The Gift

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I had never seen the city of New Orleans. The heat, the sensuous atmosphere, the vibrant colour – they all enticed me in ways I couldn’t fully understand. As I leaned back in the stiff airplane seat, I sighed, not yet realizing that I was on my way to finally visit the most pulsing centre I could imagine.

I live in New York, and the winter in New York had really eaten me up. I was tired, and worse than that, I was bored. Really! I mean, it is possible to be bored in the city that never sleeps. My fatigue had reached a point where it began to interfere with my liberal arts classes at Georgetown, and my doctor recommended I take a vacation over the summer to awaken my senses. Seizing the opportunity, I invited a friend of mine to join me. Unfortunately, she backed out at the last minute. But I was determined. I was going to spend the summer in New Orleans.

“Dixie, I wish you’d wait until you had someone to go with you,” my mother lamented. “You’re only twenty years old. I don’t want you so far away, especially alone.”

Realizing I barely had the energy to argue with her, my mother shook her head and threw her hands in the air. “Well, for heaven’s sake, at least get a hold of your grandmother’s people in Metairie,” she said. “If you get tired of hotels you can at least stay with your Aunt Lauren.”

I was sure I wouldn’t get tired of hotels. I was booked to spend two months at the beautiful Pontchartrain and I wouldn’t be wanting.

Settling back in my seat, I heard the in-flight announcement that we’d be landing at the airport in thirty minutes. “A half-hour,” I thought. I felt a brief tingling in my fingertips and felt my nipples harden slightly. I was momentarily and mildly shocked, as I hadn’t had any interest in sex all winter and now I felt the familiar urges of desire. “The city’s woken me up and I haven’t even arrived yet,” I whispered.

My need was overwhelming. I reached up under the thin disguise of an airline blanket and pinched my hardening nipple, rolling it gently between my forefinger and thumb, biting my lip to keep from moaning. I felt warmth between my legs and felt my sex open, my legs spreading slightly. Sliding my hand downward, I brushed a finger between my thighs, barely touching the light pants I wore. The shock was electric. I squeezed my eyes shut and hoped that no one was watching my silent orgasm. “The first one in months,” I thought. I hadn’t been with a man since my last boyfriend left me. “Dixie, you just aren’t yourself,” he said. “You never want to have sex. You don’t even want to get out of bed. I can’t deal with this anymore.” I didn’t even say goodbye. The truth was, I was glad to see Jack go. He wasn’t sexually satisfying – most of the time I had to finish myself after he rolled over to sleep. But he loved to spend money. He invited people over to my penthouse suite even while I lay in bed, he ‘borrowed’ thousands to buy designer clothes. He didn’t tell me so, but I knew there was another woman. He had bought her expensive gifts with my money, and he had brought her back to my penthouse and had sex with her on my couch. I knew. People can hide their words, but they can’t hide their thoughts. Jack was especially susceptible to my telepathy. He was too naVve.

When I opened my eyes again, there was a man looking at me. He was sitting a couple of seats ahead of me, to my right, and he was incredibly attractive. He looked me square in the eyes, enough to fluster me a little bit. I couldn’t read his thoughts, which struck me as strange. “Maybe it’s just the hangover of the orgasm,” I thought. I was sometimes a little weaker after sex.

As I stepped out of the airport, the New Orleans heat went over me like a rolling wave. “Here you are, Miss St. Clair, ma’am.” A middle-aged man was standing in front of me and smiling. “Your bags are already in the trunk.” He pointed to a silver Mercedes sedan, my rental. “There’s a bellboy at the Pontchartrain to bring them up for you.” His slight accent thrilled me. I smiled softly and thanked him. He cleared his throat. “You know, Miss St. Clair, a lady like you would do well not to travel alone at night in this city. I mean, after all, New Orleans isn’t the Midwest.” He chuckled to himself. “And with your… body… you might end up in some trouble.” The poor man was uncomfortable, didn’t like talking to me about my body! How polite these people were compared to New Yorkers.

“Certainly,” I smiled. “I don’t plan on being out much at night anyway.” He couldn’t possibly know I had a sixth sense that prevented me from getting into harm.

I could understand his concern. Jack had said as much after I had come home at two in the morning from walking around inner Manhattan. “Dix, you’re going to get raped. You’re too small to walk around at night like that.” At five foot two, I had very petite bones and a delicate build. My breasts were soft and full, but I had a tiny waist and small hips. After sex, my long, glossy brown hair tousled and my lips flushed pink, he’d often joke that it felt canlı bahis şirketleri like he was sleeping with a fifteen year old. “No one could guess you’re twenty,” he said.

