Saturday, February 26, 2011

El Diablo

“I am talking to you Ricardo!  I said, one of these days, that dick of yours is going to get you killed!”  Luisa was practically screaming at the top of her voice.
A hoarse, raspy voice bellowed from behind, “Santa Maria Madre de Dios!  Luisa, you must not talk that way.  Not to your brother, not to anybody.  You talk like a cheap woman from the streets.  Dios mio, if your father was alive today …”
“Que Mama, que?  If my father was alive today you would not be here.  You will be in a hospital bed recovering from broken bones and bruises after he has beaten you up.”  Luisa rudely cuts in.
Like a flash, whack!  Mrs. Carmen dela Vega swiftly stood up from her dilapidated makeshift dinner seat made up of pale wood and copper wires, and slapped Luisa in the face.
“You do not talk that way about your father.  You do not have the right Luisa.  Nunca!  Not while I am still alive.”  Carmen wheezed as she spoke and started coughing.  She covers her mouth with a cream lace hankie and spits on it.
Ricardo momentarily stops tying his black bandanna over his head and turns around to look at the drama unfolding between the two women in his household.  Luisa gives him  dagger looks while touching her cheek which has mildly reddened due to the smack she got from her mother. 
Ricardo looks back at the badly blurred cracked mirror nailed to the wall, right under the altar of the Virgin Mary.  A lone candle is lighted and some dusty fake daisy flowers in a vase accented it.  He grins and continues knotting his head scarf and sneers; “That’s what you get Luisa for poking your nose in other people’s business.”
“Do you always have to take his side Mama?  How could you be blind to the things Ricardo does for a living?  How can you take that bastard’s side?”  Luisa starts crying.
Ricardo finally turns around and faces the women, “Cut it out Luisa, Mama is sick as it is and you are making her feel worse.  All this drama is turning my stomach and is not going to be good for my business.  A man has to do what a man has to do.  And I will do what I want to do, when I want to do it and how I want to do it.  And if this,” pauses and rubs his crotch; “is my ticket to paradise, I will use it to whoever wants it to get me out of this fucking dump!”
Carmen wheezes again and coughs incessantly.  Softly, almost a whimper …”Ricardo, please …”
“Oh stop it Mama.  This soap opera is making me puke.  I will make you a rich woman someday, you mark my word.  I will buy you a beautiful casa and Luisa can stay here with her god-forsaken ‘novio’, have babies, and get fat and ugly’” Ricardo teased.
Luisa springs to her feet and tries to claw at Ricardo’s face.  Her nails are too long and crooked, and covered with flashy red nail polish that has started to peel off at the edges.  Ricardo just laughs and parries Luisa’s hands.
“Hey, hey, careful with the face!  Women do not like their men with scars.”  Ricardo laughingly said.  “Keep those farm boy loving hands away from me, woman!”
“Aaarrrgggh! Pendejo!  You are going to burn in hell Ricardo.  You are going to burn in hell!”  Luisa screamed as she slumps down on the dirt-brown lounge chair that sits as the only piece of furniture in their small tenement room.  Thin cardboard walls provide partitions between units and beaded sea shells hanging from beams are used as door curtains, for privacy, depending on how one looks at it.

“Oh well, that’s my cue.  The night is young and I have business to attend to.  Don’t wait up Señoritas.”  With that, Ricardo swaggers out into the night wearing his signature ensemble.  A body hugging black tee shirt with cut sleeves, torn and acid-washed jeans, cuffed at the seams to show faded cowboy leather boots that walked a couple of hundred miles; a wide black leather belt with a huge buckle accented by a cross.  On his forearm is a tattoo of a smiling devil with his face burning, and below the face is the inscription, “El Diablo”.
Ricardo dela Vega, is the youngest child of Ambrosio and Carmen dela Vega; 21 years old.  Luisa being the eldest child is 25.  They had another brother, Alberto, who would have been 23 years old, but he died when he was 17 in a street gang war.
Ricardo has long black curly hair he keeps tidy by putting a bandanna across his head, about 5’10” in height, mahogany skin, mainly acquired from overstaying under the sun; deep set ebony eyes with lashes that curl up to his lids.  He has a very prominent nose, a feature he inherited from his father.  Besides his strong masculine look, Ricardo possesses good physique, very tight muscles and well proportioned torso to limbs ratio.  He can fall between ruggedly handsome and animal appeal.  However, like his father, he is not very intelligent and decided school was not for him at 5th grade.  He had failed miserably twice in 4th grade and once in 5th grade so he decided that should be enough education for him.  But like most of the men in the Dela Vega clan, their source of pride is being “hung”.

