Valentina Bazin was the youngest competitor to have won gold medals in the women's individual and team foil event, in an Olympic Games. She was France's sweetheart. The whole world was certain she would go on to capture many more gold medals, and win every major fencing title for her country. She had the potential to become the greatest fencer in the history of the sport. She also had a temper that matched her skills. Valentina was returning as the defending women’s foil champion to the World Fencing Championships, held in her home town of Paris, France.
Giancarlo Antonelli was a member of the Italian fencing team. Giancarlo had competed in one Olympic Games, and finished in the top twenty of the men's individual foil. A result he was more than content with. He had decided that he would compete in one final tournament before starting the process of opening his own restaurant. His true love and passion had always been cooking.
Both of Giancarlo's parents were Master Chefs. He grew up in his parents' restaurant, Il Fornello, a very popular and respected dining establishment, in Napoli. He carried many fond memories of helping his mother in the kitchen. She had been, and still was, very patient with him. When Giancarlo turned twenty-three a year ago, his mother would frequently mention that he should have been married, and given her one of many grandchildren already.
It was in the stadium's cafeteria that fate brought Valentina and Giancarlo together. The World Fencing Championships opening ceremony had concluded, and they had headed with their teammates to the cafeteria for a quick bite.
One of Giancarlo's teammates nudged him and pointed out Valentina to him. She was ahead of them in line. ”She is the best in the world. She is an incredible athlete. You should ask her for an autograph. Since you always tell us how you think she is the most beautiful girl in the world,” he chuckled.
Giancarlo laughed out loud and shook his head. “Movie stars, Rock and Roll stars, and royalty line up just to get a glimpse of how beautiful she is. No other competitor has ever asked her for an autograph. I'd look like the only fool in the room if I were to.”
Valentina turned around to see who had laughed. The laugh had sounded so full of life, playful, content, and melodic. The sound made her smile. It soothed her in a new and strange way.
When Valentina's gaze met Giancarlo's, he quickly averted her eyes and pretended to be carrying on a serious conversation with his teammate. “She looked at me. Did I laugh too loud?” he whispered.
“You always laugh too loud, Giancarlo,” his teammate chuckled. “She's still looking at you, by the way.”
“Why? How is she looking at me? She must think I am an idiot,” Giancarlo blushed from embarrassment as he spoke.
His teammate shrugged his shoulders and replied, “Am I a mind reader? Ask her yourself. She doesn't have her foil, you should be relatively safe.”
Giancarlo turned around but didn't look at Valentina. He pretended to be trying to make up his mind on what to choose for his meal. Valentina stepped out of the line and made her way to Giancarlo.
“It's not as bad as it looks. The food here is quite good,” she smiled as she tapped Giancarlo on his shoulder.
Giancarlo turned to Valentina and hesitated to make any reply. He gathered his courage and asked her, “What do you recommend? I cannot decide what I want.”
Valentina pointed to a tray behind the glass, and replied, “The Fettuccine Alfredo with chicken and broccoli is very good.”
Giancarlo laughed softly at Valentina's recommendation.
“It was you who I heard laugh. You have a lovely laugh. It is melodic, filled with pure happiness. What do you find so amusing in my choice of food?” Valentina chuckled.
Giancarlo smiled and replied, “The pasta is much too overcooked. The sauce is too watery, the broccoli was added much too early, and the chicken has the consistency of bubble gum. They should call it chicken soup. I mean no disrespect to the kitchen staff, but it is breaking my heart to just look at it. I think I'll have a salad. I thank you just the same for your recommendation, Mademoiselle Bazin.”
Valentina crossed her arms and replied, “All that, from one look? How can you be sure? And, you are most welcome, just the same, Monsieur...” She extended her left hand.
A tradition among fencers is to shake an opponent's hand with their non-weapon hand. The weapon hand is always gloved, and holding the weapon, it is quicker and less clumsy after a match, to shake hands with the left hand. It is also an old tradition of the duel for fencers to shake with their non-weapon hand as a show of respect.
“I am Giancarlo Antonelli. It is a great honor and pleasure to meet you, Valentina Bazin.”
Valentina smiled and held on to Giancarlo's hand. His touch was pleasing, and set off a slight flutter in her belly.
