Sunday, August 2, 2009

Riccardo's "First Dance"

An excerpt from Chapter 1 of Apostrophe--Tales of Longing and Possession
by Riccardo Berra

There were six inches of crusted snow outside. Icicles clogged the gutter and several dropped and shattered as the heavy carriage door rolled aside with a rusty protest. Two teenagers wriggled through the narrow opening. Their breath hung in the cavernous, unheated space. The boy wrestled the door shut behind them. He stopped, cocked his head, in an attitude of frozen listening.
"What's wrong?" she asked.
"Then why’re ya all frozen like that? Ya cold?
"Quiet Jen, you think I want my sisters barging in on us? Or my Mum?"
"Uh. Okay. That Christmas present I told you about. Uh ..." She snapped her gum and gave him a cute little sideways look.
His face brightened. "It's cold in here. You cold?"
"Nuh. I'm used to it."

She’s a big girl, big for 15, tall, with a sweet, long face, long, blonde hair, broad shoulders and oversized hips, big-boned, but not so much in the bust department. He'd seen smaller girls with bigger tits, but she had on a fuzzy white sweater under a shapeless navy peacoat and a fuzzy powder blue beret, an attempt at sophistication that betrayed her for the homemade cookies and milk country girl she’d been until the summer her father lost his Ohio farm. Yep, lost it to foreclosure and was forced to move his family to New York, to a tiny apartment over a hardware store on nearby Elder Street.

Jenny Silas was dreadfully unhappy at school. She told Riccardo that the girls at BTH had dubbed her Elly Mae. And her so naïve that she didn’t even catch the barb in the joke until her daddy brought home a TV from the shop, the first in the Silas family. When she saw “The Beverly Hillbillies” she cried for a week.

But to Riccardo, who the Tech girls had always considered a major nerd, she was cute. He had spied her out on the first day of school and he liked her fresh, naïve look. He liked the fact she didn't use makeup like the city girls, all sharp angles and lurid colors like baboons in heat. He liked that she didn't talk all brassy and pushy, but soft and uninflected. He really liked her little girl face and big girl body. He saw wheat fields in her hair and obsessively imagined how fresh she'd smell when he'd finally get to kiss her.

The BTH jocks and studs dismissed her as simple and ignored her, but Riccardo struck up a conversation. They were neighbors. He walked her home. They made a date. Dating the new girl is full of advantages. For one, she had no way of knowing that all his previous dates had begun or ended disastrously. He was like 0 for 4. Fiasco city. And she, angel, was 'just jumpin' out her skin happy' to be taken out, the first since her move to the city. Taken out by a senior yet and to a "serious date movie," the new Jack Nicholson film, "One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest." She told her mother it was a musical.

During the previews, she excused herself, went to the bathroom and slipped her bra out from under her sweater. When he snuggled up, she guided his hand so he’d know. He didn't try to go any further. She hated when boys tried to tunnel their hands down your jeans when you’re sitting. Really! What do they expect? Odd at first, that her mother, so old fashioned, who made her wear long skirts everywhere, had insisted on jeans for dates. No skirts. Tight Levis. Now she understands why. Yet this boy seemed content stroking the soft denim contours of her leg and the outer swell of her soft, silky breasts through her sweater. She liked what he was doing to her breasts, especially during the sad and the sexy parts of the movie. She clamped her thighs together painfully during the love scenes. He grazed her nipples with his thumb. She sobbed as the credits rolled. The eerie haunting music like a ghost crying. The barren early morning landscape. It was all so sad.

Pressed together in his father's studio, he inhaled her woman's perfume, not the good stuff, but like Avon, way too flowery and a bit stale, far too old a scent for her. His suspicion, that she'd probably palmed it from her mother's dresser, was confirmed when she pulled a small 50's style vial from her purse, dabbed the amber liquid on her sternum, to her wrists, rubbing them together with a circular motion. She held her hands out with a saucy ...
"You like?"
He didn't but he said he did and slipped through her outstretched arms for an enthusiastic clumsy kiss which began at her juicy fruit lips and slid precipitously down her chin to the spot at the base of her neck that she’d just anointed with the dimestore scent.
She gasped as forcefully as if he'd punched her and immediately molded the front of her body against his. Shaking, he slid his hand to her right breast. Just softly, around the outer curve of her little bud, then bolder, rougher touches than at the theater. She didn't push the roving hand away but gasped again and returned his kiss with bone crunching force. The trapped hand tried but couldn't quite effect a clumsy circle under the coat, but his index finger did find the hard protrusion of her nipple and rejoiced, having heard from others that this was the surest route to third base.

