Sunday, February 21, 2010

At First

Together at last! By popular demand, the story behind the story of ArtiFactual. On a historic day in DC, meet Erotique's eccentric curator--Senor Eduardo "Eddie" Rojas Aguilar--as a young archeology student and his dear departed Vivian Long long before she left this realm.

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EXCERPT after the cut...

Walking along 17th Street with his mind firmly in the past and oblivious to the historic present, Eduardo Rojas collided with his future. Not metaphorically, but quite literally.

Both his stack of books and the woman in the yellow dress tumbled to the ground.

"¡Madre de Dios! My apologies, señorita. I did not see…"

His breath caught, his words drifted into a stammer as the woman turned and he saw her eyes for the first time. Though he considered himself a romantic, Eduardo had never believed in the concept of love at first sight until that moment.

She settled on her elbows, smiling at the slightly open-mouthed stare of her unwitting attacker. Though he had seemed quite determined to keep moving before their impact, he was currently motionless. Torn between wanting to see how long he would stay that way and a desire to get back on her feet, she decided to flip the switch on his internal circuit breaker.

"Usually, it would be considered polite to help a lady up—especially when you’re the one who just sent her sprawling." The harsh content of the words was belied by their light-hearted delivery. Vivian Long was far less upset about being knocked down than she was interested in the man who had done so. He wore a brown suit that was the height of fashion…decades ago. The collection of books he had been carrying was now split between the pavement and a precarious perch in his crooked elbow, save the one in her lap. She lifted it and glanced at the spine while her handsome assailant stammered another apology, letting the rest of his armload fall in his haste to offer her a hand.

"I am very sorry, señorita. I was trying to make my way through this crowd as quickly and as gently as possible, and I somehow did not notice you, though how that was possible, I truly do not know." Eduardo blushed as he realized what he had just said. It was, however, exactly what he was thinking. Her creamy skin stood out in a sea of predominantly darker tones. Brown hair in braids, deep eyes of hazel that had trapped him momentarily, and a figure that filled out her summery dress in ways that he had best not consider if he wanted to avoid further embarrassment.

"Perhaps your mind was in the Andes of the 1500s instead of Washington in August of 1963." Vivian took the proffered hand, pulled herself up, then placed the book, Marriage and Courting Rituals among Classes in Incan Society and Their Effect on Warfare and Politics, in the hand she released after gaining her feet. She retrieved her sign and helped him gather the other scattered volumes, which carried similarly scholarly titles in both English and Spanish. "Do you work at the Smithsonian?"

"No, I am merely a student. I did several years in the field after obtaining my master’s degree in Chile and am now working on my doctorate through an exchange program at Georgetown College. I apologize again for my carelessness and would…"

His words were drowned out as the surrounding crowd cheered the comments from the current speaker. The noise quickly died down as the people once again began to concentrate on the speech.

Vivian smiled again as she pieced together what she thought he had said. "I’m sorry, are you asking me on a date? I don’t even know your name!" She struggled to keep a straight face as the man’s handsome features contorted in shame, and he immediately began a new apology.

"No, no. I simply meant that I felt I should make amends and would like to…."

"Hush." Vivian placed a finger on his lips. A visible shiver passed through him at her touch, but he did not withdraw. "Have you a specific meeting that you were hurrying to reach?" She lifted her finger slightly to allow his reply, and his tongue darted, subconsciously sampling the site of her touch. Vivian felt the imaginary rasp of it against a distant part of her body.

"Well, no. I simply had not anticipated the immensity of this event and…"

With the heat of his breath brushing her fingertip, she realized he was not the only one stunned by an inexplicably powerful connection. In that moment, it became more necessity than amusement to maintain contact.

Once again, Vivian placed the finger on his lips. "Then you can make amends by standing with me and listening to the next speaker. Witness some history as it happens instead of reading about it hundreds of years later. Then you can take me for that cup of coffee, señor…" Her voice trailed off in an interrogatory tone.

"Rojas. Eduardo Rojas Aguilar."

"What a mouthful! Eddie, it is. Please, call me Vivian. Now, stand here and listen with me. Then you can buy me that drink, and I’ll consider your debt repaid. Deal?"

Eduardo started to correct her undignified shortening of his name, but thought better of it. There would be time for that later, he realized, still shocked both at his own forwardness and that he had put himself in a situation where it could come into play. He decided that it would be a more interesting evening than he had expected, although he still had reading to do. Hearing the name of the next speaker and realizing it was familiar from the newspaper, he decided that he would indeed listen. Afterward, the companionship promised to be, at the very least, intellectually stimulating.

