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19

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The next week Alessandro was occupied with choosing the seminars and lectures he had to take. First he chose 'Basis of the Occidental Art', then a discussion seminar, and then he took all of the lectures that were concerned with the art of the Renaissance. It would give him as much background as he needed for his hometown, since the Renaissance was founded in Florence. The special lectures would have to wait for the next semesters, but he had a very clear idea of what they would be. To his great annoyance, Leoni chose the same lectures as himself. In fact, she was always crossing his path, and since they were using the same kitchen, attached to their rooms, it was hard for Alessandro to avoid her. Not that he was a good cook, in fact, he couldn't cook at all, but once in a while he wanted scrambled eggs, or a coffee and she was always sitting there with her nose in a book, stirring the sugar in her tea while smoking non-stop, or chattering with her friend Maresa. She always acted then as if Alessandro was her boyfriend and this was pissing him off no end.

When he felt sort of lonely he wrote letters to Luca. He had found out that writing sorted his mind, and it was much more pleasurable than to phone, although hearing Luca's voice close to his ear made all of his hairs stand on end with longing.

* * *


Luca flung his body upon his bed and started to read Sandro's latest letter. He loved his idea to write rather than to talk. So he could keep his letters as a memory for always and ever.


"Gioia,

I think I miss you a great deal. I'm not sure if I'm coming to Firenze this weekend. I have so much to deal with. As you know, my knowledge about Florence's arts has a wide range but to start from scratch is somewhat exhausting. They want us to learn about the very start of it. And it simply didn't start in our hometown, but in the caves of France whose name I always forget. You know, those funny scribblings on the cave's walls of hunters and deer. Actually it's quite interesting but I spend more time in the library than is good for me. My tan is vanishing and the rest of my body matches the white of my arse now ;-) That reminds me.... Do you feel a certain emptiness there? I definitely do.

What am I writing here... I'll try to come, but I can't promise. Your brother told me that his room mate is snoring so loud that he can't sleep at night. What is going on in my mind is this; I suggested to him to move over to my room. At least I don't snore as you know. So... what do you think about that? I suggested it but Giano refused. Stubbornness seems to be a Montori-thing. Perhaps you can persuade him. But in the end, it's not my sleepless nights. But Giano has rings under his eyes and he needs all his strength for his study. Medicine seems to be a difficult thing to me.

How is your apprenticeship going? And did your friend finally get out of hospital? Have you been seduced by Tristano yet???

All my love and XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Alessandro"


Luca lay motionless for a while and pondered. Why wouldn't Giano move into Sandro's room? Shit, of course because he was so sensible to think that if he would, they hadn't a place for themselves when Luca visited Sandro next time. Right? That was true, but next time Sandro would come to him and they had room then. So, what the hell. He took a sheet of paper and started to write his brother.


* * *



Luca hadn't heard from Sandro for a couple of days. His mobile was turned off but Luca thought that he could hardly take it to his lectures. But he didn't want to worry too much. Sandro didn't like it when he was too much of a leech. He tried to occupy himself with the lessons he himself had to master, and this wasn't a small task. Coppo had given them drawing boards with movable protractors and right angles where they were supposed to draw grids. At home he struggled with complicated scale calculations and had to ask Tristano for help. Surely his father would had helped him out but Luca didn't want to ask him. Not that NiccolÚ wouldn't help; but Luca wanted to learn it his way.

"We start with geometric figures, ragazzi", Coppo's voice drowned through the room. "I stress here that we don't start with curved lines but with straight ones. Imagine a square or a rectangle.. What can you build with them?"

"Houses for instance", a girl piped up.

"Yes, thatís one instance. I want you to draw a house. Squares and triangles. Please draw it in difference sizes. First the original, then in the scale 1:2 upon your grids."

Luca blew out his cheeks. Not again the scale calculations. Tristano was looking at him from where he was sitting over on the opposite side of the table. Then he wrote the formula for the calculation upon a note and shoved it over to Luca. With that it wasn't so difficult anymore for Luca to draw the right proportions and Coppo was pleased. Luca put Tristano's note into his lesson book for later use. About time that he was memorizing it.

