On the 3rd of November, a Tuesday, the families gathered in front of room 389 in Florence' court house. The press weren't allowed inside so they all pushed themselves into the corridor to shoot the best photo of Alessandro di Gondi-Lucertola. He demonstratively held Luca's hand - a fact Luca was proud of. They could think what they wanted. Niccolò had come as well as Giano and his boyfriend Tino, taking a break from their studies. Rosso was there and Carolina as Tristano oddly realized. And Vito was at his side of course. They would all have to give their statements. The trial was expected to last for two days.
Someone tapped upon Tris' shoulder. "Ciao, bello. How are you?" Sergio. He was looking as good as ever. And next to him Alfredo, a bit more slender than he had been before. They had both called regularly to see how Tristano was doing.
Vito's face was a question mark. He held Tristano tight though and tried to fight the urge to kiss him. But he hadn't expected Tristano's boldness. He pressed his lips upon the all too red ones and sighed into Vito's mouth. A flash of light illuminated the rather dark corridor. Vito looked up, then he let go of Tristano and marched straight to the press photographer. "No photos are allowed of the witnesses, buddy. Give me the film, please." He stretched out his arm determinedly.
Vito pulled out his police id and held it under dreadlock's nose. "The film is confiscated. Avanti."
Dreadlock muttered something like 'faggots among the police'. Vito took him by the collar of his shabby cord jacket. "Another word and you can say good-bye to your job, capisce?" He took the roll of film and put it into his pocket. Then he shooed dreadlock away. Calmly he turned and asked "What did you ask before?"
Tristano, impressed by Vito's self-assured behaviour, blurted, "I asked when will you be ready to try out all the other things we can do. How about tonight?"
Vito pulled Tristano to his side by his belt and kissed him.
"It's about time you asked."
One after the other Tristano and Alfredo had to give evidence, then Luca. Fergola stated the details of the close relationship between Alessandro and Luca Montori and justified Alessandro's strong motive, to help him out of his predicament.
Vito watched the reactions of the judge and public prosecutor. Surprise was painted on both faces. Especially when after a break the door opened once more and Leoni da Firenzuola di Gondi-Lucertola entered the hall. A slight baby-belly stood out under her coat. She flitted to the last row and sat next to Arrigo, Alessandro's uncle.
Alessandro grew a shade paler, but immediately he lifted his head and stared straight into nothing. At any other time he would have enjoyed this trial and the attention it brought. But today all he wanted was for it to end. He knew what was waiting for him and he had no illusions that he would escape unharmed out of this predicament. For a long time he had gone through the months that he would have to spend alone in youth custody, separated from everything that had made his life liveable. But hadn't it been always that way? Hadn't he always been alone? His eyes searched for Luca, sitting bravely in the first row next to the other witnesses and tried to smile at him.
The prosecutor paused once more. He rose from his chair and looked directly at the judge. "Alessandro di Gondi-Lucertola had the full intention of starting a fight. He was full of scorn. Remember, his friend had been so badly hurt that a hospital stay was necessary and his boyfriend Luca Montori was in danger. He feared, Luca Montori would share the same fate as Tristano d'Astangli. And therefore he was not bothered in the least how hard he hurt Raniero Riefoli. Alessandro Gondi wanted revenge, no matter what evil it would bring. And he got it. He took the stone and let it crash mercilessly upon Raniero Riefol's skull. Alessandro Gondi is a clever guy, he must have known what force a stone of that weight would carry."
Alessandro jumped up, his face red. "I never had any intention of killing anyone. Those filthy swine just got what they deserved!" Fergola dragged him down and hissed some words into his ear.
The judge ogled at Alessandro while the prosecutor sat down and looked up to the judge who indicated to Stefano Fergola to begin his speech.
A disapproving sound came from the prosecutor's side.
Fergola shot him a glance. "We contest Alessandro Gondi wanted to take revenge. All he wanted was to prevent his boyfriend Luca Montori becoming another victim of rape. This, and nothing else, was his sole intention when he challenged Raniero Riefoli on the evening of the 15th October. It was neither a cowardly ambush nor a surprise attack. The gang of Raniero Riefoli had to have been prepared that Luca Montori's absence would not remain unnoticed. Therefore they were prepared for a fight with any help they could get."
