Four writers for the price of one blog
Originally posted in January, 2010. Taken down for Silvered Lens. Restored July, 2016
This story had its origins in the same conversation that led to Remittance Girl’s Gift Wrapped. Mine took a little longer to get done… -Raz
Lost in the Map
by Raziel Moore
“This is the map room. Most of the maps here are centuries old. A few are over a thousand.”
I followed Stefan as he led me between rows of broad map drawers. The room was strictly climate controlled, both cooler and drier than the sweltering summer heat of Florence outside. The map cases looked old, too; dark, worn wood, with brass plates and handles polished shiny with use – maybe centuries of it. Stefan, my impromptu guide, stopped and pulled open one drawer, seemingly at random.
I looked down at it, back through time and the layers of experience and knowledge separating my world from then. The open drawer smelled of oil and dust and the chemicals of preservation. Galileo’s world was so much smaller than mine – and infinitely bigger for the unknowns at its edges. And yet he’d decided to look up as well as down.
I reached toward it – not to touch it of course, but to follow above the coastline of ancient Italy and the Mediterranean. Stefan, who was breaking enough rules giving me this private tour behind the scenes of the museum, snatched at my hand quickly and pulled it away.
I giggled. “Of course not! I wouldn’t. I was jut… tracing.”
“Sorry,” he said, “Any piece of paper in this room is worth more than my head.” Then, more quietly, “I love it here.” I noticed he hadn’t let go of my hand.
I turned to look up at him. He looked totally out of place in the middle of Italy, interning as a museum curator. He should be surfing off the coast of Cali, I thought. It looked like he’d just wandered in from the beach, despite the slacks and docent jacket. He looked like he belonged in the absolute now, not lost in the quantization of the world past.
“I like it, too.” That much was true, at least. There was something about these maps – These old, outdated attempts to see beyond the immediate horizon, to understand a grater world. The painstaking effort of trying, by hand, to be faithful to the best measurements of the time. And the artistic hands that filled the unknown parts of the map with mythical creatures. But, truth to tell, that hadn’t been why I was here – not at first, anyway.
I’d missed our planned visit to the Institute and Museum earlier this week, being sick to my stomach on arrival in-country with something I picked up on the plane. Lisa and Marcy had been sympathetic, offering to tend me while I recovered, but I’d insisted they go out on their own, and that I’d make up the day myself when they took a day trip to Siena, which I wasn’t terribly interested in. I’d wanted to see the Galileo’s telescopes and, the ancient instrumentation and tools of looking up. Looking down had never held much interest for me, until Stefan found me staring at Santucci’s Armillary Sphere.
I’d been lost in the wheels within wheels, tracing the tropics and planes, lining up constellations in my head, and his volunteering to answer questions had startled me. I immediately began grilling him about the sphere, becoming oddly upset to learn that the 16th century original had been so heavily restored – even if that restoration itself was 200 years old.
From there, as if it had been arranged by appointment, Stefan led me through celestial globes, octants, spectrometers, astronomical history, and yes, telescopes. And then on to other parts of the museum, mechanics, optics, chronology – and back through the quarter I’d already covered on my own.
Between exhibits I learned abut his internship, his interest in cartography, and told him about my studies in astronomy. Galactic clusters were about as far off for him as 15th century property surveys were for me, but here, in the map room, I found a convergence of sorts. It didn’t hurt, either, that following his lanky, easy-walking form was a pleasure to do.
“Here,” he said, closing the drawer with his free hand. “Here’s something I think you’ll like.” He walked around the row of map cabinets, leading me by the hand. He walked differently in this room. More carefully, like a cat threading its way along a shelf full of vases. I found myself trying to copy him. He stopped, stooped and pulled open a drawer about a foot from the floor. I was so busy following I almost bumped into him, stopping just short.
