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weeks of feverish weather

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He does think of Bunny then, in this sun-spangled slice of Eden before his Eve makes her entrance, and even after. Ideally it would never be Bunny or Faustina; he entertains a private fantasy in one of his few truly secluded moments that he might have both of them, there on the sand, lovely Bunny so fair and so honest-faced (even in his own erotic reverie he's struck by the image of his companion woefully sunburnt beneath a thatch of salt-stiffened golden hair, and his laughter springs forth) and his Neapolitan maiden quite dark, and perfected. Bunny with the dust sticking to his skin, Faustina with the unassuming sweetness of her naked feet. An upright Italian Catholic might not have stood for this, of course, but he's sure he can swing it and in the story he's telling for himself while his fingers encircle his ready cock it is less a story of potential risk and more one of reward. What bliss it would be to have them both at once. Surely there was world enough and time, in this queer timeless place that has seen empires come and go and kept on untouched. What love affairs these caves and vineyards have seen, Raffles can only imagine. He'd rather not imagine Bunny eaten up with grief and resentful of him, needing coaxing -- though he has considered this, and quite spoiled that particular afternoon's endeavors with the pangs of a guilty conscience -- but it's easy to imagine him being just as taken with the girl as he is himself, upon first sight. His aesthetic senses may not be as well-developed (one might say overdeveloped, in this particular situation) but his schoolboy love would fix on her in a very flattering way for both of them. If he tries to summon up stillness in himself for a moment he can picture it -- he can see quite clearly Bunny's hands on her body, making marks on her soft places, or more innocently his sweet wide lip fastened on hers. The three of them couldn't go boating together without overturning it and shocking the locals; so much for a low profile. They'd have to mingle on the shore: Arthur and his splendid boy and brave Faustine entwining. A man could live that way far better than a king; they'd make old Tiberius blush with their harmless amorousness. The thought leaves him aching, body and soul. He'll let it serve as a happy dream.