“Seeing Beauty”, Ch. 16 (PG-13): Lily & Keith have a Heart to Heart Talk about their Relationship, 9/10/12 Gratiana Lovelace
[I will illustrate my stories with my dream cast: Richard Armitage as Keith Erickson, Mandy Moore as Lily Sherman, Matthew Perry as Brock, David Schwimmer as Jack, and Matt LeBlanc as Sam, and the late Jessica Tandy as Hazel, and Leelee Sobieski as Mercedes. etc.]
Author’s Recap from the previous installment: Lily had the shock of her young life when she visited Keith one week into his private rehab recovery on the following Saturday. She was came upon Keith’s very beautiful former girlfriend Mercedes hanging all over him. Lily left immediately. But when Keith ran after her–with Mercedes following also–Lily was subjected to the full force of Mercedes venomous insults about Lily’s weight. Keith managed to forcefully tell Mercedes to leave while trying to soothe Lily. But the damage was done. And Lily collapsed in tears because she feared that Keith will not like her–even as a friend–when his eyesight returns. Keith now has the daunting task ahead of him of not only comforting Lily, but helping her to understand the depth of his loving feelings for her as real and sincere.
Author’s Mature Content Note: “Seeing Beauty” is a nontraditional romantic love story set amidst contemporary times. As such there will be some passages in this story involving heartfelt love scenes or other sauciness (R rated) and some passages involving highly dramatic moments. I will label the maturity rating of those chapters accordingly. Otherwise, the general rating for this story is PG or PG-13 due to mature situations and topics. If you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with the ratings that I provide, then please do not read those chapters. This is my disclaimer.
P.S. The story images wouldn’t load. So I will try to add them in Monday Night.
“Seeing Beauty”, Ch. 16 (PG-13): Lily & Keith have a Heart to Heart Talk about their Relationship
After the confrontation with his ex-girlfriend Mercedes, Keith leads Lily back down the private rehab/spa hallway to his suite as he hobbles there on his crutches—now much more tiredly and slowly. Keith has a private suite of rooms–with a sitting room kitchenette combo, a bedroom, and a private bathroom—that he takes Lily to. Lily is too stunned to say no and she just follows Keith blindly. Lily is numb from the vicious Mercedes’ attacks on her. And Lily is startled by Keith’s declarations of love and his loving attentions toward her. Lily has never been in this territory before—truly in love and with the possibility of someone loving her back. But Lily wonders if Keith really loves her, or has merely latched onto her serving as his caring friend during his convalescence?
Keith knows that he will have to delicately and caringly mend Lily’s psyche if he ever hopes to win her heart. He wonders why that it is only now that his eyes have been opened to the realization of his own folly in his previous relationships? Could it be that he and Lily are fated to be together as lovers and life partners–husband and wife? Keith thinks they are. He just needs to convince Lily of that.
As Lily and Keith walk into his suite of rooms, he shuts and bolts his door behind them. They will not be interrupted. Keith wraps Lily in his arms and he kisses her adoringly as he strokes her back comfortingly. Then Lily wonders why Keith bolted his door. It’s not like they’re going to … Her mind stops. Lily has never been with a man romantically, sexually. And, Lily doesn’t think that she can make love with Keith now—however much she loves him. Lily is, after all, a virgin. And Lily is too shy and insecure—especially now, after this afternoon’s confrontation—to overlook her own insecurities about her chubbiness.
Keith: “Oh Lily, I’m so sorry.” He says again as he embraces her and kisses her on her lips as he caresses her face. For a moment, Lily just melts in Keith’s arms and they stand there embracing and kissing each other for several minutes—rocking back and forth soothingly. Then Keith says again, as if to reinforce his feelings for her. “I love you, Lily.”
Lily: Lily pulls back and she looks into Keith’s eyes searchingly. “I love you, Keith.” And then she kisses him adoringly. After several more minutes of kissing, she asks. “May I visit your bathroom? … I … I need to splash some water on my face.” And, she thinks, to repair her makeup and such.
Keith: “Sure, it’s through the bedroom here.” He gestures to his bedroom, following her in there and pointing to his bathroom.
