“Isn’t this romantic, Jed?” sighed Jennifer, as her eyes roamed from the black and white façade of Santa Croce, to the statues, to the smiling Florentines and tourists strolling in the sunlight bathing the Piazza. Jen took another sip of her drink and turned to face her new husband.
Nothing. Jed was looking at her, yes…frowning slightly as if concentrating, but…nothing. Jennifer raised one, finely arched, brow.
“Huh?” Kid Curry gave a start. Then, as her words belatedly sank in, “Sure, Jen. Real romantic.” To show willing he cast a two second glance at the timeless glories of Santa Croce. “It’s sure somethin‘!”
Jennifer rolled her eyes and opened her Baedeker. “The Giotto frescos are found in the Peruzzi Chapel. In the Ascension of St. John, the observer may note…”
“Jen,” interrupted Kid, “…This afternoon – you look – well Sweetheart, you look even more beautiful than usual…”
Jennifer paused. For once, Kid’s lack of interest in culture did not annoy her. She decided that particular interruption was – quite forgivable. She gave Kid an encouraging smile, in case he had more to say on the topic. He had!
“…I reckon it’s somethin’ about the afternoon light. The sun’s throwin’ an extra glow on your hair. What do you say, we skip the tour of this – church thing – an’ go straight back to the hotel? We could…”
It was Jennifer’s turn to interrupt. Already on her feet, her hand shot into the air to attract the waiter’s eye. “Cameriere,” she called. And, as I hope you noticed, she did it in fluent Italian. WITHOUT having to look it up! Which puts her one step ahead of the narrator of this story. Then, (in English this time. Well – American,) “…Oh, what’s a few hundred lira?” She pulled ‘much more than enough’ out of her bag and tossed it on the table. Her other hand grabbed Kid and began to pull him in the direction of their hotel at a pace somewhere between ‘fast trot’ and ‘gentle canter’.
“Jed,” said Jennifer, tentatively. “Sweetheart …I’m not real comfortable…”
“Don’t move!” From beneath the sheet Kid’s voice sounded slightly muffled, but the urgency – indeed, almost desperation – in his tone was loud and clear. “Please – don’t move!”
“I’m getting a cramp in one leg…” pleaded Jen.
“Don’t move…and…” a note of smothered annoyance, “…Honey, at least TRY and look as if you’re enjoyin‘ this!”
Jennifer decided this was a reasonable request to make of a supposedly loving wife. She redoubled her efforts at looking – enthusiastic.
“Oh! Sheesh! Not again!” a spurt of chagrin from Kid.
“What’s wrong, Darling?” asked Jen, as the curly blond head emerged – tousled and flushed from beneath the sheet. “Did it go off too soon – again?”
Kid nodded, apologetically. “I’m sorry, Sweetheart. It happens EVERY dang time!” he sighed. “I guess I’m just too dang quick on the trigger.”
“Don’t worry, Darling,” she soothed. “I believe it’s a very common problem at first – and, it’s not been that long…”
“We’ve been on our honeymoon nearly a month!” protested Kid. “I should be getting better!”
Jennifer contented herself with a comforting sound. Then, “…How long before we can have another try?”
Kid shrugged. “It’ll take at least twenty minutes before I can be ready again, nearer half an hour, and,” he looked gloomily at his new wife, “…If I’m gonna take you out here, on the balcony…with the Arno in the background – I wanted the light to be perfect!” The tone became boyish, “Don’t wanna try again in half an hour!”
“Aww!” Jen stroked the drooping blond head. “…There’s always tomorrow. Tell you what…” She raised his chin with one finger. “…Why don’t I take you to bed – and we’ll make mad, passionate, recklessly abandoned love instead? Forget the photographs? Mmmm? How‘s that?” An encouraging nip was given to his earlobe. An even more encouraging tongue began to snake a path down his neck. A superlatively encouraging hand caressed him in a superlatively encourage-able – or should that be incorrigible – spot.
Her husband looked, morosely, at his camera. It was a wedding present from Heyes and the second new love of Kid Curry’s life. Tenderly Kid straightened the green baize sheet from beneath which he had tried to frame the perfect portrait of ‘Jennifer on the balcony’. Kid turned and gazed at the enormous silk swathed four-poster bed dappled with late afternoon sunlight.
“Alright,” he sighed. “…Sex it is!” He began to pull off his tie, “…At least I’m good at that,” he added, gloomily.
Jen slipped from the bed, leaving a sleeping Kid sprawled amidst the rumpled sheets and scattered items of lingerie. Slipping on a robe she went to the writing desk. She pulled a sheet of paper towards her.
“Dear Hannibal…” she wrote. She thought for a moment. She crossed out ‘Dear’. Another moment, she crossed out ‘Hannibal’. She began again.
“Listen You! Once I come home – you’d better be ready to go back to life on the run because if I find you, I will take the camera you bought for Jed and …” Jen gave an evil grin. The letter continued. “When I said I wanted Jed to see Europe – I meant side by side and hand in hand with me! NOT upside down though a lens, with only his butt showing from under that blessed green baize! …”