Leaving a tense encounter at the house with the oblique staircase in the wilds of Niolo, Antoine pulls up to an seemingly out-of-place and dilapidated French colonial villa, its crumbling walls stitched together with ivy. At the end of a bizarre dinner prepared by their enigmatic host and having had a few whiskeys, Liz turns flirtatious.
I wanted to stay away from the sensitive areas, at least for now. With the whiskey diminishing my resolve, I tossed out a flirtatious remark. “So, confess, Antoine, is that when you developed your passion for American women?”
Scafani shifted in his chair and faced me head on. He reached and tucked an errant strand of hair behind my ear. “Passion?”
The clatter of broken pottery and muffled shrieks from the kitchen interrupted the moment. “Those poor girls,” I said, downing the last of my third glass of whiskey.
With the meal was finished, I suggested we head back to Corte. As we walked back down the darkened hallway, Scafani reached again for my arm and tucked it under his. The front room was now filled with the pungent odor of sandalwood. He put his hand on my shoulder and turned me toward him. I paused a fraction of a second and then slid one hand around the back of his neck and pressed the other against his chest. Whether it was the whiskey or his obvious charm, I returned his eagerness as our kisses moved from tender to hot.
“Would you like to go upstairs?” he asked.
I jerked back to reality. “What!”
“If you really want to go back, we will. Just so you know, this is the only hotel in twenty kilometers.”
A laugh came from deep within my belly. “Do you bring all your women here?”
“Only the American ones.”
I allowed Scafani to take my hand and lead me through a door concealed in the room’s paneling. He guided me playfully up the steep staircase hidden behind, flicking his tongue over the nape of my neck on each riser.
“One bare light bulb hanging from the ceiling and I’m out of here,” I said, envisioning a shabby room with dingy sheets.
Scafani pulled me through the first open door at the top of the landing. I let out a soft whistle when I saw a mosquito-netted four-poster bed and three squat candles aglow on the dresser. “Spontaneous combustion?”
Scafani shushed me with a single finger to my lips.