Caitlin returned to London with heightened expectations of her affair with Mario. Sergio had collected Rebecca and her from Penny’s as arranged and delivered them safely to their respective homes. On dropping Caitlin off Sergio produced a small package and presented it to her with a small bow of his head,
‘From Mr Ferraro, he hopes that you will wear this small gift this evening.’ Caitlin blushed furiously not knowing how to react, to be pleased or embarrassed. Sergio registered no curiosity however and immediately took his leave. The black Mercedes slipped into the traffic with ease and was gone.
Caitlin unwrapped the present as soon as she got into the house. It was from Tiffany, she recognised the distinctive blue of the box immediately. She opened it to reveal a pair of beautiful earrings. The centre a pretty pink stone that she didn’t recognise, cabochon cut. The surrounding stones were unmistakably diamonds set in platinum that formed a flower shaped stud. They were exquisite and very her. They would also have been very expensive. She realised with a quiver of her heart that he must be very serious. She felt scared and also excited all at once.
That evening Caitlin got ready for her date with Mario in a flutter of nerves. She decided on a wrap dress by Halston that she had had for some time. It always made her feel attractive as the cut and particular shade of pink made the most of her colouring and flattered her shape. She had picked it out mainly though because Mario’s gift of the earrings would look stunning with it. Ordinarily she would probably have nipped around to Palmerstone to consult with Becca over her choice and to show her the amazing gift. At the moment, despite what Rebecca had said to the contrary, she thought that it would be insensitive to show off her good fortune.
The evening followed a similar pattern. Sergio collected her and drove her to the restaurant, this time to the Savoy Grill. Caitlin’s heart beat faster. The Savoy was where Mario usually stayed when he was in London. Would tonight be the night she wondered. She had chosen to wear a very pretty yet seductive bra and panties in case, and frankly was fantasising almost constantly about Mario tearing them off her in his haste to consummate the relationship. Caitlin liked sex and had recently had to satisfy herself to calm her frustrated desire. It was not as good as the real thing though. Just thinking about the culmination of the evening made her wet with desire.
Mario was waiting for her in the hotel bar. He rose immediately to greet her kissing her warmly on both cheeks, and taking hold of her hand turned her around to admire the effect of the dress, which he knew was by Halston, and commented on the match with the earrings,
‘Bellisima! Caitlin mio’ he purred into her ear. She thanked him profusely and with sincerity on his choice of the earrings. They were perfect in every way. Perhaps he was too. The evening went well, Mario chatting easily about his recent trip to New York, his business plans and a family visit he had made to see his parents. Caitlin told Mario about her visit with Penny and Charles and the evening that the four girls had spent together. She didn’t mention Rebecca’s situation to Mario. She somehow didn’t think he would approve and anyway it was up to Rebecca whom she chose to tell. The two lingered over coffee and again Mario persuaded her into partaking of the gelato. Caitlin reprimanded him playfully saying,
‘You will not be so complimentary if you continue to feed me with gelato. I’ll be so huge I won’t be able to fit into anything!’ Mario answered in such a way that she understood that he would like to see her fatter. She blushed knowing that he meant with child. Again she could hardly contain her arousal. She had to drag herself back to reality as she heard Mario asking her if she intended visiting her father soon.
‘I would like to see you in New York, Caitlin. I spend more time in the States and also in Italy than I do here in London. Would you consider living in Manhattan rather than here in London?’ Was Mario asking her to live with him she wondered blankly?
‘I will be going to see Papa and Ariel and the Princeling sometime soon’ she answered, ‘but I haven’t made any arrangements yet.’
‘Let me make the arrangements for you Bella, we could travel together. I will see you there more often than we can here and…’ he shrugged meaningfully, ‘perhaps we may soon spend all our free time together?’ Caitlin again wondered exactly what he intended and decided that she must ask him to follow his meaning.
‘Do you mean you want us to live together?’ asked Caitlin blushing again, she felt very uncertain of her ground here.
‘Not live together Bella, I would like to marry and start a family.’
‘Oh!’ Caitlin could not pretend to be anything but astonished at the speed of Mario’s declaration. She smiled shyly at him, ‘Is that a proposal, Mario?’
‘I guess so!’ He sounded serious when he added, ‘But I would want to speak to your Father first.’ This sounded incredibly old fashioned to Caitlin. She wondered if it were typical in Italian families. But of course she was herself half Italian. Did her father ask her grandfather, the Count, if he could marry her mother? Maybe so but that was almost 30 years ago. All these things were running through her head when she heard Mario’s voice breaking into her thoughts. ‘Will you Caitlin? Will you marry me?’ Caitlin heard herself answering:
‘Yes’ before she could properly marshal her thoughts. She must be in love. Mario then astounded her once more by producing from his coat pocket another Tiffany box. Her heart leaped with excitement. Inside was a beautiful pink diamond engagement ring. It had been chosen with care. The stones complimented perfectly the ones of her earrings without matching; a look that she considered to be far more tasteful. Caitlin was overwhelmed with love for Mario. He was the one. They would marry and have babies.
Mario was now making plans in his customary whirlwind way. She was swept along in his wake. He would arrange the flights to New York; they would fly out the next day. She would call her father and arrange for Mario and her to dine with them as soon as it was convenient. Then she would meet his parents and the rest of his family. They would marry in the late spring or early summer. Where would she like? Caitlin decided Italy, Sorrento. She would like the wedding to be at the summer Palazzo; it was so beautiful there. By the end of their dinner Caitlin was dizzy with the speed of her fairy tale romance and all the plans that Mario was making.
Finally he put his arms around her and pulled her towards him. Expecting a kiss she lifted her face to his her mouth softened with expectation. Disappointed once more she realised that Mario intended a chaste kiss and a farewell until the next day. The same routine was repeated where Sergio drove her home and she went to bed alone.
Her mind was reeling with all the plans and her body was consumed with desire. Caitlin hardly slept at all.