Finally she came up for air and spoke.
“Not so rough silly. I'm a girl, not a cow.”
“A beautiful girl.” He gently fondled her shoulders under the coat.
No I'm not.“ Pulling away.
“Yes you are.” Drawing close.
“You're saying it 'cause …” Twisting her head.
'Cause it's true. I told you the first day …" Pulling her to him with both hands under her coat.
"You said I was pretty, not beautiful.”
“Well, I meant it. I mean what I say.”
“What you were doing, is like okay." She takes his hand from her hip and puts it back up her sweater. "Just go gentle. I just had my … Oh, never mind." She blushes fiercely.
He laughs. A short nervous bark.
"It’s not funny. I'm, I need to leave."
“No, no, It’s funny, but only 'cause I got three sisters. And a mother. There's nothing about women’s stuff, I don't know.”
“Nothing? You say your father made statues of naked girls. And he let you watch. I don't believe it.”
“Sculptures. He was world famous. Sort of. It's all true.”
Her fingers sort of accidentally grazed his zipper. His 17-year old cock jumped like a caught fish in his pants. "It didn't make you, y'know? …"
"Jen, I was 10. But yeah, I guess it did something."
"Show me what he did. He took their clothes off?"
"Nah, they undressed themselves. In the back bathroom. They wore robes."
"But they were naked?"
She dropped her coat on the small modeling dais where he stood. She pulled the fuzzy white sweater over her head and dropped it on the coat. "Show me what he did. Did he touch 'em?" Her small pale breasts were dominated by lush, prominent aureoles. Her long nipples pointed sweetly right at him in the cold.

He takes her hand and she steps up onto the dais. Standing behind her, his prick screaming rebellion, straining against his jeans, her jeans, drawn magnetically to her pliant bottom, he slides his hand from her firm extended nipples, down her belly to the front of her jeans. She shivers as his caress passes under her soft, warm tummy bulge, its promise a finger’s width beyond reach. He struggled in vain to work the button through the first eyelet.
Fucking button fly jeans. Humiliating. Exasperating.
“My hand is cold.”
“Silly, let me.” She unbuttons her jeans. Pop. Pop. And pop, the last, the fly of her jeans flared plantlike about her big girl hips and the vee of white cotton panties. Impatient, he wrestles both jeans and panties down about her ankles. He'd been right. Her thighs smell like hay and Ivory soap.

"They stood like this," his voice quavered humiliatingly while his hands caress and position her hips. She steps free of her jeans, a naked farm girl, naked as the moon, his farm girl, her big woman body bathed in the spill of streetlights and what Pop had called la luna pallida. There was no getting his clothes off fast enough. In the corner, on a box, there was a dusty horse blanket he’d placed nearby for just this purpose. While she shifted about in what she imagined “model’s poses,” he turned away to cover the shame of fumbling with the condom. It was more difficult than he’d ever imagined it would be.
“Did, they lie down?” Answering her own question, she reclined on the dais.
“Sometimes.” Shivering and as delicately as he could, he eased his body on top of hers, drawing the musty blanket over them.

She pressed his hips to hers and the steamy warmth of their contact against the chill was like the click of a shutter. Beneath her florid perfume, now, the true female smell emerges, familiar from a life with four women, but not like this, not understood until now. Though she’d spread her legs wide, his throbbing cock thrashed helplessly in the rough neighborhood of where he knew it was supposed to go, but he didn’t quite know what to do next. The unfamiliar grit of his pubic hair against hers as he moved against her made them both gasp. Friction, fragrance and wetness, like sweat, like honey, like pee, like not.

“Did he do what you’re doing? Doing to me?” She whispered in his ear, inserting her tongue after the words.
“My dad wasn’t like that.” He flinched, a bit insulted and in response her body stiffened.
“I don’t think. I think, Ricci, we should stop.”
“What do you mean?” That word no longer in his vocabulary.
“I’ll never forgive myself, if I you, y’know, and you turn mean like all the other kids.”
“Jen, those kids are assholes. I would never be mean to you, I swear it.”
“You swear?”
He did. Again.
“Awright then,” she sighed, “Here’s your Christmas present.”

Her body relaxed but her hands clamped around his buttocks and pulled him in, inside her big farm girl hips before his brain could even register what happened. He’d barely had time to move, her three enthusiastic pumps to his tentative one. He came in thirty seconds, surprised frankly, that he’d held out that long. The urge to explode the second he entered her, the juicy smacking report of it and the slick gliding, soaring pleasure were over, overwhelming, building beyond enduring, more delicious than the most delicious wet kiss, but too much for so short an interval, the musical cascade of moans and sighs and the bursting gush of fluids, over—over far too soon, far faster than it had begun. Faster than a heartbeat. His own seemed to be just restarting as he lay panting on top of her, listening to and feeling the racy flutter in her chest. He kissed the glow on her neck and ears gratefully. She massaged his shoulders, such big warm hands, so soft, their heat imprinted on the dimpled shivering skin on his back.

