The August that year was unusual, Ivan told me. In the first week there had already been three thunderstorms, which ordinarily only managed to break into the cupola of heat over the
“Marinella´s family has returned from
“I thought you´d broken up,” I said, leaning on one elbow and running my fingertips over the smooth perfect globes of his glutes.
“Well, sort of,” he answered, squirming a little. “But she wants to see me, and my parents want me to see her.”
“I see. So she´s coming.”
“I´m afraid so.” There was a trace of panic in his voice. “She knows something´s wrong.”
“Well, kid, for the last three weeks you´ve been fucked by a man every single night except the one we spent talking-” I tickled him, and he let out a spontaneous laugher like a child who hasn´t learned to repress himself yet. “-so she´s probably right.”
His face turned serious, “When she was here the last time, you know, after you and me, I couldn´t come with her any longer. I continued doing it, but it just… became impossible, until I thought about the things you did to me, and then...” he made a quick arching gesture, and one of his funny faces, making me laugh. “But she knew something wasn´t right, that I wasn´t really there with her.”
“Are you going to tell her?”
“Are you out of your mind?” Ivan regarded me with surprised alarm.
It was the quintessential Italian reaction, and I couldn´t help laughing again at his expression of incredulity at the mere idea of telling the truth. Then I grabbed him by the hard muscular waist and dragged him over to me, feigning hostility. “So you´re going to sleep with her?”
Naturally, he knew nothing about my continuing trysts with Angelo. There was little doubt the kid was falling, hard, and although I had warned him not to come over the nights there was a car parked in front of the house, with the excuse of ensuring Angelo his anonymity in case Ivan was ever questioned by the police, I couldn´t help worrying what would happen if he somehow found out. After Angelo´s last visit, it had taken Ivan fifteen minutes to show up at my door, at , and a major effort had been necessary to keep him from climbing upstairs to discover the fucked over bed and the still wet bathroom floor. I´d seated him at the kitchen table and we´d had a long talk over glasses of the white wine I hadn´t had time to drink with Angelo, and before leaving, at the door, his face flush with the wine and some embarrassment, Ivan had revealed he was so glad about the way we´d spent the time just talking because it meant our relationship wasn´t only about sex.
He was taken in by my aggressive tone, and said hurriedly, “I´ll have to sleep with her, otherwise-“
“What, she´ll tell your parents?”
He nodded vigorously. “Everyone would notice something´s wrong if I didn´t. Our families are old friends, and ever since we were kids they´ve always thought we´d get married.”
Apparently, the kid wasn´t coming out of the closet any time soon.
“And if you can´t do it? If there´s trouble again?”
With a smug smile, he said, “There won´t be. I have many more things to think about this time.”
It was almost four o´clock in the morning, and it was time for him to sneak back home to catch some sleep to avoid suspicions. He pulled on his clothes and we went downstairs to finish off a bottle of orange juice before he left.
“Well, um, actually Marinella´s coming tomorrow already,” he said quickly, sipping his drink.
“Tomorrow?” This time my frustration was real. “It´s only Thursday.”
He shrugged. “My parents are worried about us, so they invited her early.”
The “us” referring to him and Marinella made me realize that the inchoate lurch of something I´d just felt was jealousy. I considered lugging him back upstairs for an extra half an hour but it was late, and he needed his sleep to be able to study the next day, in addition to charming Marinella of course. Once he was gone, I walked around the house restlessly, thinking of the long nights ahead without his addictive presence. There were signs of him all over the house: a single sock that had disappeared mysteriously and was later discovered in the cold fireplace downstairs, and had been left there untouched as a proof of our hurry that previous night; his toothbrush; a piece of crust of a sandwich he had wolfed down after the first quick round of sex. I was certain Ivan couldn´t help visiting me when everyone else at the big house was asleep, but there was no way we could spend more than an hour together each night, perhaps not even that. Luckily, Angelo was expected to show up on Friday or Saturday, this time driving up from Rome where he was spending the week with a reluctant Luca before moving down to Taormina, in Sicily, for ten days to celebrate the pinnacle of the Italian holiday season, the Ferragosto.
As it turned out I needn´t have worried about being bored. The next day I was back in the headlines, big time. When I woke up and tottered downstairs for my breakfast, eyes barely open as I flicked through national TV channels, I came across a teaser about a possible breakthrough in the case. I sat up straight, all traces of sleep suddenly washed away from my system as tried to figure out what exactly they were referring to. With a shaking hand I set down the orange juice, lest I spill it, and was told that the Police Chief of
The lingering hope that the eyewitness would help my case was quickly vanquished. Although the witness´ identity wasn´t disclosed, it was immediately clear that Matarazzi was talking about the Czech truck driver. Having returned to
“Whoever was helping him - Loefgren didn´t have a car, and all the persons who rented a car in
So far there had been no mention of Angelo. His bogus story about me blackmailing a client had apparently been successful and he continued to take extensive precautions every time he visited me, never even bringing his cell phone along to avoid leaving a trace on towers, but I wondered if the police was aware that he was spending his holidays in Rome and if that would now seem suspicious. I remembered how he´d taken me to the beach that morning to break the gruesome spell of the night, despite the personal danger he was putting himself in, and the thought of him facing jail time as an accomplice tightened the smothering belt around my chest one more notch.
