Caroline Ch. 06.06byVitorio©
If you are new to this series please read the intro to Ch 01 so you'll know what to expect. It isn't strictly necessary to read the earlier chapters but some of this won't make sense if you don't so I hope you will!
This is another chapter laying down the relationship between Jo and Guy. As with most of Chapter 6 it tends towards the romantic. There is more sex on the way – honestly!).
Joanna's Tale, 05: Jo sorts Guy out!
Then the doorbell rang and my heart started to beat 13 to the dozen and the butterflies put in an appearance.
"You go," Mike said.
"Yes, go on," said Lena.
Well, I wanted too but I didn't want to. It's difficult to explain. I wanted to see him again but I was frightened, just like Mike had said, frightened of my feelings. I was also frightened that I'd imagined everything on Sunday and that he didn't like me at all. So, you see, I was torn. Then it rang again.
"Jo," said Lena, "go on or I will. And I will tease him."
That settled it, as she knew it would. I wouldn't let her do that to him again, not if I could help it, so off I went to the front door with my heart pounding and the butterflies in my stomach dancing madly. I stood and brushed myself down, hair and clothes, to look my best and opened the door. There he was, tall, slim and oh so handsome, looking down at me. Our eyes met and I knew straight away that I hadn't been mistaken on Sunday. He smiled shyly, "Hello, Joanna," he said. 'Joanna', he used my full name. Very formal.
"Hello Guy," I smiled back. Then, on impulse, I reached up and lightly kissed his cheek. "It's nice to see you again. Come on in."
"Thanks, you look nice," he said looking away as he was seemingly made shy again by my kiss.
"Thank you kind sir," I said giving him a big smile.
"We're in the lounge," shouted Lena so I took him in there. Lena jumped up and walked up to him. You could see his apprehension as she said, "Hello Guy." Then she simply did the same as I did and kissed him gently on the cheek. He seemed surprised as he smiled back at her, "Hello Lena. Hello uncle. How are you all?"
"Ciao Guy," said Mike, "I think we're all fine. Jo, are you fine?" he said looking at me with laughter in his eyes.
"Mmm," I said looking at Guy, "I'm fine now."
He blushed of course. I would have to be very careful with him. He certainly seemed to lack confidence when talking to me. I didn't want him to think that he had a 'loose woman' here. He knew I was sleeping with Mike so he might think I was a bit like that. He must be aware that I was experienced but I didn't want to flaunt it. Lena sat him on the sofa and I sat in one of the chairs almost opposite. He was looking at me all the time. I felt shy and embarrassed, why I don't know. I was behaving like a schoolgirl again.
"Come on Lena we'll make some more coffee," said Mike as he dragged her out of the lounge and left us alone.
The silence was deafening. It was obvious he wasn't going to say anything; too shy. I was tongue tied as well. You know how it is, you can't think of anything to say that doesn't sound stupid. Well, this wouldn't do, I had to break the ice and let him know how I felt.
"Guy," I said fixing him with my eyes, "you know I like you don't you?"
"Do, do you," he said hesitantly and looking up at me. "I do too," he added
"What, like yourself?" I said teasing him.
"No. Oh no. No. I'm sorry. No I didn't mean that. Oh hell." He was embarrassed even more and now having trouble saying what he wanted.
"What did you mean then." Of course I knew but I wanted to hear him say it.
"I, I, I, I like you too," he managed to say after a struggle.
I felt so sorry for him then. I'd teased him. At that moment I vowed never to tease him again. I moved over and sat next to him. "I'm sorry," I said, "I shouldn't tease. I knew what you meant and it's nice that you like me." I smiled my best smile at him, "I like that you like me."
He smiled back gaining confidence and showed his sense of humour, "And I like that you like that I like you. Your turn."
I laughed and took his hand. Oh dear. Something like electricity seemed to pass between us. This was very, very dangerous. At the drop of a hat at that moment I would have done anything for him. Thankfully I suppose, he didn't know that. He must have felt something as well, he looked shocked as he pulled his hand away.
"I dreamt of you," he said.
"What dreamt about yourself?" he asked smiling.
I jabbed him in the ribs and laughed, "No silly, dreamt about you. Nice dreams. Your dreams, were they nice?"
He smiled, "Mmm, yes nice."
"Were they naughty?"