He pointed down to the drawer and I peered, letting out a little “Oooh” of appreciation. Star maps. Hand-drawn, renderings of Orion and Taurus, Cygnus, Ophiucus. He let go my hand and straightened, reaching over the top of the table. Practically kneeling down, I found my attention torn between the maps and his midsection. Maybe it was the library-like atmosphere, but the fabric-rustling sound of his clothing pricked my ears, and I couldn’t not notice he had a nice butt – and, I suspected, other nice attributes. He’d been reaching for a box of lint free gloves. Pulling two on, he then handed a pair to me.
At his exhortation, we – very carefully – took out map after map, and arrayed them across the tops of the cluster of six map cabinets, until two thirds of the sky was arranged, border to border. It was beautiful. I think I sighed out loud. I felt Stefan behind me, close.
“You like it, Holly?” His breath was in my ear. On my neck.
“Yes.” It would take only a tiny step back. I could feel his warmth behind me.
“Tell me what you see.”
“The stars don’t change.” I knew that wasn’t strictly true. But I recognized every star on all the maps – it was right. “Only names, and pictures.”
“So different from the maps of the world?”
“Yes… Maybe.” I leaned back, just a tiny bit, and inhaled when I felt his chest against my shoulders. He was closer than I’d thought. Looking and feeling, I said the first thing on my mind.
“I want to float in the sea of stars.” Kind of silly, I know. But, really, whenever I looked up through a scope, or examined an image on the screen from an observing run, I imagined myself in deep black transit. Despite knowing all about the emptiness of vast space, a part of me still thought it might feel… a little like this.
His hand snaked around my waist, sending a tingle shooting the length of my spine. He whispered in my ear “I can do that for you.” A grazing of lips, and the flick of a tongue on my ear followed the words. I shivered. What did that mean?
I turned, thinking maybe I would kiss him, but he had already pulled his head back. He still had his hand around my waist though, and the other came up to touch my cheek.
“Are you hungry? It’s almost closing time.”
Yes, I was hungry. But not just for food. I nodded.
“Can you find your way to the front? I’ll meet you there in five minutes and take you to dinner.”
This wasn’t what I had expected, and I will admit to some disappointment, but Stefan was nice, and I liked his company, and I bet he knew the local food scene really well. And my stomach chose then to rumble at me.
“What about putting these back?” I asked.
“I’ll do it later.”
“You won’t get in trouble?”
“Only if someone tells. Will you?
“No! Of course not.”
It was more like ten, and Stefan, having shed his docent jacket, apologized profusely as he took my arm and we crossed Piazza dei Giudici. We walked a short few blocks, almost directly away from the center of town, to a tiny hole in the wall trattoria off Via di Neri. I’d probably walked by it twice over the last week without even giving it a look. We sat at one of only three old, scarred tables, and Stefan called the server – who apparently was also the chef – by name. Giuseppe was an indeterminate-aged scraggly haired man with a clean, white shirt unbuttoned to mid chest, and a much-stained apron over it. He smiled and greeted Stefan like an old friend before letting his eyes travel to, and up and down me. I’d gotten used to that frankness this week, but now it made me pull just a little closer to Stefan, which in turn seemed to make Giuseppe smile more broadly.
My Italian was, at best, tourist Italian. Stefan’s, though definitely American accented, was fluent enough to order cheese, ham slices, a bottle of excellent local wine, and pasta that made me think I’d never buy the American cardboard equivalent ever again.
We talked more – about the museum, and his internship, and my dissertation work. Though technically academically behind me, Stefan was actually a few years older. He’d ‘gone walkabout’, he’d said in a bad Australian accent, for a few years after high school. He’d traveled almost around the world – and came to love maps of all kinds after getting lost more than once in places no one had business being lost.
“It’s always important for me to know where I am. Where things are.”
I had a thought that made me laugh a little. “Those ancient maps – they hardly knew where things were beyond the tips of their noses.”
He nodded at me, his look suddenly serious. “Yes. Some of those maps scare the shit out of me. That’s why I love them.”
I didn’t have a ready answer to that.
Desert was pastry and custard and honey, and the last of the wine. Stefan paid despite my protest of an adequate travel budget.
