When I first told Saffy that I was going travelling and despite her protestations and comments such as ‘Yeah Right’, I really meant it.
As I prepared to leave the country to start my travels, I was not really sure where I would end up. I called it, ‘Going with the Flow’. My problem was deciding where to start.
In the end, I started in Pompeii. It was a place I’d always wanted to visit but would not have been on my wanted list if I hadn’t by chance seen a late-night TV Programme about Pink Floyd playing at Pompeii.
I booked a flight to Naples right away and left Bath the following afternoon to begin my adventures.
The sale of ‘Hartley House’ went through at the end of August. I found out by email when I was in Alaska watching Grizzly Bears fishing for Sock-eye Salmon. I’d put the events in Italy and Bath well out of my mind.
The day after the sale went through, I was ‘hit upon’ in a bar in Nome by a Venture Capitalist from New York. I felt that I’d well and truly transitioned into life as a woman. I left him speechless when I told him that he didn’t have enough money to keep me in the style I’d become accustomed to.
As I walked nonchalantly out of the bar two friends of his who’d overheard my putdown burst out laughing.
One of them collared me two days later at the airport.
“No one has put him down, no, destroyed him like that ever! He won’t be allowed to forget that in a hurry,” he said grinning from ear to ear.
I just smiled back at time
Then he thrust a card into my hand.
“If you are ever in the Big Apple I’d love to take you out to dinner. Just dinner you understand. Consider it a reward for making my trip with that bore worthwhile.”
I leaned over and gave him little kiss on the cheek.
Then I whispered,
“He deserved it and if I am ever in New York and at a loose end, I’ll take you up on that.”
I returned to Bath refreshed mentally but tired from all the travelling at the end of the second week in September. As I lay in my bed that night, I’d still not made any decision about going to work for Luca. I’d pushed it out of my mind because I wanted a period where I could enjoy myself in my new role and not worry about the future.
Now I was home it was time to do some serious thinking.
I set too with the cleaning of my home. Leaving three months of dust lying around was just not my style.
As I dusted, mopped and cleaned my mind wandered aimlessly but there was always the question I needed to answer bubbling around somewhere near the surface.
By lunchtime on the third day, my home was clean, my laundry done and ironed. I’d also consigned the last remnants of Francis to the recycling bin. I’d also made a decision. For once in this whole saga, my mind was clear, perfectly clear.
I fired up my laptop and after checking the schedule that Luca had sent me, I booked a flight to Rio de Janeiro. I had a date with Luca to talk about a job.
I did feel a few pangs of remorse that I hadn’t been to the shop since I’d come home. But, I didn’t want to have to answer Saffy’s million and one questions before everything was sorted out. I really hoped that this ‘sorting out’ would happen next week in Brazil.
The next day, with my case packed, I headed for the Airport.
Although I was pretty, no make that very well off I was generally cash poor because most of it was tied up in investments. Now that I had some cash in the bank, I could afford to fly right at the front of the plane.
Despite the extra security and all that made flying a real pain, at least in first class you were treated as a human being. Being stuffed in like cattle was something that I was determined never to have to experience ever again especially on a long-haul flight.
Rio Airport in the early morning is not the most welcoming of places but I had been to worse in my recent travels. The Taxi driver thought he was Ayrton Senna or Filipe Massa as he drove through the city like a maniac. The vehicle looked as if it had been in at least a hundred accidents. Everyone else seemed to be driving in a similar manner nothing disastrous happened but there were far too many near misses for my comfort.
By some fluke of luck we survived the Grand Prix on the highway and arrived at my hotel at the southern end of Copacabana just before 06:30. The place was just waking up, still there were at least three prostitutes on duty outside. Their presence and initial interest in me made me smile as I realised the irony. From what I’d read they were more than likely to be just like me, a trans person. Their obvious beauty bought a smile to my face but I did wonder how much of it was natural and how much was due to the skill if a surgeon.
As they saw the taxi drive up they all headed towards it hoping to snare a tired traveller as a client. The looks of disappointment on their faces when they saw a pair of high heels getting out of the cab really brightened up an otherwise dull and overcast morning.
