Monday, November 13, 2006
It was 9 o’clock and we were packed and ready to leave. Adam had carried our bags down to the car and I was checking the cottage one last time to make sure we hadn’t left anything behind.
I stood looking at the bedroom for a moment, mentally reviewing all the wonderful things that had happened there, and then I had to laugh—I could do the same thing for the couch, the balcony, the shower, and the tub. But who’s counting?
Everything looked neat and I couldn’t find anything that we had left, so I locked the door and headed to the carport where Adam was looking at something under the car.
“What’s up,” I asked, kneeling down to see what was going on.
“There is some fluid leaking under here. I’m trying to see if I can tell where it is coming from,” he told me as he was jiggling things underneath the car.
I looked down and there was a light reddish-brown fluid creeping around the front tire. Not a lot but enough that we could see it. If the car hadn’t leaned slightly to the left, we would probably never have seen the fluid.
“It doesn’t look like oil or transmission fluid,” I said. Adam had gotten up and then looked at me quizzically. “Transmission fluid is red, kind of like cherry cough syrup and that doesn’t look thick enough for oil,” I finished with a shrug.
He bent down and smeared a small amount of the fluid on his fingers and we looked at it; it was slightly red, but definitely had brown overtones in it. Adam rubbed his fingers together and it felt slick, but not really viscous.
“Bloody Hell!” he exclaimed in a disgusted tone. He was looking around for something to wipe his fingers on and I dug in my purse and found a tissue and handed it to him.
As he wiped his fingers we headed back into the cottage. Adam pulled his cell phone out and called the production company, which had provided the car for him while he was here in Italy. It took awhile to get through to the person who handles that. His name was Michael Carroll and he told Adam not to drive the car and he would have someone out as soon as possible. Adam told Michael that we were getting ready to check out and head for Venezia, and Michael said he realized that and would try to find someone quickly.
Adam was clearly frustrated about the situation. It was interesting to me to watch this since he had so far been pretty easy going. This was upsetting him a good deal and it made me wonder why. I mean, yeah, it’s a frustrating situation, but it is only a car, you know? One of those unexpected annoyances that come along and exasperate us, but we take care of them and move on.
Adam was fidgeting and pacing around the room. I asked him if he would like me to call and order us some coffee or something and he didn’t respond.
“Adam, earth to Adam,” I said.
“I asked if you would like me to call and get some coffee sent up while we wait.” Personally I doubted that Adam needed any more caffeine, but it might help to pass the time.
“No,” he said, going out to the balcony to watch the drive. I followed him out and stood next to him at the rail. I put my arm around his waist and he looked down at me and tried to smile, and then wrapped his arm around me and pulled me closer to him. “I’m sorry. I’m a bit of a mess now, aren’t I?”
“Not exactly, but you are pretty uptight about it. How come?”
“It’s just... delays. It’s frustrating when I get my mind set on a course of action and then something happens to slow it down. I know I’m being a prat, sorry.”
I couldn’t help but to laugh at that. “Okay, what in the world is a prat?” I asked. I had never heard that word before.
He grinned at me mischievously. “Um, I think your American education is sorely lacking. A prat is someone who is a bit of an ass, I guess you’d say. Of course, we British would say ‘arse’, but there you have it!” he finished, spreading his hands wide.
It seemed to take his mind off of the car for a few minutes and we stood there at the railing, admiring the view and chatting occasionally about something we saw or did the past couple of days.
Quicker than we had expected, a van pulled up the drive behind the BMW and a guy got out and headed up the drive. Adam went down to speak with him. I stayed up on the balcony, enjoying the feel of sunshine on my face. I could hear their conversation though and I thought it was interesting.
The man’s name was Luca Lepora and he worked for the company that leases the vehicles to the production company in the Firenza area. I heard Adam explaining the problem to him and it was quiet for a few minutes. I assumed that Luca was looking at the problem.
“Apparently Mr. Richland, the brake line has somehow become loose from the wheel cylinder, the disc brake here on the driver’s side of the car.”
