Endless Days & White Knights Ch. 04byBelleGailmar©
Chapter 4 -- "Weapons of Mass Seduction"
Even from hundreds of feet above the ocean -- the 200-foot yacht looked larger than life. As Carver's polished black helicopter circled the vessel -- Caroline could see the name "Cesarine" on the back ("aft" she would later learn to call it) -- the brilliant white ship sparkled like a pearl floating in turquoise sea.
The chitchat on the helicopter flight away from the city had been surprising banal. They sipped champagne. Carver commented on how nice Caroline looked in her business suit. They spoke about current events -- but more like they were quoting headlines and not delving into the articles. After a while (Caroline couldn't tell remember exactly how long -- the Veuve had exercised its power on her rational thinking) -- the land disappeared from under them. The endless ocean opened up. And then Caroline realized that it wasn't the ocean, but the Caribbean Sea. They flew for miles without seeing a ship or any other sign that humans had touched this part of the world.
The chitchat stopped when the helicopter descended onto the red circle on the Cesarine's deck. The whir of the helicopter's rotors slowed and a handsome, elegant man in a crisp white uniform opened Caroline's door.
"Welcome aboard, Ms. Monroe," he said, "I am Captain Giancarlo Lisoni. My crew and I are happy to serve you."
The warm humid air enveloped Caroline as soon as she stepped clear of the helicopter. Captain Lisoni smiled a seasoned, comforting smile and told her, "The Cesarine is fully air-conditioned and stocked with every luxury. You will be quite comfortable while you are on board."
Carver hopped out of the helicopter as if he had done it hundreds of times before. He and Captain Lisoni greeted each other with manly bear hugs. They then kissed each other's cheeks. Left, then right.
"Old friend!" Captain Lisoni said with gusto. "Your suite is prepared."
The sun was low in the distant sky. Pastels replaced the blue at the horizon. Carver led Caroline below deck and down a narrow hall. The door he opened gave way to a suite that took Caroline's breath away.
"Wow," she found herself whispering.
The Cesarine was heading south, Caroline could tell. The sun set to her right and the sky was darkening to her left. The suite's far wall was a semi-circle of windows that gave a clear 180-degree view out of the front of the yacht. Caroline felt as if she was floating (which, technically, she was) toward the stunning windows. She could hear ice clinking in glasses and was vaguely aware that Carver stood at the suite's bar behind her.
"Are you hungry?" he asked.
"Mmm," was all Caroline could manage to say. Her eyes stayed fixated on the horizon. The Cesarine's soft lilt was hypnotizing. Carver handed her a drink. Caroline put it to her lips. Sweet, cold and powerful -- the liquor snapped Caroline out of the dream she had found herself in. And may have had the opposite effect that Carver had intended. She was no longer spellbound by her surroundings, but fully aware of whom she was with and what he was capable of. Caroline turned away from the window.
"It's a Caribbean orange liqueur -- made from the Grand Cayman's finest rum," Carver said as he leveled his gaze at her. He sipped from his glass and Caroline followed suit.
Sweet, cold and powerful. The drink had a lot in common with Carver, she realized.
He had been more like the sunset over the Caribbean when they first met -- mesmerizing and impossible to resist. But since then, he had been smug and even threatened to blackmail her. Caroline felt as if she had matured years instead of days since their first encounter.
"Stunning," he said, as he walked past her to the windows. She turned to watch him and found herself looking at the Caribbean once again.
"Yes," she agreed and took another sip. This one went down more smoothly.
Carver set his drink down on a glass table next to the bed. The bed, Caroline realized. She had just noticed it. King-sized, covered in silk and too many pillows to count. It faced the windows.
Carver was behind her now. He slipped her jacket off her shoulders. "The humidity is one of the Caribbean's few drawbacks," he commented. He slithered in front of her and Caroline noticed his voice was serious and intense, but also breathy and full of lust. "Do you know why you're here?" he asked.
Caroline looked deeply into his dark eyes. "To swab the deck?"
She was pleased that made him smile. His impenetrable veneer cracked just a little.
"If you're wondering," he said, "it's not every woman that I bring here." With a single, deft motion -- he unbuttoned the lowest button on her blouse.
"Working your way from the bottom up?" Caroline asked with an orange liqueur smile.
