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 *New Beginnings* By: Jan (Maybe2)

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PostSubject: *New Beginnings* By: Jan (Maybe2)   Sun Jul 26, 2009 2:46 pm

New Beginnings.
Part 1

“Keep the change” she said as she dragged the last of her luggage out of the black cab.
Stepping back from the curb, she turned and stared at the entrance to her new, though temporary home. For a moment, she tilted her head back and gasped as she looked towards the top of the tallest building, she had ever seen. It’s elegant glass façade reaching like some enormous shiny finger to tickle the fluffy white clouds, wafting lazily across the azure sky.

If she could only reach out and fly up to the top, away from the familiar heavy ache in the pit of her stomach which heralded the beginning of her usual homesickness. Straightening up, she mentally shook herself, squared her shoulders, picked up her bags and marched purposefully through the imposing double doors.

Ahead of her, behind a large dark wood reception desk, stood a handsome desk clerk whose face instantly took in the weary but still attractive woman approaching him. She was petite, like a tiny doll, with heavy dark auburn hair falling in thick waves below her shoulders which were hunched with the weight of a huge battered suitcase and holdall.

Leaping to his feet, he asked “Can I help you Miss?”

“Yes please” she replied “I believe my brother left some keys to his apartment here for me to collect. His name is Peter Carter”

“Ah yes Miss, Mr Carter did tell us you would be arriving today. Just for our records , do you have any identification on you? Sorry for the inconvenience, but we have to be careful these days.”

The desk clerk studied the passport and photograph she offered him, glancing at the picture, it was clear it had been taken some time ago, for looking at her now, she had lost a considerable amount of weight. But what had not changed were the stunning sea green eyes, which now calmly watched him as he made note of the necessary details in the registration book in front of him.

“If you wouldn’t mind signing for the keys Miss, I can let you get on your way” he smiled. As he watched her signing her name, Jessica Carter, he wondered to himself what had brought her to London and how long she would be here.


Handing her the large bunch of keys, he said “It‘s apartment 501 on the 86th floor Miss, do you need any help with your bags?”

“No, No er, thank you” She added hurriedly “ I can manage.” Blushing, she gathered up her belongings and headed towards the lifts.

The lobby was very quiet and as she stood waiting for the lift to arrive, she struggled to quell the tide of anxiety swirling in her stomach, 86 floors, she hadn’t banked on this, Peter could have told her, and he knew she was afraid in lifts.

“Don’t be ridiculous” she scolded herself, “this is a brand new apartment block, what could possibly go wrong?”

The ting of a bell and the gentle swish of the lift doors announced its arrival and Jessica had no other choice than to step inside the beautifully carpeted, mirrored interior. Taking a deep calming breath, she put down her cases and turned to the imposing bank of buttons to the right of the doors, pressing number 86, the doors slid noiselessly closed and the lift began to move upwards.

It moved more slowly than she anticipated, and by the time it had reached floor 25, Jessica was beginning to feel more than a little uneasy until suddenly, as it reached the 50th floor, it stopped.

Once again to Jessica’s relief, the doors opened and two men got in, they were laughing and appeared to be having a friendly argument about the benefits of exercise.

“Come on Sebastien, admit it, you enjoyed it really” the first guy said.

“Oh yes!” replied his companion “I can think of much better ways of working up a sweat Urs my friend! You really need to get out more!”

Jessica shrank to the corner of the lift in order not to draw attention to her, but noticed each of the guys were dressed in gym wear, both had obviously been sweating and were oblivious to her presence as they continued their banter.

“I am so glad we chose an apartment block with a gymnasium in it, you never know, you might become a regular visitor.” The first guy continued, “Even David and Carlos are getting fitter, come on Frenchie, you can’t let the team down!”

Suddenly, there was a loud crash and the lift came to a sudden grinding halt. The three occupants staggered for a second and then there was silence.

“Not again!” The guys chorused, laughing, “How much are you going to bet this time Sebastien,? How long will we be here? You already owe me £10 from the last time!”

Jessica stood frozen to the spot, her heart hammering as she struggled to keep a hold over the rising tide of panic which threatened to engulf her.
She tried to focus on her two companions to distract her from this nightmare. The first man was tall, (although everyone looked tall to her as she stood only 5ft 2”) about 6ft with dark wavy longish hair which hung in dark sweaty tendrils. His accent sounded foreign, perhaps German and he appeared to be lithe with broad shoulders covered by an obviously expensive blue track suit.

His companion had what she took to be a French accent. He was also about the same height but stockier built with thick brown short hair, the crown spikey on top which was also dark with sweat.
Jessica let out in involuntary gasp as her panic began to take a hold. The two men turned, as if surprised to see her, they had been so engrossed in their conversation they had not noticed her there.

Taking one look at her stricken white face, Urs realised something was wrong.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Part 2

“Don’t worry, this is always happening, it won’t be long before we get going again” he said encouragingly “Teething troubles they say, being new, don’t be scared.”

The lift groaned Jessica stiffened and stifled the desire to cry out; surely someone would press the emergency button soon. As if reading her mind, one of the men pressed the emergency button and a voice answered him “Hello. Can I help you? What seems to be the trouble?”

“Hi there Harry, its Urs Buhler here, apartment 503, the lift is stuck again can you call the maintenance guys for us?”

“Sure Urs , gee it’s about time they got this fixed, how many times is this now three? It must be something about you guys that it doesn’t like!!” he chortled “don’t worry they will have you out in a jiffy. Don’t go away now!”

“Ha ha, like we have a choice” said the Frenchman gloomily “Might as well make ourselves comfortable” he said as he sat down on the floor with his back to the wall.

Jessica looked from one to the other, “does this often happen? And how long are we likely to be here?” she asked hesitantly.

“Well to be honest, it seems to vary between 10 minutes and half an hour so not long really” said Urs “ As my friend says, may as well get comfortable and as we could be here for a while, my name is Urs and this is my friend Sebastien, what is yours?”

“My name is Jessica, Jessica Carter.” she said all the while being aware of a pair of dark piercing eyes in a sharp, beautifully chiselled face which was wreathed in a big smile.

“Well Jessica Carter, why don’t you sit down, ignore my grumpy French friend, he hates exercise and I made him go for his annual workout this morning. He’s going to sulk for the rest of the week if I know him!”

The Frenchman grinned as he looked at Jessica taking in the delicate features of the pale face, “It’s not true” he laughed “I’ve been twice this year, we can’t all be obsessed like some people I know.”

Jessica sank onto her suitcase after glancing at her watch. Just how long would they be here, she was beginning to feel uncomfortably warm in the enclosed space and was desperate not to show her discomfort to her companions.

“I take it you live here” she began, “Its seems like a lovely building”

“If you don’t count the lifts!” finished Urs with a chuckle, “No, we have apartments here but do a lot of travelling and so are not here a great deal”

“What’s with the “we” business, you know you spend most of your time at my place, because you hate to have your place messed up!” said Sebastien with a grin.

Jessica watched the two men so at ease with each other and thought to herself “why are all the cute guys always gay?”

Surprised at herself, she wrenched her thoughts back to the present to hear Urs asking

“What brings you to London?”

At that moment, the lift gave a loud groan, and shuddered.
A small scream escaped Jessica and she involuntarily grabbed Urs sleeve in a vice like grip and buried her head on his forearm.

“Hey, Its OK Jessica, this happens all the time, you’re safe, nothing to worry about” Urs spoke softly to her as if comforting a small child and Jessica found herself relaxing a little.

“I am so sorry” she muttered, “I know it’s ridiculous but I have a fear of enclosed spaces and this is a nightmare!” as she spoke, she released Urs arm and took a deep breath.

“What were we saying?.....oh yes, I have come to stay at my brothers apartment whilst he is away, an extended holiday, you could call it. Not sure if I will be able to cope with this on a daily basis though,” she said ruefully.

“Who is your brother? Asked Sebastien, “Would we know him?”

“His name is Peter Carter and his apartment is number 501, floor 86 God help me, he forgot to mention that in his invitation!”

“Ah Peter! He lives on our floor!, great guy, gives great parties , his new Year parties are legendary! David and Carlos went to the last party and boy, were they drunk. I know, as a Frenchman, I can drink but mon Dieu, when I went into Carlos place the next morning I thought they were dead!” Urs and Sebastien rocked with laughter at the memory “David was wearing red lipstick and a slinky red dress and was snoring his head off on the sofa but Carlos looked far worst in a Nurses uniform and fishnet tights! To this day he swears he cannot remember how he came to be wearing them.” Both men snorted and laughed together and despite her anxiety, Jessica giggled too.

“Hang on” she chuckled “are you The Divas?The opera guys? Peter mentioned you before, but you are not what I expected”.

“What! Oh no! You have got the wrong group. They are a gay drag act from the Village who are very popular at the moment. We are Il Divo, and yes we do perform in an operatic style, but definitely NOT in drag” spluttered Urs.

Sebastien, trying to recover himself gasped, “Whatever you do, don’t say that to Carlos, he just would not see the funny side”.

At that moment, the lift began to move again, and with a huge sigh of relief came to a gentle halt at floor 86. Urs leapt to his feet and pressed the hold button while Sebastien looked at Jessica and her baggage and said “ Can I help you with those?”

“It’s Ok I can manage” but before she could protest, each man scooped up her bags and strode towards her new front door. Jessica, keys in hand, opened the door and, followed by Urs and Sebatien walked into her new home.

Before she could take in her surroundings, Sebastien said, “There you go, welcome to the neighbourhood, we are only next door and we did promise Peter we would be around for a while if you need anything”.

“See you around” and with that, both men left her, closing the door behind them and Jessica was finally alone.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Part 3

The apartment was stunning, all open plan with spectacular views over the city on one side, through two huge windows, carpeted and furnished in her brothers’ usual impeccable taste in cream, with rich coloured rugs on the floor and large squashy cream leather sofas, arranged facing an enormous Plasma screen television on one wall, and an impressive kitchen with breakfast bar and high stools on the other.

Jessica dropped her handbag and keys onto the worktop and picked up a hand written note from her brother.

Hi there Jess

Welcome to my humble abode! Make yourself at home, you will find your room at the end of the hall on the right, has en suite and towels etc in airing cupboard. Should be away about 3 weeks, you have my number if you need anything, Take care and make sure you get plenty of rest.

Much love
Pete x


When she finished the note, Jess began to search for her bedroom. She came to the first door and on opening it, saw immediately it had to be Peter’s room. Photographs adorned the walls, as a professional and very successful photographer, he had an impressive array of clients all gazing down from the wall, testament to his success, which Jessica found a little disturbing and quickly closed the door.

The next room she took to be hers, it was light and airy with a large double bed stacked high with cushions in lovely bright tones on the white bedspread.

Suddenly, Jess realised how tired she was and, taking off her shoes, lay down, just for a moment…………………

It was dark when she opened her eyes, Jess sat up quickly, momentarily confused as to where she was, then realisation dawned on her and she relaxed with a deep sigh. Getting out of bed, she switched on some lights and made her way back to the kitchen, her stomach grumbling, reminded her it had been some time since she had eaten anything. Looking in the fridge, she was relieved to see assorted cold meats, bread and cheese so she wasn’t going to starve tonight!
What she really wanted was coffee, so switching on the kettle she quickly located the coffee jar in the cupboard, to find it was empty.
“Oh well, tea it is then” she muttered to herself. Minutes later, her heart sank, no coffee, no tea, no milk and looking at her watch, she realised it was almost 9pm and she had no idea where to buy any provisions at that time of night.

Well there was nothing else for it, she would have to pop next door! Brushing her hair, she peered into the mirror of the bathroom and satisfied she was presentable, took her keys and opened her front door. On the landing, the numbers ran 500 to505, now Sebastien said they were next door so, she stepped determinedly up to number 500 and rang the bell.

As she stood there, she could hear a male voice muttering as he undid the door chain and unlocked the door. Jessica, took a deep breath as the door swung open and began to say
“I’m so sorry to………….” The words died on her lips as stood looking, not at Sebastien but a tanned, wet figure wrapped only in a white towel, with a sprinkling of very dark curly hair across a muscular chest. Blushing, she looked up into a startlingly handsome face, which, on seeing her broke into a very appreciative smile, and a deep voice said

“Helloooo baby, what can I do for you?”

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PostSubject: Re: *New Beginnings* By: Jan (Maybe2)   Sun Jul 26, 2009 2:50 pm

Part 4


“I am sorry, I have the wrong apartment” she stuttered and as she went to move away, a woman’s voice in the background, called “Honey, are you coming back, the waters getting cold”

“Sorry to disturb you” muttered Jess, mortified. The man shrugged his shoulders and grinned, “Anytime baby” he purred and closed the door.

Jess shuddered, just her luck to pick the wrong apartment. Undaunted, she went to number 502 and was relieved when Sebastien answered the door. He looked a little surprised to see her but smiled and invited her inside.

“What can I do for you Jessica? Is everything OK?”

“Sorry to be a pain, it’s a cliché I know, but do you have any milk, coffee and or tea I could borrow until tomorrow? Pete has forgotten to leave anything for me and I don’t know where to get anything at this time of night”.

“Sure, no problem, in fact I was just about to have some myself, why don’t you join me?” At this, Sebastien began to pull cups out of the cupboard and before Jess could protest, the smell of coffee was wafting towards her and she decided to give in gracefully.

The two of them sat down in front of steaming mugs of coffee at the breakfast island, Sebastiens apartment, was the mirror image of hers and she gazed curiously around.

The décor was very different to Jess’s apartment, muted blues, cream and soft grey, with similar leather sofas and assorted electrical equipment, stereo and television. Magazines littered the sofas and an empty plate lay on the floor at the side of a sofa.

“I am sorry, did I disturb your meal? Timing was never my strong suit” she said.

“No problem, I wasn’t doing anything important, just looking over lyrics for some new songs we are going to record soon. Anyway, how are you settling in?”

“It’s fine, apart from the coffee famine” she laughed “I am sure I will soon find my feet, it’s a bit different from home, very busy and noisy, I can tell already, but so far, the natives seem friendly!” she smiled..

“What brings you here Jessica? Pete and I get on well so he has mentioned you were coming but not much else. “

“It’s partly a holiday, partly recuperation and a long boring story I won’t burden you with at this hour” she laughed, “Tell me about you and what do |I have to do to survive around here!”

For the next half an hour, Sebastien told her a little about his group Il Divo and how they were about to record their 2nd album, Jess felt a little embarrassed she had not heard their music and made a mental note to check it out soon. Seb also told her the essentials of living in the apartment block, what to do about post, where the gym and pool were and the nearest deli and supermarket. By the time she got up to leave, Jess looked at her watch and realised it was way past 11pm, the time had flown!

She thanked Seb and, armed with enough coffee etc to tide her over, she returned to her apartment and after a quick shower, collapsed into bed and into a deep sleep.

She could feel the intense heat and smell the smoke as it billowed around her, choking and stinging her eyes. Her legs felt heavy as she tried to run in the direction of the screaming she could hear, horses neighing in terror as the orange flames licked the sides of the stable doors. In desperation, she fumbled with the steel latches to open the doors and herd out her beloved horses but in their fear, they backed away from the doors and Jess, coughing cried out to them to encourage them to come with her. Just as she began to feel her back burning, she screamed out……………!
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Part 5

Opening her eyes, Jess could feel the tears trickling down her cheeks and soaking the pillow beneath, sobbing in relief, she rolled onto her side wincing, until her ragged breaths subsided and she realised she had been dreaming again. Jess turned on her bedside light and gingerly got out of bed and went into her bathroom.

She pulled on the light and began looking in her medicine cabinet for a tube of ointment. “That will teach you to forget it” she told herself ruefully as she carefully removed her t shirt to reveal a livid red scar on her right side and across her lower back, a burn which, even after all these weeks, still needed attention to keep the skin supple and less painful. Gently she applied the cream, which instantly began to cool the area and with a sigh of relief, Jess replaced the cream in the cabinet and wondered through to the lounge. She wasn’t ready to go back to bed, the memory of the dream was too fresh and she didn’t want to go there again just yet.

Jess was awoken later by the sound of very loud singing, coming from next door! She stretched and was surprised to find herself on her sofa, then remembering her nightmare; she got to her feet and made her way in to the kitchen. Reaching for the kettle, she again heard someone singing what appeared to be scales and looking at the clock, it was still only 7.30am!! Somebody must like singing in the shower and although it sounded quite good, Jess hoped it would not be a regular occurrence.

Excited by the prospect of her first full day in London, Jess made herself a quick coffee and leapt into her shower feeling the warm water cascade over her shoulders, she waited for the familiar sting as the water washed over her burn and was pleased to note that today, it was feeling a lot better, the rest must have done her some good at least. She quickly got dried and dressed and whist she ate a small slice of toast, began to study a tourist map of London, left for her by her brother, which would do for now while she got her bearings.

The apartment block was situated in Kensington opposite what she look to be Regents park and so was a good place to begin her exploration of London and also very handy for shopping! Not that it was her main interest; Jess was a country girl at heart and unused to big city life, so this would be just the distraction she needed.

Leaving the apartment, Jess approached the lift with more than a little trepidation when she heard doors opening behind her and footsteps with voices calling “ Hold the lift!” and Sebastien , Urs and another figure dashed to stand beside her.

“ Good morning Jess.” Said Sebastien “Hi Jessica” added Urs and he turned to the other man and said “David, have you met our new neighbour? This is Jessica, Jessica, this is David.”

Jess took a large hand offered to her and as she shook it, looked up into the biggest smile she had ever seen. David was extremely tall with a pale complexion, large even teeth and bright sparkling blue eyes. His hair was brushed into a small Mohican style and he said “Pleasure to meet you Jessica, are you here for long?”

“I am not sure yet”she smiled “and you may as well call me Jess as we will doubtless be running into each other often I suspect!.”

The lift arrived and all three entered and Urs looked at Jess and grinned, “Not nervous are we?”

Jess shook her head, her hair rippling in the light of the lift, a fact which did not altogether escape the gaze of the three men standing looking at her.

“We met Jess yesterday when we were stuck in the lift on the way back from the gym.” Explained Urs to David who chuckled, looked at Sebastien and said

“I don’t believe it, you in the gym! It’s not your birthday is it?”

As they were speaking, the lift descended smoothly and the doors glided open to the ground floor where they spilled out into the lobby. It was much busier than the day before with groups of people waiting around and some chatting on mobile telephones, loudly issuing instructions or struggling to hear the other caller.

“Well have a nice day guys.” Smiled Jess “Hope to see you soon.” and with that, she strode through the lobby, a small neat figure in dark jeans, navy sweatshirt and a sense of purpose.

The three men all looked at each other, “She seems really nice. Things could be about to get very interesting I think” said Sebastien darkly.

“Don’t let Celeste hear you say that” laughed David.

“I don’t mean me” replied Sebastien

“Nor me!” said Urs “Sure she does seem cute but I think I know what you are getting at Seb.”

“Carlos!” they chorused together, and laughing wandered into the lobby looking for their driver, who was to collect them and take them to the recording studio today.

Some minutes passed as all three sat waiting in the people carrier, Urs looked at his watch and sighed.

“Late, again! Why can that guy never be ready?” he moaned as the door slid open and a very apologetic figure clambered in.

“Sorry, sorry guys. Women! Why can they never take the hint when it’s time to let go! My God! I thought Lisa would never go. I had to promise all sorts of thing, just to get her out of the flat. That’s it, no more women!”

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PostSubject: Re: *New Beginnings* By: Jan (Maybe2)   Sun Jul 26, 2009 2:51 pm

Part 6

“Oh yes! Carlos, and next you will give up breathing!” laughed Urs, “but really, you should try at least to get them to leave early enough, so this doesn’t happen again”

The morning passed in a whirl of discussion and debate about what song may be included for consideration on the new album, with suggestions being made and discarded rapidly, until a list of approximately 20 songs were agreed upon.

Lunch was a noisy affair with much joking at Carlos’s expense which he took, largely with good humour and a wry smile curling up on one side of his mouth. His reputation as a ladies man was legendary and for the most part, not without foundation.
His typical Latin good looks, swarthy complexion and dark brooding brown eyes rarely failed to cause more than a few women to fall for his charms. This did not however, usually extend to married women after a spectacular occasion, when an irate husband, of whom Carlos was unaware, came home unexpectedly, resulting in Simon Cow ell personally having to make amends in order that it did not reach the press.

Il Divo, as a fledgling group did not need that type of publicity, and so Carlos had had a verbal dressing down in Simon’s office, which left him smarting with anger, a man of his age, being treated like a naughty child!

After lunch, they began to work on the parts of the first song they had chosen The Rose. It was a real experiment but by the end of the afternoon, all agreed it was shaping up nicely.

Across town, Jess had had an enjoyable time too. After leaving the apartments, she made her way to the park where she was amazed at how many joggers and walkers were about, not what she expected at all. The roar of the traffic became muted as she went further into the park and she could almost imagine she was back home, with the smell of the grass, the sun shining down onto her upturned face as she sat on a bench.

Suddenly, Jess became aware of hooves approaching and she turned to see two riders cantering along an all weather track running through the park. Her heart missed a beat and for a moment, a wave of longing swept over her as she watched the riders disappearing into the distance. She hastily got up and began a brisk walk back towards the entrance of the park and without further thought began to walk toward the shops which lined the busy High Street.

The day passed quickly and at 5pm, Jess trudged wearily into the foyer and over to the lifts, carrying just a few groceries and a newspaper. She took a deep breath, pushed the button and in no time, the lift glided open and before long she was standing outside her front door, home sweet home.

Later that evening, Jess decided she ought to take the replacement coffee and milk back to Sebastien, she had heard voices earlier on the landing and assumed they had returned. Jess slipped on her furry slippers, ran a comb through her hair and without a backwards glance, grabbed the bag of groceries and closed the door behind her. As she stood outside Sebastian’s door, she was about to knock, when the door opened by a young woman, who looked at her in surprise.

“Sorry!” she exclaimed, “I thought you were the pizza delivery company.” She laughed her faced wreathed in a smile. She was tall and slender with pretty blonde curly hair and warm brown eyes which crinkled at the corners.
As she spoke, over her shoulder, Jess saw Sebastien coming to the door and in the background other voices laughing and talking. Awkwardly, Jess began to apologise for disturbing them when Sebastien said

“Ah Jess, I see you have met my girlfriend, Celeste, are you going to come in for a drink, we are about to watch a DVD.”

“Oh no! Thanks for the offer, but I can see you have company and I wouldn’t want to intrude. I just wanted to return the stuff you lent me, you are a life saver.” She blushed.

Celeste opened the door wider, “Do come in, you can meet some of the other neighbours on this landing” and with that, Jess found herself guided into the lounge where an assortment of people turned to look at her.

Feeling desperately self conscious, Jess stood and saw another three people smiling at her. The first she instantly recognised as David, who had his arm around a woman who he immediately introduced as his girlfriend Abbey. She was, like David, tall with wavy, shoulder length dark hair and blue eyes, she smiled and waved at Jess before she and David resumed their conversation.

Next, she noticed Urs sitting in a chair in the corner examining the cover of a number of DVDs which presumably were the choice for the evening.

“Hi Jess, did you have a good day today? Not stuck in the lift again!” he smiled.

“No, made it unscathed today.” She joked and as she turned, met another figure coming out of the bathroom.

“Jess, I would like you to meet our manager Simon.” said Sebastien. “Simon, Jess has moved in next door and will be here for a while, she is Peters sister.”

“Hi Jess, good to meet you, nice slippers by the way!” he smiled.

She blushed again, “I wasn’t expecting to meet anyone” she grinned “But hey! The secret is out, I love my fluffy slippers! I know, I’m just so cool! Now, I really must go, it was nice meeting you all, thanks again for the stuff Seb, I will probably see you all again soon.”

As she made her way to the door, Seb asked if she would like to stay but after thanking him, she said, another time maybe and returned to her flat.


It was still early and Jess didn’t feel like staying alone and so decided to find the gym and swimming pool which could be found on the 50th floor and before long she was downstairs, changing into her costume a black one piece with a zip front and high cut legs which suited her slim figure perfectly. She walked out into a spacious, high ceiling pool area, with a panoramic view across the nearby park and was surprised to find it deserted.