"The secret of a pietre dure work is its exactness. At the end of the semester you will all be able to lay a simple ornament. At first without the stony background of course."

Luca felt Tristano's eyes on him. In fact the whole week he had caught those stares. But whenever Luca went to ask, Tris acted normal again. Could it be right what Sandro had said? That Tris was gay? In love with him? Nonsense. Tris had a girl friend. Though he wasn't talking about her. In fact, he had never told him about her, at least not in detail.

Luca's eyes smiled into Tristano's. Lapis lazuli blue.. "Do you know I have a lapis lazuli at home?" he whispered. "It's like your eyes."

To Luca's surprise Tristano blushed furiously and looked down at his drawing board. Luca nudged his leg. "What would you do with the stone?"

Tristano shrugged his shoulders, avoiding Luca's view.


"Why did you have to say that?" Tristano said later in the cantina. "Lapis lazuli blue! Have you learnt this queer's behaviour from your friend?"

Luca almost dropped his plate. A stab of disappointment pierced his heart. "Queer's behaviour? Because I said I like your eyes?"

"You know I have a girlfriend, so you don't have to try it on with me." Tristano set his plate vehemently upon the table. Luca stood. "You speak surprisingly little about her. Can't be a big love then." He turned and sat at another table. But he would have preferably thrown the meal into the trash bin. Was he bound to lose everybody just because he was friends with Alessandro di Gondi-Lucertola? Even the gentle Tristano? Luca left his untouched plate and exited the cantina alone.

Outside Tristano was waiting and tapped his shoulder. "I'm sorry, Luca. I'm just .. confused." He stretched out his hand. "Forgive me?"

Luca pressed Tristano's hand, then he walked on with him, into the small, square yard of the museum's building. It was a hot day, but inside the old palazzi it was always pleasantly cool. A laurel tree provided shade next to an old well in the middle of a piece of lawn. Luca sat upon the low stony balustrade that was connected with arches and pillars and Tristano sat beside him. "I know you're confused", Luca started quietly. "You don't know what to think, right? I'm friends with Alessandro Gondi, the faggot. And your conclusion is, I'm a faggot too." He darted a quick look from under his lashes to see Tris was looking down at his shoes. Luca wondered what he would say when he told Tris what Sandro had said about him. but that was sealed in his heart. No way he would tell him.

Tristano was still silent.

"Listen, if you don't want to be friends with a faggot, say it and Iíll leave you."

Now Tristano looked at him, completely bewildered. "What makes you think I don't want to be friends with you anymore?"

Luca eyed him and read the confirmation in his eyes, that Tris was busy with other problems. Suddenly Luca grinned. "So I'm allowed to tell you that your eyes are as beautiful as my lapis lazuli? Eh?"

Tristano nudged his knee with his own. And suddenly Luca was very hungry.

From that moment on their friendship had something magical. Luca could neither describe it nor comprehend it, nor express it to himself. There were unspoken feelings wavering between both young men, something Luca almost could grab. But they remained unspoken and Tristano never mentioned the incident again. Of course he left Luca in darkness about his presumptions concerning Luca's sexuality. Luca was the friend of Alessandro di Gondi-Lucertola and Tris was satisfied with that. Though - when Luca caught Tristano in a moment of unawareness, the deep lapis lazuli eyes were unfocussed. Drifting off into nowhere. Sometimes they were watching Luca, as if to measure his body. As if he had never seen another male body apart from his own. And deep down - very deep down - Luca felt a tinge of power. When previously it had been he himself who had adored the noblesse of a Gondi, it was now a sensual feeling of being adored. Because that's what it was; Tristano was just too shy to admit it.


"Carissimo,

So, my letter to Giano helped, eh? I wondered what he was waiting for to enable him to share the room with you. Well, of course I know. In case he hasn't told you the real reason Giano can't afford the extra cost for the luxury room, capisce? How did you manage it so that he accepted? This guy really must saw a forest each night. Anyway, does he behave well? Do you behave well?