“How did that happen,” Adam asked, clearly perplexed. “Isn’t that line bolted on?”
“Yes, it is attached by two screws,” Luca stated. “It isn’t likely at all that it would just fall off Mr. Richland. When did you last drive the car?”
“Last evening actually.”
I listened to all this and my brain was racing. I don’t know that much about brakes and stuff, but this didn’t sound right. I frowned for a moment, trying to think if the car had driven funny last night or if I remembered the brakes grinding or making noises, but I didn’t remember anything.
“And the brakes, they responded normally?” Luca asked. His voice seemed kind of muffled, like maybe he was under the car again.
“Yes, yes, there were no problems.”
I heard something scooting on the ground and then Luca speaking and his voice sounded normal again. I heard him tell Adam he would be right back, and then the crunch of his shoes on the gravel of the drive. I could see him as he opened the back door of a van that was parked behind the car. He got into the van and disappeared for a few minutes. I went down to see Adam and the car.
Adam was squatting down near the tire, pensively staring at the fluid on the ground. He looked up as I came out and said, “Did you hear?”
I told him yes, and I thought it was weird too. He nodded his head and then Luca was back, a tool box and several bottles of brake fluid in his hands and he set them down and headed back to the van. There was a loud thump sound and he returned wheeling a portable hydraulic jack which he put under the front of the BMW and gradually lifted the car about 8 – 9 inches up off the drive, and then he locked it into place.
He was silent as he scooted under the car and was working on the brake line, apparently re-attaching it. After he did that, he checked the other brake lines to make sure they were all okay as well. He lifted the hood and checked the reservoir that held the fluid and opened it up. There was no fluid left in it, so he filled it and closed it and then after checking the other fluid levels and a few other things under the hood. He got back under the car and was doing something with the wheel and he asked Adam to get in and pump the brakes a few times.
I watched this whole process as Luca ‘bled’ the brakes and then re-checked the reservoir under the hood and added more brake fluid to it. After he had completed this process several times, he finally closed the hood and lowered and removed the jack, which he took back to his van.
“I found one of the screws from the line under the car, but there was no sign of the other one. I suppose it could have come loose and fell off at anytime. It’s not common, but sometimes things like this happen, maybe something didn’t get properly tightened at the factory. The car is only a couple of months old,” he said with a shrug.
“Has it been tampered with possibly?” Adam asked. He and I were just looking at one another and we were thinking the same thing, how could this have happened?
“It didn’t appear so, but it is really impossible to tell Mr. Richland. If it was tampered with, they did no damage, left no evidence. As I said, things like this do happen, they are rare, but it is possible. I wouldn’t worry any more about it, the car seems fine other wise,” he said as he gathered up his tools and prepared to take it all back to the van.
Adam walked with him and I stood looking at the car, wanting to believe it was just a fluke. This is the weird kind of stuff that happens in movies I thought. Adam and Luca came back, still talking about the car. He had moved the van in front of the cottage and came back to the BMW and he got in and started the car, then moved it cautiously up and down the drive several times, testing the brakes. He told us he was going to drive it for a few minutes to make sure it was all okay and Adam nodded at him and we waited for him to return.
When he got back he told us it was fine and safe to drive. He went out to the van and started it up and waved as he drove off. Adam and I walked back into the cottage and closed it all up again and got in the car, and Adam drove it cautiously down to the main hotel to take care of the bill. It seemed fine and soon we were on the road to Venezia.
It was roughly 160 miles to Venezia. We got started about an hour and a half later than we had planned, but we still had plenty of time. It’s not like we really planned to do any sight-seeing in Venezia. In fact, we were actually staying at the Hotel Plaza in Mestre, which is near the airport. Marco Polo airport isn’t actually in Venezia, since it’s built on canals, there is no place for it. It is on the mainland, about 6 miles outside of Venezia. You can catch a water taxi or a train into Venezia proper it you wanted to.
