Ali's Art Ch. 13byharding©
I pulled up google maps and typed in the gas station town. It was in Capua, a small town just off the A1 highway linking Rome to Napoli. Was that her destination, or would she be traveling on, further down Italy, maybe to Sicily?
Ali's bank details were still open in another tab and I hit F5 to refresh them. Maybe it was meant to be, it sure felt that way, as a new transaction came up showing a charge to a new hotel. I opened another tab and typed in Hotel Miramare Napoli and a website came up. I skipped the intro and watched as a scrolling view displayed a plush reception area before being replaced by the dining room, terraces and bedrooms.
There was a link for online reservations and I clicked it and booked a room.
The receptionist was really good at her job and looked genuinely sad that I was leaving so soon.
I felt myself following in Ali's footsteps as I booked a car and then drove through Rome to pick up the highway south.
This time I would not make the same mistake.
It took me three hours to reach the hotel on the sea front, another fifteen to find somewhere to park and check in.
This time it was a man, dark suited and dark haired, whose English was as perfect as mine, maybe better.
"I'm hoping you can help me," I said. "I believe my cousin is staying with you. Alison Graham? Would it be possible to put me through to her room?"
He glanced down at his own computer screen, made a good show of masking his surprise.
"We have a reservation for a Signora Graham, but it appears she has not checked in yet. Would you like me to call you when she arrives?"
I felt my shoulders relax. "Great. Just call my room."
He nodded. "Certainly, Signore. Would you like a porter to help with your bags?"
"I got it," I said, and lugged my new suitcase upstairs.
I had paid extra for a sea view and stood on the small balcony watching boats in the bay. The temperature was in the nineties, humid, only a soft breeze taking a faint edge off the heat.
I stripped to my shorts and lay on the bed, dozing, waiting for a call.
When I woke the light had gone from the room. I walked back onto the balcony, the cool evening air feeling good against my body. Lights glittered all along the seafront and I could hear cutlery and glasses chinking coming up from a wide terrace below me. I realized I was standing in just my shorts and stepped back into the room.
I dialled reception and asked if Signora Graham had arrived yet and was told she had not.
I opened the laptop and logged into Ali's bank account.
Two new entries showed that she had booked a ferry crossing from Napoli to Ischia, the second a payment of €4,200 translated into dollars with a terse description saying "Ischia Villas".
She had changed her mind. It was impossible for her to know I was chasing her down, but it almost seemed as though she was trying to throw me of her trail.
I swore and ran a shower, stood under the warm spray, letting the water beat against my shoulders. I leaned against the tiled wall, head down, thinking about Ali. Wondering what she was doing at that moment.
I pictured her eating in a small cafe. Pictured her swimming in night cloaked sea, sparkling phosphorescent plankton dripping of her body. Pictured her like me, standing in the shower, water cascading over her perfect body, caressing the folds and dips and secret places.
I felt myself growing hard, kept leaning against the wall, felt myself grow harder, the more I tried to ignore it the more images of Ali came to me, Ali naked, Ali semi-clothed, Ali fully clothed in the silk dress she wore at the wedding, the material clinging against her.
My cock ached, standing almost vertical, water beating against me.
On the morning Ali left the previous week I had made love with Crystal once more, then made some excuse and did not see her again. I had not had sex or made myself cum in over a week. I couldn't remember the last time that had happened. Not since moving to New York. Even when Ali was not teasing me, when Sandy was not sharing herself with me, when sweet Tu had not been around to make love with, I had jacked off at least once a day, constantly aroused at being around Ali and her friends. The thought of Ali and another beautiful woman just feet away from me was too much and I lay at night hearing the occasional gasp and cry from the other room, my cock in my hand, holding myself back until I could stand it no longer, then letting loose a torrent of semen.
I thought of Ali constantly displaying herself, deliberately showing me a breast, the side of her hip, leaning forward so her robe rose up to reveal her perfectly shaped ass, her tight, shaved pussy nestling between her thighs.
