense spared!"

For a moment, all I could do was stare at her with a dumfounded expression on my face. Was she really able to read my thoughts? Finally, however, I managed to regain some presence of mind.

"Nothing doing! This year I'm planning some special romantic surprises...and no hints!"

"Oh, no fair! The suspense--how will I be able to take the suspense?"

Laurie came over to me. I had not yet sat down after walking into the house. So far, I had gotten the chance only to take off my suit coat. She took my hand in both of hers and gave my arm one or two seductive caresses with her soft, delicate fingers. Then she wrapped her arms around me, running her fingers through my hair. Pressing her whole body against mine, she drew me to her until our lips met. She kissed me sensuously. Then she whispered in my ear, "Not even a little hint?"

Tonight, Laurie was wearing a tee shirt and a pair of raspberry-colored slacks. They were cotton but evidently with a hint of spandex, giving them a relaxed fit, not skin-tight like leggings, but not baggy either. She looked quite shapely.

I had put my arms around her during her kiss. As she drew her head slowly back with her eyes innocently fixed on mine, I let one hand slide down and gave her derriere a gentle squeeze. I liked doing that because it enabled me to feel her panties, and that always turns me on--that special feel of wondrous things, latent sexuality, invisible yet just below the surface. The male imagination kicks in and desire begins to build.

Yes, her wiles were quite effective, and I was beginning to weaken. But finally, keeping the surprise won out.

"Sorry, no hints."

Then Laurie backed away from me and took a different tack. "But how will I know what to wear?"

"Something nice, Laurie. Not formal, but elegant."

She looked up at me and smiled. "But you are going to wine and dine me, right?"

"No hints!"

Laurie gave me one of her adorable pouts and then walked away to start dinner. After a few minutes, though, I noticed that she seemed to be smiling very contentedly, no doubt envisioning all manner of romantic settings. I only hoped what I had in mind would not disappoint her.

Later as we walked into the bedroom to retire, I was still nurturing some of those images stirred by my male imagination earlier in the evening. Laying my hand on Laurie's shoulder, I turned her around and looked down into her eyes. I put my arms around her but with my hands squarely on her bottom. As I drew her to me, she put her arms around my neck, and we kissed.

"How about if I wine and dine you tonight without the wine and just my charm?"

"With no wine? What makes you think that your charm is enough?"

I guided us down onto the bed. "Past experience," I replied.

Sliding my hand under her tee shirt, I took one finger and began drawing small circles on her breast. I could feel her arousal through the soft material of her bra.

Then taking the waistband of her slacks, I started to slide them slowly down her legs. More and more of her panties came into view, and I started to breathe a bit harder. After her slacks were off, I started pulling up her tee shirt. This too is exciting: revealing bare midriff followed by the sudden appearance of her bra. I raised the shirt over her head and took it off.

Laurie was watching me. She was lying on the bed in nothing but her bra and panties. How often I have been amazed at the power of that image! There is just something about the shape of panties that invokes in me such an intense drive to have her. What is it? The way they hug her midsection, emphasizing the intoxicating curves of her waist and hips? The way they culminate in that sexy triangle that seems to draw the eye irresistibly to the locus of desire?

Lying down next to her, I reached out to take her face gently in my hands, first kissing her neck, then her ear.

"How's my charm doing?"

Laurie sighed softly. "Your charm is a conquering knight in shining armor," she whispered sweetly...

...as she started to unbutton my shirt...

A few days went by, and I think the excitement for our upcoming anniversary celebration was building in both Laurie and me. Sometimes, however, the way Laurie reacts to such excitement is quite different from the way I react. This difference often produces humorous consequences, and today was an example.

I had not been able to watch Laurie dress this morning. I do enjoy doing that when I am there, because for me, at least, it keeps an appreciation of her sexual attraction always simmering on the back burner of my mind. Today, however, I had to leave early for a faculty meeting. The department was making plans for the beginning of the Fall semester.