Bad news from the home front. Concerning the Gioco, my old friend Raniero - the one who shot the fireworks in my direction at the football match - is back. He wasn't sentenced to jail but for charitable work, you know caring for flower beds and lawns, scrubbing walls and windows, delivering food for the sick and mending the pitch in the stadium. That also means that he's back in my school class and he has proudly announced his acceptance to play for the Quartiero San Giovanni - that's yours - at the Calcio in Costume. How do you like that?

Concerning Tristano I guess you are right. We had a little tiff recently because I said I thought his eyes were like my lapis lazuli and he was embarrassed. But he apologized. I don't know what he thinks of me. If he thinks that I'm your boyfriend or just your friend... And he never tells me about himself. I'm sure he has dumped his girlfriend.

Give my greetings to Franco. I hope to see you next weekend. I miss you.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Luca"


* * *



The kitchen was thick with smoke when Alessandro opened the door to get himself a bottle of juice from the fridge. Of course there wasn't any albeit he had bought several bottles of it. Leoni sat innocently at the table, puffing like a chimney. "Have you seen the juice? Yesterday there were three full bottles of it in the fridge."

Leoni turned and fluttered her eye lashes. She had painted the lids with a thick green colour which she thought would go excellently with her carrot hair.

"Have you seen where the juice has gone?"

"Juice? Oh, that was yours?"

Alessandro rolled his eyes to the ceiling. "All right. If we have to share the fridge I'd say we need some rules, all right? The upper shelf is mine, you can chose another and so on. I'll let the others know. And I'm putting a label upon the bottles." He eyed the ashtray. "Can I have one?"

"I thought you had quit smoking." She tossed him a cigarette. He lit it and filled a glass with water from the tap. "You smoke like a steamroller, honey. It's healthier to smoke than to inhale yours."

Leoni sat indifferent but was smiling constantly at him. "You're a good match now that your father is dead. He has surely left some money for you, right?"

"Thatís what you think?" Alessandro blew grey smoke into the room and pierced her eyes. Apparently the bush telegraph wasn't working as well as he thought. He joined her at the table and leaned forward. "Want to marry me?"

To his great surprise Leoni looked down and blushed. Then she wiped her cheeks as if she was tired. "You know that we were promised."

"When were we?"

Her blue-green, slightly protruding eyes looked accusingly at him. "You've forgotten! Back in school we said we were engaged."

Alessandro laughed out loud. "And you believed that? Honey, it was a joke, a child's game. You still act as if I was your boyfriend." He toasted her with his glass of water and drank. "You've got really funny ideas."

"No", she snapped. "I know you've turned out to be a faggot. You'd rather sleep with boys than with me. Everybody's saying that."

"Who's everybody?"

"Whole of Firenze! You think nobody saw you when you was licking the guys' faces? And now you've found your private lap dog." She twisted her mouth, disgusted. "Ugh, I can't imagine what he's doing with your ... lap."

Alessandro thought it highly amusing. He snorted into his water glass and wiped his mouth. "You're really too funny." Then he eyed her from her carrot hair to the small chin, over her small shoulders to her tiny breasts. She had always been way too thin. But probably that had been the reason that he was keen on her. She had the gracious, slender body of a male. Could it be that she would accept if he asked her to marry him? She would, he was sure. That would be easy. But what would come afterwards - sharing the bed with her, sleeping with her until she got pregnant? And if it was a girl what then? His stomach hurt. He had tasted from the male body too long to know where he belonged now. Uncle Arrigo had promised to take care of that. An artificial insemination probably. But would she accept it?

Alessandro watched her puffing blue smoke. Of course she would with the right amount of money. Would she? Carrying a child wasn't that easy, nor give birth to it. And the Gondi-Lucertola's would claim the baby for themselves. Leoni being the mother was out of the question. What woman would accept that?

"What are you staring at?" Leoni snapped suddenly. "Have I smudge on my nose?"

"No, sorry. I was just thinking. Are you disappointed that I prefer boys?"

"Sure I am, what do you think." She fluttered again her lashes. "No chance you could be bi?"

