Chapter 13: England

“I want to check out that bookstore.” Joe pointed to a store that seemed to occupy most of its block on Piccadilly, its dark wooden façade making a contrasting statement to the pastel stucco and white columns of the rest of the building.

“OK. I’ll meet you there in a half-hour. I want to check on Maria Grazia’s present.” Nancy had ordered a wool suit for her, the finest gift she picked for anyone in the office. Continue reading

Chapter 12: First Flight

“C’mon sleepy-head!” Joe’s mother shook him gently. He struggled from a groggy fog. Light from the Cavalieri Hilton and the street lamps was still coming through the window. Then he remembered why he had taken so long to fall asleep. He leapt from the bed suddenly awake as his mother headed for the kitchen to put out breakfast. Continue reading

Chapter 11: Research

Photo: P. Choudhury

Summer was coming early. It was only early May, but it had been hot since mid-April. Attention spans and teachers’ tempers were short as everyone’s interest in academics melted. The dress code was relaxed to let students leave their jackets in their lockers, but sweat drops still ruined handwritten assignments and lecture notes. Continue reading

Chapter 10: Tennis

giardino degli aranci“Are you still sure you can handle a full-sized book, Joe?”

The Cavaliere del Piave’s thick eyebrows and his height even seated put more fear in Joe than perhaps the man intended. Behind his desk, with the view of the City out two large windows and surrounded by the space and light of his office, the magnate exuded power more directly than in the intimacy of dinner the week before. “Business letters are just between me and my correspondents; this book has to cut a bella figura for the whole Group to the world.” Continue reading

Chapter 9: Ostaria dell’Orso

TAXIOn Saturday, the rain stopped around noon, as it did for a little bit every day now. Spring was just around the corner. The wind blew hard all afternoon, but by sundown it was just a breeze. Nancy and Joe took a taxi to their dinner meeting with del Piave. Continue reading

Chapter 7: Almost caught

“This may be the last one this year,” Nancy said as she handed Joe another letter from del Piave. “He’s taking his family to Argentina for Christmas. They have relatives there.”

“Well, this one’ll put gas in the Vespa until he gets back,” said Joe. Continue reading