After dinner this evening, I was reading a Jack Higgins adventure novel in the living room, while Laurie was sitting at the kitchen table working a crossword puzzle. After an hour or so, I got up to get a snack from the refrigerator. As I passed Laurie, she was leaning over the table filling in a word. She was wearing a tee shirt and a pair of somewhat tight-fitting denim jeans. Her tee shirt was fairly short, leaving a gap between it and her jeans as she leaned over the table. An inch of bare skin was exposed, as well as the waistband of her panties. Since I did not know which pair she had selected this morning, I surreptitiously took a rather careful look. The were white with an elastic band of about three-quarters of an inch, and I could clearly see the imprint, "Hanes Her Way." That identified them for me.

We often order intimates from the One Hanes Place catalog. There are quite a few items in there that I find extremely sexy. The "Her Way" line of panties has always intrigued me. Laurie has several pairs of the full-cut, cotton stretch panties, and I find them quite appealing. However, I also think the name "Her Way" is very humorous when put on a pair of panties. I am sure Hanes meant no double entendre, but it pleases me to think of it as such. More on this shortly.

To me, it is exciting to catch such a glimpse of an article of intimate apparel that Laurie is wearing. Again, it starts my male imagination operating, since in a sense it portends a sexual mystery yet to be unveiled.

I have often thought that we have here a clue to keeping desire snapping and crackling in a marriage. I think most guys during their dating years find it sexually exciting to catch a flash of intimate apparel a girl is wearing. Bras and panties are just plain sexy, and we were dying to see them. But we were not supposed to be able to do that, so there was the additional thrill of getting away with something when we did. Also, a glimpse of what a girl wore under her skirt or blouse held immense power to stimulate our imaginations. That unexpected flash really made the hormones run wild. Sometimes there was that quick flash of panties when a girl would cross or uncross her legs. Sometimes in the school library, a girl would be concentrating so hard on her book that she would be a bit careless, and guys would drop their pencil in order to look under a table while retrieving it. I think this used to be called "shooting the beaver." If a girl was wearing a blouse or tee shirt with bagging sleeves and stretched out her arm to reach for something, you sometimes inadvertently caught a glimpse of her bra. I think most guys found these antics quite exciting.

But what happens in marriage? Men see their wives in intimate apparel virtually every day. Can the glimpse of a panty waistline still be a sexual mystery yet to be unveiled? Can it really hold any excitement any more?

I suppose most men look with "cool eyes" during such a glimpse of their wife, but it still excites me. In my case, two factors have maintained the excitement. First, I have always had a rather active libido, a strong sex drive. That can amplify even mild scenes. Second, I just made a conscious decision, an act of the will, to enjoy Laurie in this way. It is still fun for me to look at her with the eyes of an adolescent school boy. I play a game, and I find it brings the excitement I enjoy.

But I digress. That glimpse of the waistband of her "Hanes Her Way" panties was the catalyst that sparked the buildup of my desire for her tonight. So later as we were getting ready for bed, I made my move.

Laurie was sitting on the side of the bed taking off her socks. I sat down next to her. As she was leaning over to reach her socks, the same gap appeared that I had seen earlier in the evening when she was working her crossword puzzle. I reached into that gap and ran my fingers along her panty waistband.

"You know, there's an old saying for an occasion like this: 'I spy England, I spy France, I spy Laurie's underpants.'"

She turned to face me with that cute frown of hers. "Yeah, and that turns you on, doesn't it?"

I gave the waistband of her panties a gentle tug. "I saw these earlier this evening, and it's been driving me wild all night. I think we need to get the rest of these clothes off, and you'll see just how turned on I am."

Her frown turned into a small smile.

"Let's make love," I said.

At this point, Laurie leaned close to me and whispered in my ear: "Now here's another old saying for an occasion like this: 'Not tonight, dear.'" Then she giggled a bit.

I looked down at that gap and at her panties and read again the imprint on the waistband: "Hanes Her Way." Yes, "her way" certainly seemed to be the right name for panties. I laughed to myself at my imagined double entendre.