The car made the trip fine, but it took us both awhile to relax and trust that it was okay. I know it was on both of our minds, and yet we didn’t talk about it. We talked about what would be happening back in the states and about the movie and Dallas and such. We didn’t decide on a definite time for our visit, but we both knew it would be soon. A day apart seemed much too long and yet we knew it could be several weeks before we could swing it.
I was hoping we would stay in the hotel and just be together. It was only hours now that we had, and I was scared to death of leaving Adam behind tomorrow. His flight wasn’t until tomorrow night. I left around 8:24 am tomorrow on a flight to Atlanta, then a connection home to Wichita. It would be about a 11 hour trip, but of course with the 6 hour time difference, I’ll still get home tomorrow in the early afternoon.
All alone—without Adam.
At 140 kilometers per hour, it didn’t take us too long to get there, only a little over 2 hours and we were pulling into the hotel. It was a large, modern hotel and somehow seemed an appropriate ending to this trip, and yet it was irrevocably sad to me. We had spent our times in charming old hotels, amid charming old cities. It made things seem more final, and sort of pulled us back into reality.
We checked in and went to our room. It was spacious and beautifully appointed and exactly like thousands of other hotel rooms around the world. It had a king-sized bed and we laughed and wondered if we would find that too small after the beds at the other hotels we had stayed in. It seemed cold and austere, after the luxuries of the past few days.
Adam said he had forgotten something in the car and that he would be back, leaving the room. I stood there looking around and sat down on the edge of the bed and tears suddenly started rolling down my face. This was hitting me much harder than I thought it would. I had thought my fear would be the driving factor for me today, and I was finding that to be true. The fear I had anticipated was of trying to get out of here with my heart unscathed and I knew I hadn’t succeeded. I wanted to take that fear with me, carry it home in my suitcase because what would come after that would be a thousand times worse—I would start thinking how lucky I was to get out of this relationship. I needed to keep that fear with me, remember how I feel with Adam and how awful it will be without him.
I don’t know how I’m going to do this. It’s too late for a clean getaway and I don’t want that anyway. But that means that I have to feel pain, the pain of being apart from him.
I laughed at the irony of this, me, the queen of quick getaways and fast escapes actually has a chance at that and I don’t want it. How do people do this I wondered? Being apart from someone you care about, feeling lonely and alone? This is miserable and if this is what I have been missing all these years, they can keep it!
It suddenly occurred to me that Adam had been gone for sometime and I vaguely wondered where he was. He probably met up with some of his fans and is signing autographs or something I thought. I lay down on the bed and closed my eyes, childishly wiping my tears away with my fingers. I was curled up on the bed when Adam came back into the room and found me.
He sat down on the edge of the bed next to me and brushed the hair back out of my eyes gently and saw the tears that were still making my eyes shine brightly.
“Move over,” he said softly and then lay down next to me, pulling my body up tightly next to him. We didn’t say a word for awhile, we just listened to each other breathe and the soft thumps our heartbeats made and snuggled as close as we could. My nose was buried deeply in Adams neck, which was warm and I inhaled his scent deeply. I was trying to memorize the smell to carry with me and I lightly kissed him and he stretched out his neck to allow me better access. He pulled my hips snugly to him, and I felt his erection pressed against me. Wordlessly we undressed each other, removing a piece of clothing and then placing soft kisses on the skin it had covered.
When he was in me, we rolled over so I was on top and I moved slowly, sensuously on him, rotating my hips against him while he caressed my breasts. Our passion built quickly and soon he had his hands on my hips and was pumping into me hard and fast. I felt my orgasm spread through me, setting my veins on fire with the intensity of it. I was wildly contracting around him and he came then too, both of us gasping out our passionate cries of release.
He turned me over onto my side and we stayed that way for a little while, lost in each other, in the moment. I was afraid to speak; I didn’t know what I could say that wouldn’t involve me shedding more tears. We finally slept for awhile and he woke me up around 4:00. I hated that we had slept; I didn’t want to miss a moment with him.
Adam gently kissed me awake and I stretched luxuriously, not wanting to be anyplace but here in his arms.
