Vittoria’s small hand rested softly on the side of his face. She gently tugged his earlobe as he dozed. She was not ready for him to sleep yet. And then—like thunder—a knock on the door.
James put on his bathrobe, went to the foyer. Looked through the peephole. He did not recognize the man. Maybe he was from maintenance, here to check something. James undid the chain, turned the dead bolt, opened the door.
“Are you James Stephens?” the man asked. He was stocky, swarthy.
“Yes. And you?”
“I want my wife.”
Giancarlo moved toward James.
“Whoa!” James said, putting up his hand.
Giancarlo stopped. “I know she’s in there,” he said. “I want her to come out right now.”
“Get lost,” James said. He shut the door. Turned the lock.
Vittoria, wrapped in a sheet, stood at the foyer’s entranceway. She and James looked at each other.
Giancarlo pounded on the door, one heavy blow after another. “Vittoria!” he shouted. “Vittoria! Vittoria! Vittoria!”