Through closed eyes Charli felt the warmth of the sun seeping across her face, the midday heat penetrating deep into her skin, and as it did it seemed to slowly melt the tension from her body. An unfamiliar sense of relaxation took over that she welcomed with relief, she hadn’t felt this at ease for a long time.
She turned her head lazily and opened one eye to see the rows of bright blue and white umbrellas on the shore in the distance, her view bobbing gently with the rhythm of the boat rocking on the sparkling water.
A week ago, lying in her bed at home, late night scrolling through photos of people she didn’t know in places she longed to be, she’d found herself overcome with an urgent sense of spontaneity. ‘Fuck it, what’s keeping me here, why shouldn’t I go?’ Within twenty minutes she’d booked a ticket; solo, one way, business class, because if she was going to reinvent herself it might as well start as soon as she got on the plane and it should definitely include champagne!
Astounded that she’d actually done it and fuelled by adrenalin, she’d thrown together a minimalist suitcase of summer holiday clothes and accessories – underwear, swimsuits, dresses, hat, sandals, makeup bag, vibrator, passport. The next day, she was gone!
The whole time she could hear her ex’s voice in her head, that familiar derisive tone, ‘This isn’t you Charli, you’re being ridiculous, this is fucking insane!’
Now, on the other side of the world she had to agree in part, it was utterly fucking insane, but at that moment she felt more like herself than she had in a very long time. Impulsive, uninhibited, carefree.
A laugh escaped her lips as she considered the absurdity of her current situation; suburban girl next door from Melbourne sunbathing in Positano on a boat owned by the absolute stereotype of a tall, dark, handsome and far too charming Italian man. It was ridiculous, the material of mindless holiday fiction, and yet here she was.
And here he was, Luca. Impossibly good looking, all Mediterranean tan and shining white teeth as walked towards her carrying two glasses and a bucket of ice. His unbuttoned shirt trailing in the breeze to reveal a sleek, sculpted torso, an image just begging for an Instagram square with a vague, alluring caption about Positano dreaming.
Who the fuck am I? She thought to herself, ‘What the fuck am I doing here with a man I’ve known for less than 24 hours?’
He’d approached her as she sat alone in the bar last night, sauntering up so smooth and sure of himself. Charli had been ready to dismiss him as a walking sleazy cliché, but the conversation had been easy – witty, fun and flirty. Champagne had somehow kept appearing and she was enjoying herself far too much to end the night early. She’d found herself standing in the street with him after midnight, feeling pleasantly tipsy as the balmy night air caressed her skin, agreeing to a trip on his little boat the following day.
She’d more than half expected it to all be bullshit, but he’d arrived at her hotel at 10am as promised looking even better than she remembered. He offered his arm in a display of old fashioned chivalry and the way he gently stroked her hand as they strolled made her feel safe and seduced all at once. When they arrived at the dock his ‘little boat’ was a lot more luxurious than the modest vessel he’d made out. ‘Was it a yacht?’ Sarah wondered. Honestly, she had no idea, but at that stage the details weren’t important, as far as she could tell she’d walked into a real life fantasy, and against all her usual sensible girl instincts, she was going to surrender to it.
He stood over her smiling, ‘You seem amused, Charli’ he commented, ‘something is funny?’
Even the way he said her name felt exotic, the way it rolled from his lips like a sigh. None of the ordinariness she felt from the old familiar ‘Charli’ she’d been known by her whole life. Here, where no one knew here, she was someone else, and she was relishing the liberating thrill of it.
‘Oh, I’m just enjoying myself’ she replied.
‘Well, that’s good, I’m glad. Didn’t I tell you I had the best place to enjoy Postiano?’ He asked.
It’s certainly looking that way, she thought to herself as her gaze travelled down his body, taking in the very pleasing view right in front of her. She propped herself onto one elbow as he handed her an ice cold glass. As their hands brushed she felt a flutter of goosebumps prickle up her arm that had nothing to do with the temperature of the drink.