I shut the water off and stepped out of the shower, toweled myself dry, avoiding my aching erection. I lay on the bed, slightly damp, and tried to think of something else, tried to keep my hands at my sides. But all I could think of was Ali. In the hotel room after the wedding, both of us naked, sweating, Ali humping against me, pretending to fuck my ass and I had wanted her to. If she had possessed a cock at that moment I would have given myself to her completely.
I remembered Ali in the bath, draped against me, her budded asshole pressing against the head of my cock and the feeling I needed to push, knowing that she wanted me to, and I wondered why the fuck we hadn't screwed each other years ago, why we hadn't been screwing all year, because we both wanted it, both ached for each other.
A sudden image filled my mind, of when I had first arrived in New York, of Ali and Maggie naked, making love to each other on the big old sofa. Maggie's large breasts swaying. Ali lying between her legs. Maggie holding my cock the second time I returned and letting me cum over her.
I got up and turned the shower back on, swung the control hard over to cold and stepped back under, gasping at the shock, stayed there until my cock wilted and shrank. I stayed under the water a long time, shivering when I came out.
I lay on the bed and finally slept, but my dreams were troubled and I kept waking, hearing people below, hearing boats on the water, the far distant sound of wires snapping in rigging.
WEDNESDAY JUNE 27th
The next day I took the ferry and signed into a tiny hotel in Lacco Ameno. Ischia was a small island, but Ali could be anywhere, and even a small island was enormous when I was looking for one person.
As another day slipped into evening I sat at a restaurant picking at food I didn't want to eat, drinking more wine than was good for me.
I stared at people in the square without really seeing. And then I did see. I saw Ali.
She walked across my line of sight and it could be no-one else, although at first I was confused because she had cut her hair, cut it really short. It had to be her. She was on this island. It looked like her, apart from the hair.
I stayed where I was, didn't call out, just watched as she strode across the square and took a seat in a restaurant on the other side.
I felt confident she wouldn't see me. I was tucked into a small table in a back corner, the sun would be directly into her eyes, and she was not expecting to see me.
She spoke with a waitress, drank some cold white wine and I continued to watch as she waited for her food came.
She was maybe a hundred yards from me, small with distance, but it was as if my vision was magnified. I couldn't stop watching her. My own food went ignored. My own drink untouched.
I studied her, trying to interpret her body language. She seemed relaxed, but not quite herself, not the Ali I knew, but I couldn't put my finger on the difference.
She wore a light skirt and scooped top. Her skin was pink from the sun, just starting to turn brown.
A man approached her from one of the other tables, and I watched as she expertly brushed him off.
The waitress returned and took her plate, stood chatting for a while, but Ali wasn't interested in her either.
I slipped my phone from my shirt pocket and pressed the speed dial for Al. She was too distant for me to hear, but I saw her posture change and she reached in her bag and pulled her phone out. She stared at it, obviously recognizing my number. Distance cloaked her face and I couldn't read any expression.
Her voicemal cut in, as I knew it would, and I tried to think of something I wanted to say. Thought about what Sandy had said.
"Al... I know you don't want to talk to me, and I don't really know why, but I want to tell you that I love you. Not like my ditzy lesbian cousin, either. I love you with my soul and my body. Call me. Please."
Unaware of my message, she ordered another glass of wine and sipped it slowly as the sun dropped lower. Shadows crept across the square, slowly drawing a line over the cobbles. When the line reach Ali's terrace she finished her wine and got up, left money on the table and walked back through the square.
I dropped euro notes on my table and followed her. She went down a side alley and came out into another square with parking, where she went directly to a small Fiat. It was lucky I had left my own hire car in the same square. Parking opportunities were limited.
I turned away as she drove past, then sprinted to the car and drove after her.
It was easy to follow. Her car was bright yellow and freshly washed. All the local's cars held a covering of summer dust.
She drove up through the town, weaving slowly along unfamiliar streets, then headed north west. We passed through two small villages, then started to drop down, back towards the sea.
Off to my right lay the Mediterranean, ahead dry hills, houses and villas tucked in all the flat spots.
Ali's indicator flashed and she slowed, turned down a narrow track toward the sea.
I pulled up before the turning, got out and stood beside a boulder, watching flashes of the yellow car as it took the track, its progress easy to see by the plume of dust it threw up.
She disappeared and failed to re-appear. I waited. Then I started down the track on foot.