Alessandro shook his head. There had been a time when he had thought he could have fun with both. He had been very young then. Hardly fifteen. But time had taught him that he had to decide. Playing in both teams was too exhausting. And it just wasn't fair. You had to hurt someone all the time. "So, would you please stop telling the others I'm your boyfriend?"

"But you're the heartthrob of all the girls here, haven't you noticed? You're the best looking guy on the Campus." She almost knocked over her glass. "Can't you imagine how proud I am to know you and being known as your girlfriend?" She breathed hard. "But, sure. Now you've gone and picked up that guy and made him share your room. It's the brother of your little fag at home, right? Nicely done, Sandro. Now you fuck the brother. Is he better?"

Alessandro went pale. He had never had any intention to fuck with Luca's brother. He might be a slut, but family matters were serious.

He thought Leoni's comment wasn't worth an answer, so he stubbed out his cigarette and left her. He found Giano upon his bed, with a book in front of his nose. Alessandro saw photos of glasses with human parts. He felt even more sick but he smiled at Giano and went over to his own bed.

"You smoke?" Giano asked casually.

"Once in a while. Leoni's puffing away until the kitchen walls are yellow."

Giano grinned. "You know her well?" He clapped shut his book and stretched out upon his bed that he had covered with a bedspread. "She tells everybody who wants to hear that you and she are a couple. That you will marry her when you've finished your study."

"Does she?" Alessandro mumbled, likewise stretching out upon his bed, folding his arms behind his head and staring at the ceiling. "I guessed so. She told me about it right now."

"What did she tell you? That she's your girlfriend?" Giano had raised his eyebrows and looked now like his youngest brother. Alessandro felt a little twinge in his guts.

"Luca told me different things", Giano said.

"You were talking about me?"

"Luca was disappointed that you didn't want to see him this weekend."

"That's no answer to my question."

"It was." Giano was peering and Alessandro propped his elbow upon the bed and looked back. "I've seen you", he said slowly.

Giano didn't answer right away. "I know", he said after a while.

"Luca knows?"

Giano shook his head.

"So we can be open with each other?" Alessandro asked.

"Of course. I know you've seen me in the gay bars. Thanks for keeping your mouth shut."

Alessandro sat upright and folded his legs upon the bed. "So why haven't you told Luca? I mean, he would be the first to understand you."

Giano twisted his lips. "Luca is bolder than I am. He has you. I have nobody."

"You have me", Alessandro suggested.

"That's the reason you want me to be your roomie? To get me into your bed?" Giano spoke softly, but Alessandro heard fear behind the words and a touch of eagerness.

"You think me that cock driven?"

"Exactly."

Both grinned. "Don't be stupid. Leoni knows I'm gay. She knows about my affair with Luca. And she knows you. She thinks the same as you do."

"Huh? That you want to start an affair with me?"

Alessandro nodded. "Listen, Franco told me about a community club. Why don't you join?"

Giano looked bewildered. "I'd never have the guts to go there."

"But why? That's nonsense."

Giano laughed harshly. "For you it might be easy, but not for me. Everybody is sizing me up. Staring at my arse and cock."

"And what's wrong with that?"

Giano gave a little, disapproving snort. "You don't understand. I'm not like you." He opened his book again and pretended to read. "Our parents would beat the shit out of us if they knew", he mumbled but Alessandro pricked up his ears. "You mean your brothers."

"Them too. Luca told me about his suspicion about Dante and your beating on the street. I don't long to be the next victim."

"Next time it's Dante who'll be beaten up."

Giano looked up. "What do you mean? Dante knows how to fight."

"And Marcello? Is he the same?"

"He's his brother's lap dog - so to speak. He's always done what Dante says."

"Funny." Alessandro sighed. "Let's work for a while. Tonight's a community meeting. Perhaps you'd like to go if I join you?"

"As my guard?"

"For example. Come on, don't be such a wimp. They won't do you any harm, quite the opposite. I bet you'll have ten boys at each finger tonight. Look at you."

"What do you mean look at me?"

