OMG… he replied?! He… REPLIED?! He wasn’t supposed to respond?
That was my first thought when I opened my Instagram app and saw the red dot next to the paper airplane icon on my iPhone. It was a haphazardly sent message to an Italian actor I’d seen binge-watching a couple of foreign films during the lockdown for Coronavirus. Weeks and weeks of streaming my list on Netflix had me quickly turning to the international section for new content. It was how I first saw him – the gorgeous, tall, dark, and handsome Italian actor who graced my laptop screen with dominance and sexy appeal oozing in all directions. Like every other person who had seen his films, his on-screen presence magnetized them, tweeting, and posting about his looks and charisma.
When I found out he had an Instagram account, I stared at his face daily. I’d imagine his face in my hands as I kissed him, the taste of his tongue on my lips. The daydreams of exploring his body allowed my quarantine days to pass with more ease as my boyfriend’s voice carried through our apartment during his Zoom meetings. Ten weeks of being locked indoors together had brought out our comfortable roommate tendencies, and we lived separately but together. Interminable days led to longer nights with only my hands to spark any recollection of sexual energy. Soon all fantasies seemed to grind to a halt as the world spun into deeper chaos with the rising pandemic and the unrest from the movements. There were many battles to fight that sex, and the feeling of being sexy was the last thing on my mind when I learned of him.
This Italian actor, model, and singer is five years my junior at thirty. His aura and look could come straight off the romance novel covers I’d see my mom curled up with when I was a child. Fine black hairs adorn his chiseled pecs peppered with various tattoos. Dark thick locks trimmed into the pretty boy haircut of James Dean but curtailed with the softness in his dark brown eyes and smile. I came across his face in the ad for a Netflix film, and I was hooked. The plot could have just been two hours of him staring at the screen, and I still would have watched it. I typed his name into Google and found his Instagram account immediately, letting my mind drift off to sleep that evening with the image of his face just an arm’s length away from mine. It was this newness that gave me the awkward confidence to send him a message – a quick hello and thank you for making his film. Not only because he did such a magnificent job with the mafia boss character, but because his persona allowed my brain a two-hour escape from reality for the first time in weeks.
Night after night, my brain spurred dream after dream of myself as his love interest in the film. As absurd as the plot was, being obsessed with a man like him enthralled me. I couldn’t remember the last time I thought someone’s gaze would penetrate my very being. The relationship I had now was more about comfort than being known or seen. Passion was for the younger me, the lost naive girl who still believed in fairy tales and happily ever after. I thought I’d learned the hard way that women like me aren’t princesses, we’re survivors. But that did nothing for me now as I opened this man’s reply to my message of gratitude.
“You are very welcome, signora… Grazie for the support,” it read.
“Wow…,” I replied, “Thank you for taking the time to answer me. I know your fanbase has multiplied… I meant every word. Your face has been a bright spot for me.”
I sent the message off as the butterflies fluttered through my stomach, sending a tingling feeling to my toes. I smiled and bounced a bit as I noticed the three insignificant dots blinking in the message block on the phone.
He’s replying again?! He’s seen the message?!
“You are too kind! It has been very crazy these past few weeks. But I have enjoyed seeing how happy the fans are responding to my work…” he types, “Your message warmed my heart. I am glad to improve your days…”
Our messages are bouncing back and forth over the next few evenings, as he was in Rome with his children waiting out the pandemic and I replied from Seattle. What started as an admiration of his work turned into small flirtatious notes wishing each other health and safety. He told me they had divorced two years ago. He was still basking in his recent success after he felt like his life was over. I responded with epithets of my own struggles with depression five years ago when I was his age. Each time he sent a kissy face emoji or a heart, I thought my chest would explode from the giggles I had to suppress from leaving my mouth. I couldn’t remember the last time I flirted with anyone. Even as I lay next to my slumbering boyfriend, my mind would drift to Rome and this handsome man.
I don’t remember who said it first, but I know that I said yes immediately when the thought of a Zoom call to talk live on the phone came up. Because of our nine-hour time difference, I told him to contact me in the morning as it would be late enough in the evening, I’d be alone. As a writer, I tended towards the midnight hours when I worked, so it was not unusual for me to stay up late on the computer. After weeks of lockdown, I simmered under the thought of dressing up for this man. Putting lipstick and makeup on my face, spreading lotion and perfume across my skin even though he would not be here to smell me allowed me to feel sexy.
