by sarAdora ~~~~~~~~~~
Angelina was surprised to see Don Batali when she answered his knock at precisely 8 PM. Francesca was already in bed when she came home from shopping and it was obvious the poor girl had a fever. Her brow had been hot to the touch and her cheeks were flushed. She hadn't even had a chance to ask her about her visit with Mama Batali.
She invited the big man into her home, aware that it seemed small in his presence. It wasn't just his size; Giancarlo Batali was a tall muscular man but his aura of confidence and authority seemed to make him larger than life.
"I wasn't expecting you," she apologized with a smile. "May I offer a glass of wine?"
"No thank you," Giancarlo returned the smile. "Is Francesca ready?"
"Ready? Did you have plans? Francesca didn't say... She's..."
"She's not ready?" Giancarlo folded his arms across his chest, his expression neutral but his stance formidable. Angelina took a step back, alarmed at the Godfather's attitude. "She's... she's not well. She's in bed... a fever..."
"I'd like to see her," he said softly, his demeanor calm. He didn't want to frighten Angelina but he had no such qualms about scaring the devil out of Francesca...
Francesca slid the magazine she was reading along with the hot water bottle under the covers when she heard Giancarlos's voice. The hot water bottle against her forehead and cheeks had simulated enough of a fever to convince Angelina that she wasn't well. She wasn't sure she could convince Giancarlo but she hadn't expected him to invade her bedroom with Angelina in the house. She closed her eyes just as the bedroom door opened.
"Leave us," Giancarlo said to Angelina.
"But..." Angelina protested.
The big man arched a brow in her direction and the older woman quickly left the room. When the door closed behind her, Giancarlo locked it.
He stood at the foot of the bed and looked long and hard at the defiant woman lying there. If he had to bet his life... he'd say she was faking this fever and just to confirm his theory...
She gasped when he threw back the covers and picking her up, took the chair near the bed and sat heavily with her in his arms. "Ohhhh," she moaned as if in pain.
"Tell me where it hurts, bambina," he said softly, his lips brushing her brow.
"My head," she moaned again. "Tight like a vice... pounding headache."
"Mi spiace I'm sorry," he murmured sympathetically. "Headaches are tiresome. They take so much out of you. Spankings hurt even more," he added, one large hand slipping down to cup her rounded bottom. "Shall I prove that to you, bambina?" he asked in a soft voice and with such sympathy it took a moment for her to realize the meaning of his words.
"Wha-a-a-t?" Francesca choked and startled by his meaning, immediately started coughing. "You wouldn't dare!" she spat when she caught her breath. "Angelina is in the house."
"So?" he chuckled and bent his head to kiss the adorable pout on her face. "You think that will stop me?"
"You... you!" she was at a loss for words and completely stunned at this turn of events. She had been certain he would leave when Angelina said she was ill but here he was...
"And next time you want to pretend you are ill," he told her. "You should hide the hot water bottle under the bed, not under the covers. I can see the top of it from here."
"You're a pig!" she said testily and without thinking, punched his chest.
"A hungry pig," he smiled. "Hungry for you, bella, very hungry for you," he added, kissing her hard, his arms holding her close, one hand pressing into the soft flesh of her bottom cheeks, cheeks that remained sore from the spanking he had given her earlier that afternoon.
"If you spank me," she warned when he lifted his mouth, "I'll do something so terrible..."
"What will you do?" he asked, the upward curving of his lips irritating her.
"You don't want to know," she said ominously, having no earthly idea what she could do but she was feeling vindictive... He had spanked her once too often... too hard... the pig!
"Mia guerriero piccola della ragazza? My little girl warrior? he asked with a smile.
"I'm not a little girl," Francesca protested with a visible pout, thereby confirming his opinion of her behavior.
"Mia guerriero piccola della donna, My little woman warrior, he corrected.
"You will not spank me," she said firmly as she tried unsuccessfully to get off his lap.
"And why shouldn't I?" he asked in return. "You defied me and I *did* warn you to be ready," he reminded her.
"You have no right," she said and then looked him in the eye.
"You will be my wife; I have every right," he said calmly and confidently.
"We're not married, Giancarlo," Francesca explained. "And you don't ask me if I want to do whatever it is you want to do. You tell me... and then..." she stopped to take a breath. "You are angry when I don't... and you want to spank me! That's not right! These are modern times; women are not chattel. You can't... you shouldn't... you..."
"Bambina," he interrupted her discourse with a shake of his head. "I am not angry with you. I was disappointed. You will be my wife. I expected you to heed my wishes."