For Ricardo, work in the factory or the farm were just good enough for a start.  He has big dreams.  But totally lacking in smarts and education, he uses the one tool he thinks can make him rich.  He’s a man-whore and he is a local favorite.
Walking out of the tenement units, Ricardo cannot help but belch at the stench of the place.  He swears to himself that soon he will be rid of the stink of decay, mixed with odor of rotten meat and animal or probably, human wastes.  He whistles.
At the clearing, Ricardo sees a couple of young boys playing cards, and recognizes one of them.
“Hey Alberto!  Oy!”, Ricardo yells.  “Alberto, where is your Mama Conchita? Is she home?”
A young boy of about 10 years old looks up from the crowd and shouts back.  “What do you want with her?  Why?”
Ricardo continues walking towards the small huddle and says; “You tell your Mama Conchita that Ricardo is here so if she wants some bang-bang tonight”, gestures humping twice with his hips; “I am free to serve”.
The young boy stands up and shouts, “No, my Mama does not need you Ricardo.  Go away.  When my father gets here, I will tell on you.  You are a bad man!”
Everybody else collapses in laughter.  The other boys jeer loudly, “Mama Conchita wants a bang-bang!  Mama Conchita wants a bang-bang”.  Alberto runs away from the group crying.
Ricardo says, almost to himself. “Your father’s never coming back Niño, he has crossed the wall.  I can make your Mama happy.”
He looks back at the young crowd and says, “What the fuck are you chicos looking at?”  And they all scampered in different directions, still jeering and chanting, “Ricardo gives a bang-bang!”
Ricardo continues walking towards the main street corner where a small convenience store right beside a bar is located.  Couple of guys are smoking at the corner and one of them sees Ricardo.
“Esse”, Leandro shouts out.
“Hola, esse!” Ricardo shouts back. 
Leandro walks towards Ricardo and whispers , “Word is out Ricardo, the Jefe is not very happy.”
“Hijo de puta!  What does he want now?  I delivered all his petty drug deals for him and I don’t try to get more than my cut!  Pendejo!”  Ricardo curses between his teeth.
“No esse, it’s about Esperanza.  Jefe’s Esperanza.  He is getting very suspicious.”  Leandro insisted.  “Just be warned Ricardo.  Don’t be stupid.  The Jefe has many eyes.”

Ricardo didn’t say anything.  His mind flies to images of Esperanza; Jefe’s beautiful Esperanza.  Esperanza is 32 years old and is the third wife of the Jefe who is pushing 63.  The first time Ricardo saw Esperanza was when he worked at the factory and the Jefe came to visit Don Armando, the owner.  He was only 17 years old then and his whole world stopped when she walked in.  Her dark brown hair was tied in a bun but wisps of hair cascaded down her copper skin.  Her hazel brown eyes reflected inner beauty, and her lips were pink as a rose bud, looking so soft and luscious.  She was wearing an off-shoulder flamenco style beige and red dress that made her skin glow.  Ricardo swallowed hard as he looked at her body, her cleavage and buxom was so pronounced he had a boner he felt so embarrassed people may have noticed it.  Her waistline was waiflike but her hips were definitely signature Hispanic.  For Ricardo, back then she was a goddess.  In the last three month or so, she was more a favored client.  It is likely that he even loves her.  When she services Esperanza, Ricardo feels that they are making love and he hopes she does too.  Often, she gives him pleasure beyond his wildest imaginations that he has been tempted several times not to get a fee in return.  Two weeks ago, in the small conversations they exchanged, Esperanza thanked him, and he blurted out that he should be thanking her.  Esperanza stopped putting on her clothes and gave Ricardo what he felt to be a loving and longing look, and then she just smiled.  He could swear it broke and melted his heart at the same time.  
How could she stand the Jefe?  He reeked of tequila and tobacco, his face looks like it embraced a thousand glass shards, his belly is too wide, it may be three decades since he last saw his toes; and he was cruel.  There are nights with Esperanza that he notices bruise marks in her arms and thighs.  But he dared not ask questions.  He just longed for her call.  As far as Ricardo is concerned, Esperanza is part of his future.  When he gets rich and famous, he will ask her to be with him.  He knows he has made Esperanza feel all woman if he will judge the way she reaches her climax every time they had sex.  She has been deprived of sweet loving that she deserves. 
“Hey Ricardo, are you open for business?” said a woman’s voice behind him.
Ricardo was startled out of his daydream and turned around; it was Elena, Esperanza’s ama de llaves (housekeeper).  But before he could reply, she quickly slipped a note into his hand and disappeared into the shadows of the night.
His heart jumped and started beating at crescendo, he opened the letter, “it’s from her”, he thought.
“10:00P.M., 211” It’s a note from Esperanza.  Ricardo sniffs the paper and closes his eyes.  “I can smell her scent.  She wants me, tonight.” 
The thought of Esperanza stirs movement in his groins, however he tries not to, the chance to feel her body, her softness, quench on her scent and juices is way too difficult to resist. And Ricardo resolves what to do.  “I will tell her tonight.  I will tell her my dreams for us.”
Ricardo pulls out his fake silver pocket watch and checks the time.  It’s a quarter past 9:00 P.M.; just enough time to make it to the usual rendezvous and the usual room.  Room 211 is the room that has been the sole witness to hot, passionate nights that Ricardo and Esperanza shared.

“How can she want me again tonight when the Jefe is getting suspicious?  Oh Esperanza, I knew she cannot resist me either.  I knew it the first time I ever laid eyes on her that she was meant for me and me for her.  Tonight if she pays me, I will give her money back to her.  There are other women I can collect from. Not Esperanza.  My Esperanza.”  Ricardo was busy with his thoughts while he trekked his way to the Playa del Carmen’s Moongate Hotel.  He lights a cigarette while he walks, takes a gum out of his jeans and pops it his mouth.
He can see the Inn’s light from where he was.  Ricardo looked up at the sky.  It’s a starry night; a lovely night for romance.  The wind blew from the west and Ricardo felt a chill, he looked up again.  It’s a beautiful night to die.

Ricardo nervously laughed at himself.  “What am I thinking?  That stupid Luisa!  She has a way of spooking me.  That cunt!  I will deal with her later.”
It is not very far now, a small flight of stairs and it’s the first room on the right, overlooking the street lamps.  Ricardo taps softly at the door.  He realizes the door was ajar.  And he thinks, “She loves me.”
He pushes the door open.  And a single bullet shot pierced the silence of the night.  Not very far away, birds start flapping their wings and fly.  At Room 211 lying face down with arms stretched out like he was trying to stop the bullet, is Ricardo, underneath him blood gushes out to the marble floor; and almost mockingly, El Diablo’s face is a-blaze, laughing.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Problem With Ana

I have always been jealous of Lucia; with her long ebony hair with soft curls falling down to her waistline. Full breasts that make her voluptuous, a whistle bait figure making her more attractive.  She has small dimples on her cheeks that indent when she moves her full lips to speak;   and her enviable lovely and shiny bronze skin that glows under the sunlight.  Lucia had always been the crowd favorite, my Papa’s “muy hermosa hija”, the life (if not the main attraction) of the party.  She has a laugh that is infectious yet subtly seductive.

