Part VI

        Eventually, the need for sustenance of another sort demanded the lovers leave their bed.  Nikita had awakened before Michael after their last love fest.  Nikita could see that the sun was lower on the horizon, and the shadows were long on the balcony above the sapphire surface of the Mediterranean.

        One thirst temporarily sated, Nikita became aware that her throat was parched.  Had she been on a desert safari?  No, her safari had been to a higher plane, but now the body's more mundane needs asserted themselves.  Nikita eased from the bed.  She intended to take full advantage of the Jacuzzi to rest and recuperate from the strenuous exertions of the day.

        Nikita stood looking at her lover.  She had seldom seen him so relaxed, so unaware of anything around him.  It had often been an amusing thought of hers that Michael slept with one eye open, always ready to spring into action should Section call.  The idea of Michael actually closing both eyes and being lost in the world of slumber was endearing.

        Nikita looked about for something to drink.  Luckily, she soon found a small refrigerator masquerading as an ornate gilded cabinet.   Nikita opened the door and removed one of the small bottles of  water.  She drank from it, downing the entire cool contents in a series of unladylike guzzles.  Wiping her mouth with the back of her hand, she looked to see if she had awakened Michael with her behavior.  Apparently not.  He hadn't moved.  Nikita was tempted to crawl back into bed with him, but the Jacuzzi seemed to be a siren, and it was calling her name loudly.

        Reluctantly, Nikita returned to the luxurious bath to perform her ablutions.  Once the Jacuzzi had filled to her specifications, Nikita added the scented bath oil.  Suddenly, the heavenly scent of frangipani filled the bathroom.  Nikita intensified the frangipani scent by lighting the candles so thoughtfully provided by the staff of the Hotel de Paris.

        Nikita twisted her hair into a informal pony tail and eased her overused body into the fragrant bubbling water.  "Ahhh, this is wonderful." Nikita could not keep from sighing as the warmth began to soothe her aching muscles. Nikita rested her head on a bath pillow and allowed the pounding jets of the Jacuzzi to do their work.  She was drifting on a pleasant plane of memory, when she felt a hand at her breast.  "Michael, you're awake.  I didn't disturb you, did I?" she asked with more than a little guilt.  This was his vacation, too.

        Michael's jade green eyes bore into hers, leaving no room for guilt.   Nimbly he stepped into the Jacuzzi and sat behind her.  "Did you think you I would be able to stay away from you, ma chère?" he asked, as he began to knead the muscles in her neck and shoulders.

        Michael's hands were like magic to Nikita... even better than the jets of the Jacuzzi.  They were gentle but strong.  He seemed to know exactly which muscle groups needed attention before she knew herself.  Nikita relaxed in his arms, her head resting on his chest.  He reached forward to caress her breasts, while she teased him by stroking his long, well-developed thigh muscles.  There was an immediate response.

        Nikita giggled, "Did I do that?  I must say, Michael, that I've never known you to be so, so--- what is the word I'm looking for?  Oh yes, excitable."  Nikita gloried in the effect she had on him.  Any woman would.

        "Excitable?  You think I'm the excitable type, Nikita?" he asked in a soft seductive voice.

        Nikita squirmed, then rubbed her bottom against his manhood.  "Oh, yes, I do."

        Michael's teeth gleamed as he grinned at her.  "I suppose you have evidence to support your point of view?" he asked as he spun her to face him.

        "The evidence is here for all to see," she replied, casting a knowing glance at the topic of discussion.

        "No, not for all to see.  Only you."  His eyes seemed to want to memorize her face, and his hands were everywhere, stroking her cheek, teasing a nipple, following the slender line of her waist.

        "Mmm." she murmured.  He pulled her toward him, wrapping her legs about his waist.

        "You talk too much, Nikita."  Michael whispered, scorching her lips with a searing kiss.  Nikita cupped her breasts and offered them to him.  First one, then the other rose-tipped breast was kissed, suckled and laved with his tongue.

        Nikita's pulse started to soar again.  She had never needed anything so much or so often as she needed this one man.  Her head went back, exposing the long line of her white throat.  "Michael, now, please," she gasped.