Lily visits Keith’s bathroom and fixes her face and such. When she walks out of the bathroom, Keith is standing there on his crutches.
Keith: “Now, it’s my turn.” He smiles hobbling into his bathroom as Lily walks back into his bedroom.
Keith splashes water on his face and such. Keith looks questioningly at himself in the mirror–leaning in closely, trying to see himself, if only as a visual blob. Who is this man he is becoming that he can’t quite see in the mirror? Is it the selfish pleasure seeking arrogant man who bedded women like Mercedes–who only served as adornments for his image of a successful handsome man? As a virile mature man of 35, Keith was accustomed to expressing his desires to past lady friends of similar sophistication–and having their mutual sexual needs met in each others’ bed. And old habits and behaviors are so ingrained that they often seem like the right course, the only course. Or, is he a man worthy of his sweet Lily? She deserves every happiness he can give her and more in his eyes.
So Keith wants to show Lily how much he loves her by making love with her. Won’t that convince her of my love for her, he wonders? But with Lily being much younger at 28 and seemingly more innocent–more than he knows–Keith realizes that he will have to give her time and show her tenderness. But whether Keith can restrain his love for Lily into what his own parents might consider proper courting behavior, remains to be seen. Keith knows that his parents have not liked any of his girlfriends to date–they merely tolerated them for Keith’s sake, and barely tolerated the condescending Mercedes. And he now realizes that his parents were correct in their disdain. It is only now with Lily that Keith feels the promise of a loving relationship–as in his parents’ example of a loving relationship. But Keith also has needs–sexual needs–that have gone unmet since he and Mercedes broke up over four months ago, long before his accident. So Keith’s mind and heart are at odds with choosing his behavior for showing his Lily his love for her. He just hopes that he chooses the right path for them both.
Disappointedly not finding Lily in his bedroom–where he had hoped to demonstrate his love for her–when he hobbles out of the bathroom, Keith hobbles back into his sitting room to find Lily absentmindedly looking at a framed art print of an impressionist painting on the wall. Though Keith doesn’t know that is what the picture is, it is obviously having an effect on Lily. Lily has calmed down considerably in the last ten minutes. And she feels that the Monet painting [(2) right] of lilies floating in peaceful waters is soothing to her somehow.
Keith: Walking up behind Lily on his crutches, Keith gently touches her shoulder. Lily startles a bit, not having heard him walk up behind her since she was so focused on her thoughts about what just happened in the hallway with Mercedes and the painting in front of her. So Keith recognizes that he will have to tread gently with Lily–perhaps learning more about her thoughts and feelings to draw her out, in hopes of finding a way to comfort her. So he whispers. “Lily, what is in the painting that transfixes you so? I can only see that it is blue, but no details.”
Lily: Lily slowly turns to answer him. “It is a print of a Monet water lilies painting. The frame plate says 1906–the original hangs in the Art Institute of Chicago.” [(3)]
Keith: “Ah. I remember those Monet paintings well–having visited the Art Institute often over the years.” He smiles as he moves to stand at her side and closer to the painting. After leaning in and trying to see it, but not being able to distinguish its features, he asks her. “But what is it about this particular Monet painting that intrigues you?”
Lily: “I don’t know. I’m no art expert.” She says shyly. But he waits patiently and she continues. “I suppose it is the calm of the blue waters that the lilies float upon and the simple beauty of the pink and white lily flowers gathered together in groupings–not one alone and solitary as in some paintings. There is comfort in an oasis of calm–and in belonging.” She states softly as she timidly casts her eyes down ward to her hands lightly clasped together.
Keith: Taking her hand in his as he leans on his crutches, he says encouragingly. “Lily, you have described the painting beautifully. I hadn’t really thought about the composition of the Monet paintings before.” Then still feeling fatigued, he sighs. “Lily darling, please come sit with me?” He moves and sits on the long and deep soft brown leather couch and he holds his arms out to Lily.
Lily: Lily sits down on the couch near him, but does not readily fall into his arms. So Keith rests his arms at his sides. But she returns to the topic they’ve been avoiding. “Keith, I think I’m still in shock from …” But then, her tears start to fall again. “I don’t know if you and I are such a good idea.”
