Authors: Melinda De Ross
She responded to his touch with a sensuality that he knew intuitively had remained hidden until now, undiscovered in the depths of her being. She pushed him back and leaned over him, kissing his every feature. He let her have control, let the passion take him and throw him into the maddening trance of rapture and pleasure. She lightly grazed the skin of his throat with her teeth, causing a rough growl to escape his lips. Encouraged, she stroked his strong torso, then pulled his T-shirt over his head and threw it on the floor.
When her hot tongue descended over his chest, tasting his nipples, he felt his head spin and any shadow of control left him. He unfastened his jeans and lowered them slightly. Her eyes shone in the dim light, glazed with arousal, as he pulled her even closer, his fingers digging into her thighs. He pressed her down, while his hips pushed up, high and deep into her, rocking in the rhythm of their rapid, shallow breaths.
There was nothing in the universe but the smooth motions of the two lovers, lost in one another, consumed by the intensity of their feelings.
When he sensed her body quickening, he gripped her hips hard, holding her in place as he moved against her and inside her, stroking her body with undulating, powerful thrusts. He clenched his teeth to hold back the breathtaking pleasure that was ready to erupt, until she buried her face into his neck and cried out his name, while her body shivered, crossed by thousands of volts of ecstasy. Only then did he let go, quivering beneath her as they clung hard to one another, listening to their mixed labored breathing.
After the deluge of their passion was temporarily satiated, a euphoric calmness descended upon them. She collapsed onto his chest, still holding him tight between her warm thighs.
Ti voglio bene, amore mio
!” he whispered huskily through a dry throat, his lips touching the delicate lobe of her ear. It meant
I love you
. He wanted to make memorable the first time he said those words to her.
He felt her breath stop for a moment. The significance of this statement in the melodious sounds of her maternal language must have stirred a very powerful emotion into her soul. He wondered if it was happiness.
It must be, because he knew she was serious when she whispered back, “
Anch’io ti amo, mio caro!
I love you too, Gerard.”
She embraced him tighter than she’d ever had before, laying her head on his chest and listening to his heartbeats.
Outside, darkness had fallen. Only the inconstant TV light and the fairy-like colorful lights of the aquarium lighted the room.
Eventually, Linda raised her head from his shoulder.
“Baby, you have to take me home. Pirata is alone. I can’t leave him like that. I’m going to the bathroom.”
“It’s in the bedroom, on the left,” he mumbled, steeped into a state of euphoric relaxation. After a few moments, he sighed contentedly and got to his feet.
He felt invincible, as though nothing could shadow his happiness. Linda had told him she loved him. He knew she meant it. He gathered his T-shirt from the floor and dragged it over his head.
When she returned, she grabbed her handbag and switched the TV off. After switching off the lights, he locked the door behind them.
On the way to her house, driving on the illuminated crowded streets, they talked about various things, especially regarding the trip they were going to make together.
“You said your art exhibit is the day after tomorrow?” he asked.
“Yes. Actually, it’s not only my exhibit. There will be the works of other artists too.”
“But you’re the best and the most famous, right?”
She laughed, as she pinned her hair back up.
“If you want to put it like that…Sort of.”
“Do I have to wear a suit?” he complained, playing the martyr.
“If you want Francesco to let you in, yes. Francesco is the gallery owner. He’s a perfect gentleman who never breaches etiquette. I took him the carving of your hands, by the way. He was thrilled.”
He smiled and glanced at her.
“Of course. You made it. No matter how banal the model, it’s still a masterpiece.”
“You, banal? Not in a thousand years, and you know it!”
He stopped the car in front of her gate and they both climbed out. She disabled the alarm, then turned to him.
“Won’t you stay here?”
“Do you want me to stay?”
“Yes,” she admitted, causing his heart to throb with the pleasure and satisfaction of knowing she needed him, that she wanted him close.
He wrapped his arms around her and kissed her softly, then trailed a finger down her cheek.
“We became addicted to one another in a very short time,” he remarked. “Does it scare you?”
“A little. Doesn’t it scare you?”
“No. On the contrary—it’s the most extraordinary thing I’ve ever felt for a woman,” he confessed, his eyes holding hers. “I’m sorry, my love, but I think I’d better go home. Tomorrow I have to wake up very early. I have a hundred problems to solve, so I can arrange our trip. I don’t want you to feel obliged to wake up with the sunrise.”
She sighed resignedly, pouting a bit. But she smiled after a moment.
“It might be for the best. I wouldn’t want you to be next to me if I ever have to wake up with the sunrise. Trust me, it wouldn’t be a pleasant experience for either of us.”
He laughed softly and kissed her again, embracing her tightly.
“Go! When I see you getting inside, I’ll leave too. Good night,
She slid through the gate, reset the alarm, and then walked up the driveway until she reached the house. At the front door she turned. He was still in front of the gate, watching her as he leaned against the thick bars. She waved to him and he called out, “I love you!”
