I hope you enjoy my first short story. I wrote it from this picture and a writing prompt on one of my writing sites I follow. 🙂
At age 40, I was on my way to visit my first castle in Italy. All my life I have dreamed of being in an actual castle. In fact, I think in my previous life I lived during the medieval times. It feels like where I truly belong.
I did not want to come alone so I saved enough for my best bud, Simonne to tag along. She was not difficult to convince. She heard Italy and immediately said Italian men. I have to agree, seeing a few of them will be a bonus to the trip. We are single ladies.
My heart began beating so fast I thought I was going to pass out. The entrance to Guaita Rocca (First Tower) of San Marino was more spectacular in person than the travel brochure could possibly show. Looking at Simonne, I do believe she thought the same. Wait, an Italian guide is walking towards us. A big grin spread across Simonne’s face.
“Hello there, my name is Celio and I will be your guide.”
“Hellooo.” Simonne said extending her hand to shake his. Any excuse to touch him I am sure.
I chuckled knowing what she is probably thinking. Love my outgoing, sex fanatic, and fun friend of the last twenty years. She brings the excitement to any adventure.
I think she caught Celio off guard. He was quiet but smiling. He gestured for us all to follow.
He led us through to a courtyard that had several stone pathways. One led up to the main tower while the others led to other parts. The grass was a gorgeous green. I wanted to take my shoes off and walk through it barefoot. Love the feel of plush grass under my toes. The flower beds were full of red, white, and pink colored flowers. Absolutely stunning. I could hang out here forever.
I looked to my right and caught a tall dark haired man staring at me. At least I think it’s me he is staring at. I slowly turned to look behind me. Nobody else there. I turned back to him. He was grinning. Great, he saw me do that. Embarrassing.
He began descending the stairs. He is heading this way I think. What do I say?
He reached the edge of the grass, reached down to untie his shoes, pulled them off, and stepped onto the grass. How could he have known that was what I was thinking about? I closed my eyes for a few seconds, then opened them. He was still there. I was frozen in my spot by the grass. The rest of the tour group was already up at the tower. Simonne was too busy flirting to realize I was not with the group.
It was only me and him standing in the courtyard.
“Will you join me?” He asked.
I was speechless, but my feet were moving me toward him. I bent down, took off my shoes and felt the lush grass under my toes.
I stopped a few inches away from him.
“Feels heavenly, yes.” He spoke again. He was close enough that I could feel his warm breathe on my face. His cologne was out of this world wonderful.
“Yes, but won’t we be in trouble for this?” I asked.
“No signs. No one here but us.”
“My name is Tawny.” I said.
“Hi, I am Alvise.” He reached for my hand and kissed it. I almost fainted.
I did not want this moment to end. A charming stranger kissing my hand just like my dreams.
“Alvise.” I repeated in a slow voice.
“Means famous warrior.”
“Oh, mine is light brown.” I touched my hair.
I snapped out of my trance. What a dork I am. I can’t believe I said that. Where is Simonne when I need her? She is the smooth talking one.
“I see. Very beautiful, Tawny.” He touched my hair.
Bucket list. Castle, check. Hot Italian guy touched me, check. I can die now.
“I planted this grass. Best decision I believe. My father did not think so.” Alvise said walking around looking at his feet.
“You planted, must be the grounds keeper?”
“No. This is my castle.” He chuckled.
“But, how? This castle is very old and no one lives here. It is a tourist site.”
“True. It is my home. I do not lie.”
Ok, go with it. He is too handsome to argue with. If he wants to believe it who am I to say any different.
“Why do you allow people to tour it?”
“It is a beautiful home. I am proud of it. Plus, it brings me beautiful women like you to it.” He kissed my hand again.
His kiss is like a spell. I forget the craziness of this.
I could hear someone faintly calling my name. All I want to do is stare at this man’s gorgeous face.
Someone was shaking me.
I looked at Simonne.
“Earth to Tawny.”
I heard her laughing hysterically.
I looked at my hand.
Bird poop! Oh gross!
I bent down to wipe it on the grass. I saw my shoes off. It was not a dream.
“Oh, girl. You look like you were posing like a statue. No wonder the bird dropped its poo on you!” She was rolling with laughter.
I glared at her.
“Alvise was telling me about his castle. This is him.” I said angrily pointing to where he was standing.
“You named the bird. Girl I need to get you out more.”
“No! He is right there. Look!”
Simonne shook her head and grabbed me.
“The bird is right there.”
I looked again, she was right. Just the bird was sitting there no Alvise. I surely did not dream all this.
I looked up where I saw him first.
Alvise was smiling. He waved to me.
“Right there!” I yelled and pointed.
“Have you been drinking without me? Shame on you.”
Why can she not see him?
“Ladies, get off the grass! It is not to be walked on.” Said someone yelling behind us.
“Sorry sir. My friend seems to have a bit of jet lag.” Simonne yanked me back onto the stone pathway. She ran across the grass to get my shoes. She shoved them at me.
“Let’s catch up to the rest. I am making headway with Celio. He has a friend too, another guide.”
I do not understand. I felt his kiss. I smelled his cologne. I did not imagine it.
The cologne. I can smell it.
“Stop. He is here. I smell him.” I turned around. No one there.
Simonne shook her head at me.
“I have got to find you a man.”
Off we went to catch up with the group. Every room that we toured, I could smell him but not see him.
“This is where Alvise spent most of his days.” Celio stated.
“Alvise? You said?” I asked Celio the guide.
“Why yes, he was the first owner of the castle.”
“But that would make him very old and dead.” I said.
The whole group busted out laughing.
“Yes, you are correct.” Celio laughed.
No way had this happened. I did not have my first encounter with a ghost.
We reached the last room on the tour. The guide dismissed everyone and started walking towards us.
“My friend will be here in a minute. He is finishing up his tour.” Celio said.
“Sounds great. I am starving.” Simonne said.
“Here he comes.”
I turned to look in the direction Celio was looking. It is him.
“Hello ladies. Good to meet you.”
“This is my friend, Alvise.” Celio said.
I did a double take. Celio saw my shocked expression.
“Yes he is one of the castle relations. Way down the line of relatives, so he is not dead.” Celio chuckled.
Alvise kissed my hand. He made a face.
Oh, good grief, he grabbed the one the bird pooped on!
“Sorry, long story.” I stammered.
“While we are eating, you must tell me, what really happened.” He winked.
No, he is not, is he?