Jump to content
  • Join For Free and Get Notified of New Chapters!

    Are you enjoying a great story and want to get an alert or email when a new chapter is posted? Join now for free and follow your favorite stories and authors!  You can even choose to get daily or weekly digest emails instead of getting flooded with an email for each story you follow. 

     

Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

La Bella Vacanza - 5. Wednesday

Wednesday

Reza got out of bed on Wednesday morning with a fresh resolve.

He had to avoid Otto. At all costs. As far as possible, anyway…

I mean, this is getting out of hand…

This time, whatever Mum and Dad suggested for the day, he was going to go along with it, even if it meant climbing a freakin’ mountain. Absolutely. May it take as long as possible!

His plan lasted for approximately twenty minutes, or the time it took for him to have a quick shower, get dressed and shave before setting out to meet his parents for breakfast. He left his room wearing a smart, navy-blue shirt and made his way to the lobby, only to run straight into Otto and his whole family coming down the stairs.

Hallo, Reza,” Otto said coyly, looking him up and down. “I like your shirt.”

“Umm… thanks?” Reza replied, cringing slightly. Behind the blond-haired boy, his sisters Lina and Ingrid exchanged a quick glance and giggled.

Reza wanted to disappear into the floor.

The first time they even notice me at all, and it had to be like this…!

“I’ll see you later by the pool, maybe,” Otto said brightly.

“Yeah… maybe,” Reza muttered. The German family continued down the internal stairs, heading for the breakfast room; Otto’s parents smiled vaguely at him as they passed, leaving Reza feeling flustered, very young and not at all his usual confident self.

He began to wonder if he would ever be able to come back from this. Somehow, the German boy had got him totally tied up in knots.

What was the big deal, he asked himself? Otto was all right, you know? He was a nice guy. Always friendly, sometimes funny, kinda cute…

GAH!

Reza didn’t do ‘nice’. He found it so dull. Or, he’d always thought he did. And as for ‘cute’…!

Thankfully, his parents appeared at that moment, saving Reza from imploding in his sheer confusion.

“Morning, sweetie,” Mum said. She twinkled at him, clearly expecting his usual rebuke, but he just shrugged.

“Hi, Mum,” he replied.

“Okay,” Dad said warily. “Who are you, and what have you done with my teenage son?”

“I think he’s left the building,” Reza mumbled.

“Call an ambulance, Helen,” Dad remarked, checking Reza’s forehead teasingly. “I think he’s had a personality transplant.”

“Oh, Ramin,” she chided her husband, pulling Reza into a comforting hug.

“Argh, Mum,” Reza protested, squirming free.

Dad chuckled. “Okay,” he conceded, “maybe just a partial transplant.”

All the same, Reza followed his parents docilely down to breakfast, where he sat with his back to Otto’s table to reduce the risk of any further accidental contact.

He began by helping himself to a glass of orange juice. As he returned to the table with the glass, his Nokia chimed. It was Tania.

hey, where u been? u didnt text at all yesterday 😐

Reza bit his lip. ‘Soz, my bad. Was sort of a weird day.

well, make up for it by texting lots today, k? xoxoxo

Reza frowned slightly. Didn’t she want to know why his day had been so weird? He shrugged, returned the phone to his pocket, and set off in search of pastries.

* * *

When his parents suggested a boat trip to a place called ‘Positano’, Reza jumped at the chance. According to Mum and her guidebook, it was meant to be one of the most beautiful and famous places on the Amalfi coast, but Reza didn’t care. The main thing was that, with the bus ride down to Amalfi as well, they would be out all day – and Reza would get back to the hotel swimming pool much later than usual, if at all. He wouldn’t have to spend nearly so much time deflecting Otto’s attention and keeping his own mixed-up hormones in order.

This time, Reza was glad to board the crowded little bus, even though he and Dad had to stand. He had equipped himself with a rucksack containing his camera, a pair of shiny sunglasses and no less than two bottles of water, knowing that he had a long, hot day ahead of him. As they rode round the hairpin bends, he did his best to keep his rucksack out of the face of the little old Italian woman who was wedged in with him like sardines in a tin.

After a short wait on the pier at Amalfi, they boarded a bright white, open-topped passenger ferry, and soon they were striving briskly along the coast.

This was more like it, Reza thought, as the wind rippled through his soft black hair: travelling in style, experiencing a bit of surf. The rocky, mountainous coastline scrolled gently past, dotted with white villages and hidden coves. On almost every projecting rock or islet, there was yet another old stone watchtower; some of them looked like they were still lived in, while others were hollow ruins.

When the town of Positano finally did come into view, Reza whipped his camera out at once. There was no denying that it was spectacular: a staggering confection of colourful, densely packed houses, perched almost vertically on top of each other as they soared up a steeply terraced hillside next to a small sandy beach. All the same, the short little promenade looked horribly crowded.

