Monday, October 23, 2006
Moonlight and Madness
I headed into the bedroom on the left where the bell hop had placed my bags. The room was beautiful—the walls were done in pale butterscotch and the accents in the room were creamy yellows, including the duvet cover and coverings on the chaise lounge, chairs and drapes. The carpet was a warmer shade of butterscotch which matched the colors in the fabrics hung over the canopied bed that also had deep golds, umber and oranges. There was a dressing table and an armoire to complete the furnishings. I opened a door on the right that went into the bathroom which was done in the same colors; the huge walk-up tub and fixtures were a pale lemony yellow and the floor and counter top was a creamy marble. I could easily see myself diving into that wonderful tub and sitting up to my nose in warm water and fragrant bubbles. Separate from the tub was a large glass-walled shower enclosure. All the faucets and hardware in the bathroom were gold-toned and it made the room look opulent and lavish. There was a door opening off the opposite side of the room, which must connect to Adams room I decided.
I wandered out to the living area to check it out. To the right were double glass doors leading out to a wide and spacious balcony. In front of that was a small, cozy dining table and two chairs. To my left a beautiful marble fireplace ran along the back wall and a comfortable looking couch sat in front of it. I walked over there to look at the attractive Persian carpet in rich, warm earth tones. It was thick and lovely and I imagined it would feel good to my bare feet, or maybe bare other things! To one side of the fireplace was a cabinet that yielded a TV and some type of stereo system.
I pushed something that looked like an on/off button and was rewarded with soft, muted music, a piece by Rachmaninoff, the Rhapsody I believe. There were lots of other buttons on it and I also discovered a CD player, which I thought was great. I was playing with the equalizer when Adam walked into the room.
“Found a stereo I see,” he told me frowning at something that sounded like monkey screeches. He checked it out and changed the equalizer back to something that human ears could appreciate.
“Yes,” I told him excitedly, “and it has a CD player too!”
“Um hm, so I see.”
“Hey, it’s only a little after 5 o’clock! Let’s go see the tower,” I suggested.
“Okay,” he nodded in agreement. “Do you have a camera with you?”
‘Thanks for reminding me. I’ll get it then we can go.” I went to my room and dug around in my carry on luggage for the camera and checked to make sure I had plenty of film with it. I headed back out to the living room where Adam was waiting by the door. We went downstairs to request the car be brought around and also to get directions to the tower.
The desk clerk told us that the tower was actually very close and that we could see it from the balcony of our room. While Adam was getting the directions I wandered around the lobby area and found an internet café. I was standing there looking in at the few people who were there when Adam found me.
“What’s this?” he asked.
“An internet café. Cool, huh?”
“You mean surfing the net and e-mail and such?” he asked, looking in at the room. “I suppose you are one of those computer savvy people who spend endless hours on-line?”
“Don’t know how to use internet or e-mail, huh?” I teased.
He was saved from answering by the announcement that our car was out front, so we went off in search of the tower.
The clerk was right, it was easy to find the tower, and it wasn’t far at all. We parked across from the baptistry and walked the short distance to the tower. It was magnificent against the evening sun that was sliding into a colorful sunset. But there was still plenty of light for us to explore the tower. It is about 830 years old and after being restored a few years ago, it looks almost new, well, sort of anyway!
I half-dragged Adam toward the tower and said, “C’mon, lets go climb the stairs to the top!”
“How many are there?” he asked, looking up dubiously at the 11 story tower. We walked into the interior of the tower to see the steps, winding around the inside, with stops at each floor that led to a gallery walkway around the outside of the tower. Every few feet there was an arch way that you could look out of on the gallery.
“It’s only 294 steps to the top,” I said enthusiastically, pulling on his hand. “Let’s go!”
Adam’s face blanched as he stared up at the stairs, his head cocked at an angle taking them all in. “You’re sure?” he asked. “That’s a long way up there, I mean if you’ve been in one 11 story building, you’ve been in them all, I always say.”
“Listen, I promise if you pass out along the way, I’ll give you mouth-to-mouth!” I giggled.
“It’s a deal,” he said, but he still sounded reluctant. He followed me up, winding around and around. About half way up we were both completely out of breath and stopped to step out on one of the galleries to catch our breath. It’s strange walking up the stairs because your eyes tell you that you are going up, but the angle feels wrong because the tower is leaning down. It gives some people, including me a strange sense of vertigo and I asked Adam if he thought so too?
