Luca felt really unhappy because he sensed Giano was just getting ready to leave. By and by he had sorted his stuff; clothes and books, notes and pictures. Although he wouldn't go at the same time as Alessandro, Luca's brother had already started to pack his things. Luca wasn't ready to face the fact that both - Alessandro and Giano - would leave him very soon; the day after tomorrow, at least his boyfriend.

Luca's pencil went astray. He was supposed to be sitting over his books to learn his lessons, but instead of that he was doodling, forming body parts and faces that always looked the same: like Alessandro. He tried the word boyfriend on his tongue, but. Luca found it strange to think of him like that. Was Sandro really his boyfriend? Lover at least? Or just a friend with whom you would share some exciting sexual experiences that meant nothing more than a short relief because 'the real one' wasn't present and was still to be waited for? Sandro had never told him that he liked him, nor that he would be faithful, nor that he would wait for him. And how could he demand it of him, being so young, almost still a kid. But one thing Luca was sure of: he would miss Sandro like hell. During the past weeks he had gained confidence from the noble boy about the fact that his life wasn't minor, that he was talented, that he was a pleasing lover, that he was attractive ... Luca grinned and closed his eyes, lost in a day dream.

Sandro would pick him up later; he had promised, but wouldn't say what surprise he had for him. Perhaps a dinner for two at a secret place? Was it that Luca was dreaming of?

He missed the short knock at his door and opened his eyes in confusion, facing Dante, the oldest of the brothers, arms braced on the table Luca was sitting at, his face bent over the sheet of paper which Luca had scribbled on. A deep wrinkle had formed between Dante's eyebrows. "Dinner's ready", he growled between almost closed lips, at the same time grabbing the sheet of paper and staring at it. Luca tried to stop him, but Dante had already seen everything. Luca peered, trying to have an eye, "Give it back, man. Why do you always have to spy around my stuff?" Luca had jumped up and tried to snatch the sheet.

"You're still into this", Dante growled, eying the naked body parts; arms, feet, abdomen, prick, a hand that grabbed it, stroking. "Those are examples of your pervert lover?" Dante sneered. Suddenly he dropped the sheet as if he had burnt his fingers. "Listen, piccolino. I don't know what this guy is doing with you, but it's not right." Dante let himself fall upon a chair opposite his brother. "You aren't one of them. You're a nice looking little boy who has gone astray." A sly grin formed upon Dante's face. "Nothing wrong with a little exercise in a mutual jacking off-session, but once you've grown out of it, you should know which side you are on. Right?" Dante's dark eyes were dead like the eyes of Godfather in Masaccio's fresco of the "Trinity", Luca thought. Dead and emotionless with dark rings under them. "But you don't belong to them, you got me? In time you'll find a girl to fuck the brains out of ."

Luca moaned inwardly but endured Dante's reproaches.

"Or have you become used to it, eh?", Dante continued, leaning forward over the table. "Geez, I know what they are doing, believe me. They all just want the same, your cock, a LARGE cock, mind you. When they have had it they go on to the next cock, that's all."

Luca had to laugh. "That's all? You're well informed indeed."

"Sure I am", Dante hissed. "You think I haven't met them? In men's rooms? Trying to corner me? Grabbing my ass? Offering themselves for a good fuck? Jesus Christ, I'm not one of those shit-stabbers." His eyes flashed. "And what about you? Shit-stabber or the girly-bottom?"

Luca's face burnt. He briefly closed his eyes and thought now or never. This was the time to face his brother. "You know, Dante. You reduce homosexuality to sex. Why is the practice of sex all you think of? Perhaps I have fallen in love. Isn't that a good thing? But what else can I expect from a guy that just has fucking in his hollow brain?!"

Dante's face clouded over so much that Luca considered keeping his mouth shut, but bravely he continued. "What about you? All you know is how to pick up girls, "fucking the brains out of them", as you put it, then go and look for the next prey. Is that your conception of life? Is it any different to searching for the largest cock? You're an adult man, why haven't you found your own family instead putting your feet under father's table still? Eh?" Luca fended off Dante's protests. "And those gays obviously liking what they see, grabbing you, do nothing different than you do with your chicks. How does it feel being harassed like a woman?"

Dante opened his mouth but shut it again. He didn't listen much to what his little brother had to say, but he was genuinely astonished that he would say anything like that at all. He examined him like an insect, not sure if he liked the new discovery or not. But then something kicked in. He threw his hands up. "What do you want? Don't you dare give excuses for being a pervert! This guy has abused you and you claim to like it? What kind of boy are you? What will the parents say if I'd tell them?"

