Chapter 28: Later

“Hand me the scissors, would you please?” Nancy said, pointing to the other end of the coffee table.

Joe picked up the scissors and passed them to her. She snipped the bright red ribbon and placed Angela’s Christmas present on the floor near her chair. Outside, a cold rain beat hard against the windows. With the heavy curtains drawn, the room felt warm and cozy. Christmas carols floated through the house from the phonograph in the corner. Continue reading

Chapter 27: Dénouement

Joe looked around. The apartment was furnished with Renaissance chairs and tables. There was a sitting room, a bedroom and even a dining room. They made themselves comfortable in the sitting room as a slender, thirty-something blonde attendant came in and asked if they would like coffee, something else or perhaps lunch. They all asked for coffee, and Redwood suggested a tagliere of meat and cheese. Nancy had not had lunch. Continue reading

Chapter 25: Rome, Saturday

tram a RomaThe No. 8 trolley clanged its bell as it stopped outside. Something was different. Joe’s room on the Monte Mario was at the back of the building, where he could not hear the street. He opened his eyes, suddenly aware of and delighted by Sandra’s smooth skin neatly fitting into every bend in his own body. The sun was not yet up, but the pre-dawn light leaked through the slats of the shutters. Continue reading

Chapter 24: Cologne, Friday

Friday morning, Nancy woke up facing the sun coming around the drapes. She kept her eyes closed and was instantly aware of the hard, muscular body behind her. She luxuriated in the feel of Jack’s lungs slowly expanding and contracting against her back. She had been surprised at how smooth his skin was. His body hair was fine and soft. She liked it. She controlled her breathing, hoping not to wake him. Continue reading