Norbert found himself in the large and elegant hall of the villa where he entered... ages before, it seemed.
The music, the laughter, the voices were not heard anymore.
At the centre of the hall there was a small table and on it he saw his clothes -they had evidently been washed and ironed and were put in good order. He took them and put them on. While wearing his sweatshirt he noted that on it there was an enamelled pin with the six colours of the rainbow gay flag. He was sure he didn't put it there.
He looked at it - it was beautiful... he decided to leave it on the lapel. He was finishing put on his clothes when he sensed an excellent smell of food and realized he was hungry - who knows how long was since he ate?
He tried to figure out where the tantalizing aroma came from and already felt his mouth water. He opened a door on the left and saw that it led into a kitchen and the smell of good food came from there. He was about to enter when he heard a knock at the door. For a moment, he remained uncertain and the knock was repeated. Norbert then went to open it.
There stood a boy about his age.
"Excuse me... I got lost... and I rode all night in the woods... and I'm hungry. Could you give me some bread, please?"
He was about to reply that this was not his house, that he was leaving, that... but basically he too was looking for something to eat, and the light of prayer which he read in the eyes of the boy changed his mind.
"Come in. This is not my home, but... I was just going into the kitchen to eat something. We can find something to eat together. Come."
"Thank you." said the young man entering.
As he led him to the kitchen, Norbert said: "My name is Norbert."
"I'm Gilbert." said the young man, smiling shyly.
Entering the kitchen, Norbert seated the boy and began to search for food. There were two pots on the stove, and then looked in the fridge - it was full of good food. The dishes were visible behind a glass door.
He prepared the table and sat down in front of the boy to eat.
"Well, let's eat." he said.
While they were eating the good food, Norbert observed the boy - he thought that he looked like him. Not so much physically, he was indeed quite different from him, but Gilbert had something that assimilated to him. Maybe the way of looking, of smiling... perhaps the demeanour, the age, the lean body...
Occasionally Gilbert raised his eyes on him and their eyes met. Gilbert smiled, and then continued to eat with a good appetite.
Norbert felt attracted to that guy. He continued to watch him and felt increasingly attracted. His face was kind and showed traits of a young virility. He had a large mass of slightly wavy brown hair and a soft lock was hanging down over his forehead. The nose was perfect, the lips soft and beautiful. He had well-delineated and separated eyebrows, long eyelashes, eyes of a beautiful green with brown, almost golden specks.
He had beautiful hands with long fingers and manicured nails. From the shirt with the collar unbuttoned, stood a beautiful long and proportionate neck. The skin was smooth and fair. On the back of the hands he had a slight golden fluff under which one could see the blue veins, barely in relief.
They had stopped eating. Norbert asked: "Are you still hungry?"
"No, thank you." Gilbert responded with a slight smile.
"I like the way you smile." Norbert said.
"Thanks." replied the boy.
"I like you." Norbert said and put his hand on the back of the hand across the table, almost in a caress.
"Thanks." the boy said serenely looking at him in the eyes.
"I... I want you." finally Norbert found the courage to tell him.
Gilbert turned his hand under the other and clasped his fingers with those of Norbert, squeezing slightly, and Norbert shuddered, feeling arise in himself a pleasant excitement.
"It's a kind of hunger this too..." Gilbert said with a sweet smile. "You have fed me, now I can feed you."
Norbert thought that it was true, he was feeling for that guy something very close to hunger, in spite in those last hours he had had many meetings and countless orgasms.
Gilbert stood up, always keeping in his hand the other's, walked around the table and with a slight pull made Norbert get up also.
"Come..." he said with a warm voice, sounding inviting.
He took him out of the kitchen and led him towards a door at the back of the hall. Norbert thought that it was as if the boy knew the house and followed him. Gilbert opened a door and drew him inside.
It was a large all white bedroom, with a soft white carpet, white veils at the windows, from which was visible the forest and the shore of the river. A beautiful and pleasant breeze came through the open windows, and made the light white curtains around the large bed wave also.
"Come..." repeated Gilbert guiding him next to the bed.
Drawing back the curtains, they took off their shoes and climbed on the soft quilts, sitting face to face. Gilbert took Norbert's face in his hands and slowly approached his warm and mild lips to those of Norbert, and rubbed them against. Norbert shuddered and parted them. Their tongues touched, then in turn slowly penetrated into the mouth of one, then the other, and their kiss became more intimate, warm and deep.
They slowly undressed each other, and as they uncovered the body of the companion, caressed it. When at last they were both naked, Norbert looked at the body of Gilbert: it was sweet, nice, strong, well done. He looked even between his legs - the new friend was very nice there too, so pleasantly erect and throbbing.