“This isn’t the first time for me, you know.”
“I know.”
“You could tell?”
“Of course I could. I am a senior. But I don’t care.”
“The guy back in Ohio. My ex really … we …”

As good as this feels, this slip-sliding against each other in the pool between their thighs, something is different. Not quite … He reaches down and confirms with absolute horror that his penis, still inside her, yes, but rapidly coming home, is now most certainly unsheathed with nothing but her syrupy wetness bathing it which means, no, Jesus Fucking Christ, no, the rubber, no, is still … which meant he’d not put it on right after all, no, which meant no, no, no!

She’s so incredibly soupy down there, he easily reenters her with clawing, panicked fingers which she enjoys actually his desperate fumbling panicked movement, white hot, no oh no. Finally he reaches the lost object awash like a jellyfish floating on a tide, shocked that she doesn’t notice.
She’s just kissing his ear, rubbing his hair, talking something, saying, what, he can’t hear for the red roar in his head.

“… Then he says he wants to come and visit me. I like I tell him no, but he says like he won’t leave it that way and I just don’t know what to do.” His heart hammers away at his chest as if it means to escape his chest wall. Dear merciful God, no and she yammers away like some twelve year old on a playground. He summons both breath and his deepest voice.

“Tell him he can’t. Tell him you’re my girlfriend now.” They’re eye to eye, nose to nose, sharing the same air, lips almost touching, so they do and he kisses her decisively.
“You’ll do it?”
“Yup.” She kisses him and presses his head solicitously between her sweet little breasts.
“You’re different."
"Really. Different from every boy I ever met.” His dick clicks to life again. The tidal lull of her heartbeat in his head torn away from her breast by the insistent creak and rattle of the carriage house door, its protest definitely not caused by the wind. They barely had time for terrified glances before Carol, the youngest of his older sisters, stepped quickly inside, flashlight in hand. “Who’s there fuckwads?” she barked as the light swung to and fro in the darkness. “I have a gun and I’ve called the cops.”

As the two teens scrambled to their clothes, Carol skipped around the corner with her dancer's moves. The beam of her light caught Jenny’s sweater going over her head and the curve of Riccardo’s back as he fumbled with his zipper. When Carol flipped on the studio’s overhead light, stark blue white fluorescence obliterated the darkness and all other paler illumination.

“Hi Jenny, Ricci’s gonna walk you home in a second, hon. But I need to talk to him. Over here. Now!”
Carol’s knuckled fists were pressed against her hips.
“Okay,” Jenny's tremulous response barely audible.

Riccardo sauntered up to his sister, hands thrust in his pockets, trying to affect a swagger he did not feel. His heart rate soared even higher as he crammed the unspeakable rubber into his back pocket, praying Carol hadn’t seen him do it, praying so hard for so many things at that particular moment. She jerked him in by the scruff of his unbuttoned shirt, so that her lips practically touched his ear.

“Nice girl you have there.” Carol jerked her chin over at the girl whose cornflower eyes were as wide as saucers.
“I know.”
“A nice young girl, Ricci Dicky. How old is she? What if mom or the police? …”
“Just try it Carol, I’ll kill you. I’ll tell her you smoke.”
“That I smoke? So funny. Oh the trouble you’re in little brother.”
“I swear, Carol.”
A frown creased her pretty face.
His eyes searched hers.
“Next time, I tell mom, then everybody knows everything. We’re worried 'bout you.”
The walk back to Elder Street was so bitter, as if all the ample heat reserves they’d generated had been drained from their bodies by terror. They shivered, walking arm in arm. They kissed sadly, soulfully, chastely at the bottom of her landing. He waited outside, staring at the unlit Silas Hardware sign until he heard her apartment door unlock and admit her.

Jenny didn’t return to school after the New Year’s break.

When she didn’t return after President’s Day. Riccardo began to sink into the dark pool of his worst fears. For seniors, this was supposed to be a time of looking forward, to graduation, to college, to a boundless life beyond, but Riccardo, in private moments, found himself circling back time and time again to the dark of the carriage house and the reckless heat of that cold January night.

Winter gave way to Spring. Forsythia bloomed out on the Promenade and flowers sprouted from window boxes. Senior Trip. Senior Pride. Seniors with senioritis extended Spring Break well into May. His report card came the Friday before graduation rehearsals. Straight A’s but what did it matter? Carol found him in his room, toying with a small cactus like statuette Pop had given him shortly before his death. Dressed in a tight miniskirt, a wild yellow, blue and red pop-art print number with flared sleeves and a hem that cut across midthigh, Carol was made up to disco. She regarded the crumpled report card on his desk with a snort of derision, but something in his eyes stopped and melted her. She sat on the bed next to him and crossed her long legs. He spoke without looking up.

