Caroline Ch. 11.01byVitorio©
If you are new to this series please read the intro to Ch 01 so you'll know what to expect. It isn't strictly necessary to read the earlier chapters but some of this won't make sense if you don't so I hope you will!
To those of you who read these stories and don't like them – a response. I write primarily because I enjoy it. I don't go out of my way to upset people hence the warning at the top of each chapter (which isn't reprinted in full each time because regular readers will be aware of it). The only way us writers will improve our product is if you engage in a dialogue with us. Giving feedback is the method that Literotica has provided to do that. Positive feedback is great, a pleasure to receive, as are high marks, both of which make the effort of preparing stories for posting worthwhile. (It does take some time and effort – surprisingly). Poor marks associated with non-existent, anonymous, and rude negative feedback have the opposite effect. So, if you don't like the story, style, sex, etc., engage! If you do like it, great – please say that as well.
Anyhow, enough ranting! In this chapter Gianna becomes more of a presence and some more characters appear (in minor parts only). For regular readers, Gianna talks about her relationship with Mike. I know I've covered this twice before but I wanted to try to examine how Gianna felt about what happened.
Gianna – Explanations and Introductions
We left Villa Mimosa after breakfast on Thursday. Guy drove us down the lakeside and on to the motorway. It was nice because Mike and I could sit cuddling in the back while Jo nestled, as much as she could, up to Guy. After an uneventful journey we arrived at Bernado's just before 4:00.
Bernardo was at the door to meet us again just like last time. He hugged and kissed Mike first, then me, then he went to Guy.
"By god little brother, you've done well," he said as he hugged Guy tightly to him. Then he held Jo close. "I was hoping I'd have to call you sister," he said smiling, "it saves me suffering from afar," he added with a leer.
She laughed at him and gave him quite a passionate a kiss, "There," she said smiling, "now you know what you are missing."
He laughed, "I can see that I shouldn't bandy words with my sister to be, you're as sharp as Sally." Then he turned to Guy, "Be careful little brother, this one is sparky as well!"
"Nardo, I know that but isn't she absolutely beautiful," he said. "Just like my step mum to be," he added looking at me. See, he was like his father. He always knew the right things to say although it was a slip but Bernardo didn't seem to notice.
"Yes," Nardo said, "they are both beautiful and I can't wait to see them all dressed up for the ceremonies. Come on inside, Sally and the family are waiting. Your mum and dad are in Bologna shopping," he added to Jo. "They should be back about six ready for dinner." Then he turned to Mike, "Have you told them about the plans Uncle."
"Yes," Mike said, "all ready. I'm looking forward to it." So we all went inside to meet Silvio and the family.
Everyone except Maria was in the big kitchen and the conservatory that was attached to the house. Silvio rushed up to Guy and hugged him tightly, "Well done my boy, I can see you have good taste." Then he turned to Jo, "You are very beautiful and I am lucky to have you for a daughter," and he kissed her (without touching her bottom I should add!).
Gianna looked on with a strange expression on her face, not altogether happy. I wondered if she wasn't happy about Guy and Jo because of Jo's relationship with Mike. Perhaps she thought that Jo was 'damaged goods' as it were. I would have to find out. I felt then that we were going to have to have a long talk about lots of things.
She went over to Guy and held him tightly, "I'm so happy for you," she said and turning to Jo, "and for you as well Joanna." Strange, I thought, very formal. Then Silvio was kissing my cheek, "Ciao Lena, you are looking well," he laughed, "you are not pregnant are you?"
I laughed back, "Not quite yet Silvio but I have to take pills to make me think I am."
He looked puzzled. "Don't worry," Gianna said, "I will explain it to him." Then to me, "you look very good Lena, it obviously agrees with you." She turned away and began talking to one of the younger boys, completely ignoring Mike. It was funny really, she was saying hello to everyone but seemed to be avoiding doing so to him. In the end he went up to her and held her by the arms, "Ciao Gianna," he said, "you're looking lovely as usual," and he went to kiss her as normal but she shied away. He looked at me and we both realised something was not quite right.
As Silvio drifted away with Guy and Jo, Mike said, "Lena and I need to talk to you, Gianna, alone."
