New Kingdom: European Court Ch. 01byMicKay©
Emma moaned in her sleep as her lover's hands intimately roamed over her body. Since her arrival in Italy, she had experienced the most erotic dreams. She had attributed the experience to the history of romance the Italian city boasted but she still questioned the regular visits by the same ghostly visitor.
Each night, he would arrive as soon as she fell asleep. Although she never saw his face, she knew it was the same man every night. He would slide the sheet from her body and tenderly stroke his fingertips across her skin. Moving down her frame stroking her legs, he would gently tease the inside of her thighs until he reached the hem of her simple nightshirt.
Moving underneath the material, her lover's large, strong hands would gently touch the skin just above the waistband of her panties. She knew he had strong hands because, every night, when she would near the erotic bliss, a moment of reality or innocent would override her passion and she would attempt to fight against the surge of heat. As she would struggle, the strong hands would gently gather hers into one large grip and hold them over her head allowing no escape from him.
With his warm breath against her neck, he would kiss her racing pulse while caressing her body with his free hand. When he touched her panties, she blushed at the dampness he would certainly find as evidence of her arousal. Even in sleep she would remind herself that this experience was just a dream so she would cease her struggle and open her body, granting him access. When his touch made contact with her sensitive folds, she arched her body into his fingers seeking more from him.
"Patience little one," he would say. "You are as hungry for me as I am for you," his deep voice whispered into her ear.
His ministrations continued slowly driving her to the brink of an erotic madness. When her ghost lover finally took pity on her, he increased the tempo of his movements across the sensitive flesh of her sex. Moving his mouth over her breasts, he paused, savoring the hardened peaks until she was crying for mercy. Emma would surrender to passion's riptide, feeling the spark within her warmth burst into a current flowing through her body. Just when she thought she would die from pleasure, he would trace his tongue over her neck and she would then drown in a strange mixture of instant pain swallowed by a burst of sensual satisfaction.
Content and exhausted, Emma would then fall asleep happy that her dream lover had not abandoned her but also saddened that he was only that. He was only a dream.
Emma Livingston had arrived in Europe only one week earlier. Hoping for a chance to experience a little excitement in her life, she had splurged on a new wardrobe and hairstyle only to be quickly lost in the surplus of beautiful women gracing the city.
Completing the final semester of her MBA, Emma had taken an uncharacteristic leap of faith and registered for the international study course in hopes of finding some direction for her life. Unless she pursued a doctorate, school would be completed soon and she still had no idea what she "wanted to be when she grew up."
As an intern business analyst with an international finance company, she could use this experience to guarantee a resume that would place her above all other candidates. That promise was the sales pitch her advisor had given her. Since arriving, she had been redirected from a branch office to the corporate office in another country, shuffled into an office with no windows, and assigned the exciting task of reconciling accounts and mapping electronic transfers that were almost a decade old.
Tracing the misappropriation of funds in a children's hospital in the States was her grand assignment. To date, she had managed to snag, tear or stain most of her new clothes by lugging boxes of files from the storage vault to her office. Yeah, she was told that maintenance would help but they were never to be found when needed. Resorting to the convenient hair clip, she sacrificed her new hairstyle for the ease of removing the straying strands from her face.
Overall, Emma evaluated this decision as one of her worst to date and, if she had any family, she would have begged and borrowed the funds to return home. As it was, she had no one waiting for a phone call or a postcard from her, so there was no home to which she could return. The life of an orphan could be severely damaged by abuse or neglect but Emma had learned at a young age that she would prefer the results of neglect as opposed to the nightmares she had seen other girls in the system suffer. In order to protect herself, she dressed down, sat quietly and virtually became invisible to everyone around her.
By the time she was a teenager, her foster parents were reminded of her presence only when they received the governmental financial assistance for their generosity of allowing a motherless child to sleep under their roof. Emma had learned to wake on time for school, dress herself, fix breakfast, pack lunch and do her homework all by the time she was ten years old.
