Pudica Darling. #SOScuba

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Chapter 16

The phone fell off Pudica’s hand at her attempt to snap a picture. Her blonde hair drew an arch as she stood upright. Nowhere to run, she covered herself with her towel but never faced her husband, whom she hoped didn’t tell her his thoughts about the encounter.
“Lord, please, leave and let’s never speak of this,” she said.
“I’d apologize for invading your privacy, but what can I say? I did it on purpose,” he said, walking closer and putting his hands on her hips.
“Please, go away,” she mumbled from under her hair.
“This is a terrible picture.”
The phone appeared by her face. The image was a close-up of her inner thigh. Her head lowered farther. If Mami had caught her doing something with less nudity, she would have guaranteed her daughter never met the sun again. In Oliver’s case, all she heard was giggling.
“Pudica, turn around,” he said.
Since she didn’t obey him instantly, he spun her body and flung the towel behind her. His gaze preying on her nakedness. “I’m your husband. Don’t forget that.”
“Do you still like your immature wife?” She cross-examined his smirk.
“Immaturity is you not trusting me.”
“I trust you.” She looked into his eyes, letting him see the truth. Oliver wasn’t Mami. Neither compared to each other. “I have so many questions about my—” She blushed at the thought of saying the word vagina. Lady parts and privates were equally embarrassing.
“Pussy?” When it exited his mouth, her nipples engorged.
“I was checking everything is where it should be.”
“It is,” he said with too much certainty. He had seen it before, but it was dark.
“Is it?”
“Yes.”
“How can you be so sure?”
“I just know.”
It occurred to her, if he had girlfriends in the past, he must have been familiar with its anatomy. “Am I normal?”
“You’re perfect.” The way he emphasized the last word stole a breath from her mouth. Suddenly, she wanted to experience everything.
He cupped her buttocks and carried her legs around his hips. He sucked above her clavicle.
“Ollie, I want to do it.”
The husband drew his chin back. “Are you sure?”
Pudica nodded and smiled.
He smooched her again excitedly and helped her balance her feet on the ground.
“Pudding, you make me so happy.” He grinned and passed her the clothes on the counter.
Pudica blinked, and her eyebrows imploded. “I’m the least experienced, but shouldn’t you be taking your clothes off, instead of handing me mine?”
“You can’t expect us to do it now.” He walked out of the bathroom and she followed.
“I thought you’d want this.”
“There’s nothing more I want, but—”
“But what?”
“You know.”
“I know what?” She hopped inside the old skirt and buttoned her blouse.
“It’s a lot of responsibility for both of us, pudding. It will be unforgettable, so I’ll have to prepare some things.”
“Oh.” The girl was curious about the ritual, but she could not inquire more on the subject as someone knocked on their door.
On the other side, Gut waited along a flamboyant woman and a well-dressed elderly man.
“Poopoo, my love.” The woman pinched Pudica’s cheeks. “You don’t look a day older than thirty. We could be sisters.”
“Sorry. Who are you?” the girl asked.
“I see you can’t recognize me without my mascara running down my face while your father’s telling me he cheated on me.”
That’s right. It was Mrs. Yolanda Fanjul, Ninel’s mother. Pudica remembered her crying during Ninel’s quinceanera party. But her make-up made no difference. It was her facelifts what rendered her unrecognizable.
“It’s fine,” said Mrs. Fanjul as if her husband’s illegitimate daughter had apologized. “I wasn’t doing well for the first year, but three Danish male models later, I was my usual bubbly self.”
The woman invited herself inside the bedroom, noticing the bodybuilder sitting on the bed. “Ay, I see you have a Danish model of your own. Is this your servant?”
Oliver stood up and crossed his arms as Mrs. Fanjul ogled at his muscles.
“Mrs. Fanjul, this is my husband, Oliver Darling.” Pudica wrapped one arm around Oliver’s elbow.
“Really? When Ninel told me you got married, I thought he was one of those Mormons from your mother’s church. I should pray more often, am I right?” Mrs. Fanjul sent Gut a laugh.
The butler coughed on his fist.
“My mother wasn’t a Mormon,” said Pudica.
“Oh, Amish? Jehovah’s Witness? No?”
Pudica shook her head.
Mrs. Fanjul rolled her eyes and curled her index finger toward the besuited elderly man. “This is the family’s fashionista, Ethelbert Throckwadle the Third. He’s here to help you and your family with presentation for tomorrow night.”
“Thank you. That’s very kind of you.”
“Gut will call your aunt and uncle. I’ll be downstairs waiting for my daughters. They can’t wait to meet you,” Mrs. Fanjul said as she exited the room.
Oliver and Pudica glanced at each other, trying to fill in the awkward silence. The girl hoped Mr. Throckwadle hadn’t been the one to dress Mrs. Fanjul in that horrendous bright green.
“I thought she’d never leave.” Mr. Throckwadle sighed. “Yolanda’s primitive fashion sense is enough heartache for me.”
The couple giggled, and Oliver lengthened his arm toward him.
“Oliver Darling and this is my wife, Pudica,” he introduced himself.
“A pleasure to meet you, Mr. Darling.” Mr. Throckwadle shook his hand, then did the same to Pudica. “Your beauty must not go unnoticed Mrs. Darling and you are much younger than thirty.”
“Thank you, Mr. Throckwadle.” She smiled.
“Call me Ethel,” he said.