He paused and glared at the prosecutor. "Everything you said before is in Alessandro Gondi's favour. His boyfriend was in the clutches of a rapist. Alessandro Gondi feared his boyfriend would endure the same brutal attack and rape as Tristano d'Astangli had to endure. This was a strong motive to start a fight to rescue him. Nothing more. Our witnesses have given statements that Raniero Riefoli fought hard and threatened Alessandro Gondi's life."
Stefano Fergola took them. "Yes, Signore Giudice." Alessandro bent over them and then jerked back. They were photos taken shortly after Tristano's arrival at the hospital.
The judge nodded. "We will close the session for today. We will continue
tomorrow 10 o'clock sharp."
Fergola gave him a thin smile and went out of the court room, Arrigo at his side, talking to him.
Luca wanted to hurry to Alessandro but Leoni stepped in his way. She placed herself in front of Alessandro and hissed "You've made a fool of me in front of all these people!"
Suddenly Alessandro's face carried such an expression of hatred that Leoni jerked back, startled. He brought his head close to Leoni's face and snarled "This shit I'm sitting into happened because of narrow-minded people like you, Leoni da Firenzuola. Accept what I am. You're paid well for that. And now get out of my sight."
People stood and watched the scene; some with amusement some with deprecation. Pitiful eyes touched Leoni who turned with a beet red face and sailed out, searching for Arrigo. Alessandro's somewhat regretful stare followed her. But he hadn't the desire to care for his wife. In his thoughts he chewed at the word wife and spat it out. He had other problems now.
Luca waited for him at one side. He took his arm and dragged him out into the corridor. They were awaited by photographers who shot photos of the couple which would make the headlines in the tomorrow's newspapers. Vito went to stop them, but Alessandro didn't bother. His coming out was now official and his marriage with Leoni has been outed as a complete farce. Good. He wrapped his arm around Luca's waist and kissed his ear. He hoped the photos would be great.
Vito grinned at him from behind, his arms folded in front of his chest. "Good show, Alessandro. See you tomorrow then."
Tristano stood in the kitchen of Palazzo Gondi and together with Tino cooked Spaghetti Bolognese. Tino stirred the meat in a huge pan, chopping tomatoes and mushrooms and wondered about the madness of having a banquet on this actually sad day. Alessandro had plundered his wine cellar. When everyone was seated around the large kitchen table Alessandro toasted. "It's good to have friends", he said. "Although I'm not sure if I deserve them." He screwed up one eye. "Or why." He looked into the half-grinning faces and emptied his glass in one go. Then he threw the glass over his shoulder where it smashed on the kitchen wall. "That's how the Russians do, right?" he exclaimed. "Drink and forget and start once more."
Luca stared confused at him. He was putting on his own fare-well party although there was still one day of trial left. He must be convinced that he would be sentenced for a long time. "Eat", Alessandro said after he had taken another glass and had poured himself more of the wine. "Tris, you outdid yourself", he grinned and winked at Tino. "And you should apply for the position of his kitchen-boy when he opens his first ristorante."
Tino grinned at him meaningfully.
A bit tipsy Tristano returned home and decided not to wait for Vittorio's call. Probably a policeman was never off-duty. In that case he wouldn't be disappointed. But he was about to pour himself a glass of water when the doorbell rang. Of course it was Vito and Tristano's heart suddenly pounded in his throat. Vito's sight always knocked him over; his physical presence was overwhelming though not threatening in any way. From behind his back he conjured a single white rose and grinned mischievously. "I found out you like roses."
Tristano wished Vito couldn't see his blush. Why was he so damn shy with this man? Vito peeled off his jeans jacket. Under it he wore a black polo-neck jumper. He looked staggering handsome and Tristano hurried into the kitchen to put the rose into a tall glass. "You want something to drink?" he shouted into the room and immediately returned with his bottle of water and another glass. "Oh, you surely won't want to drink water, right?" Like a startled hen he scurried back into the kitchen and came back with a bottle of wine.