With a sigh, Jess dived into the pool, the shock of the cool water invigorating as she swam the full length of the pool underwater. She surfaced at the other end in time to see a couple enter the pool area and make their way towards the hot tub at the far end.

The man was tanned with broad shoulders and narrow hips encased in dark close fitting shorts and from the back, Jess noticed a neat bottom and slim muscular legs.
The woman was small and dark with her hair caught up in a pony tail which swung as she scurried along to keep pace with the man and they appeared to be arguing.

Jess swam up and down the pool, each time she reached the far end; she caught snippets of their conversation.

“But why can’t I move in? I practically live there anyway, I could look after things for you when you are away” a high pitched voice could be heard.

Jess couldn’t hear the reply as a deep male voice answered her.

Each time another piece could be heard, the gist of which was that he was not going to let her move in no matter how much she wanted to. At this, the woman stood up and clambered out of the spa, turned and shouted” I hate you, you smug b…..d, I’ve had enough of you and I won’t waste another second of my life on you!” she turned and stomped away, her pony tail swinging angrily as the sound of a deep laugh echoed around the pool area.

Jess couldn’t help but overhear, but tried to ignore the figure, now emerging from the hot tub and plunging into the pool. He surfaced close to her and as she turned came face to face with her next door neighbour!!

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PostSubject: Re: *New Beginnings* By: Jan (Maybe2)   Sun Jul 26, 2009 2:52 pm

Part 7

He shook his head and water sprayed from his tight curly dark hair as he stood up. Water trickled down his face and onto his chest and Jess could not help but be transfixed by a pair of twinkling brown eyes in a bronzed face, the smile of a man confident in his own skin.

Before he could speak, Jess turned away and quickly swam to the shallow end of the pool and climbed out, painfully aware that he was watching her every step. It was unlike her to feel so uncomfortable around men; she had a brother after all, but something about this man made her uneasy and wrapping a towel around herself, she hurried to the changing rooms.

The next few days passed uneventfully. Jess began to adjust to the daily routines of city life and even enjoyed the noise of the city, so many people coming and going.
It was Saturday and as she was having her second cup of coffee the telephone rang and she picked it up to hear her brother on the line.

“Hi Pete, how are you, long time no here!” she teased

“I’m fine Jess, how you doing, finding your way around OK?”

“Yes great, it is a nice change, just what the doctor ordered.” She laughed.

“Are you sure? I’m not sure you should spend too much time on your own just yet, I’m only sorry this commission is holding me up here, I would love to show you some of the sites myself.” Peter’s voice softened. “I worry about you, are you still on your medication? I know they are supposed to help but you will be careful won’t you?”

“It’s fine Pete, really, I have only taken a couple recently, I seem to be sleeping better just lately and the pain is almost gone so please stop worrying. Tell me about what you are doing”

For the next few minutes they chatted about the celebrity client he was photographing and how she was always late and through tantrums at the slightest thing. It was refreshing to hear from her brother and just before they said their good byes he asked.

“Have you met any of the neighbours? I did ask them to keep an eye on you until I get back but I was not sure if they were going to be away or not.”

“Yes they seem very friendly, I have bumped into them a couple of times and met two of their girlfriends called Abbey and Celeste who seem really nice too, in fact, we are meeting up for a girly lunch later today, which I have to say will be a nice change.”

“Good, I am glad you are OK, will be back all being well in a couple of weeks. Take care. Love you.”

“Love you too. Bye Pete.” She replaced the receiver and felt a moment of sadness fall over her. It was lovely to hear from Peter but reminded her of the reason she had wound up here, not wanting to think about it, she picked up her coffee cup and hurried into her bedroom to select what she wanted to wear for her lunch date.

Lunch went so quickly, Jess found she instantly warmed to the girls who included Celeste and Abbey whom she had already met but also Francine, Urs girlfriend who had flown in from France this morning. Over lunch the girls quickly made Jess feel at home as they discussed their respective lives although Jess was a little reluctant to go into too much detail as to how she had arrived in London. Suffice to say, she told them she had lived in the Midlands, she had a brother, her parents had died some years ago and she was staying at her brothers for a while which seemed to satisfy the girls for now.

Just as they were about to leave, Celeste asked “Are you doing anything tonight Jess?”

“No nothing special, why?” she replied

“Well the guys are performing at the Tickled Pink Concert this evening in the Royal Albert Hall, do you fancy coming? It should be fun, we will look after you, and you will get to see lots of famous people at the party afterwards.”

“I would love to, but I have never even heard their music and I am not sure I have anything to wear that would be suitable. I wasn’t expecting to go out on the town!” she smiled. The girls all looked at her and then exchanged looks and instantly chorused “Harvey Nicks ”

Jess was always neatly turned out, but tended to be a little conservative and so by the time the girls had persuaded her to try some evening wear on she was a little overawed by the choice and designs available. Some dresses where little more than a few scraps of material, leaving little to the imagination which Celeste and Abbey wisely disregarded. Suddenly Francine pulled out a gorgeous black dress with a plunging back and fluted uneven hemline which they all thought would suit Jess perfectly.

They all stood looking expectantly at Jess who began to blush and stumbled on her words.
“I can’t possibly consider wearing that.” She mumbled and to her horror, tears began to slide down her cheeks. The girls were mortified and quickly replaced the dress and gathered around Jess trying to comfort her obvious distress.

“What on earth is the matter Jess? We didn’t want to upset you, Please tell us what is wrong?” the all pleaded.

Embarrassed, Jess explained how she had a large burn scar on her back and without going into detail, the girls accepted her explanation and set to finding another gorgeous creation, which despite her earlier distress, Jess enjoyed enormously.

The girls all returned to the apartment block and arranged to meet on the landing at 5.30pm. The guys had already left to do their sound check and so it was arranged that the ladies would be collected in good time to be taken to the Royal Albert Hall where they were shown into a large dressing room with a small lounge attached to the side.

There seemed to be dozens of people milling in and out of the room and Jess did her best to keep out of the way as Abbey, Celeste and Francine went to search out their respective boyfriends. Quite suddenly, David, Seb and Urs appeared beside her and she gazed at them completely stunned.

The three of them were immaculate in black dinner suits, without ties, but with crisp white shirts open at the neck. They also smelled divine as they stood waiting for Jessica to say something.

The guys she had been chatting to so casually the last few days, were suddenly transformed into the most devastatingly handsome men she had ever seen! She didn’t know what to say!

All she could do was to stare as they all broke into laughter. “Earth to Jess” called David and waved his hand in front of her face.

“Wow!” was all she could say as her gaze slid from one to the other, each man standing taller and enjoying her reaction immensely.

“Hey guys, we are missing someone! Where is he?” asked Urs, looking at his watch.
At this, the sound of a voice singing scales could be heard in the bathroom and everyone laughed. “It’s just part of his routine.” Celeste told Jess.

“Whose routine?” asked Jess. As if on cue, a figure emerged into the now almost empty lounge.

“Carlos!!” exclaimed Celeste, “I thought you had got lost. Come on you haven’t met Jessica, Carlos Marin, this is Jessica Carter.”

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Part 8

Jess stood completely still, transfixed by the man in front of her. It seemed as if everyone had fallen silent as she gazed, dumbstruck into the deepest brown eyes she had ever seen. She felt herself begin to blush but forced herself to hold out her hand to him and stuttered

“I am pleased to meet you Carlos”.

For his part, Carlos was also taken aback. He took in the small pink face, surrounded by freshly curled dark auburn hair and gazed into the most beautiful green eyes calmly staring back at him. He was about to slip into his usual Latin Lover routine, but for some reason, he took her hand in his, briefly and muttered

“I am very pleased to meet you also.”

This was so unlike the Carlos they knew; that David, Urs and Sebastien all looked at each other puzzled, but said nothing, for the moment. The spell was broken by a voice asking them to please go to their box as the performances were about to begin. Il Divo where not due to perform until the second half and so the party trooped into a box at the side of the stage to watch numerous performers go through their acts.

On the front row, Seb sat with Celeste, holding her hand and occasionally whispering into her ear, causing her to laugh and punch him playfully. Beside them David and Abbey sat comfortably, the air of cosy familiarity almost palpable and from time to time, David rocked with laughter at some of the comedians on stage.

Behind in the next row, Urs and Francine sat in a corner whispering to each other. It had been some weeks since they had seen each other and although trying to be discrete, Urs could not resist kissing her. It had been so long, he felt like a thirsty man being offered water. Francine began to respond as heat coursed through her body but she became aware that they could be seen by the audience and broke away from Urs, embrace, reluctantly. Her hand resting on his thigh drove him crazy as he tried to drag his thoughts back to the present.

“Later.” She whispered.

Carlos and Jessica sat beside each other.

Carlos felt confused. He thought she looked familiar but couldn’t put his finger on where he had seen her before and his own reaction to her puzzled him. She looked fragile, standing in front of him, her pale pink dress moulded to her beautifully curved frame and small hand clasped in his,. Usually be would fall into with his Latin Lover routine and have the girls falling at his feet but in this case something had stopped him. He was intensely aware of her at his side and found it difficult to concentrate on what was happening on stage.

Jessica was in a similar quandary. Surely he wasn’t the man next door, he was a real Romeo and womaniser, and she had seen it with her own eyes, not this deferential figure, quietly sitting to her right. She was confused and felt hot and uncomfortable with her thoughts.

Before long, the first part of the show came to an end and Steve, the guys Manager came into the box to escort them all back stage where Seb, David , Urs and Carlos would be able to warm up their voices before they were due to perform. Each of the girls where handed a drink although only mineral water was offered to the men until after their performance.

It soon became clear that the girls needed to leave them to their exercises and each gave their man a hug and kiss good luck before leaving and returning to the box.
When it came to Jess’s turn, she gave a general wave and called good luck but managed to avoid looking at Carlos as she closed the door behind her.

As they all sat down together, Celeste and Abbey sat on either side of Jess and whispered “Now you are in for a real treat, there is nothing like your first time.”

The lights went down and an expectant hush fell over the crowd as the Compare began to speak.
“Ladies and gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to introduce our next performers. They have had considerable success around the world and we are fortunate to have them with us tonight supporting a very worthwhile cause, I give you Il Divo!”

To Jess’s shock, the crowd erupted into thunderous applause and screams as people leapt to their feet and cheered. She was barely able to see the stage as the four men, casually strolled up to their microphones and waited for the noise to subside.

The first strains of music began and Sebastien’s voice could be heard clearly singing what Jess instantly recognised as Unchained Melody. Gradually each of the men joined in until finally reaching a beautiful conclusion where fans once again leapt to their feet and screamed their approval. A hail of roses descended onto the stage, some shyly handed to a member of the group, who graciously nodded thanks and waved to the crowd.

In the box, all the girls applauded enthusiastically and each of the men stole a glance in their direction and smiled to each other.

Jess stood clapping with the girls but was completely bowled over by what she had heard, it was so unexpected and like nothing she had ever heard before. She tried to gather her thought as they sat down to hear another song introduced by David.

“This next song is from our first album and is entitled Regressa a mi.”

The orchestra began to softly play the opening bars and from that moment, Jess was captivated by the song. It made her heart soar with unidentified longing, swell with passion and feel as if she could fly. Was this really possible for music to affect her so profoundly? All too soon, they came to the end of the song and as Sebastien sang the final words, the audience leapt to their feet once more and deafening applause followed the group as they left the stage.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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PostSubject: Re: *New Beginnings* By: Jan (Maybe2)   Sun Jul 26, 2009 2:53 pm

Part 9

In the box, Celeste, Abbey and Francine all looked at Jess and smiled to each other at the rapt expression on her face.

“What did you think then Jess?” Asked Celeste

“That was so…………. wonderful. I just did not know what to expect!” she exclaimed “Just stunning!”

Before they could answer, the girls were taken to a back stage area where they would soon be driven to the after show party.

“We won’t see the guys until later because they have to do interviews and photo calls for a while so I think the best thing we can do is relax and have a couple of drinks at the party” explained Abbey.

They made their way along the rear of the stage and glancing to her left, Jess caught a glimpse of the guys posing for photographers, the flashlights were dazzling but they stood patiently holding their smiles as what looked like a hundred shutters clicked and voices called for them to look this way and that.

The party was a revelation to Jess. She was unused to so many people crammed in to one place and the sounds as everyone shouted to be heard above the music and laughter. She kept spotting faces in the crowd she recognised from television, News Readers, Pop Stars, and Presenters all mingling together in the happy Post Concert atmosphere.
Jess was careful to stay close to the other girls in case she was swallowed up, but on one occasion was shocked to feel a hand on her bottom and a drunken voice, slurring in her ear belonging to a very well known presenter. Jess quickly removed the offending hand, and without drawing attention to her plight, told him firmly, but politely to go and maul someone else!

Jess may be small, but she wasn’t going to be handled by anyone, no matter how famous they may be!

Celeste, Abbey and Francine all seemed at ease at the party but it wasn’t long before Jess began to tire and she was unsure how late she would be likely to stay this evening. Sebastien, David, Urs and Carlos had not yet arrived and so she could not make her excuses and leave, so resolved to hang on as long as possible.

Sure enough, a little while later, Urs, David and Sebastien emerged into the room to a ripple of applause and they made their way over to their ladies, who greeted them with kisses and hugs. Even Jess was moved to hug each of them and couldn’t help but say

“That was just, magical! I felt chills run up and down my spine for the whole performance, just wonderful!.”

“That would be those duff notes from Frenchie!” joked David as his friend punched him playfully.

Each of the men had changed into casual, but smart outfits ranging from checked shirts and jeans to leather jackets and jeans or, as in Sebastiens case, navy t shirts and jeans.

“Where is Carlos?” asked Francine.

Urs and David laughed, “He has been cornered by that blonde Television presenter and she won’t take no for an answer! How does that guy do it?”

They all laughed and went off in search of drinks and something to eat. It was getting late and they were all hungry.

They found a table and as they began to get settled, Jess caught Celeste by the hand and whispered into her ear.

“I have to leave now, I am sorry to rush off but I need to go home.”

“Is anything wrong Jess? Can I do anything for you?” she asked anxiously.

“No, really, thanks for the offer, it’s just that I can’t cope with late nights just at the moment and you have all been so kind to bring me. I don’t want to intrude further. You have a good evening and give me a call tomorrow. I want to hear all the gossip!” she smiled.

“Guys! It has been wonderful but I am afraid I have to leave now; I will hopefully catch up with you tomorrow. Enjoy the rest of your evening.”

Everyone began to protest that it was early but they couldn’t persuade her to stay so Jess reassured them she would be fine getting home on her own and made her way to the front of the building where a taxi was just pulling up.

Jess opened the door and as she began to climb in, a hand pushed her forward and a drunken voice began to say “Hello again. You didn’t think I would go without seeing you again did you? Come on baby, I know you’re just playing hard to get!” and to her horror, Jess recognised the face of the drunken presenter from earlier and he was blocking her from getting back out of the taxi.


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Part 10

Sitting on the seat, she could smell the stale breathe and alcohol fumes emanating from the leering flushed face of her attacker and when he turned to the driver and began to say “Take us to the………” she launched herself at him, shoving with all her might and shouting “NO!!” as he staggered back.

At that moment another figure appeared at the taxi door and in a flash caught the back of her assailant’s jacket and wrenched him outside, where he fell into an untidy heap on the floor! Flash bulbs exploded around them, blinding Jess momentarily and a deep foreign voice from beside her, ordered to taxi to go.

The taxi pulled away, much to Jess’s relief, she turned to thank her rescuer but the words died in her throat.

Carlos was sitting beside her, his expression, one of concern as he studied her face, flushed with anger, her hair falling in disarray about her shoulders.

“Are you alright Jessica?” he asked anxiously “You are not hurt?”

“No, no, I am fine thank you, just a little shaken. Some people just don’t like to take no for an answer!” she laughed shakily. “How come you happened to be there?” she asked, trying to keep her voice from trembling.

“I was in the foyer, trying to get to the party but was waylaid when I noticed you slip by and go towards the door. Luckily I followed you, so here I am” He smiled at her warmly.

Jess could not help but notice; he had changed in to a white casual shirt and black jacket over dark grey jeans and looked dangerously attractive. The neck and first two buttons of his shirt were undone, the tanned column of his neck and chest contrasted sharply with his shirt.

Dragging her gaze away from him she studied her hands, now still in her lap and said
“Thank you for your help Carlos, but I am fine now, I really need to get home so please, go to your party, the others will be wondering where you got too!”

“I would like to see you home but, you are right, there are a few people I should see. So as long as you are sure you are OK, I will get out here.” He motioned for the driver to pull over and climbed out.

He turned as Jess said to him “Thank you again Carlos, and it was a wonderful performance by the way. See you again, enjoy your party!” She smiled gently at him and his stomach flipped over, but before he could say anything more, the taxi pulled away from the kerb and disappeared into the evening traffic leaving Carlos to walk the few hundred yards back to the party pondering what had just happened.

The party was in full swing as he entered the restaurant and Carlos quickly located his friends who joked about how long he had taken to get ready and how he really should know how to get his hair right by now! Carlos laughed good-naturedly but seemed preoccupied and even when he was approached by a spectacular brunette with impressive cleavage and endless legs, he did not respond with quite the enthusiasm his friends expected.

“Come on Carlos, that’s not like you!” they laughed, as she stalked away. “You aren’t ill are you?”

He smiled, and to please them, pulled his trademark wolfish grin, pretending to leer at the assembled women and said

“Hey! Even a Latin Lover can have a day off!” he laughed.

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PostSubject: Re: *New Beginnings* By: Jan (Maybe2)   Sun Jul 26, 2009 2:56 pm

Part 11

The next day, Jess woke early as she was once again conscious of the prickling of her back and decided to get up and make herself a drink.
She made her way to the kitchen and putting on the kettle, gazed out of the window and watched the first early rays of dawn, creeping across the trees in the park. It was quite breathtaking and she decided to sit in the lounge with her coffee and began to rerun the events of the previous evening in her head.

Unbeknown to her, next door, Carlos was also awake, the clock showed it was still only early, 5.00am but try as he may, he couldn’t get back to sleep.

He hadn’t been able to speak to Celeste privately last night as she and Sebastien had been inseparable and he didn’t really want the guys to hear what he had to say just yet, as it was something he needed to keep to himself for just a while.

Some time later, just a couple of doors away, Celeste and Sebastien lay in bed also discussing the night before.

“I cannot believe how quiet Carlos was last night. That brunette practically glued herself to him and he didn’t seem to notice!” he chuckled “most unlike our friend!”
Celeste who was resting her head on his chest also laughed, but not for the same reason.
“Seb, you know I love you, but your chest hair is so tickly!” she vigorously rubbed her nose and said “what were you saying? Oh yes, it was odd wasn’t it?” she laid her head down again, taking in the warm scent of his skin, and stretched her arm across his chest.

“It has been quite a while since Carlos had a regular girlfriend. Not since……….well you know. He seems to be a babe magnet and until last night, I hadn’t thought that it may just be a front to, cover the fact that he gets lonely.” She said.

“It’s a mystery.” Said Seb

“What is?” asked Celeste “The fact Carlos doesn’t have a girlfriend?”

“No! It’s a mystery how you can look so beautiful this morning after so little sleep!” he murmured his arms tightening around her.

She laughed huskily and said “Well that was your fault! Do you fancy an encore Monsieur?” Her hands smoothed over his chest and she gazed into his piercing green eyes and watched, fascinated, as they began to darken with renewed passion as he captured her lips with his and slowly rolled her backwards, pressing her into the mattress, and once again, they began to speak without words.


Later that morning, David, Urs, Sebastien and Carlos all met at the recording studio. Carlos was the last to arrive and immediately realised something had happened of which he was unaware.

The other three were all seated around a large table and in front of the, was a tabloid newspaper with, on the front page, a picture taken the night before, of the drunken Television presenter, sprawled on the floor, with a furious Carlos standing over him.

All three men looked up at Carlos and as one, chorused. “Way to go Rambo!”

Carlos glanced at the picture and groaned. Simon was not going to be very happy when he saw it, he hated negative publicity.

“Come on Carlos, spill.” said David “what on earth did you hit him for?”

“I didn’t actually hit him, I just removed him from the cab as he was bothering a lady who was not, shall we say, welcoming his advances.” He replied. “He was very drunk and not taking No for and answer.”

“So I suppose the lady was suitably grateful to you and you are meeting her for dinner tonight?” laughed Urs “We know you so well my friend!”

“Actually you are wrong on this occasion. I do not have her telephone number although I have an idea how to reach her, should I so decide and that is all I am going to say on the subject!” on that note, Carlos strode over to the cups laid out on the side table and began to pour himself a mug of strong black coffee.

The three men looked at each other incredulously.

“OK buddy” said David “Where is our friend Carlos and what have you done with him? Where is the guy who makes Casanova look like an amateur?”

Before Carlos could reply, the door burst open and a very angry Simon Cowell stomped into the room brandishing a copy of the Newspaper and demanding to know what the hell was going on.

Across town, Jess was returning to her apartment after collecting her post and Newspapers when, on the landing, she met Celeste.

“Good morning Jess. Got time for a coffee?” She asked “Have you seen this morning’s paper?”

“Not yet, I’ve just got it. Come on in, I am dying to hear all the gossip from last night.”

They went into the apartment and before Jess could put the kettle on; Celeste put the newspaper onto the table and said “I bet Simon is spitting feathers about this!”

As Jess gazed at the photograph of Carlos, the blood drained from her face and her hand shot up to her mouth in shock.

“Oh NO!” she gasped

“I know, it is so unlike Carlos to lash out at anyone, I’m sure that slime ball deserved it but this could be very serious if he presses charges against him.”

Celeste began to read the story out loud as Jessica’s mind whirled in confusion.

“The TV Presenter claims it was an unprovoked assault and will be taking legal advice and may consider taking steps against the Spanish Baritone, Carlos Marin, who is part of the successful Opera group Il Divo. They were just one of the groups last night performing at the Tickled Pink Concert at the Royal Albert Hall last.”

“But that’s not what happened!” exclaimed Jess

“How do you know? Did you see what happened Jess?” asked Celeste in surprise and noticing Jess’s ashen appearance, made her sit down before making the coffee herself and telling her.

“I think you had better tell me the whole story!”

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Part 12


Simon had raged at a Carlos for a while and then left to consult his legal team, leaving the four friends stunned, all thoughts of singing temporarily banished.

Urs broke the silence first and gently asked “Well this can easily be cleared up if the lady in question would come forward. If, as you say, this piece of slime was behaving badly, he wouldn’t want the press tarnishing his reputation. Would he? Problem solved!”

“Yes! You did say you know how to get hold of her, now would be a good time buddy!” added David

Reluctantly Carlos nodded, “You could be right David. Sebastien, could I have Celeste’s mobile number, I need to get hold of Jessica!”

“No you may not have her number!” said Sebastien, struggling not to laugh and looking at Urs and David.
.
“Are we going to tell him guys?”

David, Urs and Seb grinned at each other and eventually David couldn’t stand the suspense or the confusion on Carlos’s face any longer and said” She is closer than you think pal!”

Carlos still looked none the wiser until David continued, “You have been living next door to her for the last week!”



---------------------------------------

Back at the apartment, Jessica told Celeste the whole story but added

“I feel really guilty that this has happened and I was a little ungracious afterwards, leaving the poor man on the pavement, even though he insisted! I don’t know what it is, but as soon as I saw him, the first day, when I knocked on the wrong door, he provoked a very strange feeling I cannot quite put my finger on!”

Celeste laughed, “Most women feel that way when they first set eye on our Spanish friend!”

“No. I didn’t mean that!” cried Jess “I thought he was so cheesy when he answered the door, half dressed and with some women calling him in the background. Then we bumped in to each other in the swimming pool and he was with another woman who shouted at him, he was so ridiculously self assured!”

“So you had met before? I wonder why he didn’t remember?” puzzled Celeste.

“Well the first time I was dressed for watching TV and wearing my fluffy slippers if you remember?” said Jess with a grin, “and the second, my hair was soaked and I didn’t hang around to make small talk!”

