Thursday, October 05, 2006
Control My Hormones!
“Yes,” I told him. I felt breathless and giddy and like there was a smile the size of a pie plate plastered on my face. “Yes, I would love to have dinner with you!”
He gave my hand a squeeze, but didn’t let it go. We stood there for a moment on the overlook and stared into one anothers eyes. Chocolate brown and hazel green eyes were locked together and for a moment nothing else in the world mattered.
We turned, still holding hands and walked towards the parking lot. The bus across the street was just pulling away from the stop with a gush of smelly exhaust fumes that made my eyes sting for a moment. The chugging of the diesel engine was loud, but receded quickly as the bus lumbered down the hill full of passengers trying to get out of the stormy weather that was heading quickly toward us.
He led me to a black BMW Z4. WOW, I thought, what a great car. I heard a click as he unlocked the doors and he opened the passenger side door for me. The interior was grey and fabulously detailed; the leather seats were supple and as soft as satin. I wanted to make sure I didn’t have anything on the bottom of my shoe and when I told him that he laughed!
He closed my door and walked around the car and got into the drivers side. He leaned back into the plush seat with a sigh and turned to look at me, resting his left arm along the top of the steering wheel. “My name is Adam, Adam Richland,” he said to me in a low voice, and then he gave a quick laugh. “I guess since we’re going to have dinner together knowing who each other is would help!”
I blushed and felt the deep red warmth spread down my face and throat. I don’t know why exactly, other than I kept wondering when we would get around to that; and, how did I tell him that I had recognized him without sounding like some star-struck idiot, which I probably am?
His hand was playing with the steering wheel, sort of tracing the grooves on it and I realized again that he was nervous too. He was looking at me expectantly, waiting for me to speak. I swallowed nervously and tried hard to smile, but I think it came off kind of lame.
“Hi Adam, I’m Sarah Marcus,” I said, with just the slightest tremor in my voice. I just tried to stay focused on those beautiful brown eyes. “I, yes, I recognized you, I just didn’t want to mention it because I was afraid I’d come off as some sort of crazy fan or something,” I said with what I hoped was at least a partially apologetic look.
“Well,” he declared, “THAT’S out of the way now!” We started laughing at that point and I realized we were both relieved. “Where would you like to go for dinner?” he asked. “How’s Italian sound to you?” His eyes were twinkling merrily as he turned to start the car.
“Hm, Italian,” I played along. “Actually I was thinking about Chinese...”
“You’d settle for Moo Shu Pork instead of lasagna?” he teased. “That’s sacrilegious!”
“Okay, okay,” I laughed. I thought about what I might want and told him “There used to be a place in Lerino, just southwest of Vicenza. It was called ‘Il Baron Rosso’,” I told him.
“The Red Baron?” he asked. “You must be teasing me, what do they serve, pizza I suppose?” He almost snorted at that!
“Well, as a matter of fact...” I said with the most brilliant smile I could muster.
“Okay, I know when a woman has her mind made up, so Il Baron Rosso it is,” he declared, putting the car into gear and heading down the hill into Vicenza.
I directed him to the road that would take us to Lerino, which was actually only 5 minutes away for Vicenza. I told him that when we lived here, we really lived in the small town of Torri de Quatresolo, which meant tower of the four suns. Just past Torri was Lerino. It had been one of our favorite places to go. It was across from the Lerino train station where we would catch the train to Venice or wherever else we wanted to go.
Sure enough, Il Baron Rosso was still there and I swear it didn’t look any different. Adam opened my car door for me and as we walked into the restaurant he rested his hand on my back, just below my waist. His hand was warm through the fabric of my shirt and the tingles started all over again.
Inside, the smells of cooking pizza were enticing. American pizza is very different from Italian pizza, and the aroma’s coming from the kitchen were divine. Italians cook pizzas in wood ovens and the crusts are very different as well, thinner, tender and a bit chewy. Each person gets their own pizza, so you can get exactly what you want, and boy, did I know what I wanted!
When the waitress came to take our order I ordered a quattro formaggi pizza and a beer. Adam ordered a diavolo and fungi pizza and a beer as well.
“So,” he said, “You are a four cheese kind of girl?” He was playing with the silverware on the table top and it occurred to me then how important it was for him to have something to keep his hands occupied.
Our waitress brought our beers and we raised them and toasted “Bouno Salute” which was a traditional Italian toast meaning good health. We took sips and I said to him “And you are a pepperoni and mushroom kind of guy, and spicy pepperoni to boot!” meaning the ‘diavolo’.