I am not an inch like her at all.  I have mousy brown hair with unruly curls that have a mind of their own.  I find myself too thin, with little fleshy parts except for a huge back side that has become more of a bother than an asset.  I really look more like my father, my shoulders are too broad.  My skin is too dark, layers of tan for loving the sea too much.  My Mama used to tell me, “Ana, when you have children of your own, you breastfeed them so they will be healthy and strong”.  I look at my breasts and every night I prayed to God to make them big and that I will have nipples when I grow up, hoping that someday these tits will be useful for something.  That’s the least of my pain.

Lucia, the “love child”, the first born, the one who got everything she desired, while I on the other hand lived with “seconds.”  I love Lucia.  I love and adore her.  I insanely worship her.  Honestly, I think she loves me too, but she loves herself more, than her lesser blessed sibling.  On her 18th birthday she wished for a pony, and Papa gave her a Palomino.  On my 18th birthday, I got this very beautiful and sexy white dress I was drooling with happiness.  Not until my nanny told me it was a dress Lucia bought in Cataluña that she didn’t like so she tossed it away.  I did not think my Mother was evil for wrapping it up and handing it to me.  At the very least, I appreciated that she remembered because my father completely forgot.
Now that I am almost 21, I have long accepted this fact of life and have forgiven even our old town’s cult mob for Lucia.  These days all I think about is being this old and I have yet to be with a man.  I have pretended with my friends long enough that I know about all these things because they expect me to; being the only sister of the town’s sweetheart.  But these days I feel they have tired of my crappy and imagined romances.  The closest thing that I have experienced was one night when I caught Lucia with Gabriel, her ex-boyfriend, in the dark corners of our garden, right before the clearance to the vineyard.  I heard whispers and some laughter and I peeped through the leaves.  There I saw the two of them.  The light was coming from the moon and it cast shadows everywhere.  My sister was biting her clenched hand and Gabriel was under her skirt.  I was 16 then and Lucia must have been almost 19 years old.  I couldn’t see Gabriel, but I could see Lucia’s face.  She was looking up and she was so sweaty.  Gabriel’s right hand was on one of her breasts and she was pushing Gabriel’s head inside her.  She was moaning quietly and something stirred inside me.  I didn’t know what it was but I left right away, afraid that if I got caught, it would be me that would be punished for watching.  Lucia never angered anyone.  She always had her ways.

That night I couldn’t sleep.  I kept thinking about what I saw.  I went for the tub and soaked myself.  Strangely, my mind kept going back to that scene, my sister’s face in orgasmic ecstasy.  I started touching myself and it felt good.  I did not know how to react to this awakening of my senses, I was feeling hot all over and the warm water and soap suds were making my entire body shake.  I trembled and shook and stifled a scream.  I was imagining Antonio doing these crazy things with me.  It was the start of many nights of my extended tub baths.  There were nights I imagined Gabriel and I felt so guilty afterwards I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror.  I felt so dirty, and hungry, and lustful.  I must be a sinner.

Antonio.  My childhood best friend and the boy I told myself will be my husband when I grow up.  He is such a good friend that I often think he considers me to be a boy.  O Dios mio, if he finds out the things I think about doing with him he will probably never talk to me again.

But today I don’t feel like talking to Antonio.  Like everyone else in town giddy about my sister’s homecoming.  Lucia has been away for five years.  Five good years for me that I did not have to live like a shadow.  Today will be different, she will be coming home and my sick father appears to have been rejuvenated.  But Antonio?  Even he wasn’t spared of my sister’s charm.  He was gushing as he spoke.
“Ana, what time will she be here?” He was panting as he spoke.
I flatly said, “Maybe before supper.  I don’t know exactly what time.”
As a force of habit, he touched my arms and I squirmed.  “What is wrong Ana?  Are you feeling sick?  You don’t look very well.”
I quickly decided it was a good excuse, so I said I was and turned around to go back inside our house.  
Antonio runs after me, “Hey, where are you going?”
“I am not feeling too well Antonio.  Maybe I am coming down with the flu.  If you want to see Lucia, you are welcome to stay for supper.  She will be happy to see you.” I said trying my best to hide whatever angst I felt swelling up inside me.  I run back inside our house and went straight to my room to lie in bed.  I might as well be dead.  Even the plants get more love and attention than I do.  I was close to dozing when I heard a soft tapping at my door.
“Yes, who is it?’  I asked.
“Hija, su Mama.  It’s me Ana.”  I gasped, my mother.
I quietly walk over to the door and opened it a bit, “I am alright Mama.  I just felt a little dizzy earlier.  Is Lucia here yet?”
My mother, feisty in her age of 60, pushed the door open to have a better clearing and said in that tone that every daughter knew meant business. 
“Ana, don’t think that I do not know how you feel about your sister.  I have watched it all my life and you have been most unkind only to yourself.  Que tonta.  Now, get dressed.  Your sister has some friends with her and I don’t want you looking like you just came out of a grape harvest.  I have asked Talia to assist in fixing you up and I don’t want you looking like a “vieja” when the guests arrive.  Look at you, you are so pretty but you don’t want people to see it.  Talia, ven aqui, I want you to help Ana choose her dress and try to fix her hair, entiendes?”
Before I could say anything my mother had already gone back to where she came from.  Talia and I gave each other one look and giggled.  Ah, Talia - my loyal nanny, and probably besides my mother, the only other human being who thinks highly of me.

