Stefan stood near the door of the suite he shared with Carlotta and watched her angry profile stare out at the night sky. Even in anger, he could not help but admire her curvaceous figure. Clad in red silk lingerie, she was a portrait of sensual beauty.
As if sensing his gaze upon her, Carlotta turned angry eyes his way. Though her attire invited him closer, her expression warned him to keep his distance.
"This is childish, Carlotta," Stefan said sternly. "I have apologized for what was a simple slip of the tongue."
"Go to hell."
The words were terse and to the point. And, Stefan feared, summed up the extent of his wife's anger with him. "Carlotta," he began calmly, "let us end this. Come to bed." He dimmed the lights within the suite and moved toward the large king-sized bed they shared.
Removing the silken robe he wore, Stefan waited beside the bed clad only in black silk pajama bottoms. His Cassadine medallion rested comfortably on his muscled chest. "My love," he sighed heavily, " we vowed never to go to bed angry."
"I'm not going to bed." Carlotta's voice was sharp. "You are. Alone."
Stefan felt a momentary anger at her stubbornness. He had apologized profusely, when in fact the blame for their current situation was not his alone.
She was the one who had insisted they take the test from the magazine. He had been against the idea, but Carlotta had prevailed. Now, she was angry because he had done as she asked.
"I did not want to participate in that particular exercise," Stefan reminded her. "I had other ideas for our time together."
Carlotta finally turned and looked squarely at him. "Laura."
That damned test.
The question required him to say the first thing that came to his mind. And when Carlotta said 'true love', he had responded accordingly. It didn't matter that he tried to explain just why Laura had come to mind. After the utterance of her name, Carlotta would not listen.
Stefan moved determinedly toward his wife. This was the first serious misunderstanding between them. He was determined that it would not extend any longer. "Carlotta," he breathed her name and reached for her.
She jerked away from him and stood with her back to him. Her luscious body was stiff with anger, and Stefan saw no sign of softening. "As I tried to explain earlier," Stefan began again, "it was the words 'true love' that brought Laura to mind. Back then I used that phrase so often in dealing with her. I did not know, until I met you, what they truly meant."
Carlotta spun around. Her eyes glittered and her chest heaved with emotion. "All the pretty words in the world won't change what you said, Stefan! I just don't believe you."
"Can you believe in the love we make, Carlotta?" He wrapped his arms around her unyielding body. "Let me show you. Let me make love to you."
Her laugh was bittersweet. "Right now, I don't want you to make love to me." She hesitated. "I want-"
Stefan sensed that they stood at the edge of a precipice. One false move and all would be lost. "Tell me what you want my love."
"I want to be fucked."
At the sound of the crude obscenity falling from his beloved's lips, Stefan pulled back as if shot. But with a blinding realization, he understood what she meant. Carlotta did not want to be wooed with flowery phrases and gentle caresses. After his unthinking response, she needed to feel the scope of his passion - unbridled, unrestrained, raw. It took the vulgar utterance to make Stefan realize how deeply he'd hurt her. Unwitting or not.
Roughly he pulled her to him. Stefan's arms were like steel bands about her, and he lowered his mouth to hers in a punishing kiss.
Carlotta felt the tears begin to form. Shutting her eyes, she gave herself up to Stefan's ministrations.
"Open your eyes," he growled. "See what you do to me."
Carlotta looked into his emerald orbs. They were dark with passion and promise.
Desperately, Stefan stripped the silken garment from her body and lowered her to the thick carpet. There was none of his usual gentleness. Only primal need and urgency.
He slipped quickly out of the silken pajamas. His erection pulsed as he positioned himself between her thighs. Without ceremony, he parted her folds and thrust within her. When he was buried deep within her heated walls, he paused only for a second before beginning to move.
Carlotta wrapped her legs around his waist and held him tightly. Stefan's thrusts were deep and sure, and she felt fully the unrestrained power of his passion.
Her eyes began to flutter shut. Small moans escaped her throat as his tempo increased. Stefan pulled away from her slightly, so that only their lower bodies touched. "Look at me," he commanded. "Know who makes you scream this way."
Carlotta's gaze traveled down to the joining of their bodies. As she watched, Stefan continued to thrust, his slickened member moving steadily in and out of her aroused body.
Stefan watched as his wife's mouth parted, and she began to pant. "Yes. Oh god, yes."
He increased his efforts as perspiration fell from his straining body. His tempo was furious, and his thrusts so powerful that Carlotta dug her fingers into the thick carpet to halt her body's movement. "Please," she begged for some untold mercy. "Please..."
His chants of her name echoed in response. "Carlotta..."
Her release came and Carlotta screamed his name. The sound sent Stefan hurtling toward his own release and he began to grind against her with deep straining strokes.
With the last echo of Carlotta's cries in his ears, Stefan found release. He poured himself endlessly into her, and at last fell spent upon her. Wordlessly, he rolled to the side and lay beside her.
When their breathing had returned to normal, Stefan rose and extended a hand to Carlotta. Silently, she accepted and allowed him to lead her to bed.