Angelo left that Sunday with his uncle for Naples. It has been more than a week now he hasn’t returned. I haven’t received any news from him. Neither have I asked Gianni about him. I am simply passing my days quietly at the pool, reading books on the balcony, or taking walks with the bicycle on the island. I discovered some bicycles the other day in the parking box when we went with Gianni to take an electric car to gather some lemons for Maria. Since every afternoon I am doing the round of the island with the bicycle. It takes one hour. Well, it’s a small island!
Same, this afternoon, I take the bicycle and go for a ride. It’s windy today! It’s so nice to have some wind because the last few days it was very hot and humid without any wind blowing. I pedal and feel the wind on me. The wind waves my dress. I enjoy the sensation of freedom while riding. It’s weird feeling free while I am stuck on this island. If simply it was the only odd feeling I had! Since Angelo had kissed me, I have mixed feelings!
I approach the cliff and get down from the bicycle. I place it on the ground and sit down contemplating the horizon and the sea in front of me. It’s peaceful! I need to clear my thoughts and try to put the puzzle altogether. As far as I heard the other day, Angelo and his uncle were talking about the Mafia. Angelo hadn’t had any idea about Belluca’s business with his laboratory. Apparently, Belluca was working for Bancini and Camorra, another branch of the Mafia. On the other hand, I had learned from the people interviewed in Brooklyn that Belluca was an informant for the FBI. So, did Bancini learn it and put him out of the way or did he push him to be an informant and leak misleading information about Angelo’s activities to the FBI? Maybe, Camorra learned that he was an informant and killed him, without knowing he was giving false information. Well, false or correct Mafia doesn’t like their people to have any relationship with the FBI, that’s for sure!
Finally, what Angelo is for the Mafia? What’s his role with or inside them? I cannot understand! He says he is not a Mafioso. But why all the things around, his attitude, his connections and his family history show the contrary? Oh, God! I really want to believe that he has nothing to do with all these! My heart pains, my mind is confused! I do not know what to do! I do not know what to believe anymore!
One is certain. I am not only confused in my mind, but also in my heart! I have feelings for Angelo. How is this possible? I know nothing about him! Nevertheless, when he touches me, I feel alive. I feel all my senses waking up. When he kissed me, I felt like I was in heaven. But when he stopped, I got so afraid of my feelings for him. I didn’t want to admit it. I slapped him and run away. I also was very upset about what I have heard saying about me. I was not his girlfriend, yet! Is this what is all about? He is keeping me here until I am his girlfriend? Or just being in his bed? I do not know what to think. I only feel missing him. For a week now, every day I am thinking of Angelo. He is in my mind and my heart. Why haven’t I had these feelings before for Tom? How many times I have thought of him since I am here? Very few times. Does it mean I do not love him anymore? Did I ever love him? Do I love Angelo? Or I just desire him?
I was so deep in my thoughts I haven’t noticed the weather changing. The sun had been gone, hidden behind the dark clouds, the wind started to blow stronger and a rumble of thunder heard from the sky. It’s going to rain and for good! I immediately get up and take the bicycle. I have to go back as quickly as I can before the storm strikes me. I start riding the bicycle, but after a while raindrops fall from the sky. In a space of few seconds, it heavily rains and thunders rip the sky. Damn! I am still away from the house. I cannot ride any more with the bicycle. Firstly, because I cannot see many things from the heavy rain. Water covers my eyes, running down from my head. Secondly and most importantly, the bicycle is from metal; metal attracts thunders. So, I decide to let down the bicycle and continue on foot.
I am wet until my bones! I feel extremely cold as the wind blows on me! My mouth is shaking, my body too! My summer dress is all wet and stuck on my body like a second skin! I continue walking as quickly as I can. Suddenly, I see a light coming towards me. I continue walking towards the light. It’s the electric car on the island. Most probably they have noticed I was absent with the bicycle and came to my rescue. Thank God! The car stops in front of me. It’s Angelo! I can’t believe my eyes! Am I dreaming? When did he come from Naples? He is wearing an impermeable coat with a hood. He is taking another one next to him and swiftly approaches me.
“Allyson, are you alright?”, he asks me worryingly, while he is placing on me the coat. He helps me to wear it.
“I feel cold”, I reply with a trembling voice.
“Come”, he softly guides me to the car. I sit next to him. He drives the car in silence. I also stay silent, but I am happy to see him again and happier that he came to my rescue. After a while, he enters a small alley with trees, which leads down the hill. It’s not the usual way for the house. In fact, I haven’t seen that alley, despite I have passed many times with the bicycle from here.
In few seconds, we arrive in front of a modest house. He stops the car on the terrace. He gets out and takes me in his arms to bring me inside the house. I do not protest. I place my hands around his neck and my head on his shoulder. We enter and he walks up the wooden stairs leading to the upper floor. He turns to the left side and enters a vast room with a metallic bed in the middle. He walks through the room and enters the bathroom. Then, he leaves me gently from his embrace. My feet touch the floor. He puts out his coat and helps me to put out mine. When he puts it out, I cover my breasts with my hands. The white cotton dress is wet and stuck on me exposing my breasts. I feel ashamed and he understands it because he turns his back to me and takes some towels from the cupboard next to the door of the bathroom and places them near the sink without looking at me.
“Here, there are clean towels. I will place some clothes on the bed for you to get dressed”, he explains while he is preparing me a hot bath. He regulates the water at the right temperature and lets it open to fill the tub. He is avoiding looking at me, and I appreciate that.
“Thank you!”, I say with a trembling voice.
