Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Butterflies In My Stomach

Chapter Two

Of course, I wanted to do much more than talk!

He was looking at me expectantly and I suddenly remembered he had asked me a question.

“I’m here to play,” I told him finally, trying very hard to stop staring at his lips. They looked soft and full and very sexy. “I used to live here and I wanted to come back for a visit.”

I looked at my watch again, thinking that if I were going to make a run for that bus I needed to do it now. But I didn’t really want to. The last few years of my life I had spent doing exactly what I was expected to do for the most part and rarely what I wanted to do. I’m the quintessential good girl, taking care of my family, handling my job and surviving in a world that rushed by alarmingly fast. Looking out over the balustrade here on Monte Berico at a city that is vibrant and alive, I decided to do something that I never do—stay there and take a chance.

“You keep looking at your watch,” he commented, a slow smile spreading across his face again. “Do you have someplace to go?” His eyes looked at me intensely, almost as if he sensed my decision.

“No, not really,” I told him, licking my lips a bit nervously. I looked past him for a moment, out at the city spread out below us. I could see the copper top of the duomo that was a pale turquoise color from centuries of exposure to the elements, bright red-tiled roofs and small, twisting streets. I could hear the muted sounds of the traffic on them, always rushing, always somewhere else to go.

His gaze followed mine and without thinking about it, we both started moving toward the northern balustrade. It was a beautiful day, the air clean and sharp with clouds in the distance. That wasn’t always the case here in Vicenza, I knew. It usually was only this clear after a rain shower, or in the winter when the air is brisk and cold. When I lived here I had been here for a month before I actually saw the Dolomites. It had rained heavily the night before and I was standing on my balcony in the morning, still charmed to be living in Italy and, they were just there! Like someone had moved them in overnight.

We stopped when we got to the railing and both of us admired the view. These mountains were different in appearance from the Rocky Mountains that I love so much. They are grey and covered with trees, deciduous trees as opposed to the pines and aspens of the Rockies. They were a towering backdrop to Vicenza and the region of Veneto. On the foothills that rolled gently toward the Dolomites, you could occasionally see terraced vineyards growing lazily on the slopes.

I hopped up on one of the pillar stones that divide the sections of the balustrade and swung my legs over the edge. It was a good drop to the ground, but the balustrade was strong and wide. I felt perfectly safe but he moved in closer to me protectively and leaned against the railing next to me, his shoulder pressing against my side. Pure energy coursed through me, it made me tingle and shiver.

I couldn’t ever remember a time when I had a response like this to a man. Not so quickly anyway. I don’t even know him and I hope that I’m not so shallow that it is only because he is famous.

“How long ago did you live here?” he asked me, his tone quiet and inviting. He was idly tracing a finger tip across the stones of the rail, stones that were worn smooth with time.

“Why sir,” I said to him, playfully batting my eyelashes. “Are you trying to find out how old I am?”

We both laughed at that and he said “You’re old enough not to get me into any trouble, but definitely old enough to tempt me!”

That made me laugh harder and he reached around me with his arm and I felt his fingers pressing gently against my hip, I suppose in some sort of effort to pretend he was protecting me.

“I can’t have you falling off here because that would get me into trouble!” He told me and I noticed that he was giggling, like a kid who finds something irresistible.

I adore a man that giggles. Laughter is great, but a giggle is much more personal and intimate. It's not really regarded as a manly trait and so many men don't ever giggle. The sound of it made me smile from the simple joy he was showing me.

The problem was that I didn’t know how much more of his arm being around me I could take. Didn’t he feel this electricity flowing between us? It was like static electricity, the hairs on my body were standing up and I shivered with the sensation. I was feeling alive for the first time in a very long time. I breathed in deeply and let out a long, shaky sigh.

We made small talk for awhile, about Italy and Vicenza, the places we both enjoyed here. We didn’t talk of anything personal though, only light banter and we still hadn’t even introduced ourselves. I was quickly becoming enamored of his voice which was soft and warm, the lilt of his accent smooth and pleasant to hear, beguiling really.

Billowy clouds were starting to rapidly creep across the sky and the wind was picking up as well. It felt chilly up here on top of Monte Berico now. Two different buses had already come and gone and I decided I had better go and catch the next one. I was enjoying myself tremendously, and I felt peaceful and content. But as they say, all good things must come to an end and I didn’t think he was going to sweep me off my feet and marry me, so better to just get the inevitable over with and go on my way.

“I think I had better go and catch the next bus,” I murmured to him softly, twisting around on the pillar stone. He reached up to help me down, holding me firmly around the waist and I slid down in slow motion, our bodies firmly pressed together. When my feet were touching the ground again, he still didn’t let go.

My breath caught in my throat as I stared up into his chocolate-colored eyes. He reached up with his hand and gently brushed an errant strand of my hair away from my eyes, his hand lingering in my hair that was being blown about in the increasing wind. The sun was now hiding behind heavy clouds that looked close to bursting with what was sure to be an autumn rain storm. I could smell the rain just waiting for an earthly invitation to join the party.

We stared into one anothers eyes while silence enveloped us in tender arms. I noticed he swallowed rapidly a couple of times and started to open his mouth, then just as quickly closed it again. I was afraid to look away, but I was also scared to stand there, gazing into his eyes and feeling so vulnerable. I felt my nipples grow hard as I was pressed up against him and I was glad he couldn’t see them.

I tried to mentally shake myself away from this situation. In the distance I heard the low rumble of a bus rapidly coming in to the bus stop. I looked that way and saw that I would have to run to make it.

“Well,” I said, looking at the bus and starting to back away from the magnetic pull he seemed to have on me, “I need to go now!”

“Wait,” he said while still holding my hand firmly in his. I could see so many emotions flow across his gorgeous face. “I, uh, can you have dinner with me? Uh, I mean would you like to, have dinner with me I mean?” He sort of stammered the question, as if surprised that he had actually asked it.

I looked at him again, deep into his eyes and I saw something I would have thought to be impossible—he was nervous. His teeth were softly playing with his lower lip and I looked down to see that his hands were sort of balled up, as if he was trying to keep them from shaking. My God, he feels the same thing I do, I thought hesitantly. Adam Richland, famous movie star is nervous asking me out to dinner! My heart was beating rapidly with this realization and I had only one thing to say.



Genevieve said...

Why was she so interested in leaving? If I met a hot guy who I had a pretty instant chemistry with I would not keep looking at my watch.

Hope said...

Hi Genevieve,

Sarah is worried about catching the bus because she is afraid of what she feels for Adam! She doesn't trust her feelings.