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Brunette

 Being greatly stirred,I turn to where I heardThat whisper in the night;And there a breath of lightShines like a silver star. – Urbiciani, Canzonetta c. 1250 AD Claudia beamed a smile of satisfaction as she took her seat in the courtyard of the Accademia di Santa Cecilia. Moments before, an usher had guided her to the middle of the third row; a prime position which gave her an excellent view of the concert stage. The night was warm and still and fragrant with the scents of the countless flowers that she had admired on her previous visit. But chief of all these varied floral aromas was the rich scent of Gardenia. She shut her eyes and breathed it in as though it were a rare and costly Parisian perfume.Low in the cloudless sky, a luminous full moon glowed. To Claudia, its melancholy visage always hinted at some unknown sorrow and on this night she was reminded of lines from the Rubaiyat:Moon of my delight who know’st no wane,…How oft hereafter rising shall she lookThrough this same garden after me – in vain!Claudia glanced around at the sea of varied faces. The concert seemed to be sold out as every seat within view was taken; every seat that is, except the one next to her on the right. She thought of Carlo for a moment but swiftly dismissed him; musically he was more rap than rondeau and probably would have found the whole performance a huge bore. She now looked around her at what some of the younger women were wearing. A sea of patterns, textures, cuts and colours greeted her. She had a critical eye and quickly discounted most of what she saw, taking note of only one or two outfits, faces and figures. Claudia herself wore a knee length, black sequined dress, cut and patterned to resemble one of the creations of 1970s designer Rudi Gernreich. She had this custom made for her three years ago and it was by far her favourite outfit – her little black dress.The musicians had now begun to gather behind the stage. She could see Barricelli amongst them; dressed rather informally in jacket and cravat but looking every inch the maestro di cappella. The professor was busy giving last minute instructions and his enthusiasm, his easy charm and fatherly authority over his students were all obvious. Claudia smiled as he made several rapid hand gestures which the students found amusing.She now became aware that someone had just sat down beside her. She straightened her body and glanced down to see a woman’s legs. Rather than ignore the stranger she turned to her and smiled,“Buonasera.”The woman turned her head slowly, as though she was quite used to being greeted by total strangers.“Buonasera,” she smiled back.She was about the same age as Claudia; in her mid-twenties, German or Scandinavian; with cascades of shimmering blonde hair and a dazzling smile. Her features were sophisticated and beautiful, her eyes bright blue and soft. But as she glanced at them, Claudia caught a fleeting glimpse of something remote in those eyes, something a little troubling. She dismissed this off hand and turned her attention to her program. She saw Barricelli’s picture and the portraits of some of the leading students. The performance was to begin with one of Alessandro Scarlatti’s concerti grossi then one of his chamber cantatas entitled Olimpia. Appropriately, Scarlatti was a native Sicilian and a great name in the 17 th century. His works were followed by two of Vivaldi’s opera overtures, Vivaldi being always a favourite, then by Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto number three. The concert concluded with an orchestral suite by another 18 th century German, Georg Philip Telemann. As Claudia scanned the various movements of this particular work the title of one caught her eye – Tintamare.“Ah,” she thought, “This is surely a coincidence or it’s Barricelli’s idea of a joke or is he trying to flatter me? Probably the latter I’d say.”The performers now took their positions on the stage and an expectant hush began to settle over what Claudia considered a particularly garrulous audience, then she remembered that she was in Italy. Barricelli finally appeared looking elegantly aristocratic in a white summer suite with royal blue cravat. He beamed and the spring in his step as he took his position at the conductor’s podium spoke volumes; he was firmly in his element. A swell of applause and quite a few cheers greeted him as he turned to the audience and bowed. Claudia turned her head to glance at her companion in the next seat. The woman clapped briefly then reached for her cell phone and switched it off. Further cheers followed as two of the soloists and the first violin took their positions. The atmosphere in the courtyard of the Accademia was at its convivial best and Claudia could sense that this was an event that the locals genuinely loved. The applause died down once Barricelli turned to his orchestra and lifted his hands. He was the very image of the magus; creating wonders out of the ether with every stroke of his hand.Claudia quickly found herself relaxing and being transported by the music. Every bar, every line, every note, spoke to her of a vanished world of elegance, a world of optimism and discovery, a world