Together, Forever! Ch. 09bysimply_cyn©
The next morning, a driver from the publishing company came to pick her up at eight in the morning. Victoria hadn't gotten a car. Colin said there was really no reason for it. Between public transportation, his car and the company's cars, she would have plenty of ways to get around. That would take some getting used to. Victoria liked having a car and the independence that came along with it. Thinking about it as she climbed into the back seat of the car, she realized she could always change her mind about it later.
"It's about a forty-five minute drive from your place to the office." Seeing the grimace on her face, he quickly added, "That's not bad for L.A." Steve had said that the office was real casual, but Victoria had taken some pain with her dress this morning. She was determined to stay professional and make a good impression. She wore a black skirt which covered the tops of her long black boots from Celine in Paris, a black and white silk blouse and a matching black and white geometrical pattern scarf which was knotted loosely around her neck. Large pearl and onyx earrings were a focal point set off by her hair which was severely knotted at her neck.
When she arrived, Victoria was surprised to find the office jammed with people. She was told to take a seat, and was offered coffee. Steve was delayed a bit, but would arrive shortly. When he arrived, he ignored the others in the office and made his way straight over to where she sat. Taking her hand and pulling her to her feet, he said, "You are one hell of a striking girl, Victoria. Are you ready to work your ass off?"
She laughed. "I'm not sure, but I'm going to do my best."
"That's exactly what I want to hear," he said, escorting her down the hall towards his plush office. Victoria soaked up the photographs of all the authors he had employed in his career, hanging in the hallway. She recognized a lot of the names of the authors of children's books she had used in her teaching career. Smiling, she knew these names by heart - Bill Martin Jr., Michael Sampson, Eric Carle, Chris Van Allsburg, Brod Baggert, just to name a few. She noticed there weren't a lot of females on the wall and began to wonder if she could make it in this business. She was small-time compared to these men!
Steve's white on white office with chrome and glass desk, beige leather couch and chairs, and lithographs all coordinated in the same white and beige, surprised Victoria. This looked more like a showroom than an office. He showed her to one of the leather chairs and offered her another cup of coffee. She politely declined eager to get right to it. He sat in a matching chair opposite her instead of sitting behind the desk. She was relieved. It made her feel much more at ease. They discussed at some length her contract, what it meant and what was expected of her ... how many books she was expected to produce and of what length. He gave her some topics that he wanted to see manuscripts on but he also left some open for her own imagination and creativity. He also wanted to take some of her old manuscripts that had not been published yet and re-do those and try publishing those as well. Once she had some work completed, he wanted to do a promotional tour to bookstores around the area and book signings, presentations, etc. He had a lot in store for her and Victoria was excited to get started.
When she finally left the meeting, two and a half hours later, Victoria felt very good about her move to California and secure in her job. Her first assignment was due in four weeks. He had given her a specific topic and some direction in which to take the story. He also wanted her to rework one of her old manuscripts as well. Steve had offered for a driver to take her back home, but she declined. She had some things she wanted to do in town. She told him she would find a way home later.
The first place she decided to visit was a Barnes & Noble bookstore close to the publishing house. Victoria loved looking around at the new releases and she needed to start familiarizing herself with the types of books this publishing house released. In her search, she happened to come across a book about Colin. It was cheaply made but it seemed to be a biography of some kind. It was selling fast and there was a small crowd of teenage girls looking at them, oohing and aahing over him, going on about how beautiful he was, his new movie and how they couldn't wait for his new film Starstruck to come out.
As she picked up one to flip through, a few of the girls saw her and giggled. She smiled at the thought that they probably thought she was some old lady hanging onto her youth by panting after a young heartthrob like Colin. If they only knew! She laughed to herself as she took one last took at it and took the book along with some others to the counter and paid for them. The book on Colin would make for some interesting reading.
