I submit this as a standalone story for the forum’s Summer competition. I warn you that it is pure romance, albeit with a climax that befits the site. I adapted it from a roleplay and intended to shorten it, but the characters took matters into their own hands. Unfortunately I couldn’t spend the time I (or they) wanted on it, and I would rather have posted it in instalments on the forum before posting it as one document. However, here it is – I hope you enjoy it.
The plane lands at last at Fontanarossa airport, Sicily. I have stared entranced out of the window at Etna, a few puffs of smoke trailing into the summer sky. What a contrast to dull grey Manchester; although it has been close to five hours since I left, it feels like a lifetime. This is not just a holiday; I am staying for a month, feeling that I need to recharge my batteries, take stock of my life before I return to find a new job. I am in limbo, having left my boyfriend of four years after discovering that he was cheating on me. Not only that, he was in complete control of my life and dictated what I wore, right down to make up, vetted my phone calls and dictated who I saw. Being offered a generous redundancy offer when my company downsized just after I left him was a boon and I mean to treat myself before I return.
The air at the airport is fresh even though it is hot, and it takes no time to collect my baggage and find a taxi with my limited Italian. I give the address of the small family run hotel only a short distance from the coast and a little fishing village that I intend to spend some time painting and sketching. Their brochure assures that the staff speak good English, but I still mean to learn to get by without my native tongue as much as I can. We are soon bowling along country roads, green fields and vineyards stretching to the horizon, the road dry and dusty. I have the window open a little to let the air in to the hot stuffy taxi and the driver sings along heartily to the radio as we go.
I cast my mind back to the last two months – leaving Ian to move in with my elderly aunt, planning this holiday with a close friend, buying a phrasebook and trying to learn a smattering of Italian. Such a shame that she had to cancel after her mother became ill – but she told me to go ahead and come alone, so I gathered my courage together and did as she suggested. I haven’t managed to lose my pale white pallor, and must be careful not to burn. I have loose thin blouses to cover up and a wide brimmed hat to keep the sun off my face. Of course I also have good sunblock, but you can never be too careful. At last the taxi turns off the bumpy road and down a well kept drive, sweeping to a white painted two story building, lawns and gardens to either side. I recognise it from the brochure and my heart skips a beat at seeing the place I will call home for a few weeks. We chose it not only for the fact that it is small and intimate, but for fact that it is closely allied to a spa less than a mile away – I get the impression that it is run by another member of the family.
Sitting at reception, the doors to the outside are open but this offers no relief to the heat of the afternoon. Instead, an oscillating fan stirs the air and at least gives an illusion of coolness. My shirt is unbuttoned to catch a hint of that artificial breeze. I close my eyes and let the soft music coming from the speakers behind the desk soothe me. My eyes spring open at the sound of a taxi door slamming – I have been caught unwares by my solitary guest, a young woman who blushes as I quickly fasten my shirt up again. Before I can speak her appearance dazzles me – she is tall and slender, pale as porcelain, her flowing hair titian red, and her scarf is caught by the breeze of the fan. Her green eyes connect with mine and I gather myself together swiftly
“Scusi, senorina....” I look at the booking information in front of me “Davis?” she nods at my question “Welcome to my humble hotel. My name is Marco and I am the manager. I hope you had a good journey?” She places her hand only inches from mine on the desk and I almost feel as if a spark passes between us. Her voice is musical and I barely register her answer, finding myself handing her the key and leading her upstairs in a dream. Normally I am not as affected by a pretty face or figure – indeed I am usually totally in control of my actions and am soon putting on the charm ready to entice any single (and often married) women into my bed. There is something different about his one and I don’t even enter her room, instead simply telling her when dinner will be ready and motioning to the air conditioning unit, assuring her it has only just been overhauled and works perfectly. As the door closes I sway as if she has cast a spell on me, shaking my head and walking unsteadily back to reception.
I take stock of my room, a good size and pleasantly cool with an ensuite bathroom and a balcony overlooking the fields sweeping down to the sea, the nearby fishing village just out of sight. I unpack, getting over the flustered bewilderment at my reaction to the manager. He is dark haired and broad chested with dark chocolate brown eyes, and the memory of my first sight of him behind the desk, eyes closed and chest bare makes me feel hot. His voice is deep and his accent pleasant, his English impeccable. He seems a little young to be running a hotel – he must only be in his early to mid thirties. I busy myself unpacking and keeping an eye on the time, getting out my paper, pencils and watercolours and setting them out on the desk by the window. I have kept up my painting despite my parents insisting on my studying business instead of going to Art College, and fully intend to take advantage of the beautiful scenery. I lie down on the bed to test how comfortable it is, and find myself dozing........
I wake with a start, realising the journey was more tiring than I thought, and I look at my watch. Goodness, time for dinner already – I freshen up quickly and go down. The young girl now at reception shows me the dining room, ushering me to a quiet corner on the veranda outside where it is cool. There are other guests, mostly couples, two elderly ladies and a family with a sullen looking teen. None are close enough to strike up a conversation with, and I find myself missing my friend. The waiter approaches, a thickset man with a strong accent but passable English who has certainly never won any prizes for being handsome. I order a light salad to start, and pasta to follow, and he recommends I try the local wine, a valpolicella which I discover is light and fruity and helps me to relax as I look out to the sun sinking lower in the sky.
As I finish my main meal, I see Marco making his way around the tables talking to each of the guests in turn. He comes to me last, just as I have finished my desert, a heavenly cassata that the waiter, Beppe, has persuaded me to try. I must be careful, or my holiday clothes, loose as they are, won’t fit for very long.
“Senorina” he gestures to the chair opposite me “may I?” and I nod. “I hope you found everything to your satisfaction?” he sits and I smile and nod in answer. “Scusi senorina Davis, but I like to talk to my new arrivals to find out what you might wish to do here on our beautiful island – may I ask if you have any questions?” He gestures to Beppe to bring coffee and I collect my thoughts – he leans forward a little and I get a glimpse of his smoothly muscled chest. I explain that I wish to paint and visit the village, and also the spa. He smiles “Ah yes, my cousin Sophia has a wonderful establishment, I can thoroughly recommend it” His chocolate brown eyes catch mine and he clears his throat, lowering his voice a little and leaning across the table. He catches at my hand, holding it in his “I hope I am not being impertinent, but please tell me how such a beautiful woman is here alone? Perhaps someone comes to meet you – a family member, a lover?” I flush red to the roots of my hair, the heat rising almost palpably and I draw my hand back quickly.
“N-no, I am here on my own. I – I needed a break and a friend was coming with me but had to cancel” My voice is unsteady to start with but I am firm. A look of joy briefly crosses his face but then he also flushes, drawing back so suddenly that he catches at the carafe of water on the table, spilling some of it into his lap, and he leaps to his feet, holding a napkin.
“Scusi, how clumsy, please forgive me” he stutters, and makes for the kitchen while Beppe comes to mop up, apologising and offering me a limoncello liqueur for my trouble. Blushing still, I agree, my heart racing; I am sure my legs wouldn’t support me after feeling his hand grasping mine and the electric jolt that followed.