“You are in France, and are critiquing our cuisine. Very bold, perhaps even arrogant of you, Giancarlo,” Valentina snickered.
Giancarlo felt his heart jump in his throat at the sound of his name from Valentina's lips.
“Arrogant? Not in the least. I only made an observation, Valentina. I have over cooked pasta on a rare occasion or two,” he smiled.
Giancarlo's teammate brought his hands together and shook them up and down as he addressed Valentina, “Please don't encourage him, Singnorina. If he starts talking about cooking, we'll all starve to death, and he’ll still be talking about cooking.”
Valentina laughed and asked Giancarlo, “You have a passion for cooking? Are you any good at it?”
“I can boil a pot of water without supervision,” Giancarlo chuckled. “This is my last tournament. As soon as I return to Napoli, I will begin the process to open a restaurant,” Giancarlo blushed as he tried to gather the courage to invite Valentina to sample his cooking.
“We French are also very passionate. In the old days, a disagreement would be settled by a duel,” Valentina chuckled. “Wait here, Giancarlo.”
She made her way to the utensil station and grabbed one paper napkin. When she returned to Giancarlo, she playfully struck the paper napkin across his cheek.
“I challenge you to a duel, Giancarlo Antonelli. I am obligated to defend my country's honor. Do you accept?” Valentina furrowed her brow and winked at him. “When I win, you will cook me dinner, and I get to choose the wine. I will choose a French wine, of course.”
Giancarlo laughed and asked, “And if I win?”
Valentina smiled and replied, “You still cook me dinner, but you get to choose the wine. Don't waste any time on thinking about what wine you will choose. No one can beat me. My foil's tip will find your heart.”
Giancarlo bent at his waist slightly and replied, “I gladly accept your challenge, Valentina. My heart awaits the sweet kiss of your foil's tip.”
Valentina felt heat in her cheeks as she turned to walk away, and added, “Tomorrow night I'll best you, at seven o'clock, in the main auditorium. Au revoir, Giancarlo.”
Giancarlo's teammate slapped him on his shoulder and chuckled, “When we get back home, I am moving to Napoli, and you are going to teach me to cook. Who knew that cooking was an aphrodisiac to women? What are you going to have to eat, Giancarlo?”
“I seem to have lost my appetite. It suddenly disappeared,” he replied.
Valentina made her way back in the line, next to her coach, Nathalie. Nathalie was thirty-seven years old, married with three children, and had won two silver Olympic medals. They roomed together when at a tournament.
“Who is that handsome young man you spoke with?” Nathalie coyly smiled.
“Handsome? Is he? I didn’t notice,” Valentina replied casually. “His name is Giancarlo. I challenged him to a duel. He is tall, the perfect opponent for practicing closing the distance.”
Nathalie smiled, put her arm around Valentina’s shoulder and whispered in her ear, “Handsome young men are fun to spar with, but, it is much more satisfying to kiss them, Valentina. You might want to remember that, after you have used him as a pin cushion.”
Valentina shrugged and replied, “He is not handsome enough for me to want to kiss him, Nathalie. I have kissed many boys, it is much more fun to stab them,” she giggled. “Perhaps, I will place a kiss on his cheek, to thank him for sparring with me.”
The flutter in her belly returned at the thought of kissing Giancarlo.
The first day of the competition, Valentina easily won her match by scoring five consecutive touches in under two minutes. Giancarlo was beaten by a score of four touches to two at the end of his three minute pool bout. Having lost, and scored only two touches, he would be facing one of the top finishers in the elimination round. He didn't care. All he could think about was seeing Valentina again.
Valentina was dressed in full gear when Giancarlo arrived at the auditorium. She waved at him as she gleefully called out, “Bon soir, Giancarlo!”
He waved back and made his way to her.
“Congratulations on your victory, Valentina. You fought brilliantly, as you always do,” he smiled.
“Merci Giancarlo. I am sorry you drew such a tough opponent for your pool match. He is the favorite to win the gold medal. But you performed well.” Valentina lifted herself up on to her toes and kissed Giancarlo on both his cheeks. An action that surprised Valentina, as much as it did Giancarlo.
