Paolo and Francesca…

a novel about beautiful people in Italy.

Tag: Maserati

“the opera doesn’t last all night.”

The bell at her door rang shrilly; though she was expecting him Francesca was startled, and she dropped the lipstick she was applying.  Paolo rang the bell again.

“I’m coming!” she called out.

She opened the door.

“Come on!” he said, grabbing her shoulders to kiss her.  “I don’t want to be late.”

“Just a minute,” she said, turning back into the apartment.  She took her small satin Bottega Veneta minaudiere and a champagne-colored mink stole that had been her grandmother’s.  He closed the door behind her.

“You look incredible,” he said as they waited for the elevator.  “Is there a technical term for what you’re wearing?”

“It’s a jumpsuit,” she said, laughing.

“Ah, a jumpsuit,” he replied.  “It looks like it’s complicated to get into and out of.”

“Not horribly complicated,” Francesca said.

“Hopefully not too complicated for me to figure out,” he grinned.

“You do know we’re going to the opera,” she said as she climbed into the passenger seat of his Maserati.

He reached over the gearshift to stroke her leg.  “The opera doesn’t last all night.”  He turned the key in the ignition and they roared out of her drive.

[after this: trying to drive.]

trying to drive.

“I’m sure I caught you at a moment of weakness,” she said, walking her fingers up his thigh.  “And I intend to do it again.”  She marched on towards the fly of his tuxedo pants.

“I’m trying to drive,” he said, reaching over her arm for the gearshift.

“Is that a problem?” she asked, tracing her fingers around the bulge in his trousers.

“It is when you’re wearing a coverall.”

“Jumpsuit,” she corrected.

“Jumpsuit.  Whatever.  I won’t be able to get you out of it in this car, so yes, it’s a problem.”  He didn’t try to stop her hand, though, as she continued playing with his stiffening cock through his pants.

“I don’t think that’s a problem,” she purred.  “We’re almost home.”

“What do you think your uncle would say about you now?” he teased.

“Leave my uncle out of this,” she said sharply, retracting her hand.

“Whoa, wait.  I’m sorry.  I wasn’t thinking–”

“That’s just wrong, Paolo.  He’s my uncle.  It’s not funny.  That’s like saying, ‘imagine your mother watching you jerk off.'”

“I didn’t mean it like that.  I’m sorry.”  He pulled into the courtyard of her building and turned to look her in the eyes.  “I’m sorry,” he said again, more quietly.  “That was rude and out of line and now I’ve ruined the amorous mood that you had going here in the car–” and he moved closer to her face– “and I’m going to have to sleep on the couch by myself and dream about you in the next room, all warm and lithe and perfect under those sheets–” and then he kissed her, carefully at first, then probing, and reaching with his hands for her breasts.

She kissed him back, and moved her hand back to where it had been, touching him through the fine wool of his Tom Ford tuxedo.  She unzipped him and reached in to free his cock, grasping it all around and beginning to jerk him off, first slowly, then working up to a faster rhythm.  He reached in between her legs and began rubbing.

“Damn your jumpsuit,” he said raggedly.

“We’re steaming up the windows,” she observed, maintaining her steady conquest of his shaft.  She felt him tighten.

“Wait–” he said, barely able to speak.  “I don’t want to make a mess–”

She leaned over and wrapped her lips around the head of his cock.  He came almost immediately in her mouth, and stroked her hair as he leaned back in the seat.

“Oh, Cesca.”  He was still breathing heavily.  “Damn.  Oh, fuck, that was good.”

She sat up and wrapped her fur around her shoulders again.  “Let’s go inside,” she said.

He zipped up and got out of the car, and they walked across the cobblestones to the front door.  “You don’t think anyone saw that, do you?” he asked.

She looked around the courtyard and back at the car.  “Listen.”  The building was silent.  “Everyone’s asleep.  And look at those windows,” she said, pointing to the Maserati.  “You couldn’t see in them if you tried, they’re so steamy.”

Paolo grinned.  “You’re wild, you know that, don’t you?”

“You make me wild,” she whispered in his ear, leaning on his shoulder.

Uncle Marco.

image via The Sartorialist

Marco turned his wrist to look at his gold Patek Philippe watch.  “It’s past my bedtime,” he said.  “You two feel free to stay as long as you’d like, but I’m afraid I’ve got to be heading home.”  He gestured to the waiter.

