Claudia experiences more of the mysteries of her grandmother's house.
How oft we saw the sun retire,
And burn the threshold of the night,
Fall from his ocean lane of fire,
And sleep beneath his pillar’d light!
- Tennyson, The Voyage.
Carlo stayed with Claudia at Tintamare for a week. Far from being an idle houseguest, he insisted upon cleaning, cooking and performing whatever household chores she would allow him to do. At first, this seemed to her to be a slight affront to her independence but she sensed that it was his way of showing her gratitude. It seemed too that, temporarily at least, he had nowhere else to go. He need not have tried too hard to impress her for she found his natural charm increasingly endearing and she was glad of the company but would never have told him so.
“He’s also a good fuck,” she added in a mid week e-mail home to an old girlfriend in Melbourne.
The house was in serious need of cleaning and maintenance. In her final years, Eleanora, Claudia’s grandmother, had obviously found the task of maintaining such a large house increasingly beyond her capabilities. It struck Claudia as strange that her grandmother seemed never to have employed a cook or a cleaner or a gardener. There was no mention of any of these in her carefully detailed accounts, yet to have done so would have been well within her means.
“There’s a lot I will never know about you…”
The statement or something like it often entered Claudia’s mind as she passed Eleanora’s enigmatic portrait on the conservatory wall. The mystery surrounding this single object in a house full of singular things, occupied Claudia most. Again, she had found no mention of the painting in any of her Grandmother’s insurance records or accounts and she had scanned those with Carlo’s assistance, back as far as 1950 when Eleanora had first bought the house. As far as she knew, Eleanora had not painted the picture herself; there was not a single shred of evidence that she had been artistically gifted or inclined. Music was her calling and her only outlet for creativity. So the mystery remained and the words upon the frame would echo in Claudia’s mind at odd times, like when she smelt the aroma of the sea breeze;
As though mine image in the glass should tarry when myself am gone…
She soon discovered that whatever Carlo’s other talents, his particular forte was cooking. In the course of their week together he made her a succession of traditional local dishes; each one more ambitious and mouthwatering than the last. She would often sit in the kitchen of an evening and watch him cook; delighting in his boyish charm and his easy smile, laughing at his appalling English, admiring his physique and casting long, self indulgent glances at his ass. They would dine out on the garden porch or on the balcony overlooking the bay while amorous geckos courted in the circle of light cast upon the white wall. Much later, after having extinguished the light and banished the geckos, they would sit together in one of the huge padded deck chairs; sipping Cointreau on ice and watching the distant lights of Agrigento. On the third night Carlo said to her,
“That music, I hear it again.”
“When?” Was her immediate reply.
“Oh, very, very late.” He followed this with a calculated silence until she asked,
“Why did you not tell me before?”
“You think I am pazo, crazy nut.”
“No…no, I don’t. But, the doors are all locked. No one can get into the house from the windows and here, we are very high up.”
She was silent.
“This very old house,” he continued, “and here in Italia, in Sicilia, strange things are.”
“Et in Arcadia ego,” she whispered.
“I believe in fantasmi.”
She looked at him in the moonlight then settled back into his arms. He was serious.
“Don’t worry, we have ghosts back in Australia too I guess, but I have never seen one.”
“Not see, I hear.”
She took another sip of Cointreau. The burst of fiery orange liqueur relaxed her, refocusing her attention on the marvelously peaceful night scene before them. After several long moments his arms tightened around her as he playfully nibbled her ear then took in a long draught of air and with it; the sweet aroma of her skin. Their lips locked and they kissed tenderly for what seemed hours. Carlo could not imagine a more perfect scene; he was as content, at that moment, in Claudia’s arms as he had ever been at any time in his entire life. But Claudia was of a different breed; she was a creature of appetite and soon their sweet kisses and firm caresses began to awaken deep desires within her. She rose and walked to the balcony rail. The balcony was spacious and so designed that it afforded light and shade and a certain degree of privacy. It was also built right above the very edge of the cliff. From where she now stood, Claudia imagined herself to be a wandering sea bird; the sky was her domain, the azure ocean plains were her wilderness and freedom was her only care.
She wore a loose fitting cotton tee and she felt the breeze pluck lightly at the sleeves and tug at the hem.
She whispered, “Oh, so you think I’m overdressed?”
As though in response, the breeze picked up and ruffled her hair. She turned and padded inside leaving Carlo to enjoy the beauties of the night. The house was fragrant and cool and bathed in an almost opalescent moonlight. She strode through the long shadows confidently; like a goddess walking through the age old halls of her temple. When she returned almost an hour later, she had showered and she was scented, refreshed and wanting cock.