I passed a couple of small villas, then turned where Ali had disappeared. The track rose up. At the crest the sea appeared, close, and off to the left a small villa perched almost on the water. There was no beach, no other houses, just dark blue water lapping gently as dusk merged into full night.
The windows cast light out onto the rocks and the sea.
I felt safe, protected by the dark, and walked silently down until I was almost at the water and could look back into the villa.
I saw Ali move past and my heart fluttered in my chest. For a moment it was as though she was projected on a giant screen, striding through the frame, slim and lithe, only her newly shorn hair throwing the image askew in my mind.
She disappeared, then returned to stand looking out through sliding glass doors. It felt as though she stared directly at me, her face shaded, light framing her figure, but it was almost full dark now and I knew she would see only the faint illumination out over the sea.
She stood for a long time, resting her forehead on the glass, her expression hidden. Finally she turned away and was lost from sight.
I remained where I was, waiting, but she did not reappear.
I looked around, searching in the dark for somewhere to sit, moved, feeling around, and found a curved rock set into a small cliff face. I settled into it, finding the warm rock comfortable, cradling my back and shoulders. I laid my head back and looked up at the sky, deep violet, scattered with bright stars. Staring upwards the top of the cliff cut my view to the east, but a glow showed where the moon had risen.
I watched the lighted windows, continued watching until the light died. Somewhere inside the small, neat villa Ali would be getting into bed. I had no idea what I was going to do, how I was going to approach her. Sighing deeply I closed my eyes, just for a moment.
THURDAY JUNE 28th
When I opened my eyes after what I believed had been only a couple of minutes it was full light. Obviously the effects of my frantic search for Ali had caught up with me.
I lay in the shade of the cliff. Sunlight poured onto the small villa. I lifted my wrist and checked my watch. God! It was almost 9 a.m. But I was comfortable, the mild Mediterranean air caressing me, so I stayed where I was, letting the day grow older, and after a while the patio doors opened and Ali stepped out. She wore a robe and sandals - not the silk one she wore at home, some faded blue towelling robe that probably came with the villa.
She stretched, lifting her arms high, then strode across the rocks to the water.
I was off to one side, still shaded beneath the cliff, and she would not expect to see anyone.
When she reached the water she untied the robe and let it drop. Underneath she was naked. Stepping out of her sandals, she trod carefully to where the sea lapped against the rocks, looked down and dived in. The water must have been deep, because she stayed down a long time before surfacing fifteen yards from shore.
She flipped onto her back and stroked lazily away, turned over again and swam more purposefully.
The clear water sparkled against her body, trailing down over her back and buttocks. I stared, feeling my cock responding in my pants and feeling bad for it, but unable to stop myself reacting.
Ali swam out until she was a tiny speck, then turned and parallelled the coastline, disappearing from view behind a headland.
I waited. Fifteen minutes passed and then she came into back view, close to shore now. She swam hard straight for the rocks and pulled herself out in one smooth movement, stood and pushed her hands back through her newly shorn hair, water running down from her body, tracing across her wonderful breasts, running over her belly and shaved pussy, caressing her long slim legs.
She lowered her arms and shook her hands, picked up the robe and walked back to the villa, holding the robe over her arm, a vision of loveliness. The pressure in my pants grew and I almost groaned, held myself back in case she heard. The only sound in this small isolated valley was the soft lapping of the sea.
Ali disappeared inside. I waited, trying to see what she was doing, but there was no movement, and I guessed she was showering.
Taking my opportunity I stood and went as quickly as I could back up the track to my car.
I knew where she was staying now. I could return at any time I wanted. And now, I needed to think.
I drove back to Ischia and let myself into my unused hotel room, stripped off and let a hot shower wash the grime from my body. My cock was still half engorged, and I looked down at it in the tall mirror as I stepped out from the shower. It would be so easy to touch myself, get hard again, and make myself cum, but suddenly that felt like betrayal.
I let the water dry naturally on my skin as I shaved. I glanced down, debating, then lathered up the short regrowth of pubic hair and shaved myself there as well. Ali liked me smooth, I knew that. Anything I could do to win her back. Anything at all.
