TABLE 69

The Maitre d’ bowed to them. “Mr & Mrs Gold?”

“Yes,” he replied.

Though the Maitre d’ could guess correctly they were not married, in this posh Italian restaurant in the south of France, the staff were well-trained in old-fashioned civility.

“What shall it be, Mr. Gold?” The Maitre d’ asked him in accented English. “A table for two or would you rather something different?”

“Table for two please,” he requested with a polite tilt of the head.

“Very well,” the Maitre d’ offered, turning to a table Captain. “Please show the lady and gentleman to a table for two.”

The restaurant’s personnel had everything in place. Even the aroma was crafted to perfection. Every stroke blended perfectly with the smell of scented candles that it seemed painted by Rembrandt. Together, they followed the table captain to a table in the corner.

“Table 69,” the table captain announced, gesturing them to the table for two.

He handed the table captain a tip and drew her a chair. Once he got around to sitting down, she shot at him.

“So why do you write all those things? Can’t you write something decent, like a real writer? Must they all be raunchy?”

He replied her with a direct stare and a faint smile. Then, delicately, he dropped his eyes to her fully puckered lips before concentrating on her silk lemon dinner dress. The neckline of the dress from the neck to chest formed a perfect V for victory; which revealed most of her cleavage. He peered at them briefly, then turned to her nipples and caressed them passionately with his eyes. The nipples grew in boldness, slowly and steadily, like a pair of snails stretching out of their shells.

“Stop it,” she croaked, her breathing, a bit tensed. “I refuse to be one of those girls in your novels.”

He met her eyes, then, smiled.

“Bet you are feeling lucky now,” she continued, a bit flustered and her breathing still revealing a mild pant. “You got a table in the corner, where no one can see us.”

“For a different reason altogether,” he said wryly. “It’s just that sixty-nine is my favourite number.”

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