Dio, how could I be so clumsy? I retreat to the kitchen where the staff are falling over themsleves laughing. I curse them, threatening to sack them but they know I will not, they are all family and I would be hard pressed to find anyone else. Everything was going so well – I had put the senorina apart from the others, made sure her meal was perfect, had cousin Beppe wait on her - Beppe who was the least blessed with good looks, so that she would be glad to see a more handsome face when I approached. I even made sure she had drunk a little to relax her. And then I go and make a fool of myself asking such a personal question. But I had to know that she was free –it was worth it to find out – if only she doesn’t take offense.
I make my way to my cottage, only metres away from the hotel with its own private garden. My mother and father lived there for many happy years until he died suddenly of a heart attack, and I was brought back from Italy to take over, a little earlier than I had planned. I was used to being a bachelor; so many senorinas in the city to while away a day, a week, a month with. My heart sank at the thought of being under my mother’s watchful eye, picking out a worthy village girl, a distant cousin to settle down with. Instead, the hotel has been a wonderful source of many a pleasant short dalliance – bored visitors looking for holiday romance - and I have fended Mama’s efforts at matchmaking off so far. I thank the Lord that she chose to move out to live with her sister’s family and leave me in peace.
I am practiced in the art of seduction but something about this new guest throws me and I am like a fumbling teenager again. Not only that, the mere sight of her arouses me, and spilling the water was partly an attempt to hide my raging manhood. I had taken her hand in a trance, looking for the mark of a ring – some change in texture or pigmentation, but her elegant hands were evenly pale and smooth. Even as I change my trousers I picture her hands on my body, her eyes closed in ecstasy. I shake my head, hurrying back in time for her departure from the dining room, gathering together all the pamphlets I can find on my cousin’s spa.
It is still quite early, but my head spins from the wine and liqueur – and I’m sure the tiramisu had a generous splash of alcohol too. I am tired and start to make my way back to my room, a little disappointed that Marco didn’t return. As I enter the lobby however, I hear his voice as he speaks in rapid Italian on the phone. He catches my eye, motioning me to stay and brandishing a pamphlet in front of me, so I stop. He beams, flashing white teeth in a beneficent smile, his tanned olive skin making them seem even whiter. He puts down the phone.
“Senorina Davis... please, it is so formal using your surname, may I ask your given name?” Why do I blush like a schoolgirl? He looks the type to find flattery easy, good looking and suave, and I wonder how many guests have fallen for his charm. I will be polite and non committal, I didn’t come here for a quick fling, and holiday romances are such a clich?
“My name is Georgina, Georgie to my friends” I look at the pamphlet he has handed me “Very interesting, it’s unusual to find a place that caters exclusively for women – what do you recommend I do – go there first, or explore a little?” he leans over and points to the tariff, suggesting that I try a whole day of pampering – massage, sauna, mud bath, manicure and pedicure.
“I have just received a phone call from my cousin, she has had a cancellation and has a vacancy tomorrow – you will find otherwise you might have to wait a week or more to book an appointment. What is more, it will be available at a discount as the client who cancelled made a substantial deposit” It sounds so tempting and I am tired and a little tipsy, so I find myself agreeing – he offers to make the booking himself, but before he can pick up the phone, it rings. Apologetically, he takes the receiver and half turns away from me. He seems embarrassed and it is a while before he speaks. I can hear a torrent of Italian coming from the earpiece and he grins sheepishly as he answers hesitantly. I am swaying on my feet and decide to leave the booking in his hands. I make my way upstairs, waving goodbye as I mount the stairs.
Before I retire, I make myself a cup of peppermint tea to settle my digestion and take it out onto the balcony where the breeze is cool now. I think I hear a rustling sound below and look over the rail, but see nothing – it must be a cat I tell myself, and go back into my room for a badly needed sleep.
Again I feel such a fool – how could I have tripped on the path below her window? Such a vision of beauty, with the curtains billowing in the breeze. I was strolling back to the cottage inhaling the scent of the flowers, and out she came onto the balcony. The scent of peppermint wafted down to me and I froze mid stride looking up, my neck craning, and overbalanced into the bushes. I hardly dare to move as she sips some sort of nightcap. Will she think me a peeping tom if she discovers me? I remain motionless until she goes back in, shifting at last but not moving on until I am sure she is not at the window.
Back at the cottage I pour a glass of wine and sit in my favourite armchair, the door out to the garden open and letting in the scent of the roses my father cherished and which I keep as best I can. I can see the hotel and fancy that I see her light go out, reminding myself that tomorrow I must order a taxi to take her to the spa. I owe my cousin a favour now for making space for the pale senorina with the porcelain complexion. It was only minutes before Mama was on the phone demanding to know about the new arrival, asking if she had put me under a spell to harangue my cousin so – and all while Miss Davis – Georgie - stood on the other side of the desk to me. I had wanted to talk more to her but she turned and left as Mama lectured me.
My mind can’t let go of her and I imagine her appearance as she returns from the spa, soft as butter and glowing with serenity as do all who return from Sophia’s expert ministrations. I picture myself taking her in my arms then and there in the lobby, whirling her round to the soft music, melting in my arms to do as I wish with her. My mind drifts further and this time she emerges from the hotel down the path to my cottage, through the door and approaches me, leaning down and whispering my name into my ear. I pull her down into my arms and kiss her fiercely, feeling her yield into me. I rise from the chair and carry her to my bed
As I lay her down to have my way with her, I start awake, the sun streaming though the door from the garden. Dio! I have fallen asleep in my chair and now I am late, the staff will be waiting for their orders, the taxi will not arrive in time....... I look at my watch and subside – no it’s alright, it is early yet. My heart slows and I go out into the garden, picking a single red rose.......
I sleep fitfully in the unfamiliar bed, comfortable as it is, and I dream. I dream of Marco, his dark eyes captivating me as he steps out from behind the reception desk, chest bare, to take my hand and kiss it, to put his other hand on my waist and dance to the soft music that is always playing in the lobby. He draws me closer and I don’t resist, my lips aching for his. I wake, hearing a light knock at the door. I draw on my dressing gown and go to investigate. There is no one there, but a tray sits at the side of the door with a single rose and a notecard. I take them up and go back into my room to read the card, which bears the hotel’s letterhead. It is a brief handwritten note telling me that a taxi will come for me at nine o’clock, and to be sure to be ready.
I have a light breakfast as recommended by Beppe, who tells me in his broken English that a full stomach will not sit well with all the treatments I will be receiving at the spa, and make my way to the lobby to wait for the taxi. My heart makes a little skip as I see Marco behind the desk
“Boun giorno, bella senorina” he smiles “You are in good time. May I tell you that tomorrow in the village is our giorno di festa – the summer fiesta. There will be a market and boat races in the daytime, and at night.....” here he pauses, leaning over the counter “There will be a feast in the square, and dancing. Do you dance, senorina?” I smile sheepishly
“My mother made me take lessons when I was young, but I’m a little rusty” To my alarm, he comes out from behind the desk, proffering his hand, but I am saved from embarrassment by the taxi drawing up outside, and swiftly he comes to open the door for me and into the open air, the heat building already. He beats the taxi driver to the car and opens that door also. As I reach to close it, I find his hand on mine. He drops to one knee, looking me in the eye
“Enjoy your day, senorina, and return refreshed and rejuvenated. Perhaps we will find how well you remember your dance lessons at the fiesta” His gaze is unnerving, I take my hand from his and he stands to close the door. We set off along the smooth dive and out onto the dusty and even road.