"You say nothing to them, Dante", Luca growled now like his brother. "Or you will regret it."

"I'm scared shitless. Who will you send out to me, your perverted little Gondi-Boy?"

Luca bent likewise over the table. Their faces were close. "Watch out, Dante. One day we'll turn tables on you and I'll take revenge for the bashing on the street. I know it was you with your louts."

He saw a flicker in Dante's dark eyes, His brother rose slowly from the chair, looking down at him. "Prove it", he said. "But be certain, if that guy doesn't stop misusing you, guiding you the wrong way, I'll guarantee nothing."

Luca turned heated "What do you want anyway, he'll be gone Monday."

"Good for him", Dante mumbled, leaving the door open as he went out.

"Tell mother I'm not hungry", Luca yelled after him. And anyway, he would be meeting Sandro in half an hour. Perhaps he could eat with him.



"Yes! "Tosca!" Alessandro appeared from behind the open door of his large wardrobe. "Don't say you've never seen an opera."

"Where and when?"

"But you must! Every music-summer the guest-performances come to play. My family always gets tickets for the musicians from Milano's Scala." He turned ecstatically his eyes. Luca laughed, eying the naked Sandro. Was Dante right when he said that gays only looked for the next extra-large cock? His cheeks reddened in anger when he recalled the names Dante had given him. Shit-stabber? Girly-bottom? Did he really think that a fishy cunt did smell or taste better?

"Chambre separee", Alessandro said, smirking.

"Chambre what?"

"A room just for the two of us, so to speak," Alessandro tossed Luca some of his clothes. "A box, sweetie", he said. "The Gondi-Lucertola box. We'll have a splendid view from that."

Luca caught a black suit with thin grey pinstripes and shortly after that a white shirt made from a rustling, heavy material. "Terrific with your blond hair", Sandro said, examining him briefly.

Luca touched the fabric cautiously, then gasped when Alessandro held a stark white suit in front of himself. "Black and white - what do you think?"

Luca thought it marvellous; the shimmering white made Sandro's eyes sparkle like a blue aquamarine and stressed the darkness of his hair and skin: a wild, daring beauty.

"We'll be the prettiest pair tonight. Come on, change your clothes or we'll be late."

Luca felt the unfamiliar stiffness of the rustling silk of his clothes and thought himself a terrible misfit. But Alessandro's confidence, as he walked with his head in the air through the illuminated entrance to the Teatro della Pergola, swept him along. He felt heads turning and soft murmurs behind their backs. Without looking aside, Alessandro guided Luca upstairs through the festively dressed crowd to the hallway of the first circle where a guard waited beside a white, ornate door, bowing and opening the entrance to the separee of the Gondi-Lucertola's.

"Is that you, Alessandro Gondi?" suddenly a female voice almost shrieked, ignoring the silent dignity of the place. Luca turned and saw some girls of his age approaching them, terribly overdressed in pink and apple-green, covered in diamantes like a Christmas tree. The chandeliers above their heads painted crimson spots into their cheeks and revealed their sparkling silver eye shadows scattered all over their faces. Alessandro looked slightly revolted when one of the girls took his arm, and like a flash he was encircled by three loudly chattering chicks who appeared to be sulking because Alessandro hadn't taken them out for a while.

Luca stood rooted to the spot, not knowing where to go. The guard still held the door open for him, so he decided to enter the box, followed by a gush of high pitched laughter and artificial pouts.

Uncertainly he stepped forward until he reached the landing of the box, passing the red-velvet covered, comfortable looking chairs. He had an extraordinarily view over the stage, still concealed with a night-blue curtain and the orchestra pit where the musicians made a cacophony of sounds. For a moment he watched them, dressed all in black suits, then the conductor's baton knocked harshly upon his music stand, and everything suddenly seemed to fit. A first harmonic accord sounded up to him, interrupted shortly after by another knock of the conductor.

The room was filling with colourful dressed, elegant people, and Luca suddenly felt less of a misfit. Nobody would recognize him here up in the box of the old, noble family. Alessandro's laughter wafted through the open door. Luca turned but couldn't see him. Not him nor the guard watching the door. Probably he had discreetly drawn back. Luca propped his elbows upon the railing and again watched the audience. Rustling fabrics, fresh dressed up hair, naked female shoulders and breathtaking views into powdered décolleté . A wave of different perfumes stung his nose when he felt a tap on his shoulder. Assuming it would be Sandro, Luca turned but he saw one of the importunate girls. Luca peered over her shoulder, but Alessandro was nowhere to be seen.