I was soon relaxing in my suite that overlooked the beach at Ipanema. After a shower, I changed my clothes and sorted out my makeup before going downstairs for a late breakfast.
I keenly looked around for Luca. I was slightly disappointed that there wasn’t any sign of him. That in itself, didn’t worry me unduly as the updated schedule I’d received from him a couple of weeks before had told me that he would be here later today. I was just hoping that he’d be here a little early.
After breakfast I went out for a walk. The place was almost deserted. It was very early spring after all. I wandered down the length of Copacabana beach before returning to the Hotel in time for a little nap before Lunch. The exercise and fresh air had given me a bit of an appetite.
I’d just come downstairs from the restaurant when I saw Luca getting out of a car outside. My heart raced for a few seconds. I smiled and started walking towards him.
Then I saw the woman he was with. She was tall, blonde and gobsmackingly beautiful. Her dazzling beauty made me completely miss the fact that two children had also emerged from the car.
My previous calmness evaporated in an instant. I stopped dead in my tracks. The smile had gone from my face.
“How could he do this to me?” I thought to myself.
I felt a tear welling up so I turned tail and just managed to catch a lift as the doors closed.
I just made it to my room before I burst into tears. I was angry, hurt, betrayed and just fed up.
His (dam him) last email to me was full of hope that I’d make it here. Now I’m here and he as a real beauty on his arm.
I must have cried myself to sleep because it was getting dark when I opened my eyes.
The sight of my bloodshot eyes in the bathroom mirror almost made me start crying again.
“These bloody hormones.” I shouted at myself when I realised why I was getting so emotional.
In the end, I washed my face, fixed my makeup and after changing my clothes I went downstairs.
Once I'd recovered enough to face the world, I went down to reception and got the eye of the male clerk.
“I shall be leaving ahead of schedule. Tomorrow evening if I can get a flight to London.”
“Certainly Madam. Perhaps the travel agent in the arcade next door can help you book a flight?”
“Thank you. I’ll go and see them. What time do they close?”
He looked at the clock behind his head.
“In a little over an hour.”
“Thanks. I’ll go and see them now.”
I turned to go towards the exit when I had a thought.
“Can you book a table for me in the Restaurant for this evening?”
“Certainly Madam. What time would you like the table for?”
I smiled at him.
“Lets say 9:00pm.”
“That will be fine Madam. I’ll see to it now.”
Just before 9:00pm I walked out of the lift in my best evening dress. Not a LBD but a Long Black Dress. It had a high waist that sported a thin silver band. The full skirt felt nice on my legs. I was also wearing a new pair of 4in-heeled sandals. I’d bought them in Paris just before I returned home from my travels. The outfit was bought to impress a certain Italian male. Now… I was wearing it to boost my own confidence.
My entrance into the restaurant did indeed turn a few heads. I felt more than a few male eyes following my every move as the Maître D’ escorted me to my table.
My table was on the balcony that overlooked the famous Copacabana beach. It was a perfect night but possibly a little chilly by Rio’s standards, it was early spring after all.
“I’ll have a bottle of your best Champagne please.” I said as I was seated at the table.
I’d decided that if I was going home with my tail between my legs then I was going to have one last fling.
The food was marvellous. As I dined, the moon came out and the wind dropped. It was a perfect evening.
At the end of the meal I stood up and watched the traffic driving up and down the beach road. The moonlight was showing up the statue of Christ that looked down on the city. Beautiful, truly beautiful.
The Maître D’ rudely interrupted my dreaming.
“Excuse me Miss. A gentleman at the bar wishes to know if you would have the pleasure of joining him for a nightcap?”
I turned round hoping that it was Luca. I looked back at the bar area. A man raised a glass and smiled at me.
It wasn’t Luca. My hopes were dashed.
“I’m sorry. I don’t date strange men.”
“As you wish Miss.”
He left me alone. As he walked back inside he shook his head at the man. The man by the bar didn’t look happy. Not happy at all.
I turned back to look at the view. The moon had gone behind some clouds. The moment had gone. I left the balcony and went back inside the hotel.
I walked slowly down the stairs into the lobby and towards the lifts.
The bell pinged and one of the sets of doors opened. The lift car was empty. I walked inside and pressed the button for my floor.
