nice shot of my boys getting off the plane in Kyiv. good luck tomorrow!
“I didn’t say I wasn’t watching. I just wasn’t watching the game. I was watching you.”
He leaned close to her and brushed her hair away from her face. “Really?”
“Of course,” she answered huskily. “I couldn’t concentrate on anything else.”
He kissed her then, gently, just her lips at first, stroking her hair as he moved deeper, coming somehow closer to her. She felt like they should stop and look around, she was self-conscious and nervous after what he’d said about the paparazzi, but he tasted bittersweet like Fernet and she was losing herself under his hands. She was only aware of sensations: the velvet cushions of the couch, soft and yielding as he pressed her further into them, the warmness and dampness of his breath, their quiet panting, the distant twinkling of ice in crystal.
“Do you want another drink?” he asked her.
She shook her head no. Paolo gestured for the waiter again.
“Something else, sir?” he asked.
“I think we’ll be going upstairs,” Romaldo said. “Just the check, please.”
Paolo strode up to reception and booked a room, checking in under “Brad Pitt.” The night clerk, a bemused art student, smiled through his floppy hair and handed him the key. “Third floor.”
This time when they rode the elevator they were close, alone, pressed together and wild. Romaldo slid his hands up Francesca’s legs, pulling her towards him, spreading his fingers over her bare cheeks, hooking his thumbs under the lace of her panties. “I’m so glad you wore a skirt,” he murmured into her neck.
When the doors opened they struggled to compose themselves, stumbling out into the quiet, empty hallway. Francesca laughed and it was low, almost guttural, as she ran towards the door of their room. Paolo pinned her against it as he fumbled with the key; he kissed her hard and pushed the door open, propelling them into the room.
“This time I get to undress you,” he said, kneeling at her feet to unbuckle the straps on her shoes. She balanced with her hands on his shoulders as he slipped off her Giuseppes, then he lifted her bare foot to his lips and kissed it. She laughed.
“I’m going to fall over if you keep doing that,” she said.
“I’m going to keep doing a lot of things,” he answered into the smooth skin of her leg. He set her foot back on the carpet and moved up her legs with his mouth, kissing her knees, pushing her feet further apart and moving in between her thighs, tickling her sensitive skin with his stubble. She felt warm, like the Fernet was just kicking in, lightening her head and heightening all sensation. Allowing her to experience the moment without having to think. He inched up towards the apex of her thighs and she felt her knees weakening, dropping herself towards his mouth. Suddenly he was out from under her, standing to face her, and he leaned in to kiss her neck as he unbuttoned the delicate buttons of her blouse. She tossed her head back and arched her spine as he moved from her neck down to her decolletage; he pushed her blouse off her shoulders and cupped her breasts. Through the violet lace of her La Perla bra, he tongued her nipples, circling them then nibbling, gentle at first but building, pulling at them with his teeth, while he palmed her ass and pulled her towards him, making her feel his hardness through their clothes. She tangled her fingers in his hair, tugging until he raised his head to kiss her again, diving into her. She reached around to the zipper at the back of her skirt but he grabbed her wrists, roughly, almost, and pulled them away.
“No,” he said. “I undress you.” He slid his hands under her skirt again and kneaded her cheeks, teasing under her thong with his fingers. Urgently, she sought his earlobe and took it in her lips, sucking and flicking it with her tongue.
“Please,” she whispered breathlessly into his ear.
He reached for the zipper and undid it, and her skirt slipped to the floor. He stepped back. “Look at you,” he said softly.
Despite her protests that her hair was fine, Timo had scheduled Tonio for 4pm on Wednesday. The hairdresser set up in the alcove of the studio they reserved for models, with its makeup chair and mirror, and he set Francesca’s hair in juice can rollers and then dismissed her for the next hour, during which he trimmed, styled, and restyled Timo’s cropped cut. Francesca sat at her computer and laughed. When Timo was reasonably satisfied he popped a bottle of prosecco and the three of them drank while Tonio unrolled Francesca’s long dark tresses. Tonio sprayed and teased, and when Francesca caught a glimpse in the mirror, she looked like an Italian film actress: volume at the crown, thick barrel waves over her shoulders, big sexy hair.
“Perfect!” Timo effused.
Francesca wasn’t convinced. “I’m not going to Cannes,” she said.
“You might as well be. Consider this your big break, missy. You can’t show up looking like an indigent.”
“You sound like my mother. And I’m hardly an indigent, I don’t think.”
Tonio chimed in. “You two are like an old married couple.”
“Chop chop,” Timo hovered. “Time to change.”
“I’m not changing,” Francesca retorted. She was wearing long skinny jeans and a black cashmere sweater. Her leather jacket hung over the back of her desk chair.
“That’s what you think,” Timo said. “Tonio, she obviously needs to change.”
“Obviously,” Tonio replied.
“There’s nothing sexy about that sweater, and those jeans say I don’t care enough to do anything I wouldn’t normally do.”
“It’s a football game. It’s outside. It is a casual sporting event.”