“We’ve got to go, too,” Francesca said, looking at Paolo.  “Will you drop us at La Scala so we can pick up the car?”

“Of course,” her uncle replied.  “I’ll drop you home if you’d like,” he offered.  They stood and began walking towards the door.

“I’d better get the car,” Paolo said.  “Thank you, though.  And thank you for a wonderful evening.”  Francesca smiled at Paolo’s manners.

“My pleasure, young man.  My sons are going to be quite impressed that I spent so much time with a professional footballer, even if you do play for the wrong team.  You’re a fine young man.  Keep up the good work.”  He turned to Francesca.  “And you, my darling.  Don’t worry about your brother–I’ll speak with him and do what I can.”  He kissed her forehead.  The driver and the Bentley were waiting for them outside the door.  They drove the few minutes to La Scala and pulled up in front of the valet.

The driver opened Paolo’s door and he got out to retrieve his car.  “Stay here,” Marco told Francesca.  “You shouldn’t have to wait in the cold.  And I want a word with you.”  She scooted to the middle of the backseat so her uncle could see her face.

“Yes?” she asked.

“I meant what I said to Romaldo; I do think he’s a fine young man.  He’s talented, he’s loyal, and he’s obviously in love with you.  Of course, it doesn’t hurt that he sincerely loves the opera.  But be careful, my dear.  You’re more than he is.”

“I don’t think–”

“You know you are.  You’re going to break him.  Be careful.”  Francesca saw the bright lights of Paolo’s Maserati in the Bentley’s rear view mirror and heard the car’s low growl behind them.  The driver opened her door and Marco’s.  “Buona notte, my darling,” her uncle said, kissing her cheeks.  “Give my regards to your mother,” he added, as an afterthought.

“‘Notte, zio,” she said.  “Thank you.”  She trotted to Paolo’s car, where he had propped open the passenger door for her.

the morning after.

After Francesca had dressed and towel-dried her hair, she walked into the kitchen to find Paolo, shirtless, barefoot and wet-haired in jeans, standing at his big, expensive espresso machine.

“I didn’t know if you wanted cappuccino or espresso so I made both,” he said, gesturing to the two white cups, one large and one small, at the marble counter.

“Thank you,” she said, pouring the single shot into the cappuccino and giving it a quick stir.

“I don’t have anything to eat,” he apologized. “I’m rarely here, and I just get takeout when I am.”

“This is what I usually have for breakfast,”  she smiled.  They stood at opposite ends of the marble island.

“You live in Milano?” Paolo asked, beaching the silence.

“Yes, but I travel a lot, too.”

“Are you from there?”

“Yes.”

“Family still there?”

“Mostly,” she answered.

Her phone rang, and she was grateful to see it was Timo.  She could have let it go to voice mail; he would text her anyway to say whatever he had to say, but she answered to avoid continuing the conversation about her family.

“Where a-h-h-re you?” Timo asked with his favorite adopted affectation, an English accent mimicking the queen’s.

“I’m on my way in,” she fibbed.  She was, technically.  Her shoes were on, she could see the door, she was almost leaving.

“Everything from yesterday is ok, all pretty straightforward,” Timo reported.  The reason Francesca hired TImo, and the reason she loved him, was his efficiency.  He was over-the-top in his appearance and his demeanor, but in the office he was all business.  “Elena passed me a call from one of those new Turkish magazines, they want to fly you to Istanbul for some shoot on a boat.”

Francesca could tell Timo was at optimal caffeine consumption and ready to power through the day’s work, and she couldn’t give him her full attention with Paolo standing in front of her, half-naked.

“I’ll call you in ten minutes,” she told Timo, and ended the call.

“I’m sorry,” she apologized to Romaldo, and he waved her off.

“You’re busy,” he said.  “I understand.  You’re a fancy fashion photographer, you’re probably off to Ibiza with Kate Moss.”

“I am,” she answered.  “We go every month for the Fuck Me I’m Famous party.”

“I knew I’d seen you somewhere before,” he grinned, and standing behind her, kissed her warmly on the back of her neck.

She sighed, and looked at her watch.  “I need to call a taxi.  My car is at the stadium.”

“You’re lucky–I’m going that way.  Let me grab a shirt.”

