"It would be fabulous!" Surely, Fabrizio was commenting a possible visit to my father, not about having sex nor romance with me. "I don't know what you think..." I realized that he had been actually so in doubt about the purpose of our date as I had. "The maid left the dinner table laid..." I would later discover that Andara should have flown in earlier that night, and only when she canceled it last minute had Fabrizio decided to call me, for the book and my phone number had been with him since late afternoon. "Would you like to eat something? I really would rather not leave home tonight, and we could order..."
"'Just if you want, yes. I've actually already dined." In fact, I hadn't eaten. But I was usually hungry after sex and not before it, so I preferred to wait. And I thought sitting at the table wouldn't help our mating; I still liked best the choreography we were rehearsing across the room.
"Okay, I'm not hungry now. I ate a snack at the gym. We can wait." Fabrizio confirmed.
Wait till after we have had sex? I thought, but instead I asked "That's a Serra, isn't it?", pointing to the wall across the room, which was next to the stairs leading to the upper floor where his bedroom should be. I walked in that direction which, after all, my lust also intended to go.
"That's easy to recognize, isn't it?" Fabrizio confirmed, smiling, following me across the room... and following my desire, too? "Although most people, if they have heard of him, know only his sculptures."
"I had seen some of the etchings from this series before, but not this one in particular.Your choice of artworks is truly remarkable..." I said, leaving it as a question.
He heard my doubt. "They have nothing to do with the architect who helped me choose the furniture, if that's what you're implying!" Fabrizio laughed. "These painters are my passion... Are you listening to this track from Noto with Sakamoto?"
The silence again settled between us, as I tried to listen to a music so minimal, yet so intensely melancholic. It was then that I realized Fabrizio's present state. Although I was openly gay, I had not yet made any sexual or romantic statement to assure him about that. Maybe he was uncertain about me, still wondering before making any moves. Or maybe he was simply waiting for my advances, to finally give in and surrender to me.
"It's nice indeed..." I agreed with Fabrizio, who had just talked a bit about the track we were listening to. I hadn't paid attention to his words, though, nor to the music. Certainly, he and I had the same hunger and the need to share our likes. It seemed that both had never met anyone with whom to harmonize so easily and thoroughly... But after being satisfied with our exchange of opinions and tastes, having confirmed that Fabrizio was a unique and very special person, and that we had a lot in common, I wanted more from that mouth than just words that could enchant and enthrall me.
"How many floors is it, this apartment?" I blurted, and as he looked intrigued, I clarified the reason for my question. "Do you have an art gallery upstairs or is it your room?" And I almost had asked "or is it where your bed is?"
"It's just my bedroom, upstairs." Fabrizio laughed, not realizing the suggestion I had implied. "There is not any gallery. I'm not an art collector, as you put it earlier, at least not yet..."
"Is the Richter up there?" I continued bluntly, with determination. "Can we go to your room?" I felt I had chosen the right strategy when I had crossed the apartment and we were now both at the bottom of the stairs leading to his room... and to his bed.
It was disheartening when Fabrizio said we wouldn't go upstairs because the room was messy. Later, I would learn that the maid had already taken some of Andara's clothes out of the closet, in preparation for her arrival. Her pretty shoes had been neatly lined in a corner, her sexy nightgown laid on her side of the bed, and on top of a dresser, there were several framed pictures of the couple, that Fabrizio did not want to share with me.
"I thought you had invited me here..." I tried to sound funny, but I was in complete dismay, "...to see Richter's painting."
"So... that's the only reason why you came over?" Fabrizio was trying to sound jokingly, too. "Because of Richter's painting?"
"And why else would it be?" I mouthed, rather rudely. I was feeling hurt and my frustration was taking over, too fast for me to quit it. "Of course I did not come here solely because of Richter's painting..." I had decided to be honest, seeing that things between us seemed to be getting only worse. "Although I would have loved to have the privilege to see such a beautiful piece from a private collection. But I thought it had been a pretext for our meeting. For both of us." I noticed how he tensed up. "Fabrizio, I came here tonight because of you."
At that moment, a flash of lightning lit up the sky, and we startled. Arriving from the other side of town, and not yet visible through the apartment's windows, a storm was approaching.
Fabrizio took a while to recover from my statement, and to prepare a proper response. "I'm glad to hear that." he said, a little embarrassed, "I think our connection is really remarkable." Fabrizio had said the words slowly, as if choosing them very carefully.
"It's nice, isn't it?" I commented, with irony. I noticed my impatience growing with my frustration. "But I don't feel I have just a special connection with you..." I decided to drop the harsh tone, as if I had been complaining, and again spoke softly to him. "I feel attracted to you, Fabrizio."
"Yes." he replied, simply. Yes? Yes to what?, I thought, and I realized how Fabrizio was nervous when he got up from the couch. He seemed dizzy and lost balance for a second, he was even a little shaky. Perhaps... Was it his first time with another man? And then he continued. "I have never had a connection like this with anyone else."
Again, he was silent and still. I guessed he was waiting for my reaction, for my next move. I sensed I had to advance, to cross that border of formality between us. I felt I had to unbutton his shirt and free his beautiful torso to make him feel at ease with me. To my daring touch, I thought, he would surrender.
I approached him and tried to embrace and kiss him.
"Sorry. I'm not ready for that yet!" he said, backing away.
I lost my balance, and my temper too. "It is because of Adriana?" I shot. I was aware of the 'yet' he had used.
"Who?" he replied, blinking the long eyelashes over his sparkling blue eyes.
"Your fiancée. What's her name again?" I was wondering if instead of trying to kiss him, I should not have dropped to my knees and tried to go down on him. My experience was that it was a move almost guaranteed to turn straights guys in. Perhaps he was not ready for anything romantic, but like other men, always ready to cheat if it were mere sex. Sex, but without affection. I had had plenty of that already, and wouldn't mind adding Fabrizio to my personal statistics.
"How did you learn about Andara?" He was truly embarrassed now. He had taken two steps in my direction, as if trying to intimidate me, but one back, when I did not move and faced him in the eye.
"I have also been inquiring around about you, Fabrizio." I was feeling hurt by his rejection, and a little silly for having approached him with romantic expectations. "You did not invite me here at this hour of the night just to talk, wasn't it?" Suddenly, I started realizing that the romantic and sensual fantasy could be an expectation only on my part. "Or was it?" But I honestly didn't believe so. He hadn't dressed casually to receive me, and he had put on perfume... but what if it was always like that, even when he stayed on his own... like, he would wear Comme des Garçons no matter what occasion? No... the light was soft, the playlist was specially beautiful, though sad... He was not just any macho who wanted company to watch a match on TV while drinking beer. Or was he? Had it been all my fantasy, blinding me to his innocent and friendly invitation? "I'm sorry if I'm intruding..." I was baffled.
"No, I have to apologize to you..." Fabrizio seemed genuinely sorry, and still embarrassed. "Shall we sit? Since you've arrived, I have not sat down." He smiled sadly.
I was happy to move away from the stairs that, just few minutes before, had seemed to drive me closer to the satisfaction of my desire -- and that now were the expression of my frustration.
And he had asked me to sit, not to leave. Not all was lost, not yet.