Things didn’t improve when they made it onto dry land. It was savagely hot down here by the beach, seemingly even hotter than it had been on the dusty cobbles at Amalfi. The tourists – and there were many of them – all seemed to be filing up a tiny, narrow central street, which was a seething mass of slow-moving people.

Suddenly, Reza felt an intense craving for the quiet, airy spaces of his mountain town.

MY mountain town? I mean… what the heck?

“Oh-kaay,” Dad said, eyeing the creeping crowds dubiously. “Well, we’re here now. Let’s make the best of it.”

Even Mum looked a little pale at the thought of braving the masses, but she nodded, and they ventured into the narrow street together.

* * *

Afterwards, they wondered why they had bothered.

They struggled through the crowds, forced onwards and upwards through a narrow little passageway. The little street should have been beautiful: someone had taken the trouble to erect a rustic pergola over the length of it, and it was groaning with a carpet of the most vibrant magenta flowers Reza had ever seen, but he couldn’t even get his camera out to photograph them thanks to the number of tourist bodies that surrounded them. There were a few shops, but it was so hot and oppressive among the crowds that neither Reza nor his parents felt much like visiting them.

The little street, in turn, disgorged them onto a road halfway up the hillside. Lined with shops and restaurants in both directions, it should have been inviting, but there was nowhere to sit and catch your breath away from the madness. Every so often a passing car or minibus would squeeze through the narrow space, forcing Reza and his parents to press themselves against the rough, stucco-rendered walls.

Reza could feel his temper fraying.

“What’s the point, guys?” he complained.

He wasn’t sure why the whole experience was irritating him so much. The landscape around them was every bit as beautiful as he had become accustomed to in Ravello; olive, lemon and pine trees clung to the rocky slopes above them, and the terraces and tiers of colourful buildings and domed churches ought to have had him pointing his camera left, right and centre, but something just wasn’t right.

He found himself wishing he was relaxing back at the hotel pool… even if that meant spending time with Otto.

Reza frowned. Wasn’t I supposed to be avoiding him?

“Maybe it’ll get nicer if we carry on up the street a bit,” Dad suggested valiantly, but even Mum was looking fed up.

“No, Reza’s right,” she sighed. “I’m all shopped out for the moment, and who really wants to plod along this road?”

“All right,” Dad conceded. “Let’s head back down towards the beach and find ourselves a bar. We can get out of the sun, at least.”

And, so, to Reza’s relief, they ploughed back down the congested central street, squeezing through small gaps between the crowds.

“Over-commercialisation,” Dad muttered. “I feel sorry for the people who actually live here.”

“I wonder if anybody really does any more?” Mum countered. “What a shame.”

Now that both his parents seemed to have succumbed to his own gloom, Reza felt a bit bad for the part he had played in bringing the mood down. “At least the boat ride was fun,” he suggested, trying vaguely to salvage something from the day.

Dad raised an eyebrow. “Take a look at you,” he said, “looking on the bright side for once. Something really has got into you today.”

Reza shrugged. “Yeah, well, you guys were reminding me too much of… me, I guess.”

Dad chuckled. “I think this trip is doing you some good, son.”

Once Dad had looked away, Reza shook his head slightly.

Really, Dad? If you only knew what was ACTUALLY going on in my head…

Confusion, embarrassment and a healthy dose of shame, mingled with a certain dreadful fascination with an image planted in his mind by Otto that refused to go away…

Can I just rewind now? Forget it ever happened?

When they finally made it back down the hill, they took root at a fairly pleasant-looking restaurant that had a covered terrace facing out onto the beach, where they ordered drinks. The ice-cold mineral water that arrived with the waiter a few moments later was probably the best thing Reza had ever tasted.

Dad grumbled about everything on the menu being twice the price of the food they had had elsewhere, but they ordered lunch anyway. Reza ordered a simple, traditional-looking pasta dish called penne all’arrabbiata, whose spicy tomato kick managed to dispel his bad mood just a little.

So much for wanting to get back late. Reza decided he would be glad to head back on the earliest boat that was available.

* * *

The boat ride back to Amalfi helped to cool everyone’s fevered brows a little.

“Well, you win some and you lose some,” Dad said philosophically, while Reza dangled his arm over the side of the boat, picking up as much of the soothing sea spray as he could. “I’m sure Positano is probably lovely at a quieter, cooler time of year.”

All the same, it was a tired, hot and sticky Reza who returned to his hotel room later that afternoon. Having to catch the sweltering bus back up the valley had been a final kick in the pants that he really hadn’t needed.

