Bonus story: Tuscany Summer
Addison stretched her legs and wiggled her toes carefully so as not to interrupt or disturb the artist at work. Gazing up at the mirror on the ceiling, she watched the finishing touches go onto the elaborate mehendi artwork that encircled her navel and covered her lower abdomen.
Already Addison’s lower back, shoulders and upper back had been painted with beautiful sigils via Lucia’s talented and skillful hands. This last was, as Lucia called it, the “pièce de résistance.”
“You’re amazing,” Addison remarked. “You have so much patience for this. I’d get bored before I was near half finished.”
The corner of Lucia’s mouth turned up in a smile, but she didn’t look away from the final appliqué. “You’re the one with the patience. I have my work to concentrate on.”
Addison stretched ever so slightly, propping up on her elbows, “Yes, but I’m able to take a nap.”
Lucia pulled the appliqué tool away, lifting her head to meet Addison’s eyes. “And I had this amazing canvas to work with.” She nudged Addison’s leg, and looked up at the mirror. “What do you think?”
Addison studied the design as reflected in the mirror. “I think that you do beautiful work. I love it.”
The bed shifted and creaked. Addison drew in a startled gasp as Lucia’s breath whispered across her bare nipple, “Your beautiful body deserves only the best.” A hiss of pleasure escaped as warm wetness encompassed the nipple while a hand drifted across her chest to cup her other breast. Practiced fingers rolled the nipple between forefinger and thumb, teeth gently grazed the one held between lips and as nipples hardened and puckered, and Addison’s arousal hit her deep in her groin.
“That’s hardly – fair –” The last word was more of a gasp than a word as teeth and fingers clamped down gently in sync. “I’m really not suppose to move for a bit,” Addison gasped between purrs of pleasure.
“That could be a problem,” Lucia talked around her nipple, her tongue and teeth and movement of her lips only inflaming Addison more. One lithe hand danced down Addison’s side and over her thigh to work its way between her legs. “I guess that means that I’ll just –” Addison wiggled and moaned as Lucia’s fingers danced, but never quite where she wanted them, ” – get to have my way with you.”
With a deliciously salacious laugh, Lucia’s mouth captured Addison’s, her fingers plunged home and everything else was a haze of hormones and pleasure.
* * *
Addison rolled over, expecting to find her lover’s warm body beside her and instead was greeted with emptiness and cold sheets.
She reached with her mind, relieved to sense the other woman on the balcony of the flat. After pulling on an oversized t-shirt, Addison padded out to where Lucia was. The night was warm – not unusual for summer in Tuscany – and clear with a full bright moon and stars twinkling overhead. The moon’s position spoke of the lateness of the hour. Lucia hadn’t bothered to cover up modestly, settling for her knickers and a camisole for clothing. Lucia’s dark, thick curls fell in a wild tangle across her shoulders and spilling halfway down her back, stirred and further tousled by the wind.
“What are you doing out here, Luci?” Addison slipped up behind her. She wrapped her arms around Lucia’s waist and nudged a few errant strands of hair aside. Her chin rested on her girlfriend’s shoulder.
Addison’s eyebrows rose. “That was concise. Wishing what?”
“Mostly that summer wouldn’t come to an end.”
“And why’s that?”
Lucia shrugged and leaned back into Addison’s embrace. “I don’t know. Plenty of reasons. Maybe because it means that your holiday will be over and you’ll go back to England or wherever and I’ll likely never see you again.”
Addison stiffened. They’d had this conversation before; they’d gone into this with their eyes wide open knowing that Addison wouldn’t be staying – and that this wasn’t to be a great romance. Just two women who enjoyed one another’s company, having a memorable and enjoyable holiday together. Addison only had a few days left before her return to England to finish up her Triptych sponsored uni studies and she didn’t want to spend them arguing. “Luci, you know that –”
“And maybe it’s because I don’t think that I ever want to see you again,” Lucia continued as though Addison hadn’t spoken. “Because I know that the next time I see you, you’ll be with someone else and it’ll just remind me of how much this was just a way for you to pass the time.”
Well, that’s new, Addison thought. She separated from Lucia, at least putting distance between herself and the physical manifestations of bitterness and jealousy and self-pity. “What exactly is that supposed to mean?”
Lucia looked at her, huge dark doe eyes haunted. She slipped back into her native Italian, something she only did around Addison when she was very randy, very happy or very upset. “You’re already gone, Addison. Summer’s not quite yet over and you’re elsewhere. Planning your future and your next move and probably your next affair. You’re going places. I’m . . . a stepping stone.”
Addison considered how to answer that accusation, especially when it wasn’t so far off from the truth. Addison’s future plans didn’t include a return to Tuscany or another affair with Lucia. Though she liked the petite Italian art student, there was no place in Addison’s life for a long term commitment or attachment. Beautiful Lucia and her beautiful mind would never be more than an art student and a dreamer. She and Tuscany were an escape for Addison, but reality and Triptych awaited.
“Haven’t we had a good time this summer, Luci?” Addison drifted closer. She wound one hand through the tangled dark curls, her body curving into Lucia’s. Some of her ardor bubbled over, poured slowly into the other woman. “What does the rest of it matter?”
“It matters to me!” Lucia backed away. Disappointment and hurt rolled off of her in waves. “It matters because it would be nice to think that the first truly interesting woman that I met . . . that there might have been a chance for something real.”
Addison closed the distance between them and cupped Lucia’s face in her hands. “I swear I am not going to stand here and listen to this. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. We’ve had a fun run of it, and incredible sex, and that’s all this was supposed to be about. Getting serious and falling for me was never ever part of the plan, remember?”
“Some of us don’t have the luxury of turning our emotions on and off like that.” A tear coursed down Lucia’s cheek. “It’s nice that you do.”
Though Addison wanted to do nothing more than shake Lucia until her teeth rattled, scream some common sense at her, or barring that teleport away and not even deal with the situation, she did none of the above. Instead, she kissed the woman soundly, openly, tongues entwining and dancing, an open and honest declaration of attraction, but not love. When they parted, she was glad to see that Lucia’s pupils were dilated and that her eyes took on a slightly glazed look. “You don’t want to get hung up on me. I can give you my body and shag you into next week, but that’s all. I’m the kind of woman that’s bad for you, understand?
“When I’m gone, you’ll meet someone else and you’ll fall in love and you’ll forget all about me. And it’s really for the best.”
Stepping back, Addison let Lucia think about her words. “I’m going back to bed. I hope that you’ll join me.” She turned and headed back indoors.
“I don’t believe that you’re bad for anyone,” Lucia whispered to her retreating back.
Addison pretended that she didn’t hear a word of it.