I was unconcerned. I could sense danger from unbelievable distances. My large blue eyes could detect movement almost before it happened. But I understood why others worried. The gentleman smiled at me and opened the door to the sleek silver car. I got inside, briefly admiring the scent of the soft black leather, and shifted the car into drive.

I arrived at the Pontchartrain at dusk, and after seeing my bags deposited in my suite I elected to eat dinner on the patio. I was overwhelmed by the sensuality of this city; the muffled Southern voices, the heavy trees, and the perfume of the flowers. Things lived here that can’t be alive anywhere else. I longed to wander around the French Quarter but I was really exhausted by the long flight. After writing a few notes in my travel journal I left a handsome tip for my waiter and retired upstairs.

I slipped into my nightgown, a long blush pink satin slip Jack had bought for me after he had spent fifteen hundred dollars on a weekend getaway without me. When we broke up I kept the gown, loving the feeling of the satin on my nipples, the lightness of the thin straps on my shoulders. Even with the air conditioning, the damp heat would prevent heavy sleepwear. I was thankful I had kept the slip, although it was associated with so many memories. I would need it in this strange and alien city.

Suddenly delighted with my solitude, I smiled excitedly. I had an almost overwhelming urge to jump up and down and clap my hands. I was in New Orleans! The most beautiful and fascinating city in the world. I was in the process of deciding whether to open the bottle of champagne and toast myself, or go sensibly to bed and to sleep, when there was a light knock at the door.

Upon answering it, I saw a man. This wasn’t just any man, however; this was the man from the plane. After looking more closely at him, I realized he was around thirty, with black hair and eyes equally as dark, and he looked as if he might be of Creole descent. I felt the embarrassment of this man having seen me orgasm, as well as suspicion with a slight tinge of fear.

He spoke first. “I’m sorry, honey, I’m looking for a Miss St. Clair.” His smile intoxicated me.

“That’s me,” I said confusedly and a little thickly. “What is the matter? Why have you followed me?”

“Oh, nothing’s the matter, sweetheart,” he said. His voice was melodious, like all New Orleans voices. It distracted me a little from what he was saying. “You might say I’m keeping an eye on you.”

I bristled with anger, allowing the door to open wide, despite the fact that I wore nothing except my nightgown. “Who sent you?” I demanded, while trying again unsuccessfully to read his thoughts.

“There’s no need for that,” he said firmly. He wasn’t referring to my question. He knew I was trying to read his mind!

“Who are you?” I said, my voice small. “Who sent you here?”

He ignored my questions and brushed past me into the small parlour of the suite, arousing my curiosity and my nipples simultaneously.

“There are many things I need to tell you, Dixie,” he said slowly.

“I need to know who sent you, or you can be sure I will call the hotel authorities,” I replied.

“Come now, Dixie,” the man said mildly. “We both know you aren’t really going to do that.”

It shocked me again to have him read my mind. It was getting dark and the man reached out and lit a lamp. “Sit down, sweetheart,” he said.

I closed the door and cautiously made my way to the chair across from him. He reached in his pocket and pulled out a package. “Cigarette?” he asked.

“I don’t smoke,” I replied, then accepted. He lit a silver lighter and leaned the flame toward me.

After he took a deep drag, he began. “I was sent by your grandmother. Do you know your grandmother?”

“Vaguely. I was named for her, and she was named Dixie because her mother loved the Dixieland bands of the twenties.”

“Yes,” he replied. “Do you know your history?”

“I don’t understand what you’re asking… my parents met in New York. My father moved there from Louisiana… he said he couldn’t stand the heat anymore. He’s a corporate lawyer. My grandmother didn’t want him to leave… he named me for her to appease her. They’ve travelled extensively but they’ve never come back South.”

“You’re right that your grandmother didn’t want him to leave. She said he could move to Tibet and he’d still never escape his history.”

“I’ve never heard that,” I whispered, my lips dry. “What history?”

“You’ve always known you were… different… didn’t you, Dixie?”

It was dark now, and the crickets were singing. Crickets, in a city! I could feel the heat die down now from the open window, began to feel a chill in the slight breeze. Goosebumps arose on my body and I abruptly got up and put on a soft terry robe.