As long as she remained quiet and unseen, Emma's basic necessities were provided by the real estate broker and his wife who fostered her. When she graduated high school, she had no visitors to watch her receive her diploma. When she left the house for college, she never received a phone call or letter and therefore, reciprocated the gesture.
Unfortunately, Emma had perfected the art of appearing invisible so well for so long that she had no idea how to turn it off. As expected, she blended with the huge mass of freshmen that inundated the lecture halls and she was ignored by her roommate every day until the end of the year. Each subsequent year, she experienced the same treatment all the while craving the attention from one person who cared that she never went home for spring break, summer or Christmas.
Refusing to believe that her life would always continue as this, she had requested a meeting with the dean of her program and sought his permission to enroll in the international study course. Even now, she was mortified at the memory of how long it took her to explain to Dean Richards that she was indeed already enrolled in the MBA program and was preparing for her last semester. Being invisible was one thing, but was her name written on the roster in disappearing ink?
Now, she was here and her obscurity transcended across the Atlantic.
"Now that I've proven to be internationally invisible, I can pursue my lifelong dream of being a superhero," she said aloud to no one in her office and laughed at the absurdity.
Returning to the work on her desk, she once again questioned the value of the research. All she had been told was that fraud had been discovered with the financial transactions in a children's hospital. Although the executives had been fired, no one had questioned the trail of funds until recently. Emma sensed that her research was valuable and well received only by the increase in volume and questions that were sent in response to her reports.
And the questions were sent, never directly asked. Her only contact with her employer was through George, an older man who seemed either bored or inconvenienced by Emma's presence. He met her upon her arrival, escorted her to the office she affectionately called her cell, and gave her explicit instructions for the project including the preemptive warning of exactly how she would be punished if she breeched the company's confidentiality policy.
Emma had wisely refrained from her normal sarcastic replies but had always felt that she should have defended her integrity to the pompous little ass. Every day, she would report to work bustling through the building with hundreds of employees, never acknowledged until she walked into her cell to find George perusing through the work on her desk. Overcoming her initial annoyance, she quickly learned that he would obtain an abbreviated report of her findings, transfer the information to their boss and return with questions for clarification or instructions of new direction for the investigation.
Knowing that her work was reported every day to Antony Melchiorre inspired Emma to work hard and do her best, no matter how lame the project had originally appeared to be. Oh sure, using a children's hospital as a front for money laundering was despicable but the culprits had be caught. Who cared that the money funded clubs and other small businesses throughout Europe? Apparently, Signor Melchiorre did and therefore, she did.
In one week, she had walk, unnoticed, beside more than a million people but had made eye contact with only one person. Antony Melchiorre. Every day, she would see George at her desk but his eyes were always focused on the papers scattered across her work space never looking at her. He blindly acknowledged her presence when she walked into the room with a mumbled greeting and then commenced to discuss business. Other employees would actually walk into her, never seeing her, even when coffee would slosh from their cup onto her clothes.
But he had noticed. Much to her chagrin, Signor Melchiorre could be easily found, witnessing her neglect or abuse, from behind the expansive window in the executive office. As CEO of Kingdom Investments, he habitually stood in his penthouse office viewing the arrival and departure of his employees throughout the fifteen floors of the atrium in his view. On her first day, Emma walked through the door and looked straight up into his eyes. Impossible as it seemed, she felt compelled to lift her gaze to him and into the warmth of his golden brown eyes.
And each day, Emma's life continued in her new environment with her only pleasure secretly derived from the split second gaze into the eyes of her employer as she started and ended her day at the office.
On this morning, Emma struggled to carry a banker's box from the storage vault, shifting the weight of the burden from one hip to another unable to balance the load appropriately. Although the vault was clean and dry, the box must have been previously stored in damp conditions. The handgrips were shredding and would soon break while the bottom of the box seemed to buckle with each step Emma took.
