"I've never looked out on the Tyrrhenian Sea before. All in all the beaches of Viareggio surpass those we have visited in Venice. Perhaps we should just stay here longer."
"I couldn't help but overhear you, sir," a well-dressed young gentleman, complete with white suit, vest, and white bowler hat and shoes called over from under a nearby beach umbrella. "You said Tyrrhenian Sea. That, I am afraid is a common misconception of the tourist to Italy. That's actually the Ligurian Sea out there. But it's just a natural mistake. I would agree that the beaches here are better than those in Venice, though."
Hugo Von Stoben had been talking to a different, younger man sitting with him under a beach umbrella, who stood as Von Stoben's attention went to the nattily dressed--and quite incongruently attired for the beach, he thought--young man who had just corrected him on the body of water they were facing. The younger man stretched and sauntered down to the sea.
He was dressed for the seaside as any well-formed young man of the 1920s would be--in a one-piece, form-fitting, short-legged woolen costume topped by an athletic shirt adhering to the young man's muscular chest and with deep arm slits and neckline. Such bathing suits apparently had been meant for modesty but had neglected to provide anything that hid the obvious line of the young man's left-dressed cock and the curve of his balls. To most young women and a certain kind of man, the young man was breathtaking in his innocent beauty.
Both Von Stoben and the formally attired young man watched him walk down to the surf--the view from behind of the pert, but bulbous buttocks being as interesting as the frontal view--and start stretching his body. Within minutes he walked into the surf up to his knees, executed a beautifully arced surface dive, and started swimming out to sea in strong, sure strokes.
"You have a handsome son, sir. You should be proud of him."
"I am quite proud of Eric, yes."
"He's a strong, elegant swimmer."
The young man had swum out some distance from the beach and was swimming laps parallel to the beach between the wave-breaking rock walls at either end of the beach. He kept his curly mop of platinum blond hair above the water, as he did the pert bulbs of his buttocks, and his arm strokes were regular and pulled him a long distance with each stroke. In the water, he looked much taller than he did on land.
On the beach, Von Stoben and the young man he was talking with weren't the only ones watching Eric swim. On the other side of Von Stoben, a canvas chair under an umbrella was just now being occupied by a German doctor, Gerhard Mueller, from Hamburg, who was large-boned, a bit on the heavy side, and had a florid, redheaded complexion. He was perhaps in his forties. He, and the man sitting on the other side of him, an older French Catholic priest, fully clothed in black clerical garb and a high, white collar, Father Jacques, had met the Von Stobens here on the beach the previous day.
"Not the Von Stobens of Munich?" Mueller had asked when they were introduced, and when they allowed as how they were, indeed, those Von Stobens, Mueller had attached himself to them like glue.
To that point he had been staying close to the fifth man in the little bunch in canvas chairs under five beach umbrellas. The Englishman, Sir Reginald Chamberlain, a man appearing to be in his fifties, was tall and rugged looking, almost cadaverous in appearance, but with piercing black eyes. There had been a hint at the introductions that he was in Tuscany convalescing from some wasting disease, but the discussion had not yet delved deeper into that topic. Nor had it explored the depths of what the French priest, a professor at the Faculté Notre-Dame Catholic seminary, in Paris, was doing on the western coast of Italy in March of 1924 beyond that his order had determined he needed to take a sabbatical.
All four men sitting with Von Stoben, even Dr. Mueller, as he arrived on the beach, being the only one of the group who said he came to the beaches on Tuscany's Riviera della Versilia every spring, were scrutinizing the young man swimming in the sea. Only Von Stoben was looking at the men he was talking to during their disjointed chatting.
The only one of the group who wasn't watching the swimmer, and the only woman present, was Ingrid, who sat immediately to Hugo Von Stoben's left, but set back behind him under a separate umbrella. Like the young gentleman in the white suit, she was fully dressed in a somber, long-sleeved dress that ran up to a choke collar, pinned with a large cameo broach, and down to the ground, with the points of black leather boots peeking out from under her multiple petticoats. She paid little attention to the men, keeping her nose in a series of Victorian Romance novels. The impression given was that vacationing at a Mediterranean beach hadn't been her idea, and that she didn't wish for Hugo to forget that.
