She might have called to him there—Massimo?—but the word wouldn’t come, so she just stepped to the end of the rank where he waited.

His shoulder was turned to the shelving and he had a book in his hands. This he closed to look at her—a strange look, serious or sulking, the same look with which he’d admonished her at the café on via dei Neri.

Restless is a force without direction.

He held the book up now, swivelled it as if proffering it to her, but she—she went on trying to read his look. Long and slow she breathed then moved toward him, ghosting along again until she was very close.

She touched her fingers to his chin. He’d the finest grit of beard. Then she kissed him, soft at first, slowly, searching, as if his lips would tell her what it was.

A heartbeat and the lights snapped off. 

All was as dark as black now and they both held perfectly still.

The Italian Novel


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