I was loving that afterglow thing after we’d made love. Tony had been so passionate. Sex had never been a problem between the two of us and often it was pretty good. Occasionally your eyes would roll back it was so good. Only three or four times had it been explosive like last night! After a few hours…yes, hours we finally had to get some sleep. Tired, but not really sleepy, I laid there. Tony was resting his head on my chest as I played with his soft hair.
“Why is your hair so soft?” I asked quietly.
He chuckled. “It just is.”
I gave a lock a little tug which got me a little yelp. “I’ve seen other Italian’s hair. It’s coarse, so why is yours not?”
He looked at me smiling. “That extremely expensive shampoo you won’t use, that’s why.”
I reached up to touch my hair.
“Oh, no.” Tony said quickly pulling my hand down. “You don’t need it. Yours is soft already. That’s the Scotsman in you.” Then he scooted up higher. “Mitch, you know my past. I’ve loved before…”
I saw his face, he was being very sincere, but I was going to stop him. “Tony…”
“Let me finish.” He said calmly. “I’ve had sex with many people. But I can say, I’ve never been in love…until I met you.”
I smiled as he said that. “Of course.” I nodded. “We were made to be together.” I saw his confused look. “Tony, I really can smell you. I’ve never gotten that from anyone else. It’s strong, like it was made to make me fall in love with you. I wasn’t kidding when I said, that first day, that Sunday, only seeing you and I knew, not even haven spoken, I knew you were going to be important to me.”
Tony smiled as I said that and added. “Know, when I saw your face as you asked me to move. I did, too.” He laughed a little. “Then when you told everyone there about losing the war and get over it. I was hooked.” Then he grinned. “Do you know, I haven’t been taking my medications anymore?”
I smiled wider hearing that. “I noticed I didn’t see the bottles, yes.”
He shook his head. “No nightmares, no losing myself in images, hearing it over and over in my head. I’m happy.” He kissed me gently. “I can honestly say, that’s because of you.” He sighed. “I will admit it. I am trying to impress you with all this…” he saw my objection coming. “…I know, I know. You don’t need to be impressed, you’re happy with me the way I am.” He smiled. “I never tried with anyone else.” He shrugged. “Not with Jean or Luke. Jean was just…a friend that got in trouble with me. People after that would like me or didn’t I didn’t really care.” He grimaced a little. “That’s callous, isn’t it?”
I gave a grudging nod. “Yes.”
“I wanted to impress my parents.” He admitted. “And I will say I enjoyed pissing your Aunt Mary off.”
I laughed at that. “So why did you keep saying you weren’t rich?”
He looked surprised. “Because it was pissing you off! I didn’t want to lose you.”
I smiled. “I was not pissed off.”
He nodded. “You were so! You saw my car and immediately had a reaction. I feared you won’t give me another look if I said I had money.”
“So you lied.” I said evenly.
He shook his head. “I did not.” He thought a second. “By terms in New York, I am not rich. I’m getting back to that now, but I would be considered comfortable by New York standards. In South Carolina, I am.” Then he looked at me seriously. “Why does it bother you that I have money?”
Now it was my turn to explain it. “I was raised by a very conservative man.” I chuckled. “Scottish people are often considered frugal. That was a trait Dad carried. Like, he would see two shirts for sale. One is five dollars, the other in ten. He doesn’t look at the quality of stitching or the fabric. He stops at the price and would buy the five dollar shirt not worrying that he’ll have to replace it in a few months, verses a few years with the ten dollar shirt.” I laughed thinking of things my father had done. “He refused to buy a Cadillac because of what people would think he was flaunting it. You saw our house. It was warm in winter and cool in summer, but as far as how it looked…that wasn’t a consideration.”
Tony nodded resting on his elbow as he looked down at me. “It was comfortable.”
“When I took you to my house that first time, I was worried you would reject me because of where I lived. But you stayed.” I ran fingers in his hair. “Why is that?”
Tony smiled. “Because you presented me with a person that didn’t care. You are what you are. You didn’t try to impress me. I found that very sexy.” Then he got closer, kissing me. “And you have never changed. I wanted to know you.” He chuckled. “You were refreshing. Genuine. I was interested in seconds of meeting. I was falling in love that afternoon. I knew I was loving you by Tuesday.” Then he became serious. “I wasn’t joking when I told you I was a slut.” He said sadly.
I frowned. “Tony…”
He grinned. “There you go again, let me finish.” He resumed his more serious look. “For several years after Jean and I broke up…” he shrugged. “…even before we did, I didn’t care who I was with. There were dozens of men, most I never bothered to even get a name. They were nice looking and that was all that mattered, be it the guy at the end of a bar, or even in a grocery store. We just…did it. My heart was never in it.” He couldn’t look me in the eye when he confessed this. “Then the attack on September 11th forced me to look at my life and what I was doing.” Then he looked at me. “I saw I had nothing and no one in my life.” Then he chuckled. “So, when I came to Charleston, I vowed to myself I wasn’t going to do the same thing ever. Then…there you were!” He looked intently in my eyes. “The sweetest, kindest man I never expected to meet. I told you the truth and you didn’t run away. You loved me.”
I nodded. “That was easy to do. You’re a good man, Tony. I feel honored that you love me.” I wrapped my arms around me. “I still am dealing with the idea that you married me. It’s unbelievable. You chose me.” I chuckled. “I proposed to you first by Bubba on the way to meet my crazy family. You said yes, but then, you propose to me. On a magical night on a carriage ride through Central Park on a snowy night! And gave me a ring! That was so romantic.” I held up my right hand. “I’m just dealing with the incredible idea. All the guys in the world and you chose me.” I kissed him gently. “You’re an amazing man, Tony. I adore you.”