As she left the bookstore, she saw what a truly beautiful day it was and decided to spend some time outside. Remembering the day she had spent with Colin at the park, she decided that would be a perfect place to enjoy the rest if the morning and do some reading. She turned down the street and headed for the nearest bus stop. As she sat down to wait for the bus, she picked up the book she had purchased about Colin. It had been pulled together quickly, she could tell just by the writing. It had been targeted for the teens that faithfully bought anything and everything about their hunk of the month, but it also held some good information about Colin. Victoria recognized some of the stuff that he had already told her and laughed aloud at some of the crazy things he had done when he was young. Some younger girls, who were also waiting for the bus, struck up a conversation with her about Colin, seeing what she was reading.
"Are you a Colin Mengatti fan?'
Victoria heard the words but was surprised at them. Looking up from her book, she looked over to her right to see a young girl around the age of fifteen staring back at her. "I'm sorry?" she asked.
"Colin Mengatti?" she repeated, pointing towards the book in Victoria's hand. "You a fan?"
She looked back down at the book in her hand, a small blush coming to her face. "Uh ... sort of, I guess ...Yeah."
"Us too," the girl said, her hand sweeping to include two other girls at the bus stop. Victoria smiled at each of them in return. "Have you seen his movies?"
"Well, I saw his big one," she answered, marking her spot and closing the book. She adjusted her sunglasses and sat back, surprised by this sudden conversation.
"Oh yeah," she said, excitedly. "I saw it nine times."
"I saw it fourteen times," added another one. Victoria was shocked. The other girl just nodded her head, looking down the street for the bus.
"Fourteen times?!" Victoria exclaimed. "Why?"
"Because he's beautiful!" the young girl answered. "I'm going to buy it when it comes out on video."
The blond girl sitting beside Victoria asked, "How many times did you see it?"
"Just once," she answered.
"You've got to go see it again, at least two more times."
"Why?' she asked, intrigued.
"Because you notice something different every time. Like the last time I saw it, I was able to just focus on how he looked in every scene instead of watching the story."
"But isn't that the reason for going to the movies, for the story?" Victoria was incredulous.
"Oh no!" she exclaimed, surprised at Victoria's words. "You go to see the actors, to see Colin. The story just adds to it."
"But," Victoria began, "That's not Colin. That's a character that's been invented. He's just portraying it."
"It doesn't matter; it's him up on that screen." Victoria was surprised at everything they seemed to know about him and the passion in which they talked about him. They spoke of his new movie and where all he liked to hang out here in L.A. It was if they had known him for years but at the same time, didn't know him at all. "So, how old are you?" she questioned, looking over at Victoria. "You seem a little old to be a fan . . . no offense," she added quickly.
"None taken." Victoria smiled at her. "I'll be thirty-one in a few weeks."
"Wow!" They seemed surprised that a thirty-one year old woman would be interested in him. Victoria was having a good time exchanging information with these young fans, when to everyone's surprise, including Victoria's, a limo pulled up at the bus stop instead of a bus. The girls looked quickly at her as she looked back at them. "Is that yours?" she asked Victoria.
"I don't think so," she replied, looking back at them. "I wasn't expecting a limo today."
The driver got out and walked around to the passenger side at the back of the car. Victoria and her new friends watched with interest, wondering who it could be. When the door was opened but nobody came out, they all started to lean over to the left side to see who it could be. The younger girls were a little more curious than Victoria and started to get up to see who it was and what they wanted. That's when he stepped out and Victoria almost joined in the hysterics that her new younger friends began. She tried to hold back her excitement, although her body tingled at the look he threw her way. The three girls crowded in closer to him to get autographs and just to be close. He quickly obliged them and the whole time he smiled at Victoria.
The blonde girl who had been sitting next to her ran back to the bench. "Come on Vicky! This is your chance to actually see him and touch him!" She jumped up and down, pulling at Victoria's arm.
She just laughed at the young girl's antics. "You go ahead."
The young girl stopped, staring at her. "Are you crazy?! That's Colin Mengatti! Come on . . ." but then she trailed off as Colin made his way over to Victoria and held out his hand. She quickly stuffed the book she had been reading into her handbag and took his hand.
He leaned over, kissed her cheek and asked, "How did your meeting go?"
"It went real well." She watched him for a moment, her eyes narrowing. "What are you doing here? I didn't expect to see you until later."
