Monday, July 11, 2011


“Are you okay?” Concern crept into Aaron’s voice.

“Did that man I bumped into look familiar to you?”

“No. Not at all.”

“Are you sure?” Laurel stopped in the middle of the street, forcing other pedestrians to move around them.

“I haven’t seen him before.” Aaron answered thoughtfully. “Maybe he works in one of the shops here.” He gestured toward the riverfront street they were on and the crowded Ponte Vecchio Bridge beyond. The area was a tightly packed mix of jewelry, clothing and gift stores, and stalls, and street vendors that was always teeming with people. “Or maybe you noticed him at one of the tourist attractions. Does it matter?”

Laurel ignored his question. Instead, as they continued along the crowded thoroughfare, she frowned and bit her lower lip, mentally recalling the quick glimpse she’d gotten of the man. Well dressed in a fitted navy blue suit. Dark eyes under heavy brows. Black hair worn a bit long. A purposeful stride, shoulders pushed forward as he walked away. “I was wrong,” she murmured more to herself than to Aaron. “He’s not an Italian. He’s an American, even though the few words of Italian he spoke to me were flawless.” She nodded her head as if agreeing with her own assessment.

“Laurel,” Aaron began in a questioning tone, “what difference does it make? He was just some stranger you bumped into.”

“No, he’s not a stranger.” She grabbed his arm as she stopped dead in her tracks. “I know him,” She turned abruptly and started running back through the throngs toward the Uffizi.

“Wait! What are you doing?” Startled by her behavior, Aaron began to follow her, trying to catch up.

“I know him. And he’s been dead for the last eight years,” she tossed over her shoulder as she turned a corner and disappeared from view.

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