Alessandro stood up and sat right next to Giano upon the bed. "You're almost as cute as Luca. Everybody will be mad for your blond hair."

Giano raised his brows but then something started to glisten in his eyes. "Don't try to tempt me", he whispered.

Alessandro laughed friendly. "I would certainly try." He lifted Giano's chin. "You've never done it?"

Giano jerked back. "Of course not."

Alessandro said nothing for a while. Then his look fell upon Giano's books. "I wonder why you want to become a surgeon? That's the worse, gioia."

Giano blushed a bit at the tender address. "I have no talent for cutting stones or applying them into pictures."

"How do you know when you've never tried?"

"I've tried. And I'm not interested."

"I can't stand the sight of blood."

Giano laughed. "And you want to attend the bloody Gioco? How's that? I bet you'll see a lot of blood then."

"As long as it isn't mine... I need to start a training programme", he said then. "Franco wants to join me running. What about you?"

"Perhaps." Again Giano got absorbed in the pictures of preparation and anatomy. Sighing Alessandro rose and went over to his own bed. He opened the textbook about Protorenaissance in Florence.

"When are we going tonight?" he heard Giano asking quietly. He looked up and winked at Giano.

"And I also rather need a job to pay the rent for this room", Giano continued. "Perhaps Franco knows about something for me."

Alessandro decided there wasn't a chance to talk about this with Giano because the Montoris were too proud to take money from others. Especially not from a Gondi-Lucertola.


Giano had given himself Dutch courage at the student's cafe before Alessandro had picked him up to join the meeting at the community club Sardonic Grin.

He felt a little dizzy in the head when they walked down the steps leading to a underground basement that was shrouded in red light. "Looks like a brothel", Alessandro mumbled. "That's probably the Pisan imagination of a gay pub. I wonder if they have darkrooms?"

"Huh?" Giano looked at him from aside and had hold of Alessandro's hand for protection. He certainly was a wimp. He had imagined that the community club would be a platform for all too important discussions about their rights as homosexual students, with butches and spectacled, intellectualized swots. But to his surprise it was quite casual, no dressed up boys or girls, showing off a lot of skin and make up.

In the background soft music was playing and around the round tables were grouped all sorts of students, drinking straight from bottles. Thick smoke filled the rooms. Alessandro felt instantly at home. He headed for the bar and ordered two cheap beers. Not exactly his cup of tea but what the hell. He knew that students were always short of money. He pressed one of the cans into Giano's hand and sat with him at a table that was already occupied by two boys and a girl of their age. He literally felt Giano's body tighten and wished he would empty his beer can in one go. Perhaps then he would loosen up.

From the table next to them he listened to the constant chatter of a guy who was a bit round around his hips but was talking animatedly with feet and hands. His audience was laughing constantly. Alessandro watched him for a while then turned to Giano, grinning. "Like it here?"

Giano shrugged. "Don't know yet." He eyed his surroundings, then his eyes examined his table-mates. The guys were absorbed with each other, and the girl was tapping her finger nails to the rhythm of the pulsating, low drums of the background music. She looked annoyed.

Alessandro lifted a booklet from the desk and was leafing through it. "Announcements of activities in the coming months. Hey, they even have a pride week. Crap, that's the weekend of the Gioco", he said disappointed. "What about you? Are you coming to Florence for the Gioco?"

Giano didn't answer. He had his body half turned to the next table and was listening to the guy talking. An amused smile was spread over his face.

"Giano?"

"Sorry?" Giano turned.

"Are you coming to Florence for the Gioco?"

"But of course. I won't miss your fight."

"Don't paint it so black. I'm determined to win the match for our Quartiero."

"For YOUR Quartiero. It's not mine." Giano winked at him. "But nonetheless I'll cross my fingers for you." He had emptied his beer can. "I'll get us another", he said, lifted his body from the chair and stood next to the guy he had been listening to all the time. He met amber coloured eyes glistening in the dim light, giving him a friendly look. "New here?" he heard the deep, accentuated voice he had been fascinated by the first time he had heard it. "I'm Tino", the guy said now. "Actually Celestino." A chuckle escaped his throat. "Embarrassing, isn't it."