"Are you the new friend of Sandro?" she chirped, pressing a yellow handbag to her tiny breast.

"Well, yes", Luca stammered for a moment, surprised that she was addressing him. "Something wrong?"

"No", she tried to grin. "I was just curious. You know..." she fluttered her eyelashes and more of the silver sparkling eye shadow trickled down to her cheeks, "we were just wondering.... is it a new girlfriend?"


"Because he neglected each one of us; so we thought it's another girl."

Luca all of a sudden had the wish to laugh into her face. "I don't know anything about a girl", he said confidently. "Go and ask him."

She pouted, turned abruptly, so that her long skirt slapped his trousers and rushed through the open door, ignoring Alessandro who now entered the box, looking a bit deranged.

"Who was that?" he said.

"Who was who?" Luca snapped. "An admirer of yours. Asking me if it's a new girl behind your recent behaviour." He stepped forward, playfully menacing his lover. "You've neglected her." Luca rolled his eyes.

"Oh, have I?" Alessandro stepped to the landing and looked down. A deep gong sounded, reminding the audience to gather in the room. The artificial chandeliers flickered. Alessandro turned. "You like it? It's very private." He went, closed the door, and turned the key.

Luca, still waiting for an explanation, felt himself grabbed and pulled down to a chair close to the railing. Alessandro pulled out opera glasses and started to examine the audience. "Ah! Emilio's there with his young lover." The glasses in his hands moved on while he was constantly muttering to himself, counting acquaintances and friends.

"Is this the place for your mother?" Luca asked. "I mean, actually the tickets are for her, right?"

"Madama's in hospital, enjoying her life. Or to say it better: to bring her life back in order."

"You mean she's having a withdrawal treatment."

"That's what I wanted to avoid saying."

Luca eyed him for a moment. Whenever Alessandro was talking about his family he donned a mask.. He asked himself if he would ever fathom the real Alessandro.

A second gong sounded and the chandeliers were slowly dimmed down until they were out. At the same time the curtain lifted, revealing the scenery of a church. A suppressed little cough, a nose was blown, a chair shoved, a whisper sounded up to the box, and then quietness before the conductor knocked softly on his podium and the first Violinist put the bow to the strings and others joined in. Luca saw Cesare Angelotti, an escaped political prisoner, rushing into the church of Sant' Andrea della Valle, to hide in the Attavanti chapel.

It was dark in the box and Luca had a surreal feeling as if the tenor was singing only for himself. He had never had such a surge of emotion and he was absorbing each sound, each exaggerated gesture and each step of the singer that he soon forgot who he was. He followed the Sacristan and Cavaradossi, the painter, taking out a miniature of the singer Floria Tosca, his lover, until he vanished again behind the stage.

Alessandro next to him, leafed through the program although it seemed as if he would know the libretto almost word by word. He glanced at Luca, saw his profile against the light coming from the stage, his glowing cheeks and the blond hair, framing his face, unruly, because he always tried to smooth it in vain, and took his hand that was lying limp upon his thigh. The choirboys sang their Te Deum, but their excitement was silenced by the entrance of Baron Scarpia, chief of the secret police; his baritone voice filled the auditorium deceiving on Tosca in making her think that her lover Cavaradossi was faithless and waking vengeance in Tosca's bosom.

The curtain fell at the end of Act 1 and Luca woke up from his trance. Unconsciously he pressed Alessandro's hand and his eyes were clouded. Alessandro grinned at him. "You don't have to tell me that you liked it", he said. "Wait a minute." He unlocked the door and vanished, coming back with a tray of two glasses and a bottle of champagne, already open. The gentle sparkling fluid ran like oil down Luca's throat while the auditorium was gradually emptying, a soft murmur floating up to the box. Luca felt like floating. "I never thought I would like it, but those voices..."

"The best the Scala can offer", Alessandro finished his sentence. He emptied his glass. "You don't have to worry about those chicks. It's only you." They locked eyes until it was getting dark again and the curtain lifted once more for Act 2, the Farnese Palace, where chief Scarpia anticipated the sadistic pleasure of bending Tosca to his will, having her lover arrested and interrogated so his silence of the whereabouts of his friend and escaped prisoner Angelotti was broken under torture. To end all this Tosca revealed Angelotti's hiding place, fought the police chief and stabbed him to death.