“You have an appointment to keep,” he murmured softly against my mouth.
“Wh-what?” I asked, sure I hadn’t heard him correctly.
“Downstairs in the salon. Do you have a dress with you,” he asked, as if he just thought of it.
“Okay, what is going on? I just want to stay here with you.”
“Boring old me? Ha, not likely. Baby, we are going to dinner in style!”
“When did this happen?” I questioned.
“When I went downstairs earlier. I have made reservations at a very elegant Venetian ristorante, so hop up and get your already beautiful self down to the salon and enjoy being pampered for a bit!”
“I’m not sure what to say,” I told him. I really had wanted to spend the evening quietly here, alone with him. On the other hand, I didn’t want to disappoint him; he apparently had a lot of fun setting it all up. And it could be a memorable way to end our trip.
“Say—okay Adam, where is the salon?” he chuckled, giving me a kiss and nudging me out of the bed.
“Okay Adam. Where IS the salon anyway?”
“Off the main lobby, down the hallway to the right. They are expecting you at 4:30, so get moving woman. I want to show you off to Venezia!”
How could I do anything other than obey? I ran in the bathroom and hopped in the shower for 5 minutes, then quickly dressed and started out the door when I remembered my dress. It was still in my luggage and I bet it was a mess, full of wrinkles and such. I pulled it out quickly and tut-tutted over it.
“I’m afraid it will need to be steamed,” I told Adam, looking at it dubiously.
“I’ll take care of it,” he said, smiling at me as he took the dress out of my hands and holding it up to admire it. “Um, sexy! Now GO.”
I practically ran out the door, headed for the elevator and I managed to walk in at 4:28. They quickly took over; I got a facial, my hair and nails done, even a pedicure. The put a special conditioner on my hair and wrapped it in plastic then a towel while I was getting a warm stone massage on my back. It felt wonderful and I decided this wouldn’t be the last time I got this done! My hair looked fabulous. They had dried it into soft curls and put it up in a loose French roll, leaving little wispy bits to hang down around my face and neck. I felt wonderful and confident, whatever this evening may bring.
I walked out of there at 7:15 and went back to the room, feeling awesome. Adam was there, and true to his word, he had had the dress steamed for me. I put on a little makeup and searched in my bag for the underwear that goes with the dress.
The dress is a deep turquoise color, an ankle-length satin sheath with sheer sea foam green voile over it that is opalescent. It fits me beautifully and sort of floats and rustles when I walk, even though it is a straight A line. I felt beautiful in it and this would be the first time I had ever wore it somewhere other than to try it on—okay I admit it I’ve tried it on several times! The color and fit suited me incredibly and I knew I would look good in it.
The underwear was in sea foam green, a strapless bra with lacy cups that push me up so that my breasts look round and firm. Hey at 45, nature has taken its course, so I’m not above embellishing what I can. There are matching lacy panties and a long half slip that go with it too.
I got dressed and looked in the mirror—I felt like Cinderella. I was beginning to like the idea of going out.
Adam came out of the bathroom and had showered, shaved and dressed. He nearly took my breath away he looked so fabulous. He had on a tuxedo, with satin lapels and crisply pressed slacks. The shirt he had on was so snowy white it almost hurt my eyes.
When he saw me he pursed his lips together and whistled. It’s been a long time since someone actually whistled for me and it felt good—more than good actually.
I had a jacket with me that would work, although it was in no way as formal as the dress. It was a black, sort of wrap around with sleeves. But I felt so good in the dress, the jacket didn’t really matter. I knew that it was chilly out there, but I doubted that I would feel it.
We drove in the car a short ways to the docks and then Adam led me to a water taxi, which took us over the Venezia and then traveled through more canals than I could count, until we got to a small ristorante. I didn’t recognize where in the world we were, but the ristorante was apparently expecting us. Someone held the door open for us and we entered one of the most beautiful scenes I have ever seen—there were candles lit, a hundred of them and maybe more, and the glow they cast upon the creamy walls painted with outdoor frescos was breathtaking. It wasn’t elegant really, but to me nowhere could have looked as beautiful.