Concentrating on her immediate task, Emma shrieked when she walked into a wall that suddenly appeared in her path and lost her precarious hold. Although she struggled to correct her grip, the weight of the contents shifted forcing excessive pressure on one side. Hearing the sound of cardboard ripping, she closed her eyes to avoid seeing the documents scatter over the floor.
"You are supposed to call someone in Maintenance to bring this to you," the angry voice said.
"Great," she murmured. "A wall that talks." Kneeling to gather the papers, Emma stuffed them in the pathetic cardboard remains that could now only be moved with the assistance of a strong man and a cart.
"Excuse me?" the acidic voice asked.
"Thank you for reminding me of what I should have done," she responded without looking up. "How about reminding Maintenance that they are supposed to respond to my request? After two days of waiting for the first box, I gave up and started carrying them myself or else I'd still be waiting."
Continuing her task of clearing the mess, she noticed her assailant had moved closer when his shoes appeared in her line of vision. In the next second, the obviously expensive leather shoes were partially covered by the hem of equally expensive slacks as the man lowered himself to her level. When his large, tanned fingers wrapped around her wrists, pausing her motions, she glanced up and locked gazes with the object of her desire.
"Mr....uh, sorry, I mean Signor Melchiorre," she whispered.
The one word spoken by his deep voice affected Emma as though he had intimately touched her. Realizing that she was holding her breath, she inhaled deeply embarrassed by the ragged breath that betrayed her composure. When he smiled, she knew that he understood her distress but yet tried to calm her. With no other words, he assisted her to her feet and stood, holding her hands while she stared into his eyes.
Assessing the perfection of the man before her, Emma realized the absurdity of her fantasies. Although the city was inundated with beautiful women, she could not imagine any human woman existed that was beautiful enough to accompany this man. And with that knowledge, she was still incredibly aroused by his looks, touch and scent. His existence touched her, creating a disturbing reaction in her feminine core.
Leaning closer to her, Antony closed his eyes and inhaled deeply. Slowly, he began gently massaging the pulse at her wrists with his thumbs. When he finally opened his eyes, he had moved closer almost holding her against his chest.
"You have a provocative scent, Ms. Livingston," he said quietly.
"No ... I mean ... I don't wear anything," she said and then stopped, mortified at her choice of words. "It's soap. I don't wear cologne," she said with a rush, closing her eyes and shaking her head.
"Because you don't need it," Antony replied. "You have a unique bouquet that intensifies with your mood."
"Which mood?" she asked taking a step back while dislodging her hands from his grasp. "Nervous? Embarrassed? Frustrated?" she added looking at the heap of papers tossed unceremoniously into the broken banker's box.
"Frustrated," Antony said with a chuckle. "I know you are."
Before he could answer, they were interrupted by the sound of someone approaching. Stepping away from Antony, Emma turned her back hoping to hide her obvious flush that resulted from the intensity of her attraction.
"Signor Melchiorre!" George said in a high pitched voice of panic. "Sir, what has happened? Are you in need of assistance? What has she done?"
"George," the smooth voice answered "why is Ms. Livingston carrying these filthy boxes from storage? I gave explicit instructions that her requests were to be answered by maintenance."
"Sir," the man said in a defensive tone, "you don't understand. She's American."
"You're right. I don't understand. What exactly does her nationality have to do with the failure to follow my command?"
Before George could respond, Emma turned around and looked at Antony. His last word had sounded odd. Certainly he had given instructions and could even say that he had ordered for certain tasks to be completed. But did he actually give commands? Roaming her eyes over his body and back to his eyes, she realized that he could indeed issue edicts with every expectation that his loyal subjects would obey. He was tall and, even though covered by his suit jacket, his chest and shoulders were broad and strong. Yes, he could be a leader.
Watching her thoughts clearly reflected in her expressions, Antony was torn between annoyance at his lack of control and appreciation for her quick summation. Kneeling, he lifted the box in his arms and stood carrying the load as though it were a precious bundle protectively secured by the strength of his large, muscled arms.
