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Lucy and Penny
Nothin' Like a Dame
Thu Jun 2, 2005 10:51

“Ciao, innamorato…”

The first sight of the hulking agent just about did Lucy in. Sure, it had been exactly two days since she had agreed to all this fuss, and let me tell you, the wait was killing her. Was it possible to become so addicted to a person’s presence that you found yourself unable to sleep for more than thirty minute stretches because you kept rolling over and searching for a body that continued to not be there? The first night, she’d rolled completely off the bed twice before giving up and crashing out on the couch. Andrea had been forced to take the suite’s bed for the remainder of her stay. At least until the wedding drew closer. He’d given in with such ill grace.


So Lucy naturally flung herself into his arms, so happy to have a visitor it was pathetic. “Wow, I didn’t expect this.” And the man was kind enough to put up with a very long hug, especially since Andrea was lurking nearby and trying not to glower. Which eventually led to introductions on her part, all in Italian since John actually knew the language, and they found themselves held captive for a few hours … the men did, anyway. Never one to pass up a good opportunity, Lucy had dragged out the Book of Wedding Dresses and gotten a male perspective.

Perhaps that was how she’d ended up with the dress that Christine used for ‘Think of Me’, except the diamond stars would be real, and the gown itself tailored to her frame perfectly. This, of course, had led to a small argument over the cost of the entire event, and Lucy found herself defending her grandfather more than once. In the end, however, everyone parted amiably.

Sort of.

The next week was a flurry of activity. The first wedding coordinator that Matteo hired was more of a Nazi than a mediator. “We will do this and this and this,” became a challenge instead of the opening bid for the bride to express her wishes. By the middle of the week, Lucy had fired her grandfather’s choice with some very unladylike comments. Someone else was brought in. A person that the young woman trusted enough to reveal her opinion and know she’d get an honest answer.

Poor Moira.

Brought in just a week and a half before the wedding itself, handed a stack and a half of folders for each phase of the celebrations. Guests would begin arriving over the weekend, most of them legit family members from Italy, others not so legit associates from America’s major cities and Families. And there wer a few European guests from contacts on the Continent as well. It was, as Lucy began to realize, a frigging circus! Especially with the media.

Papparazzi were beginning to trail her movements as leaks spread here and there about the real life Medici scion and her wedding to the respected Holmes’ eldest son. Reporters began to follow Caleb as well, though their ability to get a good sound bite ended somewhere around the front gates of his ‘office building’.

One good experience was the re-emergence of Lucy’s best friend, who had been holed up in Julliard for almost two months, doing little but homework and preparing for her final exams. Penny’s teachers had gone ahead and arranged for her to audition in front of the teaching staff almost six months ahead of schedule. As this was extremely important to the dancer, she had accepted the rigorous training schedule and remained incommunicado, aside from short phone calls to her parents every few days. The Alexanders had graciously forwarded news to Lucy, and had kept quiet about the wedding.

Lucy was insistent that nothing distract her best friend from attaining a long sought dream.

So Penny’s arrival at the Plaza suite on Friday morning was a complete surprise. She had personally called Matteo, explained who she was, and demanded to see La Principessa. Apparently this had amused the Italian lord so much that he’d come downstairs personally to fetch the Greek. During the elevator ride, Penny had found herself the subject of a thorough ‘background check’, and held her own against Signore Medici. Her family, after all, came from a region of Greece that regularly traded sword blows and merchandise with the Italians … or they had for centuries.

Besides, she was the maid of honor.

And the expression on Lucy’s face when the ballerina stepped into the penthouse site, holding up a photocopy of her graduation diploma, was absolutely priceless. Little else could be heard but girlish shrieks and giggles for at least five minutes.

“Oh my gawd, Pen. I can’t believe it! You did it!” That was the third time Lucy had said this, lounging idly on the sofa – still dressed in her pajamas! The new graduate, clad in one of her trademark outfits (which included black and white striped tights, blue shorts and a lime green tank top), was sprawled on the floor and currently perusing the room service menu.

