Age of Edward Contest

Title: Symphony in Moscow

Your pen name: duskwatcher2153

Type of Edward: 1960's Cold War-Spyward!

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http://www(DOT)fanfiction(DOT)net/community/The_Age_of_Edward_Contest/70125/

*****

Before glasnost, before perestroika, there were two huge world superpowers, playing a game of chicken with nuclear war. Like chess, it was move and countermove, attack and retreat, hidden intent and misdirection. Sometimes even pawns can capture the king. Sometimes pawns are sacrificed.

*****

For Moscow, it was a warm November night. The city hadn't yet entered its annual deep freeze, but winter was hanging around the corner like death in a tuberculosis ward. The streets were potholed and the few streetlamps flickered. Outside of Red Square and the golden onion bulb turrets of the Kremlin, in this part of the city, the buildings were all grey, boxy and grimy. The glory of the Bolshevik revolution had faded and political corruption and greed had taken its place. Paranoia pervaded the streets like the stench from a sewer. It is still called paranoia, even when there truly are people after you.

Edward grabbed Bella's hand roughly and pulled her off the main boulevard, leading her into the dark alley between buildings. "Do you have any idea of what you are up against?" he hissed furiously. In the dimness of the alley, her black stole and his tuxedo faded into the darkness.

The careening sirens of the Moscow police force, the militsia, rose and then fell as a car with flashing lights sped past the alley. They both took a step deeper into the darkness of the alley.

"No, Edward," she hissed back just as furiously. "But I'm sure you'll tell me."

His anger at her blithe ignorance of the danger they were in was making him shake. "If they catch you here, away from the embassy, do you really think you're going to be able to just walk away from them? When they know you are up to your neck in the Brandon affair?" His long slender fingers dug at the knot of his formal bowtie, ripping it from his neck and stuffing it in his pocket.

Her eyes narrowed. "What do you know of the Brandon affair?" she asked suspiciously.

His scowl was fierce enough to make her take a step back as he paced forward, his hands clenched. The intensity his face always carried only grew more compelling with his anger. "I know enough to guess that there is something the U.S. wants very badly and the Politburo is dead set against making sure they don't get it."

That caught her attention. Wrapping the opera stole a little tighter around her shoulders, she shook her head. "This is stupid. It's not even me they are after. It was your concert they came barging into," she protested. She shrugged his hand off her shoulder and started to walk back towards the street. "I don't know why I let you drag me from the concert hall, anyway."

He grabbed her shoulder and spun her around, then backed her against the brick wall of the building. "Listen, half of the soldiers that are out there roaming the streets of Moscow are looking for me, and the other half are looking for you." He looked down into her huge brown eyes, now wide with alarm. "If you don't believe me, sure, go out there, they'll have you in a cell under Red Square before you can say 'dosvidaniya'."

"How do you know this?" she demanded.

"It's all Major Nemov could think of."

"Think of? So you're a mind reader now?"

He hesitated, and dropped his hand from her shoulder. "Yes, I am," he answered almost shamefacedly. It was the reason he'd been picked for this assignment. That, and his music skills and knowledge of Russian.

Disbelief crossed her face. "Oh yeah? What am I thinking?"

"I don't know! I can't read you! It's making me crazy! How do you do that?" He glared at her as if he could will her mind to open to him.

"Do what?" she asked angrily.

The sound of a phalanx of heavily shod feet trotting in formation down the main boulevard started to fill the alley. "Soldiers on foot. We're fucked," he said. As soon as the soldiers realized they were American, they'd both be taken away immediately, likely to never see daylight again. He looked back at her, her brown eyes glittering with fear or anger, clutching her stole tightly to her chest. He could still see her smooth white shoulders, shoulders he had ached to feel under his hand.

He gritted his teeth. He could not allow this to happen. He spied an empty liquor bottle sticking out of an overflowing trash can and snagged it. "Take off your shoes," he demanded.

"My shoes?" Confusion caused her eyebrows to pull together in that way he found so inexplicably charming.

"Your shoes, take them off. They're obviously American." He glanced over his shoulder down the alley as the sound of the boots became louder.

She slid her small delicate feet out of them and kicked them to the side. Her eyes grew wider than he thought possible as he unzipped his trousers and let them fall to his ankles. He hoped the jacket was long enough to conceal his underwear from the soldiers.