As Laurie and I crawled under the covers, I put my arm around her. She snuggled up close to me. As I gently caressed her shoulder, I began thinking of our big celebration coming up in just two days. I smiled to myself again as it occurred to me that probably Laurie too had been thinking about it when she said no tonight. That is the difference between how we react to the coming of a very special event: the excitement puts me in the mood for making love; Laurie likes to savor the anticipation.

Well, the big day finally arrived. When we woke up in the morning, I leaned over and kissed Laurie on the forehead. "Happy anniversary, Laurie."

She gave me one of her brightest smiles and put both arms around me. Laurie hugged me tightly and pressed her face against mine. "Happy anniversary, Terry," she whispered in my ear.

We lallygagged in bed for a while with Laurie sweetly wrapped in my arm. However, it was time to put phase one of my plan into operation. I sat up and pressed my hand to her cheek. "You stay here," I said. "Today, I'm going to fix you breakfast in bed."

Laurie sat up looking quite astonished but very pleased. "Breakfast in bed? Boy, this is an unexpected thrill. I can't wait to see what you've got lined up for tonight! I've been thinking about it all week like a giddy school girl. Give me a hint, will you?"

"No hints! For tonight, you will just have to wait."

I got up and fixed her some scrambled eggs with a small bowl of fruit. I ate my breakfast in bed with her.

Today was a Friday, and I had to go into school for a few hours. Laurie said that she was going to shop for something special to wear tonight. By the time I got back home, it was time to get ready for our special evening out. Laurie said she had already taken her shower, so I went into the bathroom to take mine. When I came out, Laurie had already finished dressing.

"Hey, no fair! I didn't get to watch you dress."

"Well, you wouldn't give me any hints about tonight, so now I've got my secrets too. Besides," she added in a flirty tone, "you didn't know what I had on under my wedding gown--until later" she added provocatively. "Now you'll just have to use your imagination...and no hints," she added in a tone that dripped of poetic justice.

I was about to try to come up with some clever retort, but I slowly lost my concentration as I began to take in the breathtaking image before me.

Laurie was wearing a matched three-piece set, all in white. The kitten-soft cotton cardigan had three-quarter sleeves and dainty floral embroidery. Under it she wore a short-sleeved shell with the same embroidery pattern. Its ribbed bottom extended below the waistline of the skirt. The captivating eyelet skirt with its A-line styling and lace trim around the hem seemed to define the essence of femininity. The skirt stopped just at her knees and had a black suede tie belt. The silky, sheer elegance of her nylon-covered legs completed the image.

"You look absolutely stunning!"

Laurie responded with a radiant expression that matched the elegance of her attire. She walked up to me and brushed my face with feather-light fingers.

"And what are you wearing tonight?" she asked in a sultry voice.

"Nothing to match what you're wearing, but I'll see what I can come up with."

I went into the bedroom and looked in the closet. I never was much interested in men's fashions; I would rather buy books. I selected my charcoal striped suit, a white shirt and tie. I did try to make myself a little fancy, though, by wearing the one shirt I owned with which I could wear my one and only pair of gold cufflinks. After all the finishing touches, I walked out into the living room.

Laurie eyes did open a little wider. "You look mighty handsome."

"And you're a living doll. I can't take my eyes off you."

"Well, then, it looks like we'll only have eyes for each other tonight."

I looked at my watch. "Oh, it's time to be on our way."

I got on the Kennedy and drove downtown. We did not talk much on the way because I think there was too much excitement in the air. However, Laurie did move over close to me and rested her hand tenderly on my leg.

Exiting at Ohio Street, I drove east toward the Lake. Laurie began looking around with intense interest, trying to figure out, no doubt, just where I was going to stop.

As I pulled onto Navy Pier, I peeked sideways at Laurie. Her eyes had opened wider and the excited expression on her face was unmistakable.

We stopped outside the Riva Restaurant and took advantage of the valet parking. As we walked in, Laurie took my hand and virtually giggled with excitement.

