“My toes curl when I’m aroused; especially when I forget to wear panties,” Allegra whispered into the ear of the muscular TAM Airlines captain as their bodies purposely brushed, then lingered, igniting a magnetic force field between them in the galley of the Boeing 767-300ER. The bushy eyebrows of the striking, chisel-jawed, Afro-Brazilian stud arched in anticipation of their erotic dalliance, as his throbbing penis swelled behind his navy blue, starched pants.
During pre-boarding for first-class, his proud strut captivated every woman in the international concourse of Rio de Janeiro GaleÃo International Airport, causing them to rubberneck as he passed. Ignoring the swoon of his female admirers, the captain, pulling his black monogrammed flight case, tipped the brim of his cap, finger-waved and winked at an occupied Allegra. Though Teofilo Branco, the Governor of Rio de Janeiro, held her soft waist, resting his head on her shoulder, Allegra returned the captain’s brazen gaze over the rim of her Giorgio Armani tinted sunglasses. Amused by the captain’s bravado at ignoring the presence of the clutching Governor Teofilo, Allegra clucked her tongue against the inside of her cheek. The pilot was familiar to Allegra, and together they harbored unfinished business. During her last layover in Argentina, the two had flirted in the sky lounge before jetting off to their respective international destinations.
Flanked by his embarrassed bodyguards, Teofilo, unable to face the inevitable, murmured, “Perco-o jÁ. O meu coraÇÃo quebra! (I already miss you! My heart is breaking.)”
The airport terminal intercom system pierced the din of travelers swarming the terminal corridor. “Good evening, passengers. This is the first-class boarding announcement for TAM Airlines flight 782 to New York City’s JFK airport. We now invite our first-class passengers to begin boarding at this time. Please have your boarding pass and passport ready. General boarding will begin in approximately ten minutes. Obrigada!” The blonde TAM gate agent repeated the announcement in Portuguese.
Allegra gently separated herself from Teofilo’s reluctant grasp. “I must go, Teofilo, my sweet.” Teofilo dove his angular face toward Allegra’s full, red lips, hoping for one last kiss. Instead, Teofilo received her cheek. His mouth frowned in disappointment. Teofilo should have known by now that Allegra required her permission to be granted before any sexual overture.
“PeÇo desculpas. Perdi a minha cabeÇa. Por favor perdoe-me, Allegra! (I apologize. I lost my head. Please forgive me, Allegra!)” Teofilo pleaded when Allegra backed away from him.
“Ciao, querido. (Goodbye, darling.) Keep me posted on your hearings. Everything will work out for you,” Allegra whispered, stroking his cheek with her index finger.
“I will phone you to make sure that you arrived safely, okay?” Teofilo said, hoping to acquire a few extra seconds of time with Allegra.
“That’s okay. I’ll text you when we can Skype, Teo,” Allegra promised, before swaying toward the gate entrance, her shoulder-length, auburn twists bouncing along with her red, Jimmy Choo stilettos, sounding like Latin claves against a marble dance floor. Eager paparazzi frantically snapped photographs of the parting couple, destined to be splashed on the morning cover of O Globo, Brazil’s flagship newspaper.
The red-eye flight reached a cruising altitude of thirty-five thousand feet from Rio de Janeiro GaleÃo Airport, flying east of the mysterious Amazon River and out to the Atlantic Ocean into the purple and gray night sky. After dinner service, the dimly lit first-class cabin held snoozing passengers sated and satisfied from the delicious feijoada carioca ca riocan, bombocado and mousse de maracuja and caipirinhas (stew of pork and black beans over rice; Brazilian coconut dessert, fruit mousse and Brazil’s national cocktail: cachaÇa sugar and lime.)
Slowly sipping Merlot, letting the fleshiness of the grape flavor swish inside her mouth, stimulating her senses, Allegra closed her eyes and reminisced about her Brazilian adventures over the past two weeks. Something about Brazil kept Allegra’s juices flowing, from the intoxicating beaches to the beautiful bodies and the open expressions of love between men and women. There was something about this country, located in the southern hemisphere, a nine-hour flight from New York City, that had captivated Allegra five years ago, when she was there attending the wedding of a family friend. To her, Brazil was everything the rest of the world was not—wild, enchanting and mesmerizing. Brazilian culture was layered and complex due to its racial diversity, history, landscape and music. The people of Brazil placed first importance on family and the relationship between a man and a woman.