“Okay, canlı kaçak iddaa I’m ready to listen,” I said. I felt an unshakeable trust in this mysterious man, a man sexier and more attractive than any man I’d ever known.

“Your great-grandmother was Genevieve… did you ever know her?”

“No,” I whispered. I’d never even heard her name.

“Genevieve had the gift. She was born in 1889, one minute before midnight on December thirty-first. She had the ability to see things. In Europe they would have called her a gypsy, a fortune-teller. But she had it. Your grandmother had it too, and she too was strong. Genevieve married her second cousin, Remy. Of course, they all married to keep the gift strong in the children. Remy had the gift too, but he was much weaker than Genevieve. She was really something.”

“You sound like you knew her,” I said accusingly, not caring that I interrupted.

“Do I?” he asked. “I apologize. It’s just that your grandmother has talked to me about her so often.

“Anyway, Genevieve and Remy had a baby, a girl. Your grandmother. Genevieve said that she wanted to name the baby girl Dixie Anne, to sound like Dixieland. Your great-grandfather Remy was by this time a gentlemanly drunk. He drank French wine continuously. Dixie grew up and her marriage was arranged as soon as she showed signs of the gift. By this time, of course, Genevieve had made a fortune with various lucrative deals – using her vision to guide her and making her husband sign the deals whenever he was sober. In those days, the women simply couldn’t own things themselves, of course. Her money would have gone to Dixie by default, because she was unable to have any more children. But she loved Dixie and was happy to sign everything over to her – as long as she never denied her gift and married as arranged.

“Dixie married her cousin Louis… of course, even in the forties such marriages were rarely questioned by the state of Louisiana. She gave birth to your aunt, Lauren, who never had the gift, and who secretly disappointed your grandmother more than she would admit. She was suspicious that Louis was exaggerating his gift, and she secretly took a lover, her cousin Armand… your grandfather. By him your father was conceived… the strongest seer the family had ever produced. Your grandmother was delighted. She strongly favoured your father over Lauren, and had made it known that all of her money was bequeathed to him, on the same conditions set by Genevieve, of course. Dixie had picked out a wife for your father… his fourth-cousin Yvette… and had made her will… and then your father decided to ignore it all and move to New York. Your grandmother was devastated. Of course, you know the rest of the story. I wish I could tell you more… before Genevieve… but there is no time. Now I need you to tell me about yourself… your grandmother is depending on you.”

“I… don’t know what to say,” I said dazedly. “I mean, I thought I was crazy…”

“You’re not crazy, sweetheart,” the man said, laughing softly. “You’re in New Orleans! The city of secrets.”

“Before I tell you… who are you?” I whispered.

“Not yet, love,” he said. “You’ll discover me later.”

I tried to protest, but he had stood up and was slipping off my robe. I suddenly realized my body was aching with lust, lust for him, yes, and lust for this sexually pulsing city. I moaned softly, felt him lift the hair off my neck, felt him kiss me. Felt his lips on my neck, his fingers massaging the satin over my nipples. I couldn’t resist as he lifted me gently and carried me to my bedroom, all the while covering my damp skin with his soft kisses. “Who is this man?” I thought. “I’ve never felt this way before.”

The man laid me gently on the bed and kissed my ankles, calves, knees. The satin was slipping upward, exposing the dampness between my thighs. I was moaning softly, his deft fingers were touching me in places it felt like had never been touched before.

“Dixie…” he whispered, but it was no more than a caress, a touch as soft as his kiss. I arched my back and allowed him to remove my satin gown, enjoying the incredible love and attention I got from this man I didn’t know. Our bodies, naked, pressed together for an instant before he slid deep into me.

The sex was amazing, passionate. The man pushed into me roughly, causing me to cry out, to scream. “Fuck,” I whispered softly, my eyes closing. I had never felt so beautiful, so loved. The man was attentive; he was firm and gentle in the same touch. He lifted my legs so that he could reach the deepest parts of me. I could feel my clit throbbing, begging for attention, and he, reading my mind, gently massaged it, never slowing his pace. He placed his hand under my neck, drawing my body closer to his, melting me into his arms. I shuddered in orgasm, cried out. I felt him explode inside me… felt him pull away. He covered my breasts with kisses even after it was over, told me how beautiful I was… until I fell asleep, cradled in his arms.