"I was just passing this way. I just got out of a meeting myself. I was about to call you and see if you wanted to grab some lunch." The girls were now crowded around them, staring at Victoria in disbelief. She could see the shock on their faces.
Turning to them, she said, "Girls, thank you so much for your entertaining company this afternoon. I hope you have a nice day."
The blonde girl came up to Victoria. "Why didn't you tell us the truth about . . . about . . . Oh my god!?"
Victoria simply stated the obvious. "Would you have believed me if I had told you the truth?" She smiled at her again, as Colin escorted her over to the car. As the door closed, Victoria thought on her own words - she could hardly believe it herself!
As the weeks flew past, she and Colin became closer and closer. Victoria didn't think it was possible to fall more in love with him than she already was, but here it was happening. They spent the days sight-seeing, shopping, and doing all the things that tourists would normally do. In the evenings, they usually went out club-hopping with dinner before. Some of Colin's favorite spots in Los Angeles were The Fenis Bar at the Argyle Hotel, Millennium (of course!), Barfly, and depending on what bands were playing, The Whisky or The House of Blues.
Victoria was quickly introduced into the club scene and the way Colin liked to unwind. For the life of her, she couldn't figure out how this was relaxing, but he was having the time of his life! She didn't have the heart to tell him that it was wearing her out. She would have much rather stayed at home, curled up next to him on the couch watching a movie or reading a book. Lord knows how she longed to make love to him. But they weren't pushing it and secretly, she was glad. The biggest challenge was trying to break his bad habit of smoking Cohiba cigars and drinking Absolut and cranberry juice cocktails like she would diet coke or water. He worried her some with his habits. She didn't want him to age before his time. But she didn't want to harp on him like an old lady. So, many of the times, she said nothing at all. Victoria decided instead to just be a good model by sticking to water or club soda and lemon. Every once in a while she treated herself to a frozen margarita, but only occasionally. He always offered her a drink and usually asked why she never really drank. Victoria liked to use the excuse of being high on life and having too much fun enjoying her time with him to even think about drinking. Secretly, she was hoping it gave him something to think about. As far as smoking, he didn't do that around her because it bothered her so much, so she felt like she had made some progress there.
One evening, Victoria had opted to stay at home and catch up on some work that she needed to finish for her first deadline. She was so engrossed in her task that it took her a while to realize that someone had been knocking on the door. With a quick press on the save button on her laptop, she walked to the door and pulled it open. As she pulled open the door, she found herself staring at a white T-shirt and a familiar pair of baggy jeans, and let her eyes move rapidly upward until they reached the face of Colin Mengatti.
"Hi, Colin." Victoria looked tired and distracted as she stood there, her mind still crammed with the thoughts of her work.
"Something wrong?" He looked instantly worried as he watched her, but she shook her head. "You look like you've had bad news."
"No." She looked tired and knew it. "Not really. I guess I'm just tired." She smiled at him and added, stepping aside, "Come in."
"I didn't mean to bother you, Vicky." He looked momentarily unsure of himself as he stepped inside. "I know you're busy working and all, but I wanted to make sure you weren't wearing yourself out." She was touched by his thoughtfulness and suddenly wondered if she saw something more in his smile. But it was difficult to tell sometimes with Colin. There were times when one could read nothing at all in the baby blues.
"Have you eaten?" she asked, waving to the kitchen and cocked her head to one side, brushing her thick red hair off her shoulders and down her back.
"Wouldn't that be a lot of trouble for you?" He looked hesitant, but she quickly shook my head.
"Don't be silly. I was heating up some leftovers I had in the fridge." He smiled and followed her into the kitchen, and as they chatted about their day and what they had been doing, Victoria set the table and a few minutes later they were devouring chicken and salad as though they hadn't eaten in days.
As they finished and she was about to get up and clear the plates, he leaned toward her and kissed her. Once again Victoria felt her heart pounding against the table as she moved toward him, and with one hand he gently cupped her face as the other one smoothed her silken hair. "My god, you're beautiful, Victoria. You take my breath away, do you know that?" He kissed her again, and then pushed the plates across the table and pulled her toward him, until suddenly they were both breathless as they kissed in the silent apartment. It was then that she gently pulled away from him, with a small embarrassed smile on her lips.