Then it was time for the questions, and the first journalist went straight to the point. “Your eyewitness didn´t see the person helping Loefgren?”
Matarazzi shook his head. “Unfortunately, no. However, he believes that the car, which he didn´t see clearly, was of ´new design´.”
Would a classic sports car count as new design, I wondered. Hopefully not.
In the meanwhile, Matarazzi continued. “Consequently we´ve been re-checking the cars of every person who has been in contact with Loefgren.”
“In contact with Loefgren? You´re talking about the people whose numbers were found in his phone?”
“Yes, we´re including them. Along with everyone in his complete phone record.”
There were several demands, quite loud, to release the list of all the numbers.
“That´s obviously out of question,” Matarazzi answered curtly.
The rest of the conference dealt with subjects I had already heard time and time again on the news and talk shows, except one surprising question regarding a recent divorce of one of the major national football stars.
“Is there any truth to the rumors that Paolo del Zardi´s wife filed for divorce because his number was found in Loefgren´s cell phone?”
“That is completely untrue. I can tell you with the most absolute certainty that his number is not in the list.”
“And the Bonamici divorce?”
Matarazzi´s conviction wavered for a fraction of a second, and realizing it he almost lost his temper. “Are you going to ask me about every recent divorce in the country? I´m here to talk to journalists and not gossip columnists.”
He had answered the question badly, and he knew it. From now on Signor Bonamici, whoever he was, would be branded as my client, and judging by Matarazzi´s reaction he most likely had been. No more questions were allowed, infuriating the crowd, and Matarazzi left the room looking rather grim for someone who had finally had some good news to tell.
At , a small rock flew into my room, bounced from the wall and landed somewhere under my bed. Smiling at the teenage antic, I turned off the light and found my way downstairs. Ivan slipped in and I felt his full lips close on mine in the darkness, his breath warm and sweet, and as we kissed I slipped a hand into his loose trousers from the back, and cupped one of the smooth round buttocks. He pulled back, wanting to slow down, and I let my hands rest on his hard, slim waist.
“I was worried at first when I heard the news,” he whispered, as if someone was listening. “But you´re safe, they don´t know you´re here.” He let out a soft mischievous chuckle. “You should have heard what my parents said about you while they were watching the news. If they knew–”
“Ivan.” I took his head between my hands, making him look up to me even though we were in almost complete darkness. “You can´t come here again until we know that the police isn´t following Angelo.”
He tried to protest and I pressed my hand over his mouth to keep him quiet, the way I sometimes did while fucking him rougher than usual. This time he pushed my hand away.
“Like hell.” He stood still for a moment, silently fighting the idea. “And how long would that be?”
“A week, at least. Probably two, or more.”
“No way.” His took a few fast breaths. “In two weeks´ time he may have taken you somewhere else. You´d leave without telling me, wouldn´t you?”
“I´d probably have to. This is no game, Ivan.”
“You´re right, it´s no game,” he hissed. “Not to me.”
Then he was gone, out of the old creaky door and into the darkness of the hot summer night. I waited for a while, but he didn´t come back, and in the end I locked the door again. I stood in the dark, thinking about the way he felt in my arms, my heart still beating fast, and I cursed myself, unable to decide if wanting to fuck him meant I was weak and giving in to my basest instincts, or if I was being strong not giving a damn about social conventions. Me and my motives were no longer the point, however; the risks Ivan was taking were fast becoming very real.
The next evening, close to , I lay in my bed with the lights out to watch the flashes of one of the anomalous storms of the season raging in the distance, too far for the thundering to be heard. The night breeze had brought in fresh air from the storm front, and the house was pleasantly cool; I would sleep under covers tonight, for the first time since the high summer had started. Ivan hadn´t yet reappeared, which was to be expected with his show of temper the previous night and Marinella´s presence in the house, but I found myself unable to focus on anything else while I was waiting for him.
I knew he´d come; after having done his duty with Marinella he´d be at my door, and the awareness of seeing him soon was like a constant low wattage charge buzzing through my body. Idly, I touched my hard-on straining against the simple white briefs that were a continuing turn-on to him, and thought of the things I´d do to the kid as soon as he arrived. Then I heard the car.
The pit of my stomach went cold with the usual adrenaline shock, and without turning the light on I moved cautiously to the window. Instead of flashing blue and red I only saw the familiar headlights of Luca´s BMW; Angelo had gotten away from
It was Luca.
His eyes dropped to my bulging hard-on, and the expression on his face tightened even further, if that was possible. I quickly stepped back, and turned away while gesturing him to enter.
“Come on in,” I said, talking to him over my shoulder and aiming for the right pitch of modesty. “I was waiting for someone who lives near by. I´ll be right back.”
“Right,” I heard him say as I walked up the stairs to the second floor.
He´s going to call the police tonight, I thought. The way he looked, he won´t care if the fallout brings him down, too. This is fucking it.