My plan to ruin Andres Barrera is in full bloom now. Unfortunately, so is my desire for him.
The other day I caught myself looking at his hands as he signed papers one after the other. They are big and strong and I nearly quivered at the thought of what they would feel like on my bare skin. And when his fingers brushed against mine as he was handing me back my pen, I jumped as if he had shocked me.
If he noticed, he didn’t say. In fact, Andres doesn’t say much to me at all these days. Much to my disappointment, most of our correspondence has been through e-mails. It was almost better when he chivvied and pestered me with pointless questions.
I am hoping today will be different. I am here at his family estate – the site for his upcoming charity auction. It is a bucolic setting located just 40 minutes outside of the city.
The elderly woman who answered the door leads me through a magnificent foyer to a set of French doors. She motions for me to wait on the outside balcony. I see a bronzed patio set adorned with a platter of fruit, wine glasses and a glass pitcher filled with a deep red beverage. Sangria or juice, I wonder. But before I can pour myself a glass, a woman’s laughter breaks the quiescent scene.
I peer over the balcony and see a long-haired brunette walking in the garden with Andres. Their arms are linked and by their casual gait and smiling faces, I can see the closeness between them. My gut tightens.
At that moment, Andres looks past the brunette and sees me watching them. He raises an eyebrow and winks at me. I whip back around and take a seat at the table. Embarrassment, anger and something else burns me from within. I contemplate leaving, but I know I cannot. I have too much invested in this plan to not see it through. So I stay and drink three glasses of the sweet Sangria before Andres finally joins me on the balcony.
“So what do you think of the view, Juliana,” he asks as he takes a seat across from me. His wide grin tells me that he is ready to play today.
Now on my fourth glass of Sangria, I am too.
“It’s beautiful, just like you said it would be.”
“Thank you. Of course, I can’t take all of the credit. This estate has been in my family for generations. There have been many galas and parties held in the garden below us. It’s also a perfect place for a wedding, don’t you think?”
I nod in agreement and take another sip. For a second I imagine Andres and the brunette standing in the garden in front of a priest. The tightness in my abdomen is wrenching now.
“Are you OK? You look a little flushed.” His tone is one of amusement, not concern. And if my face was pink before, I’m sure it is slowly turning the shade of the Sangria.
“I’m fine, thank you. It’s just I’ve been out here in the sun for awhile now waiting for you to finish whatever it was you were doing.” I know I sound irritated, but I don’t care.
He smiles again. “How thoughtless of me to keep you waiting in the sweltering 75 degree heat. Here, let me remedy that.”
Andres reaches into the second wine glass on the table and grabs one of the half-melted ice cubes. He walks over to me and I want to say something but I can’t find the words. I just sit there and watch as he brings the ice to my lips and rubs it across them. I still say nothing as he starts to drag the ice cube past my chin and down my neck. His smile disappears as he focuses on the cube now sliding down my chest into my cleavage.
I close my eyes and moan a little at the coolness against my heated skin. When I open my eyes again I see Andres bending toward me and I realize he is about to lick the trail of wetness that the ice has left behind.
“I don’t think your girlfriend would appreciate you doing that,” I finally say. He looks into my eyes and I can almost see the debate going on in his head. The fact that he would even consider making a move on me while his lover is somewhere inside the house infuriates me.
“Are you referring to Esmeralda?”
“I don’t know. Am I? Or do you have a harem of other leggy brunettes tucked away in this grand house of yours?”
He stands back up and is smiling again. “Alas, there is no harem. Esmeralda is the only woman who is allowed to sleep here.”
The pang of jealousy strikes me so hard that I almost shudder. My face feels enflamed but not because of the midday sun.”I think I better go now,” I tell him. But when I stand my head immediately starts to spin and I have to sit back down.
“I think you better stay for awhile. In fact, why don’t I take you to one of the bedrooms so you can lie down?” I try to protest, but Andres pulls me up and walks me inside the house. My head feels heavy and I know I am in no condition to drive.
We enter a room just off the main foyer and even in my stupor I can appreciate the beautiful décor. He leads me to the bed but doesn’t let me lie down just yet. Instead, Andres takes one finger and runs it down from my lips to the v-neck opening of my sleeveless dress, tracing the path of the ice cube. It takes everything I have to not pull him down with me on top of the bed. But plan or no plan, I have my boundaries.
“I don’t sleep with men who have wives or girlfriends,” I tell him.
His wicked grin takes my breath away.
“Then it’s a good thing I don’t have either,” he says as he turns to walk away from me. “Esmeralda is my sister.”
THE END**This work of original fiction is owned and copyrighted by the author **