"Now wrap your legs around me." He pushed her up against the wall so that their bodies were melded together and slid his hands down to her hips. Despite his fear, the contact of their bodies sent a thrill of flame along his nerves. Perhaps it was the fear that caused his hypersensitivity to the way her body pressed against his, the softness of her breasts and belly.

"What?" she asked, outraged.

There was the sound of voices and Edward checked over his shoulder. The silhouettes of two armed soldiers were entering the alley. "Just do it!" he hissed.

She gave a small jump as his hands slid under her ass, then wrapped her legs around his waist. He held her up against the wall, cradling her ass with one hand and the empty vodka bottle next to her shoulder with the other. He bent his head to her shoulder. Pressed between him and the wall, she felt his hot breath against the exposed skin above her collarbone. Unsure and anxious, she waited to follow his lead. She was panting with emotion; fear and excitement making her pulse race. His hair was brushing against her face, and his musky, masculine scent was filling her nose. She fought the urge to wrap her arm around the head pressing against her neck.

In Russian, one of the soldiers shouted, "Hey, who are you? Turn around!" Bella startled underneath Edward, and she felt a pang of real fear race through her.

Edward let the empty liquor bottle slide from his grasp and it went rolling across the alley's littered ground. "We are trying to have a good time here," he answered in flawless Georgian Russian, slurring his words slightly.

He let his hand slide down to where the slit in her dress exposed her thigh, pushing the dress up further so that her long leg clinging to his lean waist was naked to the soldiers' gaze. Her skin felt like silk under his hand, but he tried to push away the distracting sensations and focused on the soldiers' thoughts, trying to gauge how best to convince them to move along in their search.

The soldiers exchanged a glance and a smirk. "We are looking for an American."

Edward let his hips grind into Bella's and she gasped. "I haven't seen any Americans," he answered, his Russian perfect. "Have you?" he asked to Bella.

She looked up into his fierce gaze, and silently shook her head, her eyes wide with fear.

He prayed the soldiers would mistake her fear for excitement. "We haven't seen any fucking Americans," he said disgustedly. "We haven't even seen any Americans fucking." He ground his hips into her again and grunted loudly. "I will never make her cum with you standing there."

With a sharp intake of breath, she threw her head back. He looked at her, fascinated by her face as she closed her eyes in mock pleasure. He ground into her again, but this time he wasn't sure if it was just pretense for the soldiers.

"How is she?" The taller soldier asked, taking a step forward, obviously intrigued by the scene.

The other soldier rolled his eyes and tugged at his sleeve. "Come on, pervert, leave them alone." The two of them started back down the alley, the tall one, looking over his shoulder at them.

Edward and Bella stayed in position as they listened to the sound of the heavy boots receding. Through the thin fabric of the evening gown, she could feel the irregularities in the brick wall against her back. She could feel the tenseness in his hard body as he pressed against her. A slow burn was heating her, making her aware of how exposed and open she was to him, her thighs spread around him, her legs clinging to his hips. The awareness of his hand on her ass, his other hand clasping her waist, was sending shots of electricity through her veins. How easily he held her up, keeping her pinned to the wall.

His heart was pounding with anxiety. Still, he couldn't help himself. He bent his head to her shoulder once more, taking a surreptitious breath through his nose of her heady, intoxicating scent before he would be forced to move away. That juncture where a woman's neck met her shoulder with its mysterious dips and shadows had always been a favorite place of his, and he fought the urge to nuzzle it. Her strapless evening gown left her whole shoulder exposed and to have it right beneath his lips was dizzying. He was aware of just how precisely he fit between her legs and of how soft and rounded she was beneath his hands.

"I think they're gone now," she whispered.

He pulled his face up and saw that the alleyway was indeed empty. Turning back, his lips just barely brushed her hair and he found his face just inches away from hers. He was close enough to see how deeply brown her eyes were, an incredible shade of warm umber that somehow thrilled him. Her lips were slightly parted, and her breathing was as ragged as his own. They stared at each other, frozen in place, their hearts beating a complementary tattoo. The tension between them was causing all kinds of inconvenient reactions on his part.

He set her down gently on her feet and took a step backwards. Without her searing heat next to him, he was aware of how intensely he wanted to feel that, to be that close to her again. Without meeting her eyes, he pulled up and refastened his trousers. He patted the pockets of his jacket and smoothed the lapels of his tux. "Please put your shoes on. We need to find a place to hide for a few hours."

