Friday, October 20, 2006

A Late Start

Chapter Eleven

We both opened our eyes at the insistent knocking on the door and saw sunshine coming in through the partially closed blinds. The knocking continued and Adam called out “Si! Io arrivo un minuto.” Then he got to his feet and I followed trying to tug my robe back into place.

While Adam dealt with the breakfast I went into the bathroom and looked in the mirror. My hair was completely flat on one side and I tried to fluff it up, then I brushed my teeth. I mentally was trying to remember the last time I had slept so long and well and couldn’t. I considered briefly changing into something else, and then decided not to. I’d grab a shower before we left, so this would do for now.

I heard the door to the room close as I was walking through my bedroom and poked my head out, just to make sure the coast was clear. I didn’t see anyone, but breakfast had been laid out on the small round table near the windows and the blinds had been fully opened, letting in the beautiful September sunshine.

The golden light was shining brightly on a table that looked lovely, set with real china, crystal glasses of water and juice, a pot of coffee and several covered dishes.

I was lifting the lids and was peeking at their aromatic offerings when Adam came back into the room, still in his robe. We smiled at each other and he came over and bent to kiss me. His breath, like mine was minty fresh and his generous lips were warm as they moved enticingly over mine, turning me to mush.

I was hungry alright, and food had nothing to do with it. I couldn’t believe I had spent the whole night in this mans arms—unconscious! Well, asleep anyway.

He held out my chair for me and I sat down. He sat opposite of me and we smiled at each other for a long minute.

“I guess we’re going to get a late start,” he finally said.

“Yep. But that’s okay with me. Did you sleep well?”

He laughed sheepishly then and said, “I hate to say it, but I don’t think I’ve ever slept better!”

“Me either,” I admitted, looking into his eyes and getting lost for a moment. “Breakfast looks great.” I started removing the lids to crepes with strawberry sauce, fluffy eggs, and rolls.

“Wow. I am starving this morning, how about you?” Adams eyes lit up as he looked at all the food.

“Mm, yes I’m hungry too. What would you like?”

"ALL of it!”

“Is this one of those things I should know about you? Voracious appetite?”

“Yes, for many things,” he quipped as he was filling his plate.

I couldn’t help but shiver at that comment. Anticipation, such a sweet thing...

We ate quietly for a few minutes and then talked about the trip. Sunni had everything plotted out, roads, stops, hotels, sights to see, you name it and the girl had information about it all too. I couldn’t help but wonder how she managed all that in the hour that she worked on it. I commented to Adam about that.

“She has set up trips for others here, so probably some of that information she already had,” he said tearing off a piece of the croissant and popping it into his mouth. He chewed for a moment and added, “She is very efficient though, isn’t she? Sort of like a typhoon, wouldn’t you agree?”

I laughed and told him I had already nicknamed her Whirlwind Sunni, and he nodded in agreement. I took a bite of the crepes, they were to die for and I savored every tantalizing bit.

Adam was watching me chew and when I had swallowed the bite, he reached across the table and very slowly and provocatively wiped across the corner of my mouth with his index finger. I couldn’t figure out what he was doing until he showed me a spot of strawberry sauce on his fingertip. I reached out and took his hand in mine and guided it to my face, then opened my mouth and slid his finger in. I slowly licked and swirled his finger with my tongue then withdrew it unhurriedly, gently sucking it clean as it slid out.

A provocative move on my part? Yes, and his mouth was open wide in astonishment as he stared at me, watching me slowly withdraw his finger. I watched his mouth close once, then open again, and then close one final time as he swallowed convulsively. He looked at his finger, then again at my mouth.

I kept my steady gaze focused on him, now was not the time to be wimpy and look away. I didn’t know exactly what I meant by doing that, I only knew that it had felt right at the time.

“Crikey,” he said, his voice cracking just a tiny bit and then he cleared his throat. I noticed that he shifted slightly in his chair, sitting up a little more, and I couldn’t help but wonder if that was because he was aroused.

I finally looked away after I smiled at him. I hadn’t expected him to leap over the table and grab me; actually I don’t know what I expected. I did want him, I knew that. But if I kept waiting until everything was ‘right’, I might never let it happen. He was quickly becoming a part of me, my thoughts and maybe even my heart. That’s what I didn’t know if I could handle or not. I feel so vulnerable and I don’t handle that very well. Does anyone though?

