Bonus Chapter: The Day at the Beach
It was a lovely summer day. I had my easel out, painting the scenery in the shadows of some trees. A light wind pulled at my loose shirt- I paid it no mind, for no one would see us here. Not unless they could scale a sheer cliff without help. And why would vampires want to be exposed to sunlight?
I heard rustling in the cabin. Ah, here was the reason this particular vampire dared to go out into the sun.
Margherita appeared at the doorway. She held her hands out, mostly for support, but she was blind from birth- she was trying to feel her way out. I placed my palette and brush on a tree stump and rushed to meet her.
I held her hands. She no longer flinched at my cold skin. Instead, she smiled.
I stared. She had found the silky dress I bought for her, and wore it now. It was white, like her eyes, and it melded to her body like milk flowing on her skin.
"Bellissima," I breathed.
Her cheeks colored- she always blushed whenever I complimented her beauty. I led her down the few steps and pulled her lightly to me. She rested her cheek on my chest. I moved her so that we were slowly dancing, softly humming a tune.
Her ears were very sensitive. She heard me and began humming along.
We danced for a while. Time always seemed to stop when we were together. "How do you like it?" I asked.
"How do I like what?" she asked in reply.
"The dress." My hand moved to stroke her back.
"It's wonderful," she answered. She stroked my back as well. "It feels wonderful."
"Not as wonderful as you," I whispered. I felt her face warm against my chest. "I'll never get over how incredible it feels when you touch me."
"Then don't," she said. I chuckled.
We danced a few more steps.
"Say," I began, "would you like to go to the beach?"
"I would love to," she said. Then her voice sounded stern. "Are you coming with me?"
I laughed. I was still laughing when I swept her off her feet and ran, taking us down to the sea.
We walked by the shoreline, the warm summer water lapping at our feet. We talked- Margherita was quite opinionated on many things. We never really argued, though. We would come to a disagreement, and we would explain our point of view to the other. We would come out of it with new understanding, and so nothing got out of hand.
Mostly, she just asked me about my life. She asked me about the Italy before she was born, how things have changed. I suppose my answers were strange- the passing of years starts to lose meaning for someone like myself- but she took it all in stride.
I wondered idly what she would think, had she seen me glinting in the sunlight. Then I thought- it really wouldn't matter to her. I smiled to myself.
I finally found a nice sunny spot near the water. I led her there, asking her to sit. She did, letting the water lap at her legs. I hesitated, then ran back to the cabin to grab another easel and my supplies, and ran back down.
"Giovanni?" she asked.
"Shh," I said from a few yards away. "I want to paint you, if that's all right."
Her cheeks colored. "But I can't see it."
"Trust me," I said, a grin building on my face, "this is purely for selfish purposes."
She didn't say anything, but she assumed a comfortable pose. I worked quickly, laying down the outlines, painting in a few spots to establish color. I waited until I had enough on the canvas to finish it later- I wasn't about to waste my time with Margherita- and I committed the scene to memory.
I ran back to the cabin with my prize, finally coming back to stand near her.
She heard my approach. "Giovanni?"
I would never get over the way she said my name. "Si?"
She patted the sand next to her. "Lie down next to me?"
I went to her side, sitting down beside her, and leaned in. The salty air served only to heighten my awareness of her scent, and I kissed her neck.
I heard her heart stutter. "You're doing it again," she whispered.
I drew back, and I held her hand to my face so she could feel my smile. She giggled- my goatee tickled her palm whenever I did this. "I'm happy that I can do it at all," I whispered back.
Then I remembered her earlier request. I laid myself down next to her, wrapping an arm around her waist.
She turned her head in my direction. Without looking, her hand lightly caressed my torso.
"What are you thinking?" she asked.
"Mmm." I sighed. "I was thinking about how wonderful that feels."
She giggled. "Don't move," she commanded.
I lay very still.
I felt her body lean towards me. I watched as she unbuttoned my shirt, peeling it off my body. She twisted so that she could use both hands, and she resumed touching me. Her fingers drew patterns over my chest, my stomach, my sides…
My breath caught. I couldn't even describe what I was feeling. The sun was still in the sky, and yet I swore I could see stars.
Suddenly she laughed. I was surprised. "Why are you laughing?"
She stopped touching for a minute, shaking with glee. Then she resumed. "I was just thinking," she said, idly tracing the muscles on my belly, "that I wanted you to feel how I feel when you kiss me. It suddenly occurred to me that this-" she patted my chest- "was close enough."
"Oh." I let it sink in. This is what she felt about me? I took a secret pleasure in the knowledge, and a stupid grin filled my face.
"You're very muscular," she said, still tracing.
"Stop," I teased. "You're going to make me blush."
She giggled again. Then she stretched out beside me, turning to lay her face on my chest, one leg moving over and pulling mine aside. My arm closed around her back, and I played with her deep brown hair.
She drew circles on me, moving her finger up and down my torso. The pleasure was building to a fever pitch. I had to grab her hand to stop her before I lost it.
"Something wrong?" she asked.