She bent down and slipped her heels back on. "A few hours?"

"Well, preferably 'til morning." He ran a hand through his hair. "We'll be less conspicuous with the streets full. We can find a phone and have the embassy send a car for us. Do you know a place?"

"There's a cheap hotel in the river district that rents by the hour."

"How far?"

"Half a dozen blocks north."

He looked at her, assessing her. "Do I want to know why you know cheap hotels that rent by the hour?"

"I wouldn't tell you, anyway," she answered smiling.

He grabbed her hand. "Let's go."

They walked the few blocks north, ducking into a doorway when a convoy of soldiers passed ahead at a cross street. The hotel was an old building that had once seen better days but was still trying to keep up appearances.

Bella greeted the old man at the desk, cheerfully calling him by name in her oddly pronounced Russian. He was obviously delighted to see her and went through the formality of donning a faded plaid shirt, covering the holes and stains in his sleeveless tee shirt. He gratefully accepted the exorbitant amount that Edward paid for the room and led them, wheezing, up the stairs to their room. He pointed out the shared bathroom at the end of the hall and let them in to the small room, dominated by a brass bed. The walls were covered with a large cabbage rose pattern that had once been pink but had faded to a grimy grey color. There was a porcelain sink with a large crack in the basin and the bed was covered with two very flat pillows and a worn comforter.

"Charming," Edward remarked, once the proprietor had left, his hands on his hips as he surveyed the room.

Bella slipped off her heels and sat on the bed, folding one leg under her. The slit of the gown inched up her leg, and his hands tingled at the memory of how her thigh had felt beneath his hands. "Well, you didn't say you were looking for pretty."

There was a simple wooden chair in the corner and gratefully, Edward went for it, leaving the bed to Bella. It creaked ominously as he sat down. He leaned backward and was crossing his legs when there was a large cracking sound.

There was just enough time for her to see the startled expression on his face before the chair gave way completely, and he found himself sprawled on the floor among the splintered remains of the chair.

"Oh, are you alright?" Bella asked solicitously before the humor got to her and she had to turn her face away. She peeped at him back over her shoulder and couldn't stop herself from giggling. "I'm sorry. No, really are you okay?" She started to rise off the bed.

He waved her back, chagrin showing on his face. "I'm fine." He rose and dusted off his pants, looking ruefully at the pile of shards on the floor. "I suppose he'll charge us for that."

"Probably double." She giggled again. "Well, come on then. I can share." She patted the bed next to her.

He hesitated for a moment. This woman was getting to him in ways he couldn't even begin to fathom. Yet, he still couldn't cross her off his list of potential double agents. Someone was revealing American agents to the Soviets and too many people had already been killed. The sooner he found the leak in the embassy, the sooner he could return to his home and his music studies in Boston. The very fact that she was the one person he couldn't read raised all kinds of red flags to him. Yet, she seemed so transparent in her behavior. She was either innocent or extremely dangerous. He moved cautiously to the bed.

She twisted, trying to get comfortable in the tight bodice of the blue velvet gown. "I'm envious of your Russian. Where did you learn it?"

"My mother. She emigrated when I was three." He watched her as she wriggled on the bed, trying to find a position in which she could breathe freely. The gown looked as though it had been welded on her slight frame. She let the stole slip off her shoulders.

His hands had ached all evening to caress the rounded skin of those shoulders. The blue of the dress made her skin look like ivory porcelain, but warm and inviting.

She yanked at the stole and draped it over the brass headboard. "So, tell me. How did you get selected for the Young Musicians' Exchange Program?"

The YMEP was the pretense he had entered the country under. He couldn't tell her he'd been blackmailed into it by the NSA; that they had threatened to deport Esme back to the USSR- a virtual death sentence for her- if he didn't cooperate. "I was at Berklee, and it was offered to me. It was a chance to study under Viktor Metzhanov." That much at least was true. The less he told her, the safer she'd be. That was, unless, she was the double agent he'd been sent to find. The dichotomy of wanting her so badly and trying to keep his distrust of her was ruining his carefully balanced mindset.

She shifted again, tugging at the side of the gown. He could see the stays of the gown's construction where they were cutting into her tender flesh. "How about you? How did a librarian wind up working for the state department?"