‘What do we have here?’ She asked
‘This, lovely Charli, is Limoncello and I’m going to show you how to appreciate it the Italian way’ he said, his lips curving in a suggestive half smile. He lowered himself to the cushion beside her deck.
‘Lie back, close your eyes’ he instructed with a commanding tone that made Charli all too willing to comply.
He dipped his finger in the glass and swept it lightly across her mouth, letting her taste the bittersweet bite of lemon and sugar as she licked her lips, inhaling the fresh citric scent, teasing her senses. She gasped as she felt an icy splash onto her throat that drizzled down in a slow, cold trail between her breasts. The chill was contrasted by the heat of his breath on her skin and the thrilling sensation as his tongue traced the path left by the limoncello. Starting at her lips with soft, taunting kisses, making his way down her neck in a nibbling descent.
He slipped her strap of her shoulder, pulling her bikini down to expose her breasts. Ordinarily straight laced Charli would’ve yanked it back up, looking around in panic to check if anyone was watching. But there was nothing ordinary about this situation, so she submitted to his touch as he explored his way down.
A fresh hit of liquid splashed across her chest, creeping in frosty rivulets that tickled gently down between her breasts. He took an ice cube from the bucket and stroked it lightly across her skin, starting behind her ear, down the nape of her neck, goosebumps rising in response. She felt her nipples harden in anticipation as he drew light, leisurely circles first with the ice, then his tongue before she felt his teeth bite just hard enough to send an exquisite shock through her body.
With his mouth on her breast, his hand firm but delicate crept down her belly, and slipped deftly under the waistband of her bikini, edging down between her legs where he found her wet, eagerly welcoming his touch.
A deep ache rose inside her, her back arching involuntarily as she lifted her hips to meet his hand, yearning for more pressure, the way he stroked bordering on torment.
He slipped her pants off and she felt the ocean breeze across her naked skin, relishing the electrifyingly scandalous feeling of abandonment.
She lifted her head to watch him work his way down her torso, depositing feathery kisses in a meandering line, leisurely from hip to hip, skimming across her navel. She parted her thighs, longing for his tongue to explore her clitoris, taste her wetness. He knew it and he was going to make her wait for it as he circled lips tantalisingly close on her belly, inner thigh, everywhere but where she desperately wanted him to be.
His eyes met hers and he grinned devilishly before finally plunging his face between her legs hungrily. She thew her head back and closed her eyes as her body responded immediately and greedily with a surge of pleasure.
‘Oh myfuckinggod, don’t stop, don’t stop’ she moaned.
He paused, ‘You want me to stop, you’re not enjoying yourself?’ he asked, wide eyed with feigned confusion.
‘What? NO! No I said DON’T stop!’
‘Oh I’m sorry, it’s just you know, my English is sometimes confused, it’s not my native tongue you know’ he smirked, toying with her as she teetered on the edge of desire and frustration.
Charli raised one eyebrow and remarked ‘I know for a fact there’s nothing wrong with your English, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with your tongue, now I really, really need you to get back to what you’re doing so very well’.
She was aching to be kissed, licked and touched inside and out. He laughed as he finally obliged immersing himself, seeking out her warm, wet centre.
A moan escaped her lips, she could feel the pulsating throb deep in her groin promising to send her over the edge. She hooked her fingers into his hair, her trembling thighs squeezing around his head demanding more. He thrust his fingers deep inside her and like he’d hit a magic button she felt her whole body being racked in a shuddering climax, barely recognising that the ecstatic cries of pleasure she heard were her own.
As her breathing slowly recovered and her heart stopped racing, Charli opened her eyes to see him looking at her, that playful look of amusement on his face, clearly pleased with his handiwork.
She laughed, ‘wow. So that’s the Italian way to enjoy Limoncello huh? I see why it’s so popular!’
‘Indeed’ he replied, ‘but just wait until I show you how we drink a Negroni in Milan’.