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Call Me by Your Name by André Aciman Read Online (FREE)

Wasn’t this what he’d implied when he said he’d seen through my own attempts to ignore him?

We left the bookstore and lit two cigarettes. A minute later we heard a loud metallic rattle. The owner was lowering the steel shutter. “Do you really like to read that much?” she asked as we ambled our way casually in the dark toward the piazzetta.

I looked at her as if she had asked me if I loved music, or bread and salted butter, or ripe fruit in the summertime. “Don’t get me wrong,” she said. “I like to read too. But I don’t tell anyone.” At last, I thought, someone who speaks the truth. I asked her why she didn’t tell anyone. “I don’t know…” This was more her way of asking for time to think or to hedge before answering, “People who read are hiders. They hide who they are. People who hide don’t always like who they are.”

“Do you hide who you are?”

“Sometimes. Don’t you?”

“Do I? I suppose.” And then, contrary to my every impulse, I found myself stumbling into a question I might otherwise never have dared ask. “Do you hide from me?”

“No, not from you. Or maybe, yes, a bit.”

“Like what?”

“You know exactly like what.”

“Why do you say that?”

“Why? Because I think you can hurt me and I don’t want to be hurt.” Then she thought for a moment. “Not that you mean to hurt anyone, but because you’re always changing your mind, always slipping, so no one knows where to find you. You scare me.”

We were both walking so slowly that when we stopped our bicycles, neither took note. I leaned over and kissed her lightly on the lips. She took her bike, placed it against the door of a closed shop, and, leaning against a wall, said, “Kiss me again?” Using my kickstand, I stood the bike in the middle of the alley and, once we were close, I held her face with both hands, then leaned into her as we began to kiss, my hands under her shirt, hers in my hair. I loved her simplicity, her candor. It was in every word she’d spoken to me that night—untrammeled, frank, human—and in the way her hips responded to mine now, without inhibition, without exaggeration, as though the connection between lips and hips in her body was fluid and instantaneous. A kiss on the mouth was not a prelude to a more comprehensive contact, it was already contact in its totality. There was nothing between our bodies but our clothes, which was why I was not caught by surprise when she slipped a hand between us and down into my trousers, and said, “Sei duro, duro, you’re so hard.” And it was her frankness, unfettered and unstrained, that made me harder yet now.

I wanted to look at her, stare in her eyes as she held me in her hand, tell her how long I’d wanted to kiss her, say something to show that the person who’d called her tonight and picked her up at her house was no longer the same cold, lifeless boy—but she cut me short: “Baciami ancora, kiss me again.”