I leave the rose and card at her door, waiting around the corner of the corridor until she comes out to retrieve it, and sprint back downstairs. I harangue the kitchen staff for their behaviour last night, and hurry back to the cottage to shave and change. I am barely in time for the senorina’s return to the lobby, shooing the girl away and running my fingers through my hair, doing my best to appear nonchalant although my heart hammers at the thought of seeing her. Beppe has been teasing me, asking why the senorina is not already in my bed, but I don’t want to rush things. I could have taken her down to the village myself, or ‘accidentally’ bumped into her there, taking her for lunch, or suggested a boat trip, a tour of the vineyards. Instead I am sending her away for the day to allow myself the time to work out what to do next.
Despite myself I tell her of the fiesta tomorrow, thoughts of whirling her around the square as my dance partner, drawing envious glances from the other men crowding my head. That in itself is surprising to me – my liaisons are usually conducted in private, my prowess something of a legend amongst my friends. I can’t help asking her if she dances, and go to make my move, but the taxi draws up and instead I accompany her out to it, for all the world like an English gentleman, opening doors for her. I don’t know what makes me sink to one knee as she goes to close the door – one more chance, perhaps, to look into those sea green eyes. The taxi driver looks at me as if I am mad, rolling his eyes and shaking his head. I collect myself – how can a woman have such an effect on me, I am usually in control of my actions. I stand and close the door, and don’t go back inside until the taxi is out of sight.
There is another woman staying at the hotel that caught my eye before the English girl arrived, and I go to the dining room where she is still lingering over her coffee. I sit to make conversation, but something is different. She is coquettish and obviously attracted to me, but she seems to meld into one with all the other women I have seduced recently, and I am bored and indifferent. When she asks for advice on local places of interest, I find myself handing her leaflets and excusing myself. I go back to the cottage and work in the garden, and my siesta is filled with dreams of Senorina Georgie in my arms, whirling around the square in the village, all eyes on us as we dance in perfect harmony.
The day at the spa is incredible, and I return late in the afternoon, relaxed and invigorated. There is a little time before dinner so I sit out on my balcony with my sketchpad and watercolours, capturing the distant sea, the fields and the nearby cottage with a surprisingly lush garden. As I watch, I see someone emerge from the house to tend to the flowers, and realise it is Marco. I continue to paint, I can’t stop until it is done, and add his figure as he works. I am engrossed in another part of the picture when I sense movement on the path below. Marco is approaching the hotel carrying flowers, and he looks up at me and waves
“Senorina, did you enjoy your day?” he calls up, and I put down my brush
“Yes thankyou, Sophia is a wonderful masseuse” I reply, meaning it sincerely, feeling so relaxed it’s as if I am floating on air.
“Dinner will be served soon, senorina Georgie” he continues “I recommend the swordfish; my brother caught it only today” I hear someone calling him and he bows “I will see you shortly senorina” and he crosses the veranda into the dining room. The painting is finished, but I take my pad and paints with me in a bag, thinking to work again on the veranda after dinner. I find myself putting perfume on and checking my hair, picking up a soft shawl to put around my shoulders in case the night air is chilly.
The meal serves to ground me a little, and I recognise the single flower at each table as from the armful Marco was carrying, a delicate pinky peach colour, delicately scented. Again he appears after dessert is served, and comes over to me with a bottle and two small glasses. Smiling, he wordlessly asks to sit with me, and I gesture my acceptance. He pours two small glasses of liqueur, telling me it it a local delicacy, flavoured with herbs. He takes a sip and leans forward a little as I feel it burn its way pleasantly down my throat.
“Tell me senorina Georgie, did I see you painting on the balcony just now?” I find heat rising to my face as I tell him that I was.
“Yes Senor – Marco, I wanted to study Art when I was younger, but my parents insisted that I study Business.”
“I would very much like to see your work” he says “Before I came back here to run the Hotel, I worked in an Art Gallery in Napoli. I’m sure you are very talented” I laugh
“Oh, I doubt it, although my Aunt was a good painter in her time and encouraged me all she could.” He puts his hand on mine, and again I feel that electric jolt.
“Let me be the judge of that, senorina Georgie” Reluctantly I reach for my bag and draw out the pad, handing it to him ready with an apology
“I prefer landscapes; I was hoping perhaps to paint the village.” He scrutinises my work for a while and I wait with bated breath. At last he smiles
“Charming senorina, just like you” and he looks up, holding my embarrassed gaze. He must be humouring me, I think to myself and try to change the subject, gesturing to the flowers on the table.
“Did I see you picking these, Marco?” I ask, and he smiles, handing the bloom for me to smell.
“They were my father’s passion before he passed away. I tend them as well as I can, but he had such talent. He bred one and named it after my mother.” He pauses and takes my hand “Personally I prefer the English roses, so delicate and fragrant” If I blushed before, it is as nothing as to how I blush now, and I can’t meet his eyes.
How cruel I feel to make this enchanting creature blush so, but my words come from my heart and I see myself as the bee come to plunder the bloom for its sweet nectar. I invite her to come and see the roses before the light goes, and while it is cool. She agrees, and I take her arm as she rises, my heart beating wildly to feel her so close to me. My body screams at me to take her now, so soft and fragrant, but my steely resolve to be respectful overcomes all. What is it that challenges me so, why isn’t she like all the others? I want her to want me, to feel the same as I do, and I feel that it isn’t right to force that on her; I must win her through fair means. We reach the garden, and she is soon exclaiming at the blooms and the strong scent rising from them, heady in the still evening air. I let go of her arm and let her flit from bush to bush, telling her the names of each. She turns to me, her eyes shining.
“They are magnificent, Marco; I must paint them – would you allow me to come and sit here?” There is nothing I would like better and already I picture her sitting busily working, can see myself standing behind her, hand going to brush a stray titian lock away from her face, captivated by the curve of her neck, bending to brush it softly with my fingers, my lips following.
“Are you alright Marco?” she says, looking at me quizzically. I snap back to myself, and reassure her I am fine, just preoccupied with plans for tomorrow. She asks what will be happening, so I sit on a bench, motioning her to sit beside me.
“There will be a pony and cart to take the guests down to the village in the morning. It will be making trips backward and forward during the day, so you can stay as long as you like, or return for a siesta when it is hot. There will only be one or two staff at the hotel, as everyone participates, and the fiesta will go on for three days. There will be a light evening meal for those that want it, but there is a feast in the village every night, followed by music and dancing” I decide to be bold and take her hand “I hope you will save a dance for me, senorina Georgie – you are sure to receive many such invitations, and if they are unwelcome, I hope you will tell me and I will take care of it” She smiles uncertainly, and says in a quiet voice that it is late and she had better return to her room.
I stand and walk back with her, this time without touching, and we stop on the veranda at the door back into the dining room. Before she can leave, I take her hand and kiss it, looking deep into those captivating green eyes “Until tomorrow, Senorina Georgie.” She gazes back at me for a moment, then takes her hand away like a frightened bird, but she smiles as she turns to leave.