of terror and beauty; lost for centuries isveçbahis and now brought back in an instant of time to flourish again as it had done at the moment of its original creation. Its creators were men long dead but through the ingenuity of their invention they too lived again. She found the entire program beautiful and diverting but one piece in particular delighted her and caught her imagination. This was Alessandro Scarlatti’s Olimpia.According to the program, the cantata, for female soprano and orchestra was to be sung by one of the Accademia’s star pupils, nineteen year old Gianina Strozzi. Claudia’s attention was instantly captured by the flaming red hair, the poise, elegance and dignified stage presence of this most beautiful girl. She wore a flowing, sea-green silk dress with a long loose piece of the same cloth that wrapped around her back then fell between her arms and reached to the floor. Her composure was appropriate to the gravitas of the piece and she sang with dignity and pathos. Her opening aria was beautiful and she was accompanied perfectly by the Accademia’s strings and continuo. For this piece Barricelli himself sat at the harpsichord where Claudia could see the obvious emotion in his face as he played. Indeed, through some of the more stirring passages of the cantata, she thought she could see tears glistening in his eyes. She too was moved.After a short recitative Strozzi sang the cantata’s concluding aria, Claudia loved its triumphant, martial air and infectiously buoyant rhythms. As Strozzi repeated the aria’s lines da capo, Claudia found her fingers tapping the notes and silently singing the words. The aria was a musical gem; a tiny, finely cut cameo of the 17 th century and it perfectly captured the exultant mood of the evening. As the last notes of Strozzi’s pure soprano voice died away, Claudia’s neighbor turned to her and said,“Bravissimo. We must congratulate her later.”The woman spoke English with only a trace of an Italian accent and Claudia was only mildly surprised to hear her do so. After Carlo’s largely comic attempts at bilingualism, anyone else’s English sounded practiced and refined.“Indeed we must,” she replied enthusiastically; glad that she would have the opportunity to meet Strozzi.The Accademia played on into the night; with dexterity and élan; its dotted rhythms and astringent textures made on sparkling strings, complimented by the stately woodwinds and triumphal brass. It was a credit to Barricelli’s skill that all the various elements; vocal and instrumental, coalesced so effortlessly into an organic whole. His hands moved like the hands of a master magician; creating music as though he were conjuring beauty out of the air.When she applauded, Claudia applauded from her heart and this night she felt herself a tiny but integral part of the great swell of appreciation. Barricelli took his bow and the applause went on. He honoured each section of the orchestra and took the podium once more for an encore. The orchestra played the concluding allegro from Vivaldi’s Winter concerto; three minutes and forty seconds of poignant beauty and the concert was over.Now Barricelli beamed exultantly as he took one final bow and left the stage. He seemed very pleased and Claudia was glad. She got up after the applause was over and glanced at the woman next to her. The woman had left her seat and was walking away so Claudia followed her to the aisle. She was met by a smiling Julia Barricelli,“Claudia, did you enjoy the concert?”“Enjoy it? It was wonderful, I especially loved the cantata.”“Good, well, there is a small reception and a few drinks with antipasto in the main hall. Would you like to join us?”“I’d love to.”Claudia looked around her but could not see the blond woman. She followed Julia to the main hall and as soon as they entered she saw the woman in a loose group gathered around Barricelli and Gianina Strozzi. There were ten or twelve other people but at the core of the gathering were the professor and his star pupil.The contrast between the tall, willowy Strozzi and her short, rather portly teacher was distinctly comic; mainly due to the fact that Strozzi seemed to hang on the Barricelli’s every word. She was constantly dipping her head and opening her eyes wide to catch his every breath and nuance over the noise of the gathering. Claudia found Strozzi friendly, unpretentious and charming; instantly warming to her when she insisted that Claudia call her Gianina. She seemed impressed by the mention of the name Incarnata when they were introduced but said nothing. Instead she smiled, kissed and shook hands formally as though Claudia was some visiting dignitary. Claudia hated formality so she did her best to look relaxed, unassuming and casual.The woman who had sat beside her during the concert was introduced by Barricelli as Sabina Da Gioia. Sabina smiled and kissed Claudia on both cheeks. She wore a honey scented perfume; a delicious scent which contrasted a little incongruously with her imperious Nordic features. She wore a dress which Claudia had seen before but she struggled to remember exactly where. Sabina spoke little after having offered her congratulations to isveçbahis giriş Barricelli and Strozzi. There was a barely hidden air of melancholy in her eyes that Claudia did not fail to notice and she found herself strangely drawn to Sabina as the evening progressed. She waited until Sabina was alone and approached her, gesturing with an elegant sweep of her hand,“Karl Lagerfeld?”She caught Sabina momentarily off guard,“Er…yes, yes it is.”