As the days went on Rosso's skin turned lobster-red despite the fact that he had emptied two bottles of sun-lotion. Alessandro meanwhile looked like a negro in whose face eyes gleamed like two blue crystal coins and Luca was like a sun kissed ephebe with golden hair and bronze skin. Luca had never been so happy in his entire life. Though sitting lazily under a sunshade, watching the waves coming and going, hearing the cheerful chatter of Rosso's brothers wasn't exactly his usual cup of tea, he enjoyed every second of it. Occasionally he got hit on his nose with the red water ball the boys were playing with, or a water bomb over his heated body while he was dozing in the sun.

Beach boys came along with vendor's trays, offering ice cream and tramezzini, or hot sausages and the first, roasted maroni.

With Alessandro he went on a tour to the Carrara-mountains and to La Spezia. Luca had brought Masolino's diary with him, as it was Alessandro's wish. He had missed it too long and both were guarding it like the apple of their eyes. He occasionally talked with Tristano on the phone who told him, that he had called Vito, but he'd only got the answering machine, telling that he was on holiday. Giano had gone with Tino to Germany to visit Tino's family.

Then late one morning a shadow fell over Luca's body as he sat in his deckchair, reading a magazine. He looked up and recognized Giuliano with a new girl in his arms. He wore nothing more than tiny, blue trunks and looked marvellous. Luca ogled at him, shoving his sunshade to the tip of his nose. "Giuliano? I thought Forte dei Marmi was too decadent for you? Couldn't you find a better place?"

Giuliano sat down on the sand and crossed his legs. Luca avoided staring at the distinct bulge in his trunks. "Where's your boyfriend?" Giuliano asked.

The girl at his side giggled. She looked like a penthouse-model with long, dark hair and Armani-sunglasses.

"We've been to Viareggio, and now we're travelling along the coast. Is Rosso here?"

"Yeah, somewhere in the water." Luca looked for Rosso's brothers who played happily near the shore. Seppe wore a sunhat and a little shirt, that was soaked from the water and both played with the watery sand, trying to build a sand-castle. Giuliano looked up when Alessandro appeared with two bowls of pommes frites in his hands. He handed one to Luca and sat in the next deck-chair. "Have we met before?" he asked.

"Giuliano, one of my old school friends", Luca said automatically and dipped a potato chip into the ketchup.

"Ah, sure." They measured each other with looks. "Where are you staying?" Alessandro asked.

"The "Areion". First place in town. You? I suppose Rosso's in his tent, right? Like always."

"Right", Luca said, chewing. "We have a holiday apartment."

"Ah, the toff is too good to sleep in a tent, eh?" Giuliano said, pointing to Alessandro.

Alessandro's cold stare made Giuliano involuntarily shiver. "Watch your mouth. Didn't you say you was staying at the first place in town? Who's the toff then?"

The girl giggled once more. She looked at Alessandro's body through her sunglasses, Luca noticed it all too well.

"Anyway," Giuliano rose. "See you sometime."

"One-zero to you", Luca said, watching the pair sauntering along the beach.

"Jerk. How can you be friendly with such dumb school friends?"

"I'm not anymore. Rosso's the only one left."

Alessandro stopped eating and looked over. "Your life has changed since then, right?" he said compassionately. "It's always the same, carino. You don't know who's your friend until you need them."

Luca nodded and continued to eat. Seppe and Dani shovelled muddy sand onto their castle until it was washed away by a wave. Seppe bawled. Luca grinned at Alessandro. "Actually I'm happy I'll never have to bother with such a crowd of shrimps. Or would you like to become a father?"

Alessandro's appetite vanished. "Actually I don't."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, nothing."

Rosso came out of the water and sat beside his little brothers. He dried Seppe's tears by starting to build a new muddy sand-castle. "Rosso seems to love it", Alessandro said, holding out the rest of his pommes frites to Luca who gobbled them up.

They sat silently for while and Alessandro thought Luca had fallen asleep. Then he heard his voice. "Doesn't it hurt you sometimes that you feel that you're despised for what you are?"

Alessandro turned his head. "What - for what I am? For being gay? Or for being rich enough to allow myself a little luxury?"


"On the subject of the luxury, I've been a Gondi for my whole life and have always had a different lifestyle than most of our town. We don't care what others say. And on the subject of being gay - I am what I am." He reached over the distance and took Luca's hand, laying on the armrest. He kneaded his fingers. "I'm happy with you. Nothing can stop us, not stupid talk nor a bashing. I'm not afraid. You must not be." He paused and looked intensely into Luca's eyes. "We can't have our lives controlled by others. Look at Rosso. He has taken it so easily, you're his friend, and Tristano has made friends with him too. Or look at Franco. That's how it should be. Who cares about sexual orientation."

Luca smiled wistfully. A water bomb exploded on his chest and he gasped with shock. "Ah, you! I'll get you for that!" He jumped up and sprinted after Dani into the sea.