"That's how I've achieved my greatest successes."
And with that, the next button up fell open.
"What I was actually wondering," Caroline said as she looked down to see her skin exposed, "was how long it would take us to get to Aruba. That is where we're heading isn't it?"
"There are hundreds of locales the Cesarine might be heading toward," he said -- trying to remain mysterious.
The third button fell open. Caroline knew her bra was showing. The Caribbean sparkled outside the arc of windows. The liqueur -- on top of the champagne -- made her feel light. And her inhibitions with this man had flown long ago.
"The direction the helicopter took," she said, "and the direction we're heading -- it's in the general direction of the south Caribbean. Aruba's there. Plus, isn't that where your consortium of investors is based?"
He opened her last button. Her blouse fell open. But he let it lay against her. His dark eyes stared at her. "Tell me about my consortium of investors," he said -- as his hands caressed her stomach and then her hips and then past her skirt's hem onto her bare legs.
"Your turn," she shook her head and told him.
"Yes, ma'am," he obeyed. He found the skirt zipper on her hip and before she could exhale, it lay on the ground around her heels.
He was on his knees and she could feel his breath on her bare thighs. As her panties moistened, she fought the urge to pull his face into her panties. "I mean, your turn to tell me about your investor consortium," she said.
He grazed her calves and the backs of her knees with his fingertips. "What's there to tell about that stodgy group of old money and their sunburnt offshore accounts?" he asked innocently and gently kissed her thigh. He let his lips linger against her skin.
He brushed his lips to the inside of her thigh and started heading north. She involuntarily let out a moan. "That's more like it," he whispered.
"So they are on Aruba?" she tried to ask. She tried to bring her high heels closer together -- to block the access to where his mouth was heading. But he slid his arm between her legs and put his hand on her panties from behind.
"Tell you what," he countered. "For every question I answer, I get to do something I want." He looked up at her. His face was just below her waist. His arm reached between her legs.
"Yes," he said, "They're in Aruba. We're meeting on Thursday." And with that -- he buried a long kiss on top of her panties, right where her legs came together. She could feel herself getting wetter. Her resistance was fading. But she had to know more.
"You don't represent a majority of Azura Holdings, but you're trying to increase your consortium's influence," she managed to say between breaths.
"That was two questions," Carver said. "Yes." He gripped her panty's waistline. "And yes." And he pulled her panties to her ankles.
She was exposed in front of all the Caribbean to see. But there was no one there but them. The windows opened to the fading light. She was beginning to see her reflection in the glass. She was naked from the waist down. Her blouse hung open. And Carver's head was between her bare legs.
"Once you have control..." she moaned, "...of Azura, you're planning to break the company up."
"Mm-hmm," he hummed as he buried his nose into her pubic hair. She nearly doubled over. She cried out and grabbed his thick hair.
"By selling the company's assets and licensing the company's intellectual property and brands," Caroline panted out, "you'll generate over fourteen billion dollars and earn between six and seven billion dollars a year until the licensing deals expire." Her knees buckled when she finished. "Ohhh!" she wailed. She could tell his tongue was inside her.
He slid his tongue more deeply inside her.
"Do you realize that your plan will also..." she gasped, "...put 25,000 people out of their jobs, two small towns and a dozen banks will probably go bankrupt and the national defense will be jeopardized -- because of contracts you plan to dissolve."
He finally removed his tongue from inside of her. He stood and unbuckled his pants. "Yes," he said.
He lifted her off her feet and laid her on the bed. Her hair fell around her on the silk sheets. She could feel the orgasm welling inside her. Her feet tingled. Her belly tingled. And between her legs -- she wondered if anything had ever been so wet and so on fire before.
She looked at him. He was naked and hard. The condom was on and he climbed between her welcoming legs. When he was inside her, she kissed his neck and shoulders. The sunset was in full bloom and she watched the sky burn red as she came in wave after wave of passion. By the time he exploded inside her, she was engulfed in complete and total ecstasy.
Later, as she lay next to the sleeping Carver St. Pierre, she was exhausted but giddy. She could barely lay still. Not only had she figured out his plan, but she was sleeping on the finest sheets in the world on arguably the most romantic bed in the known universe. And next to her was a handsome, probably egotistical and likely manipulative, very wealthy man.