“Well I think you may have to talk together now. Do you want me to ring him for you? ”

“No. I don’t know what the best thing to do is. Perhaps you could ring Seb and tell him what happened and if Carlos needs to talk to me, tell him where I am. That way, it leaves the ball in his court if he needs me.” said Jess.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Later that evening, Jess was in the kitchen putting the finishing touches to her dinner and was listening to the Il Divo CD Celeste had lent her, when there was a knock on the door.

Wiping her hands, she wandered to the door and was surprised to see the figure of Carlos standing on the doorstep.

“Oh!” she exclaimed “I wasn’t expecting to see you so soon!”

“Nor was I” replied Carlos with an amused if not sheepish look on his face. “I hope I am not intruding but Celeste told me where you lived and I really need to talk to you, about what happened last night.”

“That’s OK.” said Jess “Would you like to come in?”

“I was wondering if you would like to come out for some dinner this evening, somewhere quiet, where we can talk?” he asked hopefully.

“That’s very kind of you but I have dinner underway at the moment. Look, why don’t you join me? It will be ready soon, just a simple roast but I m sure we can make it stretch to the two of us?” she smiled. “It’s the least I can do after abandoning you last night!”

Carlos smiled at her, it had been a tough day and a home cooked meal sounded just wonderful.

“That sounds terrific.” He said “If it is no trouble. Do I have time to freshen up? Only I haven’t been home yet and could use a shower and a change of clothes.”

“No problem, take your time, it won’t be ready for about another half hour, is that long enough?” she asked.

“Perfect! I will see you soon.” And with that he disappeared next door, leaving Jess wondering if she had made the right decision.

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PostSubject: Re: *New Beginnings* By: Jan (Maybe2)   Sun Jul 26, 2009 2:57 pm

Part 13

The door bell rang promptly 30 minutes later and Jess, who had managed to tidy herself up and now wore a soft pink v neck jumper and slim fitting jeans opened the door to find a smiling Carlos holding two bottles of wine in his hands.

Jess’s heart missed a beat as she took in the tanned face and large brown eyes. His dark hair was still damp and curling around the base of his neck with the now familiar kiss curl, falling across his forehead. The cream cotton sweater and brown chinos, fitted to perfection and as he passed her, she caught the subtle hint of YSL.

“I didn’t know which to bring so I hope you like!” He laughed and wandered through into the kitchen, where he was greeted by the delicious aroma of roast chicken. His mouth began to water and he drew in a deep breath to exclaim.

“You have no idea how long it has been since I smelled something as good as that. Home cooking is a real luxury with the way we live at the moment.”

Jess smiled and said unsteadily

“Don’t get excited, you haven’t tasted it yet!” and in an effort to steady her nerves, concentrated on finding a corkscrew and handed it to Carlos.

The kitchen suddenly felt so small with the two of them there and Jess felt uncomfortably aware of the sheer maleness of Carlos, leaning casually on the breakfast bar and opening the wine.

Shaking her head imperceptivity, Jess began to serve the food and before long, they were sitting together, making small talk.


Carlos was not what she had expected. He was amusing, witty and charming, particularly when Jess confessed that until recently, she had not even heard of Il Divo! Not at all the lothario she had expected, and before long she found herself relaxing and enjoying his company.

Carlos laughed at her indignation at the sheer gall of the TV Presenter , daring to blame Carlos for dumping him on the pavement and was only too willing to stand up and tell her side of the story. He tried to convince her that’s was just what the press were like but her indignation amused him greatly.

It was decided that Jess would meet with Simon and their Legal team to make a statement which would hopefully allay any further talk of litigation.

After they had finished their meal, to her surprise, Carlos began to clear away and despite her protests, made short and efficient work of the washing up, whist Jess prepared coffee which they took into the lounge.

They sat on separate sofas facing each other and Carlos studied the small figure, leaning on her elbow with her legs folded beneath her and her shiny auburn hair spilling over her shoulder. She confused him, which was unusual in his experience.

Carlos had amused her with tales of his early musical career and as she relaxed, Jess told him about her love of horses and how she was an accomplished horsewoman.
As she spoke, Carlos was transfixed by her face which positively glowed and her green eyes sparkled with delight as she laughed over the silly incidents and accidents she had had over the years until quite suddenly she stopped in mid sentence, her words hanging in the air. A shadow seemed to fall over her face and the light died in her eyes.

“Is anything wrong Jess?” he asked his brown eyes watching her, puzzled that the conversation had stopped so abruptly.

“No. No, I’m so sorry to go on Carlos.” She answered vaguely, “I could bore for Britain once I get going.” She tried to cover the awkward pause and getting up, began to collect up the cups and went into the kitchen.

“You know there are stables in the park opposite if you feel you would like to go riding while you are here.” He said

“I don’t know, it’s been a little while since I rode, but you never know.”

She smiled sadly and Carlos fought the urge to wrap his arms about her. She suddenly looked so forlorn and fragile and she seemed to bring out the urge to protect her and he silently cursed the fact that Il Divo where leaving for a couple of weeks in the next few days.

“Well it is getting late Jessica, I had better make a move, I have a long way to go to get home!” he joked, as they made their way to the door.

They stood there for a moment, Jess with her hands in her pockets, shifting uncomfortably her hair beginning to fall over her face. Carlos raised a hand and slowly and carefully tucked the stray hair behind her ear, gently brushing her cheek with his thumb.

Jessica held her breath as she raised her face and looked fully into his beautiful eyes.
He smiled gently and bending his head kissed he softly on the cheek before saying,

“Thank you for a lovely evening Jess, can I call you tomorrow?” he asked.

Jess, blushing, nodded and said” Yes I would like that. Good night Carlos.”

“Goodnight little one.” He answered softly and with a wave, strode towards his apartment as Jess closed the door. She leaned back against the door and drew a deep calming breath, surely he must have heard her heart racing, what must he be thinking?

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PostSubject: Re: *New Beginnings* By: Jan (Maybe2)   Sun Jul 26, 2009 3:02 pm

Part 14

The next day, Jess had a meeting with Simon Cowell and his legal team, giving them the true facts of what had occurred on the night of the concert. Simon was not the monster she had expected and was charming to her and thanked her profusely for what she was doing.

For his part, Simon found Jess to be exceptionally attractive. She was calm and assured without being arrogant and wasn’t worried that her statement may lead her into unwanted publicity. Jess obviously had a great sense of fairness and was prepared to stand her ground.

Meanwhile, David, Sebastien , Urs and Carlos were sitting talking with Steve, their Tour Manager finalising the details of their trip to Europe. It was only for 2 weeks but none of the men relished the separation from loved ones, it was difficult to maintain contact sometimes and so trust was absolutely paramount.

Urs found it the most difficult as he and Francine had been together for 6 years. They shared a home in France but because of work commitments, as a teacher, Francine felt unable to relocate to the UK anytime soon. This meant snatching odd weekends as and when they could, which understandably caused friction from time to time.

David and Abbey virtually lived together but as Abbey was a musician, they too were used to long separations, only made bearable by constant communication by mobile and or web cams. They had often tried to teach Urs how to use his computer more effectively but had given up after he repeatedly sent messages to himself or wiped everything completely!

Sebastien and Celeste seemed to have it worked out very well. Celeste had found work easily in London and they both enjoyed spending time apart to pursue their individual interests. Sebastien admired her independent spirit; he wouldn’t want a woman who clung to him and who was worried every time he had to leave her. But when they got back together…………….!

Carlos was the only single one of the group having parted from his long time girlfriend some 12 months earlier. He was fortunate that he was able to have the pick of girls he met but just sometimes, he envied the stable relationships of his friends.

During a break in discussions that afternoon, Carlos slipped away to ring Jessica and thank her for the meal of the night before, but unfortunately, the telephone rang out until Peter’s answer phone clicked in. He left a brief message, promising to call again later and returned to his meeting, where David, Urs and Seb looked up expectantly and said

“Well?” They asked.

“Well what?” he replied tetchily

“Was she in?”

“Was who in?” he said

“JESSICA!” they chorused, laughing. It had been ages since they had been able to tease their friend in this way and Carlos couldn’t help but smile.

“No she wasn’t but I am sure I will catch up with her later, after all, tonight is the last opportunity to spend any time together for a while and I know you gentlemen will be occupied yourselves this evening!” Carlos grinned roguishly his eyebrow dipping comically over his left eye.

The day passed in whirl and soon everyone agreed that nothing had been left to chance and they left the BMG building and made for home.

They arrived at their apartment block and waiting for the lift, joked with each other about how they were going to spend their last evening. It had been agreed that as they would be all together for the next 2 weeks, tonight would be spent with their ladies, doing whatever they wanted and so as they stepped into the lift, there was much speculation as to what this might be.

As usual, the doors closed silently, and in a second, they began to ascend. David and Sebastien began to discuss what they thought may be in store for them.

“I think Abbey will have something fun in mind, maybe a movie somewhere and perhaps some dinner afterwards.” He mused

“Oh No, my friend.” Said Seb, “I just want, a little dinner, some nice wine, soft music and……….. Well who knows!” he finished with a smile.

“Seb you are just soooo French!” exclaimed Urs with a grin but before he could begin his musings, there was a slow groan and the lift came to a standstill.


The four men gazed at each other in horror and then began to laugh. This couldn’t happen, not tonight surely.

David was first to reach for the emergency bell and before long, a familiar voice answered.

“Hello, can I help you?”

“Hi Harry. It’s David Miller, Apartment 503. We are stuck in this elevator again, can you get us out?”

“Not again! What is it with you guys, wait there, I will call you straight back.” Harry said cheerfully.

The group groaned and Urs, looking at his watch said

“Hey! It is only 5.30pm, we have plenty of time. Come on, how long can it take?”

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Part 15
The answer came 2 hours later as finally, the lift sprang into life and the four weary occupants arrived on the landing. It had been a trial to say the least. Each of the men had at least been able to contact their girlfriends and had found it less than amusing when they broke into laughter on the other end of the phones.

Carlos was the only one not to make a phone call. He felt he didn’t want to speak to Jessica while there were a chance the others could hear him, as he didn’t want them to have anything to tease him with, whilst they were away. Never the less, he was anxious to get back to his apartment so that he could speak to her, she had not been far from his thoughts all day.

Jessica had just got out of the bath when she heard the phone ring. Picking it up, she instantly recognised the deep heavily accented voice on the other end.

“Jessica? It’s Carlos. I hope I am not disturbing you.” He said

Jessica’s heart skipped a beat as she thought “If you only knew!”

“I know it is short notice and I did try to call you sooner, but we are going away tomorrow, for a couple of weeks and I wondered if you would like to have dinner with me this evening.” As he spoke, Carlos realised he was desperate to see her and could not stifle his disappointment when she said.

“If only you had called sooner! I have already eaten!

“Well, how about a drink then? There is a nice bistro not far from here where they play good music and we can talk. Unless you have other plans?” he finished, crossing his fingers as he spoke.

“No, I don’t have anything planned, but you will be hungry wont you? Surely you don’t want to be late tonight if you are leaving tomorrow?” her heart sank. What was she doing trying to put him off!

“Don’t worry, I am sure I can find something to eat around here!” he laughed “Or are you trying to tell me something?”

“Not at all!” she said hurriedly and they agreed to meet at 8.30pm.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jessica was ready at the appointed time and jumped when the door bell rang and she hurried to answer it.

Once again, her heart leapt when she saw Carlos, who looked stunning in a black jacket, black t shirt and black trousers. Quickly she grabbed her bag, keys and jacket and they stood waiting for the lift.

Carlos could not help but smile as he looked sideways at Jessica who was watching the numbers of the floors above the doors, making its way to 86. Now was perhaps not the time to tell her that he had been stuck in there for 2 hours already today!
It was a short walk to the bistro from the apartment and as they emerged into the balmy evening, Carlos caught Jessica’s hand in his, causing her to blush. They walked along in companionable silence, Jess painfully conscious of the warmth of his hand in hers and the nervous flipping of her insides as they walked.

Carlos had wisely booked ahead, to ensure they had some privacy. The last thing he wanted was to be spotted tonight although most fans were very polite, some didn’t seem to know when to leave him alone and it was not always easy to keep smiling!

They were shown to a discrete booth at the back of the bistro, close to a small dance floor, where a few couples danced oblivious to anyone around.

They sat opposite each other and Jessica watched fascinated as Carlos became animated, describing how sometimes, when things got tense during rehearsal, all four of the guys would break out into different languages and how it sounded much worse than it was to the outsider!

His face beamed as he spoke and Jessica saw how fond he was of the others and was glad. It must be so lonely sometimes being away so long, having each other must be a comfort most of the time.

Suddenly, Carlos became serious and said

“Listen to me going on, I want to know more about you Jess. How did a lovely woman like you come to be living next door to me?”

Jess hesitated, she wasn’t sure she wanted to go into the detail of why she was here just yet. Why spoil a lovely evening and it was still too raw for her to deal with properly and so she decided to gloss over the details for now.

She forced a bright smile onto her face and began to speak..

“Well you know I am living in Peters flat at the moment, although he is due back next week, this trip is part holiday and part recuperation for me.”

“What is recuperation?” Carlos asked puzzled.

“Er, getting better after being ill.” She added and continued quickly “So I am not really sure how long I shall be here.”

Carlos frowned as he looked at her, then his eyes softened and he asked her gently

“When were you ill? Was it recently? Are you OK now?”

Jessica smiled at his concern. Had anyone else asked her questions so bluntly, she would have told them in no uncertain terms to not be so rude! However, is Latin temperament made him speak what was in his mind, regardless of social niceties!

Jess took a deep breath and said
“I was burned in a fire and had to spend some weeks in hospital and I needed to get away for a while, until thing settle down and I decide what I want to do next.”

For a moment, Carlos just looked at her, his brown eyes full of sympathy and concern, he recognised that it was difficult for Jess to say and hoped she didn’t feel he had pushed her too far in his efforts to know more about her.

She sat quietly studying his face, trying to read what he was thinking. Had she said too much, or not enough, had she scared him away?

Carlos’s mind was racing. Jess sat opposite him, totally unaware of how beautiful she looked. Her hair shone in the candlelight and the turquoise blue of the wrap top she wore, reflected in her green eyes making him ache to take her in his arms but a warning bell in his head was trying to tell him to take this slowly.

Instead, he smile at her again and asked her

“Would you like to dance Jessica?”

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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PostSubject: Re: *New Beginnings* By: Jan (Maybe2)   Sun Jul 26, 2009 3:03 pm

Part 16

The music was soft and Jess instantly recognised the sound of a favourite, George Michaels, Careless Whisper and nodding she got up and Carlos lead her to the dance floor.

They stood facing each other and Carlos took her hand in his and put his arm around her waist, holding her close. Jess places her hand on his chest, feeling the warm hard muscles beneath as they began to sway to the music.

At first, she felt a little awkward but Carlos was obviously a natural dancer and before long, Jess was able to relax and enjoy the warmth of his body as they danced and she gradually rested her head against his chest. She loved the feel of his shirt against her cheek and the subtle scent of cologne emanating from the unbuttoned neck, giving her, just a glimpse of his dark chest hair, making her gulp involuntarily and close her eyes. A wave of longing was beginning to steal over her, it had been so long since anyone had held her this way and so she gave herself up to the moment, enjoying, for now, the closeness they were sharing.

Carlos felt her finally relax and he rested his cheek on her head and tightened his hold, closing his eyes and giving a contented sigh. It was so refreshing to be with a woman who he felt relaxed with, who he could be himself and not the Latin Lover everyone expected these days.

The music changed and as the first bars of Without You, by Nilsson began,
Jess stirred in his arms and smiled.

“This is my favourite” she whispered and they continued to dance, both intensely aware of each others bodies moving so closely together.

Jessica stirred in his arms and tilted her head back to look up at him. Her green eyes studied his face from the top of his dark curling hair, the tanned complexion, to the intense brown eyes gazing back at her. Then softly and naturally, she felt his lips, soft and warm against hers, gently exploring and questioning, sending waves of pleasure flooding down her body as she felt herself melt against him.

Carlos raised his head and smiled.

“I have wanted to do that since first saw you.” He said huskily, his eyes taking in her flushed face, an gently he cupped her cheek in his hand and once again brushed his lips to hers and finding the answer he sought deepened the kiss until suddenly, he pulled away.

Smiling, Carlos straightened up and whispered into her ear.

“I don’t think this is the place to be doing this!” his eyes danced mischievously as Jessica, blushingly agreed and they headed back to their table.

This time they sat side by side, Carlos with his arm casually across the back of the seats and Jess achingly aware of the feel of his thigh against hers and Jess desperately tried to breathe normally and still the trembling of her own legs.

“I hate to do this Jessica, but I think it is time we left. I have to be at the airport at 5am tomorrow!” murmured Carlos regretfully.

“Oh my God Carlos!” replied Jess in shock. “Why on earth didn’t you say? I had no idea you were leaving so early!”

Carlos laughed at the horror on her face and hugged her tightly; enjoying the fact she was so concerned for him.

“It is not a problem. It is only 11.30pm, if we leave now I should be fine!” he chuckled and they made their way out into the now cool evening.

All too soon, they arrived back at the apartment and were standing outside her open apartment door, Carlos took Jess into his arms pulling her to him and putting his cheek against her hair he murmured

“I had a wonderful time Jessica; can I call you while I am away?”

“Of course, I will look forward to it.” She replied and was rewarded with another bone melting kiss which seemed to go on forever until they broke apart, both aware that thing were moving more quickly than they had intended.

Jessica stepped away and touched his face gently, her eyes dark with passion and whispered.

“I’ll miss you. Take good care of yourself, and try to be good!”

Carlos grinned and raised a hand.

“Scouts honour!” he said

“You were never a scout!” she giggled, punching him playfully and he replied with his hand on his heart.

“Jessica! I am hurt that you could think such a thing!” and he hugged her again.

Suddenly, he became serious and, holding her hand turned it palm up and kissed her wrist, holding the palm against his face. He looked at her, so many emotions passing across his face, and then in an instant they were gone, almost as if Jess had imagined them.

“Good night Jess, sleep well and I will speak to you very soon. If you need me, get my number from Celeste, she has our schedule and we will be back in two weeks” and with that, he quickly kissed her cheek and disappeared along the landing.

Jessica went into her apartment and closed the door. She leaned weakly against it, taking a deep breath and touching her lips with her fingers. Smiling to herself, she wondered how she was going to get through the coming days.

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PostSubject: Re: *New Beginnings* By: Jan (Maybe2)   Sun Jul 26, 2009 3:04 pm

Part 17

The first few days passed quickly, the guys were so busy with promotional appearances and interviews that they had little time to themselves. The first major appearance was to perform at the Palace of Versailles which thrilled Sebastien who could talk of nothing else in the 2 days leading up to the performance.

The day of the show, back in London, Celeste, Abbey and Jessica were all crowded around the large television in David’s apartment to watch it live on Sky.
All three girls had envied Francine, as she alone was going to be there. It was not too far from her home and she had travelled there with the boys.

The Palace was far larger than any of them had imagined and each girl could only wonder how their men would be feeling prior to going on stage. The crowd was simply enormous and the stage seemed to dwarf the men as they stood in the bright sunshine and for a second, none of the girls could speak until the first strains of Regressa a mi floated on the breeze across the Palace grounds. Sebastien sang the first lines and the girls drew a collective sigh.

The performance, as always, was superb, the crowd roared their approval as they finished and were then interviewed by a beautiful French presenter.
She obviously found the prospect of being so close to the Divo’s so overwhelming that she was totally overexcited which made Celeste groan dismissively.

“For Gods sake woman, stop drooling, it’s very unattractive!”

Everyone laughed but all the same watched closely to see what each of the men had to say. To their credit, each was charming to her, without being overly familiar though Jessica did think that Carlos looked particularly handsome and couldn’t stifle a pang of concern at the way he smiled at the presenter.

Abbey noticed her expression and said kindly

“Don’t worry Jess, Carlos is just being Carlos, it is what is expected of him, he really isn’t the playboy he portrays.”

Jess smiled ruefully and wished she felt as confident. None the less, Abbey, Jess and Celeste enjoyed the rest of the afternoon; Abbey and Celeste were teaching Jess how to get onto the forum of the Il Divo website.

This was a mystery to Jess, who was not very experienced with computers, but was soon able to navigate her way around and was amazed at what she found. The girls had warned her that she was in for a surprise, but nothing prepared her for the amount of information on the Divos, how many members there were and how well informed they were!

Having accidentally found her way into the Gallery, she spent at least an hour, with the girls browsing through literally hundreds of photographs and video clips of performances, Abbey and Celeste filling in the details of some of the shows they had been to.

“How do they know so much about the guys?”, Asked Jessica, stunned.

“We sometimes think they have their own spy network!” laughed Celeste, “For the most part, Seb says, whenever they run into their fans, who call themselves Divas, they are so friendly and polite. There are the odd occasions when they get a little too close, looking is one thing but some can get a little carried away!”

“Yes, it never ceases to amaze David how, no matter what time they are going to be somewhere, there is a hard core of fans willing to brave the elements just to get a smile or the chance of a photograph.” Abbey shook her head and smiled” all mad.” she said, “they haven’t seen him very first thing in the morning!”


“Don’t give me that!” said Jess giggling, “I may not have known you all that long but even I can see how much you love him!”

“Yes I know, I miss his smiling goofy face in the morning, although I don’t always appreciate his sense of humour when he decides to wake me up early on a Sunday morning when we only got to bed at some ungodly hour.” She laughed.

Celeste added “Sebastien was so touched by their concern over his injured leg. He had so many messages and offers of help, I could have been very jealous but I trust Seb and love him enough to let him get on with it.” She smiled slightly, “That’s not to say I don’t sometimes fret, there are so many beautiful and determined women out there!”

“I’m sure neither of you have anything to worry about, you only have to see you all together to know how solid you are.” She smiled at the girls and was glad they had become so close in the short time they had known each other.

“What about you Jessica, I know it’s early days yet, but how are you doing?” asked Celeste.

Jessica blushed and smiled shyly and said “Well he’s not hard to like is he!”

Abbey chuckled, “David said he cannot believe how happy Carlos seems at the moment. Usually he is the one who insists on extra rehearsals and on getting everything perfect but for some unknown reason……” she glanced meaningfully at Jessica, “he seems more interested in checking if he has missed any calls on his mobile!”

“Funnily enough, Seb and Urs have both said the same thing. What on earth have you done to our Cariltos?” they demanded playfully.

“We have spoken quite a few times on the phone.” admitted Jess, bashfully, not adding that it had been more than a few and for how long! She had only to hear his deep rich voice on the other end, to be reduced to a trembling heap curled up on the sofa!
As their laughter faded, suddenly, Jessica became serious and, taking a deep breath, looked at Celeste and Abbey and said.

“There is something I need to talk to you about. It’s about how I came to be here, I need your help and advice. Will you promise not to tell Carlos about what I am going to say?”


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Part 18

Abbey and Celeste sat down together on a sofa, wondering what on earth Jess was going to say.

“Do you remember the day we were shopping together for a dress for the Royal Albert Hall?” She asked.

Both nodded as she continued. “Well I mentioned that I had a bad scar on my back, due to a burn? Well how I came by it has a lot to do with why I am here.”

Jess went on to tell them how she was a successful horse rider who produced young stock for the Eventing world and until 6 months ago had been living in a beautiful farmhouse near the Warwickshire town of Stratford On Avon. It was everything she had ever dreamt of, the house was left to her by her parents and had many stables and fields surrounding the house.

She had become engaged to a man whom she had met through her horse connections whose name was Justin and apart from being rather controlling, he had seemed just perfect. He was experienced with horses and seemed to share Jess’s passion for her beautiful animals, which were as precious to her as any children may one day be.

Just before Justin was due to move in with Jessica, she began to notice small things which didn’t seem to make sense. Odd times he didn’t answer his telephone and made lame excuses about it, his tendency to throw money he could ill afford away, on ridiculous things and he also began to drink more than Jess felt was reasonable, which made her uneasy.

