From the Sky - Part XII

I'm sorry!

I've done it again, haven't I? I've meandered around the edges of the story. It's just that there is so much to tell, so many tiny little threads, and they are all important in their own way. Let me continue… where was I? Yes, the bakery…

A few hours after Aunt Zia spoke with her Papa, she and her sisters stood at the counter waiting for business. It was a slow day and it was raining hard outside, further discouraging customers. Lake Tarentella was forming, but so far no one was stranded. The cards Papa and Uncle Gio sent the mystery woman were spread across the counter. Rae and Sal were going through them. Zia walked to the window to watch the rain, with a little hail mixed in now as well, as her sisters read the cards.

"Look at how Papa signed this one: To the vision of loveliness in Room 212," Sal giggled. "And this one, from Uncle Gio: To the woman in 212, whose eyes shimmer like stars, whose voice is like that of an angel…"

"They're all like this," said Rae, shaking her head. "They should be thankful she never read them. I found one where Papa compared her to pastry."

"Gio is just as bad," said Sal, holding up another. "He says her skin is like a 'flawless, delicate butter-cream frosting on a perfect wedding cake.'"

"Who is she, Zia?" asked Sal. "Tell us! We're your big sisters!"

"I'm so tired of this!" Zia shot back. "It's incessant. Gio wants to know! Papa wants to know! You and Rae want to know! Well, go and do some detective work. Her grandfather's picture is on the wall of the hospital. Start there. I'm going upstairs. I have a headache."

As Zia walked briskly away, Rae turned to Sal and whispered: "Our baby girl is moody today, isn't she?"

"She's been too busy painting to see all her boyfriends," Sal half-whispered back. "Baby girl likes her romances, but right now all she does is work. She's too busy to see her beaus and she adores being the object of their attentions. Three men chasing her skirt! Can you imagine?"

"Something else is troubling her, I'm sure of it."

"Maybe she's worried about all the money she's been promised," Sal sighed. "Perhaps she's afraid that Papa and Gio will frighten the woman off before she can finish the portrait."

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