She sighed. "Just my minor was in Library Studies. My major was in Russian literature. I wanted to see where all my favorite books were written. I applied and they accepted me. I was as floored as anyone." She wrapped her arms around herself and huffed in frustration. "Of course, it probably didn't hurt that I knew the Ambassador's son, James."

"That gown is bothering you." Don't do it, don't do it, he yelled at himself.

She smiled sheepishly. "These gowns are made to look nice but not so you can breathe."

"I could lend you my shirt." You did it, you dickwad, you idiot stick.

She looked seriously tempted, but shook her head. "No, I couldn't. You'd get cold."

"But I have an undershirt and my jacket." He took off the jacket and hung it on the bedpost at the end of the bed. I am most certainly a full blown masochist. He started on the buttons of his tuxedo shirt.

"Are you sure?" she asked hesitantly.

"Of course." Of course you just made a huge mistake, you know that don't you? He pulled the shirt off and held it out for her.

"Oh, thank you!" She grabbed it from him and jumped off the bed. Slipping out the door, she whispered pertly, "I'll be right back."

He slumped over and put his face in his hands. What the hell was I thinking? What is the power this girl has over me? She was the one woman in the embassy he ought to stay away from. He should be keeping his distance and keeping her under surveillance; instead he was trapped in this sleazy hotel with her and she was even now slipping out of her gown. He couldn't tell if she was tricking him into doing this or if he was being led by his own voracious desire for her.

Bella tiptoed down the hall to the bathroom. It was small and dingy, a single bare light bulb hanging from a wire for illumination. She unzipped the side of the gown and took the first deep breath in what seemed like ages. She let the gown drop to a pool around her feet and brought his shirt to her nose. Inhaling deeply, she closed her eyes. Now that's what a man's shirt should smell like. God, that man is such a doll. The way his t-shirt clings to him, that hair that looks like he just got out of bed. And those long fingers—. At the concert tonight, she had watched him from the wings. The way he bent over the piano keys, his eyes closed, his whole body moving with emotion, had touched her in some deep, fundamental way.

She'd had it with the choice of men at the embassy. The Ambassador's son, James, while good-looking in a rough way, was sleazy enough that she'd taken to going out of her way to avoid him. He made her feel like she was the prey to his predator. There was Mike Newton, the attaché, who tended to follow her around like a puppy, almost tripping over himself in an effort to be helpful to her. That was more annoying than attractive. The only other man she had felt any kind of a connection to was Yakov Bleck, but he was a part of the Russian Foreign Service and any relationship with him would be frowned upon.

But then Edward had arrived at the embassy. The YMEP brought music students from around the world to train with master musicians. The last one had been a violinist, very gifted but extremely arrogant. Edward was incredibly talented, but it hadn't gone to his head. He seemed almost shy and diffident at times. She found that very attractive.

Still, how had he known about the Brandon affair? Only the senior officials in the embassy were supposed to have any knowledge of that, and even some of them were on a need-to-know basis. Were there soldiers really looking for her? Had there been another leak at the Embassy? And what the heck was that remark about mind-reading? He must be more than he appeared; he had taken control so smoothly when they were faced with the danger in the alley.

She took the pins out of her hair and, checking the mirror, fluffed her mane around her shoulders. I could do a Mata Hari, right? She sighed and grimaced at her refection. Who am I kidding? He's so gorgeous and I'm the embassy librarian for goodness sakes. Like he'd even want me. Surely, he'd felt the spark too, though in the alley. For a moment there, she'd thought she was going to spontaneously combust.

There was a soft knock at the door and Edward turned to it as Bella slipped back into the room. Her slight frame swam inside the large white shirt and the tails hung halfway down her slender thighs. She had the sleeves rolled up and had taken down her hair, so that it was massed around her face and down her back. He'd never seen anything so erotic in his life.

His breath caught in his throat. He realized now the extent of his mistake in offering her his shirt. This woman was dangerous, extremely dangerous, and with every moment he just wanted her more. He sprang from the bed and took the few quick steps to the small single window in the far wall. Thrusting his hands in his pockets and hoping to mask his acute reaction to her, he stared at the grimy alley below.

She was startled by how quickly he moved. Gazing at his figure, as he leaned against the windowsill, she thought how incredibly masculine he looked in just his white t-shirt and tuxedo pants. With his hands in his pockets, his cotton shirt strained across his shoulders, and his pants were stretched across his narrow hips. His hair was mussed in that way that made her want to comb it with her fingers.