“You look nice. Going out?”
“Yeah. You’re the one who should be celebrating.”
“Don’t feel like it.”
“Don't feel like it? Maybe you will. I have news.”
“I ran into Mrs. Silas at the market.”
“God. Oh God.”
Riccardo hung his head. He felt physically sick. Everything rushed up to this moment.
“Jenny ran off.”
“Ran off?”
“Yep. Back to Holmes County wherever. She has a boyfriend there.”
“I know.”
“You know she’s pregnant?”
A long, terrible silence, then his strangled "Yes."

Riccardo's fingers had turned to wax and the precious little porcelain slipped from his grasp, but Carol with her dancer’s sweet reflexes, snatched it in midair. She reached across him, the most heavenly thing he’d ever smelled and set the irreplaceable memento of his father's love back on his bed table. Her voice barely registered over the blackness building inside him.

“Yup, pregnant, eloped, married.”
“Married? What are you saying?”
“That’s she’s due in January.”
“God. Oh God.” His vision tunneled. He wasn't going to vomit. He was going to black out.
“Jesus, Mary, Joseph, that’s what’s been eating you?”
“What the helldaya think? Who else knows?”
“What’ll I do?”
“Nothing. Cause you're not an elephant.”
“You’re not an elephant? Are you?”
“Fine. Make fun. You’re so cold.”
“You’re … not … an … elephant. Get it?”
“Oh. Jezus H, Ricc. Do the math. Count the months.”
“Oh. Oh. Oh. Oh my God. Oh my God. Then I can’t. It’s not ...”
“That's right!”
“Oh my God!” Riccardo collapsed on his bed. His breath, just seconds ago strangled in his throat, now came in long, intoxicating waves. Carol gave him a sincere little hug.
“Poor baby brother. All twisted up. Fuckin’ forget about her.”
“Carol, I can’t.”
“Sure you can. She’s another cute, dumb little hick. Knocked up by another hick with a hick baby bun in the oven. And it’s not yours.”
“I know. But that’s not fair. She was different.”
“Fair? Different? Different like you working the hardware counter with three mouths to feed and no future? Instead of going to UC Fucking LA. You are so lucky.”
“I know.”
“Well I know too. So be cool little brother. Go out. Get crazy. Be a stupid kid while you still can.”
“Yeah, right. Carol? He sat up and took his sister’s hand.
“On the house. You don’t gotta lotta time. Make the best of it.”
“Right. So you?” He waved his hands at her disco outfit.
“Me? What about me?”
“Umm. Way you’re dressed you need a bodyguard.”
“That you? Ricci Berra, protector of maiden’s honor. That's funny.” Like gum, the tease snapped right back into her voice and he was stung.
“Fine. Then who looks out for you?”
“Me. I look out for myself, pally, always have. And because you need me, I look out for you sometimes.” She stands now, tall and imposing. Gorgeous. The heroine of her own play. His eyes don’t rise above her hemline.
A car horn sounds urgently in the street below.
“Gotta go. I didn’t put the food away. I told mom you’d do it.”
“I’ll do it.”
She kisses the top of his head. She skips out of his room.

From the livingroom, his mother’s old turntable scratches out a show tune he doesn't recognize. She’s singing along.
She stops and calls to him.
“Riccardo, bambino, vieni qui.”
"I’m coming mamma."


  1. I wish we had known each other when we were as youthful as you and Jenny were then. This section of your novel never ceases to touch me as I have read few erotic novels that depict the 'first dance' in such detail, as if the reader is a voyeur spying from a crack in the barn door. My 'first dance' was with my husband, long before marriage, when we were both very young. There were many parallels to your experience, my darling--at first joy at finally ridding myself of the curse of virginity, then the embarrassments and disappointments that inevitably follow.

    Our time together proves that sex definitely improves with age and experience! In my next post, if you permit, I will write of my first time. It would be, as you Americans say, good therapy. But for now you must be patient-:) After a short side trip to Amalfi, I am back now in Roma dealing with urgent family affairs. Still I would welcome you. We could slip away, make another side trip to Capri where my cousin has a hillside villa near to the original Villa Jovis built by the emperor Tiberio. How is New York this August? Sofi and I talked last night and she tells me she is away with Andrew for the weekend so maybe you are a little lonely? My love stays with you wherever I go, for this separation is the greatest pain I've ever known.

    Baci, baci, con amore


  2. Ciao Ricc, I want to share my first time with you and Sofi. It is not tender like this one of yours above. Don't be shocked.