Paolo and Francesca…

a novel about beautiful people in Italy.

Tag: excerpt

interviewing Paolo.

doing some character work, which includes the fun task of interviewing Paolo Romaldo.  imagine my glee when I discovered this gem of a video on youtube:

ha ha, Dani Osvaldo talking about his tattoos and his favorite music.  apparently he is planning to have all the characters from Pink Floyd’s The Wall tattooed on his left arm.

so here is an excerpt from my interview with Paolo, a work in progress.  PR = Paolo Romaldo, I = Interviewer.

I: You’re quite involved with youth football charities, both here in Torino and in your home city of Napoli.  Can you tell us why that’s so important to you?

PR: I started playing football when I was quite young—three years old, I think.  I had a modest upbringing, and only because of the funding of the youth leagues was I able to get the start that I needed.  I’ve never forgotten that.  Particularly now, with the economy the way it is in Italy, giving children the opportunity to learn to play at a young age in a safe environment is one way I can give back.

I: That’s a lovely sentiment.

PR: Well, we’re trying to make it more than just sentimental.  Ideally, it will change the lives of these children and also improve the caliber of football in Italy by growing talent at a young age.

I: Do you want to have children yourself?

PR: Of course I want children!  I’ve always imagined a big family, three or four kids at least, coming home for dinner every night and seeing them lined up down the dinner table.  I love kids.  But I can wait a little longer, I want the situation to be right, obviously.  I wouldn’t want to have four kids with four different women.

I: [coughs] It seems you and Francesca are on the right track, though.

PR: Of course, yes, I hope so.

I: What’s one thing our readers will be surprised to learn about you?

PR: Surprised to learn about me?  That I love the opera.  I have season tickets to La Scala.

I: I’d seen photos of you and Francesca at opening night, but I had assumed that was her doing and not yours.

PR: No, no, it was the other way around.  I’ve loved the opera since I was a kid.

I: That is very surprising.  If you weren’t a football player, what would you be?

PR: I don’t know.  I’d never considered anything else.  This is what I was meant to be.  If it all changes tomorrow, I don’t know, a racecar driver.

Armani Hotel.

image via Armani Hotel Milano.

“I didn’t say I wasn’t watching.  I just wasn’t watching the game.  I was watching you.”

He leaned close to her and brushed her hair away from her face.  “Really?”

“Of course,” she answered huskily.  “I couldn’t concentrate on anything else.”

He kissed her then, gently, just her lips at first, stroking her hair as he moved deeper, coming somehow closer to her.  She felt like they should stop and look around, she was self-conscious and nervous after what he’d said about the paparazzi, but he tasted bittersweet like Fernet and she was losing herself under his hands.  She was only aware of sensations: the velvet cushions of the couch, soft and yielding as he pressed her further into them, the warmness and dampness of his breath, their quiet panting, the distant twinkling of ice in crystal.

“Do you want another drink?” he asked her.

She shook her head no.  Paolo gestured for the waiter again.

“Something else, sir?” he asked.

“I think we’ll be going upstairs,” Romaldo said.  “Just the check, please.”

“Certainly, sir.”

Paolo strode up to reception and booked a room, checking in under “Brad Pitt.”  The night clerk, a bemused art student, smiled through his floppy hair and handed him the key.  “Third floor.”

This time when they rode the elevator they were close, alone, pressed together and wild.  Romaldo slid his hands up Francesca’s legs, pulling her towards him, spreading his fingers over her bare cheeks, hooking his thumbs under the lace of her panties.  “I’m so glad you wore a skirt,” he murmured into her neck.

When the doors opened they struggled to compose themselves, stumbling out into the quiet, empty hallway.  Francesca laughed and it was low, almost guttural, as she ran towards the door of their room.  Paolo pinned her against it as he fumbled with the key; he kissed her hard and pushed the door open, propelling them into the room.

“This time I get to undress you,” he said, kneeling at her feet to unbuckle the straps on her shoes.  She balanced with her hands on his shoulders as he slipped off her Giuseppes, then he lifted her bare foot to his lips and kissed it.  She laughed.

“I’m going to fall over if you keep doing that,” she said.

“I’m going to keep doing a lot of things,” he answered into the smooth skin of her leg.  He set her foot back on the carpet and moved up her legs with his mouth, kissing her knees, pushing her feet further apart and moving in between her thighs, tickling her sensitive skin with his stubble.  She felt warm, like the Fernet was just kicking in, lightening her head and heightening all sensation.  Allowing her to experience the moment without having to think.  He inched up towards the apex of her thighs and she felt her knees weakening, dropping herself towards his mouth.  Suddenly he was out from under her, standing to face her, and he leaned in to kiss her neck as he unbuttoned the delicate buttons of her blouse.  She tossed her head back and arched her spine as he moved from her neck down to her decolletage; he pushed her blouse off her shoulders and cupped her breasts.  Through the violet lace of her La Perla bra, he tongued her nipples, circling them then nibbling, gentle at first but building, pulling at them with his teeth, while he palmed her ass and pulled her towards him, making her feel his hardness through their clothes.  She tangled her fingers in his hair, tugging until he raised his head to kiss her again, diving into her.  She reached around to the zipper at the back of her skirt but he grabbed her wrists, roughly, almost, and pulled them away.

“No,” he said.  “I undress you.”  He slid his hands under her skirt again and kneaded her cheeks, teasing under her thong with his fingers.  Urgently, she sought his earlobe and took it in her lips, sucking and flicking it with her tongue.

“Please,” she whispered breathlessly into his ear.

He reached for the zipper and undid it, and her skirt slipped to the floor.  He stepped back.  “Look at you,” he said softly.

a quick visit home.

photo via The Selby

It was imperative that she go home and change. Timo would never let her hear the end of showing up at the studio in yesterday’s clothes. She pulled into the courtyard of her building and parked the car at an angle. During the day, no one else in her building needed the space. She skipped the creaky iron elevator and ascended the curving central staircase. Francesca lived on the second floor, in an old, large, shabby apartment that at first seemed at odds with her modern and streamlined personal aesthetic. She loved its high ceilings with their faded and crumbling frescoes, the wainscoting with its deep oil stain, the slight divots in the marble of the stairs and hallways from years of people walking. The apartment was drafty, with large windows that made it too warm in the summer and too cold in the winter, but she adored the light. She had grown up in a house like this one, a decaying monument to Milan’s past, and it made her comfortable living here. Her neighbors were all older, kind people who kept to themselves, people who had lived in the building for years.

She opened her wardrobe and pulled out a fresh pair of Stella McCartney jeans and a striped sweater by Sacai. It was a chilly day in Milan, the first hint of winter in the air. She swapped her booties for red lizard flats, swiped on some mascara and lipstick, and bounded back to her car. On her way to the studio she called TImo again.
“Have you picked up lunch yet?” she asked.
“Ten minutes,” he answered.
“Good. When you go out, see if you can find a copy of that Turkish magazine. I’d like to take a look at it.”
“Already on it. They’re holding it for me at the newsstand.”
She loved him. She really, honestly loved him. Most days she was sure she would fall to pieces without the zany constancy Timo brought to her life.
But she wasn’t going to tell him about Paolo. There was nothing to tell. Her relationship with Timo had long since transgressed any professional bounds; they often confided in each other, traded tales of their exploits, or just rated men walking past while sitting in a cafe. As private as she was, Francesca trusted TImo with almost all of the intimate details of her life. But to tell him about Paolo would be like going back to secondary school, to make a big deal out of the most popular boy in school giving her a ride home on his motorcycle only to have him pretend like it had never happened. She was old enough to know not to embarrass herself.