The sun was finally gone when we walked out of the place with a wave to Giuseppe. Lightweight I am, the half-bottle of wine had given me a pleasant, just-this-side-of-dizzy buzz. And I was sad that I was going to have to say goodbye to Stefan and go back to the hotel and rejoin Marcy and Lisa in our well-planned out vacation tour tomorrow.
We walked back to the museum, and I babbled on, saying thank you to him for the tour and dinner – for the whole day, really. At the giant metal-studded door of the old stone building, he stopped and turned to me, leaning down as he raised my chin with an extended finger. His lips brushed mine, and then descended in a kiss. I squeaked.
He’d caught me unawares, but not unwilling – I kissed him back. His lips were soft against mine, his tongue probing along, then into my mouth. I sighed and leaned into him, happy, if uncertain what this really was. His hands went around my sides behind me, tracing up and down. One pressed into the small of my back, then lower, pulling me toward him.
A little moan escaped me. A definite bulge in his pants pushed against my abdomen. He broke the kiss.
“Do you want to swim in the stars?” He asked. His voice sounded somehow much older, wiser just then.
I had no idea what he meant. But I knew what I wanted.
He pulled away, fished in his pocket for a key, and opened the small door carved into the bigger museum portal. The place was quiet, dark, deserted. Holding me by the hand, he went to a thoroughly modern security panel tucked anachronistically in an ancient red brick alcove, and tapped in a code. Then he led me to a glass elevator – clearly from the most recent of countless renovations – turning another key to summon it, and bring it up to the floor above the map room – to the library itself – where actual current research was conducted by staff and visiting historians and scientists.
Through a small maze of bookshelves, he led me to a tiny computer room. A pair of terminals sat below shelves of hard drives and disks, and printers, and against one narrow, age cracked wall, stood a late model large format printer. Below this was a large roll of paper – over a meter across – that looked to have been recently disgorged. Stefan smiled when he saw it, scooped it up, then pulled me along after him. Buzzed, confused, but happy to play along, I followed him to an access stairway that led, it turned out, up to the roof.
Here, modern renovations had placed air-handling systems and vents in a small flat area, with the red clay tiled roof rising up to top a half-wall all around it. Florence at night lay all around us, the Ufizi nearby, the Ponte Vecchio crossing the river, the Duomo rising to the north. I turned a full circle to take it all in, then looked up. The stars were out – never as clear in a city as they were in the dark countryside, but, if I concentrated and blocked the light over the stairwell with my hand, I could just make out the Milky Way – not bad for urban naked-eye seeing.
The sound of paper unfurling drew my attention back to Stefan, and I gasped. Unrolling on the flat floor of the roof was a star map. It looked the same as those we’d taken out of the map drawers; only all the individual pieces were mosaicked together across the whole sky. The roll was actually two, I realized – and I watched the other half of the sky unfurl and overlap above first. Until the starfield below nearly matched the one above.
“Go on, Holly. Lie down. In your sea of stars”.
My breath caught. This felt… romantic. Unfamiliar territory. And it moved something in me, because this was… this was just right. I took off my shoes, because I thought that was the right thing to do, and stepped onto the map. The rubber waterproofing cover of the roof was springy under my feet, and made the paper wrinkle and crinkle as I stepped on it. It couldn’t be helped. I looked down, then up, then sank down, turning onto my back, and facing night sky. Off to the side, Stefan turned off the door light. The low walls of the surrounding roof blocked out most of the city lights and noise, and I was afloat on the stars, under the stars. It was almost perfect.
I heard the paper take his steps, heavier than mine, saw him eclipse part of the sky before feeling him settle next to me. He smelled like the maps, I realized, with an accent of red wine. We lay, side by side, looking up for some time. I swam.
A hand caressed my cheek, to be replaced by his lips as the fingers traced down my neck, to the collar of my T-shirt, to my chest. I brought my hand to his face and turned toward him, looking into his eyes. They were brown, though I could not see that now.