By 6:30 that evening, the house was brimming with lights, a full banquet and people.  I quietly tried to get into the dining area unnoticed when Lucia saw me.
“Ana!   Ana, look at you.  Oh my, you look so beautiful and all woman!  How long was I gone, Papa?  You have kept my lovely sister in her little chamber up there; do people know how beautiful she has grown?  I missed you so much Ana!”  Lucia runs to me and hugs me tightly.
I tried to stop myself from crying because I genuinely missed her however different we were, she was the only I got.  I hugged her back tightly. 
She pulled me away and gave me another glance-over, “Jesus Maria, Ana!  You are so pretty!  Come, I would love my friends from America to meet you!”  She gushed with an accent that was no longer familiar to my ears.  I do not have the slightest idea what she was saying.  I always saw myself to be a pathetic ugly duckling.  Except for Talia, my mother, and sometimes Antonio, they say I look pretty.  I never took that seriously.  I don’t look at the mirror often enough to see what they were saying.  Perhaps because Talia fixed my hair and we both decided that I should wear this yellow cotton summer dress that she said made me glow.  I swear I could have worn my customary jeans and tees, and it wouldn’t matter.  I have to go thank Talia after this.
As my sister dragged me to her friends circle, I stole a glance to my father seated on his wheelchair at the end of the long banquet table where he always sat.  He was looking back at me with a small smile on his face.  I decided to look away.
 I could not remember all of Lucia’s friends’ names.  Except for this one guy who was quite quiet compared to the rest.  When I offered my hand for a handshake, he took my hand and kissed it.  Everybody laughed and teased us.  They called him Mark.  They said Mark had always been shy and they all got surprised when he suddenly kissed my hand.  I caught a bit of that teasing but I was too busy trying to act unflustered because I felt some kind of electric shock from that kiss that went straight to my spine and down to my legs and knees I almost wobbled.  He had the deepest blue eyes I have ever seen.
The evening passed like a blur.  I did not even notice Antonio was there all along.  They asked me to sit beside Mark and we were too busy talking about most anything.  I find out he also loved to read and we have read almost the same books, listened to the same music.  We had an animated disagreement about certain movies and songs.  But I knew that so far this was the best night I have ever had in nearly two decades.  He stared at me the whole time I could barely swallow the food I was eating; he didn’t even seem to see that everybody else was watching us.  My father had his customary scowl but I didn’t care.  My mother was smiling.  Lucia was very happy and was busy showering attention to her new fiancé, who happened to be mark’s cousin Richard, which explains Mark’s presence with us that night.

We have 25 rooms in our house.  Enough for everyone to sleep with some spare.  People decided to drink without any care in the world.  The storytelling became too loud.  The laughter vibrated in the halls for a few minutes I thought the vibrations would break the glasses.  Even Mark and I had a few too many.  At least I thought we did, because our heads were too close when we talked.  He would whisper his questions in my ear so I will hear, and I will whisper back on his ear.  Our thighs were touching under the table.  I know about the stirring it sent to my soul, I was getting excited and even restless.  My dress sleeves have fallen down on my right arm but I did not even bother putting it back.  I felt particularly hot that night.  Lustful even, but I didn’t care.  There was something in my gut that sent me signals that I was feeling sexy, too sexy.

While everyone else was having more liquor and wine and mouthfuls of dessert, Mark asked if I can take him for a walk to see the vineyard.  I obliged and we asked to be excused.  With the exception of my father who had particularly noticed me that night, we left the banquet with people who were drunk with food and alcohol.

We walked slowly and because my steps were rather unsure, (I was giddy and excited), Mark put his arms around my shoulders to stabilize me, and we both laughed. 
“I think I may have drank too much tonight.” I said.
He looked at me and smiled, “It doesn’t matter, you still look as fresh as spring.  You are a very beautiful lady, Ana, and the fact that you don’t know you are, makes you even more beautiful.”
I knew I was blushing so badly because the heat rushed to my face and I was so grateful for the dark that he didn’t have to see it.
I tentatively said, “Maybe I should really say thank you for the compliment, and you are not just saying that because we are hosting the banquet.”
We both laughed.  A quiet laugh though.  Then he suddenly stopped and turned my shoulders to look at him.
“I would very much like to kiss you.” He said.
I did not say anything.  I tiptoed and lifted my face towards him and kissed him instead, a light peck on the lips and then I pulled back.  He pulled me back up and this time our bodies connected and I felt sparks flying all around me like there was some kind of electric field that enveloped us.  His lips were soft and sweet and I returned all his advances, he pulled my back towards his body and I rubbed my body on him.  I felt something move between us and it scared me and thrilled me at the same time.  His other hand was now down to my butt, squeezing it and I felt trickles coming out of me.  I shivered.