I feel dizzy as I make my way back to my room, dizzy from the pampering at the spa, at the liqueur I drank after dinner, from the sight and smell of the roses – and I admit, from the attentions of Marco. I keep telling myself that I am not looking for anything, repeating a mantra in my head “I am done with men, I do not want romance” but it is impossible to forget him. Again I dream of him, of the heady scent of the roses, of things I am sure I did not notice at the time – his hand, taking mine, is rough from gardening, his cologne has a musky undertone, his pupils are dilated. We dance again, whirling round and round, this time amongst others but heedless of them.
I awake not entirely rested, shower and go down to breakfast. Marco is not there and neither is Beppe. The young girl from reception tells us when the pony and cart is to leave for the village, and I go to fetch my paints and pad. I dress in a flowing skirt, loose blouse and take my wide brimmed hat, packing sunblock too. The pony and cart are decked out with flowers and rattles off along the uneven road down to the village.
The village is even prettier than the pictures in the tourist pamphlet, and the whitewashed houses leading down to the harbour are lent an air of gaiety by the coloured flags crisscrossing the streets. There is a broad stone flagged square with a stage at one end, empty for now, and lights are strung all around it. Stalls crowd the square now, and the other guests descend on them, but I decide to walk out further to investigate the harbour. The colour of the sea is breathtaking, and the water is high, only a handful of boats left and flags running all around the edge. I can tell it is a working port with local boats, and a few booths that offer pleasure rides and fishing to tourists. A cafe overlooks the waterfront, tables and chairs outside on a wide stone flagged area only feet away from the water. I earmark this for lunch later, and I wander out onto the breakwater that shelters the village, all the time searching for a good point to sit and paint. I don’t feel comfortable enough to do that just yet, so wander back to the square to look at the stalls, exchanging pleasantries with the other guests from the hotel.
I buy a few trinkets and browse over a stall selling jewellery, but can’t decide on anything just now. I feel restless, rootless, and keep expecting to bump into Marco, but he is nowhere to be seen. I suddenly feel in need of company, and agree to sit with the two elderly ladies for lunch at the quayside cafe. They are sweet and talkative, and decide to go back to the hotel for a siesta when they have finished eating. I choose to stay with my coffee, watching the fishing boats coming back in. Apparently the races start tomorrow, and some of the boats are already decked out with flags and freshly painted. A young man sits nearby, also taking coffee, and he leans over to make conversation.
“Boun giorno senorina – you like?” he waves a hand at the view. I nod, not wanting to engage with a stranger, but he persists, moving his chair closer, turning it so the back is to me and straddles it. “You are English, No?” another polite nod, and he continues “I am Liugi – I love the English – you are so beautiful, senorina, will you tell me your name?” I freeze, not knowing how to respond and he laughs, sitting back away from me “Scusi, I am – maleducado – I am rude, but your beauty dazzles me” I blush furiously and get up to go. “Sona spiacente – I am sorry, senorina. Perhaps we will meet again, and I will be more polite” The cafe owner comes over to see what the matter is, but I say that it’s alright, I am leaving anyway as the heat of the day is building.
I make my way back up to the square and find the pony and trap is just about to leave, the elderly ladies still waiting. It is a relief to get back to the air conditioned room, but there is a surprise waiting for me. A huge bouquet of roses sits on my dressing table, many different kinds, giving off a heady scent. A card accompanies it, bearing the same handwriting as the card with the single rose from yesterday. ‘Roses for a perfect English rose’ it says and I smile. I sit for a little while painting them before taking a siesta.
When I wake, I get ready for the dance, putting on a long sea green dress that clings to my upper torso but flares out below the waist, with a neckline that is low without being too revealing and put on a pair of matching low court shoes. I put on a touch of makeup, silver earrings and matching necklace, and a generous spray of perfume. I take a shawl and an evening bag, and make my way down to the lobby, hoping to see Marco. My hopes are dashed, and I resign myself to keeping the two old ladies company for the night.
In the village, the stalls are cleared away and tables groan with food, smaller tables put aside for eating on. Coloured lights deck the stage and all around the square, the centre of which is clear ready for dancing. Already the band is playing enthusiastically, and I take a table with the two ladies, helping them to food and drink. I eat sparingly myself, not feeling hungry, but I do take a glass of the local red wine, and after a while spot a table near the stage where some of the staff from the hotel are sitting. I decide to make my way over and ask after Marco, leaving my glass, shawl and bag in the safekeeping of my companions. As soon as I stand I realise the wine is a little stronger than I had thought and it is a little challenging to make my way between the tables and the dancefloor, which is starting to fill now that people have eaten. I am barely halfway there when someone bars my way – it is the young man that I met earlier at the harbour cafe.
“Senorina, I said we would meet again. Come, dance with me” and before I can say anything he has seized me by the waist and arm, spinning me into the centre of the dancefloor. I am already dizzy and none too surefooted from the wine, and I protest, stumbling a little. “You English are so reserved, so shy – but I know you are passionate and fiery, senorina” he murmurs into my ear. Alarmed, I try to break away from him, but he is bearing me to a side of the square where the tables have been cleared away and the alleyways at the edge are dim and narrow. The music is loud and all eyes turn to the stage; no one notices us, or maybe we are seen as a couple merely making for a quiet corner.
“Please Senor, let me go” I protest, but he grips me tighter. He is strong and determined and keeps moving me toward the alleyway. I start to struggle but we are away from the crowd now, and he drags me into the dark. I feel cold fear in the pit of my stomach and open my mouth to scream.
“We are alone now senorina” he says hoarsely “Do not tease me, kiss me now” and he presses me against the wall, one hand on my throat, stifling my scream to a squeak. I struggle desperately, trying to bring my knee up into his groin as he leans close, his body pressing me to the wall, his other hand fumbling for the hem of my dress, when I am suddenly aware of a strong hand on my attacker’s shoulder.
“Arresto Senor!” says a deep voice that I recognise as Beppe’s, and beyond him I see Marco running from the square, breathless. Luigi takes his hand from my thigh and turns, snarling at Beppe. Marco pries his hand from my throat and I slide to the ground, fighting to get my breath back. I hear arguing and the unmistakeable sound of a fist connecting with flesh, a cry and more shouting. Then Marco is kneeling beside me, hand on my shoulder to prevent me from falling forward
“Senorina, speak to me” There is a desperation in his voice “I am so sorry, this beast will never touch another woman” More people arrive on the scene as I answer
“I - I’m alright......you got here just in time” Marco resorts to a stream of rapid Italian as he helps me to my feet. Beppe is keeping tight hold of Luigi, who has a bloody face. Marco helps me to a table and sits me down, still keeping up a stream of Italian to those around us. Finally he turns to me, and someone hands him a glass which he passes to me, urging me to drink it. Sylvia from the spa is there too, sitting on the other side of me and speaking soothingly. I take the drink and swallow – it burns as it goes down and I realise it is brandy. Marco draws up a chair and seems to be calmer now. He takes my hand and I feel the warmth soothing me.