He was shocked and terribly embarrassed, "No, no, no. We were dancing, just dancing. Honestly." He seemed to think that naughty dreams would have offended me. He was going to be very difficult indeed. "I was only kidding. We were dancing in mine as well, dancing for hours. I enjoyed it."
He looked deep into my eyes, "I enjoyed it too, more than anything." I went all gooey, soppy, and I blushed and looked away. I BLUSHED. This was going to be good. He had the same ability as Mike, to say things like that as if he meant then, not just for effect.
"I enjoyed mine as well."
"Enjoyed what," said Lena as she and Mike came back into the room. He looked panic stricken. I could see that he didn't want to get Lena involved in this. He feared, I should think, that she would tease him again.
"Sunday night," I said looking at him, "enjoyed the party." She gave me a knowing look but she didn't press it. She was in her adult mode now, she wasn't going to tease him today, I could tell. She was going to be like a big sister, to us both I suspect.
With Mike back in the room the conversation moved on. He is very good at bringing people in and after a while Guy grew in confidence. I hoped it was because I was sitting close to him and our hips were touching. I could feel the heat from his body exactly where it touched mine. It was glorious. Just for a moment I imagined us naked together. How would that feel. Then I caught Lena looking at me and I knew that she was aware of exactly what I was thinking. She gave me a little knowing smile and started chattering. I took hold of myself. I mustn't think like that. It was too early and I wouldn't see him for nearly 7 weeks so I just enjoyed the feeling of him close to me.
We finished our coffee and Mike moved us off to lunch. We were going to his usual place about ½ an hour away. It was really nice there because he always had the same table. Very secluded and private. You could chat and not be overlooked or overheard.
It was marvellous. They were perfect gentlemen. Guy was a carbon copy of Mike in that respect. No young man I'd ever been out with was so polite and considerate. They sat us both, ordered for us (after checking what we wanted of course), tasted the wine. It was so posh. All through dinner we talked, about me, about Lena, about Mike and about Guy. He told us about dancing, how Mike had suggested he might enjoy it. I suspect it was to get him talking to women. As it happened he did enjoy it and is quite a good dancer.
Throughout the meal however, Guy remained, not standoffish, but remote. Despite our brief flirtation in the lounge, he never really got past treating me like Mike's friend rather than a girl he was interested in. He was polite, nice, complemented me a lot, smiled, all you would expect but I sensed he was holding back. I decided that I needed to do something.
I managed to catch Lena's eye as they were talking and mouthed 'loo' at her, "Excuse me, I said, loo."
"I'll come as well," said Lena.
Mike smiled, "Why do women always go to the loo en masse. Don't get lost now."
We turned our noses up at him and waltzed off. "I've got to talk to you," I said when we got there. "Can you get Mike to have a word with him. He's fine but he's treating me like Mike's friend, not like a girl he wants to be with and I know he does want to be with me, doesn't he," I asked, suddenly uncertain.
"Mmm. I'd say that he does, he can't take his eyes off you. I expect he is still worried about what Mike will think. Look, when we get back suggest a quick trot around the garden, say you need a bit of air or something, and ask him. I'll talk to Mike."
"How will Mike be able to have a word with him?"
"Yes, hmmm, I know. When you get back I'll be in the loo. Mike will say I felt a bit faint and ask you to see if I'm all right. That'll give him a chance to have a word with Guy."
"Won't he suspect something?"
"Oh, he probably will but he won't mind will he. He's getting a green light from Mike. He's already had hundreds from you," she added smiling at me. "You two look just right together. I can't have him treating you like a friend can I."
"I haven't have I?"
"Well, to be perfectly frank Jo, if he doesn't know that you're really interested in him he must be blind, deaf, or stupid, or all three. Come on let's get back."
When we got back to the table we put the plan into action. Guy was the perfect gentleman and offered to take me for a walk during which he was also the perfect gentleman chatting about nothing in particular and keeping me very much at arms length. Mike raised his eyebrows at Lena who just smiled. We got back to the table after about 10 minutes and Lena was missing as planned so off I went to the loo to find her.
"What's he going to say?" I asked.
"I don't know exactly. We'll have to find out tonight but he's going to make it clear that he has no claim on you and that what you do and who you go with is your own affair."
"Oh dear, he's not going to be as blunt as that is he? Guy will think I'm a tart or something."
"No, of course not. He'll be a lot more tactful than that. We need to give him a few minutes though, don't want to rush things."