“Do you really have to?” she asked, smiling.  He turned her around and kissed her again.

They rode down in the elevator the same way they’d ridden up; silently, separately, eyes fixed on the floor.  In the car, he kept the stereo and they didn’t speak.  Francesca looked out the window, trying to recognize anything along the way, trying to remember the same ride just twelve hours earlier.  Paolo drummed his fingers on the steering wheel randomly.

“So, you’re going straight back to Milan,” he said as they pulled into the huge stadium lot.

“I am, I’m afraid.  Back to work.  But it was lovely meeting you.”

“It was a pleasure, principesa.  I think this is you,” he said, pulling alongside her little red Alfa.

They got out of the car and she pulled her keys from her Bottega hobo.

“Keep in touch,” he said, and kissed her gently on each cheek.

“Ciao, Paolo,” she said, getting into her car.

Timo.

Tuesday morning she came into the studio and Timo was aflutter the minute she walked through the door.

“You got a mystery letter,” he said, waving a FedEx envelope in her face.  “I figured it was business so I opened it.  Two tickets to the Inter game tomorrow night!  You are a sly fox.”

“Wait, let me see,” she told him.

“Third row center field!”

“Let me see it.  I have no idea what you’re talking about.”  Reluctantly, TImo handed her the envelope.  She reached in and sure enough, there were two tickets, third row center field, to the Inter-Juventus game the next evening.  Nothing else.  The FedEx label said it had been sent from a shipping shop in Turin.

“Well?” Timo asked.

“Well what?  You’ve seen it–no note, no return address, no name.  Your guess is as good as mine.”

“Let’s see, I’m just curious.  We were in Turin last week ago shooting at the stadium where Juventus plays.  You yelled at a bunch of football players to get off the field during your shoot.  You showed up in Milan at noon the next day.  And now you get tickets to go see the best game of the season in the best seats in the arena.”

“How would you know they’re the best seats in the arena?”  TImo was notoriously ignorant of all sport except when the players undressed.

Ugh, I bought tickets for my brother for Christmas last year, they were like 500 Euros.  Each.”  He raised one eyebrow at her and paused for effect.  “But you’re stalling.  Trying to change the subject.”  He walked over to her computer.  “Let’s think of who could have wanted to send Francie tickets to the game,” he said, opening up her web browser.  “Oh look,” he said.  “The Juventus roster is in your history.  That makes it easy.”

“Timo!  Stop!”

“And you only looked at one player…Paolo Romaldo.  Nice choice.”

“Timo.”  She was furious.

“I’m hurt, you didn’t tell me anything.  I thought we were close,” he pouted.

“There’s nothing to tell,” she began.

“There’s always something to tell,” he wheedled.  “Anyway, I knew you liked him.”

“You did not,” she said indignantly.

“Did too,” he answered.  “You took a picture of him and it was on the card with the rest of the shoot.”  He flipped through some files and pulled it up on the screen.  “See?”

There it was, the shot she’d snapped while he was walking away across the field, shiny hair and tan legs and a hint of that magnificent ass under his shorts.

“Can you blame me?” she smiled.

Timo sat down on the couch and crossed his legs.  “So?  Dish.”

“I think I’d like a coffee first.”

“So go get one!” he said, gesticulating towards the espresso machine.  “I’ll have one, too.  No foam.  Although, maybe this is a story that needs foam…”

“Enough.”

“Fine, no foam.  You don’t like foam anyway.”

She stood at the Jura waiting for their coffees.  “You could give me the preamble,” Timo said.

“It was like you said.  I yelled at them for being on the field and interrupting us, the one guy started talking to me–”

“–Paolo,” Timo interjected, purring the name.

“Yes, Paolo,” Francesca continued.  “He asked me to meet him for a drink after they were done and we went to a little cafe and had a drink–”

“What did you get?”

“A spritz.  We both had spritzes.”

“That’s so cute.  A spritz.  That’s what I used to get when I would go out on dates in high school.”

“Do you want to hear the rest of the story?”

“I can only imagine what’s going to happen next.  Maybe you’ll watch Titanic and share popcorn.”

“As a matter of fact, that’s exactly what we did.”

“I hope you two wait until you get married,” Timo squealed.

“You’ll notice I refrained from asking you about your dates in high school.”

