Thousand and Second Night


“Are you sure my father is gone,” I asked as I went to the record player and put Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade on. Meaningfully enough, it was a recording made by the Florence, Italy, Symphony Orchestra.

“Yes, he left last night. He’s in Paris now, buying art,” Jovan answered. Jovan, French, half way between my father’s thirty-nine and my eighteen, was my father’s live-in lover in our seaside villa to the east of Antibes. We’d lived here, the three of us, for three years since my parent’s inevitable breakup and my mother’s return to the States. I’d be joining her there mid-summer to begin my university studies. The training had been better for ballet here, though. Ballet was my passion, and it had been decided that I’d stay with my father until I needed to start my university studies.

Jovan ostensibly was my ballet teacher, living with us for the convenience of being near at hand when needed, a room in our rambling villa being outfitted as a dance studio. For three years, which led up to my parents’ breakup, he had been much more to my father. Now, after my eighteenth birthday and my sexual liberation at the hands of someone else, Jovan was also more than a ballet master to me—when my father wasn’t around.

He came to me at the record player, just in his black, close-fitting tights, his need quite evident. We had come, panting, from the dance studio. He pulled my T-shirt over my head and my leotard down my thighs. He embraced me and took my mouth with his in a kiss as the opening chords of Scheherazade sounded from the record player. He brushed the waistband of his own leotard down his legs, held our cocks together, and frotted them, his mouth moving down my throat to my nipples, as he held me with an arm around my waist and I arched back toward the bed, moaning and rocking gently against his stroking hand.

Jovan laid me back on the bed, slowly and dramatically pulled my leotard off my legs, raised and spread my legs in a graceful V, my toes pointed, as the artistic and romantic image of this was ever important, sank down on his knees between my thighs, took me in his mouth, and fed on my cock and balls.

He fucked me on the bed, putting me on my knees and elbows, mounting me from on top and behind, and fucking me in the position of the dog, all of it posed for show in the mirrors on the walls surrounding us. I held for him, swaying a bit, watching the two of our dancer bodies flowing smoothly against each other in the giving and taking of the fuck in the mirror on the back of Jovan’s closet door. We were both beautiful and young and graceful, and our fuck was an act of sensual beauty. I wondered if it was so finely done with my father, although I knew the answer to that. I’d seen them at it before. My father and Jovan fucked much more beautifully than my father and mother had. I could readily understand why my father was with Jovan now rather than with my mother.

After we were finished and were cooling down, Jovan murmured, “Always to Scheherazade and always to that particular recording. Why? Does it have meaning?”

“It’s a long story,” I answered, “although of recent origin—since I turned eighteen.”

“Tell me.”

So, I did.

* * * *

“Mr. Bardini has arrived, Scott. Come out into the living room and greet him.”

The words my father were speaking from the living area were the words I had been waiting to hear for two weeks, ever since they arranged to meet again here at our seaside villa east of Antibes, on the French Riviera. It was some mystery of growing up, I suppose, for an eighteen-year-old reclusive and protected youth, just turned into an adult, for my vivid imagination, that a charismatic figure such as the impresario of the Florence, Italy, Symphony Orchestra, the questions attendant with coming of an age of consent and uncertainly of preferences, and the discovery of the Arabian Nights all came together in one memorable event to establish the direction of my life forever.

We were Americans but we lived on the French Mediterranean coast. My father was an art dealer. Two weeks previously he had taken me to Nice with him in a combined work and pleasure trip—just the two of us traveling from here, my father and me, which in itself was a momentous occasion. There were times—well, most of the time—when my father was so busy and preoccupied with his work that I wondered if he knew he had a son. But he’d taken me to Nice with him. We were celebrating my eighteenth birthday and he was collaborating with the Ballet Nice Méditerranée, which was putting on a ballet, Arabian Nights, by the Azerbaijani composer Fikret Amirov. My father’s gallery had a series of paintings of the Arabic folk lore collection of stories, The Thousand and One Nights, which I had just discovered because my father had given me that book for my birthday.