He jumped straight into the shower, washing the sweat and dirt of the day away with the coolest water he could tolerate. Once he was clean and dry, he donned his swimming trunks and flung himself back onto his bed for a while, spread out like a star, revelling in the cool of the air-conditioned gloom.

Soon, he would have to go downstairs and face Otto again. And, you know what? Despite how awkward the whole thing made him feel, he was even sort of looking forward to it.

He would amuse the German boy, no doubt, with tales of the miserable day he had spent traipsing around crowded places while Otto and his family relaxed by the pool. All the same, who would be taking the better memories home? Which of them would leave Ravello with the greatest sense of what this strange part of the world had to offer? Not the people who had spent the week doing absolutely nothing, that was for sure…

When he could put off the encounter no longer, he grabbed his towel and made his way down to the poolside. Sure enough, the German family were still there, lined up on their usual sun loungers.

Otto didn’t seem to have spotted him yet. He had cast his eyes skywards and seemed to be contemplating the pine trees on the edge of the cathedral square.

Maybe he’s finally getting bored of hanging out here all day…

Reza set his things down on a sun lounger in his usual corner, glancing thoughtfully across at the other boy. Honestly, he was tired of being pursued. Maybe it was time he started a conversation himself – on his own terms.

As such, he made his way over to the other side of the pool and stopped just short of the other boy’s sun lounger. Reza flushed slightly, trying not to think about how relaxed and unfettered the German boy seemed, how flat his belly was, how smooth his complexion, how it would feel to… um…

STOP that!

“Hi, Otto,” he said.

Otto glanced at him with a surprised look, which turned into such a sunny smile that Reza was put on the back foot for a moment.

“Hi, Reza,” he grinned, springing out of his seat.

Next to him, Lina glanced up from her book and offered Reza a cheeky smile and a little wave. He glanced at her suspiciously, wondering whether she and Ingrid had been talking about him today and, if so, in what terms.

Just what did they think they saw when we met this morning?

It should have been his perfect opening to say hello to the two sisters, but something held him back. Instead, he took the easy way out, turning his attention back to the blond-haired boy, who was looking at him expectantly.

“So, how was your day?” he asked.

Otto shrugged as they made their way back round to Reza’s corner of the pool.

“The same,” he replied. “Honestly, I have been a little bored.”

“Dude, finally!” Reza replied, raising his arms to the sky in celebration. “And you’ve got… all of two days of your holiday left.”

Otto smiled. “Maybe tomorrow I’ll do something else,” he said. “We could do it together…?” he added hopefully.

Oh God! Did he HAVE to put it that way?

Fighting crazed laughter, Reza facepalmed for a moment, peeping out through his fingers. “Um…” he replied, “sorry, Otto, but I have plans for most of the day.”

And part of him, at least, was genuinely disappointed.

Otto looked a little crestfallen. “Oh, okay. I’ll look around on my own.”

Reza found he didn’t want to hurt the other boy’s feelings. “I’ll look out for you in the evening, though,” he added. “Maybe we can do something then.”

Otto brightened at once. “Great!” he said excitably, his baby-blue eyes wide. “I’ll be here. I mean, I’ll be… somewhere. I – well, I’ll look out for you, too.”

His boyish enthusiasm was contagious, and Reza couldn’t help smiling, which only seemed to make things worse. Otto suddenly seemed about ready to wiggle out of his own skin.

Aw, come on… this isn’t fair. Does he have to be so ENDEARING?

For a moment, even though neither of them were dressed, Otto looked ready to lunge forward and hug him. Reza flushed again, panicked by the thought, but thankfully the other boy pulled himself back at the last moment. He breathed a sigh of relief.

This wasn’t going at all to plan. Reza had meant to unload to Otto all about the rubbish day he had had. At the very least, it might have made the other boy laugh. But, instead, he seemed to have agreed to some kind of ‘date’.

Which was ridiculous, of course, because they would both be going home in three days.

Come ON! The whole idea is ridiculous ANYWAY!

But, what if it was a date?

Reza gulped.

A date with no future could really only end one of two ways…

What have I got myself into?!

Copyright © 2022 James Carnarvon; All Rights Reserved.
  • Like 12
  • Love 15
  • Haha 3
Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
You are not currently following this author. Be sure to follow to keep up to date with new stories they post.

Recommended Comments

Chapter Comments

13 minutes ago, drpaladin said:

Reza has gone into panic mode. His resolution to avoid Otto not only failed, but the term cute to describe him came unbidden to his mind. Otto is a bit like a big, blonde puppy. Reza doesn't want to make him unhappy and ultimately agrees to meet him in two days.

Maybe he needs advice from some experts at this point.

'Experts', huh? 😅

  • Haha 5
Link to comment
6 hours ago, drpaladin said:

I'm still trying to figure out how he got this far through puberty without at least some passing experience with another boy.