“This is beautiful, Stefan, thank you.” I said before kissing him. It started lightly, but became more earnest and pressing as we went. He moaned into my mouth, and his hand slid down to cup my breast. I arched into his touch and mewed.
There was much fumbling and rustling on the paper then. My shirt disappeared, his unbuttoned. My skirt and damp panties slid off. His belt and fly opened and pulled down, freeing his straining cock. Bodies finally free of all coverings, our hands groped in the darkness for each other. Lying on our sides, facing each other, my hand closed around his shaft as his fingers delved between my legs. We opened for each other and kissed deeply, pulling, probing, exploring.
“Look up. Fall up.” He said, pushing me onto to my back before leaning over me and engulfing my nipple with his mouth. I practically whinnied, pulling on his cock, smearing his pre-cum with one hand and weaving my other hand in his hair. He slid a finger up, then down, then into my slit and I gasped and bucked.
“Oh, fuck,” was all I could say, staring up into the spinning sky. I squeezed his finger, hard, reflexively, and he groaned his own expletive.
Stefan moved over me, sliding his finger out then in, switching breasts with his mouth, and bringing his free hand to the one from which he’d just slurped away. He sucked with purpose and dedication, making my nipple stiffen instantly, mouth and hands mapping a constellation of pleasure on my body. My back arched away from the paper, shoulders pressing down into the smoothness. I was so close.
He hummed low into my breast. Then, in a fluid, wicked motion, slid a second finger into me, and wiped his thumb across my clit. It sent me over immediately, and I did fall up, into the sky, and down, into Stefan. I cried out, not able to care if the sound carried beyond the roof, and bucked into his deeply thrusting fingers. I squeezed his cock spastically in my hand, eliciting a groan from him as he drove my climax until tears blurred the stars in my vision. Only when I was on the verge of too much, ready to pull his head from my breast, did he relent.
“Oh, my God,” I gasped, as he raised himself to look down at me. His head was a dark mass with faintly glinting white teeth smiling at me.
“Yes.” Was all he said. I felt him pulse, hard and hot in my hand.
“You lie back now,” I said. “Look ip. It’s a map too, you know. Watch it. Learn it and you’ll never be lost.” I pushed at him, and he let himself roll onto his back. I straddled his hips, and kissed him on the lips before shimmying lower, pressing as much of my skin to him as possible as he looked up.
My hands explored Stefan’s chest and ribcage as my lips paused at his nipples, making him gasp as I sucked hard on them. His hands found my back and hair, but didn’t try to guide me as I moved lower on him. Stefan had light, fine hair on his chest, with another sparse line guiding my tongue from below his bellybutton downward.
I shifted my weight to crouch between his calves, reaching to cup his balls as I took the head of his upward curving cock in my mouth. I tasted his salt and he hissed. I could tell he wanted to push my head down on him, but he didn’t. He tangled his hands in my hair, though, as I slid my lips and tongue down his shaft.
“Oh, fuck”. I would have smiled at his echo if I weren’t letting the head of his prick negotiate the back of my throat. I swallowed on him, and he made a sound like a hiccup. I hollowed my cheeks and sucked most of the way up his shaft before diving down again.
“Y-You’re going to make m- me…” I knew what I was going to do. I could feel him tightening, swelling in my mouth. I swallowed again, then sucked hard as I pulled off bringing my free hand to his shaft as he arched upward and cried out.
Semen shot straight up into the air, to land back on his cock, the paper, my hand, and his pelvis. Three, four streams of it as I pumped his shaft and he gasped and exhaled. I saw his eyes staring up at the sky. Whether they saw anything, I didn’t know.
His cock throbbed, still hard, but spent, it seemed. He pulled himself to his elbows as I settled back on my heels, keeping my hold on him. He grinned at me, lopsided. I think I must have mirrored his expression.
“I’ve messed up your map,” he said. I giggled and pointed to the dark stain on Canis Major left by my flooding orgasm.
