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The day of parting had dawned. The house, its gardens and swimming pool that made the holiday home so special, would again be quiet, only the housekeeper and husband to be encountered, better still their son, Manolo, who was on army leave. How disconcerting to have that vigorous young man capture her attention; to have the sight of his toned physique as he worked helping his father in the orchard, arouse such wayward thoughts. But why not? She had lived through her months of bereavement and could begin to rebuild her life. ‘Quinta Virgia’ was hers and she could do as she pleased and that its seclusion, and a livid conscience, allowed.
Hannah waved them all, her sons and daughters in law, her grandchildren a tearful farewell; her resolve not to concede soon broken as she heard her two of her grand-children’s softly spoken words of goodbye. She had already wiped away Phoebe and Chloe’s tears.
‘Call me when you get back home…no matter how late it is, won’t you?’ she asked of them.
‘You’ll have all the time you need for your art!’ Melanie laughed out as she waved her goodbye. We’ll be thinking of you! The weather’s set to be a lot warmer!’
Hannah stood on the gravelled parking area in front of the house; the warm sea breeze tugging at her hair and flattening her skirt against her thighs. Yes, she would draw and paint; had already decided, during a restless night, to find a sheltered place in the orchards and to finish a small landscape of the distant bay, and its rocky promontories, that she could look down on. Her artist’s tools were set against the table in the hallway. An uncommon silence would now descend on the place; the hours of the day would have to be filled and company sought, if that were decently possible.
Resolved on the way to proceed, she walked in purposeful steps back into the cool of the house.
Silence had descended on the place; she heard the twittering of the birds in the trees not so far away; possible now that the children had gone.
‘One phase ends and now another is set to begin…’
She kicked off her sandals and proceeded to run up the stairs to change; to throw caution to the winds and dress for sunbathing as she painted and sketched; chose to wantonly catch a young man’s eye, should Manolo chance upon her. Pedro had said that he was in town, running errands as a dutiful son would.
How would he know where to find her?
Hannah had watched the two men working in the garden earlier in the day and had not thought much of it; Pedro, the older of the two a dutiful servant to the household; the younger, Manolo, an only too willing assistant while he spent his Army leave here.
Now, as the afternoon heat was beginning to lessen she carried her easel and paint box into the orchard; heard the runabout, that Pedro used, drive down the driveway and out of view, its progress hidden by the shrubbery that was now neatly shaped and the debris all cleared away, some of it burned in a clearing. She had seen the lazy drift of smoke spiralling into the sky; had done that in the days following her arrival.
The secluded, and sheltered, orchard was now quiet.
She had the place to herself and chose to set up under an almond tree and to gaze out over the rooftops of the town; the red pantiles stark against the whitewashed walls; the tower of the church a focal point for the picture she had in mind to completing, if she could bear the afternoon heat and the lifelessness of the air.
The straw hat, and the colourful scarf, that accompanied and fastened it, was in stark contrast with her short white skirt, with its ruffled hem, and matching V-necked blouse. She had decided on tying its ends at her waist and leaving some skin of her belly exposed to the sun. She had had the foresight to smear suntan oil, liberally, over her face and arms, also onto the exposed skin of her stomach, and over her fleshy legs, too. Her sandals revealed large feet; the toenails varnished a soft pink.
‘If I can’t dress this way in my own home, then where can I…when I’m painting?’ she muttered as she began to work, her eyes darting to the scene being captured and also, almost by second nature, to the dogs. They lay panting, but obediently stilled, in the deepest shade cast by a nearby tree. A bowl of water was not so far from her. She had had the foresight to bring that along with her too.
‘Hola, señora!’ she heard called out, unthreateningly and in an only too familiar voice.
Startled, she turned to where the young man now stood.
Manolo had appeared from the direction of the lane. He must have taken the steps that he, and his father, had cleared and that were set into the embankment close to the property’s driveway gates. The family had taken to using this route through the orchard often, in the days before they had left her, but hours ago.
Now, it seemed to be a favoured route of her housekeeper’s son too.
Hannah stood before him, the palette with her chosen paints in one hand, and escort gaziantep evi olan bayan a fine tipped brush in the other. She hoped that the shaking of one hand was not to be noticed. Hopes, or wayward dreams, of knowing him might now become a tempestuous reality.