Vito stood in the middle of the room with his arms folded in front of his chest and arched brows. Suddenly he caught Tristano, wrenched the bottle from his hand and held him tight. "Why are you so nervous? I'm not going to do you harm." He lifted Tristano's head and placed a soft kiss upon his lips. Tristano didn't struggle, but instead he wrapped his arms around Vittorio's narrow waist. Naturally his body fell against Vito's. He felt the long, fighting fit legs and the broad shoulders. "Water's fine", Vito murmured at his ear. "If I drink alcohol I'd fall asleep instantly." His lips were following a trail from Tristano's ear lobe along his neck to the shoulder. "Say I should stop and I'll stop", he continued to murmur, but Tristano wanted anything but to stop him. Although something deep within him screamed a no, because his body wasn't ready for too much affection.
Tristano slid higher upon his bed and kicked off his shoes. "Did you have him too?" he asked.
Tristano shook his head.
Tristano didn't answer. His whole body was tensed up. And Vito smelled so enticing. It was good to lay next to him. After a moment of silence he realized that Vito had fallen asleep, his head had sunk upon his shoulder and he looked peaceful like a little boy. Tristano grinned. On the TV the German screen adaptation of Donna Leon's "Aqua Alta" started but he couldn't be bothered to watch the unalluring, though most sensitive commissario Guido Brunetti. Instead he leaned against Vito, closed his eyes and cautiously stroked Vito's chest and his face. When his hand slipped under his pullover Vito stirred and opened his eyes with a start. "Shit, did I fall asleep? Damn." He rose to a sort of sitting position and looked down on Tristano. "I'd better go."
Tristano rose likewise. "Then why did you come when you have to go now?" Bolder he grasped Vito's arm and pulled him closer. He didn't know what Vito read in his eyes, but he suddenly pulled his pullover over his head, leaned over and pressed his lips upon Tristano's. Heat radiated from Vito's body and his scent became stronger. Tristano's fingers slid lower and stroked lightly over Vito's abdomen and caressed his thighs. He was sure he felt a bulge that was larger than usual. Vito purred almost inaudibly. "Shall I stay here?" he asked and felt Tristano's nod.
Undressing went almost by itself and it didn't take long until both were naked except for their underwear. The flickering light of the TV-screen illuminated Vito's olive coloured skin. A dark down, almost invisible, spread over his chest. It felt so soft when he embraced Tristano to kiss his neck, letting his hand wander down, pushing back Tristano's tight underpants. Without looking he held Tristano's expanded organ lightly in his palm and rubbed the skin slowly up and down with his thumb. Tristano wanted to scream. But this time with pleasure.
After a deep look into Tristano's eyes, Vito's head disappeared, caressed Tristano's upper body and stopped at his most sensitive part, that was hard as it hadn't been in a long time. And all that Tristano could do was close his eyes and enjoy the pleasure Vito's tongue, mouth and teeth was giving him until he screamed incoherent words in reality.
Vito been stroking himself and as he lay his heavy body upon Tristano's he felt both puddles of semen mingle together. "Was it alright?" he asked quietly. "Shall I go now?"
Tristano opened his eyes. "Are you mad? When do you have to get up?"
He held Vittorio very tight and felt the body under his fingers relax.
The last thing he thought was that he could easily fall in love again.
Alessandro's friends had given testimony on the second day of the trial. They told how Alessandro had gathered them to help out a friend who had been held in the clutches of some unfriendly, primitive hooligans. It had been a real set-to but nothing else.
Rosso confirmed this statement by telling that Raniero Riefoli was about to rape Luca Montori and before he could go to help Alessandro had flung himself upon Riefoli's body and both had a dangerous fight. He stressed that Riefoli had tried to strangle Alessandro who had taken up the stone in self-defense.
The judge sat sleepily like an overfed frog and glared occasionally at
Alessandro. In opposition to his agonized appearance his brain worked
quickly and sharply. Point A) Gondi was gay and probably fucking all the
other queers in town. Point B) He was keen on Luca Montori and wanted
him for himself. Point C) Luca Montori was at the Casino with dozens
of willing girls, ready to increase his range of experience. Point D)
Alessandro Gondi wouldn't allow him to fuck with a girl. Point E) Was Luca
Montori telling the truth at all? Him being "kidnapped" by his own
brothers? Point F) That's ludicrous.
The judge lifted one of his heavy lids and glared again at Alessandro. It was about time that this scum with a noble name came off the streets. And those greasy louts with him. He allowed the woman from the youth welfare office to speak, who described Alessandro as an adolescent who had never needed to be responsible for anyone except himself. He lived for the day. "Everything changed when he met Luca Montori. I got the impression that he developed strong feelings for this young man. I believed that he was caring for him and his welfare. Nonetheless I am convinced that Alessandro Gondi's psychological structure is immature. He is led by feelings and momentary moods, who force him into thoughtless and impulsive actions. If it comes to a sentence, I strongly recommend using the juvenile law."