I gave the maitre d' my name, and he led us to our table. I had made a few requests when I made the reservations. We were seated at a table that had a view of Lake Michigan as well as a breathtaking view of the beautiful Chicago skyline. Laurie looked enthralled, but she was thoroughly taken by surprise as the maitre d', after helping her into her seat, bowed and said with a slight Italian accent, "Happy Anniversary, Signora." Then he bowed formally and left.

With a trace of awe in her voice, Laurie leaned toward me and whispered, "You told them this was our anniversary?"

"Yes."

Laurie closed her eyes briefly. When she opened them again, she looked at me and just smiled. Then she turned toward the window and admired the magnificent view.

Riva was a Phil Stefani Signature Restaurant and featured a variety of seafood, steaks, and daily chef's specials as well as an extensive wine selection. The room was nautically decorated, and guests could view a 40-foot long exhibition kitchen. They can observe the preparation of their meals as well as sample items from the raw bar.

There were two scented candles on each table, and the lights were dim. This not only created a romantic atmosphere, it also allowed a better view through the window.

Laurie reached out and took my hand in both of hers. "I can't believe this," she said. "It's better than I ever imagined."

I beamed with joy.

As we finished our meal, the maitre d' again appeared at our table, followed by our waiter. The waiter placed two pieces of what looked very much like wedding cake on our table. Then the maitre d' said, "Compliments of the house." Looking at Laurie, he continued, "May you have many more happy years together."

I could see tears welling up in Laurie's eyes. She smiled and bowed her head just slightly. "Thank you."

As we ate the cake, I looked across at Laurie and said, "You know, I've noticed that on the Internet there are a lot of sites describing very romantic ways to make a marriage proposal. I never did anything like that. I guess my proposal was pretty unromantic."

That jolted her a bit. "No it wasn't," she insisted. "There was nothing unromantic about your proposal. It was my romantic fantasy-come-true just hearing your words when you asked me to marry you. It was how I always dreamed it would be."

After a brief pause I spoke again. "That night when I asked you to marry me, did I take you by surprise? You did seem to answer right away. You didn't need to think about it?"

At that, Laurie tilted her head and assumed one of her cute, exasperated frowns. "Honestly! Did it look like I had to think about it?"

Then she smiled and added in her sweetest tone, "I had been waiting a month for you to ask me!"

Her pretty gray-blue eyes seemed to radiate a soft love as they gazed into mine.

It is difficult to describe what a statement like that can do for a guy's self-esteem!

As we waited for the valet to bring our car around, Laurie had taken my arm and was leaning her head on my shoulder. After we got in, she looked at me and said, "That was the most romantic dinner we've ever had." She slid over next to me, turned my head toward her, and kissed me, her hands cradling my face.

"But we're not done yet," I said. "We have another stop to make."

"Another stop?"

"Yeah, not far from here either."

I got onto Lake Shore Drive and headed south. It was just a short distance before I turned east onto Solidarity Drive, which led out into the Lake and to the Adler Planetarium.

The Planetarium was my favorite spot in Chicago. There is no more beautiful view of the skyline than from this vantage point, surrounded by Lake Michigan and looking westward. I also enjoyed going in the Planetarium itself. At a star show in the Sky Theater, spectators gaze in wonder as they observe a re-creation of the night's starry sky projected on the 68-foot dome of the first planetarium in the Western Hemisphere. During my dating years, I took a number of girls to the Planetarium. It is a very romantic place. You have breathtaking views outside, and inside at a star show, the dark room, the leaned-back seats, and the "stars" above make a perfect setting for holding hands with your date.

Tonight, however, we came here for one special reason. It was here that I took Laurie on our first date. Well, actually our second date. We had met on a double blind date, and it was on our first date alone that we had come here. It was too late for a star show tonight, but the real stars outside would put on the show.

I parked the car, and Laurie and I walked over to one of the benches and sat down. Since the Planetarium was closed, no one else was around. I had hoped for that. We sat down. Laurie moved close, and I put my arm around her.