One evening, Justin had gone out to the stables to begin the usual round of feeds, when Jess was delayed on the telephone. Finishing her call as quickly as she could, she went out into the stable yard, where Justin had obviously not heard her approach.
She could hear him cursing Symphony, one of her six horses, who was clearly distressed and as she looked into the box, she was horrified to see Justin beating her with a whip as she cowered in the corner.

Before she could think, Jess dashed into the box and wrenched the whip from his hand and began to hit him about the head with it. Justin tried to make excuses but she wouldn’t listen and she told him to go and not come back, ever.

Celeste and Abbey listened closely as Jess continued.

“I thought that was that and to be honest, it was a bit of a relief when he had gone and so I finished up and went to bed as usual that evening.

It was about 2.30 am when I awoke to banging and neighing outside and the smell of burning. The stables were on fire. I ran out as fast as I could but they were well alight and I tried to get the horses out but they were so scared, they wouldn’t come………. And as I was opening all the doors in the hope they would at least try, my jumper caught fire but I couldn’t leave them. One of my grooms pulled me out of the stables and I must have fainted. When I came around, it was all over.” Jess finished quietly as if in a dream.

Abbey and Celeste were horrified by her story and both reached out to hold Jess’s hands, their sympathy was almost the undoing of Jess.

“What happened to the horses?” asked Abbey, hesitantly

Jessica shook her head sadly and whispered “All gone”. For a moment, no one spoke, then resolutely; she raised her head and continued, her voice stronger

“So 2 months in hospital, numerous operations and I am left with extensive scarring on my back. To be honest, I have no idea how or when to broach the subject with Carlos. There hasn’t been anyone for me in a long time. I mean, what can I say to him? He is so lovely and anyone would love to be with him, but I am so scared.”

Celeste and Abbey were stunned; they had no idea of what had happened In the short time they had known her, they had never got hint of the depth of the suffering she had endured and both ached for her.

Celeste got up and put her arms gently around Jess’s shoulders which now slumped with tiredness and she leaned against her friend, grateful for her support.

“I cannot imagine how it has been for you Jess, but surely you know, any man worthy of you, will understand. You are much more than just a body, you are a lovely woman with hopes and dreams and any man would be lucky to have you.” She said.

“I know it is early days but I am so afraid that if I let Carlos get too close, he will find me disgusting, the plastic surgery has been good but there is still extensive discolouration, which they say will fade in time but…….” Jess’s voice tailed off sadly.

“I think you are worrying too much at the moment.” said Abbey briskly “we don’t really know what Carlos will think, but you don’t have to jump into an explanation yet do you? I would hold on and wait to see how things develop.”

Abbey had spoken to David every day since they had been away and even he had said how happy and relaxed Carlos had seemed and Carlos had confided in him that he had never met anyone quite like Jess!.

Celeste added “Abbey is right, wait until you know how you both feel and then explain it to him. He is such a lovely guy, if he cares for you he won’t find it a problem at all.”

“I hope you are right” smiled Jess “It is a big deal to me as I have never been that confident about my body anyway!”

“You have to be joking!” exclaimed Celeste “Your figure is perfect, look at you, slim hips, tiny waist, with gorgeous hair and boobs to die for! No wonder Carlos is so smitten.”

“Let’s hope so.” murmured Jess almost to herself.


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PostSubject: Re: *New Beginnings* By: Jan (Maybe2)   Sun Jul 26, 2009 3:05 pm

Part 19

Following the revelations from Jess, Celeste and Abbey made it their mission to get Jess out and about so that she had less time to dwell on the immediate future.

This involved getting her to take up tennis which, her aching muscles reminded her, she hadn’t played for many years!
Jess was grateful for their concern and tried her very best to throw herself into the game and was surprised to find she had natural ability. Their enthusiasm was infectious and to Carlos’s amusement their daily calls soon became a report on her progress, measured by how stiff she happened to be that day!

The next few days flew by and Jess was returning to her apartment, carrying her post, when she met Celeste on the landing.

“Got time for a coffee and gossip?” asked Jess

“I am never too busy for a coffee” laughed Celeste, “You put the coffee on and I’ll get the biscuits!” and she disappeared back into her flat.

Jess left the door on the latch and put the kettle on. While she was waiting for it to boil began to scan through her letters until her hand froze and her heart jumped.

The envelope had the West Midlands Police Authority logo on it and as she gazed at it, Jess fought a wave of nausea and her hands began to shake as she opened the envelope.

Reading it quickly, it confirmed that the Police had completed their investigations into the incident at her home but had found insufficient evidence to take out a prosecution against the alleged perpetrator Justin Thompson.

Jess groaned and sank heavily onto a stool, the letter falling from her fingers.

“You will never believe what………….” Celeste strode into the kitchen brandishing a packet of chocolate cookies.

Looking at Jess’s face she stopped mid sentence.

“What’s the matter Jess?” she asked, her voice concerned.

Jess wordlessly indicated the letter, which had fallen onto the table and as Celeste read it, she didn’t know what to say to her friend.

“I really thought they would get him.” Jess said tonelessly, “it was the only thing that kept me going when I was in hospital, the idea he wouldn’t get away with it, and now he has!”

Celeste busied herself making them some strong coffee before saying to Jess.

“I am so sorry Jess; this is so hard on you. I don’t know how to help you!” she said sadly and put her arms gently around her.

“What this really means is I cannot stay hiding here much longer, I have to go home and start my life again.”

---------------------------------------


Meanwhile, the mini tour was coming to an end. Although the guys loved to sing their music, the promotional side was gruelling ,the constant smiling and answering the same questions, meant that sometimes they went onto auto pilot when they answered, using stock answers often.

Their last performance before coming home was to appear in Sweden and sing for Princess Victoria on the occasion of her birthday. This, they felt was a huge honour and on the day, they all felt more nervous than was usual. David, Sebastien, Carlos and Urs had all been briefed on the etiquette of the occasion and teased each other about bowing or if perhaps, with the long hair, Urs should curtsy!

The venue where they were to perform was outdoors and on the day, it was quite windy, causing the guys to tease poor Urs more than usual as to how his hair would behave. However, as usual everything went like clockwork and the first song Regressa a Mi was greeted with warm applause from the Princess and the audience.
Towards the end of the show, they sang My Way to the Princess and walking down from the stage, presented her with a red rose from each of them, which seemed to delight the Princess, who blushed as she shook their hands and they all bowed.

There was an end of term atmosphere amongst the guys as they travelled to the airport that evening. Urs was not going back to London with the others, but was flying to France to spend a couple of days with Francine at their home, before they both flew back in time for their appearance at the Henley Festival the following weekend.

Once on board the aircraft seated in Business class, David and Sebastien talked animatedly about what they wanted to do as soon as they got home.

“The first thing I want to do is to see if I can beat my record on the PS2, Need for Speed, it’s been ages.” said David.

“I hope that’s not THE first thing!” laughed Seb “I cannot imagine Abbey being very thrilled!”

“OK wise guy, what are you going to do first? As if I need to ask!” David chuckled.

“You are right, you don’t need to ask!” replied Sebastien punching his friend playfully and grinning.

Carlos smiled too, but was glad they didn’t ask him what he was going to do. All he could think of was Jessica and how much he wanted to see her. Carlos had told her it would be quite late when they landed, but she was very happy for him to call and see her when he returned, no matter what the time.

He stared out of the window into the darkness and wished the flight was over.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The flight landed at 11.50pm and after clearing customs, a weary David, Sebastien and Carlos climbed into their people carrier and were whisked back to their apartment block.
After each claiming their bags from the back, they summoned the lift which arrived quickly and before getting in, each man looked doubtfully at the others as Sebastien said what they were all thinking.

“I hope they have got this thing repaired. I don’t want to spend the night in here!” he laughed uneasily.

Nothing untoward happened and they arrived at floor 86 quickly. David and Sebastien were both saved from opening their doors as Celeste and Abbey had obviously been listening for them. Hugs and kisses were exchanged all around until, David and Sebastien were dragged uncomplaining into their respective homes, leaving Carlos to wonder what to do next.

Opening his own apartment door, he switched on the lights carried his luggage inside, dumping it onto the floor of the lounge, he looked at his watch, which read, 12.55am and his heart sank. Was it too late to go around and see if Jess was still awake or should he leave it until the morning?

The thumping of his heart and the sweating of his palms told him waiting was just not an option and so, grabbing his keys he went back out onto the landing and stood outside Jess’s door. Smiling to himself he knocked gently on the door and waited.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Part 20

Jessica opened her eyes suddenly, and listened. The sound of someone knocking on her door made her heart race and for a second, she couldn’t remember where she was.
As the evening had got later and the time crawled by, she had sat on the sofa and watched some TV in an attempt to distract herself from the nervous churning of her stomach and had fallen asleep..

Once again, she heard the soft knock and leapt to here feet and hurried to the door.

As she opened it, her breathe caught in her throat as she looked at a beaming Carlos on the door step and she realised that it was one thing to talk on the telephone, but quite another to be looking at him in the flesh!

Carlos’s heart lurched in his chest as he took in Jess’s face. She had obviously been asleep, her hair was tousled and her face was flushed as she smiled shyly at him and said warmly.

“Hello stranger!”

In an instant Carlos swept her into his arms and closing the door behind them, lifted her off the floor and spun her around, their bodies moulded tightly against each other.

Jess, her arms wrapped tightly around Carlos’s neck murmured against his ear
“It’s so lovely to see you!”

Carlos heart soared as he put her back on her feet and looked down into her face, his eyes studying her feverishly as he answered “I have missed you so much my Jess. I thought I would never get here.”

He stared deeply into her eyes as his fingers gently stroked down both sides of her face, then his forefinger began to trace the outline of her lips until he suddenly dropped his head and covered her mouth with his.

Instantly, Jess stood on the tips of her toes as his arms tightened around her and she became intensely aware of their bodies, warm and firm against each other. Jess began to respond to the insistent pressure of his warm soft lips on hers and when they broke apart, each was flushed and smiling broadly.

“Come on in, you look exhausted” said Jess touching Carlos’s face tenderly, tracing the dark shadows beneath his eyes and leading him to the sofa. She could barely take her eyes off him as she gently pushed him backwards onto the cushions and swung his feet onto the sofa to make him more comfortable.

Carlos lay back, watching Jess as she fussed over him, he was aware that she seemed a little nervous but that was only natural as they had conducted most of their relationship over the telephone!

“Can I get you anything?” she asked.

“No nothing.” He replied softly “Let me look at you.”

Jess knelt beside the sofa and gazed steadily at him.

His eyes wandered over her face, her hair and finally on her mouth. Reaching out, his hand curled around the back of her neck as he gently pulled her head down to him and kissed her. His lips were warm and soft against hers. The gentle pressure increased, gradually becoming more demanding until, Jess felt the tip of Carlos tongue, teasing the delicate inner edges of her lips, making Jess feel a rush of heat shoot through her body.

They broke the kiss and looked at each other. Both were flushed and smiling and Carlos couldn’t help but say softly.

“That was definitely worth the wait!”

Jess sat on the floor beside his head, holding his hand which she pressed to her cheek as she looked at him, her eyes so soft and clear, and her hair spilling over her shoulders and Carlos realised he felt an unusual sensation………contentment. He closed his eyes just for a moment smiling to himself.

Within a few minutes, he was asleep. Jess stayed where she was, just watching him as he slept, his chest rising and falling gently. Carlos’s face looked thinner than she remembered and the dark hair falling over his brow made him look pale. The pastel blue shirt he was wearing fell open at the neck to reveal a dark shadow of chest hair which made Jess blush as she fought the urge to stroke it.
Pulling her thoughts back to the present, she smiled down at Carlos sleeping form and disentangled her hand from his and went in search of a duvet to put over him.

Sure that he seemed comfortable, Jess turned out the lights, leaving just a lamp on, so that if he woke in the night, he wouldn’t fall over anything in the dark, she then went into her bedroom and got ready for bed.

Sleep was a long time coming to Jess.

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PostSubject: Re: *New Beginnings* By: Jan (Maybe2)   Sun Jul 26, 2009 3:06 pm

Part 21

When she awoke, the alarm clock showed it was still early, only 7.30am, but Jess was suddenly wide awake, remembering the night before and wondering if Carlos was still there. She quickly got out of bed, slipped on her fluffy slippers and quietly stole out of her room and into the lounge. Glancing towards the sofa, she stifled her disappointment at seeing it empty and turned to go into the kitchen.

She stopped in her tracks as she saw Carlos in his dark jeans, barefoot, his back to her, standing at the sink. He had obviously not heard her, as he began to stretch his arms above his head, groaning as he loosened his muscles. The pale blue shirt, which was crumpled and hanging out, stretched across his broad shoulders and as she watched him, Jess could not help but notice the tanned forearms sprinkled with dark hair protruding from the rolled up sleeves.


Jess felt a wave of longing wash over her; it had been a long time since she had wanted to be close to anyone, and she wanted to be close to him.

“Good morning.” She said and smiled as he jumped.

Turning around, Carlos’s face broke into a grin as he clutched his heart theatrically and pretended to stagger around the kitchen.

“Do you always creep up on people like that?” he laughed.

“No, only the ones who fall asleep on my sofa!” she replied.

Carlos stood and looked at Jess, his arms folded across his chest, his head on one side and a gently smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. She was unaware of how cute she looked to him, hair all tousled, dressed in oversized pink striped pyjamas and wearing a pair of scruffy fluffy slippers.

Jessica noticed more of the buttons of his shirt had sprung open during the night, giving her an almost uninterrupted view of his chest and flat stomach. She swallowed hard and tried to behave as if it was an everyday occurrence to find a partially dressed gorgeous man in her kitchen.
“Coffee?” she squeaked and began to walk towards the kettle, when she felt Carlos’s arms go around her and turn her towards him. His face looked much darker, the shadow of his beard enhancing the planes of his face as he looked down at her, his eyes trying to read what Jess was thinking.

“Do you know how lovely you look this morning?” he asked huskily and before Jess could answer, began to kiss her, gently and slowly until Jess began to feel her toes beginning to curl deliciously in her slippers.

Suddenly, as Carlos began to pull her closer, Jess cried out in pain.

“What is it Jess? Did I hurt you?” Carlos frowned anxiously and loosened his hold on her.

“It’s OK, don’t, worry.” She said awkwardly and reached up to touch his face, he looked so worried Jess heart melted as she began to explain.

“You remember, I told you I had an accident and got burned in a fire?”

Carlos nodded his eyes fixed on her face.

“Well first thing in the morning, the pain killers have worn off, so until I have taken them, I am a little delicate. It won’t be forever, just whilst I am healing.” she finished trying to make light of the fierce pain beginning to burn across her back.

“I am so sorry Jess, I just didn’t realise, I will try to be more careful in future.”

The worry in Carlos’s eyes, made Jess smile and taking his face in her hands, she gently kissed his lips, smiled and said.

“Now, about that coffee?”


----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Part 22

Carlos and Jess had decided to spend the day together, Carlos wanted to get out of London for a while and so they decided to head for the coast. He had given Jess strict instructions to be at the entrance of the apartments at 10 am when he would pick her up in his car.

It had never occurred to Jess that Carlos kept a car, as the guys were chauffeured everywhere in a mini bus and so at 10am she was waiting on the pavement, when a large dark blue Mercedes convertible purred up to where she stood. The passenger window silently slid down and a grinning Carlos said.

“Good morning Senorita, Can I offer you a lift?”

Smiling, Jessica opened the door and slid inside the car. The upholstery smelled of new leather and she looked across at Carlos who beamed with pride as they pulled almost silently away from the curb.

“This is gorgeous Carlos, is it new?” she asked.

“I have had her a little while, but I have had no time lately to take her out and so today, we will enjoy the day and see where she takes us.” He said.

Carlos was a good, if rather fast driver, Jess took the opportunity to watch him as he drove, his hands which were quite small, rested lightly on the steering wheel, stroking the leather as they waited at traffic lights, which made Jess smile to herself.

“What is so amusing?” asked Carlos eventually, his eyes crinkling at the corners.

“Men and cars! You are all like little boys with their toys.” She giggled.

“Ah! That is where you are wrong my Jess!” Carlos snorted. “Cars are like women, you have to be gentle with them, look after them, caress them and tell them how beautiful they are and then you get the best out of them!”

Jess laughed out loud “well if you try to wash me down with a cold hose pipe and rub me with a chamois leather I might not be too impressed!”

Carlos threw back his head and laughed, “Jess, you are unlike any woman I have ever met. Do you have no romance in your soul?”

“I wouldn’t say that. It’s just that I think I would rather be treated like a flower, nurtured, protected and watered, treated as precious.” She said smiling.

“Ah but Jess, flowers just end up in the bin when they start to wilt.” He answered.

“Touché” replied Jess. “OK Carlos, let’s see what music you like to listen to.”

For the next couple of hours, they chatted and laughed about Carlos musical tastes, which ranged from the predictable opera to Queen and Tom Jones. They had a hilarious time singing at the tops of their voices to Delilah and even attempted some of Freddie Mercury’s The Show Must Go On with varying degrees of success, until they came to a small seaside town named Arlingford.

The sun was shining brightly as they parked the car on the sea front. It was a tiny place with narrow streets, an old fishing village where time seems to almost have stood still.

Carlos and Jess decided to walk along the sea front, the uneven cobbles and shabby cottages were testament to the fact that tourism had not yet reached this little village.
Together they strolled along the full length of the sea front hand in hand. The wind, which had sprung up, blew Jessica’s hair around her like an auburn halo and Carlos smiled at her as she spun around, her arms out at her sides, head back, laughing up at the sky.


She looked so carefree and beautiful that Carlos felt his stomach flip over and his heart lurched in his chest.

For the first time in months, Jessica felt real happiness. She stopped and noticed Carlos watching her; he was so handsome in his casual clothing, jeans and white polo shirt which contrasted sharply with his tanned arms. She ran up to him, and flung her arms around his neck as he picked her up.

“Thank you! Thank you for bringing me here Carlos, I love it by the sea, this is just wonderful!” she cried

“I am glad you are happy Jess, it’s good to get away from the city sometimes. I love to watch the sea too. All that power, so beautiful and yet so dangerous.” He laughed
“Just like a woman!”

He put Jess back on her feet and gently kissed her, his lips, warm against hers which were cool from the wind. They stood for a moment, forehead to forehead, each trying to read the others mind until Carlos murmured, stroking her face with his finger.

“Are you hungry Jess?”

She laughed and said” Starving! It must be the sea air! How about you?”

“I could eat a horse!” he exclaimed “But I don’t suppose there are many around here!”

Giggling, they made their way to a tiny village pub where they had the worst food they had ever tasted.

Carlos was indignant and wanted to complain but Jess just laughed all the way through the meal, which was served by an ancient barman and cooked by his equally ancient wife. Jess hadn’t the heart to complain and so when they came out, both were still hungry.

“I don’t see why we couldn’t say anything.” grumbled Carlos “In Spain, it would never have been allowed!”

Teasing him, Jess put her arm through his and said

“Well we are not in Spain now, are we?” and screamed as Carlos grabbed her and pretended to push her off the wall and into the swirling waves below.

Breathlessly Jess struggled until he turned her around in his arms, holding her against the wall and for a second, she looked into his eyes until once again, he began to kiss her, fire instantly coursed through her body. Carlos pulled her closer to him, and Jess hesitantly began to answer the probing of his mouth , causing Carlos to groan, his desire for her becoming evident as he moulded his body to hers.

As Jess’s legs began to weaken, she was swiftly brought to earth by the ringing of Carlos’s mobile phone.

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PostSubject: Re: *New Beginnings* By: Jan (Maybe2)   Sun Jul 26, 2009 3:07 pm

Part 23

Cursing, Carlos reached into his pocket and loosening his hold on Jess, answered gruffly.

“Yes!”

Jess smiled and turned to watch the waves pounding below her, half listening to Carlos who was evidently speaking to Simon.

Putting his arms around her again, Carlos said

“Sorry about that Jess. Simon wanted to know where I was, as he needs to speak to speak to David, Sebastien, Urs and I tonight about our appearance on Sunday at the Henley Festival.”

“I though Urs was in France with Francine?” she said.

“No they are flying in this afternoon about 4 o’clock, in fact, in about half an hour, and Simon wants us to meet at his apartment later.” Carlos added. Turning her back into his arms he murmured.

“Now where were we?”

-----------------------------------------------------

A little while later, Jessica and Carlos, hand in hand, began to wander back towards the car, when Jessica took a deep breath and said quietly.

“Carlos, you know, I have to go home soon.” She looked calmly into his face.

Carlos stopped abruptly, pulling her to a standstill.

“What do you mean, go home!” he asked anxiously. His expression was suddenly serious.

“Where is home, you haven’t told me.? Why do you have to go, I want you here with me!”

Jess smiled, he sounded like a petulant child.

“You know I was here for a holiday and to recuperate, well Peter will be home any day and I have a business I have to get back to, if I still can.”

“What sort of business is it Jess? When do you have to go?”

Without going into too much detail, Jess explained that as well as training young horses, she ran a livery yard with several members of staff, who had been holding things together for her whilst she had been in hospital.

“When are you thinking of leaving?” asked Carlos. His voice gave away nothing of the emotions raging inside him.

“In a few days I think. I can’t put it off any longer, it is my livelihood and I owe it to the clients to get back again.”

Jessica looked into his face, her eyes full of anxiety and sadness and Carlos pulled her into his arms and kissing the top of her head, and holding her tightly whispered.

“It’s OK little one, we will sort something out, I promise.”

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Part 24

The journey back was a sombre one, each of them lost in their own thoughts only occasionally trying to make conversation until Jess, exhausted, fell asleep.

Carlos kept stealing glances at her as he drove, his mind whirling and a sick heavy feeling in his stomach. He had no idea what to do and felt helpless, not an emotion he enjoyed. On one hand he realised it was perfectly reasonable that Jess had a life before they met, which may well include a business etc, but the thought of losing her so soon was almost more than he could bear.
On the other, was it fair to leave her hanging about for him between appearances and trips overseas when she obviously adored what she did and didn’t appear to want to give it up?

The thoughts went around in his head until they were almost home and Jessica began to stir.

“Hello sleepyhead!” Carlos smiled down at her as Jess grinned back at him.

“I am so sorry Carlos, How rude of me to fall asleep like that! Guess I am not as fit as I thought!” she chuckled.

“Its fine, we are home now. Is it OK if I drop you off as I have to go straight to Simons place for this meeting?”

Carlos pulled over in front of the apartment block and stopped the engine.
Jessica stifled her disappointment and said

“Sure, that’s fine, I hope you have a good time and thank you for a lovely day Carlos.” She leaned over to him and softly touched his face, and looked into his troubled eyes.

“Don’t look so worried, I haven’t gone yet!” she whispered, and with that, she kissed his lips gently and got out of the car, and with a wave, turned and walked into the foyer before Carlos could see the stricken look on her face.



---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Jessica didn’t hear from Carlos that evening and she hoped it was because he was late back from Simons place and not because he was angry with her.
She hadn’t slept well and was up and dressed early, half hoping to hear noises from Carlos’s apartment, but all was silent.

Jess had already booked a 2 hour ride at the stables in the park which Carlos had told her about which was at 9 am and so at 8.30 am, she was changed into her breeches and boots with a dark red sweatshirt and waiting by the lift doors when she heard two voices behind her.

“Wow! I wonder if Carlos has seen her in those!”

“I bet he hasn’t or he wouldn’t let her out on her own!”

This was followed by loud laughter which, as Jess discovered on turning around, came from David and Sebastien who were looking her up and down appreciatively.

They all got into the lift.

“OK guys, have you never seen a woman in jodhpurs before?” she said sternly and smiled

Both men shook their heads, grinning all over their faces as Jess laughed and said “Pervs!” and swatted them both with her riding gloves.

“More, more, I love a woman in long boots!” cried David theatrically and Sebastien couldn’t help but ask creepily

“Do you have a whip Jess?” before laughing aloud again.

Smiling, she added

“You are both sad, sad men! Are you going to the gym this morning?”

“Yes, Urs is already there so we thought we should make an effort.” said David
Did Carlos say he was going this morning?” looking at Jess.

“I haven’t seen him since he dropped me off yesterday and went to Simons last night.” She answered.