She spread her dress on the bedpost opposite his jacket. "I suppose we should be glad there's adequate heat in here."

He made a small sound of assent but stayed glued to the window.

She needed to know how much he knew of the Brandon affair and where he had learned it. Her brows furrowed as she tried to think of a way of bringing up the subject without tipping her own hand. The realization came to her then that she didn't want to know after all. That what she wanted right now was to feel him pressed against her again.

She rounded the corner of the bed and came behind him by the window. "Anything out there?"

He couldn't answer. He was acutely aware of her movements as she moved around the room. Inside of him, a war was raging. Her nearness, her scent, the incredible image of her in his shirt were small bits of torture. He felt like he was losing all his natural defenses - his ability to detach, to shut down was slipping away from him. He usually only let himself feel when in front of the piano, and she was upsetting that natural order. It was making him angry with her. How dare she worm her way into his defenses. Why couldn't he read her? How was she doing that? More importantly, why was she doing it?

He jumped when he felt the slight touch of her hand on his shoulder blade. His muscles twitched involuntarily under her hand, and his skin burned where she was touching him. Closing his eyes, he tried to push away the thought of her standing there in his shirt.

"Edward, what's wrong? Have I done something to offend you?" Her voice was low and husky, and it took him over the edge he had been tottering on since she had entered the room. The control he had hoped to maintain burst apart, and the floodgates of his desire flew open.

Quickly, before she could react, he spun around and grabbed her by the shoulders. He forced her to take a step back, and for the second time that night, pushed her up against a wall. Pressing his forehead against hers and panting with the effort of trying to keep himself in hand, he kept his eyes closed. The sight of her would be too much for him to resist, and he had to give her one last chance to stop this madness. A part of him was hoping she would push him away, slap him, anything to make him stop.

He felt her shoulders under his hands, the image of those white shoulders he had seen while she was in her gown burning into his retinas. He felt lost and helpless before her. He knew he would give this woman anything— anything that she might ask. His only hope was that she wouldn't ask.

He bent his head down further, pressing his lips to her throat. His breath was coming hard and choppy and his heart felt like it was about to burst from his chest with the emotions he was containing. "Bella," he said roughly, 'if you want me to stop, you have to say so now." He waiting, inhaling the scent of her hair as shivers ran down his back.

There was a pause and his stomach suddenly knotted. He pulled back just far enough to see her face. Her eyes were wide and dilated and she was breathing as hard as he was. She looked frozen, and a bolt of uncertainty made his breath catch in his throat. "Don't…Don't stop," she said breathily and raised a hand to touch his waist.

With a wild inarticulate cry of surrender, he knew he was lost. He pushed her against the wall, his lips peppering her face with kisses before he claimed her lips. She was oxygen and he was drowning. He pulled her into his arms and she clung to him, molding her body against the planes and hardness of him. He pushed a knee between her legs and his hands slipped under the hem of her shirt. She gasped when his hands met the bare flesh at her waist. Squeezing and kneading, his hands roamed the sides of her body, with each pass exploring higher up her ribcage and lower on her hips.

She felt him all over her, his hands trying to reach every place at once. His urgency and need was feeding hers, and together they pawed and grasped at each other. His thigh was between her legs and she felt the proof of his unbridled excitement on her hip. She rocked briefly against his thigh, causing friction for them both, and it set them trembling and panting together with the intensity of their need for each other.

Urgently, he pushed up her shirt to cup her breasts and was rewarded as he felt her nipples harden under his palms. She pulled his head to her neck with a low moan. That moan sent a river of flames through him. His urgency deepened; he needed this woman. He rose to taste her mouth again, open-mouthed and gasping.

She was being swept away by his passion for her. She wanted to take this man into herself, to meld with him. Needing to feel more of him, she tugged at the back of his shirt.

He took a step back and yanked his t-shirt off over his head. Stepping forward to embrace her again, he momentarily froze to watch her lift the hem of the shirt she was wearing. Almost painstakingly slow, crossing her arms in front of her, she lifted the shirt over her head, revealing perfect rose-tipped breasts and a creamy expanse of torso that made him catch his breath. She tossed her head to shake her hair free of the shirt and dropped the shirt to the floor beside her. Stepping forward, he clutched her tightly, reveling in the sensation of her soft breasts against his chest. He slipped a hand down her back and around her front, over her panties, to cup his long fingers over her pubis. She gasped and opened her legs further to give him all the access he asked for, and he felt the moisture that had collected there.