Keith: Holding her hand, he professes his love for her. “Of course we are. Lily, I love you with my whole heart. I have never felt like this before.” He kisses her lips, and cheek, and neck as he envelops her in his strong and loving arms. “Lily, I want us to be together always. I’m in love you and I want to make love with you, Lily.”
Keith pulls Lily to him and kisses her adoringly. And though Lily is shy at first, she begins to return his affections. And then, his hands move in their embrace of her, caressing her hips and near the side of her breasts–as if to frame her curvy silhouette in his mind.
Lily: Lily pulls back from Keith, startled by his caresses. However chaste they might be at the moment, she senses that things might progress to more intimacy–and she is not sure that she is ready for that. “Oh Keith!” She says a bit fearfully. … I do love you. But, I can’t. … I mean, I’ve never …”
Keith: “Never?” He asks wonderingly. Lily shakes her head slowly, keeping her eyes lowered, not daring to look at him. My Lily is a virgin? Keith thinks, wondering if Lily is saving herself for marriage. Would she consider marrying him? And can he wait for he and Lily to be married before they make love? Keith respectfully loosens his embrace of Lily and kisses her forehead.
Lily: Then Lily’s tone becomes more somber—and realistic. “Keith, you don’t want me. I’m just handy. Once you’re out in the world more, you’ll meet other women who are …” She stops herself from saying thinner, prettier—and other self deprecating adjectives. “… better for you.”
Keith: “Lily, I can’t think of anyone better for me, than you.” Keith lies back on the couch on his side and he pulls Lily to him. They cuddle and kiss side by side facing each other. But Keith keeps his caressing of Lily to her arms, her back, and her face–being respectful, and not wanting to scare her with his lustful impulses.
Lily: Now making more clear to Keith why she is so reticent about them making out, she says as he continues to kiss and caress her sweetly “Keith, I told you that I hadn’t been on a real date since I was in college. But even then, I … I’ve never even made out with anyone. … Keith, I’m a virgin.” She says this quickly and scrunches up her eyes, not wanting to see his facial expression in response to her revelation.
Keith: Then Keith surprises her. “Lily Darling, I guessed as much from the hints you’ve been dropping. We don’t have to do anything that you’re not comfortable with.” Keith kisses Lily sweetly and softly on her lips. Then he tries to lighten the mood, and says cheekily. “But, by all means, let me know how I can make you feel more comfortable.” They both laugh softly, the kiss sweetly again.
Lily: “But Keith, there is something else. You couldn’t know, since you hadn’t seen me for the month before your accident, and then you’ve been blind for another month since then, but I have been losing weight–a lot of it.”
Keith: “I thought you seemed thinner in my arms.” He grins broadly and then kisses her on her neck, just below her ear..
Lily: She sighs with his tender and restrained loving ministrations. “Hhhh! Keith, let me say this.” She says as he continues to gently kiss her lips, and cheek and neck. “The doctors finally figured out my metabolism problem. And with medicine and treatments I’ve lost about 70 pounds in the last six months. I have about thirty more pounds to go to get to my goal weight of 170 pounds.” Lily says this with some trepidation because she knows that she probably weighs about the same that Keith does right now. It’s just that he’s taller and more muscular than she is—he’s six foot two inches tall and she’s just five foot four inches tall–and his weight is distributed over a larger area. Actually, the tall and muscular Keith weighs 220 pounds—twenty pounds more than Lily weighs now.
Keith: “That’s great Lily, I’m glad for you. If you’re happy then, I’m happy.” He says sincerely. But their position of lying in each others’ arms and their bodies intertwined is making it difficult for Keith to keep his sexual desire for Lily at bay. He feels that he should behave like a gentleman to her lady. But his body wants her body so much right now, it almost hurts. And his desire for her slips out. “But, I hope that you’ll keep some of your lovely cuddly womanly curves.” Keith says huskily while running his hand along the sides of her breasts and her hips—framing her curvy silhouette in his mind and in his heart.