Vivian watched the conflict play across Eddie’s face before he quieted. She thought she recognized it, both from her own experiences and those of acquaintances. She also noticed the quiet intensity that took over as he glanced down at her sign, then turned his attention toward the stage erected on the monument steps. He might not be up to speed on current events, but he knew something of the struggle, she realized. While his clothes were out of date, there was a fierce intelligence in those eyes. She was very interested to hear his reaction to the speech, which, by all accounts, would be similar to one she’d heard the speaker deliver months ago.

"Very well, miss…Vivian," he finished, looking at her and stammering over her given name as if it was an inappropriately glimpsed undergarment. Since she’d not supplied her surname, he had no choice but to use the more personal form of address. There was something titillating about the man’s discomfiture, she realized. He made her feel like a forbidden fruit, ripe and juicy and begging to be…

"I take it this is a cause about which you are passionate?"

Vivian cocked an eyebrow, causing him to blush at his use of a word with such sexual overtones.

"I mean," Eduardo continued, "with which you are intimate?"

She smiled.


  1. Cute, sexy yet funny all in a good way :) It reminds of the boldness of teenagers. I think you did a pretty good job in mixing those emotions altogether! Great job Alessia!

  2. The Romance Studio gives At First, the story behind the story of ArtiFactual, four hearts and some very nice praise:

    At First -- Washington D.C. is the story behind Alessia Brio and Will Belegon's story, ArtiFactual. Set before the foundation of the Erotique Mystique, Senor Eduardo "Eddie" Rojas Aguilar is a young archeology student. Wandering the streets of D.C., he literally plows into Vivian Long and fireworks ensue. What is it about tall, dark, and mysterious that has Vivian so wound up? What's the spark in her touch, and why can't Eduardo seem to tell the woman, no? Why is he attracted to such a forward woman?

    Attraction at first sight or is it love? Either way, Brio and Belegon know how to keep the intensity at the forefront. From Eddie and Vivian's first encounter to the chain of events that Vivian allows, and sometimes orchestrates, to draw them along and together, the chemistry between the characters is amazing. Not having read ArtiFactual, I'm not sure of this story's meaning, but I found At First stands well on its own. I love the concept of different personalities and instant attraction, and found the authors have an uncanny way to make it real. I enjoyed being drawn and made privy to the character's thoughts. Nice romantic elements and intense sex make this story one hot read.

    Overall rating:
    Sensuality rating: Explicit
    Reviewer: Bryl Tyne

  3. Whipped Cream Reviews had this to say about At First (which also appears in volume 1 of Coming Together: At Last):

    What happens when a gentleman from Chile with old world manners collides with a modern day sexually liberated American woman? Plenty!

    Eduardo and Vivian run into each other – quite literally on a busy street in Washington, DC. A huge crowd had gathered to listen to a young charismatic speaker and Eduardo was rushing through the crowd oblivious to the beautiful woman in the yellow dress…that is until he collided with her knocking her to the ground. Determined to make amends for his unchivalrous behavior Eduardo invites Vivian to a small café for some Cokes to quench their thirst on this steamy DC Afternoon. However, Eduardo is once again embarrassed by his behavior as he inadvertently spills a Coke on Vivian’s sundress.

    Coming to the rescue is Lupe, the waitress at the café and Eduardo’s friend. Lupe suggests Vivian and Eduardo retreat to his apartment where Vivian can wash the sugary concoction off her dress. Arriving at Eduardo’s apartment the sexual tension mounts and Vivian finds herself orchestrating the pas de deux much to the amusement of Eduardo who is not used to the more open sexual mores of American women.

    I was a bit befuddled about who the dynamic speaker was that Vivian found so enthralling. [HINT: MLK, Jr. ~ Alessia] The authors never explained. Could it be Malcolm X who Vivian casually mentions later in the story? I felt if the authors went to the trouble of setting this scene of dynamism, they could have let the reader in on who they were referring to. [Clues aplenty. We did everything but type his name. ~ Alessia]

    I did learn a new Spanish word – chupadita - which was interesting and self-explanatory. I thought the sex scenes were hot and very well described. Eduardo and Vivian learn that love and sex are the same in all languages.

    Their chance encounter leads them to discover they have much in common despite their disparate backgrounds. The language of sex, however, is universal which they both discover on a steamy Washington afternoon. A good story.

    Rating: 4 Cherries
    Review by: Azalea


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