With a strangled moan, he wrapped his arms around her waist and picked her up so her feet dangled above the floor, covering her mouth with kisses. He brought her over to the bed and set her down, where she laid back against the pillows. He hooked a finger in her panties and she raised her hips to allow him to slide them off her legs in one long motion.

He stopped for a moment and drank in the sight of her naked body, his eyes drawn to the dark shadow of golden brown hair at the apex of her legs. There she was, exposed before him and she was completely his. Or was the spell she had been casting now finished and he was completely hers?

She watched him through heavy-lidded eyes, as he stood at the edge of the bed, tossing his shoes to one side and pulling off his pants. He was as hard and ready for her as she was for him. He climbed on the bed and she spread her legs so that his weight was on top of her. His lips and tongue were exploring hers while his hands roamed her body, squeezing a breast, then her hip and her thigh. He bent his head down to gently suck a nipple between his lips and she arched her back as a wave of ecstasy rolled over her. She was acutely aware of how his sex was brushing her pubis and she whimpered with desire, moving her hips to encourage his entrance.

He shifted his weight to his elbows and raised his face above hers. She watched him, her mouth parted, panting with lust. He stared into her eyes, holding onto her gaze like a drowning man clutches a life preserver. Slowly pushing into her tight, slick sex, he groaned as she threw her head back and moaned with pleasure. Her soft heat was enveloping him, and like a flower opening petal by petal, she revealed herself to him. Watching her face as she writhed under him, he started the age-old rhythm of love, advancing and withdrawing. With each push in, she moaned and the sounds sent thrills through him.

Trying to keep a slow pace, he ground into her, but he could feel the explosion building behind his groin. He knew he wouldn't be able to last long; she was too beautiful, too soft, too hot and slick for him to hold onto any semblance of control.

He was filling her and she was moving against him, meeting his every thrust with her own raising of hips, trying to grant him the access he was reaching for, deeper, deeper. It was when he cried, "Bella!" with a powerful thrust that she clawed his back, soaring into the electric explosion of her climax. He was there too, trying to bury himself in her. With an inarticulate groan of ecstasy, he shivered as his orgasm overtook him, pulsing with pleasure.

He continued to push in and out, slower and slower, still quivering from the transcendent sensations, as their shared panting grew softer and softer. He kissed her shoulder and then her lips, tenderly this time, and then reluctantly pulled himself out of her to fall by her side.

They clutched at one another, speechless about the passion they had just spent. They had been stripped to the fundamentals- a man and a woman and the pleasure they could bring to each other. He pulled her close and tried not to think beyond the immediate tangible sensations. She rolled in his arms and he spooned her, aligning his body along hers from feet to head. He pushed his face into her hair, breathing in the clean, slightly fruity smell. The warmth and softness of her back against him was suffusing his body, like the heat from a fireplace.

Neither one of them wanted to break the spell by talking. There was too much to talk about, too much already unsaid, all the questions and fears of the events occurring outside this room. Here they were just Edward and Bella, inexplicably drawn together and caught up in passion for each other. Here was a needed respite against the uncertainties of the world outside the door.

Gradually, the skin-on-skin contact began calling to them again. She rolled back over to face him and they kissed for a long time, exchanging lovers' sighs and moans. This time they moved slowly and tentatively towards each other, the neediness and immediacy of their initial passion subdued.

Now they began their exploration of each other. He felt reverential towards her, like he was performing a sacrament by holding her body in his hands. He was experiencing the same kind of awe and expectation as when he approached a Steinway concert grand piano. He was stunned by the depths of his wonder for the sweet curves of her body. All of it intrigued and delighted him, the sensuous crease of her inner elbow, the complex texture of her nipples, the grainy silkiness of her lower lips and the shell-like delicate curve of her ear. He was humbled at the altar of their lovemaking.

Bella began to sigh again as his mouth and hands started their arpeggio across her skin. She felt like an instrument, a keyboard under his hands, one that he played deliberately and masterfully. He was composing a song on her skin, one that was making her moan with sublime ecstasy. It became transcendent; she was lost in an orbit of rapture and passion. The only thing tethering her to the earth was his lips and fingers.

This second round of lovemaking was as slow as their initial joining had been fast. They had slaked the urgency of their mutual need, now they were smoldering in a long hot flame that was burning away everything but the two of them coming together.

