Inspired by music…
(A look at where the story was born)
Back in 2006 a young Italian singer by the name of Patrizio Buanne had come onto the international music scene. He was an old style singer, with a powerful and seductive voice, rich in emotion and range. He was in his mid-twenties then, and had just recorded his second album, a collection called Forever Begins Tonight. It was on this CD that a particular song caught my imagination, with the story it told and the romanticism of the tale. Bella Bella Signorina was one of the most popular songs on this CD, and remains a fan favourite. For me, the more I listened to the song, the more certain I was that I wanted to write a story. I met Patrizio after concert in April of 2007, and by then the story had come into being in my mind. I asked for, and was given permission to use a few lines from the lyrics of the song as the framework for the story I wanted.
Later in the summer, I wrote the first draft of Bella Signorina and after getting the properly signed release from the copyright holder, it was submitted to a publisher. The decision was made the “tone down” the sensuality of the story and make it a sweetheart story, so any sexual overtones were removed, leaving the romantic fantasy to play out like a song. The book held the #1 best-seller spot for over six months, but went largely unnoticed, despite good reviews. I revised the story after the contract expired, and it was released again. This time it was largely unnoticed.
So, when I finally located the file of the original story and had the chance to read this story the way it was originally written, I thought this time it could be released as it was meant to be. Eirelander was willing to give the sexy, sensual version a home at last.
She looked up, and her smile was radiant in the soft glow of the nearby streetlight. “La Galleria d'arte di Idillio,” she murmured. “I love this place.”
“It’s mine,” he told her as he dug out the key that would unlock the doors to the small gallery.
There was enough real shock in her voice to make him stop as he held the door for her to go inside. “Why does that surprise you so much?”
“I’ve come here a number of times, and I’ve never seen you,” she replied, once he’d locked the doors and turned on the lights.
“I’ve never seen you,” he noted. “Except at the caffè.”
“I’ve always felt this place was a tribute to love, and romance.”
“It is. My father began the collection for my mother.”
“Your father was a romantic?”
“My father was a gentleman, in the truest sense of that word,” Stefano said with a familiar sense of loneliness and pride combined. “He lived la dolce vita,” he smiled, “with the passion of a man who loved all life had to offer him, good and bad.”
A curt nod was all he could offer without revealing how deeply the loss still affected him. He set his coffee on the reception desk, hung his jacket on a rack then did the same with Bianca’s things. Then he took her arm and led her to a small area that had been his work for the past year.
“This is my latest addition to the collection.”
Bianca wandered the area, studying the beautiful collection of photographs. Each one was in a different area of
and the women smiling and lovely, but each one as unique as her surroundings. Italy
“What do you see?”
“Beauty. Romance.” Bianca stared at the photographs for a few moments longer, considering them with serious thought, then turned to face him. “In every photograph, they are not looking at you, but at the camera. They’re seeing the opportunity, but not your reason for wanting them.”
Something fluttered against Stefano’s chest from the inside, an excitement he hadn’t felt in a very long time. He let his gaze drift, cataloguing the woman in front of him. Standing next to him the top her head was at his chin. She had long, waving hair, dark brown with a distinct tint that caught the glow from the lights and turned her thick mane into a mass of warm, burnished auburn. She had eyes that resembled Chinese jade, and a wide, full mouth that curved upward, as though a secret hid behind her smile. She was curvaceous and feminine, effortlessly graceful, and with minimal makeup, appeared very much without artifice of any kind.
“What is my reason for wanting them?” He forced his tone to calm and curious, sincerely interested in her reply, but also caught in the spell she was exerting. Part of his mind was still watching her, measuring the emotion and internal workings of her mind as she analyzed his photographs with real interest. Her teal-colored dress was simple in design, flared skirt unevenly cut at the hem, swirling around her shapely legs as she walked, pausing often to peer intently at the images on the walls. The upper half of the dress clung to luscious contours, and the silver crucifix, her only jewelry, drew his eyes to the shadow between her breasts. He wanted very much to touch her, and instead stuffed his hands into his pockets and went to join her as she stopped at one of the last photos, then looked at him over her shoulder.
“She loved you.”
“So she said.”
“You didn’t love her?”
“Not the way she thought I should.”
“You wanted love from every woman here, yet not one of them saw who you really are,” she observed softly, sadness evident in her tone.
His eyebrow rose. “Who do you think I am, bella?”
“How honest do you think I should be?”
“I admire honesty, Signorina,” he told her. “I respect the courage it takes to offer it to anyone.”
“But do you respect it if the object of discussion is you?”
“Now you’re beginning to worry me,” he teased with a smile. He was fascinated by her intelligence and her insight. She looked past his appearance and his presence to probe his secrets, and whatever she was seeing made her even more alluring to him.
“You want attention,” she told him, not a shred of question in the observation, only the certainty that she was right. “You enjoy women vying for your favor. It gives you security, even while it makes you lonely. Because you know it’s not you they love, but the image you present to keep the world out of your heart and your head. You’re a complex man, Stefano.” She smiled. “I don’t know your last name.”
She nodded. “Marino,” she offered, so that he knew hers, too.
“Why are you asking me to analyze you?” She had started walking around the showroom again, stopping to look at the various displays. She halted at one of the cases that housed a collection of love letters. “These are beautiful. Do you know who wrote them?”
“A friend of my father’s,” he answered. “To my mother. When he was killed, they drew comfort from each other, and it became a love affair that lasted forty years.”
“The love affair that you seek in your own life now.”
He smiled but remained silent on the matter, and she moved to another display case, one dedicated to his family’s past.
“This ring is exquisite,” she noted. “I’ve never seen another one like it.” It was an antique, but beautifully wrought. The gold base shone as though it had been forged and shaped the day before. The design was unique, a horizontal figure eight—the symbol of infinity, with a perfect emerald balanced in the centre and outlined in tiny, sparkling diamonds.
“My grandmother’s engagement ring,” he informed her. “She wanted me to have it, and I wanted it to be here, where many people could see it.”
“Is she still alive?”
“Yes. She has a small villa in Amalfi. I see her often.”
“Has she seen this, Stefano?” Bianca smiled as she glanced around. “Everything here fills the heart with peace, and hope, and joy. It’s overwhelming some days when I’ve come here.”
“Will you add your history to this place one day, or leave it to your children to show the world their papa’s romantic heart?”
“Only time will answer that, Signorina,” he laughed. Before she could speak again, he touched her lip with the tip of his finger and shook his head.
Her mood curious, she followed him when he led her to a beautiful open area, with a gleaming, polished hardwood floor. He punched a few buttons on a wall console and seconds later music filled the air, soft and rhythmic. Bianca laughed quietly and walked into his arms.
“You’re avoiding me with this distraction,” she said.
“I’m indulging myself,” he admitted with a smile. “Do you mind?”
She stared at him for a few moments then shook her head.
“Why this song?”
He didn’t answer, merely looked at her as the sultry music of Alta Marea, by Patrizio Buanne filled the air and settled over them like a cloak.
“This is the sexiest piece of music I’ve heard in years,” she whispered. “I love it.”
“So do I.”
As the seductive sound of the singer’s smooth voice enveloped them, Stefano permitted himself the luxury of simply enjoying the moment he was in, and the feel of the beautiful woman in his arms as she nestled close and moved in perfect attunement with him.
* * *
Want to know more? The dance is only beginning for Bianca and Stefano, drop by Eirelander Publishing and indulge the fantasy more…
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