After Dinner

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He grew impatient as dawn slowly turned to dusk. Then, he showered and got dressed for dinner. He couldn’t wait to see Alexandra. He had been looking forward all day to having dinner with her.

They were having dinner at the manor and afterwards he was going to teach her how to play pool. At exactly seven, she showed up and was taken to the drawing-room where Gerhardt was waiting for her. His heartbeat accelerated and his gaze traveled over her admiringly.

She looked stunning in the long-sleeved white dress with the collar turned up and buttoned at the front with some undone to reveal her shapely thigh. Her legs were bare and she was wearing nude pumps. “Good evening,” she said as she walked over to him.

“Good evening. You’re breathtaking.”

She smiled. “Thank you. And you look very handsome in that suit.”

“Would you like to have something to drink before dinner?”

“Are you going to have something to drink?”

“Yes. I’m having the Pomegranate mojito mocktail.”

“Hmm. Sounds good. I’ll have that too.”

He smiled. “Good.”

Just then, Benson entered carrying a tray with two glasses. “Your drinks, Sir,” he said.

Gerhardt took the glasses. “Thank you, Benson.” He handed Alexandra hers.

“Dinner will be ready at seven-thirty,” Benson informed him.

“Thank you, Benson.” As soon as the butler was gone, Gerhardt’s eyes shifted to Alexandra who had taken a sip of her drink. He smiled when he saw the expression on her face.

“This is really good,” she exclaimed.

“I’m glad you like it. I made it myself.”

“You did?”

“You sound surprised.”

“I am.”

“I’ll have you know that I’m a pro when it comes to preparing non-alcoholic drinks.”

“I must admit that you make a killer mocktail.”

“Thanks. Next time I’ll let you try my Lassi.”

“Lassi?”

“Yes, it’s an Indian drink made with blending curd or yogurt with water or milk, salt or sugar and a few spices or herbs. It’s out of this world.”

“I’ve never heard of it before.”

“It’s popular in India and perfect for their hot summers because it’s refreshing.”

“Hmm. If it’s as good as what I’m having now, then, I can’t wait to try it.”

“Good.” He raised his glass. “Here’s to trying new things.”

She smiled as she touched their glasses together.

He opened the French doors which led out to a small side patio and fountain to enjoy the cool evening air before it was time to head off to the dining-room. He held out her seat, thinking how great she smelled. Then, he sat down in the chair at the head which was adjacent to hers. “This is the casual dining-room,” he said.

“You have another one?” she asked.

“Yes, a formal one but since Helena died, I haven’t used it. I’ve always preferred this one. It’s more intimate.”

“It’s very cozy.”

“Yes, it is. After dinner, I’ll show you the formal dining-room.”

For the starter, they had Smoked Salmon served with horseradish crème Fraiche & Mixed Leaves. It was followed by Pan Fried Duck Breast with a Spiced orange & cranberry sauce for the main course and for dessert, Fresh Fruit Pavlova.

“Thanks for dinner,” she said as he held out her chair. “I’ve never had duck before. It was so good.”

He smiled. “I’m happy you enjoyed it.” As promised, he took her to the formal dining-room.

“This is a very beautiful room,” she remarked. “Elegant, quaint. I really like the wall upholstery from Fortuny. Did Helena prefer this to the other dining-room?”

“Yes.”

“I can see why but like you I would feel more comfortable in the other one. This one is so gorgeous that it should be on display instead of being used.”

“Would you like to see the rest of the mansion?”

“Sure.”

He showed her the paneled library. “Sometimes, I spend hours in here,” he said.

“One of these days, I would like to take a look at your collection.”

He took her to the two studies, a massage room and gym before going upstairs to show her the bedrooms. They were standing in his brother-in-law’s bedroom. “Helena said that when she and her siblings were children, they used to like to hide under their beds. She once told me about that when the children belonging to Kingston Bagpuize House were younger, they used to hide under the beds and make sounds when tour groups visited to scare them away.”

“It sounds like the kind of prank you would have pulled.”

He grinned. “You’re right. And I can think of a few of my parents’ friends whom I would have loved to scare away.”

She laughed. “And I can think of a few relatives.”

“Hmm. What a combination–beauty and mischievousness.”

“Believe it or not, I was a little terror growing up.”

“Now, why do I find that hard to believe?”

“It’s true. I was always getting into trouble.”

“And did you ever manage to get out of it?”

“Yes.”

“How?”

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“I used to smooth talk my way out of it.”

He was standing close to her now. “What about now? Are you going to smooth talk your way out of this?”

Her heart began to pound. “Am I in trouble now?”

“Yes.”

“Oh. What kind of trouble am I in?”

“Would you like me to tell you or show you?”

“Show me.”

His eyes darkened and reaching up, he cupped her face between his hands. He lowered his head and kissed her on the mouth. The kiss deepened when he felt her response and her arms wrap around his waist. His mouth plundered hers as desire consumed him. They stood there for a while kissing wildly and then, he released her to remove his jacket and tie.

Breathing heavily, she reached up and unbuttoned his shirt. She parted the folds and watched his chest which was heaving. After loosening the buttons on his cuffs, she dragged the shirt off. Her hands went to his belt which she unbuckled. She unzipped his trousers and hauled them off. His underwear followed. Her mouth went dry when she saw how aroused he was.

He quickly unbuckled the belt and unbuttoned her dress. He pulled it down, her underwear quickly followed. When she was naked, he pulled her roughly against him and devoured her lips. He backed her over to the bed as they exchanged frenzied kisses.

They fell on top of the bed and took turns pleasuring each other before he moved between her legs. She gasped when he entered her and clung to him as he began to move his hips. There in Garfield’s room, for the first time since Helena’s death, Gerhardt made love to the woman he had fallen for.

Sources: BBC Good Food; Dassana’s Veg Recipes; Philly Mag; Robb Report; Figs Catering; Britain Express

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