“I did that already.” He followed my gesture and nodded sagely.
“Mmm. So we have. Maybe we’d better clean up.”
I nodded in response and released him. We crouched, so as not to rise above the roofline, and made our way to the curled edge of the map roll where most of the clothes had been tossed. He picked up his shirt and handed it to me.
“For your hands. I have a spare in my bag inside.”
“Thanks,” Kneeling next to him I cleaned off my hands on the button-down, feeling sorry for his laundry day, while he used his briefs to wipe down his body.
“Guess I’m going home commando tonight,” he chuckled, turning the boxers inside out. I wondered if my panties had dried enough in the night air to prevent me from having to do the same thing. I saw he was still hard – all the handful of guys I’d ever been with had deflated pretty soon after coming. Funny thing; just looking at him gave me another little twinge between my legs.
“Oh, my – will that go down?”
“Of course,” he chuckled. “Usually takes a few minutes. Unless something happens.”
“Unless what happens?” Maybe I shouldn’t have asked that question, because even in the darkness, I could see the gleam in his eye as he dropped his boxers back onto the roof. But then I realized I didn’t want this to be the end of it.
“I think we should clear up this roof, don’t you?” He asked.
“Uh, yeah?” Once again, I didn’t know where he was going.
“Might as well roll up this old map. Yeah?”
“Here, you hold down this end.” He took my hand and guided me toward one end of the overlaid lengths of paper. “Lie like this.” He motioned me onto my back, hands by my side, about two feet from the end of the rolls. I complied, if a little warily.
“Good. Now, rolling…” Stefan took the ends of the paper rolls and draped them over me. Confused, I watched the summer ecliptic settle toward me face as he dug under my shoulder and rear to flip me and the map roll over onto my stomach with a crisp, papery shuffling sound.
“What? Hey!” I called out. I was suddenly in the middle a paper tube, lying on the flap he’d folded over me, trapping my arms and legs. And Stefan reached under and rolled me over again, onto my back.
It was a lucky thing the roof lining was springy, I would have been pretty bruised in the hips and shoulders as he rolled me over and over, encapsulating me in paper despite my protests. I turned my head so my nose wouldn’t bump into the ground each time, and so that I could breathe, but I will admit that I was more than a little scared at that point. The last half-roll ended with me back on my back.
“Stefan? I don’t like this!” I called out. I felt trapped. Even with just a few layers of paper, it could take me some time to extricate myself without any leverage. For the moment, long enough for all sorts of bad things to happen, I was trapped.
“Hey! Do you hear me?”
“Holly? Listen. I… I hear you. Just trust me for a sec.” Dammit. He sounded so far away, and uncertain. And trust him? Why? I just met him today! He was nice, and seemed up and up, but this – this was weird.
“Stefan!” Ok, it was beyond weird. I was alone in the wrong place, and had to get out of there. I whined and tried to grapple and tear at the paper with my fingers.
“Holly…” Something pressed at my shoulder through the layers of paper. His hand? It almost didn’t matter; the mere fact of contact, the proof he was present, stilled me just a little.
“I know my maps, Holly. I don’t get lost.” That didn’t make sense at all., but still. He spoke in that older, wiser voice again. I guess it made it easier to listen, and if not to trust, also not to panic, just yet. Then, I heard the sound of paper tearing right near my head. That got my heart racing even faster. I squirmed and wondered if anyone walking the streets below would be able to hear if I screamed.
A last tear and I felt cool air against my cheek, then the brush of lips.
“Turn your head, face the sky,” Stefan said, a tiny catch in his voice.