He stopped and looked at me.  It was only the moon’s light above us, pretty much like the night I saw Lucia with Gabriel.  It was cool and a light wind was blowing and whipping my stubborn hair out of place.  I saw his soul in those deep blue eyes, a beautiful soul, a desirable soul, a soul I wanted to be with.
Without saying anything, I let my dress drop on the ground exposing my body and I slowly moved his hands on my breast, for the first time, again, in my life, my nipples popped out from their caves, fully erect.  He cupped my breast gently and slowly moved his fingers across my nipples and I tried to stifle my body from shaking.  He went down to kiss one breast and then the other, all the time I was holding my breath and trying to soak in all that was happening.  I felt gloriously excited and stimulated.
I raised his head to meet my eyes, and told him with my eyes that this was going to be my first.  However strange it was, without words he knew what I was saying.  So he pulled my dress up again.  I was so close to crying but when he looked at me again, he said; “Let me escort you back to your room.”
We passed through the back side of the house where there was a spiral staircase that led up to the girl’s rooms.  Lucia had the east wing and I had the west wing.  We made it to the hallway of our room’s floor in less than two minutes.  We were flying I guess.  I opened my door and walked in; I can feel Mark’s body heat intensifying behind me.  I turned around to lock the door and I was going to put some lights on but from behind me Mark started kissing my back and pulled down my dress.  I recklessly undressed him too.  Too fast.  Too eager.  I didn’t care anymore.  I just wanted to feel loved.
We fell to the floor, our clothes thrown all over the place and Mark did the one thing that had mystified me since that night in the garden that I saw Lucia.  He went down on me and gave me the pleasure that I yearned and ached for all these years.  I floated into a dimension that only my soul knew I could reach, I reached a climax so powerful there were tears in my eyes.  By the time I felt that, Mark was ready to give me something more that night; I was ready to take him.  I took it all.  I basked in the feeling of orgasm and ecstasy.  We didn’t stop making love to each other not until the sun began to peek out of the horizon. 
When I opened my eyes, there was a man, not a boy, a man, lying on my breasts, snoring softly.  His whole body was relaxed, peaceful; his light brown hair touching my breasts reminded me of the resplendent evening that has passed.  I felt different.  I felt sexy.  I felt loved.  I felt and believed I am beautiful.  I smiled. 

A Reckless Rainy Day in Nice

“Great!  Just great!”, I half mumbled and groaned. 
Just when everything is falling apart, I don’t need this awful rain.  The raindrops are so huge they make annoying pelting sounds on the make shift tarp above my head where I temporarily sheltered, with a half-drenched dress and a half-bruised ego.. 
I can practically hear my mother’s voice screeching inside my head;
“Where is your umbrella Ysabella?  Do you want to get soaked in the rain?  Do you want to get sick, catch a cold, yada yada yada…?” 
Why am I even thinking of her at a time like this?  Curses! 
I have just been fucking stood up.  The bastard, motherfucker didn’t even bother to show up and I had to look for this god-forsaken out in the boondocks bar.  Yeah, right…  “Bar des Oiseaux”; where the live jazz bands are to die for.  I am such a loser.  I fucking hate this.
“Shut up Ysabella!  You always discredit yourself.  You are way too smart and beautiful for those losers you fall in love with!”  There she is again.  I screamed, “Mother, can you cut me some slack?  I am trying to find my way here in this paradise I chose, far away from your nagging; shrilly voice and I can hear you above the din!”
 I am so losing it. “Get a grip girl.  You are here now.  Mother is several thousand air miles from where you are”.  I hear myself talk to me in my head.

I had to squint my eyes to read through the rain, “There you are, Rue Saint Vincent!”
 Now, how do I get back to the Garden Hotel at Rue de Congres?  I feel so far from it.  I should have asked Trish to stay with me. Nothing makes sense in this downpour.  Its making my head throb and I can’t think or see clearly.   I should not have drunk those vodkas.  Well what can I do?  I was stood up.  Damn! Somebody rescue me. 
What in the world was I thinking?  There is no way; absolutely no way at all I will ever yield to Patricia Marie’s sweet-talking, ever!  “Blind dates” are rubbish and for the totally desperate basket cases.  I would like to believe I am not a basket case. This is the first time, the very first time in my 27 sordid years that have I ever been stood up by any man.  Always a first time so they say.
Trish, my best friend for life, my unsolicited guardian and designated match maker.   I was 6 years old and she was 7.  We were all at the playground doing stuff kids do at playgrounds when all of a sudden; this pony-tailed, red haired girl started bawling.  I turned to look and I caught this robust boy dusting his shoes after he kicked the sand castles little red-hair was building for the last half hour or so.  I did what I naturally thought was the right thing to do.  I walked up to the jackass boy who did that and whacked him in the head with the pail and shovel I had in my hand.  He started crying and everybody else laughed.  Trish, the red haired girl, and I have been best friends since.

We grew up together and had our fair share of fun and horror stories; and boy romances.  The boyfriends we had just had to deal with the fact that we are practically twins.  In the last four years, there were 4 of us.  Trish and Jack, Kyle and I, the inseparable foursome we could have been the Beatles.  Ten months ago, Trish and Jack announced their formal engagement in a lavish party that I planned and managed like it was my own.  Two months after that, Kyle and I decided that we were not meant to be.  It’s more than just the lame, “it’s not you, it’s me” or what have you.  It was sad.  But we knew we both outgrew each other.  Kyle, is your typical Prom King jock; every girl’s dream fiancé.   But however I slice and dice it, there was something amiss, something that both of us knew we had to deal with.  We decided as a couple to go our separate lives.  It was painful for both of us but we both knew it was for the best.  And since then, Trish and I suddenly reversed roles.  Now she thinks she is responsible for my well-being and for my renewed faith in love and romance.