Aside from Teofilo, there were other worldly men who aggressively pursued Allegra. This woman from Harlem had unearthed passions within themselves that they had never known. These domineering, charismatic men ruled nations, industries and of course, other women who were unlike Allegra. Women who were assertive in their careers but who became passive birds with these men and after a short time, uninteresting, causing the men to move on in search of a bona-fide challenge; an anointing of their souls.
Tearful goodbyes, persistent invitations for Allegra to return, requests to visit her in Harlem to establish domestic partnerships, or marriage proposals always followed her departure. From anywhere. Her lovers desired, sometimes demanded, to be at her beck and call, which Allegra thought was endearing. But no matter what Allegra gave, her lovers were insatiable, inconsolable and eager to forget the life they had to return to after her departure; that is, unless she permitted otherwise.
Teofilo failed to meet with the Canadian Prime Minister, who had specifically traveled to Rio de Janeiro to formalize an agreement to export oil to Montreal. “The Governor is missing! Victim of A Kidnapping?!” the newspaper headlines read.
Disappearing from the PalÁcio das Laranjeiras, the official residence of the governor of the state of Rio de Janeiro, the paparazzi were alerted by a political rival that Teofilo was having his sensory perceptions drained by Allegra’s plump lips alongside the tranquil reflecting pool in the lush presidential suite of the Iberostar Bahia hotel. Teofilo was so delightfully incapacitated, his competence to continue to serve as governor was daily called into question by influential political media commentators. Members of Teofilo’s cabinet gossiped about just who was this mesmerizing African-American woman who had the governor embarrassingly distracted and missing, causing a delay in critical legislation and the cancellation of meetings with various heads of state. Other cabinet members strategized to remove Teofilo, so they could take over his office. Oblivious to the scandal, Allegra eventually convinced Teofilo that he had to face his constituents, but she asked him to please leave her out of the controversy.
“Teo, let’s not kid ourselves. I’m not the first scandal you’ve been embroiled in, and I won’t be the last. You’re a man who loves drama. Long after your people forget about this so-called episode with me, I’ll be back in Harlem, where my life is,” Allegra repeatedly explained to him, to no avail.
Two days before her departure, Teofilo followed her wisdom and announced that he would face the Brazilian people. “As senhoras e cavalheiros, membros de imprensa (Ladies and Gentlemen, members of the press), I deeply apologize for disappointing the citizens of Rio de Janeiro by my sudden absence. No apology can condone my actions, but sincerely, I have no regrets for what I have done. You see, meus amigos, since my wife and I separated three years ago, I have become unhappy, frustrated and lonely. This may surprise those of you who saw me so elated, so joyful when we won the 2016 Olympics Games or when I debated with Presidente da Cruz over different issues. However, inside, though I buried myself in the affairs of restoring our economy, I was a very lonely man. I never thought that I would feel the passion of a woman’s love and embrace again until I recently met my amor belo (beautiful love). Please do not think that I have not been honored to serve you, but I am only a man. With God’s will and your support, I will continue to serve you, meus amigos maravilhosos. But now I have been blessed to be able to love again and for the first time in a very long time, I feel free and alive.”
Teofilo’s eyes sparkled as he beamed at Allegra, who crossed her arms uncomfortably, and cowered behind his lanky deputy and adoring aides, standing on the side of the noisy press briefing room. In their attempt to appear supportive, Teo’s aides clapped their hands like hungry seals whenever he paused. Onlookers rubbernecked to stare at Allegra, the woman whom the Governor of Rio de Janeiro adored. Some reporters rolled their eyes and snickered behind their notepads.