“I am so sorry, Senorina Georgie.” he starts “We have been looking for this man all day. You are not the first he has attacked – a young cousin of mine was molested last night, and Beppe and I have been searching all day.” He clenches his fist, a little bloodied from the brief scuffle “If only I had found him earlier” I find my voice at last
“He spoke to me at the cafe by the quay” I say, a little hoarse. “I didn’t talk to him”
“You will want to go back to the hotel after such a scare?” he asks, but I shake my head
“No, I’m not going to let him spoil my evening, or my holiday” I say “I’ll be ok in a little while.” Marco nods and smiles
“You are brave, senorina Georgie. Sylvia will sit with you; you will not be alone for a second” I laugh
“Not brave, just stubborn” I say, and Marco takes my hand and kisses it, excusing himself and going back to Beppe and my attacker; the local Polizia have arrived and there are raised voices and note taking. To my relief, I don’t seem to be involved, and I sit and chat with Sylvia.
It isn’t long before news of the fracas had spread, and family and friends arrive on the scene. Luigi is taken away in handcuffs, and Marco and Beppe are surrounded, slapped on the back, hugged and kissed. My part is discovered and I get my fair share of attention. Someone decides that dancing will ease my trauma, and I am taken off to the dancefloor with a group of local women who attempt to teach me the steps to the piece the band are playing. I quickly start to enjoy myself, laughing and keeping in rhythm with the others. I dance until the music changes and slows, and turn to leave the square. I feel a tap on my shoulder, and Marco stands smiling with hand outstretched
“You don’t look rusty to me Senorina” he says “I would be honoured if you would be my partner”
I was almost beside myself when I saw Georgina being dragged off to the alleyway after a whole day of frantic searching for my cousin’s attacker. Thank God he chose the very place that Beppe had gone to relieve himself. I myself scrambled through the crowd as fast as I could as soon as I saw her, elbowing the dancers aside and treading on more than a few toes on the way. My fist still throbs from the blow I dealt him and as she takes my hand for the dance, I wince a little.
“Marco, you’re hurt” she exclaims, but I insist that it is nothing.
“Dancing with you is worth the pain” I say, putting my other hand to her waist and drawing her closer to the centre of the square. Her hand is cool and soft and I sigh to have my desire met; at last I have her moving with me in time to the music, all the panic and adrenalin of the day falling away. I forget everything else as we sway to the rhythm together – I had imagined envious looks from others, but now I don’t care, all that exists is us and the music.
“I missed seeing you today, Marco” she says, and my heart swells. I think back over the day and how I tried to engage with another woman only this morning. Even as the music changes and I draw her closer to me, dizzy with her scent, my conscience troubles me.
“I must talk to you, my English rose” I say “Can we go somewhere quiet?” she nods assent, and I steer her toward the edge of the square – not toward the alleyways but toward the wide street leading down to the harbour. Silently we disengage and I take her hand as we walk down to the waterside. We are not totally alone, that might remind her of her recent ordeal – it’s open here and there are other lovers strolling or sitting and talking. We come to a low wall and I sit, drawing her down beside me. She looks to me, her eyes asking questions, and I begin.
“Senorina, the moment you walked into the lobby you stole my heart” I start, almost unable to meet her eyes, feeling like a teenager with his first crush “I admit I have said this before to many women, but this time is different. I have always been in control, and I am well known for my way with women. If you were the same as all the rest, you would be in my bed already and I would be looking for the next conquest. But you are not, and I want to treat you with respect. You are not here for long – longer than most of my guests, but I want to make your stay unforgettable. But I have to know if you will allow me to do this – if you will forgive my former ways. I swear to you that I will not look at another woman if you say yes” I laugh “Already no one else affects me like you do and I will be unhappy if you say no, but I will respect your decision. Of course you can take your time deciding...” I stop as I sense her unrest and my heart leaps in my chest.
“Marco, I like your honesty, and I have to tell you I wasn’t looking for romance when I came here. I don’t know how to tell if you are truthful, and I have to tell you in turn that it isn’t long since I left a relationship – a long one. I’m happy to be free and this holiday is important to me, I have to rethink my life before I return.” My heart sinks and she must see it in my face, as she takes my hand and squeezes it gently “But life is short and I have to admit that you have affected me too. I think I would regret it if I said no – but you must be careful with me; let’s be honest with each other and see what happens” Now my poor heart soars and I can’t help but throw my arms around her
“Amore mio – my love – you won’t regret it, I promise you” and I stand, taking her hand “Let’s go back to the others - I want to tell them....” she stands but resists me, laughing, and pulls me toward her
“Not yet Marco, I want you all to myself for a while – come here and kiss me” Gladly I move back to her, tipping her chin upwards and leaning in to softly touch her lips with mine. I sense her lips parting but hold back for now, just tasting her sweetness and allowing my hand to stray to her waist. The kiss lingers as she responds eagerly, leaning into me. I take advantage of her parted lips, my tongue meeting hers as I feel her soft breasts pressing against my chest. But I must stop before she lights the flame inside me; already I fight my own body’s response.
“We must stop, my English rose, you don’t know what effect you have on me.” I break away from her and take her hand again – her eyes shine and her whole demeanour is softer as we walk back to the square and my family and friends.
I walk back as if in a dream. I had already imagined Marco as a womaniser; it came as no surprise, but his actions are gentlemanly and romantic. I feel so bold making the decision, but after all I came to discover myself, and it seemed to happen so naturally. I hope I can trust him but suddenly find myself willing to take the risk. The remainder of the evening is spent being introduced to members of his family, chatting as best I can with my limited Italian, and again we dance, the music slower now as the hour is late. I melt into his arms and we dance as one, taking no heed of the time until I realise I am tired. He notices and offers to take me back. The other guests are long gone and the only way back now is in his cousin’s taxi. We climb into the back and I half doze on the way back to the hotel, resting my head on his shoulder. The taxi stops at the end of the drive and we walk together hand in hand silently, the stars bright overhead and the scent of the roses drifting across from the cottage garden. We stop near the lobby and he turns to face me.
“If I was my usual self, I would carry you to my bed here and now, but you are tired and tomorrow there is much to do. The tide is perfect for the regatta, and there will be many boat races. I am involved in the organisation and will be busy, but you can watch with my family; my Uncle has a house overlooking the sea and you can see very well from there” My heart sinks at the thought of being apart from him so soon, and he can see my disappointment. He reaches out and takes my chin in his hand, raising my face and leaning down to give a long lingering kiss that makes my pulse race and my knees go weak. I put my arms around his neck, and as our lips part I sigh.
“Don’t leave me Marco, not now” He laughs and takes my hands away, holding them in his and holding my gaze.
“There is nothing I would like better than to take you to my bed right now, but I won’t. I want this to be different. Tomorrow after the prizes are given out, I will cook for you in my cottage, and we will see where that leads us. Now go before I change into the beast that I was before I met you.”
“I can’t walk away Marco” I protest, but he is firm
“Yes you can, my charming English rose. It is only hours ago that you were attacked – do you want to remember that when I touch you? Tomorrow it will have faded, and you are tired and too eager. You need to rest and get your strength back – now I tell you for the last time – go! I go too.” And with this he turns on his heel and walks away. I stand for a moment, my whole body wanting to follow him, screaming at me to run, but my head wins and I walk slowly back inside to my room.
My legs bear my reluctant body away from her and I grit my teeth in determination. Once inside I close and lock the door, go upstairs and have a cold shower. Dio, does she not know the effect she has on me? I have had to hide my arousal from her all night, her soft and yielding body inches away from my crude physical reaction, hard as iron under my thankfully loose trousers. I have to have a strong drink before I take myself to bed and lay my head on the pillow, falling asleep quickly.