How could have I been so inconceivably stupid to think that I can navigate myself alone in this foreign country where people give me a top to bottom assessment and then look away?  Snooty French.  Well truth is Trish and Jack will be settling here and I ended up here two weeks ago for some work.  The two of them have been for more than three months now since Jack took on his new role as Head of Retail for Europe in his Company.  And if not for that lovely vineyard I need to inspect, I prefer to be in Milan or New York.
Jesus, what am I thinking?  I can’t even get back to my hotel.
Focus Ysabella.  Goddamn it, focus!  It’s almost 11:00, an hour before midnight.  You got to get your butt moving out of this place.  I look down and check myself.  I had to wear this soft silk dress and my infamous “fuck” red shoes, Now that I am all drenched and dripping.  Ugh! I just hate “me” for doing this to myself.  And what do people in the bar care?  That hideous man who was trying to make a pass at me earlier is a welcome option now that I don’t have pretty much of a choice.

Then there he was.  He stood right across me.  With a huge umbrella that almost looked funny as he was probably over 6 feet plus tall.  He was wearing a dark newsboy hat, a mid-calf trench and dark shoes.  It was too dark to see but I felt him looking at me.  My spine shivered.  Must be the biting chill and my clothes are wet.
I managed to croak, “Hello? Excuse me.  Can you help me please?”
He walked towards me, no, almost glided.  The next second I can almost smell mints and some sweet, musky lime fragrance, his scent.  He stood right in front of me, a bit too close.  But I did not care nor flinch.
“Oui Miss, I can see you are in a problem.  How may I help?”  His voice sounded soft but firm, even sweet and charming.
(Thank you God!  An English Speaking French man.  Ignore the accent and the groping for words, this guy is my hero!!!)
I looked up to see his face.  Oh holy helter skelter, my heart skipped a beat and started pounding in my chest I could practically hear my blood flowing in my blood vessels.  I was looking at a beautiful man, yes, that’s the most apt way to describe it.  He has the most mesmerizing set of eyes in charcoal, no, azure gray, half smiling with a rather naughty glint.  He looked a bit too tan to be so French but it could have been a beach tan.  I straightened my back hoping he would miss how drenched and smeared I look.
“Merci, merci.  I need to get back to my hotel, at 11 Rue de Congres.  It’s so hard to get to the train station in this rain and I was hoping there is a cab or a coach or something that I can rent.”  I rattled off and I knew I sounded too excited, because I was.
He smiled.  (Oh my God, those are wonderful, clean teeth.  Now I need to see his fingers. Hah.  Nobody, absolutely nobody can be this perfect.)  “I can help you Miss, if you … (pauses) do you say “trust”, me?”
I gushed.  I shouldn’t have but I did.  “Oh yes, please, please.  I trust you.  I just want to go home.  It’s my first time here in Nice and I thought I can manage on my own and here I am, asking for help.” I lied.
“I was going to get my auto (lovely accent … I must have been fluttering my eyelashes too much) and if you will, I will drive.  I will drive you to your hotel, oui?”
“If this is not going to be such a hassle for you, I will most certainly be grateful if you can.”  I said sheepishly.
“Hassle?  What do you mean?”  His eyes twinkled again.  Curiously eying my face.
“I mean if it is not out of your way or if it is not a trouble, and I do not want to impose, I mean, I wouldn’t know if you have other plans and my hotel can be very far from here, it’s just that the rain, and it has made me so completely disoriented…”  I stopped in mid-sentence as he put his finger on my lips to hush me.  I felt my spine shiver again.  Damn chill.
“Americans.  Funny words.  You talk too much.”  And without saying another word, he slipped his right arm across my waist and held me close to him and he briskly opened his umbrella as we moved towards what seemed to be the parking lot.  I held close to his coat collar, felt warm and safe.  I could feel his clothes on my body as I was already totally drenched and I guess he read my thoughts. 
“Your clothes, they are very wet.  You need to get dry or you can get sick.”  He held me tighter and I squeezed myself closer.  (I was wearing my 5-inch heels and I was practically looking at his coat’s breast buttons.  How tall is this guy?  I shouldn’t be squeezing this close to this stranger, but it’s too freaking cold and I can’t stop the tingling sensation in my spine.)
I could only utter, “I’m so sorry.  I am getting your clothes wet too.” 
He looked down at me and in the dark I knew he was smiling. 
We found his car.  A black coupe.  European.  It must be a Peugeot.  Nice.  I like this turn of events.  A woman can get so unlucky and lucky in the same breath.  The stars are gathering on my planets now.  Should be better days ahead, my mind started floating again.

He opened the passenger side and carefully held my hand as I slowly slid in.  Soft hands.  Long fingers.  A Doctor?  No ring.  I smiled to myself.  I don’t even know his name!  I gasped.  I was about to ask him when I noticed how swiftly he had moved towards the drivers’ side and opened the door.  He slid in gracefully.  This dude glides.  What in the world is he?  I have been reading too many vampire books.  Get a grip Ysabella!
He plops his umbrella, starts the cars, revs it up and then looks at me, he spoke slowly and softly “My home is very close by.  Do you want to get a little dry and warm before we drive to your hotel?  We can wait for the rain to stop a little?” 
I think I was gawking because he flashed me that naughty smile again, then he said, “Oui, I take that as yes.”
I was about to say something, and we almost simultaneously started, so I stopped.  He glanced towards me while he drove and said, “Ysabella?  Beau nom, belle femme.”
What?  I heard alarm bells ringing.  “Now wait a minute, Mister … how do you know my name?”  I was getting a bit flustered and cautious.  This can’t be happening to me.  A stalker?  A beautiful stalker?
He laughed.  A crackling, masculine sound.  Almost earthy.  “I was at the bar.  I heard you talk to the bartender when you left him a message. I am sorry.  I should not be listening.  It’s not acceptable? Ah … proper to do so.  I am Frederic.”
I retorted icily, “Well nice to meet you Mister Frederic.  Mon nom est Ysabella et je travaille avec Chateau Margaux.”
“Your French is quite good eh?  I like to speak in English.  It helps me practice.” He replied.
“Then English it is Mister Frederic.”  And I put my arms around my chest.  I could not and will not yield to the charms of this beautiful man.  I don’t care if he is my only rescue at the moment, but there is something about him that disorients me, makes me feel helpless, and makes me feel weak.
 I sat quietly.  I did not like not knowing his name and he knew mine.  It kind of gave him an upper hand and in control.  I don’t like not to be in control.  I stole a glance at him.  Broad shoulders.  Lean.  A bit muscular.  Thighs that seem to be so long I don’t know where it ends.  I saw a small line on his face, he is actually smiling.  The bastard, he knows I am checking him out.
I look down.  I was horrified.  I was a total mess.  My dress.  It clung to my skin like a wet toile.  And my shoes.  Aww … my shoes.  I could feel my toes squish.  Damn.  So much for looking good.  I tried my best to stop from looking at the mirror to see how bad I looked.  My makeup must be a pile of gunk by now. How can I even imagine this night will turn better?  Maybe this Frenchman just saw how helpless I was.  He must be what, in his early or mid-30’s?  No ring, very European.  Maybe he’s gay.  I argued with myself.  Nah, he’s just too much of a gentleman and I am not used to men acting that way.  Suave.  Soft.  Graceful.  I have not met a man who can be so chic yet so sexy.  And here he sits right beside and I am wishing he managed to see how I really looked before I turned up to be this messy.  Good lord, the car has stopped and abruptly stopped my musings!