"We've been in Viareggio for three days now, and the architecture hasn't ceased to amaze me," Hugo said to the young man sitting to his right. "I was led to believe it was an ancient town, but I don't think I've ever seen a larger collection of Art Noveau-style buildings."
"Ah, that would be explained by the fire we had seven years ago that leveled much of this area of the city. Only the Grand Hotel Principé di Piemonte survived. Perhaps you've seen the hotel?"
"We are staying there."
"A good choice." The young man raised his eyebrows. Only the very rich stayed there. "I have one of the Art Noveau buildings myself."
"You? You live here? I took you for a fellow tourist," Hugo said. "Your accent. I thought--"
"That I was an American, right?"
"Yes, I confess I did think that."
"I am, as a matter of fact. But a displaced one. I am Martin Biddle, and I have an antique store here on the Piazza Puccini, not far from the Grand Hotel." He briefly looked away from Eric swimming in the sea to shake Hugo's hand and then looked back. "My family thought it safer for their reputation for me to live abroad," he added.
Hugo didn't pursue this point, but he did register it in his mind. He turned his head and took another look at the young man. He was quite handsome. Trim, but with good musculature. And obviously sophisticated and refined--and well to do, as he was expensively dressed, if overdressed for the seaside. And perhaps knowing now that he lived in Viareggio explained why he was fully dressed. It was unusually warm for the beginning of March in Tuscany, but that was all relative. It was warm enough for bathing wear for the likes of Hugo and Dr. Mueller and the English nobleman at this time of year--and even for the sixty-year-old, gaunt French priest, who was, to use a pun, sticking to his habit--but it likely would still be too cold for the beach for a local inhabitant.
Eric came out of the water but remained on the hard sand at the water's edge. He was, indeed, a beautiful young man. Short, but trim with a boyish body that, nonetheless, had good torso definition and strong looking arms and legs, as he would have to have to have been swimming as strongly and expertly as he had been. He was Germanic, light blond, with striking blue eyes, and a dazzling smile when he wasn't looking shy and withdrawn into himself--or aloof to the scrutiny he obviously knew he was being given from the line of umbrellas.
A sigh went up from the cluster of men sitting around the Von Stobens as Eric unbuttoned the straps on the shoulder of his form-fitting one-piece swim suit and let the top of the suit drop to reveal his smooth, both boyish and well-muscled torso. Seemingly entirely blind to the multiple sets of eyes capturing and mentally caressing his form from the line of umbrellas, he started doing stretch exercises again to step down from the vigorous swim in the sea--and then a few mild calisthenics.
"Did I overhear right, that this is your first visit to the Riviera della Versilia?" Biddle asked Hugo--although his eyes were glued to Eric.
"Yes, we are doing the rounds of beach resorts this year. January was the Turkish beaches, the island of Cyprus in February. Italy was reserved for March and April. We will go to Venice, where we have gone before, after our visit here. And later in the spring we'll take in the French Riviera. Eric wants to swim in the sea, and I love to spoil Eric."
"I can well see why," Biddle murmured. In fact he could only wonder at the effort Von Stoben must have to make to keep men's hands off the young man. His own hands were twitching at the prospect, which he hoped to be able to pursue. The young man must know the effect he was having here on the beach. In a louder voice, though, he said, "But how can your young son be out of school for such a long time?"
"He's not as young as he looks," Hugo said, with a small laugh. "He finished his basic schooling last year. He wanted to take this year off to perfect his swimming skills. He enters the Universitat at Heidelberg in the fall--a year older than most entering students--but the difference certainly won't be seen in his visage; he still look years younger than the others. He wants to swim competitively for the Universitat, but he believes, because of his size, that he will have to convince the coaches with his skill. They invariably will say he is too small just from looking at him."
"Ah, I see," Biddle said, giving a little smile and slitting his eyes as he peered at the young man. His interest was diminished in one respect, but the lessening of the risk involved compensated--almost. And the young man did look quite young. "He does swim like a fish, and so elegantly."