I wiped my mouth with the napkin this time and stood up from the table. Adam was still sitting there, pensively chewing the last few bites of food on his plate. And not saying a word. I wondered if I had pushed too hard, too fast and I didn’t quite know how to get us past this.

“Adam,” I began, “I’m sorry. I guess I shouldn’t have done that, but I was just feeling playful, and I didn’t mean to upset you...” I trailed off.

He laid his napkin down on the table and then stood up, turning to me. I felt as if he was looking into my soul, so deep and intense was the look he gave me. He reached out to me and pulled me to him, joining our mouths impatiently, his wide open, and his tongue searching for mine. I opened myself to him and wrapped my arms tightly around him, feeling his erection pushing against my belly.

Our mouths were fused together, hungrily devouring one anothers. His hands slipped inside my robe, sliding hotly over my hips and belly, roaming upward to cup my breasts, lifting them slightly and running his thumbs over my already hardened nipples. His hands felt hot against my skin and that excited me even more.

I was moaning against his mouth, pushing my hips hard against him and I heard bells ringing. No really, I did and so did he. It was his cell phone ringing in his bedroom.

He groaned and tore himself away from me with a curse, a very naughty curse and went to the bedroom to look at the caller id. I heard him mumble “damn” and answer his phone. He spoke for a few minutes and I heard him say, alright, give us an hour and we’ll come by and pick it up.

I stood there in the living room, hugging myself and feeling terrible. I had started something and now what? It sounded like we had something to go do. I was aching and wet and I couldn’t even imagine what he was thinking or feeling.

He came back into the living room and stood there looking at me for a moment, and I saw so much in his eyes. Regret and desire mostly, and I knew he wasn’t unhappy with me. But he was careful to keep a few feet away from me and said, “That was Sunni. We need to stop at the set on our way out of town to pick up some changes to our itinerary. She got us into a different hotel tonight, the one she had originally tried, but they didn’t have a vacancy then. They called her a little while ago with a cancellation and she set it up. We’ll have to get going quickly because we need to be there by 5 o’clock to get checked in; they won’t hold the room any longer than that. It’s almost 11:00 now, so if we can get on the road by noon, we should make it okay,” he finished. He stood there, gazing at me and rubbing his hands down the sides of his robe in a nervous gesture. “Does that sound okay to you?”

“Sure,” I told him, trying to straighten my robe, pull it back into place and then decided the heck with it, I’d just go and climb into the shower and get ready. “I’ll go take a shower and stuff, okay?” I smiled at him, but my eyes were full of conflict, trying to tell him everything I felt and needed--how much I needed him.

He nodded and when I passed him on the way into my room, he reached out and took my hand. He started to say something, then quickly changed his mind and just pulled me into his arms and hugged me tight for a moment, they turned and went into his bedroom.

It only took a little while to shower and get ready and I had just finished zipping my bag when he took his into the living room. He sat them by the door and asked if I were ready for someone to come and get them and I told him I was. I heard him calling down to the desk and I grabbed my purse and went into the living room.

Adam finished the call and replaced the phone in the cradle and went in to my room to get my bags. I thanked him and stood there, sort of nervously fidgeting with the buttons on my crocheted vest. He looked me up and down, taking in the black boots, black jeans, white long-sleeved lacy shirt and black vest over it and his lips pursed in a silent whistle of approval. That did wonders for me and my world was back on its axis again, instead of spinning wildly out of control. I’m kind of sensitive about how I look, but then what woman isn’t? I wish I were taller than my 5’5, and smaller than size 14 frame. I’m 45 years old and I think I look pretty good for all that I fret about it. It helps that the curves are in the right places and having someone acknowledge I look good helps bunches too.

“They’ll be along soon to get the bags,” he said, at approximately the same time as someone knocked on the door. “Ah, there they are now.” He opened the door and a porter was there with a cart to carry the bags down. Adam’s room was on the second floor, so he and I walked down the stairs as our bags went down in the elevator. Somehow we all met up at about the same time.

We walked by the desk and Adam gave them his room key and we left. I looked at him in question and he smiled and with a shrug told me that the room was provided by the production company. Wow, I thought. Pretty cool.