He faced me and said, “We’re home.  Let me get you.”
What exactly did he mean by that, “get me?”
In a few seconds, I heard the door open and he was there.  (How in the world does he do that?  Does he fly?  He keeps doing this some more and  I will likely faint.)
I kept quiet.  I felt scared, excited, wary, giddy even, and what is that other thing I was feeling?  Yes, I was feeling horny.  Get a grip Ysabella.  Not tonight.  Don’t blow this.
It was a short walk, then several steps up to a front door.  I did not realize we drove past the sea but I could smell salt in the air.  I could see rather faintly several bushes and flowery shrubs lining the walk way.  Quaint.  The house looked picture perfect for a French suburbs.

He opened the door.  It was pitch black.  I groped for his hand.  It was there.  He was holding my hand tight.  He pulled me in and I slowly tried to feel my way around.  His right hand still holding mine, I felt him pull me closer to him.  I could smell his breath and feel his heart beat.  I could barely breathe; he bent down and kissed me lightly on the lips.  I automatically opened it, and I moved my hips closer to his body. And our lips touched again, this time I felt heat, scorching heat from his mouth to mine and our lips played and tongues flicked.   I couldn’t think, I was feeling dizzy and I did not want to think.  His hands were now under my dress, my eyes are just a bit adjusting to the dark, I can see his silhouette.  I felt his hardness … and I was swooning.  I grabbed his neck and with a swift movement, he threw his cap on the floor, and I grabbed his hair.   He kept on kissing me and this time he was playing his tongue on my earlobes, I squealed a bit and he moaned.  I raised my leg and embraced his right thigh, my right hand groping his now fully erected dick.  Man oh man, he is gifted.  His kisses went down to my neck and I felt him hold my hand that was grabbing his crotch and he stopped kissing.

Oh my lord, I am so flushed and aroused and embarrassed and I knew I was totally ready for him.  The lights went on.   I looked around and saw that we barely left the door.  I was trying to look at his face but he had turned his face towards the house even if he was still holding onto my hand.  I quickly scanned the room, a lemon yellow leather divan set rested on the east side with wide and expanded glass windows.  I could almost see the small pin lights floating on top of the water … we are at a seaside place.  There was a tiffany door on the far right, maybe leading to another receiving area.  Natural wood center table with a vase filled with some bluish purple flowers.  I gushed.  On the left side I could see a short cat walk that breaks halfway to a dining area and a rather pretty kitchen.
I was about to ask if this was his house and if he lived alone, and again, it’s like he was reading my mind.  He said, “This is my mother’s house but she has moved to Paris with my sister who settled there.   She married last year and my mother begged me to keep the house.  I think it’s too big for me living alone.  It is very feminine eh?”
“Oh no, not at all.  It is beautiful and well kept.  It’s facing the sea and that adds up to its beauty.” My voice sounded too soft and lilting, I realized we were still holding hands and his coat was fully open.   I don’t even remember if I did that. 
He faced me now and had to bend down to look at my face, and that soft, charming voice again, I can feel myself throbbing just holding his hand and staring into his eyes; “Vous êtes une femme très belle et si sensuelle.  Je ne peux embrasser tes levres pour toujours.”
I caught a little bit of that but I cursed at myself for not taking my French Language class seriously.
“I will make you some hot tea?  Jasmine?  Rose?” 
My turn to interrupt, “Oh Earl Grey will be just fine.  Thank you.”
“I will get you some towels and a robe, the door to the left, down the hall, is the bathroom.  Call me if you need anything, I am just here, oui?”
“Yes, I will, thanks.” I slowly slipped my hand away from his and then he grabbed me by the arm, I turned around too fast I almost slipped and fell right in the middle of this uncanny, awkward setting.  He laughed.  That sexy laugh again. 
“Easy Ysabella, your bag.”  I just realized I had somehow managed to drop it when we got into the house.  I don’t remember even holding my bag.  I don’t really remember much.  I was completely intoxicated by the feel of his touch, his soft lips on mine, his hardness, and his body heat.  I did not bother to say anything; I just turned around and headed to the bathroom.  I was just too sure he saw how flushed my cheeks were and he and I know that’s not coming from the near slip.

