Bruce, pool, Water, Column, Italy, Chaise Lounge, Sleep



David187In my dream, I awoke with pleasure and pain. My knees hurt. I was kneeling on hard concrete. The rest of me was draped across David’s lap, and a big, warm hand was slowly rubbing the back of my head. My back was hot, as though it had been subjected to the hot sun for quite a while. The air around me was oven-like, like standing in front of an open furnace. I opened my eyes and knelt upright, surprised and confused.

“Hah!” David said with a smile. “I should have made you a bet!”

I knelt there, dumbfounded. I could feel how wide my eyes were, and in the back of my head (figuratively, not where David had been rubbing) I felt a strange precariousness, as though I was standing on one foot and had to be constantly aware, or everything would tumble. There was a sense of enchantment, of a magic spell that would be broken if I acknowledged that this was not reality. I didn’t know what to say. I was shocked to be kneeling between David’s legs. My hands rested on his thighs. He was naked. I was naked. Not that I minded dreaming about David naked, but there was something almost frightening and inappropriate about our situation. I mean, I just felt…naked.

“Where are we?” I asked.

He looked at me with a half smile. “Yeah, I should have made you a bet, but you know what? I have a feeling you’d do anything I asked, bet or no bet.” His smile turned into a wry, crooked smile and he winked at me.

I stood up and just marveled at our surroundings. Behind David was a grand staircase, and at the top were two ornate double pillars standing like sentinels guarding something. They were enormous, and their size seemed to signify that they were a portal to something wondrous. I turned around, and my mouth dropped open.

We were by a huge swimming pool, rectangular in shape, but with semi-circular extensions at the smaller ends. To my left, at one end of the pool, a domed Roman temple rose above the trees. In front of the stairs leading to it, there was a statue of Neptune. He was holding his trident over the water and he was flanked by two dolphins. To my right there was another temple, though this one at first glance seemed to be a Greek temple, but upon closer examination, I could make out ornate Corinthian columns and a Latin inscription below the pediment. Directly across from me there was a massive fountain. Human figures and animals stood in a great basin lavishly decorated with gold and marble. Water spilled in a semicircular curtain into the pool, and from within the basin, columns of water shot up and cascaded into the basin and then into the pool. Behind the fountain was yet another staircase and double pillars, but there was no doubt what lay beyond. I heard myself whisper, “Oh my g-gosh!”

It was a house. A huge house. A stately villa with long, clean, horizontal lines, but the heaviness of its form was countered by large, ornate windows and colonnades on each side, and balconies and terraces. The colonnades were curtained with wisteria and ivy and tall, tapering Italian cypress trees seemed to be placed carefully, balancing the flow of lines with their deep green and their gentle, vertical lines.

“Where are we?” I exclaimed.

“See,” David said. “I told you the jet lag would hit you sooner or later. You might just as well have banged your little blond head. C’mere!”

And he grabbed me by the hips and pulled me on top of him. I was so astounded by the sights in front of me, and now David had my back pressed against his hairy chest, and his huge arms held me tight. He kissed the back of my neck. Then he lifted his legs and held my lower body in a scissor hold. I couldn’t move. He was wrapped tightly around me from behind. I was in heaven. He nuzzled my neck and my ears and I just wanted to hear him tell me. It was like unwrapping a present.

“Tell me where we are,” I said with a smile.

“You know very well—”

“Tell me again. Please.”

“You mean the address? Or—”

“Everything. Everything. We’re on Earth. Where?”

“Italy,” he said. “Umbria to be precise.”

“And what is this place?”

“The Villa Segreta. Not too far from Cannara.”

“Italy,” I whispered. “Oh I’ve always wanted to go to Italy.”

“Well, heck,” he said, his Texas accent twanging like a loose guitar string, “I know that! That’s all I heard—”

“But we’re naked!”

He loosened his grip on me and I twisted around to face him. He looked mildly confused. “Well that don’t make no never mind. We’re the only ones here now. Remember?”

“Tell me again.”

“Do you really not remember?”

“I just like hearing it.”

“Well,” he began, and he rubbed his chin. “Claudio and Maria came back from town last night with all our stuff. Claudio made you your panna cotta—”

“Panna cotta!?” I jumped up. “Panna cotta?!”

“Well will you just look at you? You’re all giddy.”

“Who’s Claudio?”

“Well, Claudio’s the head of the staff, and Maria’s the cook, but once they made all the food last night…well they’re gone. I gave them the weekend off.”

“What else did they make?”

“Well I can’t remember, Bruce! Everything you told them to make.”

“Oh boy! This is a wonderful dre—”

“But you said you wanted to cook.”

“Oh I’ll cook. I’ll cook. That’s why we’re naked! No one’s here.”

“Well folks are used to seeing me naked, but once I suggested that you drop your swim trunks, you…say…are you feeling ok?”

“Oh I’m feeling wonderful! Let’s go inside.” It was then that I felt the intensity of the heat. The air was still. There was no movement in the olive and oak and cypress trees that surrounded us. It was one of those days that would give way to a hot, sultry night…perfect for night swimming. “Can we come out here tonight? And have dessert? And drink wine? And go swimming? Naked? Will they let us do that?”

“Will who let us do what?”

“The owners. Of the villa.”

“You puddin’ head. I own the villa.”

I nearly fell over.

“You know,” he continued. “It really is getting hot out here. Maybe during your nap your little blond head got a tad roasted.”

I laughed.

“Let’s go inside,” he said, and that evil, wry smile returned to his face. “I’m sure we can think of something to do. Heh heh.” He winked at me again. And then he kissed my hand. "We gotta christen that huge bed after all.”

“Silk sheets?”

“Well, that’s what you asked for, isn’t it? And the candles. And the wine?”

I closed my eyes and grinned. My David…candles…good Italian wine…a huge bed in a huge, wonderful villa…alone.

“ ’Course, I can’t make any promises that I’ll be able to wait till tonight. I might just attack you right there on the terrace!”

“That’s ok!”

“Or maybe I’ll carry you up to the bed after lunch, and we can do my idea later tonight.”

“Your idea?” I pretended I knew. “You mean the one where…?”

“Hmm. Now see what you gone and done? You got me all excited. And you know how I am when I get excited. It’s like them old samurai warriors. Once the sword is out of the sheath, it has to do its job.”

“Is that so?”

“So you just get your little blond butt up to that room, Mister. And tonight we’ll do it my way. We’ll light up all the statues and the fountains, and have us a late night supper of fruit and bread and wine, and then…” He grabbed me by the shoulders and pressed me against his chest, and then he whispered in my ear. “…behind the waterfall, in the little grotto, with the sound of the water all around us and the lights of the pool underneath us. All night long.”