12 June 2009

The Tuscan Trap: Part VII

"Oh my god," it barely came out as a whisper but Clive heard it all the same, "It's been staring at me all this time... you're the Duke of Tuscany... you're literally royalty," Dawn said, hugging herself.

"Now now, calm down Dawn... just because..." Clive began before he was interrupted by Dawn.

"You're a Duke... what do you plan to do with the property...?" Dawn said.

"Listen..." Clive said.

"What is Hiller going to say? I ought to be bowing to you... I should be doing a curtsy... no, I really ought to be..."

Clive stepped forward and kissed her, shaking all hysterical behaviour out of her system. Her lips were soft like sunflower petals and he could feel her mould into him making him hard. He could hear her murmuring or was she moaning, he couldn't determine the sound but she was definitely putty in his hands. She was the first to draw away, touching her hand but her eyes never leaving his.

"Why did you do that?" Dawn said.

"Because I've been wanting to... but I thought this was a better time then ever... and to stop you from all the crazy things you were saying," Clive said.

"Crazy things, they are true and you are a Duke..." Dawn said, the realisation dying on her lips.

"So what if I am..." Clive said.

"But the ball's in your court, you decide whether we build this gigantic complex in Italy..." Dawn said.

Clive was silent, he loved this place. He love the solitude, the peacefulness, this was his home and this was place he went to, to escape the craziness of Hollywood. Could he really have a corporate company build on the land that belonged to his great great grandfather... could he demoralise his heritage, that was his. His word against a multi-million company. He didn't have it in him, he couldn't. This was his home and he couldn't do it.

"Oh my god! You've made your decision, haven't you? You don't want to go through with it!" Dawn said systematically, "And, there's no way of changing your mind."

Clive sat down and stared at the photograph on his laptop, he stared at it, "I can't do this... I can't allow this capitalist craziness to invade what I love so much... this is the place in which I grew up, I can't have some modern piece of architecture ruin what has become the heart for many people in Italy..."

"Just think about the jobs that could be created, the opportunities..." Dawn began.

"I know it would be great, but I love the landscape too much to compromise that." Clive said.

"So, that's it?" Dawn said.

"Yes," Clive looked at her intently.

"Okay, I better get on the phone to Hiller then, if you'd excuse me," Dawn said as she was making her way out.

"Dawn, please understand..." Clive begged.

She smiled briefly and disappeared.

Clive didn't see her for the rest of the evening. He'd wanted to talk to her but he didn't want to press her. When he woke up the next day, he ventured downstairs to the kitchen to find his mother Stefany looking through old photos. She looked up and greeted him good morning. He took a seat next to her.

"What are you looking at?" he asked her, taking a few photographs to hand.

"These are photos of your great great grandfather, the Duke," Stefany said in Italian, "I can't remember spending much time with him, he was a very busy man but there was this one occasion when we went to a state visit at one of the halls and I was a little girl with my father and he introduced me to the whole assembly hall. Your great great grandfather was loved by so many people, it devastated my father when he died..."

"Do you remember anything more about him?" Clive asked, "About the Duke?"

"Yes, he believed that Love is not blind, it sees more not less; but because it sees more it chooses to see less," Stefany said.

"What does that mean?" Clive asked.

"Well, he said... they should know," Stefany said and she stood up.

Clive pondered the meaning and then he asked, "Mama, can you tell me anymore about his wife, my great great grandmother, do you know what she was like?"

"Yes, she was a modest woman, she was not born to privilege, she was fierce and what was important to her, to her life was love. When she had love, she had everything, all the money, the title, were bonuses but the big prize was love."

"How did they meet? Do you remember?" Clive asked.

Stefany thought for a long time, "They met in the sunflowers. I remember her talking a lot about the sunflowers, I thought it was a story, a fairytale but now I realise perhaps it was more real then I thought. She spoke about a woman picking a bunch of sunflowers every day for the vase that stood in the great hall in this big palace because it brought a sense of homeliness to the place and one morning, she was picking the best she could find and when she was reaching to cut from the root, in the soil when she rose up, she saw a man upon a horse in the distant. He had just appeared out of nowhere and was staring back at her, as if she was implanted within a picture and that's all I could remember of it. I was such a little girl, my memory of it is very old now."

"Where is Dawn?" Clive asked suddenly.

"She left this morning," Stefany said.

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