Eric returned to the chairs, with the eyes of at least four men following him, but only long enough to gather a towel, which he took out to the sand between the watchers and the sea, and then reclined, his torso raised a bit by the set of his elbows in the sand--his beautiful small body pointed at the line of umbrellas--and flopped his curly haired blond head back so that his face and torso and legs were exposed to the best advantage to the rays of the sun.
"Do you and your family plan to join with the Carnival of Viareggio festivities tomorrow, Herr Von Stoben?" Biddle asked in a low, gravelly voice.
"The carnival? They have a carnival here?"
"Yes, of course. Tomorrow is Shrove Tuesday--we also have a Mardi Gras parade. It's been celebrated for nearly fifty years here every year and rivals the one in Venice in enthusiasm if not in expense. It's a time for our people to let loose and show their true selves. There's a parade and dancing in the streets and partying in the wine shops. Partying in the streets too, for that matter, before the celebration is finished."
"Show their true selves?" Hugo asked. "That's an interesting way to put it."
"Yes, it's a time that they can wear real masks but act as themselves, rather than showing their faces and masking their needs, desires, and deepest sins."
Hugo looked at Biddle with interest, but Biddle was looking at Eric.
"I hadn't known about the carnival. And we have no costumes or masks."
"I could quickly fix that," Biddle said, turning a dazzling smile on Hugo. "There are many Mardi Gras costumes in my antique store. And masks aplenty. I would be happy to let you and your wife and son borrow what you need. Your family really must not lose out on our carnival."
Hugo laughed. "I'm afraid that Ingrid would rather walk on burning coals than go out into the street in a mask and a gaudy costume."
"Then you and your son. You must visit my shop this afternoon and pick something out. Here, here's my card. I won't take no for an answer."
* * * *
Hugo explored Biddle's antique store with fascination after Biddle had picked out costumes and masks for them. Hugo would go as a Roman senator.
"I think perhaps a young sailor--or cabin boy--for young Eric here," Biddle had said, carefully helping the young man try out several costumes. He certainly did look arresting in the sailor suit, with a white tunic that came down only to his midriff and tight, white trousers with a square buttoned codpiece. A blue and white scarf tied around his neck and a sailor's hat set at a jaunty angle on his blond curls completed a look that, yes, was arresting, although sensual might have been a better term for it.
The choices completed and Eric changed back into his clothes, the young man joined Hugo at a case that had drawn Von Stoben's admiring attention. The showcase gleamed with gold and contained an array of expensive-looking gold chains and watch fobs. Von Stoben pointed to a fob with three deep-red rubies inlaid in it that he particularly admired.
"Let me show you something over here," Martin Biddle said, as he put an arm around Eric's shoulders and guided him to another part of the shop. They had their heads together in conversation as they leaned over another case. Hugo was aware of them but devoted most of his attention to admiring the gold chains and watch fobs in the case in front of him.
All three men were smiling when Eric and Hugo left the shop.
* * * *
The parade and the Carnival of Viareggio raucous celebration in the streets lived up to its billing. The Torre di Via Regia seaside promenade and Viareggio Avenue and the blocks off this parade-route were teeming with boisterous, mostly drunken revelers in every conceivable costume and, as the festivities chugged on, lack of costume that one could imagine.
Hugo and Eric were parted by a stream of revelers meeting a counterstream of revelers, all shoulder to shoulder and hip to hip, moving in no discernible direction in the streets as the last of the parade floated by. The serious partying was starting now and wine was flowing on the promenade.
Eric could hear the noise of the celebration from only a short distance away from where he was suspended off the ground and pressed up against the wall of a shop in an alley off Viareggio Avenue behind a stack of wine casks. The sounds closer to hand were the grunts and heavy breathing of the devil pressing him to the wall and his own moans and groans as the buried cock of the man in the devil suit slid Eric's back up and down on the rough shop wall with the strength of the cruel upward thrusts in Eric's channel. The front flap of Eric's sailor trousers was open and slapping back against the wall between his raised and parted legs. His knees were hooked on the devil's hips, and his hands tightly grasped and then released their grip on the devil's biceps through the red velvet of the devil's suit, matching the rhythm of thrusts of the devil's cock up into his channel.
His head was thrown back against the rough bricks of the wall, and his mouth was open as he gulped for breath and moaned deeply.