At the thought of "manipulative", Caroline became suddenly alert. She realized she just had told Carver everything she knew about his plans. The memories of danger flooded back to her. The muscular man tying her to a motel bed. The strange woman creeping to her apartment. She was showing off to Carver when she told him what she had figured out, but that may have been exactly what he was after. He wanted to know how much she knew.
She eased out of bed without waking him. She checked her cell phone but there was no service in the middle of the sea. In the suite's bathroom, she found a white robe. She put it on and snuck out of the suite.
In the hall, she found a wall phone. She needed to call Elizabeth Racine, her new boss and founding partner of Azura Holdings, and warn her what he had learned. She picked up the phone and tried to dial. A deep Italian accent greeted her. The voice told her that there was no phone service to the United States. All non-essential communications had to be approved by Mr. St. Pierre. "We'll arrive in Aruba on Friday," she was told.
She hung up and realized that something wasn't right. Carver had said the meeting in Aruba was on Thursday.
She could hear a thumping sound and thought the yacht's engines must be churning. She snuck back into the suite and noticed two things were missing -- Carver and her clothes.
Then she realized what the thumping sound was. A few seconds later, she ran onto the deck to see Carver St. Pierre lifting off in the black helicopter. He waved good-bye as the helicopter disappeared into the night sky.
Captain Lisoni walked to her as she watched Carver fly away. "Mr. St. Pierre would like me and my crew to make you as comfortable as possible until we reach Aruba," he told her. He interlocked his strong arm with hers and walked her back to the suite. "We have everything you need. And more," he said as he dropped her off. "Good night, Ms. Monroe." His eyes twinkled. His salt and pepper hair was well manicured and he had a mustache perfectly trimmed over his sculpted Roman lips.
When she was alone, she sat on the bed -- which only moments before had been such a place of bliss -- the sunset was gone and the sky was black. The lights in the room forced her to look at her full reflection in the majestic windows. Her hair was mussed and the robe -- the only article of clothing she had access to -- was wrapped tightly around her body. She wasn't very proud of the woman she was looking at, so she turned out all of the cabin's lights. With the room dark, the black sky outside reappeared in the windows. The stars pierced the blanked of night. She stared at them and wondered where this journey was taking her. Later, just before she drifted off to sleep, she thought she saw a shooting star.
The morning gray filtered into the cabin and gently nudged Caroline awake. She had slept naked for the first time in her life and the feel of the silk sheets against her skin was delicious. She put on her robe and stared out at the smooth sea. Yesterday's exhaustion and yesterday's mistakes were behind her. She needed to get a message to Elizabeth Racine and warn her about Carver's plans.
She marched toward the suite's door -- determined to take control of her destiny. She jerked the door open to find a man waiting there for her. "Good morning, ma'am," the olive skinned Adonis said, "I am Antonio and I am here to service your needs."
Antonio wore a tight white T-shirt that did very little to hide every sinew of his muscular torso. His loose white shorts fell to just above his knees. His skin looked like it had been perfected by the Mediterranean sun and his hair was slicked back, with its curls flipping away from the back of his neck. His mega-watt smile could have powered the Cesarine for a week.
"Thank you, Antonio," Caroline said, trying not to stare at the bulge in his white shorts. It was rare that Caroline noticed how a large a man might be, but Antonio was a rare man -- who appeared to be built to be noticed. "But my needs don't need servicing."
"I will bring your breakfast. Coffee? Fresh-squeezed orange juice? Danishes? An omelet?"
Caroline realized how long it had been since she had eaten. "Yes, thank you."
"En suite or on the deck?"
"I would like to speak to the captain," she said.
"Breakfast on the deck then," Antonio smiled. "I will alert Captain Lisoni to meet you on the aft dining deck."
Antonio led her to the aft dining deck. As they made their way there, past the polished wood railings and gleaming brass fixtures -- Caroline was able to sense how large the Cesarine was. To say that the yacht was luxurious was like saying the Hope Diamond was a pretty gem. The Cesarine's glass shimmered like crystal. She felt as if she were walking through a floating palace.
