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The Medici Lover by Anne Mather


The Medici Lover by Anne Mather

Author:Anne Mather [Mather, Anne]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Published: 0101-01-01T00:00:00+00:00


CHAPTER SEVEN

THE following day, Suzanne did not see Mazzaro at all.

In the morning she attended the small church of San Lorenzo with

Pietro, his mother and Elena, and although she enjoyed the simple

service, her thoughts constantly strayed to Mazzaro, and what he

might be doing. To say she regretted not accepting his offer to show

her his collection seemed a mild statement of her emotions.

During the afternoon, she sunbathed on her balcony while Signora

Vitale and Elena rested, refusing Pietro's suggestion that they drove

the sixty or so kilometres to the beach. She did not doubt that they

would get there. It was the journey back to the Villa which troubled

her. Since the day before, their relationship had changed somehow,

and maybe the knowledge that all was not well between them had

made him reckless.

She encountered Elena on the loggia as the shadows were

lengthening, and this time the child did not run away when she spoke

to her.

'Where are those flowers you picked yesterday?' She asked, needing

something to detain her. 'Did you find out their names?'

'No, signorina.' Elena shook her dark head. Then, with a doubtful

glance over her shoulder, she added softly: 'Zia Tommasa does not

know about the flowers, signorina. I hid them in the closet in my

bedroom. I am afraid she will be angry when she sees them.'

'She will if she finds them in your closet, Elena.' Suzanne sighed.

'Your father gave you permission to keep them. Zia Tommasa will

respect that.'

'Do you think so, signorina?' Elena still looked doubtful. 'Papa may

have changed his mind.'

'Now why would he do that?'

'I don't know, signorina. I only know that today he will not speak to

me.'

Suzanne could feel the tautening of her stomach muscles as the child

spoke. It was seemingly impossible for her to have the simplest

conversation here without bearing the backlash of her own emotions.

'Well. ..' Now she sought for words to reassure the child. 'If—if you

like, I'll help you.'

'You, signorina?'

'Yes. Yes, me.' Suzanne hoped she was not about to step into even

deeper water. 'Do you—that is, does your father have any books that

might give us the names of flowers? You know—an encyclopaedia of

some sort?'

'Papa has encyclopaedias, signorina. I've seen them in his study.

Shall I get one?'

'Oh, no—no!' Suzanne halted her urgently, a hand closing round the

child's wrist. 'Don't—don't interrupt your father.'

'But he is not in his study, signorina."

'He's not?'

'No, signorina. He is working in the Grand Salon.'

"The—Grand Salon?'

'Yes, signorina. You have not seen the Grand Salon?'

'No.' Suzanne shook her head.

'Then you must ask Papa to show you,' said Elena firmly. 'He will, if

you ask him.' She smiled. 'Papa likes you, signorina. I am glad you

like him too.'

Suzanne controlled her embarrassment with difficulty. 'About that

encyclopaedia, Elena...'

But the child was not to be diverted so easily. 'Papa used not to spend

so much time alone, signorina. He was not always so—so cross.

Before his accident, we used to have such fun together.'

Suzanne couldn't help herself. 'And don't you any more?'

Elena shrugged. 'Sometimes,' she admitted with such pathos that all

Suzanne's protective instincts were aroused. 'But these days Papa is

usually too busy...'

'Well...' Suzanne sensed that tears were not far away.



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