“You’re welcome!”, he replies gently and gets out of the bathroom, closing the door behind him. I put off my wet dress and underwear. I enter the bathtub. The hot water revives me. I wash my body and my hair. Then, I get out and dry myself with the towels, but I still feel cold. I wrap myself with a towel and open the door. I check the room. It’s empty. Angelo is not here. On the bed, there are placed some clothes. I walk inside the bedroom. I look at the clothes. It’s a boxer and a t-shirt. Angelo’s garments. I wear them and leave the towels inside the bathroom. I rinse my clothes, but I do not know where to place them to get dry.
I decide to go down and ask Angelo. I take my wet garments and get out of the room. On the narrow hall, I see there are two other rooms in the house and another bathroom. I walk down the stairs to the living room. The living room has nothing to do with the one in the other house. It is warmer and cozy. You really feel at home! In the immense house you afraid of sitting on the couches. They are looking so lavish and luxurious you do not want to use them in fear you might do something to them. Not here. Here you want to sit snugly on the pillows with a cup of tea or coffee and relax. And the dining table is a square table for four. There is a TV with a video player. Next to it, there is a vinyl player, but I do not see any vinyl disks or DVDs around.
A noise comes to my ears on the left side of the stairs. I turn and see Angelo in an all-white kitchen preparing tea. He is wearing jeans and an orange t-shirt. I have never seen him dressed so casually. He is always dressed in cotton or linen trousers and shirts. Without turning to see me, he asks me “How do you drink your tea? Do you add lemon or milk? With or without sugar?”.
What the hell? He has eyes behind his back, I cannot explain otherwise how he knows every time when I am behind him. “Do you have eyes behind your head?”.
Angelo laughs out loud and turns to look at me with a smile on his face. “No, Allyson, I do not have. Sometimes, though, I would love to have”.
Hell! He has a very sexy smile! And he is sexy in jeans because you can see very well his muscled body and especially his perfectly shaped butt. Oh, my God! What am I thinking?
“Allyson! Your tea?”, Angelo asks me, interrupting my thoughts. Ah, yes, how do I drink my tea?
“With lemon and one cube of sugar”. I sit on the chair in front of me where a round table is placed in the middle of the kitchen. He prepares it and then he gives me one cup. “How you drink yours?”, I curiously ask.
“Authentic. No lemon, no milk, no sugar”. I drink a little. It’s hot and warms me a little.
“Where should I put my clothes to dry?” I ask him showing my wet garments.
He takes them and opens a cupboard. He throws them inside a basket “The maids will take care of them, don’t worry”. Then, he closes the cupboard.
“What’s this house? You have a lot like that on the island? I haven’t seen it before”.
Angelo smiles. “It’s the first house built on the island. My father built it for my mother. His gift for ten years of marriage; the house and the island. The other house, I built it five years ago, but I do not stay there. I prefer staying here”.
Now I understand why he is not all the time in the other house, neither had I found a bedroom for him there. “How you knew where I was and came to search for me?”, I curiously ask him.
“Gianni called me, saying you had left for a ride with the bicycle. I checked the video of the camera outside at the intersection. You had passed with the bicycle half an hour ago, but you haven’t returned. So, I knew in which direction I had to search for you”.
A camera on the road? Where is that camera? I haven’t noticed anything! “I haven’t seen you had a camera there!”.
“There are hidden cameras everywhere in the island, Allyson”, Angelo states.
“When you say everywhere, what do you exactly mean?”, I ask surprised.
“I mean there are cameras hidden in the trees, behind the lights outside of the house, in the gardens, at the helipad, around the pool, at the marina, on the roads and inside the house, on the common areas”.
Holly me! Now I understand, how my two tentatives of escape have failed!
“The other day when you were eavesdropping, the security saw you from the camera and sent a message to my mobile to inform me. That’s why I knew where you were and purposely wanted to tease you saying to my uncle that you are not yet my girlfriend”. Angelo continues explaining “I wanted to explain you that day, but you didn’t let me. You started shouting for help and cursing me. To stop you, I kissed you”.
Right now I feel furious again. He kissed me only to make me stop? He doesn’t want to put me in his bed? He doesn’t have feelings for me? “Are you kissing many girls who shout help and curse you in order to stop them?”, I angrily ask him. Angelo laughs. “Is it funny?”, I ask him seriously.
“A little”, he replies laughingly. “Honestly, I haven’t met a girl or a woman who will shout help or curse me because I am holding her arm”.
I am sure I am blushing right now because he is right. My reaction was a little too much. He only held my arm, preventing me to leave. If I would have asked him politely, he might let me go. But my mind wasn’t clear enough that day.
I stay silent. Angelo studies me without saying anything. After a while, he asks me “I am wondering what you have heard about me so that you are afraid of me. Is that bad?”.
I take a deep breath. “No, I haven’t heard anything bad about you. But not good either. In fact, when I was asking the people in Naples about you, either they were not answering either they were saying they know who you are and that’s all. They were not making comments at all about you. I supposed they were afraid of you, or they were afraid of doing something to them because they had talked to a journalist”.
“You should know, Allyson, in Naples people are extremely careful with the outsiders and especially the foreigners. Let’s say, we do not like strangers looking into our affairs. They were not answering you because if they would do, the following question you were going to ask them would be if they are doing business with me, or if they know me personally, if I grant favors to them or if they make to me”, Angelo explains. I understand what Angelo wants to say and nod my head positively.
Angelo looks into my eyes and asks me again “Why do you afraid of me, Allyson?”.
I examine his dark eyes. They are intense. I gulp with difficulty my saliva. “I do not afraid of you!”.
“Then what do you afraid, Allyson?”.
Oh, no! I cannot tell him what I am afraid of. Imagine telling him that I am afraid of myself. Of my feelings for him. No way! I do not reply, I only say “I am tired, may I go to get rest for a while?”.
Angelo stares intensely at me “Sure! You can use my bedroom”.
I thank him and finishing my tea I get up and leave the kitchen.