When I woke, he was canlı kaçak bahis gone. My stomach turning at the thought, I realized we hadn’t used any protection at all. Mildly worried over this, I was angry with the man for leaving, angry with myself for being so defenceless. I called room service and asked them to bring up a light breakfast and some café au lait, and stepped into the shower.

When I got out, I noticed a small paper on the table beside the bed. Picking it up, I opened the fold.

“Dixie –“ it read. “Had to leave. Didn’t want to disturb your beautiful sleep. DON’T LEAVE your room today, I’ll be back later to explain.” It wasn’t signed.

“Damn him,” I whispered. I was going to the Garden District today to see the old homes, whether he liked it or not. I blow dried my hair to its soft glossy shine, and slipped on a soft yellow blouse and print skirt with sandals. “If you want me that badly, you’ll wait,” I said aloud to no one. I wasn’t waiting around for any mysterious lover.

I reached the Garden District before noon, but the heat was already stifling. The trees hung overhead, touching in the centre of the street, creating a beautiful sun-flecked canopy. I walked slowly on account of the overpowering heat, marvelling at this decrepit mansion or that wild flower garden. After about an hour of wandering, I reached a wooden bench and sat down, glad for the break.

Suddenly I was grabbed from behind. Whoever had grabbed me slapped a hand around my mouth and dragged me toward a parked car I hadn’t noticed, a sleek black sedan. “How did I not sense danger?” I thought wildly. “What is going to happen to me?”

I was tossed into the black car, and I turned my head to see my attacker. It was the man, my mysterious lover! “What is going on?” I sobbed breathlessly. “Who are you, anyway? Why do you keep following me?”

“I told you I would explain that, Miss St. Clair,” he said coldly, refusing to look at me. The driver ignored us both. “I also said you should not leave your room today,” he said pointedly. “I take it you received my note? And you ignored it.”

“I didn’t see your note,” I lied.

“I wouldn’t lie to me, Miss St. Clair,” my companion said blandly. “I’d also advise you never to ignore me again. I am only following your grandmother’s instructions, my dear,” he said more gently, reaching out to touch my hand.

I snatched my hand away. “Where are we going?” I asked.

“Somewhere private, my love,” he whispered. My body surged with lust in spite of myself.

“I don’t want to be alone with you,” I said, but I wasn’t even convincing myself.

The car stopped in front of a glittering glass building downtown, and the man took my hand, leading me inside.

“And what if I started screaming?” I asked in a low voice as we passed security and staff personnel.

“These people are paid to heed me,” was all he said, but I knew he wasn’t lying. If I tried to run, these people would only help him. I felt defenceless, and I felt incredible desire. I needed this man inside me again. I wanted him to make me moan with pleasure. I felt my panties getting damp and tried to push the thoughts out of my head. I saw him give me a sideways glance.

“Not yet, darling,” he whispered as the elevator doors closed behind us. “We still have much to talk about.”

The suite was on the eighteenth floor, beautifully furnished in a modern style. “Is this where you live?” I asked timidly.

“No, just a place,” he answered.

He took off his light jacket and gestured for me to take a seat at a small table. He placed an ashtray between us and lit a cigarette, passing me the package. “I don’t smoke,” I said, and then took one.

He lit the cigarette for me. “Alright, Dixie St. Clair,” he said with a soft smile. “Tell me about yourself. How is the gift in the child of a legitimate marriage?”

“I don’t want to talk about it,” I whispered.

“Fine. It is unnecessary, you realize. We have had people watching you your whole life, people you couldn’t detect with your fine-tuned sixth sense. We were paid, of course, by your grandmother. She was concerned the gift would die with your father. She wishes to prevent that.”

“How?” I asked.

“Well, let me explain what we know about you first, shall I?” The man was undressing me with his eyes, I could tell. “You were born in early 1982 to Jean St. Clair and his wife Carolyn. Your mother belonged to a socially elite class, but never had any formal education. She also, from extensive research, appears to have no special gifts. Your father, on the other hand, is very strong, and uses his gifts often in his work, perhaps without even knowing.” He stopped to take a drag of his cigarette. “Well, you were a quiet child, inheriting your mother’s tiny build and your father’s hair and eyes. It was up to us to determine whether you had inherited the gift. At a young age, you were capable of solving social problems well beyond your years. Your teachers called you the most compassionate child they had ever met. By age thirteen you were developed physically, and this worried your mother, who believed you’d be attacked during your rather dangerous outings after dark.” He looked at me slyly. “It’s a good thing she didn’t know about Nick.”

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