She hesitated for a moment, as though still unused to this declaration. Then she traced an imaginary heart in the air with her index fingers.
He smiled back at her thoughtfully, wondering when she would let herself trust him and be comfortable with displaying her love.
The next day went by in a blur for Linda. She arranged for Mrs. Adams to take Pirata while she would be away. After that, she helped the old housekeeper to clean the house. She personally cleaned up her workshop, then sharpened and organized her tools. In the afternoon, when the woman had left, she prepared a magnificent dinner for Gerard. He’d called during the day to let her know he had booked flights for Monday morning. He promised he would be at her house for dinner at seven o’clock.
She chose her outfit carefully. She put on a pink, strapless dress, long and diaphanous, with floral prints. Because she’d noticed that Gerard loved to comb his fingers through her hair, she brushed it and let it fall in soft, shiny waves on her back.
Gerard arrived at a quarter to seven. He was unshaven and wore a white shirt, clean but extremely wrinkled. Looking at him, she marveled at the effect the man had on her. Was she so blinded by love that she thought he looked gorgeous, even dressed far from presentable and with dark circles of fatigue under his eyes?
When he drew her into his arms and kissed her deeply, with the passion that seemed to spring straight from his soul, the reason why she loved him was very clear.
“The air conditioning in my office has broken, that’s why I’m all sweaty and rumpled. I missed you like crazy,” he added, kissing her again.
“Me too,” she said, smiling dreamily up into his eyes. “I’ve made a delicious dinner. I hope you like Boeuf salad and Cordon Bleu. This time I made dessert too.”
“A yogurt and sour cherries pie—my special recipe. You’ll like it.”
“Smells divine!” He sniffed the air. “But I’m begging you, may I take a shower first? I need to get out of these clothes.”
“Of course. Go upstairs. In the meantime, I’ll set the table.”
“Don’t you want to come with me?” he suggested playfully, his eyes twinkling wickedly.
She stepped back and did a pirouette, allowing him to admire her dress.
“I went to so much trouble so I’d look good for you, and you already want me to take off my clothes? You didn’t even notice my new dress,” she said, pouting.
“Of course I’ve noticed it, baby. It’s lovely. Anyway, you look your best in Eve’s outfit, under me.”
This last image and his low, rough tone were so vividly erotic that they left her breathless. As though reading her mind, he winked at her before turning to climb the stairs, on his way to the bedroom.
Smiling widely—it seemed it was all she could do lately—Linda set the big guest-table in the dining room, using the fine porcelain tableware and silver cutlery. Seated on a chair at the top of the table, Pirata was carefully supervising his mistress’s preparations.
Gerard descended after ten minutes, trailing behind him a fresh scent of soap. When she spun around, she saw her lover was wearing only a towel around his hips. Her lips parted in surprise and her jaw almost dropped. He reacted the same way, looking at the festive setting, then down at himself and his attire, completely inadequate for the occasion.
They both burst out laughing at the same time. When their laughter subsided, he took her in his arms, leaning his forehead on hers.
“I’m so sorry, my love,” he said. “You’ve worked so hard for this dinner and I ruined everything. I thought we were going to eat in the kitchen. I wasn’t expecting anything formal. Are we celebrating something?”
She kissed his naked chest, which was still wet from the shower. Tiny droplets meandered down his body, following the subtle contours of his muscles, drawn toward his navel, just as her eyes were. Her voice sounded husky when she replied to his question.
“Just the fact that we’re together. Don’t be sorry, you don’t have anything to apologize for.”
He gesticulated toward the table.
“How can I not apologize? Everything is perfect, except me.”
She smiled, giving him a long, lingering kiss.
Let’s eat. Pirata, make room for the gentleman,” she ordered the cat. Obedient, Pirata jumped onto another chair.
Dinner was a pleasant—if strange—experience. She’d never had an almost naked gorgeous man sitting at her table. She couldn’t say she disliked it, not even close. She would have been happy to admire and enjoy his perfect body on every day of her life.
They recounted to one another the day’s events, then made plans for the next day.
“What time do we need to be at the gallery?” he asked.
“The official opening is at six in the evening.”
“And what exactly do we have to do at such an event?”
“Not much. Smile, talk to people…That’s about it.”
She took a sip from the red wine she’d bought specially for this occasion.
“It’s going to be an interesting experience to see my star in action,” he remarked grinning.
After dinner, she freshened their drinks and they went outside on the terrace. They lay on the lounge chairs, lighted only by the torches of the dwarves and elves, admiring the few stars sprinkled here and there in the dark abyss above.
He put his glass onto the small table placed between the lounge chairs, then rose and took off the towel from around his hips. Linda remained with her glass to her mouth, watching him motionless. A tide of sensations rushed through her body and she was suddenly overcome by pure, elemental lust.