"Why?" Giano stuttered, forgetting the waiting barman, a skinny student in a T-shirt with the imprint Sardonic Grin. "The Heavenly. Probably your parent's wish."

The amber eyes looked surprised. Then he nudged Giano. "Your turn."

"Um, two beer, please." He rummaged for some coins.

"That beer is a pisser", Tino said. "I wish they had German beer, but that's too expensive."

"German beer?"

"The best in the world. My father's German. What are you studying?"

"Medicine." Giano received the beer cans and was unsure what to do. He wanted to talk to Tino but he didn't want to ignore Alessandro.

"Medicine! Me too! But you're freshman, aren't you? I'm about to start my clinical semester. You know pathology, neurology, pharmacology. And you're in the middle of anatomy I guess?"

"The start of anatomy actually. Human compounds. I'd like to become surgeon."

Tino whistled through his teeth. "I'll go for children's doc. Perhaps go to Africa later."

Giano wondered at how easy it was to talk with another guy. And neither was his arse and cock stared at nor did he get any naughty offers.

"Your boyfriend?" Tino pointed to Alessandro who didn't seem to miss Giano, but was engaged in a conversation with the two other guys at his table.

"No, a friend."

"You're from Tuscany, right? Firenze? Nobody else speaks such a clear Italian." Tino leaned against the bar and was sipping at his beer can. He had a slight spare tyre around his waist, but that made him somehow cosy. His middle fingers were decorated with silver rings that shone softly in the light. His hair was black and short, but curled. Giano bet that if he let it grow it would match Alessandro's mane. He nodded. "Right. Firenze. And you?"

"Pisa's my hometown. I don't live on the Campus. I have my own digs."

Giano's eyes rounded. Having his own 'digs' was seldom the case for an Italian boy. The rent was simply too expensive. "I work in a music shop as often as I can to afford it", Tino explained as if he had read Giano's thoughts. "What about you?"

The beer can in Giano's hand was getting warm. "Excuse me one minute." He rushed to the table, placed the can in front of Alessandro and hurried back. He didn't see Alessandro's amused look.

"I share a room with him." He pointed his head to Alessandro's curly head. "But it's way too expensive for me. You think they need another sales man?"

"I guess so. Music and students always do well, and we have cheap offers. Shall I ask for you next time?"

"That would be great."

Celestino examined Giano for a minute with his heavenly eyes - at least Giano thought so. "So, you share a room with him", he tipped his head to the table, "and there's nothing going on?"

Giano was happy that his blush vanished in the red light. "Certainly not. Alessandro has a boyfriend." He swallowed to say that the boyfriend was his younger brother.

Tino looked as if he was saying 'That's a reason but no obstacle', but then he grinned. "Alright. And what are we going to do with the rest of the evening?"

Giano swallowed his beer wrong. Was this the offer he feared? Was it going that way? You pick up a guy and got laid?

"Well, I just wanted to see what's going on here", he said evasively, but Tino laughed. "Don't shy back. I've seen your looks." He gently touched Giano's arm. "Just for a drink, ok?"

Giano wasn't sure. "Where to?" He searched for Alessandro's eyes. Surprisingly he found them resting on him and Giano made helpless gestures. Alessandro looked questioningly.

"You need permission from your friend then?" Tino asked.

"I've got a lot to learn still", Giano said quickly. "We can meet again, alright?" He stepped back and collided with a chair. Beer sloshed over the can and Giano knew that he had made a complete fool of himself. But Tino grinned and waved with his fingers. "Ciao ciao, bello. Until next time." He set back his empty beer can and vanished.

Alessandro shook his head when Giano flopped upon his chair. "You weaselled out? My, Giano, what shall I do with you?" he asked good humouredly and patted Giano's knee. "I don't know him", Giano defended himself.

"He didn't look as if he would rape you."

"Who knows."

Alessandro thought that Luca was indeed bolder than his brother. He hadn't been afraid of a first date. But then he thought it somehow lovely. The man who once got Giano would get a jewel.