I was an inquisitive and impressionable, but closely sheltered, young man of artistic nature and interests, and having this istanbul travesti fascinating world of the Arabian Nights coming from me so suddenly from so many directions when my emotions were in a turmoil was only further enhanced by the overwhelming and commanding presence of Arturo Bardini. He was the conductor and impresario of the Florence, Italy, Symphony Orchestra and was the guest conductor for the Nice ballet’s Arabian Nights production.

While in Nice, my father included me in a lunch with the maestro and the set designer for the ballet production, a rather flighty man who dressed flamboyantly and brought questions to my mind, something that may also have influenced me that day. When Bardini found that it was my birthday—and, notably, my eighteenth birthday—he commanded that I become the center of attention. He’d already been showing interest in me, taking the time to talk with me and to focus on me—and to touch me as he spoke, as my father said Italians were prone to do.

I don’t think, however, that my father was that aware of how much the Italian man touched me that day and where. But maybe he did. Bardini knew my father was gay and had a live-in boyfriend. Perhaps that led him to believe that my father had no limitations where I was concerned. And maybe my father didn’t have limitations where I was concerned. Maybe he didn’t care what I became or what influences I succumbed to. He didn’t really discuss that—or much of anything else—with me. In any case, Bardini took liberties with me during that lunch and my father either didn’t notice it or didn’t care. For me, it was fascinating and liberating. At that point it was all a flamboyant game. I had thought about it; I was prepared for it. I wasn’t a victim in this.

Bardini insisted on sitting next to me at lunch and frequently leaned into me. When my father and the set designer left to look at some sketches, I was left alone with Mr. Bardini. He couldn’t get over my blond hair, blue eyes, and willowy dancer’s body, or so he said. He spoke to me in words and subjects that I had been longing to pursue, and when I did not shirk from him, his words became more explicit and flattering.

He touched me under the table and, at one time, took my hand and made me touch him too. He was a large, boisterous, compelling man, and it was all so overwhelming to me, especially with all of the connections being made to the Arabian Nights and the stories of the Princess Scheherazade, which I was so young and sheltered that I didn’t realize were set on nights that she was summoned to the sultan’s bed. At least I didn’t know that before Mr. Bardini told me. He spoke to me openly on subjects I was curious about that my father and my ballet master only spoke in whispers—and to each other, not to me, when they didn’t think I was listening.

Arturo Bardini and all of the new-found world of the Arabian Nights and of Princess Scheherazade’s nights with the sultan had woven so deeply into my mind and become mixed in with my emotions and latent desires—and questions that I could not ask my father or the man he lived with now about that I was put into quite a state over the two weeks between the lunch in Nice and when I saw Bardini again, who had come to our villa outside Antibes to view the paintings my father had chosen to display at the ballet.

In my mind Bardini became the sultan and I his Scheherazade.

“There you are. Scott, is it not?” Bardini said as I entered our living room. He was wearing evening clothes and looked quite elegant, even though he was a large man—both tall and a bit heavy. “Such an angelic young man—the blond curls and milky blue eyes. And your endearing shyness. I could not forget you from our last meeting. You will make quite the rake someday. And you moved so gracefully the other day. You could be a lead dancer in this little ballet we’re putting together.”

Referring to my dancing was whatever key he needed to me. I would have died to be able to be the lead dancer in his ballet.

He was effusive, as Father warned me all Italians could be. “It doesn’t really mean much of anything,” Father said. “He’s just a bigger-than-life figure in keeping with his position in the music world.”

And the touching as we came together. I knew that was just from being Italian, but, with all of the thoughts I’d had over the past two weeks, it made me tremble. Would he touch me “there” again? Would he take my hand and have me touch him “there”? I shivered at the thought. Was this how my father and Jovan felt when they did it with each other?

“I did not know it was your birthday before we met in Nice,” he said. “Every beautiful young man like you should be showered with birthday presents. Your eighteenth, as I remember. The eighteenth birthday has so much meaning—it’s so freeing for a person. I enjoyed talking with you about the Arabian Nights and you seemed so interested in the subject that I couldn’t resist bringing you a few gifts. istanbul travestileri It’s lovely to exchange presents. Perhaps you will have a present for me too one of these days. We talked of Scheherazade. Here is a recording of a very famous symphony written on that. Do you collect records?”