The beach was deserted. It was after midnight when Luca and Alessandro came from a movie to have a last walk along the shore under the starry sky. A postcard motive. The couple walked hand in hand, bare feet, digging their toes into the muddy, milk white sand, picking up water- formed pebbles. "Look, a hen's god", Alessandro said.

"A hen's god?"

Alessandro lifted the black-white stone to his eye. "I can see the moon through it. Look, here's a hole."

Luca took it and tried as well. "Why is it called hen's god?"

"Don't know. You can put a string through it and wear it around your neck."

"I already have your cross." Luca hadn't wore it on the beach, it was too precious to lose.

"Let me see." Alessandro opened Luca's shirt buttons and the Gondi-cross shimmered in the moonlight. In slow motion Alessandro swiped the shirt from Luca's shoulders and let it drop into the sand. It was a warm night, warm enough to swim. His palms slid gently over Luca's skin, stroking his arms up and down, then he opened his zipper and undressed him slowly. Luca finished undressing for him, and shouted "Who's the first in the water!"

His butt gleamed white in the dimmed light and Alessandro fought with his own clothes. Naked he followed, splashed into the water and dived head-on into the waves. He caught Luca and dived with him underwater. They exchanged salty kisses and the water prickled on their skin. Alessandro held him tight, cupping his buttocks in his hands, so that their members melted together, rising at the same speed.

"Come out", Alessandro said, taking Luca's hand, falling with him on the flat beach, where the wet sand made a natural bed. It was good to feel Luca under him, outstretched and excited. He kept inching his way down Luca's body, licking the water from his belly button, down over his wet pubic hair, over the cool and yet hot surface of Luca's erection. The fluid, oozing out of the slit was as salty as the water, and sweet as candy. He swirled his tongue around and felt Luca spreading his legs. Alessandro dove into the darkness and tasted the musky scent, opening his hole with his tongue while he never let go of Luca's cock. He prepared himself with enough of his own fluid, so that it wouldn't hurt. Luca moaned when Alessandro inched his way in and Alessandro froze. "It's all right", Luca said. "Don't stop."

He felt satisfied, completely filled, laying in the sand with the warm wind blowing gently over their bodies. They didn't move for a while, enjoying the sensations, and then Alessandro started to move again, Luca's legs folded around his back. He lowered himself and kissed Luca. "This is the best holiday I've ever had", he whispered, moving slowly, then taking up speed, pushing harder. Luca yelped, wrapping his legs tighter around Alessandro. The grazing of his prostate made his cock ooze like mad. He couldn't hold back, and didn't want to, then he climaxed with a loud gasp, feeling at the same time Alessandro exploding deep within him.

Alessandro let his head drop onto Luca's chest and then stretched out upon his body. The last thing he felt was Luca stroking his wet hair.

They woke up when the sun climbed up behind the Carrara-mountains, spreading milky light over the beach. From the distance a man with a dog on their early walk came closer. Alessandro woke up, still in Luca's arms, still trapped between Luca's legs. He freed himself, looking down on the white smears of semen upon Luca's belly, and wiped them away. His boyfriend was sleeping deeply, lips slightly apart, his bronze skin flawless and healthy. Alessandro kissed his nose. "Hey, sleeping beauty, wake up. Your prince's here."

Luca's lashes fluttered. He opened his eyes. Looking around amazed he realized the surrounding. "Jesus. Look there's someone coming." He jumped up, stumbled, and searched for his clothes. He found them scattered some meters away and hurried to gather them. Alessandro watched him amused. He cheerfully greeted the passer-by and the dog who sniffed at Alessandro's naked feet and up to his groin. Alessandro grinned cheekily at the man who looked away.

Luca rolled his eyes and shook his head. He held out the clothes and gave Alessandro a resounding kiss. "That was the best night ever."

"You think so?" Alessandro pulled him into his arms, ignoring his clothes. "Me too." He locked his eyes with Luca. "I've fallen for you. Since a long time ago."


The letter came with the morning post. Alessandro turned it over, reading the sender's name. Leoni da Firenzuola, Firenze. What did she want from him? He stretched out upon the bed and ripped open the envelope. Luca was in the kitchen, making coffee.

"Dearest Alessandro,

It wasn't easy to find out your address, but I have my connections, as you certainly know. Congratulations, my dear, in becoming a father. I'm pregnant; at the start of the second month. Don't worry, the doc says everything's all right. So, I'd really prefer if you'd come home to have a talk with me about what happens next. I'm happy.

Ciao, amore, and mille baci,

Your Leoni."

Alessandro lay and stared mindlessly at the letter. Then he started to read it again. And again. This could only be one of her tasteless jokes.

Then he started to count. What was he doing about two months ago? Having the odd night with Leoni, right. She claimed he had fucked her like 'Jupiter's hammer', OK. The only problem was, he couldn't remember it. Then she had offered to wait for him in her room but he'd never gone. This had to be a mistake, a mix-up. Certainly someone else was the father.