        Michael made a minuscule adjustment in position, cupped her buttocks and lifted her slightly, allowing her to capture his manhood with her silken prison.   Once again,  Nikita  joined with Michael in delicious abandon.  Nikita rocked and Michael thrust, each stroke sweeter and hotter than the one before until they scaled the summit of their desire.


        Michael sat in an aqua and ivory brocade Louis XVI-styled Bergère, watching Nikita as she rushed around doing female things like make-up, rearranging her hair at least five times.  He'd never seen her like this, so typically female.  She was apparently unable to decide between two pairs of earrings, holding one of each pair to her ears, then turning her head from side to side in an attempt to see which effect she liked better.

        She turned toward him, "Michael?"

        Michael shrugged, but he knew an answer would be required.  "The sapphire?" he suggested, knowing she would probably choose the opposite.

        "Hm?  Really?  I think I like the opals better,"  she said as she fastened them to her ears.

        Had he not witnessed the same behavior from Elena on one of their rare occasions of going out to dine, he would have been totally mystified by the nearly religious significance of the rites performed by both women, so different in back ground and in personality.

        He was completely dressed and had been for over forty-five minutes.  He shot his cuffs and flicked a bit of non-existent lint from the sleeve of his tuxedo.  The most important and holy of the rituals had yet to begin--that of choosing the perfect gown for the evening.  He knew each dress would be perfect for Nikita.  He ticked them off in his head--long beaded white, midnight blue slit up the side to show her perfect legs, ballerina-length pale blue lace, a dangerously short gold lamé, and a full-length silver dress that had a strapless bodice and swirling graceful skirt that would shimmer and float about her like a cloud when she walked.

        Nikita had finally settled on styling her hair in a soft chignon at the nape of her neck.  Her makeup was flawless, accenting her high cheekbones and incandescent blue eyes.  The silver-mounted opals dangled at her ears.  Michael watched her while she studied the effect of each choice in the ormolu mirror.  She seemed to be in a world of her own, occasionally turning to him for his tacit approval.  The skimpiest bits of lace covered her breasts and sex.  Nikita had no idea how enchanting she appeared to him.  Or maybe she did, and that was a part of the dressing ceremony.  A tiny and insubstantial lace garter belt and sheer stockings were all she wore, in addition to her bra and panties, if indeed they could be called by their rightful names.  They were a scandal was what they were.

        Nikita had already been to the armoire several times, eyeing the gowns in a casual way, but now she was ready to initiate the rite that would take heaven only knew how long.  Michael certainly didn't.  Carefully, she lay each one on the wide bed, where only a short time before they had made splendid love.  The significance of their love seemed to pale as she began her obeisance to each creation, pausing before it, studying it, before moving to the next.  The ritual called for occasional glances in his direction, but his role in the rite was a minor one, mainly relying on his patience.

        He couldn't refrain from commenting, although it was not part of the ceremony.... or was it?  "The white one is nice."

        Nikita stopped and glanced in his direction. "Yes, it is."

        She held it against her body, then replaced it and repeated the same procedure with each of the others.  She still seemed unable to make a choice, but it was early in the ceremony.  Each would have to be tried on before a real decision could be made.  Michael began to regret that he had arranged for Nikita to have so many choices, but all he really needed to do was enjoy the fashion ceremony.

        Nikita tried on the gold lamé first.  She was a vision, if not a saintly one.  It was quickly eliminated with a brief sniff.  "Really, Michael.  We're not on the vice detail."

        Michael knew the appropriate response.  He merely nodded in agreement.

        Both blue ones failed Nikita's tests as well.  It was down to the beaded white and the swirling silver strapless.  She made an elegant statement in either.  Now, it was time for him to offer his opinion, but.... not until asked.   She looked at him again.

        "Both are lovely on you, Nikita.  You choose."  He was learning.

        Nikita beamed her wide smile at him.  "The silver, want to know why?"

        "Yes, why?"

        Nikita's opalescent blue eyes looked into his.  "Because the dress makes me feel like a princess or movie star, and here in Monaco, that's how being with you makes me feel, Michael.  I feel like Grace Kelly must have felt when she first met her Prince."  Nikita's eyes sparkled with tears.  "Now see what you've made me do," she said pulling from his arms and rushing to the vanity.

        At his puzzled look, she responded, "My mascara, it's about to run."

        He sighed.  Nikita was magic and mystery and totally woman.

Part VII