The devil's hands were under the half tunic of the white sailor shirt and gripping the sides of Eric's torso as he lifted the small body and slammed it down on the up-thrusting cock. Lifted and slammed. Lifted and slammed.
The devil was muttering what a nice little piece Eric was, how tight his passage was, while Eric whimpered, "Yes, deeper, harder. Fuck me hard."
The noise of the crowd beyond the alley ebbed and flowed, but the pace of the cock thrusts steadily increased as did the intensity of the two coupling bodies in a mutual effort to explode, which Eric did first, with a little scream in unintelligible German, whereupon he collapsed in sighs and groans as the devil fucked on for several more minutes before realizing his own shuddered release.
When he was finished, the devil swirled away, leaving Eric in a sighing heap at the base of the wall, where two nearly drunk Italian fishermen revelers found him and each took their turn with him before staggering off, surprised as the fine little piece of tail had held his own with them rather than struggling.
When Hugo and Eric somehow managed to reunite in the milling crowd, slowly wearing down from the height of its partying, nothing was said about the short interval they had been parted.
Late in the night, when Martin Biddle had finished his inventory and redisplaying in the antique store downstairs, locked the front door to the shop, and mounted the stairs to his flat above the shop, he found Eric standing at the open wardrobe in his bedroom, fingering the velvet material of the devil's costume hanging therein.
"Where? How?" a shocked and confused Biddle asked.
"You were in the back of the shop and I just walked in and came up here without you seeing me," Eric said. "But do you really want to have a discussion at this moment?" He opened his other hand to reveal that he had found Biddle's stash of Sheik lambskins.
Biddle didn't see the need to discuss anything. He enveloped Eric in his arms, and while they were kissing deeply, he unbuckled Eric's belt, unbuttoned his fly, and pushed the young man's trousers down to his ankles. He went down on his knees and buried his face in Eric's belly, kissing and tonguing the young man's navel.
Eric placed his hands on the back of Biddle's head to hold the man, not much older than he was, to his belly. He gave a little laugh and murmured, "Eat me out, suck me. Fuck me."
With a low moan, Biddle palmed Eric's buttocks and closed his mouth over the small blond's cock. After a while, he turned Eric and stroked Eric's cock with both of his hands, encircling the young man's hips with his arms, and snaked his tongue into Eric's asshole.
The first fucking was on the bed, with Biddle sitting on the foot of the bed and holding Eric's wrists, as Eric's legs streamed out around and behind Biddle's hips, and his torso cantilevered out over the floor beyond the foot of the bed, giving him the aspect of a thrusting figurehead on the prow of a boat. Eric used the leverage of his feet to fuck himself on Biddle's cock, remarking that it was just like barebacking.
Biddle used lambskins precisely for that effect, but he wondered--with wonder--how the young man knew what barebacking felt like.
After a rest, their bodies entwined on the bed, Biddle pushed Eric over on his belly, wrapped an arm around his waist to bring him up onto his knees, mounted his hips from above, and fucked him deep and rapidly like a dog.
Eric demonstrated in no uncertain terms that he was getting exactly the attention he wanted.
As they cooled down afterward, Eric said, "I'd better go before I'm missed."
"How can you not have been missed?" Biddle asked.
"I have a separate room at the Grand," he said.
"Ah, then, it's still early," Biddle murmured, as he pulled Eric's rump into his groin, raised Eric's leg to give himself a better angle, and entered him strongly and deeply again.
* * * *
The little group fell into a set pattern over the next several days. They would all be out on the beach in the late morning, with Eric doing his swimming exercise ritual, and four sets of eyes--those of Biddle, of course; Sir Reginald; Dr. Mueller; and Father Jacques--watching Eric closely and somewhat greedily, if guardedly. Both Hugo and Ingrid were buried in books most of the time.
All would go back to their respective abodes in the mid afternoon for siestas but would be back on the beach for a second round of swimming exercises and sighing gawking in the late afternoon.
Then during the night, Eric would slip out of the hotel and lie under the young, sexy American antique dealer in the flat above his shop, expending lambskins at an alarming rate.