He raised an eyebrow and good-naturedly mumbled something about how anyone would know when you were this close to passing out from lack of air. I grinned impudently at him for a minute before he finally broke down and smiled at me.
We decided to resume the climb after we had rested for a few minutes and I was glad because the shadows were getting longer and I wanted to get to the top while it was still light out. And, I had no wish to climb down the stairs in the dark, not knowing if there were lights or not.
The view at the top was spectacular, and even Adam was glad we had made the climb. I snapped some pictures with the gorgeous colors of the sunset that provided a natural backdrop behind us and even got a college girl to take a couple of shots of Adam and I together. There was surprisingly a lot of people up there, but many of them were starting down and we decided to head down as well.
We took our time going down the steps. It’s more tiring for me to go down than up I found and going around and around this time seemed endless. For some reason it wasn’t nearly as fun as the trip up!
We were on the second floor, on the up side which had the opposite effect as the going down side, that is, your eyes tell you that you are going down, but it feels like going up when we heard quick footsteps behind us. We turned and saw someone racing down the stairs, heading straight for us scooting past other people who were farther behind us. The person was dressed in a navy blue hoodie and jeans, with the hoodie pulled close around their face, making it impossible to tell if it were a man or woman. Following the path of the person I decided that they were heading straight for me since I was closest to the outside of the steps and apparently directly in the way of this person who was in a terrible rush. Adam grabbed me around the waist at the last minute to pull me back towards the wall and when the person ran by, he was knocked backward. The back of his head hit the corner of the stone archway of the gallery. There was a dull sounding thump that made my stomach bile rise up. It was a horrible sound I thought as I screamed out Adams name. Adam lay against the wall and I bent down to kneel by him, asking him if he was okay and other people had rushed down to us and started yelling for help. A young man yelled out to the person who did this, but they didn’t stop, didn’t even look back.
I think Adam blacked out for a moment, but he finally opened his eyes and tried to focus on me. A lady who said she was a nurse gently leaned his head forward and winced at the wound on the back of his head. There was a gash on it about an inch long and a half inch or so deep and it was bleeding freely. A gentleman helped her get Adam into a sitting position, but when he sat up he was immediately dizzy. She had him bend over and rest his head between his up drawn knees and told him to breathe deeply, in through his nose and out through his mouth. Two policia were there by then, alerted by all the commotion and were trying to get the crowd to move along. Lights came on inside the tower and they checked Adam out along with the nurse.
It was decided that Adam had to have stitches and they called for the Italian version of EMS, who got there quickly. While they were examining Adam the policia asked me what I had seen. They had switched to English when they discovered I wasn’t following in their rapid Italian very well. They questioned me a great deal and they apparently would have liked to have more details, but I really couldn’t help them, it all happened so fast. Several of the other people there talked with them also, but no one had really gotten a good look at the person. Did I think it was accidental or on purpose they asked me? I couldn’t help but think that it must have been an accident. The policia pointed out that whoever it was hadn’t stopped, which seemed suspicious to them. They told me to think carefully of exactly what had happened and tell them what I remembered.
I gave them every detail I remembered which really wasn’t much. An ambulance came to take Adam to a hospital for stitches and while they were getting him settled, the policia called our hotel to make arrangements for someone to come and get the car so I could go to the hospital with Adam. I thought that was very nice and considerate of them, but I was also beginning to see that having money and being famous made things different.
As we were getting into the back of the ambulance I remembered something, but it seemed so trivial that I didn’t mention it to the policia. In fact it probably didn’t have anything to do with what happened. But I remembered smelling something, something that I had smelled before. Not exactly a perfume, but still kind of sweet. I shrugged my shoulders, I was sure it was nothing but my imagination or one of the people who were right there when it happened.
Adam held fast to my hand and I talked softly to him, trying not to show him how scared I was. His face was terribly pale except for small vivid red spots on his cheeks and his eyes shone brightly as well, too brightly really and I hoped he didn’t have a concussion.
The trip to the hospital was short and we didn’t have to wait long either. A couple of the nurses had recognized Adam and he got quick and very friendly treatment, although none of the nurses flirted with him or were anything but professional. He got a half a dozen stitches and an X-ray to make sure he didn’t have a concussion. After the doctor had reviewed the X-ray pictures he decided that Adam didn’t have a concussion and would be fine. I could take him back to the hotel, but no more sight-seeing, he needed to rest. And no traveling for the next 24 hours.