The sheets are soon twisted about me from my restless body being tormented by dreams of her. I see her walking toward me in a pale summer dress, and as she walks it falls away from her as petals from a rose until she walks stands in front of me, naked and smiling, lips parted to kiss me, eyes closed. I reach out to touch her but draw my hand back, blood on my fingers; looking again it isn’t her but a soft tinted bloom with savage thorns that have driven into my flesh. Vases of flowers sit on my dining table, petals falling, and there is only one bush left in the garden that I struggle to protect from the harsh winter wind.
I wake with a start, sweating in the heat. I go and fling the window open to let the cool air in. The garden is peaceful and the hotel dark and quiet, and I take in the air, the roses suddenly smelling sickly sweet. I feel guilt for all the women I have used and discarded. I feel helpless and don’t know what to do now I have won her. Senorina Georgie, what do you want from me?
I am tired, but overtired and I lie down motionless, the noise of my heart keeping me awake. Every little movement makes it beat stronger and I abandon the effort, sitting up and turning on the TV that has so far remained unwatched. Keeping the volume low lulls me to sleep and I allow myself to slide down under the covers, exhausted as the flickering screen illuminates the room.
I dream – I pursue Marco through a maze of hedges, never quite able to see him clearly. Suddenly I reach the centre and see him savagely pruning a bush down to the ground, feverishly cutting at the stems. I cry out and run forward to stop him, and he turns to me, puzzled at my interference. I look again and the bush is whole, unknown blooms bursting into flower. He carefully clips one, handing it to me and saying “This one has no thorns” and I take his hand, leaning into him, striving to touch his lips with mine. The closer I get to him, the more he pulls away until I cry with frustration. I wake to the sun slanting in at an angle, my body aching with longing.
I shower and dress, going down to breakfast. I feel a thrill go through me as Marco appears to serve the coffee, smiling at me as soon as he enters. He seems to move agonisingly slowly around the tables, coming to me last. He takes my hand and kisses it, sitting with me to drink. I leave my hand on the table, fingertips barely touching his, wishing the day away until we are alone.
“Did you sleep well, Amore mio?” he asks, turning my hand over and tracing a circle in my palm.
“No, Marco, the bed was big and empty and cold” I say teasingly, drawing my hand away. He raises an eyebrow
“You are very bold senorina, be careful what you wish for” We are interrupted by one of the elderly ladies, who calls over
“Oh Senor – when does the pony and cart leave for the village?” her companion adds “Don’t leave without us, we aren’t as quick as we used to be” He rolls his eyes at me and goes over to pay attention to them, leaving me to go and get ready.
I change into a long loose skirt and blouse, taking my hat and bag, and go down to meet the others ready for the regatta. Marco steps forward as I go out into the morning sun, taking my arm and leading me to the pony and trap, decked out again with flowers. He helps me up onto the front of the carriage before helping the remainder of the guests. He comes up to sit beside me, beaming with pleasure before taking the reins and gently urging the pony into motion. The drive to the road is smooth but the road down the hill is not; some of the guests grumble as we go over the potholes but I find myself laughing and holding on to my hat and the padded bench we sit on. Marco smiles at my pleasure and urges a little more speed. I am mesmerised by his forearms, tanned and muscular, his strong hands expertly twitching the reins to navigate a smooth descent into the village. The fresh air is invigorating and the view ever changing as we approach. All too soon we are there and Marco gets down, seeing to the others first. Sylvia is waiting and hops into the cart before Marco takes us to his uncle’s house. Once there, he helps me down, all but picking me off my feet and kissing me as he puts me down.
“I must go amore mio, I will see you after the prize giving” he says as the front door to the house flies open, and we are welcomed by a multitude of relatives, some but not all of whom I recognise from the night before. I am hugged, kissed and squeezed, subject to a stream of rapid Italian and taken inside. As a guest I’m not allowed to lift a finger and am proudly shown around the house before being seated out in the shade on the broad balcony overlooking the harbour. The intricacies of the boat races are explained to me, half in Italian, half in English, and favourites and family members’ boats pointed out. The men gather and make bets, no doubt for small amounts but their enjoyment is not diminished for that. Lunch is served inside, the table groaning with salads and pasta, pizza, fresh bread, cheese, fruit and jugs of both alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks with ice. Marco’s mother, Gabriella, takes it upon herself to try to make me sample every dish on the table, remarking how thin and pale I am. She is determined to send me home more than a few pounds heavier, but I manage to eat sparingly without insulting her. The afternoon progresses and despite the excitement of the races, I doze a little in the heat.
The whole family go down to the square in the late afternoon for the prizegiving. Marco is with others on the stage, and Sylvia explains that one of the cups to be awarded is given in Marco’s father’s name, presented by Marco. His brother is also to receive a special award for best decorated boat, and Gabriella has tears in her eyes as the cups and rosettes are given out. Finally Marco joins us, coming straight to my side and putting his arm around my shoulder
“Senorina, you look tired, my family is too much for you” he jokes turning to his mother “Mama, I said to look after her, not wear her out. I must take her back to the hotel to rest” Sylvia opens her mouth to say something but Marco glares at her. Gabriella feigns annoyance, protesting that she has looked after me perfectly, that I just need a little more meat on my bones and then I will be strong enough to withstand Marco’s advances. Marco draws me away back to the pony and cart, the other guests waiting to go back. Again he sits me on the front and we make our slow way back up. I am indeed tired, and sway with the motion, clinging on to the seat, leaning into Marco’s solid body and again gazing at his strong hands on the reins. He stops the cart at the hotel front, Beppe waiting to take it away and help the others down. Marco lifts me gently to the ground.
“I was joking when I said you looked tired, senorina, but you do look weary. Go and change, and I will prepare dinner – come when you are ready” and he kisses me softly on the forehead. I lean into him, feeling his arms around me, not wanting to leave, but I do need to freshen up, and tear myself away
“I won’t be long Marco” I promise, and go inside.
The day has passed interminably slowly and the memory of my English amore sustains me while I officiate at the regatta. Her hand cool in mine as I lifted her up onto the seat of the cart, a glimpse of her shapely legs under her soft skirt; her high spirits as we descended the pitted road, laughing as we were all jostled around. My arm around her waist as I lifted her down again and delivered to the arms of my large and noisy family, safe from harm; her scent, her green eyes gazing into mine. At last we were reunited, and I felt pride and happiness at her closeness as we made our way back. Now she has skipped off to prepare for the evening.
What does the evening bring? I realise how nervous I am at the thought of what I should do next. The meal is simple, and I will have flowers on the table, soft music playing and the bed made upstairs; but am I moving too fast? What experience does she have and what will she expect? I busy myself with cooking – just a simple Bolognese with pasta, a bottle of Valpolicella ready to be opened, tiramisu chilling in the fridge. I hear the patio door out into the garden slide open and go to greet her. Silently I hold her in my arms, just content to feel her soft body pressing into mine, her scent suffusing my senses. She holds on to me, head pressed to my chest; she must be deafened by my heartbeat. I stroke her hair and resolve not to worry but to let the evening take its course. Reluctantly I let her go.
“I must go to the kitchen – sit and rest, it won’t be long.” She smiles up at me, eyes sparkling
“Really, I’m not tired Marco. Can I help?”
