His Sicilian Cinderella(9)

By: Carol Marinelli

For Bella.

He looked up and there she was, walking on a tightrope as the town cheered her on. Her glossy, raven hair trailed down her bare back. The small silver costume did not fully cover her and he could see, as could the crowd, that her small pert breasts had been oiled and glittered and were on show.

She looked terrified yet she pushed out a smile as Malvolio, the ringmaster, urged her on.

And then, to the glee of everyone, she lifted her leg and stretched it out and exposed her nakedness there as Malvolio pushed her to perform, to somersault for the braying audience.

There was no net.

She had no choice.

He watched as Bella gracefully somersaulted and then, steadying herself, she turned and dodged the swing of the trapeze and the people on it, reaching down to swoop and claim her. It was to no avail, though, for there, high up, out of Matteo’s reach, were others and she had no choice but to perform for them.

Then he saw Dino climbing a ladder.

‘Saltare!’ Matteo called, but his plea for Bella to jump was drowned out by the cheering crowd.

All night he dreamt in vivid detail, though his body barely moved in the bed.

Matteo was more than used to nightmares but these were of a very sexual kind.

‘Saltere, Bella...’ he urged, but still she did not hear him. Her hair was shiny with sweat, her tiny costume was torn and her feet were bleeding despite the chalk. She was exhausted, Matteo knew, and yet still Malvolio pushed her and still the crowd demanded more.

Now, at the birth of dawn, just before Matteo’s alarm was due to go off, finally she heard him and looked down to where he held out his arms.

‘Ti prenderò quando cadi,’ Matteo shouted to her.

I will catch you when you fall.

There was just the briefest hesitation from Bella when she saw him there in the crowd, but then he ran to stand beneath her and she gave a smile of relief and recognition. Then she let herself go and fell into his waiting arms.

And catch her he did.

Her body was warm and familiar; finally she was back in his arms. Though breathless from exertion she had breath enough left for their kiss and as their mouths met they crashed through the filthy circus floor and landed, deep in kisses, on a bed that was soft and clean.

Now, just before morning invaded, he got to live his favourite dream—and it was one of pure memory.

Matteo lay there, recalling that night of no sleeping. Slow dancing around the hotel room as they’d re-created a night that had never taken place—the Natalia street party where, at sixteen, she had told him that she waited for him, while, unbeknown to her, Matteo had been running to escape Bordo Del Cielo and the hellish existence he had been forced further into.

Bella had been eighteen when their lips had first met, and despite the rough start it had been a night of romance and intense arousal, a night where he had given in to her pleas and had taken her innocence.

It had been a night like no other.

He did not want to think about the money that had changed hands in the morning, neither did he want to think of Bella when he had first seen her that night. She had been wearing thick make-up, her small bust jacked up, and she had been doused in cheap scent as she’d stood behind the bar, with men leering at her.

No, he preferred what had gone on behind closed doors.

Making slow tender love, drowning in deep kisses, and he recalled the sob as he had made her his lover. The bruise on her cheek that he had made, now forgiven, because that night she had understood why.

It had been him or Malvolio.

Hard, he lay there and gave in to a favourite memory—their night had been all but over and he had showered and gone to dress, but instead of doing so he had returned to the bed and he had lain beside her. Matteo had been deep in thought because he’d been considering asking Bella to join him when he made his escape.

And then he had felt her. First the softness of her hair and the warmth of her cheek moving down his stomach, kissing him all the way down.

Matteo sank into the dream or the memory of her mouth as he felt the soft warm nuzzle of lips and then the wetness of tongue tentatively swirling around his engorged head.

Was there any better way to be woken? Matteo thought, letting out a low moan as she skilfully took him deeper into her mouth and he slid past her throat.

He started to thrust to the pleasant sensations and his hand moved down to her hair but then reality invaded. For if he was being woken then he must be asleep and there hadn’t been a moment of sleeping with Bella.

And neither had Bella’s lips been skilful; instead, they had been curious and nervous at first. They had been too light, too rough, too slow but, oh, so blissful.

He started to surface from his dream.

He attempted an ascent while his body told him to linger a moment, to just give in and enjoy, except the memory was gone and it was the wrong lips on his straining shaft and he wanted them off him.