“Mmm, he was a little quiet last night, you two haven’t fallen out have you?” asked David, his face concerned.

“I don’t think so. Perhaps he is just tired this morning.”

They arrived at the 50th floor and both men got out.

“Have a nice ride Jess!” grinned David with a mock leer and Sebastien pretended to fan himself at the sight of her.

As the lift doors closed, Jess called cheekily

“Don’t strain yourselves guys!”

Jess was soon out of the building and walking across to the park. It was a beautiful summer’s day, the sun was not yet too hot and Jessica was glad she had got up so early.
She arrived at the stables well before her booking and spent a little time, peering over stable doors at a selection of occupants. The familiar smells of horses, straw and leather soon calmed the understandable nervousness she felt, as she had not even looked at a horse since the fire.

Jess stroked some of the inquisitive faces that leaned expectantly over the doors, putting her face close to their noses and blowing gently into their nostrils, and taking in the scent of each horse.

Before long, the stable owner brought out a beautiful chestnut mare for Jess to ride. Her coat gleamed like satin and she looked very fit and lively. After a moment’s hesitation, Jess put her foot into the stirrup and was on board, the immediate thrill of coming home hit her and for a second, her heart almost burst with joy.

After 2 hours, Jess made it back to the stables, her face, lit up with excitement although she had had a slight fall, leaving her muddy, it had not dampened her enjoyment. As she turned back into the yard she noticed a familiar figure leaning against the wall.

Carlos had been watching Jess for some time. She was such a small figure but so completely in control for what she was doing, her face glowing with happiness as she patted her horse and finally came back into the yard.

To her surprise, Carlos came over to Jess as she sat on her horse and began to stroke the beautiful animals head. Sensing the possibility of food, she nuzzled Carlos jeans pocket, making him smile and say.

“Sorry my lady, I have nothing for you!” and expertly avoiding being nipped at the same time.
“I didn’t know you liked horses.” Said Jess in surprise

“Ah! There is a lot you so not know about me Jess.I was brought up around horses as a child in Spain, I used to ride bareback often, although I am not sure I would like to do it now!” he chuckled “Urs does too, perhaps we should all come over here some time.”

Dismounting, Jess gave the horse to a stable girl and after thanking her, began to walk
back towards the apartments. She stopped and asked Carlos.

“How did you know I was here?”

“I was getting worried about you after I couldn’t find you at the apartment, and I bumped into David and Seb.”

Laughing, Carlos explained how they had taken great delight in telling, how they had seen Jess in her riding clothes and what he had missed.

“Oh I see. You just came for a perv too!” giggled Jess looking up into his face.

“No!” he said seriously “I just missed you.” And he took her in his arms.

“Oh no don’t, I am all dirty!” she cried but was silenced as Carlos murmured

“I like you dirty!” and kissed her thoroughly.

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PostSubject: Re: *New Beginnings* By: Jan (Maybe2)   Sun Jul 26, 2009 3:08 pm

Part 25

Walking back to the apartments, Carlos asked Jess if she had any plans for the day as they had all been invited to Simons place for a barbeque.

The Henley Festival Concert was to be the next day and then the guys would be going to Sweden to record their next album and so it was a last opportunity to relax before a hectic time.


Jess was relieved that they both seemed to be back to normal; no hint of yesterday’s tension remained and happily agreed to go to Simon’s house. After a quick shower, she had packed her swimming kit and was waiting in the foyer for Carlos to collect her.
David and Abbey, Sebastien and Celeste and Urs and Francine were going in the minibus and teased Jess as she waited.

“Hey Jess! You’re not actually going to ride in Carlos’s baby are you?” called David grinning. “That’s more than we have isn’t it guys?”

Seb and Urs grinned.

“Yes David, you’re right but let’s face it, only the beautiful get to ride with our Carlitos, that lets us three out!” laughed Urs amid protestations by the girls.

At that moment, their transport arrived and they all got in just as Carlos pulled up behind them. With much good natured banter and a few rude gestures, everyone was on their way to Simon’s mansion about ½ and hour away.

When they arrived, Jess was amazed at the size of the place. All the rooms had vast high ceilings and columns everywhere with marble floors and huge soft sofas at every turn.
A massive plasma screen television was on one wall, opposite enormous glass doors which led on to a paved terrace. From there, Jessica could see steps leading down to a beautiful swimming pool.

Simon greeted them all.

“Welcome Jessica, good to see you again” and kissed her cheek and went on to kiss the other girls and said “Celeste, Abbey, Francine, you know where everything is girls, make yourselves at home and if you could look after Jess. You guys,
I need to chat for 10 minutes, so come with me.”

Simon had a number of staff working at the house and before long, the girls were given drinks and were deciding whether to go for a swim as the sun was getting quite hot..

“Come on girls, you know what Simons 10 minutes can be like!” said Celeste “Lets get changed and the boys can join us later.”

“Good idea, I cannot wait to cool off” said Abbey and led the way to the beautiful changing rooms. Racks of soft fluffy pink towels were along one side and each girl took one as they emerged, changed into their costumes.


Celeste already had a beautiful tan which was shown to perfection in a pale turquoise halter neck bikini, she sauntered out unselfconsciously and found a sun lounger where she spread out her towel and sat down.

Francine and Abbey also wore bikinis; Francine had a dark tan complimented by a deep cream and brown strapless top with tiny pants which tied at the sides. Abbey wore a more modest black bikini with full top which covered her generous breasts with black tie side pants to match.

Jessica felt decidedly overdressed in her black one piece. It was stylish in its own way with high cut legs and zip front but she was conscious it had none of the obvious appeal of her friend’s attire, but it covered what it need to and so Jess was content.

Sitting together on the loungers under a giant umbrella the girl began to chat about the coming concert, it was the only appearance the boys were doing this year and everyone was excited.

Celeste turned to Jessica and said,

“You are coming aren’t you Jess?”

“Well Carlos hasn’t actually asked me!” she laughed “But if he does, then yes, I would love to come.”

“On the subject of Carlitos, how is it going then!” asked Francine with a smile, “Come on Jess, I want details, don’t forget I have been away!”

Blushing, Jess giggled and said,
“OK, OK, we have been out a few times and he is very nice…”

“Nice! Nice! Come on Jess, this is not a word you use to describe our Carlos! Gorgeous, handsome, sexy charming, these are what you describe him as!” laughed Abbey and the others nodded.

“What are you, his agents?” smiled Jess and added “Alright, he is everything you say and probably more!”

“Now was that so hard to admit?” asked Celeste

“No, but it’s a bit complicated and I really like him but he is just sooooooo………”

“HOT!” they chorused.

Sheepishly, Jess nodded. “I know I am not a kid dating for the first time but it’s been a while.” adding swiftly, before the girls could jump in, “and if anyone says anything about riding a bike…………..!”

Laughing, they all decided to have a swim. The pool was beautiful, huge with a removable roof, an island in the centre and a Jacuzzi at one end . The garden had panoramic view over a golf course.

The girls swam for a while and lay on several inflatable beds drifting gently and talking quietly until suddenly, each was overturned by David, Urs and Sebastien, unnoticed, leaping into the water making a human tidal wave.

Carlos was the last to appear and as Jess turned to look for him, she couldn’t help but notice how handsome he looked in his swim shorts, his well muscled chest sprinkled with dark hair, his flat stomach and his shorts clinging, leaving little to the imagination! Although she had seen him swim before, she had not taken much notice but this time…… heat stole over her face and she quickly sank beneath the pools surface to cool her blushes.

Lunch was served by Simon’s staff, a delicious selection of barbequed meat and chicken with prawn kebabs and vast array of salads. They had been joined by Simons girlfriend Sandra a beautiful but very friendly model who had obviously met everyone before and made a special effort to make Jess feel at home.

After lunch, a game of 5 aside water polo was organised amid lots of cheating and laughing until everyone except Carlos and Jess collapsed onto loungers in the sun and dozed.
They decided to lie around in the pool on the airbeds, holding hands and drifted to the far side of the pool behind the island. Suddenly Carlos pulled Jessica off her bed and under the water, her hair swirling around her like a sea anemone .Before she could make a sound, Carlos was kissing her hungrily, his hands either side of her head, his lips hard and demanding. Taking a deep breath he gasped.

“My God, Jess! I’ve wanted to do that all afternoon!”

She smiled tenderly at him and put her hands on his shoulders as they bobbed about in the water. Carlos kissed her again, more gently this time as his arms slipped around her waist, pulling her closer. He broke the kiss, looking deeply into Jess’s eyes, silently asking her a question which was answered when Jess began to kiss him back.
She was aware of every hair on his chest against her skin, even the rough hair on his legs, so close to hers made her tingle from head to toe. Putting her arms around his neck she nibbled his ear lobe and as Carlos began to moan, he lifted her in his arms as she wrapped her legs around him.

Jessica groaned and whispered into his ear “Senor Marin! What do you think you are doing?”

Carlos laughed and answered huskily, “I know what I would like to be doing! But it seems yet again my Jessica, we are in the wrong place at the wrong time!”

He gently put her back on her feet as he tried to control his breathing and stroking her face, he kissed her nose and stepped away from her.

“I think I had better stay in here a little longer querida” he said “Do you have any idea what you are doing to me?”

Grinning cheekily, Jessica answered “I think I have a good idea.” And she began to swim to the other side of the pool, leaving Carlos to cool down.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Part 26

I was getting late when everyone left. Carlos and Jess drove back to the apartments, tired and sunburned but very relaxed together, as they listened to Barbra Streisand playing softly on the stereo. Carlos took Jess’s hand in his as he drove and kissing the back of her hand asked,

“Jess, if you are not busy tomorrow, would you like to come to the concert? It will be madness, but it would mean a lot to me for you to be there.”

Turning in her seat, Jess studied Carlos profile. His dark hair, gleamed and his eyes shone in the lights of the dashboard, the white shirt he had worn all day was still crisp, with the cuffs neatly folded back over his brown forearms.

Smiling, she replied, “I would love to.” she was surprised to see Carlos visibly relax and nod to himself.
After they parked the car, Carlos and Jess waited by the lifts, wondering which to take. It was becoming a little like Russian roulette as to which would break down and was becoming a bit of a standing joke. Jess had even got over her anxiety, realising that she would come to no harm.

Stepping into the lift, Carlos leaned against the side with his arm around Jess who suddenly felt exhausted and rested her head onto his shoulder, closing her eyes.

They arrive at their floor and Jess was almost asleep on her feet, Carlos took her key and opened the door and led her into the apartment. Jess tried to wake up but it was as if some invisible hand kept closing her eyelids and she struggled to stay upright.

Carlos took her through to her bedroom and sat her down on the side of her bed, and began to take off her shoes. He thought about taking the rest of Jess’s clothes off but decided she may be embarrassed and besides, he smiled to himself, he would rather she was conscious when they did that!

Jessica tried to protest as he laid her down and covered her with a duvet. Carlos kissed her forehead lightly, stroked her face gently and smiled.

“Goodnight little one, see you tomorrow.” He whispered, and quietly went out and closed the door.


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jess woke the next morning very puzzled at still being fully dressed. The last thing she remembered was being in the lift but had no recollection of how she came to be in bed.

Looking at the clock, it was still fairly early, 7.30 am but Jess felt in urgent need of a shower having slept fully dressed and before long, was standing under the refreshing warm water when she heard someone singing next door. Smiling to herself, she imagined Carlos splashing water and soap everywhere as he showered and leaving puddles on the floor as he walked around the apartment dripping.

Smiling to herself, Jess dried herself quickly, slipped into a huge comfy t shirt and shorts, and grinning, picked up her keys and was soon outside Carlos’s door.

Ignoring the nervous churning of her stomach, she knocked softly and could hear him padding to the door in bare feet. As he opened the door and saw Jess, his face split into a smile of delight as he stepped behind the door and invited her in.

“I know it’s early” she said walking ahead of him “But I heard you singing in the shower and so I knew you were awake. I wanted to apologise for last night, it was hardly the most romantic way to end an evening!”

As she turned, Jess was surprised to find Carlos was dressed only in a towel, wrapped tightly around an enviably trim waist. Trying to look only into his eyes, Jess exclaimed.

“I’m so sorry, I thought you would be finished washing and….”

She looked so flustered that Carlos couldn’t help but laugh. Her face was delightfully pink and she was so obviously embarrassed, that he decided to take pity on her and get dressed.

Jess was painfully aware of the nearness of his body. She could smell the clean, fresh scent of his soap and the beads of water still clinging to the hairs of his chest brought a lump to her throat she struggled to swallow.

Carlos, aware if her discomfort, smiled and said.

“It’s OK Jess, I don’t bite!” bending to whisper softly into her ear. “Unless, you ask nicely!” he quickly kissed her cheek and laughed.

Quickly dodging a playful slap from Jess, whose face flushed even more, Carlos, chuckling to himself, disappeared into his bedroom, closing the door.

Looking around the apartment, Jess was surprised how warm and cosy it felt. The walls were cream again but all the furnishings were in Mediterranean colours, burned oranges, yellows and blues with beautiful Spanish paintings on the walls and thick, deep pile carpets ran throughout.

After a few minutes, Carlos emerged, fully dressed in jeans and pale grey sweatshirt and stood in front of her, smiling broadly..

“To what do I owe the pleasure of this early morning visit!” he said

Jess stuck her hands in her pockets and leaned against the breakfast bar, feeling awkward. Looking at his expression, she suddenly laughed.

“Does this happen to you often, women falling asleep in your company?”

“No, it doesn’t and never when fully dressed!.” He answered, wiggling his eyebrows at her suggestively.

“Well anyway, I am sorry to be so boring Carlos and I promise not to do it again, and I wondered if I could take you out for breakfast this morning?” she finished in a rush.

“I would love to have breakfast with you Jess but I am being picked up soon, as we have to rehearse this morning, and then go to Henley for a sound check. But I was going to call you and let you know what is happening to you girls.”

As he was speaking, Carlos walked into the kitchen, taking cups from the cupboard and pouring coffee, he was the very picture of domestication as he turned and began buttering toast.

Jess’s surprise must have shown on her face as he grinned at her and said,

“Yes Jessica, even Spanish men can feed themselves!”

Between mouth fulls of toast, Carlos told her the arrangements for the day just as the doorbell rang and an American voice said loudly,

“Come on Marin, forget the hair already!”

Carlos wrenched the door open intent on giving David a reply but thought better of it and instead, invited him in.

“Man! I never knew a guy who could take so long over….Oh hi Jess!” David stopped in his tracks and turned awkwardly.

“Hey look, I’m sorry to interrupt and all but…………”

“You’re not David, I just popped in to take Carlos for breakfast, but he can’t make it.” said Jess by way of explanation.

“Sure!” exclaimed David in a voice laden with disbelief

“Come on amigo, we are running late,” dragging Carlos towards the door, just giving him time to peck Jess on the cheek before adding

“anything he hasn’t told you Jess, just ask the girls, see you later!” and with that, she watched as the two of them jumped into the lift being held by Urs and Sebastien who waved to her and were gone.

Part 27

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PostSubject: Re: *New Beginnings* By: Jan (Maybe2)   Sun Jul 26, 2009 3:09 pm

Part 27


At 4 pm, the girls, all dressed in a selection of summer outfits were collected and taken to the Henley Festival approximately an hour away. It was a boiling hot day with a slight breeze to bring some relief once they were out of the bus and inside the grounds.

On the journey, Celeste and Abbey told Jessica a little of what to expect when she got there.

“The guys have to do a sound check before the showground opens and so you may not get to see Carlos much until after the show.” said Celeste.

“But you are in for a real treat tonight.” added Abbey “The guys are so excited to be here, it’s their first and only chance, to perform for their British fans this year and so it is really important to get it right tonight!”

Arriving at the ground, the girls were delivered to the performer’s entrance and were soon inside the dressing room area where dozens of people were milling around, shouting orders or talking on mobiles, or both! It was not difficult to find their men as the sound of Carlos warming up was pretty obvious!

Jessica nervously followed Francine into a small dressing room where she suddenly saw Carlos across in the corner laughing with Sebastien.
David and Urs were sitting relaxed in a couple of chairs when they spotted the girls arrival.
Neither were changed into their suits and looked cool and casual in jeans and white shirts and in David’s case, open sandals.

“Hi Sweetheart!” called Abbey and was swept up into an exuberant hug by David who lifted her up and swung her around before putting her back on her feet and exclaiming,

“Wow! Don’t you look just beautiful?”

Abbey blushed but looked very pleased.

Urs was slightly more restrained but gave Francine a gentle kiss, took her hand and whispering to her in French walked over to a table where they sat down together.

Celeste and Jessica made their way through the crowded room and managed to reach Sebastien and Carlos without them noticing.

Jessica crept up behind Carlos and slipped her arms around him from behind, startling him as he spun around and hugged her.

“Jess!” he laughed “you are going to be the death of me creeping up like that!” kissing her lightly, his eyes roamed over her, taking in the figure hugging dress and breathing in her perfume took a deep breath and groaned, “Beautiful!”

“Yeah Jess” said Sebastien smiling, his arm around Celeste, “You don’t want to be giving this old guy too many shocks!”

“It’s OK sweetheart” answered Jess innocently “I know mouth to mouth!”

Pulling her close, Carlos whispered “I am very glad to hear it. When can we go practice?”

Laughing, the four of them made their way towards where Urs and David were waiting.

“OK Guys, you know we really should get going with this sound check, Steve is starting to get a bit on edge so how about it?” David shrugged his shoulders.

“Yes, let’s get it done, then perhaps we can meet a few of the fans if they are around.” added Sebastien.

“Well I don’t think you will be disappointed Frenchy, they usually are about, they seem to have their own grapevine and nothing is secret from them!” said Urs as they noticed one of the organisers waving at them and tapping her watch.

Whist the men were away, the girls took the opportunity to investigate the Festival grounds. The river made a beautiful backdrop for the stage which resembled a huge shell, floating on the water. Celeste and Jessica stopped for a moment to watch as the guys began to sing.

Jessica felt the hair on the back of her neck tingle and she shivered.

“Wonderful aren’t they?” said Celeste “They never cease to amaze me, no matter how often I have heard them perform!”

Jess nodded wordlessly, transfixed by the sound of their voices and hoping she would remember how she felt at that moment, forever.

Wandering back towards the dressing rooms, the girls noticed groups of women all laughing and talking and it wasn’t difficult to notice they were the Divas of the forum.
Many seemed to be wearing black and silver ribbons and were obviously having a wonderful time.

Suddenly, an excited murmuring went out, as the guys suddenly appeared to the delight of the assembled groups. Within minutes, each man was surrounded by very respectful ladies asking for autographs or posing for photographs and with endless patience, the guys obliged until Steve, called them to go back and get dressed for the performance.

Before going back inside, Celeste laughed and said,

“Thank goodness Seb has gone in! What must the fans think, he hasn’t had a shave!”

“I don’t think they will mind!” said Abbey dryly

“No! Of course not. I bet all the ladies love a bit of stubble for a change from Armani!” giggled Francine. “I know I do. I love the feel of Urs when he hasn’t shaved and he……….”

“Too much information I think!” smiled Jess blushing as they went back inside.


Part 28

The time came for the girls to take their seats, but they had enough time to kiss each man, now dressed in the inevitable and stunning Armani, good luck. Carlos hugged Jessica closely. The feel of the smooth jacket and the musky scent of his aftershave, emanating from the crisp white shirt stirred her senses and a wave of longing, swept over her as never before.

Leaning back, Jess looked into his sparkling eyes; her hand, cupped the side of his face and she reached up and lightly brushed his warm soft lips with her own and whispered,

“Good luck sweetheart!”
With a gentle smile and a squeeze, Carlos released her and turned to join the others who were getting into a Vintage Car to be driven to the floating stage.

Taking their places in the audience on the front row, each girl was aware that the air of excitement had reached fever pitch and couldn’t help but listen to the many conversations going on around them.

It was obvious how many girls had travelled long distances, even from America to be there, some ladies had been lucky enough to have their photograph taken with one of the guys and were proudly showing the result on their cameras There was much oohing and aahing amongst them, punctuated by not fairs and lucky things!

Keadie, the young, talented and beautiful Opera singer wound up her part of the show and was rewarded by warm applause, but it could not be avoided, that the main event, the guys, was what the audience was waiting for.

Finally, the compare began his introduction and Il Divo were driven along the tow path in the car and the crowd went wild!

Smiling to each other, Celeste, Abbey, Francine and Jess joined in the welcome, carried on the huge tide of love and affection generated towards the guys.

The strains of Regressa a Mi began and in a few seconds, they were there, in front of them and if it were possible, the noise increased again.

Each man looked completely thrilled by their reception, almost unable to sing for smiling so broadly, apart from Carlos, of course, who had it down to a fine art!

It took no time at all for each man to locate the girls, and without being too obvious, they were able to make regular eye contact with them.

David did the introduction of each of the group starting with Carlos, who went into typical Latin Lover mode, much to the delight of his fans. Jess smiled at their antics and as Carlos just caught her eye, she winked boldly at him causing him to waggle his eyebrow at her before laughing. , and Celeste couldn’t help but giggle, when Sebastien had to use his list in order to remember who to thank.


Next, to huge shrieks, he introduced Sebastien who murmured in French to the audience who clapped wildly. Urs was the next, greeted once again by huge applause as he spoke in Swiss German until it was Sebs turn to introduce David.

The time flew by until they sang My Way and were about to leave the stage when four women with huge bouquets of red roses, rushed up to the stage to present them to each Divo. Photos were taken, hands shaken until finally they left the stage, only to return for an encore, Every time I look at you.

This was Jess’s favourite and she was transfixed as Carlos sought her out as he sang his part, his eyes never leaving her face, which grew steadily redder until she was sure everyone would know to whom he was singing . So concentrated on Jess was he, that Carlos made an uncharacteristic error, stealing lines from Sebastien, much to the amusement of the crowd and the other Divos, who carried on, smiling amongst themselves until the end of the song.

Finally they left the stage and were quickly whisked back to their dressing rooms where they all clapped each other on the backs, a mixture of relief, excitement and joy that everything had gone so well.

As the crowd dispersed, the girls were able to return back into the dressing rooms where all the artists, who had performed, including the orchestra were changing before leaving.

Outside, it had not taken long before a crowd had gathered to see Il Divo leave and as each time the door opened, hundreds of pairs of eyes eagerly scanned the doorway for a glimpse of the guys.

Abbey and Jessica found seats while they were waiting for the men to change and Jessica, still stunned from the performance said,

“Carlos said it would be madness, but I had no idea what he meant!”

“It was the same for me the first time I saw David perform. Firstly I couldn’t believe just how wonderful they sounded but how the person you know is suddenly this idol to so many, mostly women. It takes some getting used to I can tell you!” laughing she added,

“So if you intend sticking around……. grow a thick skin! Its not easy having your man adored by so many beautiful women.”

“I can see it might be difficult.” said Jess thoughtfully.

Overhearing their conversation, Celeste broke in,

“Might be! Half the time I am fighting not to scratch their eyes out! I know Seb is only doing his part for the fans but sometimes it is easy to feel insecure. So Abbey is right, you need to know about the down sides as well as the perks!”

“Oh yes, lets just remember the upsides too girls, we don’t want to put Jessica off. Now remind me……… the travel, nice hotels, restaurants, not to mention, four of the most wonderful men in the world to love and be loved by. Not too big a price to pay I am sure you will agree.” said Francine, adding wistfully “Although, I could cheerfully swap some of the perks for a little more time together.”


Suddenly, David, Sebastien ,Urs and Carlos appeared washed and changed into their casual clothing, all were more relaxed and smiled broadly as they reached the girls.

Carlos rushed over to Jessica smiling as she opened her arms to him in a huge hug and was swung around and then put back down as Carlos excitedly asked what she though.

“Well? What do you think? Did you enjoy the performance?” he asked anxiously.

“Well she is hardly going to say no is she Carlitos!” laughed David, his arm around Abbey.

“No pressure then Jess!” added Urs grinning.

“Come on Jess, put him out of his misery!” teased Sebastien who was then prodded playfully by Celeste.

“Give the girl a break!” she said.