Mumbling came from the audience.
The judge did not need too long to verbalize his judgement. From his paper he read: "Alessandro di Gondi-Lucertola will be sentenced to three years and eight months for grievous bodily harm resulting in death. I could not find any sign or remorse in the young man.
Alessandro di Gondi-Lucertola is guilty of forming a mob with
the intention of selfjustice. The town of Florence can not tolerate
this anarchist behaviour. In the result of the brutal fight - it
stood at nine versus five - a young man has found his early death and
only Alessandro di Gondi-Lucertal is to be held responsible. He will be
delivered to the youth custody prison at Poggibonsi. I hope this will be
helpful in taming his rebellious being."
Stefano Fergola took Alessandro's arm. "Riefoli's parents", he said with low voice. Alessandro bent his head and passed without looking at them. "Alessandro, you know that with the youth custody there's no chance for an appeal. On Monday I'll pick you up. I advise you to behave well and you'll be out in half of the sentence."
Alessandro nodded absentmindedly. He accepted the sentence anyway, although he still thought it not fair since he had been defending his own life. "Alright", he said gloomily. "But if they think they will break my will, they are mistaken..."
And when he was out, all of them can get lost. With twenty million
he could do whatever he wanted. Even take revenge.
Alessandro shushed him with kisses. "A human's dead because of me. I need to be punished."
Alessandro moved gently within him, as deep as he could, considering his position. "Deeper", Luca murmured after a while, forgetting time and place.
Fireworks exploded behind his closed lids. He let himself be driven wherever Alessandro led him and at the end of the endless night neither counted the couplings, the orgasms, the places where they loved each other. All that counted was the closeness.
Luca nodded and sucked at Alessandro's underlip. "Will you jerk off every night, thinking of me?"
Alessandro laughed. "I promise." Then he was serious again. "Listen, carino. Poggibonsi isn't exactly around the corner. I'll give you the Ferrari as gift if you promise to get your driver's licence. And you can live here if your home is too dangerous for you."
Luca rocked his upperbody thoughtfully, making Alessandro's cock hard again. Luca must be sore as he himself was, but what was a little pain compared with three years and eight months of parting? Three years and eight months without sex. He pushed Luca upon his back, following his body movement without letting his penis slip out. Luca's legs rested upon his shoulders and as Alessandro didn't hear the familiar "deeper", he closed his eyes, satisfied, and surrendered himself to the steady, increasing rhythm he interrupted only by sheer willpower because he knew how much Luca loved it when he alternated long, slow thrusts with gyrated little pushes. He sat upright and bent deep enough down to reach Luca's cock, although his back hurt. He licked the clear fluid flowing down the shaft and nibbled at the rim of the glands. Luca moaned with closed eyes.
Alessandro would never forget his face so close to orgasm. Luca's penis jerked in his mouth and he let it free. One final long thrust and Luca's body tensed. From his chest a heat wave covered his neck and face and his penis spurted; enough to send Alessandro into orbit.
Then they lay panting; happy and sad together. Morning was close. And with the morning reality would enter their lives.
Dawn was seeping through the thick curtains as Alessandro rose from the bed, pulling them aside. The sky was of a washed out blue. He leaned back against Luca who had followed him, embracing his waist. "I think I can hardly bear to let go", he whispered, and Alessandro grinned. He couldn't either. "A pleasant souvenir from you", he whispered back and shivered.
Luca was glad Sandro had already said good bye to Tris and Rosso, to Giano and Tino, so they had the remaining time for themselves. And Sandro had even gone to Luca's parents to apologize and to thank them for their understanding. Clarissa had surprisingly shed some tears and Niccolò had patted his shoulder. Apparently they could forgive him for being a man who had killed another no matter if it was deliberate or not. Perhaps they would forgive him too for making their son unhappy.
They both extended the shower together and cared for each other as best as they could.
At a quarter to ten a car honked in the yard. Arrigo and Stefano Fergola had come to take Alessandro to Poggibonsi. Luca froze at first and then automatically grabbed for Alessandro's bag.