There were a dozen tables in the ristorante, but ours was the only one set. The linen was a creamy color, set with a large candle in the middle, sitting in a brass holder. The plates and crystal were edged with gold and the silverware was gold as well.
Above us was a lattice work frame hung with what I presumed to be fake grape vines, but it wasn’t any less impressive. The room seemed intimate and charming and I was overwhelmed with it. Adam held out my chair for me and I sat down gratefully.
“This is our anniversary,” Adam told me.
“What are you talking about?” I asked. The candle light was reflecting in his gorgeous eyes, making them sparkle brightly.
“Well, one week ago tonight, we spent our first evening in Venezia together!” He seemed very pleased with himself and that made me smile.
“Why, I guess that is true. And I got you nothing,” I laughed, spreading my arms wide in admiration for the ristorante.
“You’ve given me everything,” he said softly.
Our waiter came with the wine for us, a crisp Pinot Grigio and we sipped it appreciatively. He was back soon with our first course, a creamy crab bisque that tasted fresh and delicious. Its silky warmth filled our mouths and was so good I could have made a meal on that alone.
He came and took away our bowls and Adam reached across the table to take my hand, and softly caress it. “This past week has been amazing to me Sarah. It has been the best week I have ever spent and certainly the shortest.” He looked down at the table for a minute, as if trying to choose his next words, then looked up and said, “From the very start I could see you were different. I mean, you weren’t smiling at me and trying to be with me just because of who I am. It’s so hard for me, or for anyone in my position to be able to trust that someone likes us or loves us for who we are, not who they want us to be,” he told me. He paused for a moment, and then cleared his throat before continuing.
“I don’t think it ever mattered to you who I am.”
“Don’t give me too much credit Adam. I knew who you were before you told me, remember? And for a few minutes there, I was in awe, I promise you!”
“Is that why you went to dinner with me?” he questioned.
“No, that was because of your gorgeous chocolate colored eyes and your dimples. Honestly,” I said, smiling at him. “Actually, even after I realized who you were, I was trying to make a run for the bus, remember?”
“Yes, yes I do. I was determined that you NOT get to it!”
Before I could answer, the waiter brought our next course, a regional specialty; Polenta e Baccala, which is grilled corn meal mush and salted cod, cooked in a tomato sauce. The people of Venezia always cooked it in tomato sauce; the people in Vicenza cooked it in a cream sauce. It was delicious both ways and I enjoyed it tremendously.
The next course was Insalata Mista or other words, mixed green salad which was followed by decadently rich chocolate mousse, which was incredibly light and smooth. We drank moscotto dolce wine with it, and I struggled to get it all down because I was so full. But never let be said that Sarah passed up chocolate!
Some music started playing then and Adam asked me it I would like to dance. It seemed kind of strange, dancing in a ristorante that we were the only patrons in, but I enjoyed it a lot.
Our bodies pressed together and clung in all the correct places and the dancing was merely foreplay for us. We were aroused and hungry for one another by the time we were ready to go. The water taxi couldn’t get us back to the hotel quickly enough!
We were the only ones in the elevator going up to the room and Adam gathered me into his arms and kissed me, all the longing and desire he felt for me evident in that kiss. I gave him back everything I had to give, trying desperately to let him know how much I cared for him, wanted him, needed him.
As soon as the door to the room was closed, we were pulling each others clothes off. He could have ripped my dress to ribbons for all I cared, but he was careful, taking the time to unzip it and slide it down my body, leaving hot kisses in its wake. He unfastened my bra with one hand as the other was cupping my face for his kiss. His tongue was delving deeply into my mouth, swirling and exploring and sending shivers of anticipation down my spine.
When my bra fell away, he slid his mouth down over my throat to place passionate kisses across my breasts, cupping them and teasing my nipples with his tongue and teeth, then kissing them and making them ache for more. His mouth slid lower and rimmed my belly button and my stomach muscles clenched in anticipation of what was to come next.
