Kylie let her fingertips drift across the creased sepia photograph of a young sailor with a trimmed beard, his hat in his hand, a baby cradled in his arm. A pretty girl in plain, light dress stood next to him, her arm in his. ‘Dory, Juliet et Michael – St. V e C 1917’ in faded ink across the bottom. The sailor was the grandfather of a man she thought held secrets to a life she’d been denied. A man, she’d discovered, who never knew she existed. [...]
“Long stemmed wine glasses and tablecloths are a proposition, Caswell.” Elise gave the room and its elegance a practiced eye. “Or an apology. Suspect, regardless, for a man who just asked me how my French was before he asked me about wine. I spend two evenings a week with bored, over-educated or homesick women reading French Literature and speaking French. Things I’m sure you knew before you asked.” [...]
Today a slow dance of clustering clouds choreographs a timed waltz of darkening shadows on land and sea below. Soon the monochrome sky will ignite in timeworn dynastic conflict. Look up, gaze into the swaying clouds long enough and you will see a tenebrous prophecy in the shaping, dissolving, and reshaping of furious grey eyes. [...]
“What is it we’re doing again?” Kylie set a small traveling bag of tools in the back of Kirklin’s truck and climbed in the cab, made a face when the door wouldn’t close. She wasn't sure about the truck. Definitely not sure about Kirklin.
The fall from heaven isn’t measured in rage. It's measured in last steps. Begged and crawled, each one of them, blade down to bone. [...]
Insignificance provides a perfect shield from scrutiny. Perceived insignificance that is. Be honest now, do you pay a lot of attention to the beggar sitting cross-legged on the pavement outside your local convenience store, or his muttering hunched shape stumbling along the sea promenade asking have you got some change? [...]
Silk and powdery perfume, who appeared to have sent herself to the drycleaners along with her clothes, glanced up from behind her large, glossy, empty-but-for-a-phone desk. “I’m sorry, you can’t…Caswell? You again?”
“New shoes, Elise.” He put his left foot on the edge of her desk. “Just for you.” […]