“No, sir, I don’t have any records. Thank you, sir.”

My father interjected with, “How very generous of you, Arturo. This will be Scott’s very first record. We do have a record player. I’m sure he will want to be a record collector. This is a symphony by the Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Scott. Probably the most famous use of these Arabian tales. And, oh, look, the recording was done by Maestro Bardini’s own Florence Symphony Orchestra.”

“The music is mysterious and majestic,” Bardini said, speaking directly to me, coming close to me and leaning over me—touching me on the shoulder and forearm. “You could say very provocative—sensual even,” he said, giving me a secret little smile. “You know what ‘sensual’ is, don’t you, Scott?” His hand dropped to my buttocks and he stroked one of the cheeks with his long, elegant fingers.

He had remarked on how innocent I had seemed at lunch the other day and how endearing that was. I wanted to speak then of what a burden it was to be so sheltered as I entered adulthood by a father such as mine—in view of his own choices—but I hadn’t had an opportunity to do so. Perhaps if I’d had more time alone with Bardini then, I would have spoken more openly—he certainly was speaking openly to me, and touching me intimately—but there wasn’t time or opportunity on that visit.

“Yes, sir.” I looked beyond him to see if my father was hearing this—not that I wanted it to stop; I was in the man’s spell—but Father had been pulled off by one of his gallery employees who was still working on putting up the artwork display for Bardini to view.

Of course I knew what “sensual” meant. It meant when I saw my father with his lover, Jovan, in moments together when they didn’t know I was watching—when they were doing something that interested me and that I wondered if was for me too. I had done some research of my own and discovered some words for what they did. “Sensual” was one of those words. Words for it that weren’t so nice included “fuck” and “screw.” I didn’t find them disgusting or scary. I found them daring and interesting . . . and arousing, that that way I was just discovering. In a way I was probably discovering later than other young men did, but also more quickly now.

It was interesting that this fascinating, bigger-than-life man, who conducted orchestras, had been willing to use such words with me when we first met. He even asked me about Father and Jovan. I told him what I knew—what I had seen.

“And what you wish to experience as well?” he had asked—perceptively.

I didn’t answer. I just lowered my eyes shyly. I’m sure he knew what the answer was, though. It had emboldened him in his touching.

“And, I’m told you’re a very imaginative and creative youth—a beautiful young man. I would so love to guide you through the pleasures of life.” Bardini looked around to see if we were speaking in private now, which we were. “Such a well-formed body. Ah, the joys I could teach to experience with this body. You could be in our ballet. I thought about you these last two weeks and of your new interest in the Arabian Nights. I found a costume at the ballet that I think would fit you beautifully. With your imagination, perhaps you would enjoy wearing the costume while you’re reading this book of The Thousand and One Nights I brought you.”

“A costume? A book? I do have a copy of The Thousand and One Nights,” I said. “My father gave it to me for my birthday.” He had pushed a box at me containing material of brilliant-colored brocades and gauze. I pulled the material out: a vest and billowy trousers and a turban. There also was another book—more an album.

“Not like this book,” Bardini said. “I think you will really enjoy this version—unless I have surmised incorrectly—best, since you already have a version of the tales, that you not let your father see this one, though. Try on the costume and read the book while I am discussing business with your father.”

My father even then was calling Bardini over to start looking over the artwork.

Before leaving, Bardini leaned over me, though, palming one of my buttocks with a hand, and whispering, “I do believe you are interested in me. I could tell from some of the questions you asked—and even more from some you didn’t ask and when you let me touch you and you touched me—that you are seeking experiences that I can help you have. You are eighteen now. You can make your own decisions, your own choices. I can lead you to pleasures you can only dream of. If you wish to weave a thousand and second adventurous tale with me, my car will be parked in that seaside park just east of your father’s villa for a spell travesti istanbul before I return to Nice tonight. Come to me there and I will fulfill your dreams. Read this book. Wear the costume.”