One of the hospital staff had called the hotel. They sent a car to pick us up and bring us back to the hotel. They were extremely kind and concerned that Adam should rest well and want for nothing. I told them that we would be staying another night and asked it that would be possible. I remember how difficult it was for Sunni to get us a room here to begin with. They assured me that it was fine for us to stay another night. I couldn’t help but wonder who lost a bed over that?
Adam was walking but was a bit wobbly and leaned on me a lot on the way up in the elevator. It felt wonderful to be able to help him. I knew he would be fine, but I felt guilty because he had been pulling me out of the way when he was bumped into. I thought about what had happened and I realized that had he not grabbed me around the waist and pulled me out of the way, I would have went over the side of the stairs! That thought made me shake, with fear and with anger at whomever was so careless.
Adam wanted to take a shower, which the doctor had said was fine, but not to get the stitches wet. They were the sort of stitches that dissolve on their own and they needed to stay dry for a few days. I had a shower cap with me which I got for him to use. Before taking his shower though he called Sunni on her cell to ask her to cancel the reservation for Tirennia tomorrow night. I heard his part of the conversation, almost absentmindedly as I was thinking about the accident.
After he asked her to cancel the reservations I heard him tell her there had been an accident and what had happened. He assured her several times that he was fine, but was just going to rest tomorrow. He told her that yes, we would be going on to Firenza the day after tomorrow as planned before he hung up the phone.
Adam headed into the shower after promising me he would call me if needed. I agreed reluctantly to leave him alone in there and wandered aimlessly around the hotel room before stepping out onto the balcony. The moon was full tonight, huge and heavy hanging low in the sky. You could see the tower from the balcony and I shivered as I looked at it, lit up and glowing in the night. It was hard to think about what had happened there only a few hours before. The phone in the living room started ringing and I went back in to answer it.
It was the front desk asking if we would like something for dinner since we had missed ours. I wasn’t terribly hungry, but I didn’t know about Adam, who always seemed to be hungry. I told them I would check with him and call them back.
I went into Adams room. I thought I would knock on the bathroom door to ask him about dinner, but I still heard the shower running, so I decided to wait until he shut it off. I looked around his room, taking it all in. This one was more masculine than mine but still very luxurious. It had the biggest bed I have ever seen, larger than any king size and it was up on a platform. It had thick and intricately carved posts at each of the four corners and a duvet in deep chocolate colored silk. The carpet was the same color as in my room, but this room was done in rich earth tones like the living room with bright touches of deep azure blue for accent. There was a large fireplace in this room as well. It was covered with bronze and copper colored stones with more of the blue for accent on it. Adam’s bag was sitting open on the bed. It looked like he had dug through it before he had gotten into the shower and it was tempting to take a peek into it, but I resisted!
I heard the shower shut off and I called out to him to find out if he was hungry. A moment later the bathroom door opened, letting billowy steam escape and I saw Adam standing there with the towel wrapped low around his hips. The thought ran frivolously through my mind that this might not have been one of my better ideas, standing here looking at him wearing nothing but a towel, but it was too late now. He looked magnificent—water was still running damply down his chest in small rivulets and his chest hair was plastered wetly to him. I admired him for a moment more, the lean muscles across his chest and arms and heat surged through my system, making my stomach turn somersaults and my knees feel weak. I turned away then, feeling my face flush with embarrassment.
I cleared my throat and said “the desk called up and wondered if we would like something sent up for dinner?” I asked him again. “Are you hungry Adam?”
I heard him come up behind me, then felt his arms wrap around me and he laid his head against mine. “Why are you embarrassed?” he said softly.
I was trembling, my head and body awash with desire. He felt wonderful against me, even while he was still wet. I wrapped my arms around his and hugged him. I enjoyed this gentle embrace for a moment more before answering, trying to think of what to say.
Before I could speak he turned me around to face him, still holding me. I wound my arms around his waist and nestled my head against his still damp chest.
“Sarah, it’s alright,” he began slowly. “I feel the same things as you do, please don’t feel embarrassed by your feelings or desire. We both feel it you know.”
I nodded and I felt warm tears sliding wetly down my face. Maybe they were from all that had happened this evening and maybe they were because of my feelings for this tender and amazing man, I didn’t know for sure, I only knew that I was so thankful that he was here with me, safe and sound.
