He ignored the obvious impatience of the blond fashion model draped over his arm as he surveyed Francesca's scarlet velvet trouser suit. 'Little Francesca. The last time I saw you, you didn't have so many clothes on. As I remember, you were wearing a nightgown.'

Other girls might have blushed, but other girls didn't have Francesca's bottomless self-confidence. 'Really? I've forgotten. Amusing of you to remember.' And then, because she had quite made up her mind to catch the grown-up interest of this most sophisticated Evan Varian, she nodded at her escort and permitted him to lead her away.

Varian called her the next day and invited her to dine with him. 'Certainly not,' Chloe shrieked, jumping up from her lotus position in the center of the drawing room carpet where she dabbled at meditation twice a day, except on alternate Mondays when she had her legs waxed. 'Evan is more than twenty years older than you, and he's a notorious playboy. My God, he's already had four wives! I absolutely won't have you involved with him.'

Francesca sighed and stretched. 'Sorry, Mummy, but it's rather a fait accompli. I'm smitten.'

'Be reasonable, darling. He's old enough to be your father.'

'Was he ever your lover?'

'Of course not. You know the two of us never got on.'

'Then I don't see what possible objection you could have.'

Chloe begged and pleaded, but Francesca paid no attention. She had grown tired of being treated like a child. She was ready for adult adventure-sexual adventure.

A few months beforef she had made a great show out of insisting that Chloe take her to the doctor for birth control pills. At first Chloe had protested, but she had quickly changed her mind when she had stumbled upon Francesca in a heated embrace with a young man who was pushing his hand under her skirt. Ever since, one of those pills appeared on Francesca's breakfast tray each morning to be swallowed with great ceremony.

Francesca had told no one that the pills had so far proven unnecessary, nor had she let anyone see how her continued virginity upset her. All of her friends spoke so glibly about their sexual experiences that she was terrified they would find' out she was lying about her own. If anyone discovered what an absolute infant she was, she was absolutely certain she would lose her standing as the most fashionable member of London's trendy younger set.

With stubborn determination, she reduced her youthful sexuality to a simple matter of social position. It was easier for her that way, since social position was something she understood, while the loneliness produced by her abnormal childhood, the aching need for some deep connection with another human being, only bewildered her.

However, despite her determination to lose her virginity, she had hit upon an unexpected stumbling block. So much of her life had been spent with adults that she didn't feel entirely comfortable with her peers, even those worshiping boys who followed her around like well-trained lapdogs. She understood that having sex would involve placing a certain amount of trust in her partner, and she couldn't imagine trusting those callow young boys. She had immediately seen an answer to her dilemma when she set eyes on Evan Varian at Annabel's. Who better than an experienced man of the world to escort her through those fragile final portals into womanhood? She saw no connection at all between her choice of Evan to be her first lover and her choice of him, years earlier, to be her father.

So, ignoring Chloe's protests, Francesca accepted Evan's invitation to dine at Mirabelle the following weekend. They sat at a table next to one of the small hothouses where the restaurant's fresh flowers were grown and dined on rack of lamb stuffed with veal and truffles. He touched her fingers, angled his head attentively whenever she spoke, and told her she was the most beautiful woman in the room. Francesca privately considered that rather a foregone conclusion, but the compliment pleased her nonetheless, especially since the exotic Bianca Jagger was nibbling at a lobster souffle in front of one of the tapestried walls on the opposite side of the room. After dinner, they went to Leith's for a tangy lemon mousse and glace strawberries, and then on to Varian's Kensington home where he played a Chopin mazurka for her on the grand piano in the sitting room and gave her a memorable kiss. Yet when he tried to lead her upstairs to his bedroom, she balked.

'Another time, perhaps,' she said breezily. 'I'm not in the mood.' It didn't occur to her to tell him that she would like it very much if he would just hold her for a while or simply stroke her hair and let her cuddle up against him. Varian didn't like her rejection, but she restored his good mood with a saucy smile that promised future pleasures.

Two weeks later, she forced herself to make the long trek at his side up the curving Adam staircase, past the Constable landscape and recamier bench, through the arched entry-way, and into his lavishly decorated Louis XIV bedroom suite.

'You're luscious,' he said, coming out of his dressing room in a maroon and navy silk dressing robe with J.B. monogrammed in elaborate script on the pocket, obviously a costume he'd appropriated from his last film. He approached her, his hand going out to stroke her breast above the towel she'd wrapped around herself after she'd taken off her clothes in the bathroom. ' 'Beauty like the breast of a dove-soft as down and sweet as mother's milk,'' he quoted.

'Is that from Shakespeare?' she asked nervously. She wished he weren't wearing such heavy cologne.

Evan shook his head. 'It's from Dead Men's Tears, right before I pushed the stiletto through the Russian spy's heart.' He ran his fingers along the curve of her neck. 'Perhaps you'd go over to the bed now.'

Francesca didn't want to do any such thing-she wasn't even certain she liked Evan Varian-but she'd come too far to turn back without humiliating herself, so she did as he asked. The mattress squeaked as she lay down upon it. Why did his mattress have to squeak? Why was the room so cold? Without warning, Evan fell on top of her. Alarmed, she tried to push him away, but he was muttering something in her ear while he fumbled with her towel. 'Oh… stop! Evan-'

'Please, darling,' he said. 'Do as I ask…'

'Get off me!' Panic pounded at her chest. She began shoving at his shoulders as the towel gave way.

Again he muttered something, but in her distress she caught just the last part of it. '… make me excited,' he whispered, pulling open his dressing gown.

'You beast! Get away! Get off me.' As she screamed, she curled her hands into fists and began beating at his back.

He pried her legs open with his knees. '… just once and then I'll stop. Just once call me by name.'


'No!' An awful hardness probed at her. 'Call me- Bullett.'


The instant the word left her lips, he thrust inside her. She screamed as she felt herself being consumed by a hot stab of pain, and then, before she could release the second scream, he began to shudder.

'You swine,' she sobbed hysterically, beating at his back and trying to kick at him with her pinioned legs. 'You awful, filthy beast.' Using strength she hadn't known she possessed, she finally pushed his weight off her and jumped from the bed, taking the coverlet with her and holding it over her naked, invaded body. 'I'll have you arrested,' she cried, tears rushing down her cheeks. 'I'll see you punished for this, you bloody pervert.'

'Pervert?' He pulled his dressing gown closed and got up from the bed, his chest still heaving. 'I wouldn't be so quick to call me a pervert, Francesca,' he said coolly. 'If you weren't such an inept lover, none of this would have happened.'

'Inept!' The accusation startled her so much that she nearly forgot the throbbing pain between her legs and the ugly stickiness leaking onto her thighs. 'Inept? You attacked me!'

He knotted the sash and looked at her with hostile eyes. 'How amused everyone will be when I tell them the beautiful Francesca Day is frigid.'

'I'm not frigid!'

'Of course you're frigid. I've made love to hundreds of women, and you're the first one who's ever complained.' He walked over to a gilded commode and picked up his pipe. 'God, Francesca, if I'd known you were such a dreadful fuck, I wouldn't have bothered with you.'

Francesca fled into the bathroom, shoved herself into her clothes, and raced from the house. She forced herself to suppress the realization that she had been violated. It had been a dreadful misunderstanding, and she would simply make herself forget about it. After all, she was Francesca Serritella Day. Nothing truly horrible could ever happen to her.

Вы читаете Fancy Pants
Добавить отзыв


Вы можете отметить интересные вам фрагменты текста, которые будут доступны по уникальной ссылке в адресной строке браузера.

Отметить Добавить цитату