And then he was gone, in a swirl of light, life, temptation, and majesty, across the living room to view the paintings my father was having put on display for him.

Life was offering the opportunity to bring dreams to reality.

* * * *

The symphony on the record he had given me was titled Scheherazade. I had the record player in my bedroom, so I changed into the costume he had brought and put the record on. The music, indeed, was stirring and exotic, and I moved into the mode of Arabian Nights immediately. The costume helped. It didn’t cover much. The vest was brocade, but on my bare chest it wasn’t much more than a hint of the mood. The pants were gauzy and almost transparent. There was a cloth rope belt in the pants and rather than having a fly, the panels in front just overlapped when the belt was tightened. The turban matched the material of the vest. There was no footwear provided, but I had slippers that went well with it.

I pulled pillows off my bed and chairs, put them on the floor beside the record player, and settled down to listen to the music and pretend I was in a harem. That was the part of the Thousand and One Nights story that kept floating through my mind—that the sultans had harems and slept with a new woman every night—or at least the one of this tale did until the Princess Scheherazade had been brought to his bed and wove these tales to keep herself alive, since the legend was that the woman was killed after sleeping with the sultan.

As I lay there, I let the exotic music roll over me, and I hardly noticed that I had brushed the waistband of the harem pants down off my hips, had grasped my cock, and was rhythmically rocking my pelvis up, moving my hardened shaft in the sheathing of my hand. When I came, I just lay back, the young man in the sultan’s harem, and continued to let the music flow over me. The sultan of my dreams who had just visited and lain on top of me was the conductor, Bardini.

At lunch the other day, in a conversation just between Bardini and me, I had asked what the sultan and Scheherazade had done those nights after she told him the stories with open endings that made him want to hear more. Bardini had told me what they did and he also told me that there were harems with young men in them in ancient times in the Middle East. He leaned in close to me and whispered, “I think this is still the case in some of the richer Arab emirates, where the sultans do as they wish.”

That made me shudder. I told him that I could understand that because my father and Jovan slept together at night and Jovan was a lot younger than my father.

Smiling, Bardini then whispered to me what a man and youth could do in bed at night—what the sultan was probably doing with young men in his male harem. This was interesting and arousing information for me, told to me while Bardini was touching me under the table and causing me to touch him. I’d been on edge ever since. It was what floated through my mind as I lay listening to the music and slowly beating myself off.

In just the brief encounters with Bardini, he had told me things that had stirred me—things I was thinking a lot about at my stage of life and that I felt I couldn’t talk to anyone else about. He also touched me where I felt pleasures I’d never felt before—pleasures I wanted to have more of. And I let him touch me there. I had been touching myself. I’d learned, by myself, what pleasure could come from touch—and stroking, and making myself big, and enjoying the glory of a release. When Bardini touched me, I came to believe that men could give this pleasure to each other.

When I was reaching climax lying on the pillows in my room and listening to the music, I imagined that it was Bardini’s hand that was sheathed and I was stroking in—and I came.

The very last thing that Bardini whispered to me before leaving the villa that night was, “Give yourself to me.”

Somebody wanted me.

That feeling of wanting and being wanted by a man and more was confirmed when thinking about the Thousand and One Nights book I had received for my birthday, that I remembered that Bardini had given me one as well, a version that he said would be different from the one I had, a version he advised me to read only in private. When I opened it, I understood why he’d said that. In the version he gave me, Scheherazade was not a princess, Scheherazade was a young prince. And the illustrations with the text made quite explicit what the sultan and this young, male Scheherazade did in the night. I couldn’t put the book down, even when the record stopped. I turned the record over to the other side and kept reading the book, only pausing twice because I was stroking myself again and had to clean myself up those two times.

This was a whole new world opening up for me. What entered my mind now was what else Bardini told me this evening—that there were experiences he could give me, more, deeper ones than he had by giving me the recording and this book. I ached for the experiences.

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