“Lovely design, it looks just beautiful on you.”“Thank you, you are very kind Claudia.”“Are you from around here, local?”“Yes, forgive me. I live near Montaperto, inland, north of here and I do not see much of the coast regrettably. It is nice to come to the Accademia’s concerts. The professore was my late husband’s teacher. Alessandro played violin in this same courtyard.”“Oh, I’m sorry…”“No, it’s all right. There are many good memories for me here.”Suddenly she turned and almost whispered,“Would you like another drink?”“Er, yes.”She took Claudia’s empty champagne flute and headed towards the drinks table. On the way she turned casually and glanced back at Claudia with a faint smile; raising the empty glass to her lips in order to consume Claudia’s uneaten strawberry. Claudia once again found something strange in her manner but she appreciated the friendliness of the gesture. She watched Sabina pad away; particularly noticing the sway of her hips and imagining her long golden legs beneath the designer dress. She exchanged a few quiet words with Barricelli who nodded discreetly before returning to his discussion on the relative merits of opera seria and opera buffa. When Sabina returned there was a hint of mischief in her eyes.“Come, let me show you something.”She turned and led Claudia towards an inner door. Beyond it was a small atrium and a tall stair. Claudia hesitated momentarily feeling that she was trespassing but Sabina reassured her and urged her on. At the top of the stairs a narrow landing led them out onto a grand balcony. They could see the entire courtyard below, glowing serenely in the bright moonlight.“It’s a beautiful old building. It must be great studying here.”“Alessandro loved it; he was here for three years before we were married. I don’t play or sing myself but if I did I should love to do it here.”Claudia rested her champagne flute on the balcony rail and looked up at the sky. The northern panoply of stars were there; not quite as many as she usually saw from her own balcony at Tintamare but a multitude still and as wondrous and beautiful as ever. She took a deep breath; made aromatic by sweet gardenia from the flower beds below and by Sabina’s honey scented perfume. She turned to find the Nordic woman standing right next to her. Their shoulders touched; making Claudia’s skin tingle. She then met Sabina’s glacial blue eyes and a wave of desire swept over her. She drew her face closer but she need not have made too great an effort. Sabina’s hands grasped her hips and soon their lips locked in a sweet, lingering kiss, flavoured by champagne and strawberries.They kissed for many long minutes as each found much to enjoy in the other and, as they had just met; the process of becoming acquainted was a slow one. As they moved against the balcony rail, tussling to and fro, Claudia knocked her empty champagne flute and it began its fateful transit down to the courtyard. It would surely have met its end with an annoying noise on the stones below; ruining the moment and doubtless causing Claudia some embarrassment. But it did not. For an unseen hand, deft and dexterous, caught it in mid flight and set it down on the edge of one of the flower beds where the scent of gardenia was strongest.********************Tintamare by moonlight was at its most beautiful and its beauty was never lost on Claudia. She lay back on luxurious silken sheets and gazed out of the open window; the moon’s silvery fingers had crept into the room while the gentle sea breeze stirred the curtains and the starry sky provided a glorious backdrop. Notes from the Scarlatti cantata entered her mind and she hummed a few lines.“Did you say something?” asked a low voice.Claudia turned from the widow to see Sabina’s svelte figure emerging from the bathroom. She smiled and replied,“No but don’t be surprised if you hear strange noises in the night. This is an unusual old house… to say the least.”Sabina shook her head dismissively and stepped closer to the bed. She was totally nude. Claudia sat up and admired the beauty before her. Sabina had a slim waist and long toned legs, her breasts hung heavily and diverged, her arms were slender and her shoulders tanned. But Claudia’s attention was drawn to several elaborate abstract tattoos; one of which wrapped itself around the Nordic woman’s side, down her abdomen and onto her thigh. Amongst the linear designs were lines of text written in what Claudia took to be Latin. This was totally unexpected as Sabina had struck Claudia as being rather conservative.“Wow, those are some awesome tattoos.”“Yes, black is my favourite shade. Do you like them?”“Mmmm, yes. You’ll have to show me them tomorrow in better light.”