Still naked I went back and lay on the bed, meaning to rest a moment, but once again sleep ambushed me.
I woke to the sound of a key in the door and opened my eyes to find that as I had slept my cock had stiffened again and now stood up hard against my belly, and that a maid was backing into the room with a trolley containing cleaning material and fresh towels.
I started to sit up, to grab the bedcovers just as she turned and saw me.
Her eyes widened and her mouth formed a perfect O.
She was young, not twenty, dressed in a neat blue work uniform that zipped up the front and showed a lot of leg.
I saw her eyes take in my nakedness, saw them glance down and a flush appear on her face.
"Dispiace Signore" she said, her hand rising to her breasts.
I held a hand up, finally pulling the covers over my erection.
"It's OK," I said, holding my own hand up. "I guess I just dropped off. I'm sorry."
"American," she said. "I will come back later, yes?"
But she made no immediate move, just stood beside her trolley, still looking at me. I realized that I had managed to cover my cock, but the rest of me was still on display.
"Are you in Ischia for long, signore?"
What the hell? This was not the right time - but even as I thought it I felt a sense of disappointment - every man's fantasy was playing out in my hotel room, a beautiful Italian maid just a zip's tug away from being revealed, a naked foreign man with a raging hard on - and I was going to turn her away.
"I'm not sure yet. I don't think so."
"That is a shame. Perhaps I will see you again before you leave?" She started to turn away and I sighed with relief.
"Perhaps," I said.
She guided her trolley out, but hesitated as she reached the door and looked back, a mischievous look on her pretty face.
"You are sure I cannot do anything for you before I go, signore?"
"Thanks, but no thanks."
She lifted an eyebrow, perhaps surprised, and left me alone.
I stood, went across and flicked the lock on the door, then laughed at the ridiculous sight I made, my raging cock jutting out and swaying.
I lay back on the bed with my arms at my sides and let sleep take me again into dreams of Ali and a brown skinned hotel maid and Sandy and Jack and Tu and my Mom and when I woke my cock was still rigid and it felt as though I was on the point of cumming hard.
I shook my head, got up and took another shower, turning the controls down until the water was cold and eventually my cock eased and settled back between my legs. I stayed under the shower for another five minutes, then dressed.
I seemed to have slept most of the day away, the shadows now gathering in the square under my window.
I grabbed my wallet, the hire car keys and the envelope Sandy had given me, unlocked the door and went outside.
Tonight I crossed the square to the restaurant Ali had been in the night before. I knew how she was: once she found somewhere she liked she would return again and again. I thought back to where she had sat, and took a table as far away as I could. I ordered a Peroni and a dish of olives and looked through the menu, suddenly hungry.
My pasta was just being delivered when my cellphone rang. I answered, expecting Sandy asking if I had found Ali yet.
"Hi," I said.
There was silence. No, not silence, the sound of a car engine, a squeaking as parts moved on an uneven surface.
"Hello...?" I said. "Al?"
More active silence.
"I miss you, Al," I said. "I miss you more than you can believe."
The silence stretched on, for a long time. I thought I could hear her breathing above the background noise of the engine, and then her voice said, "Oh, I can believe," and she broke the connection.
I stared at my phone, willing it to ring again, trying to put meaning to her words. Had she been angry? Sad? Upset? Apologetic? I had no idea. Just hearing her voice had surged emotion through me, removing any ability to analyse her actual words.
I looked at my food on the table, no longer hungry, but knowing I had to eat so I lifted a fork and twirled pasta and put it in my mouth and as soon as I tasted the creamy sauce my hunger rose up, a huge monster, and I ate quickly.
I ordered another beer and gelato and then Ali walked in off the square and took the same table as last night, across the terrace from me, looking away, not seeing me sitting in clear view. She was closer than last night, and looked more beautiful than I had ever seen her. Her skin, sun touched, glowed. I was beginning to get used to her hair, and saw the sun highlight it, throwing fiery tints into the curls that still formed. The cut would have been severe on anyone else, showing her ears and the nape of her neck, soft curls framing her forehead, slightly longer on top, but on Ali is merely revealed more of her amazing face, more of her smooth neck and throat.