No public school, huh?

Oh come on, don’t call for realism in this silly holiday caper! 😄

I wonder what you mean by ‘public school’? In Britain, that (confusingly) means expensive, exclusive private schools for the wealthy. These schools see themselves as producing the leaders of the future, and unfortunately they do pump out quite a few of our out of touch, leading politicians.

Ramin and Helen could probably afford a private education for Reza but, instead, they send him to the local state secondary school to keep him grounded. In his school environment, overtly exploring LGBTQ+ lifestyles is not the done thing. “Gay” is thrown around as a casual insult without any real thought to its true meaning. Reza would not have been seeking to broaden his horizons or even imagine that he might have cause to do so.

That’s kind of how things were at my secondary school (I finished in 2000). I don’t remember anybody openly identifying as gay, bi or anything else during my entire time there. I’m happy to say that the culture in 2022 seems to be very different: at the school of a family member of mine, the kids don’t feel the need to hide their true selves and there is a well-attended pride parade. This story is set in 2009, however, where the reality would have been somewhere in between.

Edited by James Carnarvon
  • Like 1
  • Love 4
Link to comment
Just now, Ivor Slipper said:

Seems to me he could be in need of a bit of that type of schooling without the 'l' 😉

Oh, the number of times I’ve made that typo in my actual day job! Thankfully I usually spot it…

  • Like 1
  • Haha 3
Link to comment

@Summerabbacat I hope it doesn’t  disappoint too much! Sadly Claudia won’t be there, though: she has to help Mamma with the shopping. (Ingiusto!)

edit: And, yeah, holidays in Ravello always end too quickly!

Edited by James Carnarvon
  • Like 2
  • Sad 2
Link to comment
2 hours ago, Mawgrim said:

The description of Positano is exactly why I never go on holiday in peak season

It reminded me of the overpopulated planet episode of TOS Star Trek, a version of Hell.

  • Like 1
  • Haha 4
Link to comment
19 minutes ago, drpaladin said:

It reminded me of the overpopulated planet episode of TOS Star Trek, a version of Hell.

That was a classic!  I have been in crowds shopping, and I hated every minute.  Usually I retired to the nearest pub for a drink! 😄

  • Like 1
  • Haha 3
Link to comment
27 minutes ago, drpaladin said:

It reminded me of the overpopulated planet episode of TOS Star Trek, a version of Hell.

I’m ashamed to say I know exactly what you’re talking about! 🤫

(despite generally disdaining SF and fantasy here at GA)

  • Wow 2
Link to comment
29 minutes ago, raven1 said:

That was a classic!  I have been in crowds shopping, and I hated every minute.  Usually I retired to the nearest pub for a drink! 😄

 

22 minutes ago, James Carnarvon said:

I’m ashamed to say I know exactly what you’re talking about! 🤫

(despite generally disdaining SF and fantasy here at GA)

I used to go with a friend on Christmas Eve for a last minute frenetic, marathon shopping trip. The last time I went I was on crutches with a broken foot. I was miserable. I hate big crowds anyway.

  • Like 2
  • Wow 1
Link to comment
7 hours ago, drpaladin said:

I used to go with a friend on Christmas Eve for a last minute frenetic, marathon shopping trip. The last time I went I was on crutches with a broken foot. I was miserable. I hate big crowds anyway

Why do I give in and go shopping “for a look around at the offers”? 1. After dragging me around “he” never buys anything. 2. He complains I stress him out. 3. In my boredom I buy something, usually unnecessary and expensive…

So, good, dr, not only do I hate crowds like you, I just hate shopping, full stop.   End of rant.

dr Gary

  • Wow 2
Link to comment
24 minutes ago, Gary L said:

Why do I give in and go shopping “for a look around at the offers”? 1. After dragging me around “he” never buys anything. 2. He complains I stress him out. 3. In my boredom I buy something, usually unnecessary and expensive…

So, good, dr, not only do I hate crowds like you, I just hate shopping, full stop.   End of rant.

dr Gary

LOL

I love shopping, but it's easier from home.

  • Haha 1
Link to comment

My problem with shopping is I have no taste in clothes.  Also, it is difficult to get clothes to fit in Asia.  When I moved here my size selection moved from medium to XL and I hadn't gained an ounce.   Of course, now I can't fit in those sizes either so the selection is even more limited. :gikkle:

  • Like 1
  • Haha 2
Link to comment
View Guidelines

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Newsletter

    You probably have a crazy and hectic schedule and find it hard to keep up with everything going on.  We get it, because we feel it too.  Signing up here is a great way to keep in touch and find something relaxing to read when you get a few moments to spare.

    Sign Up
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Our Privacy Policy can be found here: Privacy Policy. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue..