I passed a horrible night! I had nightmares and a fever. Angelo was sweet and took care of me, by bringing me an aspirin and cold compress to place on my head. He stayed with me in bed all night, trying to put the fever down. So, the next morning, I woke up in his arms. Thank God, I hadn’t a fever anymore. But, I didn’t get away from his embrace. I was feeling so good, so secure in his arms, smelling his delightful perfume. I stayed there pretending of sleeping. I had my eyes closed. I only moved closer to him. Our bodies are touching each other better, feeling the heat of his body to mine.
I even started dreaming of him naked and other sensual images, when I heard him waking up. He woke up, but he didn’t move away. Instead, he hugged me, placing his strong hands around me. His fingers are playing with my hair, and I like it.
“I have to get up, gattina mia (my pussycat)”, I hear Angelo’s languid voice.
I punch him on his chest angrily, “I am not your pussycat!”. What is he thinking? Because I liked being in his arms doesn’t make me his pussycat!
Angelo laughs. “Oh, you started to understand Italian. I should be careful in what I am saying!”. He adds laughingly “How should I call a beautiful woman who is rubbing her splendid body to mine?”.
How he dares! I get up and open my mouth showing I am shocked. I say out loud “I was not rubbing on you!”.
Angelo laughs and gets up from the bed, “Yes, you were, but I will not tell to anyone!”. He enters the bathroom and closes the door.
I was not rubbing myself to him! I only came closer to him. Damn me! I should have stayed where I was. Wonderful! He will put many things in his mind now. I stay on the bed and hear the water running in the shower. He is taking his shower? He even didn’t ask me if I wanted to use it first! I get up angrily from the bed and get out of the room. I head to the other bathroom. I enter and close the door. I undress and enter the bathtub. I open the cold water first and then the hot. Right then, I hear Angelo shouting. What the hell? I don’t pay attention and continue showering.
Suddenly, the door opens. I see Angelo standing in front of the door all wet with a towel around his waist saying angrily “Allyson, in this house you cannot …”. He stops talking when he looks at me realizing I haven’t closed the curtains and am totally naked.
At the same moment, I also realize the same and immediately close the curtains shouting “Shit, Angelo!”. I hear “I am sorry” and the door closing. I put out my head from the curtains and look around. He is not here. He left closing the door behind him. I finish washing. I get dressed and get out of the bathroom.
On the ground floor, Angelo is talking with someone on the phone. He is wearing blue marine short cotton trousers and a white cotton t-shirt. When he closes the phone, he looks at me and immediately apologizes to me “I am so sorry, Allyson!”.
“It’s okay”, I only reply. To be honest, I have mixed feelings. One part of me is very ashamed, but the other is not. Does this make me indecent, because I would love him to see me naked, and me also seeing him naked? He was sexy wearing only his towel, looking at his perfectly shaped abdomen!
“For your information, in this house, if someone utilizes the hot water, you should not try to use it at the same time. Because you take all the hot water”, Angelo explains to me why he entered furiously to the bathroom earlier.
“Oh, I am sorry! I didn’t know it!”, I say apologetically. Oh my! That means he suddenly had only cold water running in the shower.
“It’s fine! You couldn’t know it and it is my fault I haven’t told you”.
“Now I understand why you have shouted. You must have a cold shower”, I realize.
“Well, yes, but after what I witnessed when I opened your door, I needed a cold shower”, he answers laughingly. I also start laughing at his reply, but I also feel blushing.
“I’ve called Maria to bring you some clothes to wear”, Angelo informs me when we stop laughing.
I look from the lofty windows down from the house. I see some olive and lemons trees, a small garden and a path going down the beach. There is also a narrow wooden pathway for a boat to stop, but there is no boat. “It’s beautiful here”.
“Yes, it is”, he replies looking at me with a smile.
We stare at each other for a while. Then, Angelo proposes “I will prepare the coffee and the breakfast”.
“I can help you”, I offer my help.
“No, Allyson! You are the guest”, Angelo immediately leaves for the kitchen.
I stay alone in the living room and look better around me. The dazzling sunlight is entering from the windows. The living room is even lovelier than yesterday evening. I see a desk with a chair under the stairs. On top, there is a laptop. Aha! Here is his working office. I advance there and open it carefully not to make any noise. It is locked with a password. Of course! What do you expect Allyson? I open the drawers. There are some empty papers and pens. There is a notebook. I open it. Damn! It’s in Italian. I don’t understand anything. I leave it where it was and open the other drawer. My phone! I try to activate it, but it doesn’t open. Most probably the battery is empty. I place it back. I don’t have the charger with me now and if I take it to charge it in my room in the big house, he will understand. There is nothing else in the drawers.
I look behind me at the small bookshelf library. There are books in Italian and English. I also see some photo albums. I take one and look at the photos inside. It is a marriage photo album. A young couple! As far as I can understand from the clothing mode, it’s in the ’80s. The bride is very beautiful! Blond with blue eyes. The groom is a typical Italian man. He is looking like Angelo’s uncle when he was young. Maybe it’s him and his wife.
“My parents”, I hear Angelo saying.
Surprised being caught examining his things, I close the album with a “Sorry”.
Angelo walks towards me and takes the album from my hands and opens it. “It’s fine, Allyson! You can see it. There are no naked photos inside”, he jokes.
I smile at him and come next to him. “Your mother was very beautiful!” I say looking admiringly at her photo.
“Yes, she was! My father saw her sitting in a coffee shop in Rome. She was sitting with some of her University friends. My father was sitting with his friends at the next table. He fell in love with her from the first sight”, Angelo explains to me.
“So romantic”, I comment.
“Well, it depends. My mother hadn’t the same feelings for him, at least in the beginning. He tried very hard to conquer her. She was not easy at all!”, Angelo explains laughingly.
“Really?” I ask not believing him. I again look at the photo of his father, “He was a very handsome man, though”.
“Well, sometimes only the appearance doesn’t help. My mother was studying to be a professor. She had very high intellectual standards”, Angelo explains.
“And your father? He didn’t have them?”, I am very curious to know all their story now.
Angelo smiles. “My father is coming from a very old and wealthy family, but this doesn’t make him an intellectual. My father studied economics, not philosophy or literature as my mother had. Certainly, he had an education, not like the average of the Italians at that time. He liked opera. He knew the Maîtres of classical music and arts. But talking about Ovid and Cicero or the ancient Greek philosophers and writers, no, he didn’t have any idea”.
“What he did?”, I ask him wanting to know more.
“He took private lessons with her. He proposed to her to be his teacher. He would pay her for her services a very generous amount of money. My mother was coming from a farmer family in the countryside of Campania. She needed this money to pay the rent of her apartment and the bills”.
“So, she accepted it?”, I ask him.
“Yes, she did. For a year she was his teacher”.
“A year?” I ask stunned. She made him wait a year?
“Yes, a year. I told you, she was very difficult. And don’t think that after a year, when they started dating they had sex. First marriage, then sex”.
I laugh out loud. “Oh! Poor guy your father! But it is so romantic!”.
Angelo closes the album and places it back where it was. “Now after that story, let’s go to have breakfast and some coffee, while you tell me how your parents have met” Angelo proposes while he heads to the kitchen.
I follow him inside and sit around the table, which has many things thereon. He made me an omelet, like the one I had tasted before. He had also placed some toasts, bread, honey, butter and of course coffee on the table. I start eating and talking.
“My parents met in a club. In fact, they had met in the famous Studio 54”.
Angelo stares at me surprisingly “Seriously? The Studio 54?”.
“That’s right! They saw each other. They danced together and exchanged phone numbers. They called each other the next days. They went out for dinner and drinks and that’s the whole story”.
“No, I want details. I told you my parent’s story with some crunchy details. You can do better”, Angelo protests.
I smile at him. “Alright. Well, they liked each other. My father’s family is English. His parents came to New York for work. His father was working in the buildings alongside the Italians, Greeks, Spanish and Irish. His mother was working as a seamstress in the neighborhood and looking after her children. My mother’s family is Scottish. They also came to America for work. Her father opened a bar, a Scottish bar, which he kept until he died. Then, he passed it to my mother’s brother, my uncle, who still owns it. It’s on the West side of Manhattan. My mother was a nurse and my father, an accountant. When they got married, they bought a house in New Jersey, as my mother was working in a hospital there”.
Angelo is not interrupting me. He is listening very carefully to what I am saying. “Our neighborhood was an Italian neighborhood. Many Italians were living there. Some of my parent’s friends were Italians. From them, I first heard about the Italian Mafia”.
Angelo smiles at me. “Sicilian Mafia, I suppose”.
“Yes, mostly. But they also mentioned Camorra”. He doesn’t comment any further. He starts eating in silence.
I also eat, but I cannot hold it inside me anymore. I want to know what has happened this week. “Angelo. What happened this week, while you were in Naples?”.
“I cleared some things that needed to be cleared”. Again that impregnable wall in front of him. How can I make it go down? Or at least open a small window? He is like his mother. Difficult! Very difficult!
“Are they related to me?”, I respectfully ask him, trying to unlock a small door.
“Yes and no”, he replies only. God! Give me patience!
“You cannot tell me or you don’t want to tell me?”, I try again.
Angelo puts down his fork and looks at me. “There are things, Allyson, in life that it is better not to know about”. Whoosh! How should I interpret that now? I stay silent for the rest of the breakfast.
I look at him from time to time. He also looks at me. We are not talking, only watching each other. I am thinking, how easy he distances himself when I ask something about his business or affairs. Before that, when we were talking about our parents, he was a very normal person, who was laughing, having fun and very pleasant and enjoyable to be with. When I asked him about his business, he shuts down himself in his shell again. How not think he has something to do with the Mafia, or he is not the Mafia when he reacts like this way?
At that moment, we hear Maria’s voice coming from the living room and in the next few seconds, she enters the kitchen. She smiles at us and says something to Angelo. Well, not something, but many things that I do not understand. Angelo replies to her and then she starts placing some things she had brought in the fridge and the cupboards of the kitchen.
Angelo explains to me “They were very worried about you yesterday when the storm started and they couldn’t find you. When I finally found you and brought you here, I’ve called them to inform them. They were relieved. This morning I said to Maria to bring you some clothes to wear”.
Why do I think he hasn’t explained to me all the things Maria had said? Maria is looking at us and she is secretly smiling.
Oh, God! I am sure she is thinking that Angelo and I have slept together. Well, we did in the same bed, but we haven’t had sex. Oh, no! What if she goes upstairs to make the bed? She will see that only one bed is undone. I must have an odd expression on my face, because Angelo asks me “Allyson, what’s wrong?”.
I look at him, “I think Maria thinks we have slept together. If she goes upstairs to make the bed, she will notice we used only one bed”.
Angelo laughs out loud and Maria turns in our direction. I am all red from shame and anger. Maria is watching us with a smile without understanding why Angelo is laughing. Angelo is literally crying from laughter.
Maria asks “Che cosa?” (What happened?), wanting to know what has happened.
Angelo says to Maria, “Maria, un attimo, per favore” (Maria, one moment, please) and then he turns to me while laughing “You are right! If she sees it, she will literarily fuck me! Then, she will call my uncle and tell him all about it. After I should get married to you, otherwise she will not speak to me again in her life!”.
He is joking with me. “Very funny!” I say sarcastically.
Angelo stops smiling and says seriously now “It is not funny! I am not joking, Allyson”. Angelo turns to Maria, says something to her and disappears from the kitchen, leaving us alone. Maria looks at me and then Angelo leaving without understanding what has happened.
I decide to follow Angelo. I get up and walk into the living room, but he is not there. I go upstairs and see him undoing one of the beds upstairs. He lays then on that and smashes a little the pillows with his hands. I stand at the door watching him. When he finishes, he turns to leave and sees me standing at the door. “Now your reputation is safe”, he passes next to me.
“I am sorry, Angelo. I thought you were joking”, I try to apologize.
“Allyson, I lived in the U.S. for six years. I know that things are different there. But here, Allyson, most of the people are very traditional. Unfortunately, I am in a prominent position in the family where I should demonstrate to the other members a good example. Even if I do not agree with some practices, I do not have the choice of ignoring them”. With that, Angelo walks down the stairs.
I stay there to the doorstep and watch at the bed. Gosh! We are into the 21st century, not in the 19th century, where women didn’t have the choice to choose their husbands; they shouldn’t lose their virtue because they would be treated like prostitutes; they didn’t have the right to have a bank account and they couldn’t decide by themselves about their body, hair and clothing. Women have fought for decades for their rights, rights which were by default obvious to men but not to women. Apparently here in Italy, it was different. As modern as it appears in Italy to be, in fact, the mentality of the people hasn’t so much changed! Is it really like that or maybe the new generation of young people is different? I hope they are!
 My pussycat
 What happened?
 Maria, one moment, please