“You can watch amore mio, but Mama’s secret ingredient stays secret” I joke, and lead the way to the kitchen. She sits and watches me busy myself, but really there is little left to do except wait for the pasta to cook. I feel her eyes on me, and I have to make conversation or I will melt from the heat of passion and cooking.
“Tell me senorina, you said you had just broken up with someone – how could any man in his right mind reject you?” I immediately regret my question as she looks sad, but I have to know something of her experience with men.
“He found someone else, Marco. He was very possessive and didn’t like me making a show of myself – but the girl he left me for was a model. He told me I wasn’t taking pride in my appearance, but he was the one who told me not to wear makeup and how I should dress. I wonder if he will do the same with her.” I go across to her and kneel in front of her, looking into her eyes
“You have natural beauty amore mio; why would one apply paint on a delicate bloom? I am proud to be seen with you, I would not hide you away.” I see the trace of tears in her eyes and go on “Tell me if you can – was he generous in bed? Did you feel fulfilled?” She blushes a little “I ask because I need to know – must I be passionate, or gentle with my English rose?”
“He – I suppose he was selfish, Marco. We were together for four years and we lived together, but when I found out about the other woman, I left. I was so sure we were going to stay together that I had a contraceptive coil fitted, and I still have it. It’s difficult to talk about, but looking back, it was all good to start with. He was my first, but toward the end he didn’t seem to care much about me.” I feel anger rise inside me.
“If this man was here before me, he would regret neglecting you. Let me tell you Georgina, my reputation is deserved. I am not a selfish man, my lovers come back to me because I please them, find out what they desire. There are some who come back every year, those that understand that between us it is a game, that we can pick up where we left off and never speak a word between visits. I don’t know where we are going, perhaps we will part in the same way, but my heart is yours now and I have already promised you not to look at another while we are together.” The timer for the pasta interrupts and I turn away, letting my words sink in. I find myself wishing that she were here for longer and am shocked; usually I see my conquests off without a flicker of regret. She doesn’t answer, and I serve the pasta there on the kitchen table; she has a modest portion and I grin.
“Did Mama try to fatten you up?” I laugh, and she nods
“Yes – didn’t you hear her saying I should have more meat on my bones?” she giggles as she twirls the spaghetti around her fork.
“You are beautiful as you are, and as long as you are comfortable in your own skin, that is all that matters my love” We eat and the conversation turns to other things – her work, her home, her friends; I explain a little about my own vast family.
“Many of my friends envy me for having my own place to myself. It’s unusual for a single man to live alone. Mama is always trying to find a suitable wife for me, but always I tell her I am too busy.” We have both finished eating and I take the plates and fetch the dessert out of the fridge – just the one dish of tiramisu and one spoon. She looks at me, puzzled
“Aren’t you having any, Marco?” I smile and draw my chair up closer to hers, taking a spoonful and offering it to her. She takes it and I watch her savour the bitter sweet taste while I take one myself, only taking my eyes off her for a moment.
“I love tiramisu – there’s a lot of coffee in it, I’ll never sleep tonight......” her voice trails off, her eyes widen, and I laugh.
“It’s your choice amore mio, eat a little and sleep soundly, eat more and stay awake with me” She raises her eyebrows and opens her mouth for another spoonful, leaning a little closer. We eat silently, getting closer with each spoon until I put it down and our lips touch. I taste the coffee on her tongue and shift closer, one knee between hers. My whole body thrills to the challenge and I know what I must do now. I must be sensitive to her needs, aware of every little sign she gives me. Lord knows I am experienced in reading women, and she cannot be much different to any of them; the signs of pleasure are universal. The kiss deepens and I feel her whole body straining toward mine. This is no longer the right place to be and I break away, standing and taking her hand.
“Come with me, amore mio, and I will fulfil your every desire. Have no fear, if I go too far or displease you in any way, tell me. The more I know about you the better I can please you. Come, and be mine senorina”
The meal has been simple but perfect, the wine and the dessert helping me to relax, the coffee in the tiramisu combats any sleepiness I feel along with the adrenalin as I reach out to take Marco’s hand, certain of myself now. I rise and silently he leads the way upstairs, into the bedroom, the window open and the cool rose scented air swirling around us. He puts his hand to my face, gazing into my eyes, and kisses me deeply and softly. My bones feel like water as his fingers go to the buttons on my blouse and my hands go to his shoulders for support. He draws away, eyes downcast to my chest as he fumbles a little. His hands slide around my waist, the blouse open now and I shiver to feel the slight roughness presumably produced by his gardening skills, and I remember his hands strong on the reins only a short while ago.
He draws me closer, lips wandering down to my neck, hands feeling for the clasp of my bra, not taking long to release it. He pulls back a little and pushes the blouse off my shoulders, letting it fall to the floor as it slides smoothly off my arms. I stand still as he lifts the thin straps of my bra away and down, his expression rapt as he reveals my breasts. My nipples pucker with desire and the cool breeze, though the room is warm. I sway and he brings his hands to my hips, steadying me and reaching behind me to cup my buttocks. I lean into him, breathing in his musky scent and passing my hands under his shirt to feel his bare flesh, my arms snaking around him and gliding over his back. He shifts and runs his hands under my waistband, pulling it over my hips, bending a little until my skirt drops to the floor. I am left wearing only my panties, my shoes left downstairs when I came in. His hands glide over my thighs softly, up over my buttocks again and up my bare back, making me shiver and sigh, then I feel his fingers run through my hair, murmuring in my ear in Italian. My legs can’t hold me anymore and I cling to him.
“Marco, I can’t stand....” I start, and he pulls back in consternation
“What is it, what have I done wrong, amore?” he asks, puzzled, and I laugh
“It’s alright my love, I just mean I can’t stand up anymore, you made me go weak at the knees” He sighs with relief and guides me to the bed to sit down. From here, I unfasten his shirt buttons; he shrugs his shirt off, revealing his smooth lightly muscled chest, his biceps well defined, belly flat but slightly soft, a faint trail of dark hair leading down from his navel. My hands reach out to his waistband, but his hand goes to mine to stop me.
“No, senorina, allow me” he says, standing back a little, and undoes his belt and flies, letting his trousers slide down stepping out of them. My eyes are drawn to the impressive bulge under his boxer shorts “My ah – friend has been impatient to meet you” he grins “You have no idea how much, but he is under control, never fear” I giggle and he comes to join me on the bed, sitting beside me and kissing me again. He shifts on to the bed, lips meeting mine and playing a sort of chasing game, backing off so our lips are barely touching, so I have to follow until we are both kneeling on the bed facing one another. His hand goes to my shoulder, laying me down on the bed and lying beside me, so we face each other lying on our sides. He looks into my eyes again, hand gliding over my skin – over my shoulder, my upper arm and down to my hip and thigh, a spider soft touch that brings my senses alive and turns me to goosebumps. He explores me with his fingertips until I feel as if I am melting away, muscles turning to butter.
Next on his list for attention are my breasts, and he gently pushes me over onto my back, leaning over so that his lips graze over the flesh of my chest, butterfly kisses moving toward the nub of one nipple while one hand cups the other, thumb circling my areola. He takes his hand away as he takes the nipple into his mouth, sucking gently, teeth grazing the puckered flesh, and now his hand glides over my belly, thumb exploring my navel, fingers pressing the fabric of my panties. I run my fingers through his dark hair, unable to keep still under his touch even though I am weak with desire, intense tingling in my groin and belly.