“All older men.  They thought I was worldly beyond my years for Urbe.  Anyway.”

“Anyway.”

“So you had your spritz, and he had his spritz, and then you had his spritz, and then he had your spritz…”

“God, you are insufferable.”

“Oh, I”m sorry, did he spritz on you?  Could he not make you spritz?  Is that what happened?  Please, carry on.”

Francesca was laughing so hard she was shaking.  “I can’t decide if spritz is a good thing or a bad thing,” she said.

“I think it’s kind of a personal preference.”

“I’m trying to remember if we even finished our spritz,” she said vaguely.  “I think we may have sped off to his apartment and left the spritz on the table.”

“What kind of a place did he take you where they let you leave spritz on the table!”  They were both howling.

“The waiter knew him.  I think he’d spritzed there before,” Francesca said, deadpan.

“And then he took you to his apartment.”

“Right.”

“Did he drive?” Timo asked.

“Yes.”

“What kind of car?”

“Maserati.”

“Oooh, what color?”

“Dark blue.”

“I bet he has a big penis,” Timo said.  “Two door or four?”

“Relevance?”

“None, just curious.”

“Two,” Francesca answered.

“Fine.  Good.  Where does he live?”

“Somewhere in Turin?” Francesca answered.  “I don’t know.  I don’t really know the city.”

“Apartment or house?”

“Apartment.  Loft.”

“Loft!  I love a loft.  So much light in a loft.  Did you tell him you work in a loft?”

“No.  It’s not really a loft.”

“I tell people we work in a loft,” Timo said.  “Look around.  It’s a loft.  Light, airy, exposed columns.  Loft.”

“His apartment was a real loft.”

“What was it like?”

“Light, airy, exposed columns,” Francesca answered.  “No, really.  White.  Contemporary art.  Extremely tidy.”

“Could you imagine yourself living there?”

“Stop it,” she said.  “You’re getting way ahead of yourself.”

“I’m just trying to piece together the series of events that culminated in these ridiculous tickets being delivered to our office today.”

There was a quiet moment.  “It was amazing,” Francesca said wistfully.  “He knew just what I wanted.  Or he wanted what I wanted.  We both wanted the same thing.  We just fit together, like–”

“Like a plug and an electric socket,” Timo finished.

Francesca groaned audibly.

“I’m happy for you,” Timo said.

“I didn’t think I’d hear from him again,” Francesca said.

“Well, you didn’t, not exactly.  The tickets could be from his secret deranged stalker wife.  She could be sitting one seat over waiting to stab you.”

“True.  I suppose there’s several possibilities.”

“And we haven’t even touched on the most important question,” Timo added.

“Which is?”

“Who’s going to go with you to the game.”

“I suppose I should ask Cristiana,” Francesca said.  “She loves football.  And Giovanni hates it so they never go.”

“Sure, she loves football.  But then you’d have to explain the whole story of how you came into possession of two amazing seats at a football game and it would be awkward for you to have to tell her a week later that you never heard from him again.”

“Hey!”  Francesca glared at him.

“However, I already know the whole story so you wouldn’t have to explain anything.  I would just sit next to you and wave a little flag and go home when the game was over.”

“I should probably ask my brother,” Francesca mused.  “I bet he would love to go to an Inter match.”

“Your brother?  He’ll never get out of the house.  You know what his wife is like, if he goes anywhere she has to go with him and if she can’t go with him she has to get a babysitter so she can go out, too, so he’s not having more fun without her, and it’s too late to get a babysitter for tomorrow night.  It’s too late for anything for tomorrow night,”  TImo sighed.  “And you’re forgetting that he might tell your mother.”

“Good point.  You’re probably busy tomorrow anyway, though.”

“Nothing I couldn’t cancel,” Timo replied.  “Come on, we can get Tonio to come here and do our hair together.  I promise I won’t say a word.”

At least she could be sure of that.  When they were together in the studio, Timo was out of control, but with anyone else, outside the studio, he was a vault.

“Be happy, Francie!  This is exciting!  It’s not every day the best fuck of your life turns out to be a millionaire celebrity.  This is like better than Jude Law!”

Francesca raised an eyebrow.  Jude Law was Timo’s ideal.  “Better than Jude Law?”

“Better for you,” Timo edited.