And the crew. Oh, the crew. Each time they passed one of the men, she was greeted with a friendly "Good morning, ma'am" and a smile that could only be smiled back to. She fantasized about how many of them she would have to seduce to get off of the yacht. Did she have the power -- and the stamina -- of mass seduction? She noticed her hands were clutching the robe she wore as tightly as possible. Part of the reason these men were so fixated on her might be the fact that only a single layer of white cotton separated their stares from her bare skin.
Each of the two dozen men looked like a version of Antonio. Taller Antonios, slimmer Antonios. But none had his powerful bulge in the front of their pants that Caroline imagined as he walked in front of her. His ass rounded the back of his shorts and each perfect cheek flexed with every one of his steps.
She was enjoying the view of his behind and was disappointed that he ushered her in front of him. The stairs were narrow and he was just being gentlemanly. In front of him, she could see his hands on the railing on either side of her as she stepped up. He was very close. The robe didn't reach her knees and she wondered if he was studying her ass as closely as she had studied his.
"Antonio?" she asked without looking back.
"You are here to service me?"
"Have you serviced other passengers?"
"It is my job, ma'am. I serve meals, make bar drinks and perform other functions."
"For the women, I am excellent and giving manicures and pedicures. Perhaps you would like a massage?"
"Tempting. But... Do you know where my clothes are?"
"May I have them?"
"No, ma'am. Mr. St. Pierre has forbidden it, ma'am."
Of course, Caroline thought. Then she said, "Antonio."
"Please call me Caroline."
"It would be my pleasure, Caroline," he replied. He squeezed by her on the narrow stairs. She wasn't sure why he made the sudden move to catch her. He faced her to get by and his body brushed hers. His solid chest grazed her shoulder and his knees touched her thighs -- right at the hem of her robe. But it was the bulge she felt against her waistline that made her feel hot. She was surprised that it didn't loosen the knot in her robe's sash. She could swear she could feel it pulse and held in her gasp.
She looked up at Antonio -- but he was looking ahead. He opened the door ahead of her -- another gentlemanly gesture -- and nodded for her to pass.
Caroline stepped through the doorway and the gasp she held in a second before escaped her. "Oh my," she said.
The table was set with porcelain and silver. The table linens were from a 5-star restaurant. But no restaurant could match this view. On a high, aft deck, Caroline had a near 360-degree view of the sea. Sunrise was complete -- but the day's heat had not kicked in yet. The breeze lifted the tablecloth just enough.
Antonio offered her the single chair at the table. Coffee. Fresh-squeezed orange juice. Danishes. An omelet. Just as Antonio had promised.
The rest of that day at sea -- Tuesday, Caroline realized -- was spent wandering the sleek yacht. Captain Lisoni assured her that they would reach Aruba on Friday and there was no way to accelerate that timeline. He was not authorized to let her use the yacht's communications to call anyone. His orders were to keep her comfortable and bathed in luxury.
As she meandered around the yacht, Caroline clutched her robe tight and nodded to the crew as they passed. Her fantasy of a mass seduction faded as the day went on. The crew -- while incredibly friendly and pleasant -- were also professionals and focused on their jobs -- whatever those were -- of keeping the vessel moving across the cobalt sea.
Antonio was never too far away. And on the rare occasions when Caroline didn't know where he was, all she needed to do was pick up one of the phones she stumbled upon. His smooth voice always said, "How may I service you, Caroline?" before she could speak.
Her meals were fresh seafood and fruit. At dinner, Caroline let Antonio fix her a lychee martini. By the time she lay back down in the world's most amazing bed, she realized how much she wished that she had been sharing this experience with someone. Even a girlfriend to secretly giggle with her over this dreamlike experience. She was surprised that Carver St. Pierre wasn't who she imagined standing next to on the deck. When she closed her eyes -- she pictured Zack, from her apartment building, walking toward her on one of the yacht's decks.
She fell asleep with a smile on Tuesday night.
When she awoke Wednesday morning, she realized that the sun was higher in the sky then when she woke upon Tuesday. She had slept in. Antonio waited for her outside the suite door. After breakfast, Caroline returned to the suite. She needed to re-focus. This idle time on the yacht was softening her ability to concentrate on what Carver and his investor consortium was trying to do. She needed to reason with Captain Lisoni.
Antonio agreed to take her to the bridge. She thought if she could meet the captain on his turf, she could speak to him on equal footing.