Annie has invited Valentino to dinner at her house... and he arrives in a cherry red Ferrari!
His eyes cruise my body as he straightens up, and my skin prickles as the rays of his extra sensory perception or whatever it is reveal my secrets. His gaze flicks to my breasts and then to my crotch and that slight, quirky smile of his tells me in no uncertain terms that he’s aware of my disobedience.
A sudden, intense weakness sluices through me when he releases my trembling fingers. Why can’t we play the game now? Forget the roast beef and the trifle… the only thing I’ve got an appetite for is him. And he knows it. He knows it as surely as he knows that I’m wearing a bra and a thong despite his orders.
The palms of my hand are moist and sweaty as I fight the compulsion to lift my skirt and reveal my sins.
Right here in full view of the street…
Our glances lock. His elegant head tilts in silent communication, making his hair ripple. I half expect him to confirm that he’s read my mind, and then command me to do exactly what I’ve been imagining.
'Hello… nice to see you. Glad you could come,' I say belatedly, rendered inane and gauche by the power of my feelings. Is cocktail party chit-chat all I’m going to be able to manage? 'I love your car. It’s a Ferrari, isn’t it?’ I sound like a moron, but my brain cells are scrambled.
‘Indeed it is…’ Taking my damp hand again, he leads me back towards the cherry red beauty, and I see a strange look of wistfulness in his eyes. He adores his car, that’s clear. But his feelings about it are mixed. His free hand drifts along the bonnet, caressing it so slowly and lovingly that I actually feel jealous.
My sex clenches in a sudden sharp pang of longing, as if calling ‘touch me, touch me’ to those long, exploring fingers.
Then the moment is gone, and he visibly braces up. It’s almost weird to watch, as if someone’s poured steel down his spine. The odd, melancholic expression on his face disappears, only to be replaced by replaced by a look of measured calculation.
‘Won't you come through to the patio?' I gesture back towards the door with an arm that still doesn't quite know how to follow my brain's instructions.
'One moment…’ Valentino smiles now, but it’s still hooded and knowing and alive with sly, macho mirth.
As if he’s thrown down a gauntlet, my spirit rebels, even if my body and my senses are still enthralled. My chin comes up and I want to demand that he just brings it all on. Come on, big boy! Let’s start now and stop shilly-shallying about!
'I have some things for you.' From the Ferrari's passenger seat, he draws out an exquisitely prepared sheaf of roses in shades of white, peach and yellow.
The ground almost seems to shift under me, as if kicked aside by beauty of the flowers and the greater beauty of the gesture. The very essence of romance stings me on the raw and my eyes start to prickle. Ever so gently, Valentino puts the roses into my hands, then reaches out gently to stroke my cheeks. 'Hey, bella Anna…' His thumb curves and caresses my chin, the gesture slow and so sensual that my sudden tristesse is obliterated and every nerve in my body retunes to sex again.
Valentino’s eyes glitter as he registers the metamorphosis.
'Are you all right?'
'I'm fine,' I gasp, even though only parts of me are fine and most of me is a whirling chaos of hormones and emotion. 'These are glorious, Valentino…Truly beautiful. Thank you.' To hide my absurd, girlish flutter, I lower my face to the heads of the roses and find that they smell just as intoxicating as they look.
'My pleasure,' he replies, soft and low, his voice both tender and suggestive. Then he turns away, back towards the car, 'I have the wine too.' He retrieves a couple of bottles of awesomely good Champagne, and quirks his dark eyebrows wickedly at me.
What are we celebrating?