She found Carlo where she had left him on the balcony - half dosing contentedly. He looked up and reached out to her but she held back. She had another surprise in stall for him. She had brought a few items with her. She set these down and immediately fell to her knees by his side and tugged at his boxers. Carlo slipped them off right away and Claudia smiled as she noticed his cock already twitching in expectation. She took his shaft with one hand and teased down his foreskin. One look of her dark eyes told him all he needed to know – Lay back lover and enjoy my mouth. She skillfully pumped and squeezed Carlo’s cock for several slow minutes; rubbing its head on her tongue and on the inside of her cheeks. Her hand massaged his full shaft until she was satisfied that he has hard enough and ready for the task ahead of him. Claudia now reached behind her and found her rose bud ass. She was already lubed and now she rubbed her perfect pink rim in preparation for its treat.
“I have a surprise for you.”
It was a dark red, ribbed condom with spiral rows of tiny bristles all along its length. Carlo understood and obligingly held his cock, pointing it towards her. Claudia smiled and deftly rolled it down Carlo’s shaft, transforming it in a few seconds into a piquantly sculpted dildo. She began to massage him again now and as she did so her ass began to tingle with expectation and her mouth began to water. She squirted lube onto the condom and skillfully massaged it in, taking time to make Carlo as hard as possible. She stared at him the whole time; her eyes filled with incandescent lust. She lubed the tip and smiled.
“There, now you’re the life support system for a dildo.”
Carlo laughed good naturedly, clenched his teeth, “Strega!”
“Yeah, I’m a witch.”
Now she climbed onto him and positioned her ass above his glistening, black clad cock. Wasting no more time, she spread her cheeks and eased her ass down onto him. Carlo found the condom nicely lubricated on the inside and Claudia’s ass beautifully snug. He was in heaven. He thrust up into her quite gently at first; getting a feel for her ass. Claudia in turn, pushed down equally gently; allowing him to get used to the sensation, but not for long. Soon the delicately sculpted bristles and ribs on the condom began to work their magic on her insides. She felt deliciously bad and before long she began slamming her ass harder and harder down on Carlo’s cable hard cock. Her pussy dripped onto his abdominals and she rubbed the juices into his muscles like a salve. Now the building sensations in her ass had her almost howling with lust. She held on to Carlo, savouring each of his thrusts along the whole depth of her ass. She had not done this for a long time and found that with each stroke she craved it more and more. Carlo seemed to sense this and held onto her hips delivering beautifully timed and perfectly aimed thrusts straight where Claudia needed them.
She stripped him of the condom. His cock was warm and buttery so she leant back and slipped it into her pussy. Claudia’s ass was still wet with lube so Carlo slipped first one then two fingers into it. He found that she appreciated this and immediately pressed his hand deeper into her. Carlo marveled at the softness of Claudia’s ass. It was still well lubed so he explored and stretched her while she sighed with exquisite pleasure and bucked harder and harder against his hand. Now she raised her arms and brought all her weight down upon Carlo’s cock. She stared down at him and licked her lips; his body glistened with moisture in the moonlight and the shadows playing across his face made it into a satyr’s mask. Their bodies moved rhythmically and in perfect unison. To Carlo, Claudia was transcendentally beautiful; his eye lingered on her delicate navel and her slender waist, then drifted up to perfect grapefruit sized breasts with divergent nipples. He marveled at how erect those nipples now were as she bounced blissfully up and down upon his shaft. But the most glorious thing about her was her hair; he loved the way it danced around her supple shoulders to the deep bass beat generated by the exertions of their bodies. From time to time too, the breeze would caress it and toss it about as though it had the adoring hands of many lovers.
They enjoyed this wonderful feast of sensation for what seemed like an hour until as last Claudia felt a surge of tingling energy race up her spine to fill her every fiber of her being. She came; gritting her teeth and digging her nails into Carlo’s sides. Her pussy clenched his cock; locking around it like a vice. A few seconds of this was all it took and Carlo too came; gripping her hips and arching his back as he spilled his hot seed deep into her velvet folds. He groaned as she continued milking him with her pussy; causing him to unleash shot after shot of his sweet milk deep into her ravening slit.
Once the storm had subsided they embraced and held each other close. With his cock still buried snugly inside her and with Claudia’s ass still tingling pleasantly, he pulled her up to his lips. They kissed and tenderly explored each others bodies until sleep eventually overtook them.
The house was silent and for hours, only the moonlight crept across the mosaic floors turning them from deep azure to a pale Nilotic blue. Then, from the shadows, a presence stirred. The lovers slept still, but if by chance, one or other had awoken, they would have heard the gentle strains of the harpsichord playing only meters away.
After a late breakfast of ciabatta, honey, fig conserve and strong espresso, Claudia suggested she show Carlo the garden. He eagerly agreed and took her by the hand. It was already a hot day. The clear light of the Sicilian summer made all the varied colours of the garden seem brighter than Claudia remembered them, weeks ago, on that first excursion into the grounds of her new home.