Lily: “Hhhhhh!” Lily gasps and blushes—never having been touched even in this small intimate way before. “Thank you, Keith. But, that means that as I’ve lost weight, my skin is … sagging in places. And I’m very self conscious about it. So, I wear an all body girdle to keep me … all pulled together. When I lose another thirty pounds, I’m having the skin reduction surgery. The surgery is tentatively scheduled for next month, on May 18th—and I’ll be recovering for another month after that. I’ll still be chubby by model’s standards, but I think I’ll feel more comfortable in my skin then.” But, Lily wonders, will she feel comfortable enough even then to make love with the oh so handsome Keith? When Keith’s been used to making love with model slender beautiful women.
Keith: “So Lily, are you trying to tell me that you want us to slow down our lovemaking this afternoon?” He asks tenderly kissing her lips and neck as he continues to embrace and respectfully caress her.
Lily: “Lovemaking?” She asks incredulously, wondering if that is what they were … are doing? “Yes Keith, I would like us to take things more slowly.” She sighs. She also has feelings of lust that tempt her to abandon her virginity with Keith. But this possible relationship with Keith is all so new for Lily–and happening very fast. She needs him to slow things down, if he is willing to do that. “Do you understand?” She asks him hopefully.
Keith: “I do.” He realizes with surprise. If scaling back their making out is what his Lily wants, then that is what he will give her–however much his body cries against it.
Lily: “Keith, I’m sorry I’m so old fashioned.” She shakes her head ruefully.
Keith: “I like that about you. Don’t be sorry, Lily.” He says tenderly. “Sooooo. I guess we need to get off this couch–that is, unless you want to have your way with me?” He blinks his blind eyes several times cheekily while grinning broadly and they both laugh. “Okay! I’d say we need some chaperones. How about dinner in the dining room? There are lots of people there to keep me from ravishing you on the spot. I’m buying?” He raises his eyebrows cheerfully
Lily: “Yes, I’d like that.” She blushes sweetly.
So, Keith and Lily rise from the soft leather couch in his private suite and head to the dining room.
When Keith and Lily enter Keith’s Private Rehab/Spa facility’s dining room–named The Maples [(4) right]–Lily is in for a pleasant surprise. The restaurant certainly has no institutional cafeteria like atmosphere as she is accustomed to at the hospital. To Lily, the rehab/spa dining room looks similar to an upscale restaurant–with tapestry upholstered walnut carved dining chairs, linen table cloths and napkins, crystal water and wine glasses, candles, flowers, designer flatware and dishes, windows overlooking the lake, as well as some cozy booth seating options. There is even a hostess for seating residents and their guests.
Hostess: “Mr. Erickson. Good evening, Sir. Shall I show you and your guest to a booth or to one of the window tables overlooking the lake?” She smiles graciously, though she has never met Mr. Erickson before. For their own safety and facility security, each spa/rehab resident is given a GPS locator tag with their room key. And when Keith entered the restaurant, his name flashed up on the restaurant’s computer screen. High tech security meshes with guest pampering in the 21st century.
Keith: “Lily Darling, it’s your choice.” He wonders if he can guess what she will choose.
Lily: “Might we sit by the windows, Keith? I can describe the scenery for you.” She smiles sweetly.
Keith: “That sounds perfect!” He smiles.
The hostess leads them to their table and provides them with leather bound menus–another indication that they are in luxurious surroundings. Lily looks at the menu, but frowns. The entrees sound delicious from their descriptions, but the menu has no prices. There is only a section where money is vaguely alluded to–lobster, sea bass, boeuf bourguignon, escargot and such are listed under an italicized heading labeled Market Prices.”
Keith: “Lily, you seem rather quiet. I’m sure that if you don’t find what you like on the menu, they can make something to order for you.” He smiles warmly at her. He has had to pick up on nonverbal clues–such as her silence–since he can’t see people’s facial expression.
Lily: “Oh, it’s not that. It all sounds scrumptious. But …” Her voice trails away.
Lily: Leaning it toward Keith, she whispers. “There are no prices on this menu. I don’t want to choose anything too expensive.”
Keith: Stifling a laugh–because she might take offense–he says gently. “Lily Darling, the way the meal plan was described to me is all of the entrees are the same price–except for those labeled Market Price.” And any dinner specials–even if they are on that list–are also the same price as the regular meals.”