Laughing and hugging Carlos tightly, Jess manage to say,

“You were all, completely fabulous! I can honestly say, I have never heard anything like it. In a good way!” she added hurriedly “it was just wonderful!”

“OK ! She can stay!” chuckled David smiling hugely at her.

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PostSubject: Re: *New Beginnings* By: Jan (Maybe2)   Sun Jul 26, 2009 3:11 pm

Part 29

After the concert, everyone went to dinner where the wine flowed and there was lots of laughter and time for everyone to unwind, until they finally left the restaurant some time after 1 am.

They piled into the larger mini bus which had been laid on for them all, Jess and Carlos sat at the back, amid much teasing about behaving themselves and ribald comments about leg room.

Carlos put his arm around Jessica’s shoulders and although she wasn’t cold, she shivered. Pulling her closer, Carlos rested his head on the top of her hair as she put her head on his chest.

Glancing down, he asked,

“are you comfortable Jess?” as she looked up at him, and smiled, he couldn’t help but notice the neck of her dress gape open to reveal a tantalising glimpse of her cleavage, encased in beautiful white lace.

Gulping and trying not to stare, he looked into her eyes which sparkled with amusement at his discomfort.

“I am fine thank you Carlos. How about you?” she asked cheekily.

Bending his head to her ear, he whispered huskily,

“Well I am enjoying the view!”

Nudging him playfully with her elbow, she snuggled closer to him, enjoying the warmth of his arms around her as he began to nuzzle her neck with his warm lips.

The journey passed uneventfully and they all piled out of the bus outside the apartment block. Everyone looked sleepy as they took the lift to their floor and waved goodnight to each other on the landing, leaving Carlos and Jess alone outside her door.

Turning to open the door, Jess felt Carlos’s arm circle her waist as he stood behind her, his warm breath on her neck as he whispered,

“Are you tired Jess?”

Shaking her head wordlessly, Jess turned to look at him and saw in his face, the longing she had felt all day and she silently took his hand and slowly pulled him into the apartment.

Closing the door, with a shaking hand, she carefully put the security chain on and in a husky voice said, as she turned into Carlos arms.

“Now you have no escape!”

At her words, Carlos laughed and answered, “I promise not to try!”

Taking Jess’s face in his hands, he began to kiss her, his lips soft and gentle at first, and then with greater intensity, as his tongue parted Jess’s lips, meeting no resistance until he heard her moan and pulled her closer to him. Jess began to slide her arms inside his jacket, her hands smoothing over the contours of his waist and back, heat began to sweep over her as she tilted her head back and Carlos’s lips burned hot kisses down her throat and neck as he slid his fingers under the straps on her shoulders, exposing their velvet softness to the warm trail of his mouth.

Pushing his jacket off his shoulders, Jess let it fall to the floor as she began to untuck his shirt, her hands feverishly seeking the warmth of his skin as she clung to him. Together, they stumbled into the living room until Carlos fell backwards on to the sofa, pulling a giggling Jess on top of him. He groaned and Jess made to get up, afraid she was hurting him but he reached up and pulled her back down to him and kissed her again, his mouth seeming to draw out her very soul as his lips continued their onslaught.

Drawing away, her breath, uneven, Jess knelt up to look at him. Sitting astride him, her head on one side and a slight smile spread on her lips she surveyed Carlos lying there. His white shirt was askew, giving Jess a tantalising view of the hair on his chest which was enough to bring a lump of pure lust into Jess’s throat as she watched him.

He began to stroke the hair away from Jess’s face, his eyes roving over her as his hands began to explore her body, lightly skimming her breasts and waist, causing her to moan once again at his touch. Carlos’s fingers began to search for the zip of her dress, slowly undoing it, bringing welcome cool air to Jess’s overheating skin as the top of her dress fell away, to reveal her beautiful breasts to his gaze. Feeling his warm hands spread across her rib cage, Jess gasped, her mind beginning to cloud with her need to feel him closer too her. Wrenching her thoughts back to the present she began to speak,

“Carlos, I…”

“It’s OK Jess, don’t be scared, I won’t hurt you, don’t worry, we have plenty of time.”

For his part, Carlos was hanging on to his control by the merest thread, his breathing was ragged and he ached to feel Jess’s skin next to his own. Almost without thinking, Jess began to undo the lower buttons of his shirt, her eyes now dark with passion, not leaving his face, her fingers stroking the soft hair on his stomach above his waistband as Carlos, unable to stand it, took a sharp intake of breath.

“Are you sure about this Jess?” he groaned

. His hands, grabbed hers before they could wreak more havoc on his already tortured body.

Before she could answer, there was the unmistakeable sound of a key in the door and a voice calling,

“Jess! Jess! Can you hear me? Let me in!”

The sound of Peters voice brought Carlos and Jess back to earth with a considerable bump!

“i Madre de Dios!” exclaimed Carlos, hitting the back of the sofa in frustration.

“Oh my God!” added Jess jumping up and straightening her clothes and hair, glancing at Carlos’s expression, she could not help but giggle as he very reluctantly began to sit up and tuck his shirt in once more.

“I’m coming!” she called to her brother, the irony of the expression not lost on her as she opened the door and let him in.

“Hi Jess.” said Peter smiling “Didn’t you get my message? I left it in the answer machine this morning.”

Turning to look at the hall table, the message light winked at her accusingly.

Walking into the lounge, Peter was surprised to see Jess had company in the form of a now upright and relaxed Carlos.

“Hi Carlos!” he said shaking his hand, “good to see you again. I hope you have been taking good care of my sister while I have been gone.”

“Yes Peter, we have had a good day today but I think I will leave you both, it is time I went home, and it is getting late Jess.”

Walking him to the door, Jess whispered,

“I am so sorry Carlos, I really didn’t know he was coming back.”

“It’s OK little one” he answered, brushing her face with his hand, “perhaps it was for the best.” And with that, he kissed her briefly and left her with an awful sinking feeling, wondering where they stood now.

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PostSubject: Re: *New Beginnings* By: Jan (Maybe2)   Sun Jul 26, 2009 3:12 pm

Part 30

After a restless night, tossing and turning, Jess got up early and had eaten breakfast when Peter wandered in, stretching and yawning and looking for coffee.

“Hi Jess. Sleep OK?” he asked.

“No, not really.” She answered quietly.

“Is anything wrong? Do you want to tell me about it?”

Peter looked concerned; it was unlike Jess to be so quiet. They had always been close and so not much went unnoticed when they were together.
Pouring himself some coffee, he sat down next to Jess who was sitting at the end of the sofa with her legs underneath her looking pensive.

“I hope you won’t take this the wrong way Jess but………….. I could be wrong, but I think I may have interrupted something last night? Are you seeing Carlos?”

Jess looked at her brother, her tired eyes giving nothing away but she did not answer him.

“Look Jess, I like the guy but I wouldn’t want you to get involved with him, he is a real player, always a new girl each week if not less, in fact, he should have a revolving door on his apartment! I know he is good fun but please, don’t get too close, I don’t want you to be hurt, you have been through enough lately.”

Straightening up, Jess looked angrily at Peter, trying to keep her voice controlled, Jess snapped

“What do you take me for? I am not a little girl anymore, I know what you are saying, I would be an idiot not to realise, that someone like Carlos has lots of opportunities, particularly in his position! We have been having fun together, nothing too heavy, it’s not like we are madly in love or anything!” Jess paced up and down the living room.

Smiling at her indignation, Peter chuckled and said

“Oh dear! Touched a nerve did I? Sounds like it’s not me you are trying to convince. Don’t forget Jess, I know you, I can see by your face you’re smitten whether you admit it or not!”

“OK, so I like him, he makes me laugh; he is very attractive, good company, and not the womaniser you think!” Jess stopped pacing and grabbed a cushion which she lobbed expertly at her s****ing brother.

“I cannot believe my tough little sister has been bitten by the Spanish Bug! Seriously though Jess, I don’t want to see you hurt again so soon after………well you know.
Have you told Carlos about what happened?”

“No I haven’t told him everything; it hasn’t really come up as yet. To be honest, I am not sure where we are at the moment; he isn’t always that easy to read.’ Sighing heavily, Jess added “All I do know is that I am not ready for this to end yet, whatever happens.”

Peter stood up and hugged Jess tightly, and said,

“What ever happens, I am here for you Jess.”

Smiling, she looked up at him, glad that she had her big brother back again, even though he was obviously concerned for her.

“I think I need to get some fresh air, I am going for a walk.”

She grabbed her keys and with a quick kiss on Peter’s cheek, she hurried out of the apartment assuring him she would be fine.

Within minutes, she was out of the building and heading towards the park, the early morning mist had cleared to promise another scorching day although Jess was glad she was wearing a jumper a the heat of the day was some way off.

There was a surprising number if people already in the park and Jess hurried along as if trying to escape from her own thoughts, until she reached a bench, not far from the Riding Stables, where she finally sat down, to catch her breath.

Her head whirled with so many thoughts, what did Carlos mean when he left? Was he angry? Did he mean he didn’t want to get involved with her anyway? Perhaps he was just tired and understandably a little frustrated under the circumstances!

Jess smiled, he was not the only one there!

Her smile faded as the realisation hit her that she was already afraid Carlos would walk away, after all Peter was right, he was becoming a huge star with beautiful women throwing themselves at him everyday.

Jess’s stomach tightened in a knot of anxiety and a wave of despair washed over her as she sat huddled on the bench, lost in her thoughts and fears.

Meanwhile, Carlos had not slept well either.

It was unusual for him, the guys always teased him that he could sleep any time anywhere and often did on the many flights they took around the world. He tossed and turned but could only doze, his thoughts returning to Jess, and how she had looked when he left her earlier so abruptly.

He realised he had been insensitive; after all, it was not her fault Peter had arrived at such an unfortunate time! Laughing, he cursed himself for being such an idiot and resolved to make it up to Jess in the morning and finally drifted off to sleep.

He was awoken by the sound of a door slamming and a very sore throat. Ruefully, he guessed he had been snoring again; David was always teasing him about it! Looking at his clock, was surprised to find it was still only 7.30am but he was now wide awake and in need of a hot coffee and a shower, not necessarily in that order.

Carlos got out of bed and padded into the kitchen clad only in his black silk pyjama trousers and stretched whilst the coffee machine worked its magic and wondered if Jess was awake yet and what time he could reasonably call her. He hated to think what she must think of his behaviour and he inwardly cringed as he thought of how he had stalked off.

Half an hour later, showered and shaved, Carlos was standing outside Jess’s apartment door about to knock when the door opened to reveal Peter, about to go out.

Smiling, Peter said.

“Carlos, what can I do for you? As if I need to ask!”

“Though it is obviously nice to see you Pete, I wanted to see Jessica.”

“Sorry, she is not here at the moment. She went out about half an hour ago.”

“Do you know where she went; I really need to speak to her.” Carlos looked anxious and to his surprise, Peter felt a little sorry for him.

“She went for a walk, probably in the park I would think” he said.

“Thanks Pete! I will go and look for her”

“Just one thing Carlos, as a friend, I am asking you to be careful with Jess, she has had it rough lately and the last thing she needs is messing around, understood?”

“Of course, I don’t want to hurt her, don’t worry.” and Carlos turned and they both got into the lift.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Walking across the park, Carlos wondered what he was going to say to Jess if he found her. It was a new experience to him, feeling he had something to apologise for, in his dealings with a woman.

As a Spanish man, he was very aware of his masculinity and was sometimes guilty of
being a little chauvinistic when it came to women, but he was aware that Jess may have misread his parting words to her last night and for some reason, Carlos wanted to make things right between them, before he had to go away again.

It was not long before he saw Jess, sitting alone on a park bench. Watching her, she looked so lost, her dark auburn hair was pulled back into a loose ponytail and emphasised how pale she looked in the early sunshine, and the blue hooded top she wore seemed too big as she sat hunched inside it.

Approaching the bench, Carlos cleared his throat and called quietly

“Jess!”

She jumped up at the sound of her name and turning around, was stunned to find Carlos looking at her so seriously. Her heart leapt with a mixture of joy and fear but she couldn’t help but smile at him.

Carlos smiled back at her and quickly swept her into an enormous hug, kissing her hair and squeezing her tightly.

Letting her go, Carlos peered down into Jess’s face, his hand smoothing her hair and his eyes taking in the pale skin and green eyes, anxiously looking back at him. His heart melted and he began quickly,

“Jess, I am so sorry about last night, I behaved like a spoilt schoolboy, I didn’t mean to leave you like that I behaved like an idiot……..”

Touching his lips with her finger to stop him, Jess smiled and said

“It’s OK Carlos, I am just glad you came to find me. I thought I had done something wrong and I didn’t know what to do about it, I know it’s a little difficult but………”

Carlos stopped her with his lips, soft and gentle as he pulled her to him. Jess’s arms slowly curled around his neck as she reached up on her toes, her head tilted back as she returned his kiss with increasing passion.

Suddenly, Carlos stopped and looked up and then behind him.

“What is it?” asked Jess curiously.

“I am waiting.” Carlos replied.

“For what?”

“Mobile phone call, returning brothers, what ever usually happens about now.” He chuckled.

“Idiot!” laughed Jess, pulling him back down to her.

Satisfied, Carlos began to kiss her slowly and deliberately oblivious to an approaching old lady who stopped next to them and muttered loudly

“Disgusting! And in broad daylight too!” and with that tut tutted and stomped off.

Jess and Carlos broke apart in a fit of laughter and collapsed onto the bench, Jess saying between giggles,

“Perhaps we should stop doing this!”

Carlos grabbed her and pulled her onto his lap, looked deeply into her eyes and said seriously,

“Not a chance!” and kissed her again.


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PostSubject: Re: *New Beginnings* By: Jan (Maybe2)   Sun Jul 26, 2009 3:13 pm

Part 31

Walking hand in hand back to the apartments, Jess and Carlos could not stop smiling.

“You know we are off to Sweden tonight Jess?” said Carlos

“Yes I know, for a week” she groaned.

Smiling at her glum expression Carlos stopped walking and turned to Jess, tilting her head back to look into her face and continued.

“Why don’t you come with me?”

Regretfully Jess shook her head.

“You know I would love to come, but you will be working all the time and I wouldn’t want to disturb your concentration. You need to be focused on what you are doing and I would be in the way. Besides, the others are not taking their girlfriends and they might not like it either.”

“But I will miss you Jess. I want you to come.”

Laughing at his forlorn look Jess tugged on his jacket lapel and said

“Look Handsome, it is no good sulking, you know I am right and it isn’t for long, I am sure you will survive without me!”

Grinning, Carlos folded his arms over his chest and declared.

“Ah! So you think I am handsome then!”

Giggling at his posing, Jess exclaimed,

“Well I guess you won’t scare small children in the dark if that’s what you mean!”

And with that, laughing, she began to run along the footpath before being caught and swung around into his arms and pinned against his chest.

“Come on Jess, confess. You find me irresistible!”

“I refuse to feed your vanity, you don’t need me to tell you!” she laughed, her eyes dancing with mischief.

Trying another approach Carlos suddenly relaxed his hold and began to nuzzle her neck, making her legs weaken but, struggling to remain alert, Jess summoned up enough strength to say

“Don’t think that is going to work either mister! Any minute now that little old lady could be back and then you will be in trouble!” she giggled.

“OK I give up!” he groaned “Jess, you are a hard woman, I am not sure I like this side of you!”

Shrugging her shoulders, Jess grinned up at him and said,

“Well, I am not the delicate little flower you think I am Carlos so I hope you can handle a woman who won’t always give in to you.”

“Mmmm. We shall have some battles I can see, but trust me, eventually, you will give in!”

And catching her by surprise, he kissed her once again, melting her resolve until he suddenly pulled away, leaving her gasping with surprise and, taking her hand, pulled her along behind him leaving her confused.


Smiling to himself, Carlos was enjoying this unexpected battle of wills but was in no doubt as to who would be the winner.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


It was decided that everyone would meet up at Harringtons for lunch as the guys were due to fly to Stockholm at 8.30pm and so at 1 o’clock, David and Abbey, Sebastien and Celeste, Urs and Francine and Carlos and Jessica were seated at the back of the restaurant.

Everyone was in high spirits after the previous day’s performance in Henley.

“It was so amazing, performing in front of our home fans.” Said Urs

“Yes the reaction of the crowd was fantastic, particularly the crowd at the front of the stage” added Sebastien.

“Ah yes, our Forum Fans, they were just terrific, so polite at the meet and greet and yet so LOUD in the crowd!” laughed David.

“Carlos didn’t think they were so well behaved when one of the ladies grabbed his butt!” spluttered Sebastien, causing Carlos to blush as he too laughed but ended up coughing hard.

Passing him a glass of water, Jess patted his back and smiling, asked,

“Are you OK?”

“Yes fine, but I do have a sore throat. I woke up with it this morning; I hope it is nothing as we have a lot of work to do this week.”

“I bet you were snoring again Carlos. I have never heard anything like it!” said Urs,
“When we share a room, I need earplugs, seriously, it is so loud!”

Everyone laughed as Sebastien added.

“Well if you have got a cold, that’s what you get for kissing strange women!”

David was quick to add,

“I don’t think Jess is strange at all, she seems very nice!” and he ducked as a napkin flew over towards him thrown by a grinning Carlos.

“What are you going to do this week Jess?” asked Celeste “If you fancy it, we could do some shopping; you need to know you are never going to get Carlos to go with you!”

“Celeste is right, Carlos hates to shop, even when we are in some of the most beautiful cities in the world, don’t expect him to bring you anything Jess, unless he buys it at the airport!” added Sebastien grinning.

“OK Frenchie, shopping is just so girly, I am just not interested in looking around when there are so many other thing to do.” Carlos shrugged.

“Yes it is a good job we have out clothes provided for us or Carlos would be in real trouble!” added David.

“OK , OK Mr metro sexual! At least I do not choose to look like a drop off!”

Everyone laughed and chorused “Drop Out!”

Carlos laughed and shrugged. The food arrived and everyone began to eat and the time passed quickly until it was almost 3.30pm.

The bill paid, everyone wandered back to the apartments as the guys had last minute packing to do before being collected to go to the airport at 6pm.


“Do you need any help?” asked Jess as they got to the landing.

“Not really.” Carlos replied smiling at her “but you can come and keep me company if you want to.”

Nodding, Jess followed him into his apartment and was surprised to see suitcases already in the hall.

“Are you already packed then?” she asked.

“Pretty much, but I just wanted to…………” Carlos began coughing again and went to the kitchen for a glass of water.

Frowning, Jess said “Do you have any cough mixture Carlos?”

Shaking his head, he drank some more water and recovered enough to say

“I never take anything like that, it is not good for the voice, I have a throat spray which might help, it is probably nothing, don’t look so worried!” he smiled.

“I just hope you are not going to be ill while you are away.”

“You can always come and be my nurse Jess if you want to!” he laughed, leering at her in his usual pantomime fashion.

“Well I did say I could do mouth to mouth!” she smiled ruefully.

“Seriously Jess, I wanted to talk to you about coming to Sweden.”

Before she could protest, Carlos continued,

“Simon has given us 3 days off when we finish in Stockholm and I thought, if you came out on Friday, we are due to finish on Sunday and we could stay on and have some time to ourselves. What do you think?”

Jess was delighted and hugged him tightly.

“That sounds wonderful, I don’t want to get in the way of your work, and so if the guys are OK about it, I will try and come out for a few days.”

“Promise me Jess.” He said quietly.

Carlos was looking down into her eyes, and Jess caught a glimpse of something she hadn’t seen before, uncertainty.

Stroking his solemn face, she softly kissed his lips, and wound her arms around his neck, laid her head on his shoulder as he held her close and they stood entwined in silence, each with their own thoughts, enjoying the feeling of just being together.

Some time later, there was a knock at the door and it was time to go down to the lobby to go to the airport. Jess and Carlos took the bags down with them and as soon as they reached the lobby, the driver whisked the bags away, leaving everyone on the pavement to say their goodbyes.

After kisses from each of the guys, Jess was left looking at Carlos, a huge lump in her throat as she realised how much she was going to miss him.

His huge hazel eyes twinkled at her as he held his arms out to her for a final hug before he had to get into the mini bus. This was almost Jess’s undoing as she struggled not to let him see her eyes filling up as he whispered softly to her.

“I will miss you very much my Jess and I will ring you as often as I can, take care little one!”

“You take care too Carlos, look after yourself and one more thing…… I do think you are handsome!” she quickly kissed his lips before he burst into laughter and climbed into the mini bus.

A few minutes later and they were out of site and the girls were left feeling subdued until Celeste said cheerfully

“Anyone fancy a drink?”

Laughing, they all got back into the lift and headed back to their floor.

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PostSubject: Re: *New Beginnings* By: Jan (Maybe2)   Sun Jul 26, 2009 3:14 pm

Part 32

Jess spent most of the next day with her brother. It was good to catch up as Peter spent large chunks of his time abroad and Jess with her horses they never seemed to really have time to talk.

Sitting eating dinner together, Jess was able to fill in all the details of the last few months, for Peter, couldn’t help but marvel, how strong she was considering what she had been through.

“Have you thought about when you will go back home yet Jess?”

“Trying to get rid of me are you?” she joked.

“You know you can stay as long as you like, it’s just that, you know you can’t leave things as they are. You have to go back if only to sell the place.”

Jess bit her lip.

“I know you are right, it’s just, I don’t know if I can go back, I still have terrible nightmares, and I don’t know if I will ever feel the same about the place again.”

Her hands began to shake and her eyes filled with tears as Peter put his arms around her and he rocked her as she began to sob.

“It was so awful Pete” she cried, “I couldn’t get them out, they were too frightened. I should have saved them……!”

“Jess stop it! It wasn’t your fault, you did your best.”

They sat together until Jess was calmer and Peter asked,

“What does Carlos say about it? Is he the reason you don’t want to go back?”

“He doesn’t know about it, I just told him I had been in an accident and got burned although I did tell him I have to go back to real life sometime. Speaking of which, I wonder how it has gone today. The guys are starting work on the new album so I hope Carlos has time to call me tonight.”

She smiled as she stood up and began to clear away the dishes, Peter watched her, concern etched on his face although he did not voice his feelings.

“Actually, I am planning to fly to Sweden at the end of the week so that we can spend some time together; he has a few days off when they finish work over the weekend.”

“But you hate flying!” scoffed Peter.

“So!” snapped Jess.“If that is what I have to do, then I will!”

At that moment, the telephone rang and before she could answer it, Peter grabbed it first,

“Hello. Who? No I am sorry, there is no Jessica here ………………ouch!!!! Dear God what are you doing?” howled Peter as Jess hit him with a handy TV controller and snatched the phone from out of his hand.

“Hello.” She said hesitantly, hoping it was who she thought it was!

“Jessica? Is that you?” asked Carlos, sounding a little bewildered.

“Hello sweetheart, how are you? Have you had a good day?”

Peter leaned over her shoulder shouting

“Run man! Get away while you still can……….ahhhhhhh!

Jess grabbed his ear and pulled hard before running into her bedroom and closing the door.

“What is going on Jess?” laughed Carlos

“Don’t worry, it is just my brothers idea of humour, you have to ignore him, I do!” she giggled. “Come on I want to know about your day.”


Carlos began to tell her how they had been choosing songs from a shortlist of about 20 songs and had narrowed them down to 12.

As he spoke, Jess thought he sounded a little hoarse and assumed they had been singing a lot and perhaps was just tired, until he began to cough again.

“Carlos, are you OK?” she asked anxiously, “have you been doing this all day?”

“Pretty much actually, I am sure I will be OK tomorrow, don’t worry, if not I will get Steve to find a Doctor to give me the once over.” He answered.

“You talk to me Jess, I want to hear your voice instead.”

Jess began to tell him about her day with Peter, until he began to cough again and she broke off.

“I am worried about you, please go and see someone tomorrow. It is probably nothing but you can’t sing with that.”

“Ok Jess, I am a big boy, I will do what you say. I think I am getting a cold that is all, but the timing could not be worse.”

“I am going to let you go and get some rest. I hope you are better in the morning, call me and let me know how you are if you have time.”

“You could always come and give me the once over Jess!” he chuckled

Laughing and imagining his lecherous expression, Jess replied.