‘Hello, Manolo. As you can see, I am painting…something to take home with me…’
‘I have seen some of your work in the house…’ he smiled, glancing at the picture she was working and standing close to her in order to do so. ‘You English are always out in the sun and when it is still hot…’
She could just about understand the way he said it. What she could not mistake was his look upon her; an only too blatant and appraising stare that took in what she was now wearing and that revealed much to his gaze. She knew that it shaped her; left little for the young man to imagine of her.
‘I intend to make the most of my time here,’ she observed evenly, provoked into saying it. ‘Now, I must get on with my work…’
‘Si, of course you must. I am sorry to intrude upon that…’
Hannah saw him look around the orchard floor, even as he drew a small knife from its sheath and that he had covered with his T-shirt. It hung loose over his shorts; his strong tanned legs clearly to be seen and with his feet in sturdy, fashionable, walking shoes. Manolo seemed oblivious to the looks she cast his way.
He was seen to pick up a two-metre length of branch, thin and all but stripped of leaves and off-shoots. ‘I carve a top to this…while you work. Is that okay?’
Hannah was unsure that he would accept her refusal of his company, were she to ask it of him. ‘Yes, it’s okay…but don’t talk to me. I want to concentrate on this picture.’
‘We both do that,’ he grinned at her, the whiteness of his teeth, against his tanned skin, like a beacon; that drew her attention upon him all over again. ‘I make a walking stick that you can keep…for you or your guests when they come to see you.’
She resumed in her painting. yet glanced his way whenever the opportunity arose; noted the dexterity in how Manolo worked; the frown of concentration that belied the confidence, and skill, in all that he did.
‘Did you learn that in the army?’ she was provoked into asking, the silence between them not to be endured for long.
‘No…I do this since I was young. My father…he started me off and then I go out on my own…do this.’ She saw him rise from where he had been seated at the foot of a tree and walk over to where she worked Manolo held out his handiwork; the top of the still green branch carved to imitate the weave of a rope into an end splice. He saw Hannah’s look of wonder upon it; saw how her impossibly blonde hair tumbled around her face; how that blouse of hers shaped the swell of her breasts. The woman brought so much to hold his gaze upon her. ‘Como los marineros…’
‘Si…I can recognise that only too well…and you have skill, Manolo.’
She met his wondering look upon her and saw him smile. ‘I must get on…while there’s time and good light…for me to paint.’
Manolo heard the distraction in her voice.
He chose to lean on the stick that he had carved, his hands over one another and covering his handiwork. He looked at her for a moment with stilled eyes, as if considering whether to speak his mind. The woman before him, and what she now wore, really did inflame the senses. His reaction, or response to seeing her, would be thought only too predictable. He would have to flatter her and see where their meeting took them.
‘Mis padres…they tell me how it is or has been. But you are a fine woman, señora, to keep on suffering for the loss of your husband. You must try to live on…’
‘That’s my business…I think!’ she snapped dismayed by his directness of speaking. ‘Don’t concern yourself with that! I am over the worst…’
Hannah gave him a challenging stare.
‘Perhaps so, but I wonder…I cannot help speaking about it…since I meet you like this,’ he answered only too assuredly.
‘Is that so?’
‘Si, it is so…’
Hannah had wondered on it too; just how she would know if the circumstances were again right and to satisfy the rediscovery of longing for another; who that person was to be or could turn out to be. To know of it with Manolo, or a man so certain in his ways and unafraid to speak out, had not been reckoned on; not at all, flattering and bewildering as the situation between them was now becoming.
She moved out from under the shade of the tree. ‘Perhaps I should paint you, or make a drawing of you…if only to silence you and to stop your chatter?’
‘To keep or to sell?’ he grinned.
‘Neither, but to give to you for your parents to keep,’ she said sternly, moving to grab at a small drawing pad and putting it on the easel. ‘Now, go and sit over there…where you were when you were carving and sit still…or I’ll make escort gaziantep fetiş bayan you even uglier than you are!’
She cannot help but grin after a moment’s silence falls between them; meets his flirtatious answering stare and knows that there can be no turning back from this. Manolo picks up on it quickly enough.
‘You feel otherwise, señora…I know that.’