The garden was a rambling, tangled affair of tall trees and shrubs with open patches where a profusion of gorgeously tinted flowers bloomed. The scent from these was almost overpowering while the vast array of birds and insects; beetles and brightly winged butterflies delighted the eye. They walked upon a path of slate slabs which took them around a winding course past all the plants and trees that must have been Eleanora’s pride. Here and there were outcrops of flat rocks and boulders which had been carefully placed to appear as natural as possible while low walls separated one part of the garden from another. The soil was sandy and occasionally Claudia noticed small sherds of decorated blue and white pottery poking out of it. This reminded her of the age of the house and left her with a momentary vision of al fresco family dinners in those distant Victorian times with laughing children, wine and good Sicilian food served on fine imported dinnerware. There were also fragments of terracotta in all shapes and sizes. She picked up some of these and showed them to Carlo. He shrugged his shoulders and simply said,
Claudia noticed that the terracotta fragments had been piled up here and there, probably during the laying of the path. She made a mental note to gather them up and store them somewhere away from the elements. If, as Carlo had suggested, they were Roman, she wanted to preserve them.
The path eventually brought them to a grove of oak trees before a stone wall. The wall seemed to be very old and appeared to serve no other purpose than to create a visually interesting feature. Above it, soil had been packed; creating an artificial hill. As they approached it, several green lizards darted away and hid in the recesses between the stones. It was then that Claudia noticed something strange. About halfway up the stone wall there grew a small orange tree. Its trunk was twisted as the seedling had struggled to reach the light after having emerged from between the stones. It had obviously been there for some time as it had flowers and even a few green fruit.
“What a weird thing,” Claudia thought as she approached it. Then she stopped dead as she noticed that there was a puddle of water on the ground below the tree. The stones around the base of its trunk were wet too as were some of its leaves. It was as though someone had watered the tree only moments ago. Her initial reaction was to look around her; perhaps some passing neighbor was in the garden and had decided to do her a favour. But there were many other fruit trees in the garden and no obvious source of water this far from the house. What is more, she had no close neighbors. The whole notion seemed absurd to her the more she thought about it. Yet someone had clearly been there and only moments ago. She was about to inform Carlo of her discovery when she saw that he was picking flowers several feet away. She was about to join him when she noticed something flat and round at almost eye level on a ledge to the right of the tree. It was a rough looking, green coloured coin. She could clearly see an eagle in profile, on one side of it, with a rabbit in its talons, on the other there was a crab and three pellets. Upon closer inspection she could just make out several letters on the coin A. K. P.A…then what looked like an F. Again, it seemed that the coin had just been set down by whoever watered the tree. She quickly put the coin in her pocket, intending to investigate it later. She joined Carlo who smiled broadly and flamboyantly presented her with his meager bunch of flowers as though they were a surprise. She laughed despite the lingering unease in her mind,
“Grazi caro signore.”
As they headed back to the house, Claudia anxiously looked over her shoulder several times. Behind them, the garden’s tangled maze folded back into itself like the leaves of a mysterious book, closing before it had revealed any of its secrets.
The rest of that day they spent swimming and sun baking on the tiny pebbled beach at the foot of the cliff. Towards evening, after a quick dinner of pasta and antipasto, Carlo suggested they go clubbing. Claudia was secretly glad to leave the house but not before locking and double checking all the doors and windows. After they had showered and dressed, she asked Carlo to get her white Alpha Romeo out of the garage. Once he was outside, Claudia took her cell phone out of her handbag. She took it into the conservatory and programmed it to record. She carefully set it up on one of the bookshelves so that its camera lens was pointing at the harpsichord. In four hours at one am, it would start recording and keep recording. She took one quick glance around the room and left; hoping that she had hidden the phone well enough to prevent it from being noticed but also secretly dreading what it might reveal.
After locking the front door she descended the stairs to where Carlo was waiting for her in the car. He shook his head admiringly upon seeing her and blew a low whistle; Claudia wore long black boots that reached to just below her knees and sheer black tights, a thigh length, metallic silver-grey party dress with a plunging neckline that revealed the midline of her chest and gave ample teasing glimpses of her breasts. This was matched by a long, black feather boa that adorned her supple shoulders and trailed behind her, reaching almost to the ground. Upon her wrists, she wore broad silver bracelets and her long nails were painted black. An onyx and platinum ring that had been her grandmothers glinted on her finger with a dark radiance, completing a look of sexy and understated elegance.
As she got into the car beside him, Carlo saw her red full lips and darkly tinted eyes up close but it was her lustrous black hair that caused him to catch his breath and utter,
“Salve, dea incomprabile, salve…”
She grinned, “Oh flattery will get you everywhere.”
They drove slowly up the path to the ornate stone gate. The road beyond led them through largely featureless farmland to Agrigento with its lights and night life. Upon reaching the road Carlo put his foot more firmly down on the accelerator and Claudia relaxed. The sun was setting fast and as the white Alpha Romeo sped off and vanished to the north – west, a pair of cold, unblinking eyes turned from the conservatory window.