“Well Senor Marin, I don’t think you can be that ill after all!”

“You could be my Nurse.” He wheedled and began to cough once again.

“Its time you were in bed with a hot drink” she admonished sternly.

“I’d rather be in bed with a hot woman!” he replied cheekily.

Giggling, she said,

“You are sooooo bad!”

“I am going to go now Jess, I am tired, sleep well little one,” he whispered “I miss you.”

Jess caught her breath.

“I miss you too, speak to you tomorrow” there was a long pause as if neither wanted to be the first to end the conversation.

“Jess?”

“Yes” she answered breathlessly.

“I……… I will call you tomorrow.” Carlos finished softly. “Goodnight.”

“Goodnight sweetheart.” Jess answered as the telephone finally went dead.

She smiled to herself but couldn’t still a feeling of concern that Carlos had not sounded like his usual self this evening and hoped by the morning, he would be much better.

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PostSubject: Re: *New Beginnings* By: Jan (Maybe2)   Sun Jul 26, 2009 3:15 pm

Part 33


He could hear a distant knocking as he struggled to open his eyes. The pounding in his head caused him to wince in pain as he surfaced into consciousness

“Come on Carlos we don’t want to be late this morning. Move that lazy Spanish butt” boomed David waiting for some response. When he didn’t get one, he slowly opened the door and peered around.

“Is it safe to come in?” he laughed and catching sight of Carlos, huddled under the covers, said,

“Holy Crap! What the hell is the matter with you”

“I am OK. I think I have a cold that is all.” croaked Carlos “I will be with you in 10 minutes, I need a shower”

“I think you need more than a shower amigo, no offence, shouldn’t you at least see someone, you are not looking too hot from where I am standing.”

David sounded concerned.

“No, no, really, it’s OK, leave me too it, thanks David”

Not convinced, David went out and closed the door, returning to Urs and Sebastien, who were sitting in the kitchen of the suite they shared ,eating breakfast.

“Is he coming” asked Sebastien through a mouth full of toast.

“I have to say, our Spanish brother is not gonna win any beauty contests this morning, he looks real bad,”

Wincing, they could all hear him coughing in the shower and looked at each other doubtfully.

“If he looks like he sounds, he is in real trouble!” added Urs sympathetically. “Perhaps we should tell Steve.”

“No, let’s see how he is when he comes out of the shower.” said David, pouring coffee for everyone. “He may feel better.”

A few minutes later, Carlos emerged looking refreshed although pale and without his usual breezy morning greeting.

“You OK Carlos?”asked Urs.

“Yeah, yeah, just had a rough night, I will be fine, I just need some headache pills that is all, we have a lot to do today.” But he became wracked with coughing again, clutching his head and stifling a sneeze.

“Well if you say so buddy, but we think it would be a good idea if you had a check up before this gets any worse. Perhaps some fresh air will make a difference, a walk could do us all good before we get to the studios” suggested David.

All nodded in agreement and within a few minutes, they were outside and walking along the waterside.

When they arrived at the studios, they were met by Steve, who, taking one look at Carlos, marched him off to a local Doctor who inspected his throat and declared that he had tonsillitis.

Carlos looked horrified.

“What is this tonsillitis?” he croaked. “Is it serious? What about singing?” he was becoming very agitated.

“Senor Marin, I understand your concerns but you must not worry. A course of strong antibiotics, should do the trick, but to be honest, you are unlikely to able to sing properly for at least a week I would say..” answered the Doctor.

He continued, “If I were you, I would go home and rest, you are not going to be feeling much like singing anyway. You are likely to have a temperature and aches and pains, so drink plenty of fluids and rest.”

Steve thanked the Doctor and dragged a protesting Carlos back to the studios where he broke the news to the others.

David, Urs and Sebastien were shocked that Carlos would be unable to take any further part, in the recording of the new material, but looking at him, they all realised that he was obviously unwell.

“I am so sorry.” muttered Carlos.

“Hey, it’s not the end of the world, we will have to get a replacement!” chuckled David. “I hear this new guy is good, Patrick something…………. Ouch!”

“Over your dead body!” croaked Carlos, failing to see the humour of the situation although Seb and Urs couldn’t help but smile at the outraged expression on his face..

“Look Carlitos, we will just record our parts here, I am sure Simon can arrange for you to finish your parts in London, don’t worry.” said Sebastien kindly. He could see the disappointment written on his friends face, Carlos would never allow this to have happened if he could have avoided it.

“What are you going to do now Steve?” asked Urs “Are you going to send him back to London, I guess there is no point in him staying here?”

“I have booked him onto the next available flight later today, in about 2 hours time in fact, so say your good byes, we need to get going.” said Steve brusquely.

Each of the friends hugged a crestfallen Carlos and wished him well, promising to keep him informed of their progress each day. It felt awful, the fact that he was leaving, but each agreed, as they waved him off, it was for the best and would not be for very long. Carlos turned his head away before they could see his distress.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Carlos sat huddled on the flight home, looking and feeling the very picture of misery.

He had spoken to a shocked Jessica, who immediately offered to collect him from the airport to take him home. He sounded very down and she wasn’t sure how he was going to be when she saw him.

Waiting anxiously at the arrivals gate, it was not long before Jess spotted Carlos coming through the doors with his luggage and was grateful that, flying Business Class meant he was out quickly.

He looked very pale and tired but smiled and waved when he saw her.

She gave him a warm hug and looked into his face,

“You poor thing!” she exclaimed, taking one of his bags and leading him outside to the waiting taxi. “Do you need anything before we get you home?”

“No, it’s OK, I just want to lie down.” He answered, with not the slightest trace of innuendo, which made Jess realise he probably felt worse than he was letting on!


They reached his apartment in the early afternoon and Jess settled Carlos on the sofa as he didn’t want to go to bed.

She went to fetch a blanket from his bedroom and was amazed at how tidy the room was. It was a mixture of black, red and chrome with a deep carpet and huge bed which dominated the room. Large wardrobes stood on the opposite side, where Jess managed to locate what she was looking for and hurried back to the lounge.

Carlos watched Jess moving around his apartment, fussing over him and decided he could get used to this. She made him take his medication and after making sure he had plenty to drink, said,

“Right Carlos, I will let you get some rest and I will be back later, OK?”

“Are you going to leave me on my own?” he whined pathetically, causing Jess to smile.

“I am sure you will not die while I am away sweetheart.” She soothed “I promise I won’t be too long but looking in your fridge, if the tonsillitis doesn’t kill you, you will starve to death!”

Laughing, she kissed him gently on the forehead, his eyes watching her reproachfully.

“Go to sleep and when you wake up, I will be back and I will get you something for dinner, any requests?”

Carlos shook his head “Whatever you think.” He croaked “You won’t be long will you?” he pleaded, looking like a little boy.

“I will be as quick as I can, now go to sleep!” she told him sternly and for the first time since she had known him, he did as he was told!


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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PostSubject: Re: *New Beginnings* By: Jan (Maybe2)   Sun Jul 26, 2009 3:16 pm

Part 34

Jess let herself back into the apartment 2 hours later to be greeted by the unmistakeable sound of Carlos snoring!

She went into the kitchen and began to quietly put her shopping away and put the kettle on, wondering when Carlos would wake up. Tiptoeing into the lounge, she looked at him fast asleep and was concerned that he was sweating profusely and touching his face, realised that his temperature was obviously high.

Thankfully, she had bought a thermometer when she was shopping, thinking it would be very unlikely for Carlos to have one in his bathroom, being a man and all!

Jess gently shook him awake, noticing that he was a little slow to remember where he was but smiled when he saw her and struggled to sit up.

“How are you feeling Carlos” she asked

“I have felt better” he answered beginning to cough and moaned.

“Do you think it might be better if you got into bed, at least you would be more comfortable?” she suggested.

Carlos nearly choked as he laughed “I do hope you aren’t trying to take advantage of me Jess!” but before Jess could reproach him; he was overcome by coughing once more.

She helped him into his bedroom and unbuttoned and removed his damp shirt before helping him into navy blue silk pyjamas. Even when she helped him with his trousers, he didn’t seem to have the energy to find it amusing.

Within a few minutes after more pills and a drink, he was huddled under the bed clothes and asleep again.

Just then, the telephone rang in the lounge. Jess wasn’t sure whether to answer it or not but picked it up and was relieved to hear Simon on the other end.

“Is that you Jess?” he asked

“Hi Simon, welcome to Casualty!” she laughed.

“How is he Jess? Can he come to the phone?”

“Sorry Simon, he is in bed asleep at the moment, but I have to say, he is rough.” She replied.

“Mm I wonder if I should get our Doctor to have a look at him. You cannot be too careful and we cannot afford to take chances.”

“I don’t think he should be disturbed again today. How about you see him tomorrow and then decide?” Jess suggested.

“OK Jess, look, thanks for your help, are you going to look after him tonight?”

“Oh, er, well um, I suppose so, I will see what he says and how he feels later.” Jess answered, blushing to herself.

“Fine!. Well thanks again Jessica, I will see you tomorrow then.” And with that, he was gone, leaving Jess listening to the dialling tone.

Shaking her head, she went back in to the kitchen to prepare some dinner.


By 9.30pm Carlos had still not woken up and so Jess decided to check on him again to find him flailing around the bed, soaked in sweat and muttering, in what appeared, to be Spanish.

Dashing into the bathroom, Jess grabbed the thermometer and a towel which she soaked with cool water, ran back to Carlos and began to wipe his face and chest to try to cool him down.

Jess stuck the thermometer under his arm, praying he wouldn’t break it thrashing about and continued trying to cool him, until Carlos started to calm down.

Reading the thermometer, Jess was alarmed to see it read 102, no wonder he felt so awful!

It was important to cool him as quickly as she could and so for the next half and hour Jess sponged his face and body, despite him alternating between shivering and sweating until he fell into a more restful sleep.

Jess realised she was starving, and went back into the kitchen for something to eat.

While she ate, she pondered on what to do next, she knew she couldn’t leave him and so decided to get some night things from next door, let Peter know what was happening and then settle down in the lounge.

Looking in on Carlos before she went out, he looked more peaceful and so she hurried out to get her things.

“Are you sure this is necessary?” asked Peter sounding sceptical “Is he really that bad?”

“Yes!” snapped Jess, “he would hardly have flown home for a joke would he! Now if you have quite finished….!”

Jess picked up her night bag and headed towards the door.

“Jess!”

“What Peter!”

“If you need any help, give me a shout.”

She turned and hugged him “Thanks Pete, I will.” And she turned and hurried back to Carlos.


Jess dumped her bag in the lounge along with her duvet and went to check on him and was pleased to see him awake.

“Hi Jess” he croaked, “What time is it?”

“About 11pm. How are you feeling now, you had me a little worried.”

Shaking his head he reached for his glass of water and winced as he swallowed.

“iMadre Dios! I feel awful!” Carlos groaned “My throat feels like I ate razor blades!”

Smiling, Jess sat on the side of the bed and smoothed the tangle of hair from his forehead.

“Are you hungry? I can get you something if you are.” She said.

“No, I don’t think I could swallow anything Jess, perhaps a hot drink would be good. Firstly, I need to go to the bathroom.”

“Do you want me to walk you there?”

“I think I can manage that!” grinned Carlos, the humour of his situation not completely lost on him.

“Thank goodness for that! Just please don’t lock the door, I don’t fancy having to call the Fire Brigade if you pass out in there!” she laughed and went into the kitchen.

A few minutes later Carlos emerged looking deathly pale as he hung on to the breakfast bar coughing. Jess rushed around to help him and managed to get him back into his bed where he lay panting and cursing in Spanish.

“It’s no good Carlos, I am afraid you are going to have to behave and do as you are told for a few days, I know it’s hard but if not for yourself, do it for me, I hate to see you like this.”

He looked at Jess ruefully, realising the truth of what she was saying but resenting it all the same.

Jess made him a hot drink and made him more comfortable, sitting on the side of the bed, she told him of her conversation with Simon and how he would possibly come and see him the next day.

Carlos began to drift off to sleep again and Jessica went to leave him, to go to make up her bed in the lounge, when he opened his eyes and took her hand in his, which was very hot and dry, a result of his temperature.

“Stay with me Jess” he whispered.

“I am only next door sweetheart.” She answered her heart hammering.

“Please Jess, stay with me.” He patted the bed, but his eyes began to close as he drifted off to sleep.

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PostSubject: Re: *New Beginnings* By: Jan (Maybe2)   Sun Jul 26, 2009 3:17 pm

Part 35

Jess awoke the next morning to the sound of Carlos coughing once again and muttering in his sleep. It was still early as she dragged herself off the sofa and into the kitchen. She had had very little sleep due mostly, to Carlos flailing around and shouting, frightening Jess, who had just gone to sleep herself.

Once again, she managed to cool him and calm him down, but he then began to shiver violently until Jess lay beside him, her body warmth helping the shuddering to subside as he drifted once again into troubled sleep.

Making herself a welcome first coffee, Jess went to check on Carlos, who was sleeping peacefully, his face darkened by his emerging beard and his hair, uncharacteristically tousled, making him appear younger than his 36 years.

A wave of tenderness swept over Jess as she watched him, it had been a tough night but he seemed to be calmer now so hopefully, when he awoke he would be better.

As it was early, Jess decided to risk taking a shower before Carlos woke up and padded into the bathroom to begin running the water. Leaving her pyjamas on the floor, she jumped into the luxurious shower cubicle and stood under a refreshing stream of warm water, letting it wash away the tiredness of the night before.

Jess stepped out of the shower and wrapped herself in a large fluffy towel and went into the kitchen. Humming to herself, she jumped as a pair of arms curled around her waist and she felt a warm kiss on her shoulder and heard a gruff voice say,

“Good morning Bella ”

She turned around, almost dislodging her towel, to look at Carlos.

His face was still pale and his eyes, unnaturally bright, were circled with shadows and the dark stubble on his cheeks prickled her palm as she stroked his face.

Jess put her arms around his neck and hugged him, loving the roughness of his cheek against hers although she realised he was still burning with fever.

“How do you feel this morning sweetheart?” asked Jess, suddenly aware of how little she was wearing.

“Perhaps a little better but my throat, it is so sore” he moaned.

“You poor thing!” she exclaimed kissing his face. “Let me get dressed and I will fix you something to eat, you must be starving.” Jess carefully extracted herself from Carlos’s arms and went back into the bathroom to retrieve her pyjamas.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Before long, Jess and Carlos were sitting together at the table, drinking hot coffee while Carlos managed to eat scrambled eggs which Jess had cooked for him.
It was a quiet meal as Carlos, for once, was unable to speak much, and then in just a whisper, much to his frustration. Once he had eaten, he wanted to take a shower although Jess again, warned against locking the door.

“You can come in with me if you like!” he croaked, grinning.

“It’s a sweet offer Carlos, but have you looked at yourself this morning!” laughed Jess. “Besides, I have been there, done that!”

Just as Carlos got into the shower, the telephone rang and it was David.

“Hi Jess, how is the patient?” he asked.

“Well he is a little better this morning although his voice is pretty much gone for now.”

“I bet he isn’t very happy then? How are you doing, I hear you are the nurse!” he chuckled.

“I am fine, a little tired but OK. I was really worried about him last night. He kept shouting in his sleep which is probably why he has lost his voice today.”

“So I guess there is no point in asking him to the phone then?”

“He is in the shower at the moment and………….OH MY GOD what was that?”

A loud crash sounded in the bathroom and Jess dropped the telephone and dashed in to find Carlos slumped on the floor, coughing and groaning.

“OK, you were right, I should have gone back to bed!” he moaned.

Fortunately, he had not yet got undressed and Jess managed to sit him onto the side of the bath while he waited to get his balance.

“Stay there!” said Jess sternly “I will be just a minute.”

Dashing back to the telephone, she found David anxiously saying “Jess! Jess! What’s going on?”

“It’s OK David, Carlos fell in the bathroom but he is alright, I have to go, I will call you later.” and with that, she dashed back to help Carlos walk back into the bedroom.

Crawling back into his bed, Carlos looked up at Jessica and said,

“Remind me to listen to you next time Jess.” He whispered.

“You can bet I will hold you to that!” she laughed, kissing him lightly on the forehead.

“Get some rest sweetheart, I won’t be far away.”

Sighing, Carlos took her hand and pulling her closer, kissed the back of it, his lips hot on her skin.

“Thank you my Jess” he whispered as he again drifted off to sleep.


Later that morning, Jess had some visitors.

Celeste and Abbey had both heard about Carlos having to come home and called in to see if Jess needed any help.

“I bet he is an awful patient.” laughed Celeste “If he cannot speak he will soon be very frustrated.”

“Yes, I had noticed already!” said Jess ruefully.

“David said it was really weird being in the studio without him, very quiet!” added Abbey “Still hopefully he will soon be better and back to his normal booming self.”

Jess laughed, “I have to say, it seems very odd to have him so quiet. He even caught me in just a towel this morning and didn’t even try anything!”

“Good God! Are you sure he is not dead?” chuckled Abbey, “This is unheard of.”

“Don’t you dare let on I told you.” giggled Jess, “He would never live it down if the guys knew!”

The girls left, once again telling Jess, to let them know if she needed anything.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The day passed uneventfully, with Carlos spending a large part of it asleep although he had been awake, when Simon paid him a visit.

Simon’s first words to him

“I hope you feel better than you look or I could be looking for a new Baritone” did nothing to cheer Carlos up!

He glowered at Simon, croaking “Jealousy is very unattractive in a man of your age Simon!”

Turning to Jess, Simon asked,

“Do you need any help Jess? Has he worn you out yet?”

Smiling, Jess assured him they would be fine and after staying a short time and Carlos reassured him that he didn’t need to see another Doctor, Simon left.


That evening, after they had eaten, Jess was sitting on the bed beside Carlos, watching television. He was feeling better after a warm bath and shave, but he still coughed and his voice was just a whisper.


“Jess, why don’t you sleep in here with me tonight?” he asked. “I don’t like to think of you on the sofa, it is not good for you.”

Jess looked surprised “Well it isn’t very comfortable I have to say.” She said doubtfully.

“I promise to be very good!” he chuckled, his face the very picture of innocence.

“That’s what I am worried about!” she answered, smiling.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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PostSubject: Re: *New Beginnings* By: Jan (Maybe2)   Sun Jul 26, 2009 3:18 pm

Part 36


She couldn’t put it off any longer; Jess was finally in her huge pyjamas and hesitated at the door to Carlos’s bedroom. Her heart was hammering furiously and she mentally scolded herself for being such a coward, after all, she had slept with other men and it wasn’t as if Carlos was in any fit state to want to do anything anyway.

Squaring her shoulders, she pushed open the door, to see Carlos sitting up in bed looking very handsome in fresh black silk pyjamas, slightly unbuttoned. He smiled at her and pulled the covers back for her to get into the bed.

Jess swallowed nervously and gingerly crept into the bed, which even with two of them in it was still huge.

Carlos chuckled at the expression on her face.

“It’s OK little one, I promised I would be a good boy, so I will!” and with that, he raised his arm and indicated to her, to move over for a hug.

Jess smiled and slid towards him feeling more than a little foolish for her anxiety and snuggled up beside him, resting her head on his shoulder and putting her arms around him.

Carlos sighed and tightened his hold on her, kissing the top of her head and whispered,

“That feels so good Jess. I have missed holding you.”

Jess hugged him tightly. She could still feel how hot his body felt, the remnants of his fever still evident.

“Me too,” she answered and relaxing, they drifted off to sleep together.


------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

She could feel the heat again, see the flames taking hold and hear the sound of wood cracking as it burned. The terrified screaming of the horses echoed around the yard as once again, she tried to run towards the stables, invisible hands holding her back as she struggled and began to scream……………….!

“Jess! Jess!” called Carlos, shaking her, “You are dreaming, wake up!”

The bedside light was on as Jess’s terror filled eyes flew open, tears of relief poured down her cheeks as she realised she had been dreaming again.

Carlos rocked her trembling body gently in his arms as she sobbed, stroking her hair and murmuring reassuringly to her.

After a few minutes, Jess was able to compose herself enough to sit up, dry her eyes and blow her nose, feeling like a little child.

“What was all that about Jess? Have you been watching too much television?” he asked gently.

“I wish I had” she replied.

“Tell me. What is it?” he urged, his eyes were so kind, so full of concern that Jess felt she had to tell him the whole truth.

Jess told Carlos everything, from her relationship with Justin, the fire, the loss of her horses and finally, the extent of her injuries and her fear of going home.

Carlos burned with anger at what she told him. What kind of man could do something like that? No wonder Jess was a little hesitant about getting into a relationship with anyone else.

Jess was exhausted. The emotional outpouring had left her drained and she was almost afraid to look at Carlos, after all, she was supposed to be looking after him!

Suddenly, Carlos lifted her chin to look into her face. He smiled tenderly at her, his fingers and eyes tracing every part of her face as he whispered to her,

“Don’t worry Jess, I will look after you, you are safe now little one. I will never let anyone hurt you again, I promise” and he kissed her tenderly and held her until she finally slept peacefully again.

When she woke in the morning, Jess watched Carlos as he slept. His long dark eyelashes twitched as he dreamed and he muttered quietly in Spanish, sometimes smiling, making Jess wonder what he was dreaming about!

Carlos had been less restless, which considering the emotional night they had had, was very surprising.

As if sensing he was being watched, Carlos opened his eyes and instantly broke into a broad smile as he saw Jess beside him, reaching for her, he pulled her to him and held her tightly.

Jess could feel the heat from his body burning through her pyjamas as his legs entwined with hers, leaving her no doubt what he had been dreaming about!

“Someone is feeling better I see!” she laughed

“How could I not, when I wake up with you today!” Carlos replied, his voice still hoarse but the twinkle in his eyes had very definitely returned.

Feeling suddenly very vulnerable, Jess began to pull away from him, but Carlos gently pulled her back to him and quietly asked.

“What is the matter Jess? I am not going to do anything you don’t want me to, so please, just stay with me for a little while.”

The look on his face, melted Jess’s anxieties, and she snuggled back into his arms and lay with her head on his shoulder as he stroked her hair. If someone had told her she would be in bed with Carlos and feel perfectly safe, she would not have believed it possible.

“Are you afraid of me Jess?” he asked softly.

“No! Of course not.” She replied, horrified, “It’s just that things have been difficult for me over the last few months, that’s all, I have never been very confident about my body and after………… well , you know, I am afraid for you to see, it is so ugly.”

Carlos pulled away abruptly, looking deep into her eyes, almost angrily.

“You think I would not want you because you are scarred?” he asked incredulously. “Do you think so little of me Jess?” he leapt out of bed and began to pace around the bedroom.

“I Por el amor de Dios! For goodness sake! Surely you cannot think I am so shallow!”

She watched him pacing up and down , cursing and gesticulating wildly, his voice, though a hoarse whisper seemed very angry.

Carlos looked so distressed that Jess began to cry.

“Carlos please!” she begged “Stop! I am so sorry, I didn’t mean to hurt you, forgive me?”

He stopped pacing as he looked at her stricken face, hot tears trickling down her cheeks. Kneeling on the bed, he groaned, and dragged her into his arms, his anger forgotten.

Jess began to babble almost incoherently

“Of course I don’t think you are shallow, it’s just…… you can have almost any woman you want, beautiful girls practically throw themselves at you, why would you want someone like me? I want you so much but I don’t want to get hurt again and I am so afraid, but not of you!”

“Then what?” he asked softly

“Just losing you.” She whispered, her voice muffled against his chest.

Carlos stroked her hair and asked.

”What did you say in the middle of that?”

Jess looked confused.

“Which part?”

Smiling gently, Carlos said “The part between, wanting someone like you and being afraid.”

Jess thought and then began to blush crimson.

“Come on Jess, say it!” he urged her gently, looking into her face.

“I want you so much………..” She whispered but her words were cut off as Carlos groaned and claimed her lips in a hard, demanding and almost triumphant kiss, pressing her backwards into the pillows.

Jess began to melt under the onslaught, his tongue teasing and playing with hers, gently nibbling the soft inner of her lips and then diving almost to the depths of her soul. Wave after wave of heat swept over her as she began to caress his body, the muscular shoulders, and the heat of his skin as she slipped her hands under his pyjama jacket.