He had decided to wing it, to take a chance on what he said and to provoke a reaction from her. His wick had been teased long enough and the family had gone. Paying holiday guests would be arriving at the weekend. His leave would also be drawing to a close, quite soon; so, the clock was running down, and the time satisfy his hunger for the woman before him also.
‘Just sit still…and don’t be so foolish…talk nonsense,’ she told him on a dismissive shake of her head. ‘What possible interest can I be to a young man like you?’
Manolo pouted a knowing smile. ‘You have beauty others have still to learn of…brought on by their lives…and experience. I see that in you…señora.’
‘Oh really,’ she scoffed, moving in her seat to get a better look at his features; the wonderful glow on his healthy, deeply tanned and dark skin; the lustre in his closely cropped hair; the evident strength in his broad shoulders; in Manolo’s arms and hands. He is a landsman’s son; used to hard labour…but now, he flirts like a bar-room lothario and does so with her, a much older woman; someone who really should know better but who is, undeniably, captivated by him; possessed by an unquenchable need to live life out a little differently and even recklessly…to ‘kick over the traces’, so to speak.
‘May I see what you do?’
‘Yes, Manolo…but wait a few minutes more. It won’t be long now…and stop looking at me like that!’ She found it difficult to concentrate on what she sought to achieve under the young man’s provocative gaze upon her; a wondering look that she knew was meant to set her wondering…could that lusting look be made real.
‘It is easy to do…very easy to look at you,’ he retorted in his direct ways of it now that they were alone.
Hannah gives him a withering stare.
‘I don’t see, what you tell me you see, staring back at me from the mirror…’ she sighs, her words an expression of the gnawing emptiness that she has felt and that being ‘alone’ has brought. ‘Now, be quiet on that!’
He persists in his flirting; she is dismayed by his evident hunger to be with and…and…and to know of her. She is surprised that their exchanges continue to be conducted in Spanish; her search for answer easy; the words coming to her lips with little or no thought.
‘It is inside also…what the person…you, the woman, feels about who you are…and the woman I see…whenever we meet, like now. There is hope and there is beauty…still in you.’
‘Beauty…oh really?’ she repeated and beckoned to him; saw the purposeful strides as he closed the space between them; met again Manolo’s wondering look upon her. The young man only wore a pair of shorts and a T shirt that he seemed to have outgrown, or his military regime had made too tight for his toned physique. Maybe that was all a part of the game…to have her look at him and to wonder…what next?
Manolo came to stand decidedly close and admired her work. ‘Is that the hombre that you see, señora?’
Hannah nodded, the rim of her sunhat brushing his arm.
‘I have drawn the man I see…good looking…a little arrogant in his ways…but I suppose that there are women…or your girlfriends…who like that in you?’
‘But you don’t?’
‘I didn’t say that…Manolo.’
‘That is something…a start,’ he murmurs.
‘Yes, a start….’ she answers on a sigh, moving to brush down the hem of her skirt as the warm breeze catches it, revealing her fleshy, tanned thighs.
Hannah closed the folder and put it down on the seat. She pulled free the scarf that held her hat in place over her shock of short blonde hair, already bleached fairer by the sun when she lazed by the pool or from her walks with the dogs. She tanned easily; the faintest outline of her bikini to be seen, on her body, when she showered.
‘What do you mean by that…a start?’ he breathes out slowly, standing closer, still, until their shoulders touched. She sought to move away from him, but Manolo’s arm encircled her waist; she feels his touch to the soft roll of flesh at her waist; she shifts, sought to stop its progress but, with their fingers entwined, he drew them to her breast and cupped it. ‘Could it be this…what we need from each other now…you beautiful woman? I…I can be company for you…while we are here together.’
She slowed him in his arousing claims upon her for only a moment; the brazen novelty of it, out here in the orchard; his coaxing words and questing touches soon lessening her restraint and arousing the rush of unbearable longing for him and bayan escort gaziantep that she knows will not remain unrequited. The possibilities were endless; she would show him, perhaps, how she wished for it to be instead of simply accepting what was being offered; Manolo had really made no secret of what he sought of her. She felt the ache of longing that his touches and looks upon her had aroused in her, but…
‘Don’t…don’t do that. I am not ready for your attentions or anyone else’s. It is too soon…’ she still tells him.