Unbeknown to Pudica, Mr. Throckwadle had a team of five assistants waiting to do as he directed. Aunt Betsy and Uncle Robert were in the room for ten minutes before a personal shopper separated them and a woman holding a measuring tape dragged Oliver into another room.
Twenty outfits and ten pairs of shoes into the session, the veteran fashionista seemed to have gotten a mini stroke.
“I hope I didn’t give you much trouble, Ethel.” Pudica modeled a red leather jacket and a pair of black jeans in an oblong mirror.
“No, it surprised me how little I had to do,” said the old man. “Have you decided about the dress for the party?”
“Yes, I’m more concerned with the one I’m wearing for supper tonight.” She stared at the sleeveless, red dress on the bed. “It shows more skin than I’m used to.”
Mr. Throckwadle held Pudica’s hands. “Dear, the Fanjul women are delightful girls, but they’re so spoiled, they think there’s nothing they can’t have. The last thing I want is for them to steal another woman’s confidence. I’ve seen them do it to their own friends. The dress should help you with that.”
“Thank you, but why are you helping me?”
“I was your father’s tailor for decades. And when you work with someone for that long, they confide in you. I know how guilty he felt for not being there for you.”
“If he felt so bad, why did he never contact me or my mother?”
“He did many times, but he said your mother never accepted him because she loved another man.”
In nineteen years, Pudica’s mother didn’t bring anyone home, let alone a male person. Her friends only met at church and they were all female. Mami always had negative things to say about men which made the possibility of love paradoxical.
But Pudica lost her chance to ask Mr. Throckwadle about her father as the old friend excused himself to meet another client.
Then her husband plodded into the bedroom with his face down and his hand on his forehead. “I refused to do it, but Minerva, the hairstylist, assured me you’d like it, so I said ‘damn it, okay.’ But if you hate it, I’ll wear a cap.”
Lost for words, Pudica glided toward him and pushed his wrist aside. Oliver’s shoulder-length mane had vanished. The bit of hair remaining on top, fell gracefully over his faded side.
“You’re—” She grazed the thin stands, gaping at her winsome prince. “Pussywatering.”
“Is that a new term?” Oliver tittered and glanced at the mirror, raising a doubtful eyebrow. “You don’t have to lie. I understand if you don’t like it. This haircut doesn’t go well with my nose.”
“I’m not lying. You’re so handsome.” The wife cupped her husband’s cheeks. “Now I can see every detail, and it makes your nose look great.”
With his disheveled Metallica singer hair, his nose was the first feature to pop out of his face, making it seem longer than it was. Chopping his locks was a welcoming decision.
He smirked and bit her lip playfully. “So Mrs. Darling thinks I’m pussywatering.”
“Mrs. Darling,” she repeated, letting his enormous hands encompass her breast. “I love being Mrs. Darling.”
Mr. Darling left wet kisses on her jaw. “Does Mrs. Darling love Mr. Darling?”
Pudica blinked, and her pores solidified. Oliver rocked his chin to the side and walked toward a gigantic window.
“I shouldn’t have asked,” he said.
“No, it’s okay. Your question caught me by surprise, honestly. I haven’t thought about that—love. I imagine it’s more than caring for a person. In this werewolf novel I read, the alpha leader can’t live without his mate, and he literally gets sick every time they’re apart.” She almost began describing the plot when she realized he might not care for some silly fantasy romance.
“But does she love him back?” His interest put a smile on her face.
“Yeah, he protects her and treats her like a princess. And they cannot lie about their feelings because they can read each other’s minds. That turns into a problem in chapter five because she's hiding this big secret.”
Oliver pressed his palm against Pudica’s lower back. “What if I told you I am a werewolf?”
“Well, Mr. Darling, I would be incredibly saddened.” She swallowed with a sudden thirst.
“How so?”
“I can’t read your mind which means I can’t be your mate.”
He grabbed her hand and placed it on his heart. “You don’t need to read my mind. Don’t you feel how much I love you, Mrs. Darling; and how much I want you to love me?”
The girl gasped at the speeding heartbeat. The taste of his statement was milk and honey. He was in her dreams and protecting her in nightmares; she was sure. Liquid blurred her vision, but she quickly sniffled it away as Aunt Betsy entered the room.
“Check me out.” She twirled in her pencil skirt and her high heels. Her frown stopped her from finishing the turn. “Are you both dressing so casual to a formal dinner?”
Oliver held his fist to his mouth and coughed. “I guess it’s time to change.”
“Ugh, I would’ve liked a brief rest on the first day here,” said Pudica.
“Cutie, give the Fanjuls a chance. The new wardrobes were their way of welcoming you into the family. They’re so nice,” said Aunt Betsy.
But the girl didn’t like her father’s family. She had to trust Ninel after seeing herself and her family cornered by some gangsters, but she was unsure of developing a deep sisterly connection.
She hated having to socialize with an entire family after learning of her mother’s mystery man and Oliver’s profession of love. The mafia was trying to murder everyone she cared about and Ninel expected her to mingle with strangers. She had much to ponder.
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