"No," she said, "I don't want to." She must have realised that something had happened. It was obvious that she was having difficulty controlling her feelings, why I don't know.
"Please Gianna, we need to talk to you."
"No," she said again, this time vehemently, "No!"
"Arna, please," Mike said.
"No, no, don't call me that, you shouldn't call me that," she shouted in a whisper then began to cry, "it's not fair. You mustn't call me that." Then she rushed off upstairs.
"What is Arna," I said to Mike.
"That's my special name for her, you know, when we were together."
I looked at him sternly, "You shouldn't have you know, it isn't fair on her. She's probably heartbroken."
He took a great big sigh, "No, I suppose not but we have to talk to her Lena. We must let her know and, I'm sure you noticed, she didn't seem too happy about Jo and Guy. I reckon she thinks Jo is 'second hand' and isn't good enough for her son, especially her favourite son."
I took his arm, "Come on, let's find her. We've got to sort this out you know." I looked at him fondly, "It's difficult isn't it, talking to her about the past?"
He sighed again, "Yes," he said, "very difficult. I need you Lena, need to know you love me and understand." He looked at me intensely, seeming uncertain of himself, "You do don't you?"
"Oh love, of course I do. I understand too, how she must feel after all these years, especially now seeing you about to get married to a woman old enough to be her daughter. She must feel jealous, happy, confused all at once. Now her favourite son is marrying her ex-lovers second girlfriend: I'm not surprised she feels confused and upset." I looked at him closely, "Are you OK?"
"Mmm," he said, "I love you and, yes, I'm OK. It's just that, well, you know I'm still fond of her, deep down love her still I suppose. And the memories, they are difficult to keep buried. And I have you, my life now. I do feel a bit confused." He looked at me with so much love in his eyes, "I really need you to be strong now Lena, for me and for her. Can you do that?"
"Yes, I love you don't I. I love you like she loves you that's why I feel so sorry for her, I have you and she doesn't. Do you understand?" He nodded.
We went upstairs and listened, finally hearing quiet sobs from one of the bedrooms. I gingerly opened the door. This was going to be difficult. I was so glad he'd asked me to do this with him. Although he was very considerate, kind and thoughtful, he might be a bit heavy handed with Gianna, clumsy I suppose, having difficulty handling his feelings. Me being there helped I'm sure and I determined to take the lead.
Gianna was laying on the bed with her head hidden in a pillow. "Go away Mike," she said between sniffles, "I don't want to talk to you."
I sat on the bed next to her, "Gianna, Gianna, it's OK, I'm here. We have to talk about some things, we must sort them out."
She raised her head to look at me, then at Mike, "That was cruel," she said to him, "to call me that after all this time."
He knelt on the floor by the bed next to her, "I'm sorry Gianna, it was crass and Lena has told me off. It's just, well, it's just . . . ." It wasn't often that Mike was lost for words but the situation was getting the better of him as well as her. I'd have to keep a clear head.
"Look you two, just listen," and I turned to Gianna. "He's told us about you and him," I said, "ALL about you and him."
She looked shocked, dumbfounded, then angry. "Why?" she said to him, "Why? You make me ashamed in front of these two girls. Why, Why?"
He looked at me shamefaced then to her. "Gianna, I had to. Lena is going to be my wife. She deserves to know about my past," then he fixed her with his eyes, "and about my son."
"They know that as well, oh Gran Dio, my shame!" and she began crying again, sobbing into the pillow.
I turned to Mike, I was right, he wouldn't be able to do this without unintentionally hurting her. "Darling, I think you had better go." He made to protest, "No, I think it's better that we women handle this. Find Jo and send her to me, make up some story, anything. The three of us will sort this out, don't worry." He didn't look terribly happy but then I suppose he didn't like the idea of three women who loved him raking over his bones. I knew it was for the best however, with him there Gianna would never really relax, she'd always be aware of him, his appeal and her love for him.
Reluctantly he left and I put my arm around her. I had a sudden thought, here was I a girl of just 21 comforting a mother of six children, my, my, how I had grown since I met him, the centre of my life.
"Oh Gianna, love, you mustn't think like that. He had to tell us don't you see. He wanted Jo and Guy to get together, almost planned it really, so he had to let us know about the past and about Guy."