Hannah moved his hand, only to the skin of her waist once more. She sought to deny the shivers of longing that his continued touches upon her aroused; words of denial ignored. Manolo’s youthful vitality is in contrast with all that has gone before in her life; seducing claims that she had not sought of anyone else in these impetuous ways of it.
Hannah stilled the growls of the dogs on seeing him, a comparative stranger, so close to their mistress. They flopped down again in the little shade that could be found, panting slowly, rhythmically.
She looked at him; knew from the time she had spent sketching Manolo that it was fanciful to feel that there could be anything in it…anything between them. It would no more than something to boast of to his army chums…that he’d humped her…and that he would be unaware that she craved a diversion from her gnawing feelings of grief…that she would welcome the attentions of a man. Stephen had been an accomplished and attentive lover; sublime in his demands on her and in satisfying her needs. They had always been true partners in the act.
She had yet to fully accept that her bed would be empty; that an enduring relationship with a man, and lover, might never be known of in those ways of it again.
Would her life now amount, in that respect, to an opportunistic liaison, no matter how satisfying it turned out to be and whenever and however it was to be found? She was sanguine enough to know that she was not the possessor of a defining beauty.
Hannah met a kiss; felt Manolo’s fingers press and stroke in time with the flickering probe and thrust of his tongue as he found his way into her mouth; to share in gasping kisses.
‘You…you know how it is for me…go on!’ Manolo’s insistent calls were accompanied by the slow rhythmic press of his body against her; the fierce clamps of his hands to her hips; claims that would have her know what he would bring to her; what the sight of her in the figure-shaping blouse and flouncy skirt had aroused in him.
‘This is crazy!’ she groaned, Manolo’s caresses shattering any remaining control, ‘so crazy what you’re asking of me…for us to do here!’
‘That I want…want to share…with you! And yes…here.’
The lustful young man flattered her with his ardour; what she would know of impressive; she had felt the first moist rushes of longing; clamped his hands to the swell of her breasts, her proud nipples, as she leant back against him to meet every touch upon her aching body; the churn of animalistic longing in her belly where he now put his hands, guided by her.
She turned to him; placed one hand behind Manolo’s neck to draw him in closer; to place her lips on this man’s mouth. They felt warm and moist and parted as they shared in deepening, gasping kisses, their tongues as if engaged in an intimate dance of discovery and seduction.
‘Yes…touch me!’ she gasped on feeling his hands and then fingers caress and grasp her breasts; as he bent to tug upon them through the fabric; her hands on his head guiding him.
Manolo loosened the knot of her thin blouse before he touched her bare skin; pinched her achingly hard nipples; cupped the tumble of her breasts; simply held and gloried in them; bent to kiss her bared skin.
‘So beautiful…so…full and beautiful,’ Manolo gasped as he now felt her hands wantonly clamp the swell in his shorts; as Hannah reached for him. ‘How…how can it be wrong for me to want you? You are a beautiful…wonderfully beautiful…and passionate woman. Don’t be afraid…señora…let yourself go and do that with me.’
She heard the seducing words; turned to meet his hungering look before she met a deep kiss; felt his fingers move below the stretchy waist band of her skirt; down over her mound to press her wet panties; the slow questing rhythm making her gush with longing. Hannah looked frantically about the olive orchard.
‘No one will see us,’ she said, her eager, rhythmic crushing grips on his prick making him gasp. ‘Bring it to me…show it to me…fill me with it…you wonderfully crazy…impetuous man!’
He kissed her lustfully; teased her mouth and lips with his tongue; met Hannah’s responses; moaned through their kisses as she clamped on his hardness. She met his flickering tongue in her mouth and sucked upon it; did so slowly at first and then fervently as the hunger built within them; as she reached to clamp on him uninhibitedly.
‘Ai…ai…Manolo!’ Lustfully she met his kisses You’re so big and so hard!”
‘And you like that?’ he growled.
‘Yes…and…I have thought of this…of you being with me!’
She had given voice to her recent, wildest imaginings; had spoken out on how her loneliness would be ended. Hannah trembled. She was a big woman, fleshy and buxom; strong limbed and capable but the sight of him aroused an uncommon fear in her.
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