"Coffee's ready", he heard Luca from the kitchen. Dazed he followed Luca onto the terrace, sat in the chair and stared into nowhere. He burnt his tongue on the hot liquid and moaned.

"Last day of our holidays", Luca sighed, stretching out his legs and leaning back. "When do you have to go back to university?"

"Not before late September. Why can't we stay here a bit longer?" Alessandro's voice was flat and Luca looked up. "What's up with you? Are you sick?"

"Headache. I really would like to stay here longer. What do you think?"

"Well, if you think so. But I'm broke."

Alessandro laughed an unhappy laugh. "No problem." Well, he thought maybe it WAS a problem. 2000 Euros per month wasn't much considering his lifestyle, and there wasn't much left for him either. Yet you could change this with one go, couldn't you, he thought. The first step had been made: you're going to be a father. Next you could marry Leoni. Thirdly: you'll get the money. Twenty million Euros. Enough to buy Luca everything he wanted.

He darted a look over to his boyfriend, who sat there with closed eyes. His cup next to him, the coffee steaming. Everything could be so easy. He rose silently and let the letter drop into Luca's lap. He wouldn't lie to him.

Luca opened his eyes and groped for the letter.

"Read." Alessandro watched Luca's reaction, saw his tanned face growing a shade paler. He too was reading it over and over again. When he looked at Alessandro again his eyes had the expression of a hurt animal.

"So, you did do it. You promised me you hadn't." Then, suddenly, he broke into a heartfelt laughter, that sounded like acid to Alessandro's ears. "You'll get what you wanted. What you were bound to get, Alessandro di Gondi-Lucertola. Your family money. What was it? Twenty million? Congratulations, indeed. Will you let me be a witness to your marriage?"

"Luca, shut up!" Alessandro jumped up. "Never talk to me like that! I swear, I haven't fucked her. I can't remember. She said, I did when I was drunk. But how can I believe her? She's fucking around, that's the only explanation I have. God knows who's the father."

Luca's face was closed and Alessandro knew he didn't believe him. Alessandro crouched in front of Luca's chair and took his hands. "Look, I've always been fair with you. When I tell you, I didn't do it, you must believe me. She's playing a trick on me. You know how much she's keen on me."

"But... that's mad! She can't be so keen on you to do you harm. That's sick."

"Yeah. You and me feel that way. But do you know what's going on in a sick mind?"

The next letter followed with the evening post. Alessandro ripped it open with trembling hands.


congratulations, my son. Leoni has told me about the pleasant event. I knew we could rely on you. As soon as possible we will arrange the marriage, before everyone sees Leoni's condition. It will be a great marriage, I promise you. And when the child is born, we are in the possession of our own money again. You, that is, of course. But I know you will use it wisely.

We are very happy. Of course you must return home to prepare everything. There's no need for you to continue your study in Pisa. Your place is here with your bride. I expect you to come home as soon as possible.

With love,

Your uncle Arrigo"

First Alessandro's shoe hit the trash bin. Then his fist hit the table desk. He roared with anger. "That's so stupid!" he shouted.

Luca flinched.

"How can they rely on the words of that bitch! She says I'm the father and that's it! Come on, how can anyone be so blind? And you know what the most ridiculous thing is with the whole drama? I can't prove it! Not before the baby is born. Then I can take a test. And then? If it's not mine I have her on my cheek! And the money's gone."

He flopped upon the couch, next to Luca. "And above all I should return to Florence to care for my bride, for heaven's sake", Alessandro started anew. "Stop my study! That's a cheek! I've never heard that before. He promised me that I could continue my study whatever happened."

"Promised you?" Luca said astonished. "You've talked about this before with your uncle? What plans did you make?" Luca was highly alarmed.

"Well...", Alessandro gave him a wary look. "We talked about it, yes. At the very start, to explore the possibilities. He suggested that I find a woman who would have a child with me, tell her about the deal, we'd marry and divorce and the kid would be left with my family."

Luca gasped for air. "That's monstrous."

"So?" Alessandro leaned over and stared piercingly into his eyes. "I remember our talk in the meadow, when we'd been to visit my brother's grave, you remember too? You suggested that I should marry and divorce afterwards."

"Yeah, but that was just brainstorming. I never dreamt you would be seriously considering the possibility. It's so unfair to your child."

"Pah", Alessandro snorted. "It wouldn't miss a thing."

"And where did you expect to find that woman, eh? Put an advertisement in the newspaper: Mother wanted for money?"

"That's not a bad idea."

Something dawned on Luca. "And what if Leoni was let into the plans of your uncle? What, if she wanted to make you sleep with her, so that she has you in her hands?"

Alessandro fell silent. That could be true. He made a decision. "Tomorrow we're off to Florence. Arrigo's ears will drop."

But Luca knew it was a poor decision. It wouldn't change the status quo.

                                                                                                                                               -- End of Estate --

Autunno 1