“And if anyone can find just cause why these two persons should not be joined together in holy matrimony, speak now or forever hold your peace,” the deep but friendly voice of the priest called out to the assembled guests.
“I do,” a timid voice called out from the last row of the invited guests. “I am his wife.”
“I am his wife, his wife, his wi…”
The words kept ringing in Holly Freeman’s ears as she bolted from the beautiful gardens of the exclusive hotel, where her wedding ceremony had just come to an abrupt end. Panic-stricken, she spotted a limousine on the curb with the driver about to close the door, and she hurried toward it and jumped in. Wearing only one white satin shoe, and with tears streaming down her face, she fell into the backseat and wailed. Several guests followed in hot pursuit, and the voice of the man sitting beside her issued an order to his chauffeur.
“Hurry up, Lester. Let’s go,” he shouted before the other guests had a chance to reach the limousine.
The driver set off at a hurried pace through the afternoon traffic checking intermittently in the rearview mirror.
“Lose them,” the voice called out again, looking back to see if they were still being followed.
Lester was determined to evade those members from the wedding party who were following closely behind in another limousine, and so he maneuvered through the back streets, checking the rearview mirror to make sure they weren’t still being followed. He propelled the vehicle into an underground garage and quickly left again through a rear exit. Convinced he had lost his pursuers, he now drove within the speed limit through the busy streets of the little town.
“Take me home,” the man beside her said.
“Yes, sir,” the driver, Lester, replied, looking at him through the rearview mirror.
The man removed a crisp white handkerchief from the inner pocket of his jacket and passed it to Holly Freeman. She took it from him but kept her face turned away from him.
“What is your name?” he asked in a low voice.
She did not reply, but from the sniffling noises she was making, he knew she was still crying, and so he decided to leave her alone. Turning into another underground garage, Lester parked the vehicle and opened the door for the limousine owner and then helped Holly out.
“Is there somewhere that Lester can take you?” Jonathan Wolfe, the well-known attorney asked.
“I don’t know,” she mumbled. “I don’t know where to go right now. What will my friends say? What will the public say?”
With her face still hidden under the bridal veil, she mumbled something else which he didn’t understand. She seemed confused and looked around her, first walking away and then returning. The man, Mr. Wolfe, who towered over her by at least a foot, held her hand and led her to an elevator.
“Why don’t you come upstairs to my home and we can contact your family from there,” Mr. Wolfe said.
Lester followed, carrying the owner’s briefcase and a bundle of files. They climbed into the elevator, and Lester, the epitome of discretion, did not turn his head once to look around at them. The elevator started a rapid climb and continued doing so until it reached the seventieth floor, where they all climbed out directly into the foyer of a spacious apartment. Lester placed the briefcase and the files on the kitchen counter, doffed his cap, and left. Soon a woman came hurrying in their direction.
“Good evening, Mr. Wolfe,” she said, suddenly stopping and staring at the strange companion he had brought home with him.
“Good evening, Marie. Would you look after her please?”
The woman stared at Holly, wondering what she should do with the young woman in the white wedding dress and wearing only one shoe.
“What is her name?” Marie asked her employer, Jonathan Wolfe.
“I don’t know. I asked, but she was much too distressed to tell me.”
“What are we going to do with her?” Marie asked.
“Take her upstairs. I just can’t allow her to go back onto the street in the shape she’s in,” Jonathan Wolfe said.
“Come along, dear,” said Marie.
Marie led the young woman up a regal-looking staircase and disappeared into a bedroom at the end of the hall. Jonathan Wolfe watched as the young woman limped along behind his housekeeper Marie. The bewildered housekeeper wondered what her boss was going to do with the young woman.
Jonathan Wolfe had no idea who she was, but he knew he could easily find out. As a regular client of the Houghton Mews Hotel, there would be no difficulty in finding out the circumstances that had led to her distress. He, however, decided he would wait for her to disclose her identity.
He climbed the stairs and returned a few minutes later, dressed in a white T-shirt and a pair of hip-hugging jeans. He went directly to the kitchen where he found Marie putting the finishing touches to his dinner. On the corner of the counter next to the files, a gin cocktail awaited him.
“Thanks, Marie. How is she?”
“She’s in a bad way,” said the woman. “Where did you find her?”
“She found me,” he replied. “I had just stepped into the limo and Lester was about to close the door, when she came barreling toward the car and jumped in. Did she say anything to you?”
“No, she didn’t. She just keeps crying and crying. I gave her a T-shirt and a robe, and she curled up in bed.”
“Have you any suggestions what I should do with her?”
“I don’t know, sir, but something must be done. She just can’t remain up here crying her heart out.”
“What do you think happened to her?” he asked.
“From what you’ve told me, I believe that she was left standing at the altar.”
“Take her something to eat. Tomorrow she will probably be more willing to talk.”
“Miss Fedorov called to say she is coming over this evening, sir. I forgot to tell you.”
“Call her, Marie, and tell her that I’m indisposed tonight. I don’t want her coming over here with this enigma on my hands.”
“Right away, sir.”
He watched his housekeeper as she made the phone call. All he could hear was Marie’s answers. She said, “yes ma’am” about five times, and he had no idea what his lover was saying.
Before she realized it, she was knocking on the door. She heard light steps coming toward her.
“Coco?” he asked, surprised on seeing her. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” she said, looking up at him. “I couldn’t sleep and I noticed you couldn’t either.”
“Would you like to come in?”
“Yes,” she replied, stepping cautiously inside.
Staring around her, she could not help but admire the splendor and the comfort of his bedroom. A king-size bed swallowed up a great part of it, but there was still enough room for his side chair, which was strategically placed in a corner, where he had a view of the flat-screen television set. Next to the chair was a small table, and on that table, stood one white satin shoe. The shoe she had worn on her wedding day. Why was he keeping it? What surprised her most of all about the room was the mirrored ceiling. She stared up at it and her heart started to race. What had she gotten herself into?
“Why did you come?” he asked.
“I thought we could talk a bit until one of us got tired,” she said.
He smiled. They stared at each other, each knowing what the other wanted, but afraid to put it into words. He stepped toward her, and her body froze. He held her in his arms and spoke to her while his fingers played along her spine. Cupping her face in his hands, he lowered his head and kissed her. She returned it. A long and passionate kiss! His breathing became labored, and he steered her toward the bed.
“I’m glad you came,” he whispered. “What would you like to talk about?”
“Music?” she asked.
“What kind of music should we talk about?” he asked, lowering his head and covering her lips with his.
“I never expected this,” he said, looking into her eyes. “Why did you change your mind?”
“I don’t know,” she whispered, her body longing for his touch.
“I don’t want to lose you, Coco,” he said, his hazy gray eyes searching her face and her soul.
He kissed her again, and her body responded. Her body was on fire, and she felt as if it would explode at any moment. Her heart started to beat faster, and her body trembled.
“Are you feeling cold?” he asked, wrapping his arms tightly around her.
“Say that again.”
“What?” she asked, looking up at him.
“Say yes, Jonathan. I love the way you say my name.”
She smiled, and he kissed her again. Her body was now fully awake after eight weeks of slumber, but she was afraid. Afraid of where her feelings could take her.
“Do you want me to make love to you, Coco? I won’t touch you if you don’t want me to,” he said in a gentle voice.
“I don’t know,” she said, just above a whisper.
“There is nothing to fear. I’ll be gentle with you.”
He slid his hand under the top of her robe and found she was naked. His arms encircled her upper torso, and he pulled her down on the bed next to him.
“I want to touch you,” he said, his tongue tracing the shell of her ear. “Do you always sleep in the nude?”
“Sometimes,” she replied.
“And when would that be?” he asked, his hand stroking her cheek as he gazed deeply into her brown eyes.
“On warm summer nights,” she replied, melting under his gaze.
“Ummm,” he groaned.
He laid her gently onto the bed and kissed her again. This time it sent her senses reeling. He opened his eyes and stared into hers. She was begging to be touched. Her eyes said it all. His lips moved down to her neck, and he ran his tongue back and forth along her clavicle.
“You’re a beautiful woman,” he whispered, looking down at her.
He lowered his head and ran his tongue along the curvature of her lips. She moaned and opened her mouth slightly. His tongue wandered inside, sucking and tangling with hers, and she groaned into his mouth.
“Sit up,” he said softly. “I want to see your beautiful body.”
He removed her robe and tossed it to the floor. His quickly followed, and feeling a little self-conscious, she sought shelter under the covers from his prying eyes. Reaching over, he turned on the second light on the night stand and brightened the room. He touched another switch, and the strains of his favorite music, Bolero rang in her ears.
“Why are you hiding your gorgeous body under here,” he asked, throwing back the covers.
Their lips met again in another long passionate kiss. He whispered something in her ear and she smiled.
“I want you, Holly,” he whispered. “Tell me that you want me, too.”
“Yes,” she said, in a barely audible voice.
“I am glad I was waiting outside the hotel when you jumped into the limo,” he said, running his fingers around her breast and teasing her nipple. “It was my lucky day.”
She could feel his cock steadily rising against her thigh and excitement pumped rapidly through her veins. Jonathan’s fingers moved slowly down her body, caressing her skin, as if touching each petal of a delicate flower. His fingers moved up again, stopping to rest on her breast and circling one of her nipples. The music swelled and the density increased. The clanging of the instruments from the musical piece stirred inside his head, intensifying the moment, and his erection lifted and danced along her thigh in anticipation. He turned to the other nipple.
“Another delicious one,” he said, lowering his head and fastening it between his lips.
Not large, but big enough for a delicious mouthful. Slowly, he ran his fingers up and down her body, and like a feather, his fingertips playfully circled her puckered nipples. Her perfume lingered in his nostrils, and he inhaled deeply.