The lift doors were just closing when the man from the bar rushed inside.
“Ahh a mulher fria que não sabe quando está pronta por um bom tempo.”
“I.. I’m sorry I don’t speak Portuguese.”
“It does not matter Doll. I’m going to give you a good time, a really good time. You really should not have turned down my offer of a drink you know.”
His accent and choice of words told me that he was an American.
I suddenly felt really frightened.
“Please. Leave me alone. I don’t want have anything to do with you.”
“Now that is no way to talk to me.” He replied with a definite tone in his voice.
Then the male part of me kicked in.
“Look buddy. You really don’t want to mess with me. You really don’t know what you are letting yourself in for if you pursue this.”
“Oh goody. I like a bit of spunk in a whore.”
I glared at him. How dare he call me a whore?
A jerk told me that the lift had stopped. I glanced at the indicator. It was my floor.
I couldn’t decide if I should run out of the lift. I knew instinctively that I wouldn’t make it in these heels.
I made a lunge for the button to send the lift back to the lobby. He saw my move and blocked it, gripping my wrist as he did.
In a deft move my arm was twisted up behind my back. His garlic-ridden breath was all over me. His lips started to pucker up. He wanted a kiss. There was no way I was going to kiss that bastard.
“Fuck you,” I cried.
His free hand started to move towards my tightly bound crotch.
I couldn’t let him get there.
I brought my knee hard up into his dangly bits.
He collapsed into the corner of the lift clutching his crotch.
“Bitch. You will pay for that. Really pay. You really don't know who you are messing with!”
I didn’t reply. Instead I pressed the button to take the lift down to the lobby.
It seemed to take an eternity for the lift to drop the eight floors. Eventually the doors opened.
When it did, I pressed the alarm.
A couple of seconds later several staff appeared outside the lift and looked in.
They saw me shaking like a leaf and my attacker lying on the floor still grasping his crotch.
“Get her. She attacked me. Get me a doctor. Get the police.”
Screamed the man.
“Liar. You attacked me.”
Then a figure appeared in the door. He seemed to tower above everyone else. I looked up. It was Luca.
I didn’t care, I ran to him and wrapped my arms around him and for the second time that day I burst into tears.
I was still shaking when the police arrived. It didn’t take them long because there was a Police Station right outside the hotel.
Luckily for me, the Maître ‘D appeared on the scene.
A lot of very rapid talking eschewed, almost all of in Portuguese.
There was a lot of finger pointing at the man who was still lying on the floor.
Just when I felt that fingers were being pointed at me, the Police dragged the man away. He was protesting loudly. Confusion reigned. The only solid thing was Luca. He held me like a rock.
A few seconds later, the Manager appeared.
“I am sorry for this incident Madame? The Police have arrested him. We will provide them with the CCTV from the lift.”
I gave him a small smile.
“Thank you. But I’m supposed to be going home tomorrow.”
“It will not be a problem. This is not the first time Senhor Bristow has tried it on with a female guest when he has been staying at the hotel.”
“But…” I gasped.
Luca interrupted me.
“Shh Fran. You have had a difficult time tonight. Why don’t you go to bed and we can sort all this out in the morning?”
I didn’t say anything. At least I had now stopped shaking.
Luca said something in Portuguese to the manager.
There was much nodding of heads. Luca shook the hands of the Manager.
“Come on. We can sort all this out in the morning.”
Still holding me Luca guided me back into the lift. I had a great feeling or relief when the doors closed.
“Thank you,” I whispered.
“That’s all right. Don’t worry. From what the manager said, he deserved a good kicking.”
I didn’t answer.
Luca escorted me to my room.
“Thank you,” I said once more.
“Why don’t you try get a good nights sleep? We can talk in the morning.”
I opened the door and went inside. I turned around and looked at Luca.
“Good night Fran.”
He said in a calm yet reassuring manner.
With a smile, I shut the door to my room. My previously uneventful but delightful evening had been totally ruined by a drunken American. The only good thing to come out of it was my rescue by a ‘knight in shining armour’.
My last thought as I fell asleep was that the ‘Blonde’ was nowhere to be seen.
[To be continued]
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