They caressed in an increasingly more intimate and sensual way. They lay intertwining their limbs, their bodies locked in an erotic embrace, continuing from time to time to kiss.
"You are very beautiful." Norbert whispered.
"You too." said the other with a tone low and warm that made him shudder.
Norbert felt like he was suspended in a cloud, amongst all that floating of white veils and the soft white surface of the bed. And he liked to feel himself in the arms of this unknown guy and keep him in his arms.
They made love for a long time, slowly, with pleasure, frequently looking and smiling at each other, kissing each other, joining together in various ways, in a constant competition to give and receive pleasure. Norbert felt a sense of serenity, of liberation as the joyful delight they were giving one another proceeded.
Finally they reached the highest pleasure, and then relaxed in each other's arms, tenderly caressing and kissing each other from time to time. And Norbert gradually slipped into a good sleep.
A distant trill like of a cricket, slowly took him out of sleep. His eyes still closed, he sought the body of his companion at his side: the bed was empty.
He opened his eyes and sat up - he was in his bedroom in his apartment in Edinburgh! A bit surprised, he rubbed his eyes.
It had been all a dream, then! From the moment he had decided to accept the invitation of the "clique" to go to camp, the dream had been like real.
Then he felt a dull sense of disappointment: even the last guy, that Gilbert with whom he had so nicely made love, was just part of a dream...
Another thought struck him: if he was missing that guy, if he would mind that it was just a dream... it meant that he was gay! Strangely, he accepted that ascertainment, that revelation, quietly. Yes, it must be true: the dream was nothing but the fruit of his subconscious that had finally emerged into his consciousness, that had finally revealed him what he really was, how really was his sexuality.
He got out of bed. He saw that on the chair lay his velvet trousers and his sweatshirt neatly folded. He wondered a little confused if he had fallen asleep after Liam had invited him to go to camp with them, if he had prepared his clothes then laid thinking to rest just for a few minutes...
He looked at the digital clock on the bedside table: it was eight in the morning.
He picked up the sweatshirt and trousers to put them back in the closet, when he saw that something shone on the sweatshirt - it was a small enamelled pin in the shape of a flag, with the six colours of the rainbow gay pride flag! He was sure he had never bought one, he had never pinned one on his sweater... But then, had it been a dream or not?
He put the clothes on the chair and went to get the album in which he had collected pictures of Leonardo Di Caprio, which was on the shelf above the small desk. Passing in front of the wardrobe mirror he saw his own image, his naked body. Got the album he laid it on the tabletop and began to leaf through it: logically the pictures were those who he had gathered and in none Leo was naked, he too was in none... he grinned calling himself a fool.
But when he reached the last page, he saw that there was a photo that he had never put there: it represented a purple room, with a central bed and two side chairs, also purple, with no one inside. But on top of the bed were clearly recognizable the imprints of two bodies...
Norman shook his head, confused as ever.
He picked up the calendar with the pictures in black and white of the Italian actor Gabriel Garko. Also this was apparently identical to how he remember it... Gabriel's body was almost naked, beautiful, but never completely nude. Nothing seemed changed, nothing seemed different. Then he noticed something that made his hair tingle - on each photo, instead of the logo of the magazine "Max" of which the calendar was an attachment, there was stamped in red, the word "Norbert". It was not superimposed, was not drawn on it, it was printed.
He sat on the chair almost crashing - but then, it was a dream or was it real? But if it were true, how could so strange, such mysterious things have happened? And why he had fallen asleep in the villa but had woken up in his bed? Was it a case of amnesia, where pieces of memories mingled with really happened things?
He heard the phone ringing in the corridor and went to answer it.
"Norbert! Oh shit, you're there! You made us take a real fright!" was the voice of Shawn.
"Fright?" the boy asked uncertainly, holding his breath.
"Yes, fuck... you disappeared last night... so... Shit, I... I wanted to apologize; I do not know what I had got... I did not think you would get pissed so... But how did you get back home? Did you hitchhike? "
"Yes, the hitchhiking..." Norbert lied feeling dizzy.
"Damn... we were all worried... Liam has all your stuff... when you want he'll bring it to you... Are you still angry with me, Norbert?"
"No... no..." replied the boy uncertainly.
"Last night just seemed you were going crazy... I... I did not mean to make you so pissed off... Christ, you forgive me, Norbert? You can put a lid on it?" the friend asked him worried.
"Yes, yes... do not think about it anymore..."
"You are a friend, Norbert. You really are a friend... The others are all angry, they all are pissed off with me..."
"But they laughed when you..." Norbert remarked.