"Colin, what are you doing to me? You know I have work to do." She smiled at him and slowly he pulled her to her feet until she stood before him, her breasts suddenly pressed against him as he pulled her to him, and her mouth hungry for his once again as gently he stroked her back and her hair.
He pulled away then and his voice was only a whisper. "I know this sounds crazy, Victoria, but I love you. I knew it the first time I saw you. I wanted to touch you and to hold you and to run my hands through that gorgeous hair." He smiled gently down at her but she looked pensive. "Do you believe me, Victoria?"
Her big blue eyes found his and she looked troubled. "I don't know what I believe, Colin. I was thinking of what I told you once already, that just making love with someone wouldn't be enough. Is that why you said all this?"
"No." His voice was still a whisper, his mouth near her ear as he kissed her neck. "I said it because I mean it. I've been thinking about you a lot lately. What you want isn't different from what I feel, Vicky." His voice grew stronger as he reached out and took her hands. "You just want me to put words to my feelings. I'm not used to doing that. It's easier to say 'I want to make love to you' than it is to say 'I love you.' But I've never met a woman I've wanted as much as I want you."
"Why?" She spoke in a hoarse whisper with all the anxiety she felt over his past relationship with Marisa sharply etched in her blue eyes. "Why do you want me?"
"Because you're so lovely . . ." He reached out gently and touched her cheek with his careful hands. "Because I like the way you laugh and the way you talk . . . and the way you take your life by control . . . and the way you try to break me of my damn bad habits . . . because I like" ~ he grinned and let his hands slip around her ~ "the way you make me feel when you look at me." She laughed in answer and gently pushed his hands away. "Isn't that good enough reason?"
"Good enough reason for what, Mr. Mengatti?" She was teasing him now as she turned away from him and began to clear the table, but before she could get their plates to the sink, he had taken them from her, set them down, and picked her up easily in his arms and carried her out of the room, making his way across the living room until he reached the bedroom area.
"Come on . . . stop, Colin. Put me down!" His laughter joined hers but he didn't do as she told him. Instead he set her down on the bed, took her in his arms, and kissed her hard on the mouth. The games between them were suddenly over, and the passion he unleashed in her took her by surprise. She was stunned at the force with which he held her to him, at the hunger of his mouth and his hands and his whole body as it reached out for hers.
His hands reached out to stroke her auburn tresses, gathering handfuls and feeling the satiny strands glide through his fingers and tickle his palms like a whisper. Baring her shoulder, he placed a kiss in the tingling hollow, his eyes holding hers for a moment, watching them deepen to a darker shade. His lips returned to her shoulder, burning a trail of fire up her slender neck to her ear. Warm, sure hands slid down her arms, slipping to curve enticingly about her breast; holding them, warming and weighing them in his palms. As his fingers slid across her nipples, causing them to tighten and bud out at his touch, her eyelids fluttered shut, closing out everything but what he was doing to her. Her emotions already whirling, she moaned, a small sound of desire, pure and simple, that told him all he needed to know.
With Victoria's eager hands to aid him, Colin quickly removed his clothing. Then Victoria's joined his on the floor. Breast to breast, flesh against yearning flesh, they embraced; Colin's mouth claiming hers in a timeless exploration as he held her in his arms. Her limbs already weak, Victoria thought surely she would die with delicious delight as his lips and hands began to wander to other sensitive areas of her body. Chills danced along her spine following the path of his fingers even as her breast, so sensitive from contact with his chest, quivered at his touch. When his mouth closed over one nipple, his tongue teasing the tip, his teeth gently tugging as he suckled, she cried out.
Reaching out, her seeking hands clutched at his shoulders as he lowered himself. His hot lips left her breast to claim the soft, ticklish flesh of her stomach. Victoria sucked in her breath sharply as his tongue circled her navel, and then delved into it, sending sharp darts of desire to her toes and back again.