Lily: “Oh. Well, then that’s not so bad.” She bites her lower lip. “But what is the regular price?”
Keith: “Not for you to worry about. I’m buying. Remember? It’s my treat.” He reaches across the table and clasps her hand in his reassuringly. Keith is accustomed to spending upwards of $200 a meal for he and his lady friends–before counting their wine. However the rehab dining room rates are much less expensive with meals of $50 per couple possible for simple fare. “Now please remind me what some of the entrees are–I would really like some beef tonight.” He says hungrily–though his hunger also tends toward his sweet and curvy dinner companion, Lily.
Lily: She rattles off some of the entrees with beef in them. “There are some porterhouse steak options, a steak and lobster tail option, boeuf bourguignon, and a filet mignon.”
Keith: “Hmmm. Tasty.”
Just then, their server arrives to take their order. He is wearing black trousers and cumberbund over a white tuxedo shirt.
Server: “Good evening Sir and Madam. May I offer you our wine list to peruse as I tell you tonight’s dinner specials?” She holds the card out to Keith not realizing he is blind and he gestures for him to give it to Lily, who takes it with a nod. “Pardon.” He says in realization of Keith’s visual challenges. Keith nods graciously with a small smile. “Tonight we have a special treat of steak and lobster, or you may substitute shark.”
Keith: “I think it’s safe to say that we’ll forgo the shark. Clearly de trop. Don’t you think, Lily Darling?” He says impishly thinking of Mercedes. And Lily stifles a giggle. Keith loves Lily’s laughter and he is glad to be the cause of improving her spirits.
Server: “And we also have a Lover’s Sampler from which you may choose one each of chicken, fish, and beef for the shared meal.”
Lily: “Oh?” She looks at the server askance.
Keith: “Lily Darling, I think the shared dining platter facilitates couples romantically feeding each other.” He smiles mischievously at Lily.
Server: “Just so.” He says benignly with a bland expression on his face. Afterall, it wouldn’t do for a server to disparage one of the marketing strategies of the spa and restaurant–bringing in honeymooning and other affianced couples for romantic weeks of mutual pampering, at great expense to the couple.
Lily: “The entrées all sounds so wonderful. I can’t decide.” She looks pensively at the menu.
Keith: “Lily, assuming you have no food allergies and such, might you let me order for the both of us?”
Lily: “Yes, please.” She smiles while nodding.
Keith: “We will have the Lover’s Sampler with chicken and mushroom crepes, filet mignon, and rock lobsters–and the house wine. I’ll let you choose the dessert, Lily Darling.”
Lily: “Cheesecake? It’s my favorite and I don’t get to have it often.”
Server: “Very good Sir and Madam. I will bring your salads and breads out to you shortly.”
After thoroughly enjoying their meal over the next two hours–and Lily did feed Keith some of the entrées, though they relegate Keith feeding Lily the less messy cheesecake due to his vision issues–they decide to walk out onto the terrace overlooking the lake. It is only 7:30pm and the night is still young.
Keith: As they sit on an iron love seat with cushions, he smiles at her. “I love the cool breeze. It’s so soothing.”
Lily: “I agree.” She smiles warmly at him.
Keith: “Lily Darling, I sense that you might be smiling. But you’ll have to come closer if I am to verify that fact.” Keith grins broadly as he lifts up his arm and Lily nestles into his side. “That’s better.” He kisses the tip of her nose and then her lips.
Lily: “Hhhhh.” She sighs contentedly. “Dinner was lovely, thank you Keith.”
Keith: “You’re welcome. I enjoyed it as well.” Stroking her cheek, he tenderly reminds her. “We’re so good together, Lily. I feel such peace and contentment when I’m with you. I love you, Lily.” He leans down and tenderly brushes her lips with his own, refraining from pressing too firmly–to her consternation and his own. “Now! I believe you were going to describe the lake to me.”
Lily: “Hmmmm. Well, it’s getting dark now, but I’ll try. Small waves are lapping rhythmically against a sandy beach.”