"You think I am some harlot, una puttana, a whore, don't you. Sleeping with him for money, to keep my children. Having his baby when I marry someone else. It's not true, not true," she finished falling back to the bed sobbing.
Thankfully Jo arrived. I assumed Mike had told her what was going on. She heard Gianna's last words and sat next to her then pulled her upright. Jo is a bit more direct than me in these situations, her nursing experience I suppose.
"Gianna, Gianna, look at me." Gianna did, "Stop this nonsense now. Neither of us think of you like that, we know you loved him even though you didn't want too. He told us how he seduced you and how he made you pregnant to try to get you to marry him, how you were loyal to Silvio. Gianna, we love you too. All three of us love Mike, all in our different ways and we must be friends."
"But, but, you know about Guy."
"Yes we know about Guy," now she took a deep breath and looked at me.
"Yes," I said, "we know about Guy and we know that Guy knows as well."
"Gianna, he didn't mean to. He let it slip to me and I made him explain. He told me all about confronting you and you making him promise." She took another deep breath. "I told him it wasn't fair Mike not knowing he knew, not fair on Mike and not fair on me, or Lena for that matter."
"But everyone will know, I will be so ashamed."
"No one will know but us. Gianna," I said readying her for the last revelation, "Guy and Mike know, they've acknowledged each other as father and son."
"Oh no, no, no. My shame!!" Again she began to sob.
I hugged her tightly, "Gianna, Gianna, I told you, no one will know but us. Guy vowed not to let it be known, even at the wedding, unless you agree. Anyway Gianna, it isn't anything to be ashamed of is it? Silvio had left you destitute, Mike looked after you and you both fell in love. You can't be ashamed of that can you?"
She looked at me with a fierce determination, "I will never be ashamed of falling in love with him," she said and then, looking me straight in the eye as she regained control of her emotions, "or of being in love with him now," she added with pride and determination.
"I know how much you love him because I love him that much," I said to her with all the feeling I could manage. "All this time you've held that, I couldn't do it." I held her tightly to me, "Why didn't you let your love for him go?" She was thawing now, reacting to my love and understanding of her feelings. She took a deep breath and opened her heart to us both that evening.
"You know," she said, "because he must have told you, that I was a child bride. I was young when I marry Silvio, he was over twice my age. It was arranged by our families. It was not unusual in those days for families to settle feuds, honour, or debts in this way. Silvio is older than anyone thinks, he is in his 70's now, probably even older although Mike and the children think he is ten years younger.
"I didn't love him at the start but he was kind, gentle with me, you know, and not too demanding, and I grew fond of him, not love but affection. Then he left. You see, I was devastated. I was only 19, I knew nothing really of England, I barely spoke English because Silvio did it all. I knew Mike of course, he was Silvio's best man and his best friend as well so we saw a lot of him and his wife and children. He was a family friend and I never thought of him as anything else." She smiled, "Although he was always an attractive man," she added quietly, "but I never thought of other men at all you see, that was the way I was brought up. I marry Silvio and that was that!
"When Silvio didn't return Mike was marvellous. He told me as tenderly as he could but I was completely broken and I wept on his shoulder. They were tears of fear, not of lost love, What would I do without a man in a strange country, I didn't know. Mike said he fell in love with me that day, perhaps he did, I don't know but I wasn't in love with him then. He comforted me and made all the arrangements to get somewhere for us to live. I had Nardo and Maria to worry about. I was at my wits end, how was I to manage. Well Mike managed for me. He sold the café that they'd bought together and gave me more than half the money then he found a small house for us to live in. I was seeing a lot of him then, obviously, and he was making it clear that his feelings for me had changed into something more than friendship."
She looked at us both, smiling softly at the memory "It's difficult you know, when a man makes it clear that he is enamoured of you. And I was lonely. You see," she said apparently looking for acceptance, "this was the first time a man had 'paid court' to me; I was too young in Italy. I was becoming flattered. I was pretty then, I know, and I felt good that he had noticed."
She smiled a wan smile, "He was persistent you know," she said softly, "and I gave in and fell in love with him." Again she fixed us with her eyes, "I've only known two men," she said with feeling, "and I probably only will, but I know that I loved him, love him, with all my heart. Lena," she said holding my hands tightly, "I couldn't let go of that, surely you see."