"Oh Lena, I'm so nervous about this. My legs keep going all wobbly and my heart is bumping like mad. Every time he looks at me I feel like melting. These feelings are so strong, so frightening."
"I know," she said smiling, "why do you think I get upset all the time. Make up silly things to worry about like today. It's just that all these feelings are so strong, powerful. You can't stand the thought of losing them." She took my hands in hers, "Don't worry Jo, it will be all right, I know. I've got this feeling about him. If you didn't know better you could almost think that he was Mike's son rather than Silvio's."
Oh dear, I thought, oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Lena had planted an idea in my mind and the soil was very fertile. I suddenly thought of his blue/grey eyes. Heck, Maria's eyes were brown! "Yes," I said quietly, "they are so alike but then he did spend a lot of time with Mike and his family didn't he, before the divorce and then they lived together for nearly four years, so something must rub off." If there was a secret, it was going to be my secret, mine and, if what I was thinking was true, Gianna's. Would Mike even know? Surely he would but knowing him he would never divulge it. We chatted for a few more minutes then went back to the table.
"Are you OK now Lena," Mike asked with concern.
"Mmm, I think it's a bit hot in here. I should have gone for a walk with Jo and Guy some fresh air might have done me some good."
I was looking at Guy. He was quiet and seemed even more shy if anything. I sat down and looked at Mike questioningly.
"He doesn't believe me," he said looking at Guy. "He says that a beautiful woman like you couldn't possibly be really interested in a shy, bumbling bloke like him. He says that you don't need to pretend for his sake."
Guy looked up at him, "Oh uncle," he managed to say. Then he looked at me. I wanted to cry, to hit him, to hold him, to shake him. I don't often get angry but I was getting there now but I had to hold myself in check. He had so little confidence in himself and his attractiveness that even with Mike telling him I liked him, me telling him I liked him, he still didn't really believe it was possible. I was going to have to take drastic action here or we would go round in circles. I was thinking all this then I realised that Mike and Lena were both looking at me waiting for a reaction. Lena was smiling, she could read me like a book. Mike was more concerned, he didn't know what I was going to do.
I smiled coolly at both of them, "Excuse me," I said then I grabbed Guy's head and planted a kiss directly on his lips. A kiss that said far more than 'I like you'! At first he resisted, didn't respond, but he wasn't going to get away now. Slowly he started to kiss me back. It sent shivers down my spine. After what seemed like ages I had to pull away to breath. I didn't want to, nor did he!
"Come on, I need to talk to you." I grabbed his hand, pulled him with me and with a hurried, "Excuse us," I took him into the gardens.
"What did Mike say to you?" I asked him when we got outside.
Guiltily he replied, "He told me that although he loved you and he thought you loved him he had no claim on you. He said it was obvious I was attracted to you but also obvious that I was treating you as his friend rather than as someone I liked. He told me to stop acting like a fool and forget about his and your relationship. I said I didn't think you were that interested. That I thought you were just being nice because I was close to uncle Mike. I know that you are an experienced woman. I'm not. Oh hell, I'm not experienced, I mean. Look Joanna, I've never been good with girls. Most of the time they laugh at me or tease me like Lena. At college they would make fun of me. I can't help being shy. I try but it's difficult. When I went with . . . ." he stopped suddenly, "It doesn't matter," he said, "you don't have to pretend."
He was hiding something, "I'm not pretending," I said, "you're hiding something aren't you? 'When you went with . . .' What does that mean?"
"Nothing, nothing at all really." He was really up tight now. Scared. Something had happened that made him like he is, something with a girl. I was going to find out what if it killed me.
"Look Guy, I will say it again and I will keep on saying it. I AM NOT PRETENDING," I shouted. "Now tell me what you meant. Something happened didn't it."
He took a deep breath as if gathering himself, "I couldn't do it," he mumbled.
"Pardon," I honestly hadn't heard what he said.
He looked at me and took another deep breath. "I've never told anyone, not Mike, my father, my brothers, nor Maria. You mustn't say anything, please."
I leant forward, stood on tiptoe and kissed him, "No, I won't tell a soul. I promise."
He looked lost, vulnerable, defeated. It does wonders for a man's appeal you know, when a woman sees him like this. Oh not every day but perhaps once in her life.
"I went out with a girl, in my first year at college, not long after I started. Look Jo, this is embarrassing. I hadn't done it before then and we went back to her room and she expected me to, to, you know, to . . ."
