“I’m sorry, then,” he said, facing Margie. “Of course, she’s a grown woman, in America.”
I held my hand out to Will. “Mr. Santon, thanks for coming. I appreciate your candor. I hope we never meet again.”
“Feeling’s mutual,” he said as we shook on it.
I separated from Antonio and went to the door with a cold spot at the back of my neck where his hand had been. I opened it. Otto was waiting in the hallway.
“I promise I will pick up my phone from now on, as long as you don’t unleash a stream of neuroses on me.”
Margie brushed her skirt down and composed herself, which meant, in Drazen parlance, that she was about to unleash a torrent of The Truth According To Margaret, and nothing could stop her, not a word, gesture, or forward tackle.
“I’m fine with being dismissed like a child, and I’m fine with you not taking my advice. I can walk out of here without a problem. But when the last asshole did things I don’t even want to talk about, I was the first one you called. And I was the one who stood by you for the whole thing.” She slashed the air with the flat of her hand, the gesture filling in for words like bawling, suicidal depression, the inability to move, long bouts of self-doubt, reproach, and loathing. She’d been with me for every minute of it, and with that karate chop, I relived it.
“And I want you to know,” she continued without pausing, though my brain had hitched, “that the next time you call me because you’re in over your head, and you can’t handle what’s happening, I will pick up the phone, and I’ll be there for you again. And I won’t even say ‘I told you so.’”
“Thank you,” I said, because there was nothing else in my vocabulary for that speech. She tilted her head down and left, with Will close at her heels. He and Antonio nodded to each other. I shut the door softly then pressed my back to it.
Antonio’s face betrayed nothing but perfection. I felt cornered by his beauty, soothed to inaction. I slid away so I could think.
“We have to talk,” I said. “And you’re keeping your pants on for the entire thing.”
“You’re going to talk,” he said, holding up a finger and stepping so close our bodies shared the same heat. “And I’m going to keep my pants on.”
He leaned forward until I took a step backward, and in the second of slight imbalance, he grabbed my shoulders, directing me into the chair behind me. I didn’t know what to ask first. He looked down at me with a fully visible erection, and the whole pants-on rule seemed really badly thought out. “You’re going to take these pants off. Then you’re going to spread your legs so I can see everything, and you’re going to tell me what they said to you.”
“Why do you need me vulnerable to hear this? Don’t you trust me?”
“I don’t need you vulnerable,” he said, leaning down and hooking his fingers in my waistband. “I need you accessible.”
“I’m going to tell you everything. You know that already.”
“Then it’s only right you should enjoy it.”
He yanked my pants down. They were loose, silk things and came off easily, taking my underpants with them. I tried to get up just to prove a point, but he pushed me against the chair. “Spread your legs, Contessa.”
I didn’t. He pushed me down with his right hand and took my knee in the other, wrapping his fingers around it easily and yanking it to the side. I gasped as the rush of fluids drenched me. He slid his hand down my chest and kneeled in front of me.
“Your sister is an honest woman,” he said, kissing my mound and working his way down. “So it’s not important what she said, only what she thinks.”
His tongue, honed to a point, slid down, parting my skin. The invasion was delicate and sweet, warm on warm, wet to wet, and I melted into the chair.
“I don’t care about any of it, Antonio.”
“Really?” He kissed my clit, folding his lips around it, closing them, tightening, sucking just enough, and releasing. “Tell me what you don’t care about.”
“You want a list?”
He licked me harder in response, and I pushed myself into his mouth, running my fingers through his black hair. He awakened a galaxy of burning stars that turned in the universe between my legs.
“She thinks you’re a killer, a criminal. Money laundering, insurance fraud, oh, God, just like that. Keep doing that thing.” He slid a finger into me and rotated it, not saying a word, but with his eyes, he told me to continue.
“You’re going to hurt me,” I gasped as his tongue swirled. “She’s afraid for me.” The burning points of heat and light coalesced into a bright center, and when he moaned, his mouth vibrated against me. I wanted to tell him more, but I couldn’t when the galaxy spun into itself and exploded, my orgasm a black hole of wordless ecstasy.
When I could speak, I said, “Now. Take me now.”
But he was already there, pants down, glorious cock stretching me open, his weight on me the comfort and security I needed. The protection Margie thought I wasn’t getting was him and me together, his thumb in my mouth, his dick owning me, his control and dominance frightening, deadly, indispensable.
He came with a grunt, and I was right behind him, screaming his name again, tightening my legs around him, bucking as he held me still.
Through the post-orgasmic haze, I could barely hear his soft words in a musical language or feel the light kisses he laid on my cheek and neck.
“Capo,” I whispered.
“I wasn’t finished.”
He picked up his head and looked me in the eyes. “You feel finished.”
I laid my hand on his cheek, stroking the short hairs, their resistance pleasing my skin. “I need to finish what I was saying. About Margie.”
“You don’t have to finish.” He sighed and straightened his arms, putting twelve or so inches between us. “She’s more or less got a point. I’m bad for you. And you have a point also.”
“I think I’ve been wrong. I think if I keep you here, trouble will find you. So, get out. Go do… I don’t know. Find your life.”
“Oh, Antonio…” I didn’t know whether to assure him that my life was with him or thank him for coming around to giving me space.
“But please, be safe. Can you do that for me? Until Paulie is calm.”