“I’d love to.”Just then the sea breeze picked isveçbahis yeni giriş up and tossed Sabina’s hair back from her shoulders. She closed her eyes and moaned sensually; enjoying the coolness. The effect on Claudia was altogether different. She grasped Sabina’s hand and pulled her onto the bed then straddled her so that her pussy lips touched the skin just below Sabina’s navel. Claudia looked down at her with growing desire,“Don’t be afraid of me. I wanted you from the moment I saw you. You’re so beautiful….so hot.”Sabina smiled, “I’m not afraid; although I have never been with a woman… and…I think you’re beautiful too.”She said this so shyly that Claudia was touched and moved gently towards her lips. They kissed tenderly; exploring each others mouths; running supple fingers through each others hair and rubbing firm shoulders. Claudia found great delight in tasting Sabina’s sweet lips; made sweeter by the wonderful perfume that she wore. Now passion seized her and she let her hands explore smooth silky skin and shapely arms, firm breasts with hard nipples, sleek sides and a tender, tactile pair of ass-cheeks. Soon Claudia found that she could not get enough of her new found friend and Sabina too found herself relaxing and enjoying the sensual wonder that was Claudia’s body. She loved the fact that Claudia was toned yet tender with an athleticism that she demonstrated as she flipped Sabina to and fro across the bed.Sabina savoured the feel of Claudia’s tongue upon her skin as she nibbled Sabina’s neck then slowly licked her way down until she was nestled between her thighs. Here she began to massage Sabina’s skin with her tongue and hands until she reached the threshold of her pussy. Stopping to admire it in the moonlight proved difficult so she proceeded to lick Sabina’s lips with strong broad strokes. Sabina reacted instantly; moaning with delight and sighing as Claudia’s tongue flicked and circled her labia. She would concentrate on one side at a time; taking long minutes to part Sabina’s lips with her tongue and tickle the sensitive skin within. Soon Claudia could taste the Nordic woman’s pussy moistening and she stopped; moving back up and letting her fingers do the work instead. Sabina spread her legs and Claudia gently slipped one then two fingers into her pussy. Its warmth and smoothness were very inviting and soon she was exploring Sabina’s velvety depths causing Sabina to buck and grind against her hand. Claudia was pleased that her efforts were having so obvious an effect on her new-found lover. They continued to kiss tenderly and Claudia would have been quite content to spend the rest of the night thus but now Sabina stopped and sat up. Claudia looked at her; momentarily fearing that she had gone too far,“Let me eat you now,” whispered Sabina and Claudia smiled. She said nothing but simply spread her legs. Sabina’s tongue; though obviously inexperienced, soon found her clit and lapped at it for a long while. Claudia could feel Sabina’s enthusiasm for the task so she encouraged her by stroking her flaxen hair and pressing her head down gently. She was soon wet and reached down to spread her pussy lips. Sabina understood instantly and slipped two fingers into Claudia’s slit. This was pure heaven and Claudia shivered with the undiluted delight of having her clit licked and her pussy fingered. After a while Sabina instinctively increased the pressure of her tongue upon Claudia’s pulsating clit and brought it closer to her mouth by pressing up with the fingers that lay buried in Claudia’s pussy. The change was just enough to make Claudia come. She bucked and shuddered and dug her nails into the silken sheets; she sighed and uttered several sweet profanities. Wave after wave of intense sensation washed over her body then gradually subsided like a storm in the midst of the sea.Sabina hesitated; unsure if she had done well but Claudia swiftly put an end to her fears when she whispered,“Wow, that was wonderful.”Blonde hair blended with black, as the women tumbled and played upon the silky expanse of bed; beautiful breasts caressed each other like long lost friends and the sheer sensuality of skin against bare skin was like the meeting of sky and sea – two elements in perfect harmony. Claudia loved Sabina’s giggles and her voice was as sweet as ripe honey dew. Sabina delighted in her friend’s strength and stamina; she was a lusty mare eager for the chase whose passions, once unleashed, could not be bound up again. What is more, she found in Claudia someone generous with their affections and exceedingly giving. Her beauty and her desire equaled each other like the heat and dazzling splendour of the sun. Sabina had met no one like her. At length they paused to relax in a cozy embrace and Claudia whispered,“Nice huh?”“Oh yes, lovely and it’s so beautiful here. The place was made for making love.”“Yeah but I bet you’re missing some cock, right?”“Ah, well, maybe.”Claudia laughed and got out of bed. She returned a moment later with a long, black dildo. She looked at Sabina with bewitching mischief in her eyes and without a word she opened her mouth; wetting the dildo with the utmost sensuality. She knelt on the edge of the bed and continued to lick the tip of the black dildo while Sabina watched her with a mixture of fascination and awe. When Claudia was satisfied that the dildo was wet enough she rubbed its tip slowly along Sabina’s inner thigh.

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