“We can skip the sparring, Valentina. I will cook for you anytime you wish me to. I would be honored to. I don't want to impose on your training,” Giancarlo offered as he put on his jacket.
Valentina shook her head, and replied, “The meal will taste better knowing I earned it,” she snickered.
Giancarlo laughed and replied, “As you wish.”
They put on their masks and made their way to the fourteen meters long, by two meters wide strip, to begin their match.
“Five touches to win the match. En garde,” Valentina announced.
Giancarlo set the electronic timer to count down five minutes, and took his stance behind the on guard line. He struck quickly; he lunged forward and extended his arm, aiming for Valentina’s ribs, the closest legal target available to him. Before his arm was fully extended, he felt the tip of Valentina's blade strike the center of his chest. The power of the strike surprised him. After a match, it is expected to have bruises where the tip of the foil strikes a body.
The tip of the foil travels at a great speed, and strikes with the body weight, and the acceleration of the body and arm, as the combatant lunges forward and extends their arm. No accurate measurement of how fast the tip of the foil travels has ever been measured. The flick of the blade, when a lunge is parried, whips the blade over the opponent’s blade, and increases its velocity, adding to the force that is generated, and transferred to the target. Valentina generated the same force, on par, with that of any male competitor Giancarlo had faced. She possessed incredible speed and accuracy.
“Too slow, Giancarlo,” Valentina giggled as she made her way back to the on guard line on the strip.
“Too fast, Valentina,” Giancarlo laughed.
His laugh made her insides flutter again. She couldn't stop herself from smiling. The strange and new feeling that Giancarlo evoked in Valentina, although she could not name it, she was certain that she liked it.
Valentina initiated the next attack. She lunged forward with both her feet leaving the ground. When Giancarlo touched her blade to parry, Valentina twisted her wrist and let her forward momentum deflect Giancarlo's blade, and carry her blade to Giancarlo's chest.
“Too easy,” Valentina giggled again.
Giancarlo shook his head and chuckled, “Two blades to my heart. At this rate, there won't be any of my heart left for you to break.”
Valentine made her way to the on guard line walking backwards, as she asked, “And why would I want to break your heart, Giancarlo? It is much more fun to merely poke holes in it.”
“Hmm, my heart serves only as target practice for you?” he asked.
“Perhaps,” she coyly replied.
The sexual tension increased steadily between the two combatants. They both were anxious to continue their battle of innuendoes, words, and wits, more than the clashing of steel.
“There is a fury inside you, Valentina, as great and powerful as a raging ocean, in your attack and your defense. I wonder if your kiss holds the same fury as you strike at my heart with.”
“You are a much better poet than you are a fencer. You wouldn't be trying to distract me, would you, Giancarlo? Our fencing vests do not protect our hearts from words. I'd rather feel a blade pierce my heart, than feel it break.”
Giancarlo chuckled and replied, “Our sport is born from the art of killing. It is similar to love, is it not, Valentina? Both are fatal. We must take chances. When we attack, we leave ourselves unprotected, and exposed to a counterattack. When we dare to love, we expose ourselves to potential heartache.”
Valentina chuckled and replied, “I am certain you are trying to distract me.” Her voice quavered from the flutter in her belly that Giancarlo’s words invoked.
They took their stance and prepared for the attack. When Valentina saw Giancarlo's lead foot begin its slide forward, she charged at him and lunged forward. Her blade knocked his to the side. And with an inward twist of her supple wrist, the tip of her foil found Giancarlo's heart for a third time. Giancarlo grabbed her blade and pulled her close to him. He released the blade, slid his left hand to the small of her back and pulled her to him. Valentina lifted her mask and let it fall to the floor behind her. She stared at Giancarlo with fire in her eyes.
“Unhand me. I am not that type of girl,” she hissed.
Giancarlo released her. Valentina did not move away from him. The feel of his body against hers, aroused her. She shivered and suddenly had found it difficult to breathe.
“You are a one of a kind girl, Valentina. A once in a lifetime girl. You do not need a blade or words to wound my heart. Your beauty has pierced it, deeply. It is only a matter of time before you shatter it. Please promise to be swift with your blade. Plunge it deep into my heart, ensure it will never be able to feel again, the instant your beauty shatters my poet’s heart forever,” he softly replied.