Giano sat indifferently with folded arms and was chewing at his lips. Probably he was an idiot. The first time at a gay club and he had dismissed his first chance. His first chance for what? he thought then. He didn't know what was expected of him. And he didn't want to appear as a bloody beginner. But everybody was a beginner sometime, right?

"New here?" Giano jumped at the words and looked up. The words were directed at Alessandro from a guy, standing with hands buried in his jeans pockets and a tight fitting, white shirt. Giano saw his nipples protruding and a ring he had pierced through it. Ouch.

"Right, new here", Alessandro answered. The other guy pulled up a chair and sat next to him. And after ten minutes Alessandro wasn't aware that Giano had left the club.

Half an hour later he found him laying in his bed, with his short pyjamas on, studying his book of medicine. "You didn't say you were leaving. Don't do that again. I searched for you at the toilets and almost got raped." Alessandro chided him. But his eyes betrayed his words. They were laughing.

"I bet you were. Look at you", Giano shot back. "Had fun?"

"Fun with whom? You were gone."

"Fun with that guy."

"Sure. A quickie in the toilet, as I said", Alessandro said dryly.

"A wank, a blowjob or a fuck?"

Alessandro dropped his shirt as he was undressing and stared surprised at Giano. "Do I hear jealousy?"

"No, anger. I thought you're with my brother."

Alessandro kicked off his trainers, pulled down his jeans and socks and his underwear too. Giano quickly looked away. "None of that", he said calm. "In case you didn't know: I really like Luca. And despite the saying 'what he doesn't know doesn't bother him', I don't want to give myself a bad conscience."

"You're a saint all of a sudden", Giano gave back ironically.

"Then think what you want." Alessandro showed him his naked butt and strutted through the bathroom door. Giano had to grin. What a guy. He couldn't make him out. He wondered why Luca got on so well with him, and what Alessandro saw in his little brother. Sure, Luca was a sunshine, but he was wayward too. And he himself had dozens of experiences ahead. How was it to sleep with a man for instance. Giano sighed, closed his book and wiped his face. If you go on like this, you'll be a virgin for all times. Then thinking about Celestino's sparkling, amber eyes, he suppressed the urge to wank himself off. Not a good idea with Alessandro being around.


* * * * *



"Dearest Luca,

How are you getting along with your life? I'm learning a lot, though it's tough At the start, but I do enjoy it. I love the freedom here, without seeing the brothers. And Alessandro is a great help to me, you know. I have a job in order to pay him the money for the room. A friend has gotten me the job in a music shop. I work there in my spare time that isn't occupied with seminars and lessons and I like it a great deal. I know I could have said all this on the phone, but I'm writing this letter to let you know something I haven't told you before now. It was Alessandro who forced me to write this.

The friend I'm talking about I met in the community club of the university. It's a club for gays and lesbians. Since Alessandro wanted me to do something for my sex life he dragged me with him. You must be asking yourself why it had to be a gay club then. Well, the reason is obvious. I'm gay too. I wonder if you guessed it or not. If not, I must be a good actor ;-) I'm not sure why I had hide it from you, especially since you told me about yourself. I'm coward I guess. I don't know what to do. I wish you could be here to tell me what I'm supposed to do. And yet I am your older brother and should be the one you can lean on... but now I need your help. I'm coming home for the weekend, along with Sandro.

I hope you aren't mad at me.

All love, Giano"


Luca lay dumbfounded upon his bed. 'Holy cow' was the only thing he could think. Giano deserved an Oscar for his performance. Luca hadn't dreamt that his brother could share the same sexual inclination. Although he had never gone out with girls - Luca hadn't simply thought of it. Suddenly Giano appeared in a new light. If he had had his coming out earlier then everything would had been easier - for both of them. They would have been a protection and a support for each other.

A stab of regret filled Luca's guts. But it was as it was; now he knew and in his mind he thanked Sandro for his help. Once he was over the shock he could go on.

He took the next letter laying on the blanket and opened it.