I wanted to put my best foot forward as I pulled the nude stockings up my thighs and clasped the garter hooks in place. I used the call as an excuse to put on my favorite navy blue lingerie set, adorned with glittery stars along the sheer fabric across my breasts and bottom. My long, dark curly hair draped down the front of my body as I pulled up the slip dress over the set. I had lost some of my usual tan being a Pacific Island woman quarantined away, but I still had enough natural color on my face to see the bronze glow. I set the lights in the living room on the dimmer and draped my faux fur blanket on the chaise to sit on as the familiar ding on my computer sounded.
“Ciao Bella! Wow! You look beautiful!” he said.
The morning light was gently shining through his windows as he appeared before me in a white button-up shirt and slacks. The shirt had the top two buttons open, so I could see the muscles and his chest hair just peaking out.
“Thank you,” I blushed in reply, “Did you have a good night?”
“Si, Si…” he murmured, “But I think we have other things to discuss…Please let me look at you…”
I grinned slyly as I stood up slowly, tilting the screen of my laptop up so he could see my face as more of my body entered the screen. I grinned as I started turning slowly, letting the straps from my slip fall off my shoulders as I glanced behind me. His hands folded together in front of his mouth, but I could see his chest rising and falling quickly as more of the fabric fell away. I heard his gasp as my ass is now in full view of his screen, the silk and satin accentuated the curves only a woman who used to hula dance could have. My arms draped over my chest as I kept turning slowly, locking eyes with him as I stood before him. My feet moved shoulder-width apart, standing proudly before him as I let my arms fall along with his jaw.
“Do you like what you see?” I purred.
He nodded slowly as I sat back down on my chaise. His brown eyes were dark, filled with enough lust and heat that emanated through my computer screen, it made me gasp. Even though we were a world away from one another, there was enough tension in the air.
“I do not know what I have done to deserve such a beautiful show, but whatever it is, I thank my lucky stars that it happened,” he sighed, adjusting his pants on the screen.
“Do I get to see you now?” I asked, batting my eyelashes.
I see him glance to the side, hesitating just a little as he thinks about it. My confidence faltered as I noticed him wait.
“You don’t… have to… I mean, don’t feel pressured… I only want you to do what you feel comfortable with…” I sputtered out, blushing as the heat between my legs rose to my face. “I’m sorry, I’m messing this up…”
His chuckle started low as he held his hand up to stop me from rambling on. “No… no you’re perfect. I… it has just been a long time since I’ve let anyone else see me this way… I feel… how you say, nervous?”
My blush crept up my neck as I smiled, “You mean other than the millions who’ve seen you naked in your movie?”
His laugh was infectious then, boisterous and joyful as he stood and unbuttoned his shirt slowly as he laughed.
“That is different, and you know it” he mockingly scoffed as he tossed the shirt to the side, and his hands moved to his pants. I could feel my mouth drying as I swallowed at the visual of his enormous hands, tracing along his waist. It’s the first time my nerves caused my hands to shake a little as I held my breath. In the same turn, I also gasped as the garment hit the floor, and he stood before me in all his glory. My fingers reached forward, barely caressing the screen as if the closeness would allow for the distance to be that much smaller. He sat back down, arms splayed on the back of his couch.
“You look just like a king on a throne…” I said breathless, “You’re beautiful.”
He smiled at me again before taking one hand to his mouth and licked his fingers and touched himself.
“And I say,” he moaned, “That you are the beauty in this exchange…”
I laid back in the chaise, bringing my feet up, so he has an unobstructed view of my legs spread, completely exposed. I also brought my fingers to my tongue, licked along until I locked eyes with him again. I wanted him to see my face as the first sensation of my wet fingers reached what I exposed in front of him.
My eyes fluttered into the back of my head as I breathed out, “You must have had many beautiful women throwing themselves at you now. Mmm… but I’ll take the compliment…”
I heard his breathing speed up as he slows down the strokes of his hand. His eyes never left mine, watching every movement of my body.
