Part Twenty Four
by sarAdora ~~~~~~~~~~
They spent another ten days on the island of Siros, Giancarlo solicitous of his bride as he tried to be more understanding of her youth. He pampered her and made love to her often. Francesca looked like she was enjoying herself but he was very much aware that she was more subdued. He didn't know if he liked the subtle change in her behavior. And it was subtle; she still laughed with him, listened attentively when he spoke and embraced him warmly when he pulled her close to him.
She was more animated when they were in bed, enjoying his attention and doing whatever he asked of her. But she never initiated lovemaking, no longer hugged him spontaneously as she had when they had first arrived. The most she did was seek his hand when they were out in public, slipping her fingers into his palm whenever others were around.
She didn't argue with him, didn't give opinions on anything of import, and smiled on cue. She ate what was put in front of her, drank wine if he poured it, didn't steal food from his plate and asked for nothing special or extra. He made sure her favorite gelato was offered as dessert and frowned when she only picked at it, her excuse that if she ate too much, she would get fat.
When he took her shopping in the tourist areas and bought her a funny hat to make her smile, she smiled. He had hoped she would giggle when she saw her reflection in the mirror and was disappointed when she didn't. She was by his side twenty-four hours a day and he missed her.
The Francesca he had married was a different woman, a woman who laughed and giggled at life, a woman who had strong opinions on everything from her choice of foods, what she wore, politics, religion and whether children should be breast-fed or fed formula. He wanted her back. He wanted the woman who fought with him, argued with him, and the woman who demanded to be treated as an equal. He wanted the woman who defied him, the one who made him want to upend her ten times a day, the woman he wanted to smother with kisses, the woman who teased him with her luscious body, the woman who made him crazy with desire.
"What happened to my feisty ragazza girl?" he asked their last evening before returning home. "I miss her."
"What do you mean?" she countered, turning in his arms, her body damp from their sexual union, her breath still heavy.
"What happened to the girl I married?" he murmured as his hands continued to stroke her, his body still floating in semi-bliss, hers tucked into his side. When she didn't reply, he asked again. "Where did you put mia guerriero piccola della donna my little woman warrior? You don't fight me any more. I want you back."
"You just want an excuse to spank me," she murmured, her energy dissipating, her eyes beginning to close.
"I don't need an excuse to spank you, dolcezza sweet one," he laughed softly. "I can always spank you. Maybe," he paused, thinking... "Maybe, I should spank you because I can... and you will once again be the woman I married. Che cosa, piccola? What do you think, little one?" he asked, a slight grin beginning to form as he thought about doing that.
"What?" Francesca exclaimed, awake now.
"I said I'm going to spank you," he grinned wider, his eyes twinkling at her reaction.
"Why?" she sputtered as he turned her over his knee, both of them nude and still sticky from their recent lovemaking.
"Because I can," he smiled, one hand slipping around her and under her to cup her damp sex, the other stroking her luscious bottom cheeks.
"Giancarlo," she began to protest, then moaned softly when his fingers found her erogenous zone... stroked... his other hand lightly stinging her ivory cheeks... turning them pink as he teased her into a state of frenzy.
"Oh please!" she begged when the spanks became slightly sharper, his other hand in concert, keeping her on a precipice... dangling with need.
"Piacere? Please?" he asked. "Dicami, mia amore Tell me, my love. Tell me what you want."
"L'amore me, mio marito. Faccia lámore me, per piacere. Love me, husband. Make love to me, please."
"Bambina, bambina, bambina," he groaned as he turned her over and kneeled between her thighs. "Whatever you want, it is yours," he affirmed as he thrust back into her, his body thick with need sooner than he had any right to expect it to be. "Francesca, mia amore, mia gioia, mia vita my love, my joy, my life."
