A Story by Haim Kadman

Chapter 24 of the thriller "An Irretrievable Step".


"An Irretrievable Step”

Chapter 24

Thus the first week passed rather fast, due to the interesting lessons, and the lively atmosphere of his young fellow students and his growing interest in stormy Bianca.

There were two more summer courses of design and fashion, abundant with female students, and with hardly any Mid-East foreigner to his relief. Thus Ray's daily routine was quite satisfying during his first days in Florence.

He had an early breakfast at the boarding house, a snack at lunch break at the academy's cafetia, and dined in the I Latini restaurant, among its permanent guests, which were no doubt the town's elite.

During the weekend he strolled in the town center, visited the Piaza Della Signoria with it many sculptures, the Galeria dell' Academia to watch the original sculpture of David by Michel Angello. At night he visited the famous Duomo of Santa Maria del Fiore, like a good Catholic that he is supposed to be.

On his first Sunday in this historic city he did not do much but just sat quite a while at the Cafe Riviore at the side of the Piaza della Signoria drinking a vermouth before lunch, while he was pondering what he is going to do next, Bianca passed on the pavement before his surprised eyes with some elderly lady, and glanced at him with a quizzical stare.

'Oh hello won't you join me please?' He called after her. She went on without looking back.

On Monday morning at the first break while Ray was standing all alone in the corridor not far from the main entrance, Bianca appeared from nowhere and stopped in front of him.

'How dare you to turn to me before being introduced?' She asked him rather calmly, without raising her voice.

'Do accept my apology; I'm not acquainted with the local etiquette seniorina.'

'What's your name goatee?'

'Ray at your service, I adore your temperament.' He added with a broad smile

'Just my temperament, is that all you've to say?'

'Oh you've many more assets, but it's too early to note.'

'You may call me Bianca you cheeky goatee,' she said with a chuckle and went over to the entrance, to join her female entourage.

From that day on he sat at every lunch break next to one of the cafeteria tables  with the female trio of Gina and Dorothea that formed pretty Bianca's entourage, while Bianca sat always at their midst

It was an encouraging step forward but there it ended. No young female was allowed to walk all alone or be accompanied by a suitor outside and be seen in public in a male's company at any day's hour, she had to be accompanied by another mature woman.

Ray served her as some kind of a body guard, his presence kept away those that used to pester her. It was a bit conspicuous but it did not trouble him. He was using the Identity that would serve him all along his new career, and even if one of the students or some more of them, out of the three summer courses would meet him elsewhere; there was no danger in it, and he wouldn't pretend that he does not know him or any of them.

During the dark room lessons Bianca kept him close to her, in a kind of mute flirting. A few more couples except them took advantage of the dark room to neck haphazardly, but that was all; as soon as the day of studies ended he felt like waking from a dream. After a dinner in the 'I Latini' restaurant he used to roam impatiently in the streets thinking of her. He tried to persuade himself that he did not fall in love with her, he was just attracted to her he kept telling himself.

She is the opposite of Kasumi with her exquisite beauty, her energetic and stormy character, her sharp tongue, a real volcano that's what she's… He thought amazed expecting the morrow to see her again and listen to her voice.

With the passing days he learned more details about Bianca and her two female followers too, although the other two did not interest him, but sitting with the three of them at the same table at lunch breaks five days a week he learned to know the other two as well, whether he liked it or not. As the three of them lived in Florence they went everyday home, the dormitory was used by the students that lived in the neighboring villages.

Bianca and her two followers were high school graduates about eighteen years old and being natives of Florence they kept away from most of the others who were not Florentines.

As Ray was a complete stranger 'Un Amricano' they talked freely in his presence, and he learned many new slang terms and language abbreviations. The small differences of dialect did not have importance as far as he was concerned, as a supposedly American that passed a year or two in Italy, he was expected to speak fluently the Roman dialect.

Thus the summer passed while he learned to know Florence and its treasures like knowing the palm of his hand; he visited the Duomo every Sunday and studied well and learned a new vocation, and enjoyed a rich platonic relationship with these three females; but he felt like being a monk while sitting like a living statue with Bianca and her two followers, and there were times when he was frustrated and home sick despite Bianca's beautiful features, her smile her sweet voice and her enchanting sound of laughter.

He talked about it with Joe in their second meeting during his first month there; he brought it up indirectly of course.

'Oh I'm doing rather well,' he answered when Joe wanted to know how things are. 'But I feel like a bloody monk…'

'If you had to change identity after this stage you would have been expected to behave like a monk, or pay a visit to a brothel once in a while…' Joe muttered as if he was thinking aloud. 'Well that's Italy and they're much more pious in the periphery, and Florence is a peripheral town. But in two more months you'll return to Rome, so be patient and hang on.'

He met Joe twice a month and in comparison to the short meeting he had with his operators in Milan and Rome, here each meeting lasted several hours of a meal and a visit in one of the few night clubs in this town. It wasn't an easy life after all, and the longer he stayed abroad the harder it became.

@ Haim Kadman 2017 �" all rights reserved.

© 2020 Haim Kadman

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Added on November 21, 2020
Last Updated on November 21, 2020
Tags: suspencse, intelligence, espionage, florence, studies, university, course


Haim Kadman
Haim Kadman

Petach-Tikva, Israel

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