“Perhaps,” he replies gruffly, leaning back a little more, “But they are not like you. Even from here on this little camera, I can see you… the muscles flexing in your legs as your fingers move… the fire in your eyes, your face, even your hair… mmm… what I wish to do to you…”
“Tell me..” The sweat was pooling at the base of my neck. My toes tingled, and it took all the strength I had not to beg for him now. “Please… tell me what you think of when you see me like this…”
The heat in his eyes goes black, and his pace picks up in his hand. “I see that little birthmark at the apex of your right thigh… I want to nibble and lick that spot… as my hands knead your breasts… I want your scent to engulf me, watch as you open up to me… There… dripping just like that, glistening honey around those pink and brown lips…”
I couldn’t look away. My pace picked up. His voice, his accent, even with the Italian, broken English as he described what he’d do with my body in his hands, only encouraged me further. His eyes rolled back as he mumbled swear words and broken Italian in between his gasps and moans. The only words that I understand are “wild” and “beautiful.”
“Si… Si… mia Bellezza… Let me see you… Show me…”
My other hand reached to my breast, pinching at my taunt nipples as I bit the inside of my cheek to stop myself from moaning too loudly. My head spun as his eyes, his face remained focused on me. The power in his gaze fed me, pushed me on. His eyes widened as the sounds of my wetness filled the room. At that moment, I knew without a shred of a doubt he was mine. His teeth grit and a bead of sweat poured off his forehead.
“Please… please, I’m so close,” I mewed, begging, “Let me see you, all of you… I need to see you…”
The raw, animalistic grunt that followed was enough to throw me over the precipice. As he spasmed in front of me, I brought my fist to my mouth and bit down to stifle any noise I could make. My legs trembled, my other hand glistened as I fell back into the chaise. The sweat was cooling from my back as I opened my eyes and saw him leaning back against his sofa, smiling at me.
“Wow…” he murmured, “You are incredibly sexy… that was…”
My hair lay crazed and curled like a lion’s mane as his eyes noticed the soft curly ends resting over my hard nipples. My jaw fell as I noticed what hardened again.
“Really?” I asked, my eyes widening, “How?”
He smirked and began touching himself again.
“I told you. It’s all to do with my view right now. I have a beautiful, wild, untamed woman who has no shame in her sexuality. Your hair, draped over your breasts, begging to be pulled… for me to growl in your ear…”
I don’t know what came over my body, but it moved on its own, entranced by his words. My hands caressed and slid across my skin, not allowing me to come back down from the high we just shared. Instead, I built on it, faster than the first time. Now it was just primal, no pretense of niceness, no polite smiles. His gaze is that of a predator, a wolf about to devour me, and it’s all I want.
“Tell me… please…” I gasped, “I need to hear you say it…”
“I will have you, baby girl. I don’t know when, but there will come a day that I will be there, in front of you. I expect you to bend down and grab your ankles because I will not ask…”
My eyes rolled back as I watched him spasm again, my convulsions followed soon after. I couldn’t feel my toes, and I’m not sure my feet were attached to my body anymore. I didn’t have words, just heat that I’m channeled through a screen at him. We said nothing as he smiled and sent me a kiss before ending the Zoom meeting.
He didn’t need to say anything because I knew it was the truth. I knew, somehow, that I would find a way into his bed or him into mine. Whether it will be for just an hour or a night for longer, I can’t say. By the time I’d rinsed off and changed for bed, I saw one more DM in my inbox.
It’s from him, the subject was just: “the Italian” with a simple red heart and a single word: Soon.
Victory Witherkeigh is a first-time female Filipino author originally from Los Angeles, CA and now based in the Pacific Northwest. Victory has been a finalist for Killer Nashville’s 2020 Claymore Award and Wingless Dreamer’s 2020 Overcoming Fear Short Story award. Her work has appeared in online literary magazines, Allegory Ridge, Bad Bride, Thought Catalog, Masque & Spectacle, For Women Who Roar, Fright Girls Autumn, Mason Street Review Blog,. For print media, she has fiction short stories published in Red Planet Magazine, From the Farther Trees, and Pvssy Magic Magazine. She has her print publications in a horror anthology, The Hollow Horror Anthology Book #3, as well as a literary short story in Overcoming Fear, through Breaking Rules Publishing and Wingless Dreamers, respectively.