Mama Batali had wanted to give her son and daughter-in-law more privacy. She had planned to move into the old gatekeeper's house on the grounds of their compound while they were honeymooning. Giancarlo had protested loudly, reminding her that many people came to the house every day, his office was there and his mother's move was unnecessary. On the pretext that Francesca would want her companionship, he urged her to stay.
Francesca had been alarmed that her marriage meant that her mother-in-law would move and begged her to reconsider. The two women genuinely liked each other; she asked her to stay. Reluctantly, Mama Batali agreed, knowing that the option to move was still available if things changed.
There were changes... subtle ones.
Instead of rising early to jumpstart the day, Giancarlo now lingered in bed in the morning, unable to leave his bride too quickly, her tousled look as she awoke each morning too tempting to ignore. Her throat beckoned, the hollow needing kisses and then there were her breasts... each one demanding his attention. And her tempting navel... his tongue drawn to it and her thighs... a thorough adoration was necessary there. Afterwards, if she didn't fall asleep right away, he took her into the shower with him, a joy he had discovered that was best shared.
Often, he lingered over caffè to read the morning papers and to make notes to discuss later with his consiglieri advisor. And often, Francesca came down for breakfast before his workday had begun. When he spotted her in the doorway and she was wearing jeans, he would frown, arch a brow and open his arms so she would slip onto his lap.
"Maybe, we should have breakfast in bed," he told her one morning. "After a spanking..." he paused, "you won't be so eager to wear men's pants. Hmmm?"
"Kiss me," she demanded, lifting her face to his, knowing that she could assert herself in this small aspect of their lives.
"I think I'll spank you, anyway," he murmured as his mouth covered hers.
"I can't wear dresses every day," she told him when he let her up for air.
"Why not?" he asked as his hands roamed freely. "I like you in dresses."
"You don't like me in jeans?" she asked.
"I love you in jeans..." he replied, his eyes twinkling. "Especially when they're at your knees and you're over my lap, the way you're going to be any minute now."
"You can't spank me *here*," she protested, jumping off his lap.
"Go change," he chuckled. "Put on a dress and I'll take you out for breakfast." When she hurried out of the room, he smiled broadly. "Then, I'll spank you."
And so it went... an easy truce between them, most days filled with quiet companionship, gentle teasing, and nights filled with fiery passion as Giancarlo taught his bride the ways of loving. As receptive as she was to his attention, she still lacked the passion she had shown when they had met, still kept her opinions to herself and continued to wait for him to initiate their loving. She was passionate when the occasion arose but showed no outward independence.
Throughout its history, Mafia familia kept their wives and daughters close to home. The women of la familia kept house, cooked and took care of the children. Contrary to this tradition and in particular, to his own way of thinking, Giancarlo tried to give his wife more freedom and more independence. To accomplish this, he had allowed her to volunteer at the family shelters. He was extraordinarily proud of the reports he had received about what she did there and had assigned a bodyguard to accompany her.
The man had given her privacy with the women and children but kept close by wherever she was - no one would get past him without his knowledge. Francesca was content with this arrangement and happy to be working with those that needed her. Giancarlo had limited her work to twice weekly and that suited her just fine. It was more than she had hoped for. Her other days were spent with Mama Batali or Angelina or with some of her friends. Evenings were spent with her husband, dinner out and often with friends, dancing, other entertainment or the quiet evening in each other's company.
Giancarlo spanked her often but only in the course of their lovemaking, the spanks light and tingling and meant to arouse rather than to punish. He had been gentler in handling her, trying not to smother her with his dominance, and trying harder to be a more patient man. Life wasn't rockets and shooting stars, but it was good.
Her bodyguard called in sick... on a day in which Francesca worked at the shelter... She took the call, told the driver the bodyguard would probably meet her at the shelter... and drove off without informing Giancarlo... or her mother-in-law... or anyone else... that she was alone. Later, she would recall that she had decided it was time she remembered she was an independent woman, a spirited woman, a woman with opinions, a woman capable of making her own decisions and not one who needed a man to govern her life.