During all the misunderstandings, singing and killing on stage Alessandro pulled Luca to his side, carefully hidden in the darkness, stroking him and as the voice of a shepherd boy sounded, while church bells tolled the dawn, and Cavaradossi awaited execution at Castel Sant' Angelo, Luca was almost in tears. He had never heard such a beautiful song though it was of course familiar to him. The singer in his dark, muddy coat, the white, loose shirt torn and bloody, he fell to his knees in the gloomy cell of his dungeon, lit by torches, desperation on his face,

'E lucevan le stelle,
ed olezzava la terra,
stridea l'uscio dell'orto,
e un passo sfiorava la rena...' [*]

'The hour has fled...
And I die in despair!
And I die in despair...
And life has never been so precious to me!'

There was deathly silence when the bullets hit Cavaradossi while Tosca rushed up the battlement of Sant' Angelo, singing her heart out, explaining to the audience that she was about to end her life and jumped into darkness.

Luca didn't know where he was when the curtain fell and after a brief pause the audience cheered and applauded, giving standing ovations, calling the singer again and again back on stage. He still was lying in Alessandro's arms, clutching his empty glass and hiccupping softly.

Alessandro turned his face to him and started to kiss him. Luca struggled but then he didn't bother. Let everyone see. Of course nobody noticed, except three pairs of watering eyes staring from the stalls up to the box, not missing anything.

The music and the strange surroundings had left Luca in a state of exhilaration when he followed Alessandro down and into his Ferrari, waiting outside. This was their last night together and no way in hell would he go home alone. Up in the large room of Palazzo Gondi alone he waited for Alessandro to follow him, but he was acting mysteriously. Luca knew why when two men came puffing up the stairs, carrying large covered plates with food and put them on a prepared table in the loggia.

"Wow", Luca said, when they had vanished and Alessandro lifted the first cover. "Antipasti. And what's that there?"

Alessandro tapped his fingers when he tried to lift the silver cover. Instead of he shoved a dried, marinated tomato into Luca's mouth, followed by an olive filled with cheese and a piece of artichoke. With the same movement he wiped his fingers and took off Luca's jacket. A bite of salami and Luca's silky shirt had gone. A piece of a pickled bean and Luca's trousers hung over the stool. Luca giggled, a bit tipsy. "The second round and I'm naked", he stated.

"Wrong. With the dolci you're naked." Alessandro grinned sardonicly, never stopping feeding Luca and himself, washing it away with another bottle of champagne.

"Saltimbocca alla Romana!" Alessandro announced, lifting the second cover.

"Alright, I think I'll have my socks removed then", Luca grinned, giggling to himself.

And with the dolci, hot figs with green pepper and vanilla cream, Luca lost his underpants.

"Bath is ready" Alessandro shouted while Luca hadn't noticed his absence. He had to stop drinking for sure. He stumbled over his shoes when he tottered into the bathroom that was lit by thick candles Sandro had fixed on every possible surface. Luca gasped. He had never expected something like that from Alessandro. So, he could be romantic, he thought bewildered, while Alessandro had already dived into the fruity-sweet fragranced foam, pulling Luca with him. Water swept dangerously near the rim when Luca stretched out upon Alessandro's body, giving him a long nose from foam, and placed a funny heap of it upon his hair. "You look like Dwarf Nose."

"Rather like Pinocchio."

"Pinocchio only gets a long nose when he's lying", Luca throw in. "Are you lying to me?"

"About what?"

"Everything. That I'm the only one. That you're not interested in chicks. That you won't get married."

Despite his tipsiness Luca sensed a stone falling into Sandro's stomach. But a moment later it was gone. "I never lied to you, gioia." I just didn't tell you everything, he thought.

Luca felt Sandro's hands gliding up his body under water, soaping the cleft between his buttocks and he was hot in the blink of an eye. He sat upon Alessandro's belly, leaned back and sensed his erect member between his cheeks. Cautiously he lifted himself a bit, and found the right spot, then he let himself sink down, gasping a bit from pain for the slippery penis rushed all too quickly in, but Sandro grabbed for Luca's own prick, giving it gentle strokes and the pain was forgotten.

Water leapt over the rim of the tub, but neither noticed it. After a while the room was swimming with water while the candles illuminated two boys in ecstasy.

They left the bathroom swimming and hurried to the bed, where they started another play of love. Luca sensed the tip of Alessandro's tongue slipping into him and didn't know what he liked more - this or Sandro's concurrent massage of his member. He left his body to Sandro's fingers, occasionally purring like a tom cat spread eagled upon the soft mattress of the bed. Still moist from fluids it was easy to take him and Luca enjoyed Sandro's attention and his lust until they switched positions.


"And the stars twinkled
and the earth was fragrant,
the garden gate creaked,
and a footstep brushed the sandy path."

Part 15