Adams hand moved to caress my face for a moment and in that way he has, he put his fingers under my chin and tilted my face up to his. He immediately saw my tears and bent and slowly kissed them away. Of course, they started flowing more freely then, which is silly, but I couldn’t seem to stop them. I stood there looking up at him and he didn’t flinch away from my feelings as some men had in the past. He gazed intently into my eyes and I searched his as well, trying to read what was in them. For the first time, it didn’t feel wrong to let a man see me cry. I had usually hidden this vulnerable side of myself from men, seldom really giving them a chance to understand who I really was. But it was different with Adam, and I felt more hopeful than I ever had about a relationship before.
I had to stop it though before I got carried away with it and glanced around the room looking for a box of tissues. I sort of hiccuped and laughed at the same time and told him what I was looking for. I went into the bathroom on the search and finally ended up with a handful of toilet tissue, wiping the tears away, and feeling regretful about it, I blew my nose. That’s something you hate to do in front of a man when you are trying to make a good impression!
“Okay then,” he said, “how about some dinner? I am a bit hungry so shall I call the desk?”
“No, I’ll do it. What do you feel like?”
“Um, maybe something light, not too heavy. And unfortunately, no wine. I think it must surely be a crime to have dinner in Italy with no wine, don’t you?” he said in an attempt to lighten my mood a bit.
“Probably, but hopefully they won’t send the policia because we’ve seen all of the policia tonight that we need to.” As soon as I said that I regretted it, it was just a reminder of this evening, which we were trying to forget.
I called the front desk to inquire what we might get sent up and I decided on a seafood stew and Toscana bread, which is a coarse bread that goes wonderfully with soups and stews. They were also sending crème caramel for dessert, which sounded wonderful, as well as bottled water. I’m sure this last request must have startled them, but they said nothing about it. Adam changed into his robe while we waited on the food and I hopped into the shower quickly. I dressed in a gown and robe and decided that if the staff hadn’t seen a guest dressed like this before I’d be surprised.
The food arrived shortly and it was still warm outside so I had them move the table onto the balcony so we could try to enjoy the remainder of the evening. They lit candles for us and it was all very beautiful.
We both gazed at the tower in the distance, but didn’t comment on it. The moon was now hanging over the tower in its journey across the night sky. The evening was beautiful, and we enjoyed our meal enormously. The stew was fabulous and Adam was as excited as a kid with the dessert.
When we were finished I called the desk to have them remove the dishes. I could get used to this I decided with pleasure. They came quickly and soon we were alone again in the suite. I noticed that Adam’s face had again become pale and pinched looking and that he winced when he moved his head.
“Are you okay Adam?” I asked, concerned about him.
“Yes, but the stitches are starting to hurt, the Novocain is wearing off I guess, and I’ve a bit of a headache.”
I frowned, remembering that they hadn’t given him anything for pain. They had said however that he could take an analgesic. I had some ibuprofen with me and asked if he’d like some.
He nodded his head yes and I went and got the bottle and gave him two tablets. He swallowed them gratefully with some water. He looked tired and I knew we needed to get him into bed quickly.
I turned the lights in the living room off and took his hand and led him into his bedroom where I pulled down the covers on the bed.
“C’mon Adam, into bed you go,” I told him, starting to untie the belt of his robe.
His hand stopped me from untying the belt. “I, uh, don’t have anything on underneath,” he warned.
That familiar feeling of electricity shot through me again, but I managed to keep myself together. “I think I can handle it. C’mon now,” I said as I untied it and got him into the bed, trying very hard to NOT notice anything.
“Sarah, thank you so much,” he told me. “I know this is asking a lot, but would you consider laying with me, for at least a while? I’ll behave I promise, but I just want to feel you with me.”
He seemed so sincere that I couldn’t refuse. As I took my robe off and slipped in bed beside him I was very glad that I had a gown on. He rolled to his side and pulled me to him, snuggling like a child. I realized he did not feel good and there was no chance of being with him this night, but that didn’t make it any easier, lying here next to him. I was tired too I realized and soon settled down, enjoying the feeling of his warm body next to mine.
“Good night Sarah,” he whispered and kissed me sweetly, gently.
“Good night Adam, sleep well,” I murmured and before I knew it, we were both asleep.