I don’t know why I listened to him, but I did as he said, and as my head rolled, my mouth came exactly even with the hole he’d torn in the paper. His lips descended on mine. I could breathe fine, because he’d torn a little additional slit for my nose. But it was the weirdest kiss I’ve ever had, that’s for sure. His lips tasted, then devoured mine, his tongue entering my mouth aggressively, as if daring me to bite him. I didn’t. Instead, I sucked on his tongue. I don’t know why. I also felt heat, sudden and intense bloom between my pressed-together legs. After some more serious kissing, he pulled back
“Don’t move,” he chided. I could practically hear him smirk, and I bit back the desire to curse him. Muffled through layers of paper, I heard him move, and then felt something warm and fleshy against my lips – the head of his cock. I moaned and opened my mouth for him. Sinking down into me, not quite to the back of the throat, I heard his filtered groan. He’d wiped himself off, but I still tasted the salty-sweet of his cum on his shaft. I liked it. He rose up and sank down a few times – I couldn’t really do anything about it – and then held there with his cockhead and a little more between my lips. As I sucked and flicked my tongue around the head, I heard more tearing sounds mixed with his grunts and a few muttered – if appreciative – curses.
Unable to move, and blind, I didn’t know what he was up to until one tear freed my nipple to the night air. It was cool after the confining layers of paper, and tingled as next my aureole, then most of my breast were unwrapped. One hand, then two covered and squeezed me, and teased and pinched my nipple to hardness. I groaned around his cock, which throbbed in my mouth in response. More tearing, and my other breast was free, nipple teased to near painful attention. I smoldered, somewhat beside myself, imagining heat ripples rising from my tits into the air. I tried to squirm, to bend my body, making the paper rustle and bend with my efforts.
More ripping and tearing. It sounded so meticulous, so careful. Each of the three holes he’d made had been in exactly the right spot. I gurgled and sucked hard in anticipation of this next opening. When the hole between my legs opened, it wasn’t where I thought it was going to be – not right over my crotch, but a little lower. I was just the tiniest bit disappointed – he’d almost gotten it perfect. I felt two fingers probe between my sopping thighs, and slide up along my slit from an angle. I assumed he’d be disappointed and widen the hole, but no. Instead, he grazed my clit with his fingertip, and slowly sank his cock almost all the way down my throat. I took him, trusting him now because I had to. His groan thrilled me, and his finger swiped my clit as he pulled out of me. Then he was gone.
It must have been only ten or twenty seconds, but it was enough to almost instantaneously make me feel alone and completely vulnerable. I squirmed, called out his name in a quavering voice, almost screamed. But then he was back, lips on mine, hands on my breasts.
“I had to just look at you a moment,” he murmured into my mouth. “It’s… so hot.”
I shivered, wondering what it really looked like to him. I imagined him hovering over me now, like a low cloud in the sky. There was heat through the lowest hole, and something pushing through. His cock. I could chew myself later for putting myself in a position where so much was of my control, but for now, all that mattered was the thing pushing between my closed legs. Now, the position of the hole made sense. Its location, the angle of his cock, and the position of my slit lined up perfectly to guide him straight into me. I shuddered in my cocoon. He knew his maps and his spatial relationships. He was a fucking genius!
I moaned loud into his mouth as he sank into me. Wiggling my body as much as I could, my fingers started clawing at the paper under my hands, crumpling and tearing at it as he started to fuck me. This was crazy. I couldn’t see him, but I could feel him oh, so well in four utterly sensitized places. And I was going to come again. He lightly bit and sucked my lower lip, and I arched under him, a crinkling paper caterpillar, trying to let him sink deeper into me, frustrated that I couldn’t. I whimpered, and he growled and squeezed my breasts, grinding me down to the roofing.
And I came. Possibly the weirdest climax I’ve ever had, but fuck me if I didn’t cry out and climax in my paper prison. I contracted around his cock, and he fucked me through it. It made him feel bigger, harder as he pushed in, and God did it feel good.
“Stefan!” I gasped, for he had freed my mouth and reared up over me. I heard him curse again, and then both felt and heard loud, long tears rend the paper. Still embedded in me as I came around him, he shredded my layered shell until air kissed my stomach, my waist, and legs. One more rip and my lower half was free! I threw my legs open to feel him plunge completely into me for the first time. It felt sooo deep, so hot. His stomach slapped against mine and we both cried out.