“It’s surreal, Lucifer. Three years. Three. And its all over with a ten minute performance. I was so nervous I thought I was going to throw up.” She grinned, shoving long hair out of her face just as Andrea returned to the suite, fresh from giving his morning report to the Boss. Penny quite forgot to breathe at that point, rather feeling like she’d been poleaxed.

“Luciana, il vostro grande padre li verrà a contatto downstairs per pranzo se desiderate. Allora andremo vedere la Holmes circa il menu per la festività di nozze. Allora un viaggio a Harry Winston per selezionare i vostri monili di nozze. Sì?” (1)

Stare. He … he … Penny couldn’t even begin to describe her first impression of Andrea Turino. Tall, beautiful olive skin, incredibly good looking … the list stretched into infinity. Tongue-tied for the first time in a very long while, she rose to her feet along with Lucy and found herself being introduced to him in Italian. Mental note: Learn this damned language.

“Andrea, questo è Penelope Alexander, il mio amico migliore. È inoltre la mia domestica di honor.”

Then Lucy turned her big brown, far too innocent eyes on Penny and nudged her forward. “Pen, this is Andrea Turino, my bodyguard.” Normally a graceful person, aside from occasionally falling off kitchen counters, Penny stepped forward and tripped against the edge of the coffee counter, sending her towards a fated meeting with the floor.

Or she would have, had not Andrea stepped forward as well and caught her just in time. Oh, Jesus Cristo, was her face as red as she suspected it was? Blushing furiously, and still struck quiet by the subtly spicy aftershave that the Italian wore, Penny stammered out something appropriate – though she wouldn’t remember exactly what she said, blushed even worse when he gently settled her on the couch and then kissed the back of her hand in a show of respect. Old world respect.

Penny lasted another five minutes before extracting herself from the hotel completely, with a promise to meet Lucy down in the lobby Sunday morning to go shopping for honeymoon clothes. Once free of Andrea’s intoxicating, and mind numbing, presence, the ballerina fled to the only other place she could think of. Surely he would be able to put things in perspective for her?

Sean had given her a key to his apartment, just in case she ever needed to use it. Penny put that trust to good use, arriving via bus onto her friend’s doorstep. It took two tries before her shaking hands managed to get the door unlocked, but the miraculous somehow happened and she was in! Since his truck was in its space, she felt reasonably sure he was home.

“Sean, can I talk—“ Penny stopped talking, nearly swallowing her tongue. The very last thing she expected to see was the light haired actor sprawled nude on his bed, obviously in the middle of an intense bout of sex with … with … “I’m so sorry, forget I was here.” Cheeks now seriously pink, Penny turned around and fled out of the studio apartment, skidding to a halt at the second floor railing. Oh jeezus. The other guy had been huge, and his face oddly familiar. And she couldn’t help imagining herself in that position under Andrea.

Jesu Cristo!

“Come here…” A crooked finger before he could tug on Sean’s hand, pulling the sleepy man over. Right onto his lap! John buried his face in the crook of the actor’s neck, inhaling deeply of his scent. He couldn’t believe his forwardness now, but it was comforting. “I didn’t mean to wake you up.” Mumble, mumble! But it was true, even if he was snuggling Sean into a more wakeful state. It was sad to realize that he wanted comfort, even in its basest sense.

Base was an excellent description of the last five days, Sean decided as he squeezed some shampoo into his palm and tried very hard not to think of the white gorilla sprawled in his bed. Nope. Concentrate on the cold shower you are taking. But his hands shook as he lathered up his hair . . .

”Caleb’s taken off for the evening again. Why don’t you come over for dinner? It’ll beat trying not to suffocate in that shoebox you call an apartment.” John had sounded so casual over the phone, apparently determined not to spend his night worrying after a frusterated boss. So Sean, being the naïve little prick his was, had skipped right over to Caleb’s house, assuming he’d stay for dinner and then return to his own place for another round of cold showers. How wrong he’d been.

