by sarAdora ~~~~~~~~~~
They morphed into an uneasy peace, dining together several nights a week, quietly learning more about each other. Giancarlo kept his own counsel, determined not to criticize Francesca's opinions when they ran contrary to his own. He was a staunch old-world European dominant who expected immediate obedience and she was a young and free-spirited American born female who had no qualms about expressing her point of view.
She will learn, he mused when she uttered some nonsense about working out of the house after they were wed.
He hosted a number of small cocktail parties, Francesca at his side as he introduced her to his friends, her natural charm and sweetness an added embellishment to her beauty. He was proud to have her next to him and doubly pleased that she always gave the appearance of a docile woman. His friends and colleagues congratulated him on his choice; Paolo and Leonardo, however, were amazed at Francesca's behavior, wondering if the Godfather had drugged the feisty ragazza girl before the parties.
Mama Batali smiled at her future daughter-in-law's demeanor. She had counseled Francesca to act the willing fiancÚ, time enough to be herself when she was wed. Giancarlo won't know what hit him.
"Was I all I should have been?" Francesca asked her future mother-in-law over lunch the next day. "Did I put it on too thick? I don't want Giancarlo's friends to think I'm a nitwit."
"Bambina!" Mama Batali clapped her hands with glee. "You were magnifico! I was proud of you! You have all of those old goats eating out of your hand. They cannot wait to see you wed to my Gianni; they have accepted you. You are everything they want their own wives to be."
"But what about when we are married and I... I cannot act the docile wife forever!" Francesca protested.
"I doubt Gianni would complain of your behavior once you are wed and trust me, if he did... they have all been exposed to your excellent deportment. Not one would believe him," she laughed.
They continued to meet for lunch each week, Mama Batali giving Francesca advice, taking her shopping, buying her everything she thought a young bride should have - dresses and shoes and handbags and an enormous amount of lingerie. Everything was charged to the Batali accounts and when the bills started to arrive, Giancarlo didn't raise an eyebrow. He had told Francesca she could have anything she wanted and his mother made sure that she did.
One morning, while perusing the bills, he noted an item... party pajamas. Party pajamas? She thinks she is going to wear pajamas to a party? Hmmm. His mother walked into his study just as he snorted at another item.
"You let her buy jeans?" he asked, disapproval in his voice.
"All girls wear jeans, mio bambino," his mother told him.
"Not my wife!" he said with a grim scowl.
"Come into the modern world, bambino," she laughed. "Did you expect your wife to wear dresses at the shore?"
"You bought her a bathing suit, too?" he asked, picturing Francesca's lush body in a skimpy outfit.
"Yes, I did," Mama Batali replied, remembering the string bikini Francesca had modeled for her, picturing Giancarlo's reaction and laughing at the scene he was sure to make.
"Ti amo, mio bambino," his mother smiled, kissing the top of her tall son's head as he sat at his desk and then quickly left him to the bills.
They spent many evenings walking the wooded paths in his compound, Giancarlo's bodyguards near by as they held hands and strolled. He had a hard time keeping his hands off of her and whenever possible, caught her in a tight embrace and kissed her soundly. He wanted to make love to her with his hands and mouth, touch her silky skin, taste her sweetness, but he exercised restraint.
It almost killed him.
"Bambina, ti voglio, I want you," he groaned as he held her close one evening. "I cannot wait much longer to love you properly."
"You'll have to," Francesca teased, skipping away from him. "Don't touch," she grinned.
"Don't touch?" he growled. Grabbing her, he pulled her so tightly to his chest, she choked on her breath. "I'll touch," he murmured, his hands all over her, his mouth kissing, nibbling, nipping, and kissing some more.
His arms were bands of steel surrounding her, his hands exploring, rubbing, and finally he cupped her round bottom and pulled her to his body, fitting his need between her thighs. "You are mine," he hissed.
Giancarlo laughed. He couldn't wait to bed her properly.
"When I take you to my bed, sto andando baciarvi ogni pollice, I'm going to kiss every inch of you," he murmured.
"You've already done that," she murmured back and then ducked her head under his chin, embarrassed all over again.
"Si, I have," he chuckled, enjoying the rosy warmth that suffused her face. "And I cannot wait to do that again. Do you know what else I'm going to do, bambina?"
"You're going to make love to me," she whispered.
"Sto andando amarlo lungamente e dolce, molto dolce. I am going to love you long and sweet, very sweet. You're going to be so hot for me, so wet," he groaned, wondering if he had lost his mind, his words frustrating him further, her soft sweet body pure torture in his arms.
"I think we shouldn't see each other any more," Francesca declared as she pulled away from him.
"What?" he shouted.
"I... I mean, until the wedding," she clarified.
"Do you want me to spank you *every* day until we are wed?" he asked in that soft voice she had learned was prelude to his anger.
"If... if you think..." she stammered, taking a cautious step back from him and stomping her foot. "That I'm going to put up with that spanking nonsense, you better think again Giancarlo Ruggiero Batali!"
"Is that so?" he said softly, moving to close the gap between them.
"Yes, that's so!" she insisted, her body moving back, his slowing moving forward until she finally turned and ran from him.
His stride was longer than hers and in a few short seconds, she was back in his arms, over his shoulder, one very large hand cupping the target. "I think you need a reminder of what happens when you defy me," he laughed.
"Don't you dare spank me!"
"Oso, I dare," he assured her and dropped onto one of the many wooden bench seats tucked into his manicured gardens.
"If you spank me, I won't marry you!" she threatened as he tossed her skirts.
"Yes, you will," he replied, each word accompanied by a firm swat.
"I won't show up at the ceremony!" she yelled, squirming on his lap as his hand continued its assault on her panty-clad bottom.
"I'll drag you there myself," he assured her. "I'll lock you in a room until the day of the wedding and dress you," he grinned, "toss you over my shoulder and heat your natiche dolce sweet butt until you stand red-faced in front of the priest. And all will know you were well and truly spanked, bambina. What do you think of that?" he smiled as he turned her over and held her to his chest.
"When the priest asks me to repeat the vows," Francesca leaned against him, her tears soaking his neck. "I'll say no."