We talked about our lives a little bit while we waited for the pizza. I told him I was from Wichita, Kansas, had been divorced for 10 years and that I had two children; a son 25 and a daughter who was 23. My daughter is beginning her second year of medical school and I was very proud of her. My son is married and is in the military.
“What do you do for a living?” he inquired, taking it all in.
“I’m a headhunter,” I told him, and watched his face for the expected confused reaction that most people get.
“For management or natives?” he asked, flashing his dimples again. I was impressed, not too many people get it.
“Management positions mostly, CEO’s, COO’s, but occasionally finance positions too,” I explained. “Wichita is growing enough that we are starting to have a need for that kind of talent, and because of the fact that it is relatively new to us, we often have to look outside of our community. Or sometimes we just need to find new blood, so to speak.”
“So to speak,” he chuckled.
“What about you?” I asked, giving him my silliest smile. “What are the gory details of your life?”
“I was positively sure you had probably read all about it in the Enquirer,” he told me. “I’ve been engaged 14 times and have abused them all,” he said, leaning across the table and looking from side to side to make sure no one was listening.
“I’m shocked,” I whispered, leaning across the table too, which brought our noses about a ½ inch apart. We looked at one another; eye-to-eye and I could smell his breath, warm from the beer, but very pleasant still. I blinked suddenly when he started staring at my mouth and I was wondering what he was thinking. I unconsciously licked my lips and he watched that carefully; pink tongue moving slowly over my lips. Inwardly I groaned. God I wanted to kiss him!
Our waitress chose that time to deliver our pizzas and we each sat back in our seats, startled and very aware of one another. She placed the plates in front of us and told us “Goda prego il vostro alimento”, which means to enjoy our food. I stared at my pizza, the one I had been craving for nearly 20 years now and all I could think about was the tennis ball that was getting cozy with my tonsils. I tried to swallow it down and it felt huge, so I took a really deep, slow breath and tried again; this time felt a bit better.
Adam was staring at his pizza too and I couldn’t help but think he was having the same problem as I was.
We picked up our forks and knives (they don’t cut pizza into slices, you cut it yourself into bites) and tried to focus on the pizzas in front of us. They smelled tantalizing, the steam rising from the still-bubbling cheese on the top, the crust golden and puffy around the edges.
Okay, the more I looked at it, the more I could appreciate it, so with a shrug, I dug in. My first bite was heaven, as was each one after that. I don’t know how to explain how the pizzas are so different, but they are; you’ll just have to take my word for it if you’ve never been to Italy.
All too soon the pizzas were gone and I felt pleasingly full! When we walked out of Il Baron Rosso, the stars were shining brightly and the moon was close to full. We were quiet as we walked to the car and we both seemed lost in our thoughts. At the car, we stood by the unopened door for a moment, a breathless moment and looked at one another.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had a better pizza, or evening,” Adam said in hushed tones. He bent toward me and rested his forehead against mine. His skin was warm and smooth and smelled good. I relaxed against him, enjoying, no loving the contact, wishing for more.
“Let’s get you back to your hotel,” he finally said, reluctantly it seemed to me. Was that wishful thinking on my part?
My hotel was only 10 minutes away, so the ride was all too swift. At the hotel he walked with me to my room. We stood there at my door and I told him what a wonderful afternoon and evening I had with him. I was looking at him, at his dimples and lips and thinking KISS ME!
“Thank you,” he whispered, wrapping his arms around me for a hug. I looked up into his eyes and he leaned down and our lips made contact.
That first kiss was soft, teasing actually; lips gently touching, playing and clinging. I felt the electricity again and opened myself to him, wrapped my arms around him and held tight.
He deepened the kiss and as our mouths opened to one another; I felt his tongue softly tracing my lips, licking at the corners of my mouth then pressing more confidently. My own tongue met his and I loved the feel of it, velvety and yielding to my explorations. I stroked his tongue and the kiss became more urgent.
My nipples were standing firmly to attention, aching and the longer the kiss went on, the wetter I became, I felt myself contracting with desire and need. I shifted to lean against the wall because I felt as if I might fall down.
Eventually it did end and we both reluctantly pulled apart.
“I’d better go,” he said, “Or we could be in trouble.”
Frankly, I was already in trouble! “Okay,” I told him in a voice that was barely a whisper. My mouth dry suddenly and missing his already.
He stood there for a moment and then grinned at me. “What are you doing tomorrow?”
I was a happy woman!