"Gioia,

I'm thinking of you all the time. This weekend I'm coming home, though I hope you don't mind when I have to carry on with my running programme. You want me fit enough to play against your brothers, don't you? Only two weeks and the big event starts. I'm looking forward to it.

How are you doing? Do you miss me? Yesterday you told me on the phone that your friend Tris is depressed, but he doesn't want to tell you why. I told you that I know. He don't dare to admit that he's gay. He's afraid albeit he knows that you are too. He does know, doesn't he? I guess it's the fear of the unknown. He must have slept with his girlfriend, but now you are there and he's confused looking at you and wanting you. To touch you and to get touched by you. But perhaps he thinks that homosexuality is infectious and you are the big tempter who makes him think that way. Add society, upbringing and the perception the common hetero has of anal intercourse, and you have the answer.

Which leads me to your brother. I know he has written to you about his big secret. Now here's another; He has made a big conquest and is afraid to give in. Has he told you? I bet he hasn't. The guy with the heavenly name Celestino is completely mad about Giano! He meets him every day, at the mensa, in the student's cafe, even at the community club, but Giano always refuses to go out with him. Can't you do something about it? I'm at my wits end. Celestino is studying medicine too but two semesters ahead. Giano learns a lot from him, but he doesn't want to learn about sex. So, what are we supposed to do with him? Celestino is a charming man and I know Giano is in good hands with him. Although.... perhaps I should have tried him out, before I allow him to lay his hands on your brother, eh? Just kidding.

Anyway, talk to you on the phone soon...

Ciao, amore, mille baci

Alessandro"


Luca grinned. Good old Sandro. Luca's trust in Alessandro was so great that he didn't think for a minute that he would try out the guy before he handed him over to his brother... which he would have doubtlessly have done if there hadn't been a Luca.

But what was the problem with that guy Giano didn't want to go with? Having sex? Which lead to the next question; Had Giano ever had sex?

Then he thought about Tristano and the brief draft of Tris' feelings. Probably Sandro was right. When you spend your whole life as a heterosexual, having a girlfriend, sleeping with her - and probably enjoying it - it must feel like a tornado when you suddenly realize that you are attracted by a man. Especially when you can't define this feeling and why you should feel so. Was Tris hating him - Luca - for making him feel that way? For tumbling him into that whirlwind of emotions? Certainly Luca did nothing to force it. And what did a heterosexual imagine about anal intercourse?? It certainly didn't hurt much more than to have diarrhoea on the toilet... Luca gave a snort with laughter. Madonna. He felt his member raising like it so often did when he thought about his boyfriend. Unfortunately he couldn't use the hot tub as much as he wanted and needed to find release. There was often just a cold shower for him to calm down his excitement. The imagination of a naked Alessandro luxuriously showering his body with a hot stream of water made him very hot in his pants.

He took his mobile phone and dialled Sandro's number. A panting Alessandro answered him. "What're you doing? Jerking off alone?" Luca teased him.

"No, you shit, I'm running! Third time around the green at the Piazza dei Miracoli!" The panting eased somewhat and Luca guessed that Sandro had stopped his running to speak with him. "Franco's with me. He's asking me all the time about the Gioco. He's keen on joining me. I mean, he's keen to come to Firenze to watch it. What do you think? Care to meet him again? We all can sleep at my home."

Luca's head swirled with Sandro's enthusiasm. "Sure. That's fine with me." He hesitated. "And Giano? Will he bring his friend?"

"Celestino? Ah, I see you got the letters. What has he written about his boyfriend?"

"Boyfriend? He finally made it?

"No, not what you think. He's still the old virgin you used to know."

"Better that he is!" Luca laughed. "I mean better that than you tried him out! Or taught him something."

"I'd never do that", Alessandro answered laughing. "Although Giano is a great treat, I can tell you. Especially since I caught him wanking under the shower."

"No, shit! And you didn't join him?"

"He looks so much like you, gioia", Alessandro whispered. "Listen, Franco is miles away and I have to catch him. Glad you take it so well. Talk to you tomorrow, alright? Kisses..."

                                                                                       -- End of Primavera --






Estate 1