Latin Lovers

By: Helen Bianchin

‘My pleasure.’

Aysha grinned unashamedly. ‘Even the stripper?’ she teased, and glimpsed the faint pink colour in her mother’s cheeks.

‘No comment.’

She began to laugh. ‘All right, let’s change the subject. What shall we do with these gifts?’

They set them on a table in one of the rooms Teresa had organised for displaying the wedding presents, and when that was done Aysha went upstairs and changed into tailored trousers and matching silk top.

It was after six when she entered Carlo’s penthouse apartment, and she crossed directly into the kitchen to deposit the carry-sack containing a selection of Chinese takeaways she’d collected en route from home.

‘Let me guess. Chinese, Thai, Malaysian?’ Carlo drawled as he entered the kitchen, and she directed him a winsome smile.

‘Chinese. And I picked up some videos.’

‘You have plans to spend a quiet night?’

She opened cupboards and extracted two plates, then collected cutlery. ‘I think I’ve had enough excitement for the day.’ And through last night.

‘Care to elaborate on the afternoon?’

Her eyes sparkled with hidden devilry. ‘Lianna ordered a male stripper.’ She decided to tease him a little. ‘He was young, built, and gorgeous.’ She wrinkled her nose at him. ‘Ask Gianna; she was there.’

‘Indeed?’ His eyes speared hers. ‘Perhaps I need to hear more about this gorgeous hunk.’

Carlo had her heart, her soul. It never ceased to hurt that she didn’t have his.

‘Well...’ She deliberated. ‘There was the body to die for.’ She ticked off each attribute with teasing relish. ‘Longish hair, tied in this cute little ponytail, and when he let it free... wow, so sexy. No apparent body hair.’ Her eyes sparkled with devilish humour. ‘Waxing must be a pain... literally. And he had the cutest butt.’

Carlo’s eyes narrowed fractionally, and she gave him an irrepressible grin. ‘He stripped down to a thong bikini brief.’

‘I imagine Teresa and Gianna were relieved.’

She tried hard not to laugh, and failed as a chuckle emerged. ‘They appeared to enjoy the show.’

His lips twitched. ‘An unexpected show, unless I’m mistaken.’

‘Totally,’ she agreed, and viewed the various cartons she’d deposited on the servery. ‘Let’s be really decadent,’ she suggested lightly. ‘And watch a video while we eat.’

The first was a thriller, the acting sufficiently superb to bring an audience to the edge of their seats, and the second was a comedy about a wedding where everything that could go wrong, did. It was funny, slapstick, and over the top, but in amongst the frivolity was a degree of reality Aysha could identify with.

In between videos she’d tidied cartons and rinsed plates, made coffee, and now she carried the cups through to the kitchen.

She felt pleasantly tired as she ascended the stairs to the main bedroom, and after a quick shower she slid between the sheets to curl comfortably in the circle of Carlo’s arms with her head pillowed against his chest.

Within minutes she fell asleep, and she was unaware of the light touch as Carlo’s lips brushed the top of her head, or the feather-light trail of his fingers as they smoothed a path over the surface of her skin.

They woke late, lingered over breakfast, then took Giuseppe’s cabin cruiser for a day trip up the Hawkesbury River. They returned as the sun set in a glorious flare of fading colour and the cityscape sprang to life with a myriad of pin-prick lights.

Magic, Aysha reflected, as the wonder of nature and manmade technology overwhelmed her.

Tomorrow the shopping would begin in earnest as Teresa initiated the first of her many lists of Things to Do.

‘Mamma, is this really necessary?’

As shopping went, it had been a profitable day with regard to acquisitions. Teresa, it appeared, was bent on spending money . . . Serious money.

‘You’re the only child I have,’ Teresa said simply. ‘Don’t deny me the pleasure of giving my daughter the best wedding I can provide.’

Aysha tucked her hand through her mother’s arm and hugged it close. ‘Don’t rain on my parade, huh?’


‘OK. The dress, if you insist. But...’ She paused, and cast Teresa a stern look. ‘That’s it,’ she admonished.

‘For today.’

They joined the exodus of traffic battling to exit choked city streets, and made it to Vaucluse at five-thirty, leaving very little time to shower, change and be ready to leave the house at six thirty.

‘You go on ahead,’ Teresa suggested. ‘I’ll put these in the room next to yours. We can sort through them tomorrow.’

Aysha raced upstairs to her bedroom, then discarded her clothes and made for the shower. Minutes later she wound a towel round her slim curves, removed the excess moisture from her hair and wielded the hairdrier to good effect.

Basic make-up followed, then she crossed to the walk-in robe, cast a quick discerning eye over the carefully co-ordinated contents, and extracted a figure-hugging gown in black.

The hemline rested at mid-thigh, the overall length extended slightly by a wide border of scalloped lace. The design was sleeveless, backless, and cunningly styled to show a modest amount of cleavage. Thin shoulder straps ensured the gown stayed in place.