Valentina swooned at his words. She reached for his mask, removed it and let it fall from her hand. She cupped Giancarlo's face in her hands, stood on her toes and placed the gentlest of kisses on his soft lips. As the kiss increased in passion, she wrapped her arms around his neck. Giancarlo wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her tighter to him. She parted her lips and sent her tongue in search of his. They remained locked in the perfect kiss, and lost in the perfect moment.
They both jumped with a start and laughed when the loud buzzer marked the end of the match.
Valentina pressed her cheek against Giancarlo's chest, and announced, “I win. Three touches to nil.”
Giancarlo smiled and replied, “Four touches, if you count the kiss.”
Valentina looked deeply into Giancarlo’s eyes and confessed, “I lied to Nathalie. I told her I did not think you handsome, and that I did not want to kiss you. The way you make me feel frightens me.”
Giancarlo smiled and replied, “Nowhere near as frightened as I was when you tapped my shoulder and spoke to me yesterday, I assure you.”
Valentina smiled and asked, “Would you like to sit with me in a café? It is a beautiful summer’s night. It would be shameful to waste it locked in a hotel room.”
He smiled and replied, “Very much so.”
Valentine turned around to pick up her mask, and giggled, “I hope you cook better than you fence.”
Giancarlo gently patted her bottom with his foil as he laughed at Valentina’s joke.
He could never have imagined Valentina's reaction.
Valentina slammed the door of her hotel room shut, and cursed at the top of her lungs, “Cachon Italien! Je te hais!”
Her coach came running out of the bedroom, startled by the sound of the door slamming, and Valentina's screaming. She wasn't expecting her to be back so soon.
“Valentina! Are you alright?” Nathalie asked in a panic.
Valentina pulled the waistband of her shorts down over her hips, and jutted her right butt cheek towards Nathalie. “That monster bruised me! Look!” she shouted.
“Giancarlo did that to you?” Nathalie asked with concern as she looked at the thin, pinkish line on Valentina's butt cheek.
“He is a buffoon, an insufferable pig! I cannot stand the thought of him!” Valentine shouted as she slapped her forehead with the palm of her hand. “I should have my head checked. Why did I offer to spar with him?”
Nathalie crossed her arms and gave her upset student a stern look, as she replied, “You know why, Valentina. Because you are attracted to him. And you did not offer to spar with him. You challenged him to a duel. Tell me, how did you react to Giancarlo giving you a playful whack on your derriere? You do realize it was most certainly a show of affection.”
Valentina widened her eyes in disbelief, and replied, “Playful whack? He has scarred me for life! How can I go to beach with a hideous scar on my ass? He attacked me, like a coward, when I turned to pick up my mask. For your information, I reacted as the proper, refined young lady, and sportswoman that I am. I scolded him and explained how rude his actions were. And that I never want to see him again.”
Nathalie tapped her foot impatiently and asked, “And what else, Valentina?” Nathalie was well aware of Valentina’s temper, and how radically she could react.
Valentina walked past her coach and headed to the bathroom as she replied, “I don't remember what else I did. It all happened so fast. I might have done something else. In my defense, he started it.”
Nathalie gasped, “Valentina Bazin, tell me what horrible thing you did to that poor boy!”
Valentina stepped out of her shorts and turned her body to examine the remnants of the thin, pink line on her butt cheek that had all but faded away, and casually replied as she shrugged, “I don't know, I might have stabbed him. Maybe in his cock, maybe not.”
Nathalie covered her mouth with both hands and scolded her student, “You and that cursed temper of yours, Valentina! Are you insane? Is he hurt? Do you even care if you injured him? Good God in heaven, Valentina. Why would you... ” Nathalie let out a deep sigh, shook her head, and didn't finish asking the question.
Valentina turned to her coach and answered, “He's fine. He was in full gear. If he wasn't wearing a cup, too bad for him. He tried to apologize, but I stormed off.”
“You are much too cold, and much too quick to anger. You only need ice in your veins when you are in competition. Not every second of your life. You owe him an apology, Valentina. If he will ever talk to you again,” Nathalie replied.