Shawn did not answer.
"But tell me... honestly... you wanted to actually do it?" Norbert asked.
"I... I... I guess so."
"Are you gay, Shawn?" Norbert asked.
For a while on the other side he heard only the faint sound of the breath of his friend, then finally came the reply: "I think... I guess so..."
"Do you think it or are you?" Norbert insisted.
"Good Lord, Norbert... I've never done it with anyone, I swear, but... I wanted to do it, yes."
"With me? In front of everyone?" Norbert asked mildly surprised.
"Maybe it was a way... to come out, to stop hiding, and not be able to draw back... Christ, Norbert, I know I did something stupid, but..."
"Why with me, Shawn?"
"You were close to me."
"Would you have also tried with another?"
"Another of the friends of our clique... I guess so. If you do not accept me, you who are my friends... with whom could I... expose myself so? I'm sorry, Norbert... Yes, I think I am gay... "
"Yes, Shawn. And if I was pissed off with you like that, is because... well... I'm gay too." Norbert said and held his breath.
The fact he had admitted it not only to himself, but also to a friend, gave him a sense of liberation.
"Are you... are you serious?" asked the friend.
"Yes, even if I only realized it last night. Maybe that's why my reaction was... how it was. Last night I had not yet understood, I had not yet accepted it. Maybe you were the one who, making me so pissed off, pulled the trigger of the gun, so to speak. "
"So... you're really not mad at me?"
"No, Shawn, I'm no longer. But you... you said it to the others? You told them about you? That you are gay?"
"And... nothing. They told me they do not care, everything is as before... but I should not make you so pissed off..."
"But they laughed, shouted us to do that sixty-nine..."
"It was only as a joke for them... After all... we were beating our meat in pairs, right? We were amongst us... something of the clique... If you forgive me, you have to forgive them... explain them about you, about your reaction... as they accepted me, for sure they will accept you too. "
"Yeah. Maybe you're right. Well, Shawn, you can begin to say words to the others about me."
"Can we meet? This afternoon?"
"No... I'm still a bit confused, and tired. But we shall meet soon, as always, and go and drink a beer together. You tell the others."
"As you wish. So bye, Norbert and... thanks."
Norbert looked at his wristwatch with the date: yes, it was Saturday morning... everything was right... But how did he return home? And where was that strange, mysterious villa? Had he actually experienced it all? And how he had returned home?
A few days passed. Norbert met again the friends and confirmed what Shawn had told them - yes, he was gay. As Shawn said, his friends accepted the news quietly. And, confidence for confidence, Joel and Liam admitted being bisexual. That left only Mike and Frank, who almost apologized to be straight... and everyone laughed.
"We are a fine assortment!" Liam remarked cheerfully.
"Maybe now that we have put all the cards on the table, we can also do something together." Joel suggested.
"Maybe..." Norbert said hesitantly. Then he explained: "It is not said that just because... you see, I'd love to find a... a true lover, more than just have fun..."
"Hey, you just converted and already think of getting married?" Joel asked laughing.
"No, it isn't a matter of... being a convert. I before simply did not want to admit it even to myself, I had simply not yet understood. But if I am so..."
"For me it is not easy to find the right girl," said Frank, "so I do not know if it will be easier or harder for you to find the right guy..."
"We'll see." Norbert replied with a smile, thinking about the guy with whom he had last made love, there in the villa.
"But if and when you find him, you'll make us know?" asked Mike.
"Promise: if it's something serious, you will be the first to know. Are we or are we not the clique?" Norbert said, smiling.
The boy had noticed that there had been a change in him - he was now looking at the girls only as "persons" without being any longer interested in them. Instead he watched the boys as potential partners, and sometimes fantasized he could try with some of them.
But he didn't start to look for his "Prince Charming", as jokingly had said Shawn. No - if he met him, he would have understood, he felt sure about that.
Shawn instead had started attending the gay premises and was going through an adventure after another, and how his friends had always told the others of the clique about their adventures and their meetings, he too talked about it quietly.
Norbert now always carried a small flag pin of the gay pride pinned on his clothes. In college some of the companions asked him, more or less directly, if that pin meant that Norbert was gay, and the boy confirmed that without problems.
This alienated him from the sympathy of some, but nothing changed with others. However, no one teased him, no one bothered him, no more, at least, than when they make fun of each other, among peers, for a thousand different reasons.
Norbert had not forgotten the villa, but had set aside that episode in a corner of his mind categorizing it as a dream mixed with a mild form of amnesia. The only things that still bound him to that mysterious "dream" were the pin, the calendar that read "Norbert" and the photo of the purple room.