I didn’t sign up for this. I had no idea that Teofilo was going to put me on Front Street like that. We fucked at some memorable places. So what? That’s all that it was. Next thing you know, he’s going to say something crazy like I’m going to be the next First Lady of Janeiro or some shit, Allegra thought. The Rio de Janeiro press corps salivated, eager to take a bite out of Teofilo’s political flesh. Reporters frantically scribbled on notepads; shouted their accusations, and demanded to be recognized by Governor Teofilo Branco. Elevated television monitors on walls around the press room aired the live broadcast throughout Brazil, interrupting regularly scheduled programming further south, near the border of Argentina.
“The people deserve responsible leadership! Governor, resign now! Resign, Governor,” hurled a short, dark-haired television journalist, standing on his chair in the rear of the room. A stern-looking captain posturing behind Teofilo gestured to a First Sergeant, who promptly removed the man, kicking and screaming, from the crowded room, causing a hush to sweep over the press corps, as they did not want to be ejected next.
Though seething inside at the insolence of reporters’ questions, Teofilo remained composed, ignoring the commotion, and continued—“and it may be too early, but after my legal personal affairs are in order, and if God will bless me, I pray that my beautiful Allegra might become the next First Lady of Rio—” Teofilo announced, extending his arm, motioning for Allegra to join him at the podium. Cameras flashed and the hordes of reporters and Teofilo’s supporters and naysayers turned toward Allegra, who waved her hand as if his public declaration of love was an irritating mosquito. Three aggressive reporters surrounded Allegra, who faked a smile, and then ducked out of the side security entrance to make her escape.
On subsequent days, Allegra refused Teofilo’s telephone calls and visits to her hotel. His secret security force was stationed in the hotel and ordered by Teofilo to shadow her activities, in an attempt to encourage her to see him before Allegra departed Brazil. “Teo, I’m not going to be able to see you before I leave tomorrow. My symposium at the Steven Biko Institute and consultations thereafter will run until late. So why don’t we say our goodbyes now,” Allegra advised him, when he encountered her inside an antique shop in the neighborhood of Santa Teresa.
Though Allegra had future aspirations, she loved the life she was now living. A former international chief purser for American Airlines, Allegra had switched careers, deciding to pursue her long held desire to earn a master’s degree. Now an anthropology doctoral candidate and senior teaching fellow at New York University, Allegra was invited to present the keynote address “The DNA Psychology of African People” at the annual African Diaspora Conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Attendees consisted of bearded intellectuals from the Caribbean, groups of university psychologists, reparations activists from Canada, black professors and social workers from Detroit and a Liberian New Deal Movement delegation, all adorned in variations of cultural attire ranging from dashikis, to kente ties, tie-dyed kaftans, aso-oke kufis and headscarves.
Teofilo hosted the conference coordinators and speakers at a VIP reception in his plush, private villa on the island of Praia do Forte. Accessible only by yacht, the burnt-orange colored estate sat on a bluff overlooking the desolate Manguinhos Beach surrounded by acres of organic vegetable gardens and tropical fruit trees. Nude statutes by Auguste Rodin bordered the impressive estate’s cobblestone grand entrance.
Flaunting her cinnamon brown complexion with pouty lips, shoulder-length twists, ample breasts and buttocks, Allegra walked with the sway of a hula dancer and the sensual authority of Isis. Arriving after the other VIPs, Allegra made her own grand, yet demure, entrance. A male attendant greeted her at the sixteen-foot iron door. “Boa noite, Senorita.” Allegra smiled in return and was immediately enamored with the decor of the inviting foyer: floor-to-ceiling windows, textured suede wallpaper, twenty-four-foot-high cathedral ceilings with a Swarovski Spectra chandelier radiating sparkles of light throughout the expanse. The stone and cherry staircase with forged, black iron panels lay in the distance leading upstairs to a brightly lit extension of the mansion.