I looked at her and asked, "Do you remember coming here on our first date--I mean our first real date alone?"

"Are you kidding? Sometimes I still think back to it. You put your arm around me for the first time here."

What follows may seem strange, but it was not a first for me. Although I would never be much competition for Pavarotti, I can carry a tune, and I enjoy singing rock-n-roll songs. It had been a another clear night on our first date here. I had showed Laurie the stars, and then asked if she remembered the old Kathy Young song. It was a very romantic song and one of my favorites, so I sang it to her. By strict interpretation of the words, I suppose I had been jumping the gun back then. But I knew girls liked to hear romantic songs.

I turned to Laurie and asked, "Do you remember the song I sang to you on that date?"

She smiled sweetly and said, "Of course I do."

I looked into her eyes and began singing it softly again:

A thousand stars in the sky
Like the stars in your eyes,
They say to me
That there'll never be
No other love like you for me...

A thousand stars in the sky
Make me realize
You are the one love
That I'll adore:
Tell me you love me,
Tell me you're mine once more.

Each night I count the stars in the sky,
Hoping that you aren't telling me lies.
You're with me tonight,
I'm captured by your charms:
Oh pretty baby,
Won't you hold me in your arms...

A thousand stars in the sky
Make me realize
You are the one love
That I'll adore:
Tell me you love me,
Tell me you're mine once more...

I stopped. Laurie was gazing deeply into my eyes, and she seemed to have moist eyes again. But then it was difficult to tell for sure in the poor light.

"You left out the last line--the line where the backup group sings the response," Laurie said softly.

I had done that purposely.

As her eyes were still fixed on mine, she finished the song, right on tune: "'I'm yours.'" Then added, "And I love you."

We embraced there on the bench and kissed, a long kiss, not so much of passion, but of love.

After the kiss, she put her head on my shoulder, and for a few minutes I hugged her and stroked her face lightly with my fingers.

After this tender romantic interlude, I took her hand, and we walked around behind the Planetarium facing outward into the open Lake. At the horizon, the dark waters merged with that black velvety sky of a thousand stars. Soon we each had our arm around the other's waist as we gazed out into infinity.

"Well, did you like it tonight? I wanted it to be very romantic."

"Oh, it was romantic, Terry. It's the best anniversary we've ever had. I'm so happy."

"Let's head home."

When we got back to our house, I unlocked the front door, but held Laurie back. Then before she knew what was happening, I put my arm around her waist, my other arm under her knees, and swept her into my arms.

"I've got to carry you over the threshold." She giggled, reached around me, and pressed her face against mine.

After getting in, we did a few chores. I could detect that there was a sense of urgency in both of us.

When we walked into our bedroom, Laurie threw her arms around me and tugged in such a way that she pulled us both down onto the bed. I rolled her over on her back, and we embraced and kissed passionately. Then I pushed myself up on my knees next to her.

As she lay there looking at me, I started to run my hands along her skirt, starting at the waist and working my way down.

"Naturally, I've been going crazy all night wondering what you had on under these adorable clothes."

I gently squeezed her hips and thighs. I felt her panties, but everything was sensuously silky from her waist to the hem of her skirt. Pantyhose. I ran both hands up and down her skirt, front and sides. Then I moved upward and traced the outline of her bra through the soft, white material of her pullover top. I loved the way her body felt in my hands.

But I did not lift her skirt up. I thought I would do a little teasing first.

Assuming a look of serious deliberation, I said, "But then, too, you just look so pretty in this outfit, I'm really caught in a dilemma. I want to take these clothes off, but then again I don't."

"Well, that's just too bad! You're going to make the sacrifice and take them off, because we're going to make mad, passionate love tonight!"

Smiling like the Cheshire cat, I reached down to her knees and began pushing her skirt up. Laurie leaned her head back on the pillow and closed her eyes.

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You can hear the original song, "A Thousand Stars in the Sky," by Kathy Young by going to the page My Favorite Love Songs.

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