The night wore on and they dozed occasionally, but the constant craving for each other never diminished or grew less. As the night just started to lighten, they made love again, this time languidly and with confidence as they grew more assured of each other's response.

Night passed into day as it must, and the rays of the sun were slanting through the window when she woke to see him dressing. "We should probably get going," he said, gently. "We should find some less conspicuous clothes and a telephone."

She scratched her head and blinked her eyes sleepily. He stopped to watch as the covers slowly slipped down her chest, revealing her small pert breasts that had felt custom-made for his hands. Any hopes he had that last night's passion would help get her out of his system were destroyed as he realized now that he only wanted her more, and more of her. He wanted to take her standing up, in the shower, on top of him, every way he had ever seen in others' minds. Turning away, he fought the urge to crawl back into bed with her.

"Okay," she said agreeably, but not moving. He bent down and tied his shoes; still she sat there, blinking leisurely. She slowly fell backwards onto the pillows.

He stepped towards her smiling. "Come on, sleepyhead, rise and shine."

She buried her face in the pillow. "Do we have to?"

He was all business now. The fears and concerns from last night were back with him. "We need to get back to the embassy as quickly as we can. Hopefully, the searching for us has ended."

Her eyes widened as she remembered. He slipped out of the door to visit the bathroom and give her time to get dressed. When he returned, she was slipping on her shoes. She snatched the stole off the floor and said, "I'm ready."

He took one last look at their room before closing the door. Somehow she had made this dumpy little room into a shrine.

They took the stairs down to the street level where the boulevard was beginning to bustle with the day's activities. "There's a place this way," she whispered, to avoid their English being overheard.

They were getting some strange looks from pedestrians, their formal attire making them conspicuous. Edward was glad when they were able to enter the shop and come in off the street. The shop had a few bolts of fabric out front, but Bella talked with the clerk, and he led her to the back where black market clothing from foreign markets was available. Bella grabbed a couple of dresses and headed for the fitting room.

Edward offered the clerk a large bill and asked for the use of a telephone. The clerk led him through a curtained doorway into a small, crowded office and pointed to the heavy black phone on the desk. "No long distance," he said, surly.

"Of course not," Edward assured him. He picked up the handset and waited pointedly for the clerk to leave. The clerk huffed and pushed back through the curtains.

Edward dialed the embassy's number. When the receptionist answered, he asked for the Ambassador, only to be told the Ambassador was in a meeting. "This is Edward Masen, it's an emergency."

"I'm sorry sir," came the nasal reply. "He left word he wasn't to be disturbed."

"What about Newton, is he there?"

"Attaché Newton is also in that meeting."

Damn! Who else had the authority to send a car? "What about Sergeant McCarty? Is he there?"

"Hold on, I'll put you through."

"Edward, man!" Emmett said urgently. "Where have you been? Things have been going nuts!"

"We've been trying to elude half the Russian military. We need a car to come pick us up."

Emmett sucked his breath in through his teeth. "Can't do it. The whole place is in lock down. Nothing's going in or out. Haven't you heard?"

"Heard what?"

"Kennedy's been shot."

"What?"

Through the telephone line, Edward heard an alarm go off. "I have to go," Emmett said breathlessly. "Get back as soon as you can."

There was a click and the line went dead.

Edward was in shock. He looked at the phone in his hand, trying to fit the new information inside his head. The young president, so full of promise and charisma, had been shot? Who had done it? Krushchev had lost some serious face at the Bay of Pigs. Was this payback? He could sense the nuclear clock beginning the countdown to zero hour. Was this how World War III would start? Stunned, he walked out of the office.

Bella was in a yellow shirtdress and she twirled for him. "What do you think?" she asked, smoothing the fabric with her hand. "I also picked out some jackets for…" She trailed off as she registered the pain and panic on his face. Stepping up to him, she put a hand on his chest. "Edward, what is it?"

Edward glanced around; the clerk had disappeared. "President Kennedy. He's been shot."

Her hand flew to her mouth. "Oh." Her eyes glazed as she stared into the distance. She looked back at him, her eyes filling with tears. "Oh," she whispered again.

He wrapped his arms around her, to comfort her and to feel her comfort. It was as if an earthquake had set the whole world tumbling upside down and things would never be the same.

"We need to get back to the embassy." He threw some money on the counter and together they walked out into an entirely different world.

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