Valentina, in that instant, felt an ache slowly creep into her heart. The words Nathalie spoke, ‘If he will ever talk to you again’ each syllable echoed in her mind and pierced her heart. She bravely held back a sob and turned to her coach.
“How could he possibly want to see me again, Nathalie? I do not know why I have treated him in such a horrible manner. What I feel when I think about him, scares me to death. When I see him, I forget to breathe. I am so confused. I have never felt this way before. I don’t want to see him because of what he makes me feel. And I cannot bear it when he is not near me.”
Nathalie walked to Valentina and hugged her, “There is hope for you yet, my beautiful but crazy girl. We will fix this. What Giancarlo makes you feel, is love. You don't react to love by stabbing the boy in his cock on your first date. Kissing him is a much more appropriate and acceptable show of affection. There is plenty of time to stab them after you are married, trust me.”
Valentina let out a sob and began to cry. ”We did kiss, and it was the perfect kiss. It was the most perfect and beautiful moment of my life. What if he won't ever talk to me again?”
Nathalie chuckled and replied, “I have a feeling that Giancarlo would allow you more chances than you deserve, Valentina.” She shook her head and laughed, “Even if you did stab his cock.”
Valentina sobbed and laughed in the same sound, and said, “I want to run to him, this instant, and ask him to hold me in his arms in an everlasting kiss.”
Nathalie smiled and replied, “Wait till tomorrow. Give him time to calm down.”
On the second day of the competition, after Valentina won her match, she made her way to the warm up area and greeted a female fencer on the Italian team. Nathalie followed her.
“Bon jour, Angela. Is Giancarlo here?” Valentina nervously asked.
Angela stared at Valentina in silent contempt for a moment before answering her question, “I am afraid there is no more Giancarlo. Not the one that I know. I have never seen him like this. He has withdrawn from the competition, and is on his way home. What did you do to him?”
Valentina's throat tightened to the point where she was not capable of uttering a sound. The thought of never seeing Giancarlo again was much too painful to fathom.
Angela turned her gaze to Nathalie, and asked, “Can you tell me what she did to suck the will to live out of our Giancarlo?”
Valentina let out a sob, “Has he left? Do you know where he is? Please, Angela, tell me. I must talk to him. I must make this right.”
Angela was moved by the evident pain in Valentina’s voice and eyes. “You promise to make it right? You promise to bring our Giancarlo back to us?” Valentina sobbed and nodded. “Room 1202, at our hotel. Hurry, he is packing.”
Valentina hugged Angela and thanked her. She rinsed off in the shower, stuffed her equipment in her duffle bag, and threw on her orange sundress. She left her panties and bra in her duffle bag.
Nathalie grabbed Valentina by her wrists and spoke calmly. “Valentina, take a deep breath, calm down. I will pack your gear. Take your purse and cell phone. That is all you need. I will call you in one hour if you do not call me, agreed?”
Valentina hugged her coach and nodded, “Thank you, Nathalie. Agreed. I hope I am not too late.”
Nathalie smiled warmly and reassuringly at her student, as she replied, “It is summer time in Paris, Valentina. It is impossible to be too late for love.”
Valentina ran outside and frantically waved down a taxi. She fidgeted and fought back tears the entire ride to the hotel. She kept pushing the twelfth floor button as the elevator ascended. She squeezed through the elevator doors as soon as they began to open, and ran to Giancarlo’s room.
Valentina pounded on the door with both her open palms, and sobbed, “Giancarlo! Please, I beg you, open the door! Giancarlo!”
A few anxious seconds passed, and the door opened. Valentina looked up at Giancarlo and jumped in his arms. She wrapped her arms around his neck, and her legs around his waist. She peppered his face and neck with quick, desperate kisses.
“Forgive me, Giancarlo. Don’t leave. Please let me hear you laugh again,” she pleaded in-between the sobs and kisses.
Giancarlo laughed, and replied, “I should apologize for behaving in such an ungentlemanly manner, Valentina. It was very inappropriate to tap your bottom with my foil. When you told me you never wanted to see me again. I could not stay here knowing that you hated me.”