On the fourth afternoon, though, Eric came out of the surf holding his arm and nearly close to tears. Hugo rose from his canvas chair and came down to the surf to meet him.
"He's scraped his arm on rocks," Hugo explained to the others when the two came back to the line of umbrellas. "He swam too close to the rock breaker wall out there to the north of the beach."
Dr. Mueller, full of concern, rose from his chair and went to Eric and examined the arm. "It doesn't look too bad, but it's easy to get infection from such cuts in this circumstance," he said.
Hugo turned to Biddle. "Is there a clinic nearby?"
"No need," Dr. Mueller interjected. "I had disinfectant in my room at the Grand. The boy can come back with me. What do you say to that, Eric? I will take you for an ice cream afterward, before we come back to the beach, if you promise not to cry at the sting of the disinfectant."
It was obvious that the doctor wanted to see Eric as a small boy.
An hour later, after listening briefly at the door of the doctor's room at the hotel, Hugo used a skeleton key to quietly open the door and slip into the room.
Dr. Mueller didn't see or hear him at the beginning. He was otherwise energetically occupied.
Eric was lying on his back at the foot of the bed, his legs raised and spread--his ankles in the grip of Dr. Mueller, as the doctor, naked, as was Eric, huffed and puffed at the effort of pumping Eric's channel with his hard cock. A box of the newly marketed rubber Trojans lay at his feet, packets of them strewn out on the floor.
Hugo cleared his throat, and the doctor whipped his head around in shock and fright, although he couldn't stop himself from continuing to pump. He was about to come and wouldn't be denied. He gave Hugo a panicked but greedy look and fucked on. Eric was gripping his hips on both sides with his hands and crying out for the doctor to finish him.
When he had, the doctor pulled out of Eric's ass and turned to the side, hunching in on himself and covering his genitals with his hands.
"I don't mean . . . I wouldn't . . . the boy was egging me on . . . I was just . . ." Mueller muttered incomprehensibly. His face was as red as a beet and the flush had spread over the rest of his pudgy torso.
He really looked pathetic. Eric raised his torso on his elbows and turned his gaze on Hugo.
"You were just introducing the lad to a new brand of French Letters? To disinfect a cut on his arm? But I think we can fix this. I think we can make an accommodation," Hugo said.
* * * *
"I guess that gets them all except the young American, and we can move on to Venice soon," Hugo said later that evening. "It was a good haul here--nearly enough to cover the expenses of the entire season. The priest paid as much as the other two put together. I guess this is what his seminary sent him here to avoid and he doesn't want them to know he can't kick the habit."
Both of them gave a little laugh at that.
"The priest should have paid double. He was the cruelest of all," Eric said. But then Eric, who was really named Kurt, added, "We can move on now, if you wish, Horst. I've taken care of the American."
"He's already fucked you?"
"Repeatedly." Kurt was smiling.
"So, that's where you went at night?"
"I'm not surprised. He is the youngest and sexiest of the group. I rather thought he would be fucking you by now. I don't begrudge you having it off with a muscular man nearer your age. But you gave it to him for free? Is that what you're saying?"
"No, go look in the pocket of my trousers."
Horst rose off the bed and padded over to the chair where Kurt's clothes were neatly folded. He fished around in the pockets, and a big smile was planted on his face when he came up with a gold chain and watch fob with three deep-red rubies embedded on the fob. "You noticed that I liked this."
"Yes. I lifted that the first night I let him fuck me." Kurt saw no reason to mention the elaborate assignation between Biddle and him for the fuck in the alley during the carnival--nor to mention the two muscular, hung fisherman afterward. He did wonder, with some amusement, though, when those men realized that they were missing their money clips. "He's either never noticed or has written it off as being owed to me for the cocking. I have a few other trinkets that should be worth a bit too."
"Tomorrow morning, then," Horst said, as he returned to the bed, gently pushed the stretched-out naked body of the son who wasn't his son onto his belly, mounted the young blond's buttocks, and began a slow, deep, bareback fuck. Kurt moaned deeply--but not deeply enough to disturb the reading of the woman in the adjoining room, who was Katie, not Ingrid, and wasn't related to--or particularly interested in--either of the men as long as they paid her regularly for her easy pretense.