"Yes," I said softly guessing what was coming, "I know."
He looked at me with his soul shining through his eyes. He was opening himself to me completely, telling me this. "I couldn't," he muttered ashamed, "I couldn't do anything. I don't know why. She was like an animal, all over me, wanting me to, you know, and she got so annoyed, angry when I couldn't. Called me a poof, queer. Said I didn't like women. She told all her friends. It was horrible Jo, they all laughed, mostly behind my back. If ever I liked a girl enough to ask her out they would get to her and she would always come back with something about me not being worth the effort. I think that's why I threw myself into my work. As a sort of escape." I touched his arm in sympathy. "That's not all," he continued.
Oh no, I thought, what now.
"They tricked me into meeting one of them at her flat and they were all there. They, oh this sounds silly. You won't believe me. I'd better go."
I held him, "No. No don't go. Come on," I said softly, "tell me."
I could see he was near to tears now, obviously remembering the emotion of that occasion.
"It sounds silly. I'm 6' 3" but Jo, they tried to rape me. About six of them. Sitting on me, one, two, sometimes three of them all naked. Touching, pulling, poking, laughing. I couldn't do anything Jo, you know, like that. I just couldn't and they kept on laughing at me. I couldn't hurt them so I had no way of stopping them. I can't hurt a woman you see. That's what uncle Mike taught me, to respect women. Afterwards they threw me out of her room with my clothes and laughed at me. I've hardly spoken to a girl since then."
So that was it. I knew there had to be something more than just shyness. He wasn't terrified of ME, he was terrified of a WOMAN. Even more so by and experienced woman. "Oh you poor, poor boy," I said and put my arms around him. Obviously the more I seemed to be interested in him the more worried he became about what I would do. He had this mad idea that all women were sex maniacs.
I just can't understand women like that. If blokes want to be 'lads' then that's their problem but girls don't have to behave like that. I felt so sorry for him. By God, my problems with Steve had shown me how sensitive men can be about their 'performance'. Even such a confident and sexual man like Mike was sometimes worried about his ability. So I could see what this must have done to him. Lacking confidence to start with they had destroyed him, his faith in himself, and his faith in women. I felt like screaming in anger but I knew I had to treat him carefully if I was going to repair the damage.
"I'm not like them," I said pulling away from him, "not at all like them. I like you, like you a lot. I told you earlier and it wasn't just to please Mike. I did dream about you and I did like the dream and," I added smiling softly at him, "mine wasn't naughty either." I stared deep into his eyes, "I'm not going to attack you. You know I'm experienced and you think I'm going to expect things from you don't you?" I asked him suddenly realising why he was so worried.
He gave me a forlorn look. "I thought so," I said smiling. "Well, I am experienced and that means I know what you went through and I know, or at least understand, how you feel. Now I'm going to ask you a question. Do you like me, you know, enough to go on seeing me boy/girl? Be honest for both our sakes."
"Like you," he said passionately, "I've never felt like this about anybody. My heart beats faster, my stomach is churning and I can't think of anything to say, let alone do. Oh yes I like you."
I sighed a sigh of relief. "Good," I said businesslike so as not to alarm him. "What I'm going to do now is put my arms around you and kiss you. You do the same to me, understand. Kiss me back. Don't worry about anything just kissing me. Then we go back inside. Lena will almost certainly want to know what happened and I'll tell her it's none of her business. That won't satisfy her but will keep her quiet for now, Mike will see to that. I'll deal with her later. I won't tell her what you just told me, OK?" He nodded, "Right, come here and hold me and don't worry about anything just kissing, OK?" He nodded again.
I got close to him and held him in my arms. He was tall so I was on tiptoe looking up at him. He held me, gingerly, but he held me. Then I pulled him tight to me and offered my mouth. He bent his head and we kissed. Our first real kiss, meant by both of us with no hang-ups. God it was marvellous, I wanted it to go on forever. I was swimming in his arms as we broke apart for air. I rested my head on his shoulder. "There, that wasn't so bad was it."
He looked at me and smiled, "I'm not sure," he said, "let's try again." So we did.
When we got back inside it was obvious that Lena was dying to know what had happened. I was holding his hand then and continued to do so for most of the time we stayed at the pub. She looked at us both and said, "Jo, are you Ok, you look flushed. What happened?"