Saturday, November 1, 2014

Episode 01 | The golden bathroom

or read on Wattpad

First Transmission | The Heart

Vice City, 2008
Laurent & Carlo

 You won't see me with a cocktail in my hands very often.

In fact, I usually say I don't drink alcohol.

But today.

Today I have many reasons to drink.

Not just because the barman is extremely handsome.

And not only because my mother suggested it, a few minutes ago.

As the phone rang, I knew it was her. Third time that day.

"Bonjour, Catherine."

"Bonjour, mon trésor. How is everything going?"

"I'm still waiting for him, if that's your question."

"He hasn't arrived yet!?!" She gasped, quite dramatically. "Honey, I don't know if this was such a good idea after all. You might get hurt again..." I could distinctly hear her pacing, on the other side of the line. "Oh, why does that man always have to lose track of time?"

"Since he is already twenty years late, I don't mind waiting for some twenty minutes or even a couple hours more. Maybe his flight is delayed, who knows?" I let out a deep breath, letting go of my anger. "You'd love this restaurant, Catherine. So fancy. The views over the ocean are breathtaking!" Though I knew she would enjoy the fine Lalique crystal glasses and shiny Christofle silverware best. "Anyway, I have arrived early because I want to settle down, relax and calm my feelings."

"Drop that meditative crap, darling. You sound awfully like him. Have a drink, instead. Like me!" She laughed cheerfully at her own suggestion.

"Only if you promise me you won't drink tonight, Catherine!" And contrary to her cheerfulness, I sounded very serious.

"But I'm going on a date tonight! How can I not drink?" Again, she laughed.

It was no joke. Since the death of her second steady partner -- the first being my father -- Catherine had been drinking, and getting drunk just too often. Nothing major, like it required rehab, but it still was disheartening to see my mother deal with her suffering so unwisely.

"Aren't you in Russia promoting your latest novel, Catherine? Are you dating some Russian?!" After thirty three years of coexistence, the speed at which my mother attracted men into her bed would still astound and disconcert me. Especially if I recalled she was fifty eight years old already... or is that a prejudice? 

"Exactly, mon cher. You should see the bathroom I'm standing in!" That explained why her high heels reverberated so loud. "So golden and olden! Makes me feel like Katherina the czarina, ha-ha! And yes, my date is a writer who's been compared to Dostoyevsky. Don't you think I really need my drinks?" She laughed even louder. Too loud for her usual standards of sophistication and finesse, indicating she had drunk already. "And you know I know how to drink."

"It's more like you know how to get drunk..." I mouthed, quite unskillfully. 

"That's so rude of you, Laurent!" 

"I'm sorry. I'm nervous, I think you can understand why!" She wasn't really angry at me, but I nevertheless apologized. "So, you're really not coming for the vernissage... That would be a great support--"

"Mon trésor, no emotional blackmail now, not over the oceans... I mean, the phone! Not when we are continents apart!" Catherine sounded more bored than annoyed. "You know perfectly well why I won't go, and it's been the same reason why I've never ever visited you in Vice City!" 

"But Catherine... one day you'll have to overcome your fear!" My mother had always been terrified of flying. I thought it made everything so much more difficult and time consuming for her. "Maybe when they give you the Nobel Prize you'll fly to Nor--"

"There are very comfortable trains and ferries instead, darling!" Catherine wasn't in a playful mood and just dismissed it. '"There's no reason why I'm supposed to overcome my fear, nor do anything I don't want to. Still, I'm sorry I won't be there for the opening."

"Then... enjoy your Russian date!" Instead of your own son, I thought, but did not say it; our conversation had become tense, which was a sign to hang up and avoid quarreling. "Au revoir, Catherine."

"Au revoir, mon cher! Like I said, have another drink. One for me." Catherine giggled. "And don't leave me without news or I'll call you again!"

With both my mother's threaten and suggestion in mind, I walked up to the bar, where the attractive bartender shone like a promise of pleasurable relief.

"Can I please have another gin tonic, Gabriel?" He looked like an angel and was named after an archangel. "And I'll be moving to the lounge area." Gabriel firmly grabbed the gin bottle with one hand while, in contrast, taking the glass in the other with a gracious, swirling movement -- and I gasped, hopefully not too loud, noticing how manly strong and skilled his hands were. "When my guest arrives--"

"I'll show him the way, don't worry sir." Why was it that everybody kept interrupting me? Nevertheless, his smile was beautiful, and it actually calmed me down more than aroused my desire. "If there is anything else I can do for you, sir, I'll be--"

My turn to interrupt him. "Please, call me Laurent."

Laurent D'Allegro.

Born of an Italian father and a French mother. Prematurely, on the island of Punaouilo in the Pacific Ocean, in my unpardonable haste interrupting my mother's first holidays in many years -- and her burgeoning academic career at the prestigious Sorbonne University in Paris, too.

After such an inadequate start, how could she ever love me?


I had this funny idea.

 That I would die at the age of thirty three.

Like Jesus Christ. 

I was so sure! 

Since I haven't died -- not yet -- I've decided to heal old wounds before heading into the uncertain future. 

The rest of my life, the bonus part, is starting here.


  1. This is very interesting. I'm not usually attracted to stories in which the main characters are homosexual. Not because I don't agree with them (I have gay friends, and I love and respect them very much). But because is not the type of stories I like to read. However, your story is so well written and caught my attention right away.
    Sorry if I was too blunt on my comment. I'll be back to read more.

    1. In the first version of this story, I wasn't making Laurent openly gay from the first lines. He used to show more curiosity than interest in Gabriel, the barman. But since this issue will be clearly mentioned within a few episodes, I decided to take the risk of losing readers at once, with Episode One --because I still prefer to get blunt comments, as you put it, than later receiving homophobic attacks, as it was happening. So it's not a problem to be blunt.

      I invite you to observe your feelings about Laurent's sexuality, and I wish it won't get in the way of your reading. You might be surprised until the end of this novel.

      Thank you for reading and commenting, Laura, and for your encouragement on my writing. I hope you do come back for more, and to hear more from you. One of the characters in this story is also named Laura, and she will bring a major overturn for the plot.


This novel currently being published online gives us, reader and writer, the chance to connect -- you can hear my voice at each update, and I would love to hear it back from you!

It is a privilege to get to know your thoughts and feelings about the story, so please do share your comments, questions and suggestions, and I will reply.

Thank you for commenting.