He smiled. “You see?” He grinned. “You don’t just love me, you adore me!” He shook his head. “I’ve never been adored before. How can I help but love you?”
Then I looked at the pile of clothes on the floor. “Now, about that Roman soldier’s uniform.” I grinned. “It’s real!”
He nodded. “Of course it’s real. We’re in Rome!” Then he shook his head. “The hotel had connections and I got one through them. I told you being a member of their club had perks.” He ran a hand over my chest. “We’re going to Milan in the morning. Our train leaves at 9:30, so we might want to sleep some.”
“As long as you’re here.”
The morning came again and we got up and ate breakfast and went to the train station. It would take about three hours to get there. The train was this red, almost bullet shaped thing. We left on time. I had never traveled by train before, so I was pleased at the comfortable seats and accommodations. We did have a stop in Bologna and Vernoa, but we arrived in Milan about 1:30pm. Our departure time was also nine o’clock. We had a few hours.
Milan was a nice city. It had to be. This was, at least according to Tony, the place to go to buy fashion. You wouldn’t buy a thing if it wasn’t clean, pretty and nice. He took me to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. This was supposed to be a mall. One of the oldest malls in the world! Mall? HA! It looked more like a church inside to me. Elegant. Glass covered walks that looked like you walked through a town, only covered by the glass roof. That’s because if was! We headed to the Ristorante Galleria for lunch. Then we hit the stores! I was amazed at them. This wasn’t an outlet! Nowhere near it! These were high end clothiers. And Tony loved to look. I hated shopping, remember? I comforted myself telling myself I wasn’t holding a purse while my wife was shopping. Tony was having a grand time. To my joy, I found they did have plenty of jeans and t-shirts. But that wasn’t enough. No, I had to have a suit. Tony insisted. It was nice, but really? Me? But I didn’t give him a hard time about it. I hate trying things on. I didn’t have to. This man measured me and Tony then got things he knew would fit. I could try them on if I wanted to, but I shook my head. “I trust you.” I did wonder why Tony needed his inseam measured twice. He didn’t grow and I saw him write it down. If he tried a third time, I was going to stop him.
After nearly five hours! Tony was hungry again, thank god. We again ate at a nice restaurant, then took the train back to Rome.
We entered out suite again and I was glad to be back. It was exhausting all this shopping. This was one of the few nights we collapsed in bed and didn’t make love. We were too tired.
In the morning Tony woke me gently. “I hope this has been a good week.”
I frowned. “How could be otherwise? You were with me.” Then I pulled him close to me. “I will confess. This was a better week. Italy is wonderful.”
He smiled. “Scotland was nice, too.”
I nodded. “It was nice. But this was much better. You know it.”
“So what do you want to do these last two nights here?”
I looked surprised at him. “No plans?” I grinned as he shook his head. “Well, then…” I said pulling him into a kiss. “…I say we stay here. It’s a great suite and we really haven’t spent that much time at the hotel. We can take it easy. Make love. Just enjoy being together.”
He kissed me gently. “I’d like that.”
I nodded. “We can do whatever you want. If you want to we can walk about town more, but no hurry.” He smiled as he kissed me deeply. We made up for not making love the night before.
We had neglected working out the past two weeks and there was a fitness center, so we went there. Then Tony said he’d be right back and vanished a few minutes. I was beginning to get concerned but relaxed when I saw him come back.
“Tomorrow we have a spa date.”
“Spa?” I asked.
He nodded. “The whole works. Skin peels, detoxification, massages, facials…all of it.”
“I see.” I said uncertain what to expect.
“You’ll love it.” Tony said kissing me quickly. “Let’s go swimming!” He said taking my hand and almost dragged me behind to the indoor pool.
“We don’t have suits!” I stated as we went.
“They sell them!”
“No speedos!” I growled.
Spending time with Tony was always great. We shared space willingly. We learned things about each other almost daily. It was at dinner that night I noticed again something the caught my eye.
As we ate, I noticed Tony wince a little as he swallowed. Then he went on.
“Is there something I should know?” I asked him. “You’ve done it before. Sometimes I see you swallow and it looks like it hurts.”
He smiled and shook his head. “It’s nothing.”
I frowned. “I don’t care if you merely have a hangnail. I’m not some girly flower that needs protecting. Is there something I should know?”
He sighed. “I have achalasia.” He shrugged. “It’s just something I inherited from Dad. He has it too. Sometimes whatever I eat, my throat doesn’t relax to swallow. I’ve had it since birth. It’s no big deal.”
I nodded. “Now was that so hard?” I grinned taking his hand. “Now, I won’t react to it.”
“Well, it’s not a hangnail.” He chuckled.
We did have the spa treatment the next day. And I was looking very uneasy until the women and men were actually doing all…that. The facial, the body wrap thing…it was nice. The massage was very relaxing.
Our flight was at six in the morning. We retired early and then at 3am we got up, packed and checked out.
Tony and I sat in our seats as the plane got ready to take us back to the United States.
“The honeymoon isn’t over.” Tony said to me. “It’s just beginning.”
I nodded. “But we’re coming back to Rome.”
He smiled. “I’m glad you enjoyed it. I certainly did.”