He went around to get the car and I waited with the bags. It was a beautiful day here I thought, a perfect day to remember my time here in Vicenza. You can have Paris, I’ll take Vicenza for romance any day of the week.

It took only a couple of minutes to get to the set, which was shooting an outdoor scene in Piazza San Marco by the duomo. The cameras were set up around the outdoor cafe in the piazza and I remembered sitting there many times, drinking coffee with friends and chatting the day away. On the way to the set I asked him about that; I had thought shooting was done and he told me that it was for him, but they still had a couple of other scenes to complete before they left Italy and headed to Dallas to start building sets for the inside shots.

Sunni was watching for us and met us at the car with the new directions and reservations. “You all will like this hotel better,” she told us in her lively Texas drawl. “It’s a really great place to stay.” While she was saying that she was showing us the map directions and making sure everything else was in the envelope she had given us yesterday. “Remember now, you need to be there by 5:00 pm sharp and reposo starts soon so don’t forget to get gas before then, okay?”

We told her we would be fine and thanks for all her help and she waved and was on her way, already talking to someone else. It’s hard not to smile when I think about Sunni; she is just so full of life! I was glad that there was no sign of Krista though. I guess its mean of me, but that girl kind of creeps me out!

We left the downtown area, stopping obediently to get gas and then got on the road that would take us to the Superstrada, with is like a toll road. We merged with other traffic into the entrance, got our ticket and were on our way! Adam plugged his cell phone into the car to charge it since he didn’t have a transformer necessary to plug it into regular Italian outlets. Something that uses 120v doesn’t do too well with 240v, unless you like fireworks and smoke, so he just uses the charger in the car he told me.

I had gotten used to the different type of electricity while I lived there and before I came for this visit I had bought a dual voltage hair dryer, which I decided was the only appliance I positively couldn’t live without. I had discovered since I had been here that many hotels actually provide travelers with things like hair dryers and such.

We quickly left the city behind us and the towering Dolomite's as we sped south, but the landscape was in no way flat and boring. It was wonderfully green still, even in September and here and there you would see cachi (pronounced kaw-key) trees, otherwise known as persimmons which were beautiful this time of the year. They had huge intensely orange globes on them like very large oranges which looked brilliant with glossy green leaves in the summer and red and orange in the fall.  They were beautiful to look at. The farther we traveled into Tuscany, the more Cypress trees we saw, tall and thin and plentiful. The hills were often terraced and usually had grapes still growing thickly on the vines that twisted over the arbors. Even this late in the season some grapes were not yet ready to pick.

Adam had turned the CD player over to me and we were listening to Michael McDonald’s Motown CD right now, which is one of my favorites. He has the most soulful voice and when I hear him sing his rendition of ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’, I just can’t help but sing along! Adam laughed at that then ended up singing with me.

“It’s a good thing you are such a talented actor because you sure can’t sing,” I giggled. “That was terrible!”

“Hey, that’s not fair, I was unprepared! Besides, you weren’t that great either,” he said with a good-natured shrug. “Okay, I admit it, I do have many talents, but singing obviously isn’t one of them!”

“Like, yeah,” I said, doing my best valley girl impression.

Adam cast me a sideways glance, lifting his eyebrows and rolling his eyes. But when I glanced over at him a minute later, he was still smiling and I could see how happy he was, but then so was I. We chatted easily about our lives, past loves and our childhoods.

“I guess this is a pretty silly time to ask this now, but you aren’t, uh, seeing anyone are you?" he asked, suddenly very serious.

“You mean do I have a husband or fiancĂ© tucked away back in the Land of Oz?”

The look he gave me was so shocked and serious I had to stifle the next snappy comment I was going to spit out. My facetious banter can often get me into trouble.

“No Adam,” I told him seriously, “There is no one in my life right now.” I thought for a minute about what I should tell him about Jason, the last man I had been involved with. It had ended after two years with both of us running away. Commitment phobia is definitely one of my issues. I had been working on it now for a couple of years and I was finally ready to try again. Adam was the first guy to come along that I had even considered giving a shot to. And part of me was scared because I knew in the back of my mind that there probably wasn’t a chance in the world for us to make it because of the different lives we lead. So maybe it was a safe choice for me. The problem was, I really liked Adam and I already didn’t want it to be just a holiday romance.