“Senhorita, I take you to the others,” said the attendant, in broken English, beckoning Allegra to follow him. Allegra did a circular turn as she made mental notes of decorating ideas to complement her Harlem brownstone. That cherry staircase would be the shit in my house, she thought, swaying behind the attendant down a long corridor of mahogany floors toward loud voices and gales of laughter. Allegra sauntered into the living room as Teofilo raised his champagne flute to make a toast. “Meus amigos, bem-vindo a minha casa goza! (My friends, welcome to my home!)” he said, in a baritone voice, with his palm flattened over his heart. He stood six foot five with a glistening blue-black complexion, brilliantly white teeth, a large Roman nose and broad chest. His tailored, white shirt was unbuttoned to reveal curly black chest hairs that matched his facial hair. Teofilo’s booming laugh rose and fell over the other spirited conversations in the crowded estate.
“Obrigado!” the guests replied, some with heads angled, directing their curiosity toward Allegra, the self-assured woman gone solo. Assorted women did a who-does-she-think-she-is eyeball roll at Allegra, whose ample brown breasts sat like ripe melons on top of her low-cut, tangerine-colored blouse. A fitted, electric white pencil skirt framed her hips in a curvaceous silhouette, while strappy, open-toed, four-inch heels accentuated her supple, manicured toes. Female guests claimed their territory by gripping the forearm of their male companions, praying that Allegra, an obviously dangerous woman, would not notice them. The men grinned slyly, like eager pups, at the alluring woman who stood alone in their midst without companion, inhibitions, or purse. She radiated freedom, not needing anything or anyone to validate her presence. Allegra’s face held a spirit from mythical times; Egyptian one moment, Grecian the next. Like a queen, her presence caused conversations to stall while curious bodies moved aside to clear a path for her passage. Allegra was a defiantly free woman who lived without the shackles of societal constraints. Men saw what they craved and needed in her. She was a snow-covered volcano. Allegra stood motionless, and allowed them to drink in her energy, and either love or loathe her. She became joined with their dreams. Allegra properly returned every nod, every glare, wink or lust-filled stare to its sender.
An erotic coup d’État had taken place. This was Teofilo’s estate, but Allegra’s domain.
“Welcome, Senhorita!” Teofilo bellowed, a throng of female admirers surrounding him as he stepped toward Allegra with his raised champagne flute. Allegra, glancing around, returned his greeting with warm eyes, and murmured a soft, “Hello. Lovely estate.”
“Muito Obrigado! This estate is one of many that I own. My villa in Salvador is slightly larger and is where I raise show horses, just as my fat—”
Instead of listening to Teofilo boast about his estate holdings, Allegra moistened her bottom lip, dismissed him in mid-sentence, and whirled to stroll throughout the living room, admiring the striking and priceless works of Brazilian art.
“Bela (beautiful),” Teofilo whispered, gulping the remainder of his liquid courage, while silently watching Allegra’s derriÈre saunter away.
In her absence, Teofilo’s female admirers immediately flocked back to his side, with hopes of being chosen to perform any number of erotic pleasures and erase the memory of this female intruder. Allegra ultimately found her way through the triple glass panel door and onto the cobblestone terrace overlooking the haunting beach where powerful waves crashed on the slate rocks below.
“How do you know this Americana?” asked the angular blonde wearing a gold halter dress.
“Hmmm?” Teofilo replied absentmindedly, continuing to stare at Allegra’s wake.
“Who is she?” the blonde repeated, not realizing she was being ignored.
“Please, Bianca. I’d like a refill,” Teofilo replied, handing his flute to the blonde without looking at her.
The air on the terrace was hypnotically healing, with the ocean waves below sounding a robust symphony. Allegra had needed this temporary solace long before her chaotic arrival in Brazil. Her class “Traditional Indigenous Sexuality Patterns” had the highest enrollment of any class at New York University. Up until two hours before her flight, Allegra had had to prepare next semester’s curriculum, hire an assistant, grade term papers, make progress on her dissertation, and supervise the renovation of her brownstone. Allegra had always vowed to live by two rules: One—never go shopping without a grocery list and two—never travel horny. To do either can leave a woman vulnerable to food she doesn’t need and dick she really doesn’t want.
© 2011 Allegra Adams
Excerpted from Man Whisperer by Allegra Adams, Donna Allegra
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.