He stepped out of the shower, twisting the knobs to shut off the water and drape a towel around his narrow hips. Penny was out there, more than likely interrogating his lover on how long they’d known each other and that sort of thing. Weird, really. Once he’d come clean with the dancer, she’d been a real pal, and his other source of support when Lucy had been unavailable.

… John had prepared a fantastic meal, steak and salad along with fresh vegetables and they had spent cozy hour talking about nothing and everything under the sun while they ate. Then a little necking on the living room couch, during which someone had started the film version of the Full Monty. It was about that time that Sean had discovered two things about his almost boyfriend. John had been very amorous that night, and he wasn’t wearing his arm sling . . .

Down, boy! He couldn’t waltz out of the bathroom with a hard on under his towel, thanks. The actor glared at his reflection in the steamed up mirror, and tried not to squirm at the memories of strong hands roaming across his chest. Take it slow had been the name of the game, and damned of John hadn’t done just that. Exploring so thoroughly that Sean had embarrassed himself pretty quickly. That had led to a shower similar to the one he’d just taken, except . . .

”Do I really affect you that much?” The voice had come from the hallway, shattering his attempts to gain some modicum of control over his own body. Angry at himself, Sean had flung open the bathroom door and removed the towel, allowing John to see exactly what sort of state he was still in, arousal and all. “Yes, goddamit. I want you so badly that I can taste it. Okay? Now go away so I can calm down and get out of—“ He’d not been permitted to finish that sentence, because the older agent had … well, he’d pulled Sean against him and kissed him senseless. That kiss had led to others, which had resulted in Sean not going home that night.

Right. Stop thinking about the best sex you’ve ever had, and start thinking about your new lover, who is at the mercy of a twenty one year old ballerina with a fantastic body and the mouth to back it up. Hey, that worked. Making sure the yellow towel was secure, Sean finally emerged from his bathroom ….

… and stared slackjawed at the scene before him. Penny was stretched out across from John, sans her combat boots, and they were currently engaged in a game of poker. She glanced up just then, dark eyes sparkling with amusement at his scowl. “I like John. He’s got a good head on his shoulders and is obviously nuts about you.” That earned her a light shoulder smack from the still undressed ape, though he’d been decent enough to tuck the sheets around his waist. Sean didn’t dare look past his waist either, since they had company.

“So, twinkletoes, what did you want to talk about.” He was rewarded with a resurgence of her blush. And a case of mute. Penny, not talking? Eyeing her suspiciously, the blond settled down next to her and proceeded to stare until she apparently couldn’t take it anymore. Besides, it wasn’t like she was concentrating on the card game anymore, considering John won the next three hands.

“Ok, fine. Lucy’s bodyguard. He’s … ah … what,” She paused, clearing her throat awkwardly. “He’s … Do you know anything about him?” The expression on her face was one he didn’t see much, unless the dancer was speaking of her idols like Maria Tallchief and Mikhail Barishnikov.

“Someone’s got a cruuuuuuush.” Hey, if you couldn’t tease your friends, who could you tease? Granted, Sean hadn’t expected her to clam up again, considering Penny was usually talking a mile a minute. Even when she’d had her little crush on him, she’d still chattered away. Now? Staring at the floor morosley.

“I … I feel like I’ve been struck by lightning, Sean.” The brunette looked up, her expression grave. “If he’d asked me to go to bed with him, I would have.” Only two people outside her family knew that Pen was still a virgin, and she was looking right at him. Good Catholic girls did not have pre-marital sex. And Penny was one of those girls, even moreso than Lucy.

“Oh, honey.” He opened his arms, allowing Pen to scoot over and bury her face in his chest while mouthing to John that he’d explain later. Annoyingly, his lover just looked amused.

(1) “Luciana, your grand father will meet you downstairs for lunch if you want. Then we will go to see Miss Holmes about the menu for the wedding feast. Then a trip to Harry Winston to select your wedding jewelry. Yes?”
(2) “Andrea, this is Penelope Alexander, my best friend. She is also my maid of honor.”

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