I took a deep breath. It was getting easier, being this close to her, but I didn't know if I could take it further than this. "You are driving me insane," I answered. "I'm not sure I can take much more."
She relaxed, and planted a kiss on my chest. "Now I know that I can make you feel what I feel when you are near me." I freed her hand, and she rested it on my stomach. It was a bit too close for comfort, but I did not move.
I looked at the sky. Not a cloud in sight. The sunlight reflected off my skin and onto her, painting her with a mosaic of color.
I drank it all in- her sight, her smell, her touch- as we lay there. If only time would stand still, I thought. Perhaps I could hold on to this memory forever.
As the sun continued its ascent, I heard a low grumble.
I looked with surprise at Margherita, a smile forming on my lips.
"Don't laugh," she warned. "I think it's close to noon, and I haven't eaten anything yet."
"Nothing to worry about," I said. I pulled her into a sitting position. "I'll be right back." I ran back to the cabin- was this the third time today?- and came back with a picnic basket. I helped her up and found a dry patch of sand. I laid out a blanket and helped her sit down. I sat next to her, and opened the basket.
She took a deep breath. "It smells wonderful," she said.
"I hope so," I replied. "I haven't cooked in a long time."
"You cook?" I heard a trace of disbelief in her question.
"Not very well," I replied. I finished plating her meal- chicken alfredo with bow tie pasta, a recipe I learned when I was still human- and fished a fork from the basket.
"Brace yourself- this could be awful."
She visibly steeled herself, but her mouth was twitching.
I speared some food on the fork. "Open your mouth."
She complied. I placed the food slowly on her tongue, letting her take the morsel from the fork.
"Mmm," she mumbled. I waited as she finished chewing, watched as she swallowed. Her face twisted into a frown.
Oh, no. "It's awful, isn't it?"
Her expression changed instantly. "Oh no- no no no! It's delicious!" she replied.
"But your face-"
She held a finger up. "Please give me more, and I'll explain."
I couldn't argue. I fed her another bite. When she swallowed, she took a deep breath and started talking.
"I was just confused. You told me you do not eat normal food, that you cannot even taste it. How is it then that you can cook?"
So perceptive. "My family ran a restaurant in the little town I grew up in," I answered. "It was my dream to take my father's place as head chef one day.
"I learned a few recipes. That's all I really know how to cook, now, since my… change." The word felt inadequate, like it did not convey enough information. I fed her another bite. "This was the first recipe I perfected."
She smiled as she chewed. "Then I'm glad I got to taste it."
I produced a bottle of wine and poured her a glass. I handed it to her, and she drank deeply.
"Ah," she sighed. "Molto bene."
I chuckled. "I would date myself if I told you how old that wine is."
We continued the rest of her meal in this way. We talked more, of course- more than anything, we enjoyed each other's company.
Later that day, I took her with me into the water. She was terrified at first- she had never been inside anything larger than a bath tub. But my promise to keep her safe won her over, and she slowly walked into the sea with me.
I was glad for the water- the warmth took away some of the chill of my touch. She didn't seem to care, clinging to me securely, her only lifeline.
And of course, I had no problem with that.
I tread water easily, letting her try to float on the surface. The waves were slight- a natural breakwater existed not too far from us, keeping the waves from crashing with full force into our beach.
I had to smile. Our beach. I liked it.
She had enough after a while, and so I helped her back to shore. I collected our things, and she held them while I carried her back to the cabin.
I let her have the small bathroom to herself after letting her touch her way around, so she knew where things were. I contented myself with the water pump outside, washing the saltwater off my skin.
I dashed back inside, a towel wrapped around my waist. I heard Margherita call me from the bathroom before I could get dressed; I asked what she needed, and she called for me to come in.
I knocked on the door, letting her know I was there. Then I pushed it open.
I thought that she might need some help- maybe she misplaced something while bathing. What I wasn't expecting was Margherita, in the tub, one bare leg in the air as she tried to soap it.
I couldn't move- I was dumbstruck.
"Could you help me, please?"
I still didn't move. I couldn't think straight.
Her tone grew concerned. "Is something wrong?"
That broke the spell. "No," I whispered. "Nothing's wrong," I added. Everything's wrong. But I moved closer, kneeling next to the tub. "What can I do?"
She giggled. Her hand reached out to my voice, touching my face, tracing my lips, parting them slightly. Then she handed me the soapy sponge. "Do my legs?" she said, her voice turning husky.
My throat was suddenly dry. I couldn't speak, so I took the sponge and did as she asked.
I'd never touched her legs before- they were long, soft to the touch, like warm velvet. I felt her shiver; I cupped warm water from the tub onto her legs as I worked, thinking it was my touch that caused the reaction.
But I could hear her heart- and it was beating a staccato tempo into my head. I thought of all the blood flowing through her body. The scent of her in warm, soapy water- still with the slight tang of salt- was maddening. I placed her ankle on my shoulder, soaping the inside of her leg, watching her face.