Keith: Closing his eyes and listening, he says “Ah! I can hear that. What else?”
Lily: “The water looks dark blue, only broken up by the reflection of the moonlight on its surface. A few geese glide upon the water–mother, father, and baby chicks, all in a row. And the trees surrounding the water’s edge flutter their leaves in the wind even as they shelter birds and squirrels, and other creatures.”
Keith: “Bats!” He says impishly.
Lily: “Bats?” She asks a little nervously.
Keith: “Yes. They had a bat fly into the facility the other night, having lost its way.”
Lily: “Oh no! What happened? What did they do with it?”
Keith: With a wicked grin, he offers. “Don’t worry, it won’t turn up as one of the Restaurant’s dinner specials. Ha ha ha ha ha!”
Lily: “Oh you!” She gently pokes his ribs.
Keith: “Ow! That hurt!” He says a bit louder than he needed to.
Lily: “Oh! How thoughtless of me. I’m so sorry! Did I press on one of your healing injuries?” She asks caringly.
Keith: “No no. I’m fine. I was just exaggerating.” She pokes him again. “Ow!”
Lily: “Serves you right–pretending to be hurt.” She mock admonishes him with a gleaming smile.
Then Lily gently kisses Keith’s cheek. He quickly turns his face toward her and kisses her sweet lips. Soft and full, her lips promise much. Lily puts her arms around Keith’s shoulders and draws his head closer to hers as their kissing deepens–his lips molding perfectly to hers, their mouths moving together again and again and again and again. Keith’s tongue traces the outline of Lily’s lips, coaxing her lips to open to him as his body shudders with pent up desire for her. Oh what loving and lustful images Keith’s desirous thoughts are creating in his mind and in his heart. Lily hesitates only briefly, then she allows Keith’s kisses to trespass past her lips as their tongues mingle together. Lily’s breathing quickens with the heady mixture of Keith’s tenderness and these unfamiliar yet pleasurable intimacies. And Keith is so gentle with her, so patient with her, that she wants to cry with joy.
Keith: Panting in his own eagerness to know Lily completely and to become one with her, Keith breaks their kissing to plead, as he trails kisses down her neck. “My Darling, we should, perhaps, continue our discussions in the privacy of my suite. If that would be agreeable to you, Lily?” Keith [(5) right] waits patiently, eagerly, hopefully for her answer.
Lily: And Lily can see the love that shines for her in Keith’s face. Lily [(6) right] does not know how in one day she can go from hope to abject misery to unqualified joy. But she has. And Lily responds so softly to Keith’s entreaty, one cannot even call it a whisper. “Yes.”
To be continued with Chapter 17
(1) The “Seeing Beauty” story logo is a composite of:
a) Image representing Keith Erickson is that of British actor Richard Armitage as Lucas North in the BBC’s Spooks (2008 – 2010), series 8 promo, pix 15 was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Spooks/spookspromo/album/slides/series8-15.html
b) Image representing Lily Sherman is that of American actress Mandy Moore and was found at http://images.fanpop.com/images/image_uploads/Mandy-Moore-mandy-moore-661788_1024_768.jpg ; NB: I chose Ms. Moore to represent this character not because she is fat or chubby–far from it–but because she has a fresh faced innocence and sincerity that reflects the goodness of this character. Any pre weight loss Lily images could be handled with makeup and costuming.
(2) Image of a Monet Water Lilies painting, circa 1906, housed at the Art Institute of Chicago, was found at
(3) Art Institute of Chicago information was found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_Institute_of_Chicago
(4) Image representing the upscale The Maples restaurant in the private rehab/spa is of Rowland’s Restaurant at Westglow Resort and Spa and was found at http://www.westglowresortandspa.com/15/rowlands-restaurant/
(5) Keith Erickson image is that of Richard Armitage portraying Lucas North in Spooks, series 8, episode 2 (pix 231) and was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Spooks/spooks8/album/Episode2/slides/ep2_231.html
(6) Image representing Lily Sherman is that of American actress Mandy Moore and was found at http://images.fanpop.com/images/image_uploads/Mandy-Moore-mandy-moore-661788_1024_768.jpg
Previous Story post