With one hand, Carlos cupped her buttocks and pulled her tightly against him leaving no doubt of his arousal and she groaned aloud when his hot mouth began its trail along her collar bone.

Suddenly, Carlos stopped and threw himself backwards until he laid coughing and gasping for breath on his back, his arm over his face, hiding his expression.

Jess was stunned.

“Carlos, what is it?” she asked.

“Not like this Jess.” He whispered hoarsely.

“What do you mean?”

“When we make love, I want us to be completely ready, no fear, and no worry. Last night was so emotional for you, I would hate for you to be sorry if we made love now. I am afraid it would be for the wrong reasons.” he finished regretfully.

Having regained her breath, Jess leaned up on one elbow and peered down into Carlos’s face, her expression one of bewilderment..

“You never cease to surprise me! I never dreamt you would think like that, it goes to show what a special guy you are” she said, kissing him softly. “Thank you Carlos for being so……..”

“Stupid?” he laughed

“No, thoughtful.” She said, and taking his hand, entwined her fingers with his until their breathing returned to normal.

A few moments later, Jess broke the silence,

“You are quite right; I really want you in full working order anyway!!” Laughing, she scooted quickly out of the bed and headed towards the bathroom.

Carlos smiled as she dashed for the door the murmured to himself,

“Better get well soon!”

.-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Part 37

After breakfast, the telephone rang and Carlos was soon deep in conversation with the guys in Sweden, they were eager to hear how he was and to let him know how the recording was going.

Jess busied herself clearing up and was pleased to see how much better Carlos was looking this morning and how cheerful he seemed when he had finished his conversation.

Walking into the kitchen, Jess handed him a steaming cup of coffee and smiled up at him and said

“You look so much better today. I don’t think you need me here any more!”

Laughing, Carlos replied.

“Oh you are very wrong Jess! I could suffer a relapse at any time.” And he began to pretend to slide down the door post, almost spilling his drink in the process.

“You are a terrible ham Carlos Marin!” she giggled.

“What! Are you saying I am a pig?” he looked outraged.

“No! No!” Jess tried to explain the analogy “Not a pig at all, if I was to liken you to an animal, it would probably be a mule!”

“Why a mule!” he huffed

“Well you are so stubborn, when you dig your heals in and you want your own way.”

Smiling now, Carlos thought for a moment and cheekily continued,

“I have never been called a mule before, but I do remember a previous girlfriend mentioning a donkey!”

Jess blushed scarlet, but threw back her head and laughed aloud, it was good to feel the release of all the tension of the night before.


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Carlos decided he wanted some fresh air and so they spent the morning in the park just walking and holding hands in the beautiful warm sunshine.

They sat on the grass beneath a tree for while watching the world go by until Carlos took Jess’s hand and began,

“Jess, I have an idea. Let me drive you back to your home, I have time while my voice recovers and I want to help you over this. You can’t keep running away from it.”

Jess looked at Carlos, surprised at what he had said, but touched by the concern, evident in his eyes.

For her part, everything inside her shuddered at the thought but with Carlos beside her, perhaps she would be alright.

“Would you do that for me? I don’t think I could do it on my own yet” she asked.

Moving to sit behind her, Carlos pulled her into his arms, her back against his chest as his arms encircled her waist. Resting his chin on her shoulder, he whispered.

“You aren’t on your own now Jess, you have me.”

In the afternoon, after lunch, Carlos began to feel tired again and went to lie down on his bed, despite his best efforts, could not persuade Jess to join him.

“I don’t think you would be getting much rest if I come in with you.” She laughed,
“And anyway, tempting though it might be, I have other things to do!”

“Well it is good to know you are at least tempted!” he chuckled and off he went.

A few moments later, Jess went in to tell him she was going out for a while, only to find him fast asleep. She gently covered him with a blanket and after kissing him softly, smiled to herself, and said quietly

“All talk Senor Marin, all talk!”

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jess went round to see Peter next door. As she opened the door, she was surprised to see cases standing in the hallway, evidence that Peter was off on his travels again.

“Hi Jess, how are things next door?” he asked cheerfully. “You haven’t killed him yet then?”

Smiling, she shook her head.

“No, he is sleeping, and for your information, he really has been ill.” She swatted Peter as he came within reach but missed as he dodged her, chuckling to himself,

“So how long are you going to be next door? Do I have to get someone in to water the plants?” he grinned.

“Ha, ha!” she said sarcastically “Just what is that supposed to mean?”

“Well, how serious is it Jess? Should I be concerned?”

Jess bit her lip, and shrugged. “It’s difficult, we live such different lives. I am not sure about going home, he travels so much, can we keep a relationship going with long breaks, I just don’t know.”

“Does Carlos want you to try? Has he asked you?” asked Peter anxiously.

“Not as such, he wants to take me back to my house, he knows everything and thinks it may help.” She said.

“Do you think you can do it Jess? After everything that happened?”

“Well I will know tomorrow, if Carlos is well enough, he is going to drive me home and we will take it from there.” Jess’s pale face belied the easy words and her stomach lurched alarmingly at the thought.

“Anyway, where are you off to so suddenly?”

“I am going to L.A to photograph Tom Cruise again, with this new woman Katie something.” He said, sounding a little bored.

“Poor you!” Jess laughed, “It must be soooo boring!”

Peter grinned at her and then pulled her into a brotherly hug.

“Listen Jess.” He said seriously

“Whatever happens tomorrow, you don’t have to go back there if it is too hard for you. Mum and Dad wouldn’t want you to be unhappy there. You can sell it and start again if you want. You always have a place here if you need it.”

Peter kissed her head and added

“Also, If you hang around with that Spanish guy, and you love him, don’t take any advice from an old cynic like me!”

“I never said I loved him Pete!” she said, looking shocked.

“You didn’t need to Jess; I can see it written all over you! I just hope Carlos can’t read you as well as I can!”

“I have to go Jess. Let me know how it goes, you have my number.” And with a quick hug and a wave, he rushed out of the door and disappeared, leaving Jess to ponder on his parting words, could he be right?

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PostSubject: Re: *New Beginnings* By: Jan (Maybe2)   Sun Jul 26, 2009 3:20 pm

Part 38

Jess stayed in the apartment, collecting her thoughts as she tidied up the apartment, Peter was a one man whirlwind and made a mess just standing still!

Eventually, Jess was forced to admit, she had to stop and think. How did she really feel about Carlos?

Sinking down into a soft armchair, clutching a coffee, she finally faced her inner thoughts. Her greatest feeling was fear, fear of trusting, being hurt again, and perhaps the worst, losing Carlos by not taking a chance, which to her horror, she realised, she could not contemplate.

It looked like Peter was right, just when she wasn’t looking, and so soon, she had fallen in love!

“Oh God! I hope he doesn’t know.” she said out loud, surprised at the sound of her own voice, in the apartment.

Looking at her watch, she realised she had been away almost 2 hours and so she quickly collected a few things and hurried back to check on Carlos.

To her surprise, he was up and in the kitchen when she walked in and was certainly looking almost back to his normal self apart from the huskiness of his voice.

“Jess! I am so glad you are back! Come and sit, I have to talk to you.”

His face was flushed, and it soon transpired, he had been speaking the Sebastien, Urs and David.

“They played me some of the tracks they have laid down so far Jess, and I have to say, even without me they sound wonderful!”

Carlos paced up and down again, unable to sit still, bubbling with excitement and Jess stood up, laughing and hugged him tightly.

Pulling away slightly, Carlos smiled down into her face and proclaimed,

“Of course, it would sound better with me….!”

“But of course!” giggled Jess. “That’s what I love about you Carlos, your modesty!”

Eventually, Carlos began to calm down, although he still coughed a little as they collapsed onto the sofa, Carlos with his arms wrapped around Jess..

“What do you want to do tonight Jess?” he asked, “you must be getting bored stuck here with me.”

Jess looked up into his handsome face and felt her insides turn to jelly. Raising her hand to his face, she traced his eyebrows lightly with her fingertips, tailing down the side of his slightly rough cheek, to the outline of his lips, all the while conscious of his eyes watching her

“I could never be bored by you Carlos.” She said quietly as she gently pulled his head towards her, kissing him softly, her lips barely touching his and the tip if her tongue, running over their sensitive surface.

Carlos was taken by surprise by Jess actions, it was not like her to take the initiative and it excited him immensely. He pulled her closer to him, but Jess grumbled at him and pushed him back against the cushions, enjoying the feeling of power over him for once.

Carlos lay back as Jess began to nibble his neck, gently grazing the skin with her teeth and she smiled as she felt Carlos’s sharp intake of breath as he began to groan.
She smiled to herself as she whispered softly into his ear,

“I think, a DVD and a takeaway, don’t you?”

“Jess!” he cried “I didn’t know you could be such a tease, and me a sick man!”

“You don’t look very sick to me!” she giggled “and besides, I am hungry and so should you be!”

Jess jumped up off the sofa, pulling him up with her and dragging him into the kitchen.

“Come on mister, what do you want, Indian, Chinese, Pizza, Mexican,……..?”

Carlos stood looking at Jess as she grinned at him, her eyes sparkling and a spring in her step, almost unrecognisable from the terrified girl of last night.

Relenting, Carlos found the menu of the local Chinese and before long, they were tucking into Spare ribs and crisp duck and watching “The Wedding Date “ which Jess had chosen.

“Well it could have been worse” moaned Carlos after the film finished.

“What’s wrong with a little romance? I thought it was lovely!” said Jess.

“I would rather have my own romance any day.” said Carlos huskily, kissing Jess lightly, and to her surprise, he got up and began to tidy the dinner things away.

Jess looked puzzled and asked.

“Is anything wrong Carlos? Are you OK?”

“I’m fine, just that it is getting late and I am a little tired that is all. Why don’t you go and have a nice bath while I finish off here.”

Puzzled, Jess put her arms around his waist as he stood at the sink, and rested her face on his back, and squeezed him tightly.

“OK, if you are sure.” And with that, Jess went to run her bath, wondering about Carlos sudden change.

Jess lay in the warm scented water for about half an hour, her mind drifting over what lay ahead tomorrow, but she refused to let it overwhelm her, she felt a renewed sense of purpose.

Suddenly, there was a tap on the door and Carlos said.

“Come on Jess,I don’t allow wrinkled women to share my bed!” He laughed.

“OK I can take a hint!” she answered, “Sounds like I am back on the sofa then!”

Smiling to herself, she got out of the bath and wrapped herself in the dark red bathrobe hanging on the back of the door. The sleeves were far too long and swamped her, but the smell of Carlos cologne clung to the fibres and she snuggled into its softness, enjoying the cosy feeling as it clung to her.
Jess came out of the bathroom humming and trying to roll up the huge sleeves of the robe, and was surprised to find Carlos standing in the dark in the lounge. The curtains were open and she could see him in the lights from the streetlights several floors below, staring out of the window.

He was still dressed in his black shirt and trousers and had his back to her.

Jess stopped humming and said,

“OK, not too wrinkled, just a bit prune like!”

Carlos turned and smiled and leant against the window sill, contemplating Jess, swathed in his bath robe. She looked so cute, as she came towards him.

“It is a good job we Spaniards like prunes then!” he chuckled enveloping her in a hug. She smelled so good, he wasn’t sure if sharing a bed with her tonight was going to be a good idea!

“Is something wrong Carlos?” Jess asked softly, she felt as if he was keeping his distance for some reason, and a pang of fear swirled in her stomach.

Smiling down at her, he stroked her face gently and looked into her eyes, their green depths puzzled as she returned his gaze.

“I was thinking about tomorrow” he said “I am worried for you, will you be OK?”

His face was etched in concern for her but Jess smiled softly at him.

“I know it will be hard” she answered, “But having you with me will make all the difference.” She went on

“I am sick of being afraid, it isn’t like me, I am usually strong, not some timid mouse. So, I have decided, I need to move on, stop worrying about what might happen in the future, life is now. There is a saying which goes something like, “A life lived in fear is a life only half lived.” I don’t want to live a half life Carlos.” She whispered softly running her fingers though the curls at the base of his neck and pulling his head down to her for a searing kiss.

Breaking away, Jess looked steadily into his face, half in shadow and tried to read his expression.

Carlos was confused, he wanted her so badly but, for maybe the first time in his life, he wasn’t sure what to do.

Jess, sensing his uncertainty, took his hands and began to walk backwards, pulling him with her, her eyes never leaving his, until they got to his bedroom.

Carlos had already turned down the bed which was illuminated by tiny lights scattered in the ceiling above casting a warm glow over the room.

Jess stopped in front of Carlos, suddenly shy, uncertain how to ask for what she wanted, and she wanted him!

Carlos broke the silence,

“Jess, do you know what you are doing?” he asked huskily, his eyes dark with suppressed desire, “I can’t take much more of this!”

Jess did not answer, but move closer to him, and began to nibble his neck, her lips and tongue working below his ear, slowly and softly, causing him to groan aloud as he encircled her waist.
She chuckled at his reaction and began to explore beneath the collar of his shirt and along his shoulder, her fingers shakily undoing the buttons of his shirt until she could feel the soft hairs of his chest as she ran her hands over his torso and up his spine , her fingertips moving in light lazy circles on his warm skin.

Carlos could stand it no more and plunged his hand into hair, pulling back her head so that he could reach her mouth, his lips and tongue working feverishly as heat swept through his body. Wrenching his mouth away, he continued downward along her neck, pushing the robe from her shoulder as he went, tasting her skin with his tongue.

Jess wrapped her arms around his neck, her body pushing against him shamelessly, and she began to kiss him more passionately. Carlos pulled her tightly to him and they fell together onto the bed with Carlos ending slightly across her, their legs entwined.

Jess giggled as she struggled to pull Carlos shirt out of his waistband and finally managed to remove it completely, allowing her hands to roam freely over his well muscled chest and back as he continued to explore the soft flesh of her shoulders now exposed as he pushed the robe aside and down her upper arm.

Carlos began to explore further, his warm hands making Jess moan with frustrated desire as he expertly found what pleased her, making her shake and moan as she found the fastenings of his trousers and, to Carlos relief, removed the remainder of his clothes.

Meanwhile, he finally undid the knot in Jess robe, allowing him to see and touch her properly for the first time and his breath caught in his throat as he pealed away the bathrobe, letting it drop on the floor.

Jess moaned and writhed as Carlos continued his exploration with his mouth until neither could bear it any longer and covering her body with his own, they became one at last, spinning and falling in glorious relief.

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PostSubject: Re: *New Beginnings* By: Jan (Maybe2)   Sun Jul 26, 2009 3:21 pm

Part 39

Jess awoke some time later, boiling hot, it was still dark, but for a second, she wondered where she was. Realisation flooded over her and she smiled to herself as she became aware of her face resting on a warm hairy chest, which rose and fell gently as Carlos breathed in a deep sleep, his arm wrapped around her

Raising her head, Jess gently slipped out from his arm and escaped to the coolness of her side of the bed and she lay there reliving the heady thrill of earlier.

She had suspected that Carlos would be a good lover but was not prepared for the speed of the passion that had overtaken them, like a huge wave, tossing and rolling them until they lay spent and sweating, gasping for air side by side on the rumpled bed.

They pulled the covers over themselves as their bodies began to cool, lying side by side facing each other, their legs tangled together and hands clasped.

Jess could not take her eyes from Carlos’s face. She wanted to remember him just as he was, unguarded, vulnerable, but heartbreakingly handsome.

Smiling, he stroked her face, and asked softly.

“What are you thinking Jess? Tell me.”

“Mm, that would be telling!” she chuckled.

“I am serious.” He said “I want to know all there is to know about you. I know you are one if the sweetest women I have ever met, you’re funny, beautiful, determined, and brave, but I don’t even know what you like to eat or when your birthday is!”

Jess laughed huskily, and turned onto her back gazing at the ceiling.

“Well firstly, I am NOT sweet! You haven’t had the pleasure of me when I turn in to the Monthly Monster!!”

Carlos looked puzzled.

“Raging PMT sweetheart, turns the mildest of women into complete lunatics!”

“Ah! In Spain, we call it Monthly Madness! Yes I know these things.” He chuckled.

“Why am I not surprised!” Jess giggled. “Secondly……… “

Carlos, leaning up on one arm, gazed down at her and brushed her hair away from her face, and began seriously,

“Please don’t even think of saying you are not beautiful……”

“But.” She began but Carlos laid a finger over her lips.

“A scar does not make you ugly Jess. Please stop worrying, nothing could make you ugly to me, you have the body of an angel!” he leant down and began to kiss her, preventing any further conversation.


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Jess felt wide awake despite it being the middle of the night, and her mind wandered to the coming day ahead, going back home, and she shivered.

Turning onto her side, she jumped as Carlos arm reached out and touched her back.

“I thought you were asleep!” she whispered turning towards him. She could see his dark eyes shining in the darkness and she smiled, tenderly stroking his beard roughened cheek.

“How are you feeling sweetheart? I don’t want to be the cause of you having a relapse!”

Carlos chuckled and said “I’ll risk it Jess! Come here!” and pulled her, unresisting, towards him, wrapping her in his arms, their bodies moulding together, legs entwined.

This time, their lovemaking was slow and tender, with none of the frantic pace of before, long, slow, deep kisses, leaving them both wanting so much more.
This time Carlos was in control, his touch assured and he smiled in the darkness as Jess moaned until suddenly, Jess caught him off guard and rolled him onto his back!

“You didn’t think you could have it all your own way did you?” she laughed huskily as she began an exploration of her own, leaving Carlos gasping until finally they gave in to the rising tide of passion, gently rocking together until their passion was spent and they could breathe again.

Exhausted, they lay side by side, their hands and fingers entwined, until Carlos spoke.

“I think you will be the death of me Jess!” he laughed.

“I do hope not! I haven’t finished with you yet!” answered Jess.

“Have mercy on me!” he said on mock horror, laughing as Jess, leaning on one elbow, and looked down at him proclaiming.

“Mm! Yes, I don’t want to wear you out too soon!”

Carlos pulled her down to him and kissed her, before gently saying,

“Come on Jess, sleep woman! We have a busy day ahead.”

Jess turned onto her side as Carlos lay behind her, his arms around her waist and his face pressed against her shoulder.

With a deep contented sigh, Jess muttered “Light weight!”

Carlos squeezed her tightly and nuzzled her neck whispering “You forget, I’m a sick man! Wait until I am well again!”

Giggling, Jess said “Is that a threat Carlitos?”

“Oh no! my Jess! That is most definitely a promise!”



---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Part 40

The next morning, Jess awoke as Carlos, showered, shaved, fully dressed and smelling wonderful, gently kissed her forehead and stroked her hair.

“Jess! Time to wake up beautiful.” He whispered.

Groaning, she opened her eyes to a smiling Carlos, who thankfully, looked fully restored to his usual handsome self, leaving Jess to feel distinctly grubby and dishevelled. Blushing, Jess sat up, pulling the duvet over herself.

“What time is it?” she asked, trying to smooth her rumpled hair from off her face.

“A little after 8.30, I thought you wouldn’t want to leave it too late before we get going.” Carlos sat down on the side of the bed, his head tilted to one side, regarding Jess steadily.

She tried to avoid looking directly at him, her face flushed and she felt hot and uncomfortable.

Carlos gently turned her face, so she could no longer avoid his eyes and smiled softly and said

“I hope you are not regretting last night? It was beautiful Jess, unexpected, but beautiful. You are an amazing woman you know.”

Jess smiled shyly

“No. No regrets but I just feel a little awkward, which is ridiculous after …………. well you know! Are you feeling OK this morning?” she said changing the subject hurriedly.

“I feel much better this morning little one, the voice, it sounds much better, soon I will be able to sing again, I cannot wait!”

Jess smiled at this exuberance and reached up and hugged him, breathing in his delicious cologne and enjoying the feeling of his arms around her.

Releasing her, Carlos stood up and said

“Come on Jess, time to get going or I may be tempted to join you in there again!” he waggled his eyebrows at her making her giggle.

“OK Senor, give me 30 minutes and I will be showered and ready!”

“Ha! 30 minutes! I have yet to see a woman who can do that!”

“Well prepare to be amazed. Would you be a star and make some coffee while I shower?” she asked innocently.

“Anything for you my Jess.” He said kissing her lightly and going to the kitchen.

Jess leapt out of bed, snatching the bath robe from the floor and flew into the bathroom. She was going to make her Spanish chauvinist eat his words!

Sure enough, Jess was ready as promised within the time and stood smiling triumphantly at Carlos as they stood by the door.
He looked at her smiling at him, her hair was still damp, but she looked beautiful in a bright white shirt, with the sleeves rolled back, and tucked into slim fitting jeans with neat flat sandals and a wide belt, accentuating her narrow waist.

“Well Senor! What have you to say then?” she demanded playfully.

“I said you are an amazing woman, I am always right am I not!” he laughed

Laughing up at him, Jess replied “Guess that will have to do, for now! But I shall have to think of some punishment later!” she teased.

Carlos whispered into her ear as they stood waiting for the lift,

“Perhaps you could take advantage of me later!”

Jess blushed and elbowed him in the ribs, causing him to cough loudly, which tuned into a laugh as she replied,

“You should be so lucky!”

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The sun shone brightly as they began their drive with the roof down,. Carlos soon expertly guided them out of the city and they were speeding up the motorway towards the Midlands.

Carlos tried to keep the conversation flowing but after a while, Jess became withdrawn and he guessed she was thinking about what lay ahead.

After almost 2 hours, Carlos pulled off the motorway and, following Jess’s instructions drove along the shady lanes until they arrived at the entrance to Jess’s home.

It was quite an imposing house with double wooden 5 bar gates at the entrance leading to a sweeping drive along paddocks to the left until they swept up to the front entrance of a small, redbrick manor house.

Carlos had barely turned off the engine when the front door burst open and a woman dressed scruffy riding gear came rushing out to greet them.

“Jess! Jess!” she cried, as Jess got out of the car, and flung her arms around her.
“How wonderful to see you at last, I wasn’t sure you would be back!”

Smiling, Jess returned her embrace before turning to Carlos and saying,

“Carlos, this is Joanna, my Godsend and right hand woman!”

Joanna almost choked when she looked at Carlos for the first time, his handsome features wreathed in his trademark smile as he took her hand and bowed slightly.

!I am so pleased to meet you at last Joanna, Jessica has told me how wonderful you have been in the last few months.”

Joanna blushed and desperately wished she had looked in the mirror before rushing outside to meet them.

Returning to Jessica, she steered her towards the front door and taking a deep breath, Jess walked up the steps and into the house.

Looking around, Jess found everything as she remembered it, although it had been months since she had last been there. Carlos followed them inside as Joanna chatted happily with Jess as they made their way into the large farmhouse kitchen.

It was a lovely room, warm and welcoming with an Aga on one side and huge kitchen table in the centre. Jess eyes were drawn immediately to the large windows overlooking the garden and to the stable yard beyond.

Joanna stopped speaking as she noticed Jess’s fixed gaze and pale face.

Outside, the yard, to the right was a hive of activity, with horses being ridden in the school and standing in the warm sunshine, dozing as they were being groomed.
To Carlos, who came to stand beside her, everything looked normal, but one look at Jess’s face,and he realised he was missing something.

Wordlessly, Jess walked out of the side door to the left of the kitchen, followed silently by Joanna and Carlos, passing an outhouse and garden shed until she turned left again and stopped dead.

In front of her lay the remains of 2 stable blocks. The charred piles of wood and metalwork, facing each other on the concrete bases, testament to the dreadful events of that night.

Joanna began “We didn’t know what you wanted to do about the mess……………..”

Jess did not react, as if she hadn’t heard as she walked slowly towards the ruins, the concrete beneath her feet was charred from the heat of the fire but Jess didn’t seem to notice. Her mind flew back to the night it happened and closing her eyes, her heart racing, she once again imagined the heat and heard the screaming of the animals as she fought to save them. Hot tears, slowly began to trickle down her cheeks and her shoulders began to heave.

Carlos, sensing her distress, softly walked to her, in time to catch her as her legs buckled beneath her and she fainted.

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