“I’ve been on my own for a couple of years now.” He looked at me kind of funny then, as if trying to determine if that were really true. “Jason and I had been together for about two years, but when it came time to do the clichĂ© ‘go to the next level’ thing, I couldn’t. He was a nice guy, but I ran, hard and fast.” I swallowed the lump that had risen in my throat with the memories, playing out those last times together in my head and feeling so betrayed by my own emotions or maybe lack of emotions. I thought I had wanted it to work with him, I really did, but in the end I still ran away.

“He obviously wasn’t the right guy for you,” Adam offered.

“It’s more complicated than that Adam. I mean, true he wasn’t the right one but the problem was with me, and not allowing myself to feel and to express my feelings, always holding back. I held back to the point where I just didn’t feel anything Adam except for fear; fear of failure, even fear of succeeding. I have spent the past couple of years trying to figure out why I do that and truthfully, I have only recently decided that I was ready to try again. I’ve discovered a lot about myself in this time by taking a cold, hard look at who I was and not allowing myself to run away at what I saw. Are you upset to hear all this?” I asked, almost holding my breath and thinking, please be okay with this Adam, give me a chance!

“So, you believe you are ready?”

“Yes,” I said in almost a whisper, then more confidently. “Yes, I think I am.”

“Good, because I think so too.”

We were on the outskirts of Pisa then and in the distance we saw the tower, leaning in the late afternoon sun. It was a few minutes after 4:00 and we had made great time. Adam earlier had talked me through programming the address of the hotel into the on board computer in the car, so by then we were just following the map to the hotel.

When we got there, we were both impressed. It appeared to be a very old grand estate style of building, maybe a palace or something, but not quite that large. It was 4 stories high, made of granite that had mellowed to an off-white that didn’t seem dingy at all. As we turned onto the grounds from the back side we saw balconies running across the width and lots of windows. The views from those rooms must be spectacular. We followed the drive around to the side and pulled up under a porte-cochere and someone immediately came to get the bags from the car and take us into the registration desk. A valet moved the car to somewhere out of site as we followed the bell hop to the desk.

Sunni had everything set up well, our reservations were in order and she had already ordered our dinner to be served at 8:00. What a girl that Sunni was!

The clerk gave us the room key and we went to the elevator to go to the 3rd floor. Our luggage was already there thanks to the efficient bell hop, who was waiting for us. We walked into the suite, which was sumptuous. Adam tipped the bell hop and we stood there looking at each other excitedly. Our adventure has begun!


Juniper said...

Your blog is so good!! I just can't get enough of it!! Keep up the good work!

Hope said...

Thanks Juniper!

I'm glad you are enjoying it. I'm having lots of fun writing it.

Anonymous said...

I love this blog! Love it, love it, love it!!! I can't wait for the next post. You definitley have the gift of writing. Thanks!

catrina said...

I'm so glad I found your blog! I feel like I'm right there with you! Such vivid descriptions!

Hope said...

Sandy and Catrina thank you! There's lots more to come, so keep checking back!

Jeanie P. said...

Hope, I absolutley love this blog! How I found you, was a post on the comments area of Redbook's "Diary of V." I was there posting a complaint. I have been reading that for several YEARS! The story line has become very negative and she only posts a couple of paragraphs at a time. I was feeling like a person who is trapped in the dessert and not able to find any water, so to speak. There was a post there and the person posted the link to your blog. I am SO ENJOYING what you are writing. I check every day just to see if you have posted another part of the story. I am thrilled that Sarah is 54! I am 54 and look much younger than I am. (Thank you Mom for the genes...) I am sending the link to your blog to a lot of my girlfriends, who I am quite certain, will get hooked just as quickly and completely as I did. Thank you, thank you, thank you for such excellent writing. Rest assured that there will be many of us hanging on every word and looking forward to each new post.

Hope said...

Jeanie P,

Thanks so much. I'm afraid I'll drive everyone crazy with Adam and Sarah I have so much to say about them.

I post on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I hope that will information will save you any frustration on the other days!

reeneez said...

Yahoo!! Let the fun begin! Hope, you never disappoint! If, for some reason, Adam ditches Sarah, would you make his new love interest name "Rene"? LOL!! Thank you, thank you, thank you again for such a great blog!

Anonymous said...

Dude...can you speed it up a bit? I've been coming online to read the story for the last couple of days, and it's torture not knowing what's going to happen