"But..." she tried to protest.
"And I don't think of you as chattel," he smiled, the word conjuring an image of peasants working the land. "I think of you as a beautiful woman I am lucky to call my own. I think of you as mine," he husked as he lowered his head to claim her mouth again. "And if you continue to defy me, I will turn your beautiful bottom into a searing inferno."
"You pig!" she shouted but he laughed and hugged her tight before she could strike out at him.
Her stomach growled and she blushed at this further indignity.
He laughed louder.
"If you get dressed, we can still go out to dinner, bambina," he smiled.
"I can't," she whispered into his chest.
"Why not?" he whispered back.
"Angelina thinks I'm sick."
"You've played this trick on her before," he stated matter-of-factly. "And you don't want her to know you've been lying to her."
"No, that's not it," Francesca suddenly smiled, looking up at him. "I don't want her to think you're so cruel that you'll make me get dressed and go out with you when I don't feel well."
"You little devil!" he chuckled. "I should spank you for that!"
"But you won't, will you?" she asked, remembering his mother's words and cupping his face with both hands, kissed him sweetly.
"Keep kissing me like that, bambina," he murmured, returning the favor, "and I'll give you whatever you want."
"We can eat here," she told him between kisses. "Angelina makes a good omelet. Do you like omelets?"
"With mozzarella?" he asked, moving his lips to her neck and bending her back in his embrace.
"Mmm," she hummed.
"And fresh tomatoes and basil?" One hand cupped her tender bottom while the other reached for her breast.
"Whatever you want, but not that," she answered, covering his hand and moving it from her breast to her waist.
"I'll spank you," he warned, his hand squeezing the delectable flesh in question.
"I'll stop kissing you," she countered.
"Show me the way to the kitchen," he sighed, putting her on her feet.
The omelets were good and Angelina was pleased to make them for the Godfather. The three of them enjoyed the food and the conversation, Giancarlo especially comfortable in their company. The tasty meal in the cozy kitchen brought to mind evenings with his parents when he was a small boy and the warmth of their love for each other. It was a sweet memory.
Giancarlo watched Francesca and Angelina. He liked their ease with each other, the older woman bustling around, making sure there was plenty of food and drink. And Francesca... dressed in baggy pajamas and a terrycloth robe with bunny slippers. He smiled; his beautiful intended was dressed like a little girl but he knew the body under those deceiving clothes was a curvaceous and sensuous one.
"I must go," he stood, wiping his mouth and folding his napkin. "I thank you for the meal," he smiled at Angelina. "And for your gracious company."
"I'll see you to the door," Francesca piped up.
"No, piccola little one," he chuckled. "You are too ill; I'll see you to your bedroom and tuck you in."
"What?" she sputtered but stifled the rest of her words when he arched a brow in her direction.
"You're a pig!" she hissed when they returned to her room.
"And you're this close," he said with two fingers together, "to another spanking. Now get in that bed before I change my mind."
"In bed!" he snapped, delivering a firm swat to her bottom as he pulled her robe from her shoulders.
Francesca slid under the covers and then jumped out again, squealing as she did. The hot water bottle she had used to simulate her fever had leaked... the sheets were wet.
He roared with laughter, holding his sides as his body doubled over, tears springing to his eyes. "Bambina," he gasped for breath. "The look on your face... priceless!" he declared, catching her up in his arms and kissing her soundly.
Francesca said nothing, her mind in a whirl as to how she was going to sleep on wet sheets. Maybe there's a dry spot. Dio! I hope there's a dry spot.
"Breakfast tomorrow?" he asked, nuzzling her neck, and still chuckling at her dilemma.
Shaking her head no, she pulled back from him and folded her arms across her chest.
The light bulb in his head finally lit... "Francesca, will you have dinner with me tomorrow evening?" he asked formally.
"If I'm feeling better... maybe," she smiled.
"Francesca..." he warned, arching a brow.
"Call me," she smiled, leaning into his chest. "Call me around noon."
"I will," he smiled back, pleased that she had pressed up against him. He kissed her deeply, one hand drawn to her round bottom, patting it gently.
"Buona mattina, Good morning, Angelina," he said when he called and asked to speak to Francesca.
"She's not in, Don Batali," was the reply.
"Oh? Where can I reach her?" he asked, his mental antennae twitching.
"I don't know," Angelina said. "She went shopping and forgot to take her cell phone with her. I'll tell her you called," she added.
Two can play this game, he mused. And when I get my hands on her...