“Amore mio, I want to taste every inch of you” he murmurs, and shifts down the bed, gently removing my panties and running his hands down to my feet. I am particularly ticklish here and jerk them away, but he makes soothing noises, apologising and gliding his palms upward to the front of my thighs, gently stroking them and I shift, allowing my thighs to fall open a little. At this he groans and murmurs in his native tongue, lowering his head to my thighs and trailing kisses upward.
As I explore her body, soft and pliant, it takes all my self control to go slowly, but I want to maximise her pleasure. Her skin is still porcelain white, her pubic hair as red as that on her head - I knew of course that there is nothing false about this young woman who affects me so strongly. I am intoxicated by the aroma coming from her womanhood, a ripe inviting smell that entices me to find out more. As I kiss and stroke her thighs I hear her low moans and she shifts, opening her thighs a little. I gently tease them further apart, mind intent on the prize but patient for her to reveal it at her own pace. I hold my breath as she opens to me, her private parts so like rose petals, soft and fragrant. My fingers stoke her outer lips, and feel the slickness already gathering there, inviting me to probe gently deeper, slipping easily inside. I let my breath out in a long sigh, directing it over her delicate petals.
I stroke the length of her lips and gently part them, revealing the tight nub of her clitoris, already swollen and enticing. I kneel between her legs, and listen and feel her every move and sound, knowing that she is in transports of delight. I lean closer and press my tongue to her bud, rewarded by a little shudder and a soft cry. My own manhood throbs and aches to feel itself engulfed by the warm velvet softness where my fingers already explore, but my tongue circles her clitoris again, flicking softly across it and blowing gently. Her hips move, pressing up to me, her fingers going to my head and digging determinedly into my scalp, pulling me to her. Here I am uncertain as to how sensitive she is, how firm I should be, so I am gentle and gradually increase the pressure with my circling tongue. I am rewarded by her fingers tightening and her hips pushing up in a great paroxysm, a guttural cry escaping her lips as she calls out my name, her soft walls tightening around my fingers. I lap up the flood of her juices and gently disengage as her hands soften and release my head. I move up beside her and hold her close to me, feeling her heart beat strongly. I am surprised at the swiftness of her climax, but her words enlighten me...
“Marco, no one has ever done that for me” I don’t know whether to be angry or sad as I stroke her hair
“You have never met a man worthy of you, amore mio. You deserve the best, and I shall strive to give it to you” I allow her to cool down slowly before I begin to caress her again, afraid of rushing her – perhaps she has already had enough? But her hands go to my chest, the flat of her palm stroking down over my belly and under the elastic of my boxers, damp with precum. I gasp as she slides her hand inside and my manhood jumps, eager to be satisfied. Her hand is soft but firm and explores, stroking and circling. I wonder how I compare to her previous lover but dare not ask. I know I cannot last long with her touching me, having held back for so long, so put my hand to hers and get off the bed. I stand to take my boxers off, at last my cock springing free and open to her gaze. I do it like this not to show off, but to subtly move away from her and regain control.
Her eyes are soft as she gazes up at me and holds out her hand. I take it and she draws me closer – I climb back onto the bed and she sits up. I straddle her thighs and run my fingers through her flame red hair, taking her face in both hands and kissing her full on the lips. Her mouth opens eagerly and my tongue invades it, probing and swirling, knowing that she can taste herself. Her hands go to my shoulders and glide down my upper arms, over my sides and lower, but before she can reach my aching manhood, I press her down again.
I break the kiss and run my hand over the soft roundness of her breast, and she sighs as I gently put one knee between her thighs, feeling the dampness still there. My cock is heavy and brushes against her belly as I lower myself over her, kissing her shoulder, her breast, taking her nipple between my lips. She moans and grips my hips, restless and moving around, her mound pressing against my knee. My English escapes me for a moment and I speak softly in my native tongue. I move my lips back up to her ear, nibbling and gently sucking her earlobe, at which I feel her whole body go into overdrive, her thighs parting again, back arching, body rising up to mine.
“Are you ready for me, amore mio?” I ask, already knowing the answer but wanting her to tell me herself. Her voice is husky as she answers
“Yes Marco – oh God, yes” and I position myself between her thighs, dizzy and excited beyond measure but still in control, still gentle and responsive to her needs and desire. I stroke her thighs softly, cock gently nudging her outer lips and drawing upwards, the velvety slickness inviting me in. I push down gently and inward, feeling her folds open, head pressing further in, waiting for her to relax. I press on, feeling her stretch to accommodate me, pausing again and drawing out, then pushing again. She responds to my gentle invasion, hands on my hips guiding me – a little pressure to slow me, pulling to encourage me, and we work together until I am all the way in. I have done this so many times, but never has it been like this, never has my performance mattered so much, never have I appreciated the warm embrace of such a receptive woman. I groan in ecstasy to feel my groin against hers, enveloped deep within her. I start to draw out and slowly back in, setting up a slow pace, watching her carefully, trying to gauge how close she is by her moans and the movements of her hips.
She is moving with me, fingers digging into my flesh, hips gyrating and rising up to meet my thrusts. This is our first time so I don’t expect it to go on for long and after all her pleasure is most important to me. I ignore my own desire to plunge deep and hard and fast, sensitive to every movement, every sound, holding back for the right moment. This means staying on the edge, sweating and shaking with the effort, hoping that she is close. I become aware of a change, a flush in her cheeks, a loss of rhythm and her moans and gasps increase. Her back arches and her walls tighten around me – at last I can let go, and I make a few more deep thrusts before I feel myself explode inside her, groaning in ecstasy, I feel my seed and her juices combine and flood out, warm and sticky.
After a few more slow shallow strokes, reluctant to leave her tight intimate embrace, I pause, our breath echoing each other’s and slowing. I keep my full weight off her, trembling a little with the effort until I have to I pull out. I roll over onto the bed, pulling her with me, wrapping my arm around her and holding her close as she gasps, not moving of her own volition yet, and kiss the top of her head.
I am barely able to move after my second incredible orgasm, held close to his chest, speechless and wondering at his skill. My heartbeat slows and I hear his too, ear pressed to his chest. I am so relaxed, so spent that my body feels like liquid, like fabric draped over his torso. I feel an almost painful ache in my groin, and thinking back to my previous relationship, tears spring to my eyes and before I know it are flowing silently down my cheeks onto his chest. He stirs
“No, no Georgie, why do you cry? Have I done something wrong?” and he pulls away a little, trying to look into my eyes
“N-no Marco, it was so perfect. I never realised how it could be. I feel – I feel cheated, not finding this before” the tears continue to flow and he sits up, reaching for tissues and mopping them away
“This man you were with before – he didn’t know what a treasure he had, and he was a fool. It is a selfish man who takes only his own pleasure, there is nothing in the world as wonderful as bringing pleasure like this; I take pride in it. This is only the beginning amore mio, and I promise you I will do my best to bring you many more experiences like this.” I smile and nestle into him, feeling sleepy. He shifts, pulling the bedclothes back, and we get under the covers together. He holds me as I drift off to sleep, happier than I have ever been and wondering what the next day will bring.