"Ms. Livingston ..."
"Emma," he said with a smile, "let's get these moved into your office."
Returning his smile, she nodded in agreement and turned to lead the way. Before taking two steps, they were interrupted by the panic in George's voice.
"Sir! I implore you to allow me to find someone else to carry that box."
"Why didn't you implore Ms. Livingston to wait for assistance?" Antony asked without looking back at the man.
"Because she's an American woman," he said and then quickly added in explanation, "impatient and arrogant."
"Excuse me?" Emma asked turning to look at the rude little man.
"You have come here as a student but yet you have taken this special project when other employees are more qualified for the research."
"She's taken nothing," Antony said continuing down the corridor encouraging Emma to do the same. "It was given to her."
"And she's too proud to speak to anyone," George continued following behind. "She walks in without saying a word. If she were not on payroll and possess a security pass, no one would even know she existed."
When Emma glanced over her shoulder intending to glare at the man, she was shocked to see the smile on Antony face. Nodding to her to continue leading the way, he balanced the box as though it were no burden at all.
"Odd," Antony replied, "I can't help but notice her every time she enters and leaves the building."
"Sir," George said, "please let me have someone else carry that box. You will ruin your suit."
"I imagine I will which can only mean that Ms. Livingston has also ruined hers. Have you made a concession to reimburse her for the damage?"
Arriving at the office, Emma opened the door allowing Antony to enter before her. When he stood at the entrance refusing to move further into the room, she tried to look around his shoulder to see whatever was halting the procession.
"Mr..... Signor ... uh, Antony?" she asked hesitantly.
With a quick look at her, he allowed his gaze to move on to George. No words were exchanged but Emma could feel a transfer of information communicated between the two men. Antony then turned into the office, placed the remains of the box on her desk and motioned for her to enter before he stepped out of the office closing the door.
"Well," Emma said to the door, "as difficult as it was, he was able to refuse my charm." Turning to her desk, she began unpacking the box, separating the documents.
On the other side of the door, George hovered near the wall watching his employer and king approach him with a ferocious expression on his face. Contemplating his chances of escape, he wondered how far he could run before Antony would overtake him. Running would only anger his king more.
"Sir, please," George begged holding out his arm in a pleading gesture.
"Please what?" Antony said slapping the outreached arm and grabbing the man by the neck and lifting him from the floor.
"What have I done?" the man asked. "Tell me what I need to do."
"Cease your derogatory comments to her or about her. Move her from this tomb that no human could tolerate."
"Of course, sir, immediately," George quickly agreed. "But where should I move her?"
Hesitating for a moment, Antony answered, "Move her to the vacant assistant's office next to mine."
"Sir, you may have forgotten but I'm supposed to move into that office."
"You can have it after Ms. Livingston leaves," Antony said walking away from the man. "I expect her to be relocated today. And George," he said leveling his darkening gaze on the man, "the woman is under my protection."
Watching George turn and leave the hallway, Antony paused at the door to Emma's office wondering what the little man must think of the recent turn of events.
"I'm sure it will be added to the long list of my recent eccentricities," he muddled aloud. "Lose a mate and you can get away with murder."
Stepping into the small office, Antony was overwhelmed by the delectable fragrance that belonged exclusively to Emma Livingston. In his experience, the aroma permeating from a woman's heated, flush skin barely compared to the succulent taste of her blood.
"God, I'm starving," he said when he realized the path his thoughts had lead him.
"Excuse me?" Emma asked, startled when she heard him speak. "Oh, I guess so. It's late, even later than you Italians normally eat lunch. I was just going to run and grab a bite before starting with this new box of data."
"I'm not Italian!"
"I'm sorry," they said in unison.
"Ms. Livingston," Antony began, "Emma, due to the sensitive nature of the documents that you are reviewing, I must insist on improving the quality of their treatment."