Rooted in me, he tore at the rest of the paper covering my top half. As my arms worked their way out, I helped, frantic to both be free of the paper and covered by him. When my head was at long last in the clear, the night outside seemed alive, loud with sound, ablaze with starlight, and filled with Stefan.
Reaching for him, I actually sobbed as I pulled him down to me, wrapping my legs around his hips and locking my ankles behind him as he did his best to fuck me through the roof of the museum. My climax had never truly faded, and every stab of his cock sparked my nerves anew. His breath, hot on my neck, grew more ragged, his thrusts more earnest – even brutal. I looked up at the winking stars, smiling through my tears, then turned my lips toward his head.
“Come in me,” I whispered in his ear, then darted my tongue right inside it.
Stefan jerked and thrust down into me hard, almost winding me. His muscles tightened along every inch of contact between us. He throbbed and swelled noticeably inside me, and then he let go with a wailing sigh. It was so fucking gorgeous, it pushed me over one more time, and my cunt milked his spurting cock for all it was worth.
Minutes passed. Night city noises ebbed and flowed, the stars spun around Polaris, our breathing normalized and our sweat cooled. Finally softening, Stefan began to slip out of me, and with him a river of our comingled juices spilled onto the shredded map.
He rolled off me and onto his side. I looked down at the mess under me and between us and giggled.
“What’s so funny?” he asked, eyebrow raised.
“Look, I nodded down. Another map of the Milky Way.” It was silly, I know, but he chuckled in agreement – a nice sound, even if he was just humoring me. I turned to face him, resting my head on my arm, watching his half-lidded eyes travel up my body to meet mine. I liked the way he did that, too. I couldn’t stop myself from asking.
“So… how many girls have you seduced to your roof and turned into crepes?”
“Counting you?” he asked. I nodded, trying not to sink.
“One. Besides Crepes are French. Cannolis are Italian. And they are much tastier.” He emphasized his point by wiping his fingers along my swampy inner thigh and sucking them into his mouth. I wanted to smack his shoulder and kiss him at the same time.
“Oh, God, Stefan. What you just did…”
“I know, Holly. Something tells me I should apologize, for something. But I can’t. I’m not sorry for anything. I wanted you. Almost from the armillary room. Fuck – Somewhere along there I felt I was going to die if I didn’t have you.”
Wow. That was almost romantic enough to be schmaltzy – if I hadn’t heard the earnestness in his voice.
“We’re going to Valle tomorrow – my girlfriends and me,” I said, hating how mundane – how touristy that sounded. “Do you want to come?”
His gaze shifted from mine. “I have to work tomorrow. Through the end of July. The internship ends then.”
Damn. Ten days. We were leaving Florence tomorrow before lunch. After Valle, it was south to Rome and Naples and the beaches before home. Would Marcy and Lisa understand if I told them I met a boy and we fucked on the roof and I wanted to spend the rest of the trip in Florence? Stupid.
“I don’t want this to be a one night stand.” I looked up at his eyes. They were a constellation of two faint stars. They were also their own little map.
“Me neither.” I squeezed his hand. “We don’t know each other well enough, but I want to see.”
“Agreed on both counts.” He sighed listlessly. “How do we do this?
I turned to look up at the sky, tracing my way through the constellations, I thought for a few minutes. Then I began to smile.
The roof clean of the last scrap of paper, the maps in the archive room put away, Stefan in his spare shirt, we emerged from the door within a door of the museum entrance. Under my skirt I wore nothing, partly in solidarity with Stefan’s loss of underwear to cleanup duties, but mostly because my panties were tucked into his bag. A memento. And a lure. Also in his bag was a hand drawn map, made by both of us, showing the places across southern Italy I was going to be for the rest of the trip with my friends, and the times I was going to be there. No home addresses. No cell phone numbers. Not yet.
The ancient clocks struck two as he kissed me one more time in front of my pensione. Stefan knew his maps. Come August, he would find me. Then we would see.
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