She had become more conscious of her cycle during her time with Paolo; his powers of observation were rigorous. After only a few months together, they had it all plotted out: there was the quiet time from day one to ten, then the days of the egg, and finally, as the estrogen ebbed and her progesterone surged, what Paolo called the danger, a designation Whitney didn’t much like, for it was associated with many bruising collisions, and there was no way she was owning all of it. 

It’s our dynamic, she always countered.

Yes, day twelve, the time of the egg, and on her bothersome way to work—across the piazza, south to the lungarno, then a couple of blocks downstream, where on Tuesday and Thursday at the museo she assisted Signorina di Nero, assistant directoress of public information, as unwelcome a mission as she could conceive for day twelve, when she was not just irritated and distractible, but also beginning to vibrate with acute sexual arousal. What she needed today was a man on top of her, a good thrashing, lunch with vino and a nap.

The Italian Novel


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