True enough I looked like a rag doll.  How can he even say I am beautiful?  I stripped off everything.  I gave myself one look see in the mirror and I surprised even myself with the glow on my face.  I could just bless the makers of MAC, their makeup is flawless and waterproof.  I took off my shoes, my thongs and my bandau.  All wet, I knew I need to dry these things before we set off but my mind was busy with all the possibilities of this night.  For the first time in nearly 6 hours, I did not want to go back to my hotel.  When was the last time?  Eight months ago? I did not think it has been that long.  I felt myself twitch.  I just know I want it.
Now where the fuck is my cell phone?  Why isn’t it even ringing?  Trish must be beside herself by this time.
I took a quick shower and wrapped a towel around me.  I actually love to air dry and romp around naked.  But this is not even my house.
I picked up my wet things and as I opened the door, he was right there waiting.
“No, leave that.” He said as he took all my things from my hand and bent down to ask me to put on some fluffy slippers.  This is totally surreal.  Somebody wake me up from this dream.  Now,   I really need to wake up now.  He handed me the robe and I decided to drop my towel and wear the robe in front of him.  Hah, let’s see who is a better tease now.
“Come Ysabella, drink your tea.  It is still hot.  You like your tea a little hot?”
I nodded absentmindedly as I realized he let it go, my little indiscretion.  Was he looking?  Did he peek? 
He put his hand at my back, just the robe between his fingers and my skin.  My spine quivered again.  It’s neither the cold nor the chill.  He has this effect on me and it’s driving me insane.
I sat down on the chair he pulled out for me.  I realized he has changed.  He looks a lot younger now in a sweat shirt and jeans.  I quietly sipped my tea and he quietly sipped his wine.  I stole a look at him to start some conversation but he was already staring at me.  In a blink, he was standing right beside me, he swooped me up in his arms and with a few steps or glide that he did I knew we were in his room. 
I managed to whisper, “I have not finished my tea”.
He laughed again, more gentle this time, and said, “I will give you better heat Ysabella, than your Earl Grey tea.”
He put me down and started kissing me so passionately I was holding my breath.  I felt my robe slide down on the floor.   Every single cell of my body was so electrified I could feel each of my goose bumps rise at his touch.
We kept kissing, hotter and with more passion this time, with total abandon, and I just couldn’t stop myself, I grabbed his shirt and yanked it out through his head.  He had dark and wavy hair.  Rich, dark hair.
He fumbled a bit with his jeans, (oh that’s a first), I took his hands and cupped them over my breasts and he moved his head down to lick my nipples.  I moaned. I manage to finish zipping him down.  I saw that he was ready and so was I.  To my surprise and delight, he looked at my face again, slightly pushed me down on the bed, raised my legs on his shoulders and went down to that place where my soul connects to another dimension and I smiled.  He played his tongue all over my clit as he pushed a finger inside me, and I squirmed and squealed and screamed and cried ….. And flowed.
Just when I thought I would totally lose my mind, he straightened up and rammed me.
I was shocked at how huge he was.  And hard.  I was screaming wetness but he filled up all of me and more.
 Fast. Hungry. Almost brutal.  He held onto my ankles and had his way full throttle. I groaned and he grunted, a wild sound I never knew was going to turn me on some more, yet I prodded him to give me more.  I wanted more of him.  All of him.  This beautiful man that I hardly know.  I have never felt so raw, so lustful, so sexy.
I knew it was my turn to drive him crazy because those azure gray eyes were almost green, and I squeezed him tight as he rammed me, and I called his name,  “Frederic, say my name.”  I stared into his eyes and he into mine, he said, “Ysa-bell-lah, you are so beautiful”.  I squeezed him some more and he pumped me some more, and then I felt that warm juice flow in and out of me not knowing which one is his or mine, but ours.

There was a ringing sound.  Smell of hot bread and coffee and butter.  A ray of sun peeped through the curtains of the white and green bay window.  It struck my face and I slowly opened my eyes.  Fuck!  Where the hell am I?  Oh my lord, I thought I was having some lucid, wet dream.
Christ, I am totally naked.  I grabbed myself, and I am still wet?  What the fuck?  Where the hell is that phone?  The ringing sound was muffled.  I found my bag on the lounge chair beside the bed.  I stood up without a stitch on.  Opened my bag and there you are!
“Hey”, I said
“Hey back and don’t you start going ballistic on me. Let me explain ….” Trish was babbling.
I listened quietly, looking down at my body that actually looks good, and my mind went back to the night that happened.  I was getting horny again and there's that quivering, electrical impulses in my spine again.  Oh god, I can still feel him.  Trish’s voice was fading now, and I turned around to that familiar smell, that presence that made me tingle all over and he was standing right behind me.  He wrapped his arms around my naked body,  I felt so tingly I giggled.
“Ysabella, are you listening to me at all?  Where are you?  I kept calling you at your hotel and no one is picking up in your room.  Hello?  Is everything alright?  Are you okay?” Trish was beginning to sound like my mother.
“Yes Trish, I will have to call you back okay.  And stop worrying, (he was kissing my nape and I felt so giggly) … I will call you.”  I could still hear Trish worried voice but I had already flicked the mobile shut.

I turned around to face him.  He was wearing only his boxers and he and I were as ready as hell.
”Is that breakfast I smell?”, I cooed.
He smiled, his fingers playing my tits, “Oui Miss, your breakfast.  I will be having mine now,”  And he throws me back into the bed and I laughed lustily as I opened my arms and legs to this man, this dark haired stranger, tall, azure-colored eyes, well endowed beautiful Frenchman I met last night.  Well he did rescue me from the rain.  So I owe him that much.  I closed my eyes and moaned.