“It is the most important night of your life,” Timo said, walking towards her with a garment bag. “I took the liberty of styling an outfit for you.”
Francesca groaned audibly.
Timo unzipped the garment bag with a grand flourish and set a shopping bag with a shoebox on her desk.
“Oh no,” Francesca protested. “No way. I am not wearing a pleated skirt to a football game. Absolutely not.”
“I wouldn’t have picked it as my first choice either,” Timo explained, “but then I thought of your legs, and I thought about the efficiency of a skirt versus a pair of pants or jeans, and the pleats are so chic, and you’ll look amazing. Just try it on.”
“It’s going to be cold tonight.”
“I do kind of like the blouse.” The skirt was from Prada and the blouse was Moschino and while the whole look was a little cute compared to how Francesca normally dressed, Timo had balanced the sweetness with a brutal pair of Giuseppe Zanotti heels and overall, though she would look a little overdressed for a football game, she wouldn’t look entirely ridiculous.
She emerged from the studio’s dressing room and surveyed herself in the full-length mirror.
“Gorgeous!” Timo cried. “You are so getting laid tonight. Time to go before you change your mind.”
“I’ll drive,” Francesca offered, but Timo had a plan for that, too.
“We both drive. I need to be able to get myself home. Obviously.”
When they arrived at the stadium and presented their tickets at the gate, they were ushered up to a private reception area with food and drinks. Francesca looked around at the businessmen in their suits and their wives in stylish dresses and felt less self-conscious, while Timo scurried around surveying the scene. Ten minutes before kickoff, an usher came to each of the guests to escort them to their seats.
“Signorina Ghiberti?” The usher asked.
“Yes,” Francesca smiled.
“For you,” he said, and handed her an envelope. She slipped it into her bag and corralled TImo, then followed the usher.
“Aren’t you going to open that envelope?” Timo hissed.
“Not now,” she whispered.
As they had thought, their seats were at midfield, three rows up. Francesca glanced quickly at the fans to her left and right and determined there were probably no deranged stalkers, just football fans. On the field, kids wearing uniforms were unfurling a banner and kicking a ball around in some sort of exhibition. She reached in her bag and pulled out the envelope the usher had given her.
A page of notepaper.
Scribbly handwriting that started out trying to be neat and lapsed quickly into near-illegibility.
Meet me in the lounge at the Armani Hotel. I’ll be there by 2230h. Look straight ahead.
She looked up from the note and straight onto the field. Standing on the midfield line, looking directly and exclusively at her, Paolo Romaldo, #4, smiled and waved.
She smiled back and lifted her hand.
“Madonna,” Timo said.
Several rows behind them, a bunch of girls waved and screamed in the general direction of center field and through their squealing, Francesca heard the bits of their conversation that included Romaldo’s name.
“Do you think he was really waving at us?” Timo asked her.
Francesca handed him the note. “Guess so,” he said, scanning it.
The game itself was a blur, partly because Francesca had a limited understanding of the rules of the game, despite having grown up with two brothers playing, partly because Timo didn’t stop talking the entire time, even making friends with the people sitting around them, and partly, no, mostly because she couldn’t stop imagining what was going to happen later that night. From what she could gather, the two teams were well-matched and the game was highly defensive; neither team scored in the first half and it resembled a chess match more than a football game.
I love searching The Sartorialist’s Milan posts for the men and women who make up Francesca’s world. As a fashion photographer she is keenly aware (like Scott Schuman) of the precise moment to capture someone’s essence. Though I’m a New Yorker and it pains me to say this, Italians really are the most stylish people on earth.
“You’re not as well-behaved as you seem,”
“You have no idea,” she told him breathily, grabbing his wrists and pinning them over his head. She straddled him, admiring his arms, inked on the biceps and perfectly built; his chest, tan and muscled as she’d imagined it beneath his shirt, a scattering of hair that tapered down to his navel. And below? She would have to find out. Still holding his wrists, she began grinding against him, slowly, gently, reaching to kiss him in rhythm and letting her nipples graze his chest through the lace of her bra. Through her jeans and his she felt him, and she rode harder now, lingering with her lips at the base of his neck.
“Take off my jeans,” she said breathlessly, releasing his hands. He scrambled to open them, push them down her hips, revealing a thong in the same black lace as her bra.
“Mine–” and she frantically fumbled with his belt, his fly; she pulled at the denim then sat back on her heels relishing the view before her. Black D&G boxer briefs, with an unmistakable bulge and the head of his cock peeking out from the waistband. She recognized him now, from that Dolce ad a few years ago with the Italian National Team in their locker room, wearing only underwear. At the time Francesca had dismissed it as sensationalism, typical Dolce & Gabbana, but now she could finally appreciate the full impact of the ad. She lowered herself down towards his cock again, closer now, fewer layers between them. She felt his girth and his hardness, and her own wet warmth pulsing against him. Two more lingering thrusts against his underwear and she lowered herself down the bed until her eyes were level with his navel.