He took the glass from her hand and helped her to her feet.
“I want to test this pool of yours. It’s almost as tempting as the owner,” he told her as he undressed her, his hands moving swiftly and knowingly over her skin.
The thin, strapless dress pooled at her feet and she was left in a minuscule lacy thong. In two movements, Gerard got rid of that as well.
Wordless, they sank into the cool water, which made an almost effervescent contrast with their heated bodies.
“I didn’t think we could…make love in the pool,” she gasped, abandoning herself to his relentless kisses and caresses.
“Every day I’m going to teach you a new way to make love. We’re going to learn together,” he told her, holding her tightly. He sank deeper into the water and into her hot body, which was feverishly burning for him.
In the morning, Gerard woke before Linda did. Gathering his rumpled clothes from a chair, he moved toward the bathroom, where he dressed quietly. He sniffed at his shirt and wrinkled his nose against the faint smell of sweat. But he consoled himself by thinking he’d get home fast and change into clean clothes.
Sneaking back in the bedroom, he stopped for a moment to watch his lover sleep.
Mon Dieu, how beautiful she is,
he thought as he sat gently on the edge of the bed, gazing at her. He almost couldn’t believe this divine creature was his. At least for now. The thought that he could lose her drove him to despair, even to fear—a feeling he didn’t remember ever to have experienced.
He kissed her parted lips lightly. When she didn’t stir, he stood and headed to the door. Linda had given him the alarm code, so there was no need to disturb her for anything.
He stopped by his flat to change. He put on a fresh, blue shirt and a pair of comfortable jeans. He fed his fish and watched them devouring their food with greedy enthusiasm. He had to promise Danielle a special present from Romania—a bribe in exchange for her services as a fish-sitter while he was gone. The plane tickets were round-trip type, at a three days interval. Linda and he had to conclude the business with Jean-Paul in that timeframe. Two of the three days included the trip itself and were going to be spent mostly on the road.
He consulted his wardrobe to pick an adequate outfit for the upcoming night’s event. He chose a dark-blue suit, a white shirt and a gray tie. He checked to see if the clothes were well pressed, then left for the clinic.
* * * *
Linda awoke in a state of anxiety whose cause she couldn’t localize. She remembered the gallery’s opening was at six o’clock that evening. Groaning, she buried her head back under the pillow. Although she wasn’t a novice in the art world, such events made her nervous, without a specific reason. She was by no means a sociable person. The thought of spending a few hours surrounded by a crowd of people who stared at her sculptures and made small talk depressed her.
Gerard had promised he’d pick her up at five, so they wouldn’t be delayed by the London traffic. She looked at the clock. It was almost eleven, which meant she had six hours to kill. She took a long, hot shower, then called Giovanni and talked to him for almost half an hour, with no regard for the phone bill.
She told him about Gerard, and her brother was more than thrilled because his sister finally had
She thought about calling her father, but the perspective of exchanging giggles with the beautiful and completely imbecile Ariadna discouraged her. Same story with Giovanna and her husband. Well, not quite. Fabrizzio Angeli was young and handsome, but far from imbecile. However, Linda didn’t know him well enough to be comfortable talking to him.
So she ate something and chattered with Pirata instead. After she finished, she dressed casually and decided to go shopping. In her opinion, there was nothing more stress releasing than a good shopping session.
At five o’clock, when Gerard came to pick her up, she hadn’t yet finished doing her makeup. She had put on a simple black dress that reached her knees and had a discreet décolletage. She’d twined her hair into a French twist, as simple and elegant as her whole attire. Between her breasts rested the necklace from Chantalle. As a final touch, she added a pair of pearl earrings.
Gerard called out, then climbed the stairs to the bedroom. When he saw her, he whistled in admiration.
“You look fabulous,
He kissed her freshly rouged lips, getting them both smudged with peach-colored lipstick.
“Look what you’ve done,” she scolded him, without actually minding one bit. “Here, wipe your face. I have to start all over again.”
She handed him a tissue. As she applied fresh lipstick, she urged him to tell her about his day.
“It went fine,” he said, sitting on the edge of the bed. “I only stopped by the clinic to get the file I want to give to Jean, and to visit my little patients. One of them is feeling great. He had an incipient skin cancer. After I injected him with the serum I told you about, after a few sessions it looks like all the cancerous cells were destroyed. True, the healthy ones had the same fate in that area. It’s possible he’ll have a scar all of his life, but…”
a life!” she exclaimed thrilled, her chest tight with emotion and pride for him. Her eyes shone, full of tears when she spun around. “Do you realize, my love? You saved a life! You are my hero!”
Voice charged with excitement, she dragged him to his feet and hugged him hard.
“I only hope Jean’s cure will do wonders,” he said thoughtfully, holding her tightly.