Adam slowly pulled my panties off, sliding them over my hips and thighs and ankles, and I lifted my feet so he could pull them away. He buried his face in the curly hairs between my thighs and as soon as his tongue made contact with the sensitive knot of flesh there I came, my hot honeyed juices trailing between my thighs. He picked me up and carried me the short distance to the bed, then quickly pulled the rest of his clothes off and spread my legs apart, once more burying his tongue in me, driving in and out and swirling around the petals of the flowered valley there until I was begging him to make love to me.
He moved his body up over mine and kissed me, teasing my mouth with his, nipping lightly on my lips and then rubbing them with his tongue. I reached down and held his throbbing shaft in my hands, feeling its heated power and I pushed him into me, arching my hips to urge him to slide inside me.
When he was fully sheathed inside me, we both shuddered with need and desire. He moved slowly in and out of me, quickly igniting a burning ache within my body that consumed me. All I knew was his cock, rocking back and forth in me and bringing me closer to the edge of ecstasy.
Our mouths were joined together in an endless kiss, our hands together, fingers entwined, always touching as we worked closer to the peak of pleasure, so close and then we were tumbling madly over the edge, falling, falling...
Adam rolled over on his back and pulled me with him so I was laying on top of him, our bodies still quivering from the power of our orgasms, breaths coming raggedly to us. I was aware of his heart thumping wildly in his chest, as my own was.
Gradually our bodies returned to their normal rhythms and I felt cold then, the sweat that still glistened on our bodies feeling chilly in the wake of our lovemaking. Adam laid me next to him and reached down to pull the covers up over us. We snuggled together, arms and legs entwined, holding one another tightly, afraid to let go.
I didn’t want to go to sleep; I wanted to be awake for every last moment I was with him. We didn’t talk much, it hurt too much. I was afraid if I tried to talk, the lump that was in my throat would give way and I would cry.
We made love one more time, right before dawn and I did cry that time, I couldn’t help it. I tried, but I just couldn’t. He tenderly tried to kiss my tears away, but there were too many of them and he finally just held me close and let me cry. I got up finally and got dressed, feeling rather like a zombie. I put things into the luggage and was ready to go by 7:00 am.
We got to the airport on time and I got checked in for my flight. Because of security, Adam couldn’t go the rest of the way to the gate with me and he held me one last time, there in a waiting room at the airport.
“You’ll call me, as soon as you get home?” he asked. We only had a narrow window of time because he had to catch his plane at 9:45 tonight, which would be 3:45 my time. Still, it should be plenty of time and I promised.
I held him tightly, our hearts beating frantically, each aware that time was slipping quickly away from us. I kissed him, not caring who was watching. He took my face in both of his beautiful hands and gently traced the outline of my lips with his fingers and then wiped my tears away. He leaned against me, gently pressing his lips against my forehead. It was such a tender gesture I broke down in earnest then, my breath coming raggedly as I leaned against him. Adam’s eyes were red-rimmed and shinning brightly with unshed tears; he looked drawn, and he was fighting a battle with his own emotions.
“Oh God, I don’t want to let you go Sarah,” he told me, and a tear ran slowly down his face.
I wiped it away, and then kissed his cheek, where the tear had fallen. “I know Adam, I know.” I help him tightly, wanting to carry this feeling with me, his warmth, his desire.
One last kiss and I left him there. I turned around once and he was still there, and he smiled at me, a sad smile and then waved. I blew him a kiss, the tears trailing freely down my face. I turned and ran for the gate.
I only had a few minutes before I could board and I waited impatiently, pacing in the lounge. They finally called for boarding and I got into line quickly, finding my seat and looking out the window, and across the runways I could see Venezia in the distance, shining in the bright sunshine. The golden ball at the top of the Santa Maria della Salute church on the point seemed to be winking at me, and it made me feel all the more sad. I laid my head against the window and soon we were lifting off and Venezia was only a small watery place below me.
I was going home.