“I didn’t mean it, or the horrible names I called you when I talked to Nathalie. I could never hate you, Giancarlo. I reacted like a fool. I am ashamed. Tell me you will stay. Besides, it is not your fault that I have an irresistible derriere,” Valentina giggled and kissed Giancarlo on the lips.
Giancarlo placed the gentlest of kisses on Valentina’s cheek and said, “I will leave after you win the tournament. If you promise to come to Napoli and allow me cook the dinner I owe you in my parents' restaurant.”
Valentina let out a sigh of relief. “Yes! I promise!”
She unwrapped her legs from around him, and slid down his body. She stood silently looking up at him. Giancarlo ran his fingertip down her breastbone. Valentina felt her heat and wetness increase at his touch. He twisted his wrist, and caressed the curve of the bottom of her breast. Valentina took a slow, deep, ragged breath. Giancarlo cupped her breast and lifted it gently in the palm of his hand. Valentina looked down at her breast in his hand. She shivered, gasped and closed her eyes when Giancarlo stroked his thumb slowly across her nipple.
“Look at me, Valentina,” Giancarlo softly whispered to her. She looked like the most beautiful sunset he had ever seen, all dressed in orange. “You are more beautiful than all the sunsets and sunrises I have ever witnessed, Valentina.”
She tilted her head back and gazed into Giancarlo’s eyes. He pulled her to his body. He twitched when her belly pressed against his growing cock. Valentina pressed harder into him when she felt him twitch against her. She slid her right leg around Giancarlo’s left hip, and pushed her mound into his thigh.
Giancarlo nuzzled his mouth and chin against Valentina’s neck. His breath on her skin made her wetter. She moaned and bucked her hips. Giancarlo felt the heat radiating from Valentina on the top of his thigh. Her swooped her up in his arms and carried her to the bed. They both willingly fell onto the mattress, locked in a lover’s embrace. Their mouths locked in a desperate and hungry kiss.
Giancarlo lifted Valentina’s dress over her hips and caressed her inner thigh. Valentina reached for his belt and unbuckled it. He lifted his hips and Valentina slowly undid the button of his pants, and pulled down his zipper. Their kiss became more intense and desperate. When Giancarlo pulled his throbbing cock out of his pants and rested it on the top of Valentina’s slit, she broke the kiss and writhed under his weight. She moaned and spread her legs wider for her lover.
Valentina reached between his legs and guided Giancarlo to her slick opening. They looked at each other through glazed, lust fueled eyes. They didn’t want the magic of the moment to end. The special moment that new lovers can share only once. The moment when they become one, for the very first time. They both felt each other’s need. They both felt each other’s willingness to please the other.
Valentina cupped Giancarlo’s face in her trembling hands and gave a slight nod. “Look into my eyes as you enter me. I want to remember this moment forever,” she whispered.
Giancarlo sunk into Valentina gently and slowly. Both gasped, and moaned, and shivered as he filled her. When he was buried deep inside her, he began to thrust in and out of her. Valentina matched the movement of his hips with hers. As their passion grew, and brought them closer to release, Giancarlo kissed her lips and moaned into her mouth, “Ti amo, Valentina.”
Valentina wrapped her legs around his waist and bucked her hips quicker, with more urgency and need. “Je t’aime, Giancarlo,” she gasped.
Giancarlo stopped his thrusting and kept still as he pressed hard into Valentina. Allowing her to set the pace of their love making. He felt her grip him tighter from deep inside her. He moaned as his body stiffened. Valentina felt him twitch inside her, he was close. She squeezed him tighter. Giancarlo shivered once and spilled his seed deep into Valentina.
It took Valentina only a few more thrusts of her hips to bring her to release. Her mouth opened in a silent scream. She quivered and moaned, her body shook uncontrollably, till the waves that washed over her subsided.
Valentina’s cell phone rang as she lay on Giancarlo’s chest.
“Nathalie! I forgot to call her!” she panicked as she scrambled to reach for her purse on the bedroom floor. “I am sorry, Nathalie. I lost track of the time. You were right, thank you. Yes, yes. Arvoir.”
“Is everything all right?” Giancarlo asked.
Valentina stepped out of her orange sundress, crawled onto the bed, and placed her head back on Giancarlo’s chest. “It is summer time in Paris, Giancarlo. We are together, things could not be more perfect.”
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