"Yes," I said, "I see."
"Then he wanted to marry me, for me to divorce Silvio. Well, that was not possible, I am Catholic you see. To try to force me he made me pregnant with Guy but this changed nothing. I would not divorce Silvio and now I was a 'fallen woman', the proof there for everyone to see. I had cuckolded my husband and here was the proof. I was angry with him, very angry so I wouldn't let him be shown on the birth certificate. I was cruel I know but you do cruel things to the ones you love.
"He still loved me passionately, too passionately I suppose, but that didn't matter because I loved him. I wouldn't let him back into my bed and he had the operation to show he wouldn't make me pregnant so we became lovers again for several years. He lived a double life and I loved him." She looked at us with a yearning that was deep and strong, "And I wanted him, wanted him for myself but I couldn't have him could I? I belonged to Silvio.
"Then Silvio came back. Mike was heartbroken. You see," she said looking at us both with tears in her eyes, "I had to go back to Silvio. I was his wife wasn't I? I couldn't leave him. You understand don't you?"
She seemed to be seeking our approval for what she had done. Primarily, I suppose, because she thought she had done the wrong thing!
"Gianna, you had to do what you thought was right."
"Anyway I did go back to him. Silvio had to know about us and about Guy but he could hardly complain could he," she said with some bitterness. "Oh I didn't love him or anything like that." She held me quite tightly, "Look, I didn't want to go with Silvio, I wanted Mike but what could I do, I was his wife? Whenever he made love to me all I could think of was Mike. It was a duty not a pleasure."
She took a deep breath and she continued to relive the experience. "I didn't realise the effect that Silvio's return had had on Mike. He wouldn't see me and I didn't know he had started drinking heavily. Then, when I was pregnant with Pietro, he just disappeared. No one knew where he had gone, what he had done. I feared he would do something silly. I knew he still loved me passionately. He'd hardly spoken to me since Silvio's return, he was so hurt by my decision. Now I worried. I had a great big row with Silvio. He had assumed that Mike just took advantage of the situation to have a 'bit on the side'. He didn't realise until then how strong was our love for each other. I told him he was lucky to have a friend like Mike who looked after me while he had deserted me. I told him I didn't love him but I would stay because we were married. It changed him I think. I don't think he loved me before but perhaps he felt differently then, I don't know but he realised what I had given up."
"You know Mike contemplated killing himself don't you?"
She looked surprised, then sad, "No, he didn't tell me. When he came back I knew something had changed, something important. He was a different person you see. Before he was possessive, he wanted to own me really, to make me his. I suppose he was selfish. I didn't think so because I loved him. When he came back he wasn't like that any more. He was kind, thoughtful and understanding.
"After making his peace with Patricia he came to see Silvio and to tell him how he felt. Then he took me out for one last time together. We had lunch then we sat in the park and he told me how he had examined himself, examined his love for me, and how he had acted. He apologised for the way he treated me." She looked at us both and smiled wanly, "I didn't need any apology, I still loved him. Then he said that he had to bury his love for me. He couldn't hold on to it because it was so strong." She squeezed my hand tightly, trying to deal with the emotion. "I nearly died then, oh not literally," she smiled softly again, "I told him I couldn't do that and that I would always love him. We kissed for one last time, well kissed like that for one last time and that was the end. I gave him up," she ended sniffing and holding back tears, "out of duty, duty and religion. Damn them both!" she said vehemently.
"You did what you had to do," I said holding her tightly. I looked at Jo, "I told him I didn't mind him loving you," I said.
She looked puzzled and surprised, "I don't understand."
"I believe he still loves you, you see. Oh he buried his love but the memories are strong. That's why I sent him away just now. He would have hurt you I think because he has difficulty dealing with his feelings for you so I told him I didn't mind if he loved you. He needn't hide it away."
"How can you do this if you really love him?" she asked with some asperity.
Now I realised I would have to tell her about Jo and me, how we loved each other and about him and Jo. I looked at Jo, she sensed what I was going to do and nodded.
"I need to tell you about Jo and me, and all three of us." So I began to tell her about us being friends, me running away and then living together.
I took a deep breath, I didn't quite know how she'd take the next bit, "Jo and I are lovers," I said, "we have been for five years."