Her eyes were closed. Her breathing was slight- she sighed once. Pleasure? I pressed my cheek to her foot, breathed the smell of her skin. And the blood- always the blood- sweet, intoxicating… My vision reddened, and venom swam in my mouth. I turned, my lips parting…
I was at the door before her leg splashed back into the water. I held onto the frame for support, the wood splintering under the pressure. I took deep breaths, trying to clear my head. Too close… Too close…
"Giovanni?" Her tone was concerned, but I couldn't bring myself to face her. I didn't want her to know the monster in me had come this close to ending her life…
"Giovanni?" She was closer now- I could smell her again. Grief wracked my body; I leaned my forehead against the doorframe in shame.
I heard her approach, but I didn't move. Her fingers sought me out, touching my back, and then her arms wrapped around me. I felt her lips on my shoulder- a light kiss- and she turned her cheek to my skin.
"I'm sorry," she whispered. Her fingers traced figures on my stomach. "I didn't mean to upset you."
I sighed- she was quick to take the blame on herself whenever I lost control. "You're doing it again," I whispered back.
"What?" she asked.
I took one of her hands gently, kissing her fingers. "Driving me insane," I answered. I took her other hand, releasing myself from her embrace so I could turn around and face her. Then I placed her arms around my neck, where they twined behind my head. I wrapped my arms around her waist. "Please don't apologize for something that is my fault," I said, looking into her white eyes. "I am… trying… very hard."
Her face was upturned towards mine. "But earlier today, you seemed very in control," she said. "Did I do something wrong?"
I laughed softly. "Dear Margherita," I began, "you can never do anything wrong where I am concerned." I leaned my forehead against hers. "It is just that… I have never been near a naked woman before- least of all, not anyone as lovely and tempting as you, mio cuore."
She shook in my arms, giggling. Then she pressed her face to my chest, and I felt the warmth rush to her cheek. At first I thought it was because I had complimented her beauty again; her arms dropped from my neck to run down the side of my body, and suddenly I realized what was going on.
My eyes flit over her head to the tub. Sure enough, my towel was still there, in a heap where I had been kneeling earlier.
If I could blush, this would have been a perfect time. All I managed was a haggard gasp.
She giggled again, softly this time. Then she looked up. "Don't move," she breathed.
I wasn't sure I could comply- I felt my entire body trembling. How could this girl- no, this woman- have such power over me?
Then she raised herself on her toes, and her lips met mine.
Any coherent thought I had was gone in that instant. Her kiss was impassioned, hungry- her hands moved to hold me close to her. My hands responded in kind, holding her to me- gently, but as tightly as I could manage without hurting her. When our kiss broke, we were both gasping for air.
Her fingers went to my face, tracing my features. "Was that too much?" she breathed.
The air from her lips went straight into my lungs. I still wanted her, still thirsted for her- but a new desire overwhelmed the hunger, and I looked at her with new eyes.
"Never," I whispered fiercely. "It is never enough."
"Then why the sad face?" she asked, tracing my lips.
"I…" I was at a loss for words. I struggled, shaking my head of the cobwebs that suddenly filled it. When I looked at her again, the words came out clipped and precise. "I do not know if I can control myself- not in this way."
To my surprise, she smiled. "We have the whole weekend, do we not? That is a lot of time to… experiment."
I blinked. She was going to be my undoing, that was certain. But she had no fear as she teasingly led me into the bedroom.
It was a long weekend.
What you just read is how Starry Night began- this was (mostly) a dream that I put into my computer, and the rest of the story soon followed. The day at the beach was to Giovanni and Margherita, what Stephenie Meyer's day at the meadow was to Edward and Bella.
I am exceedingly glad to hear the comments that people have made, especially about Giovanni. I've come to love the character very much, and I'm proud that others love him as well. Not even I know where Giovanni will go next, but I'm sure he'll manage to surprise me. ;)
Disclaimer part two:
This is a work of fan fiction. All known characters, settings, etc. from the Twilight series of novels are copyright of Stephenie Meyer.
The following characters are copyright of the author, pen name "ringswraith":
Giovanni Bonmarito and family
Margherita Di Bianco Bonmarito and family
The unnamed female vampire in Marco's coven
The settings of Giovanni's cabin in Forks, his villa in Italy and the beach nearby, Margherita's house, and the abandoned warehouse are also copyright of the author, pen name "ringswraith".
Acknowledgements part two:
I would once more like to thank the following:
W, aka Sarai, for all her help in ensuring my Italian was correct.
N, my nephew, for insisting we watch the Twilight movie.
J, my niece, for insisting I read the books despite the "glittering vampires."
The Fanfiction website, for being such an easy and accessible way for writers to get their stories online.
To everyone at the Twilight Lexicon, especially in the forums, for being such a great community of fans.
JT3883, for being there from the beginning. Thank you so much for the kind words.
SenorGimp, for making my head swell despite his intentions. You flatter me with your words of praise- if I could blush, now would be a perfect time. (…Just kidding.)
Ard Rhys69, for more words of encouragement. Much appreciated.
Dancing in moonlight, for recommending my story to others.
To everyone who reads my story- thank you for taking the time to do so. I hope it gives you as much value as others have expressed to me.
And lastly, to Aralays, for reading my story and telling me it's good, despite the "glittering vampires." ;)