Marcello is watching Kate from a distance. She looks so radiant in white and her smile invites to celebrate beauty, Marcello thinks.
Marcello is smiling, too. But his smile is inviting memories.
One week ago today Marcello saw Kate for the first time.
Marcello was finishing his Bellini at the bistro when he noticed this woman at the bar.
Flowing black hair, perfect oval face, pleasant fair skin. The blue silk sheath dress she had on highlighted her mermaid figure from the neck to the hips. Toned and non-plus ultra kind of legs. Her curvilinear ass made Marcello think of grapefruits, the kind of grapefruits you devour non-stop under a hot afternoon sun.
“What’s her name, how tall is she? I need to know,” Marcello said to himself as he left his table and walked up to the bar. “I am wondering, how tall are you?” Marcello asked her with no introduction.
She was caught by surprise but didn’t want to look puzzled.
“If you buy me a drink I will tell you,” she said.
“I will buy you lunch if you tell me your name also.”
“It’s a deal.”
So Marcello learned that she was five foot-ten tall majestic, stylistic, angel-like human sculpture. Then she ordered a Cosmopolitan.
“Do you still want to know my name?” she asked.
“I will have a salmon ciabatta. It’s my favorite sandwich at this bistro.”
Marcello placed the order.
Kate. It was one week ago today. There she comes. “She looks so radiant in white,” Marcello says to himself, his mind back to the day they first met, one week ago today.
“I noticed the ring,” Marcello said, five minutes into the conversation, winking at her.
“Right. I am getting married next week.”
“I envy the man,” Marcello said.
“I guess I am a lucky girl.”
“Lucky, beautiful and young.”
“Turned 28 last month.”
Marcello, lifting his glass. “Cheers.”
Anyushka, Marcello’s favorite server, came with the salmon ciabatta and put it on the table. Kate looked at her food and said, “Do you do this often, to prey on soon-to-be married women?”
“Only if they allow me,” Marcello said.
“I’ve seen you here before, you know.”
“Yes, I hang out with my girlfriends here every weekend. We love the food and the ambiance. One Saturday night, a few months ago, you were sitting right over there, when one of my girlfriends saw you and told me who you were.”
“If you don’t mind me asking, what did she tell you?”
“She said that you’re a writer from Italy and that you wrote good stories. I was curious. I googled you and came across some of your short stories, Mr. Marcello Rubini.”
“You’re making me feel like I am a celebrity which I am not,” Marcello said.
“Yes, you are. My girlfriend knew who you were. You probably don’t know her, although she recognized you. In my book, that makes you at least a budding celebrity,” Kate said laughing.
For the first time in years Marcello was blushing. A feeling of hot embarrassment engulfing him. For a moment he thought he was being ambushed by this beautiful young woman.
“I like to keep a low profile. When I approach a woman I like I don’t want to impose my career upon her.”
“I dig the stories I read. You’re good.”
Marcello was as befuddled as an actor who had forgotten his next, decisive lines.
“Marcello Rubini, let me tell you something. I am getting married next week,” Kate said.
“I love Roy. He’s the man of my dreams.”
“I envy the man, I just told you.”
“You know what some people say when you’re going to get married –you must use up your last single shot before the wedding.”
“Never heard that,” Marcello said.
“I am kind of making it up. Shut up and listen up. I’ve long had this fantasy, about having wild sex with an older man before I get married.”
“An older man?”
“Yes, a man like you. A European artist,” Kate said.
Marcello, the sensitive writer, the man on a secret quest for a Grand Love, didn’t know how to react to Kate’s confession.
“I’d like you to be my dessert,” she said. “It won’t be like having sex with a complete stranger, mind you. I know some of your work. As far as I am concerned it means that I know you somehow.”
“I know what you want,” Marcello said. “You’re after your last thrill as a single woman. Come with me.”
So Marcello and Kate had wild sex in the gentlemen’s restroom of a vacant restaurant two blocks up the street from his condo. He put his Armani jacket on the dusty floor to lie on his back while having Kate on top. His white design-shirt got soiled anyway. Marcello meant to make this an unforgettable experience for Kate, that’s why he pulled out his finest trick by the end of the session when he drank her nectar, voraciously, driving her to unknown heights of ecstasy.
Now they were naked and sitting on the floor, face to face, their legs straddling each other’s pubes.
“Grant me a wish, will you?” Kate said.
“Will you come to my wedding? I am carrying some invitations in my purse.”
“It will mean a lot to me, really. Please do, Marcello.”
Marcello, his manhood at rest, had little emotional strength left. He had to say, “Yes, I will come to your wedding.”
“Good. You can keep my panties as a memento.”
“Why are you telling me this?”
“The main male character in your stories likes to do that, doesn’t he? Besides, my fantasy will be complete to perfection if I walk out of here without my panties,” Kate said.
Marcello thought that he could use this scene in a future story.
That was a week ago today.
“I, Kate Bowles, take you Roy Greenland, to be my husband, my forever friend, my faithful partner and my love from this day forward. I do so in the presence of God, our family and friends, I offer you my solemn vow to be your faithful partner in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, and in joy as well as in sorrow. I promise to love you unconditionally, to support you in your goals, to honor and respect you, to laugh with you and cry with you, and to cherish you for as long as we both shall live.”
That’s it, Marcello says to himself, Kate is a married woman now.
Parents, siblings and friends look happy today. So does Kate who is walking towards Marcello with her memorable smile.
“You look radiant in white. Congratulations, amore mio,” Marcello whispers in Kate’s ear.
“I am glad you came, really.”
“I am happy for you, really,” Marcello says.
An awkward silence.
Kate is waving at the guests. Now she comes close to Marcello and whispers, “We shall meet again. It’s my secret hope.” She kisses him on the cheek and leaves.
Five minutes later, Marcello sneaks out of the church with a feeling of misplacement.
Marcello never liked weddings at all.