Francesco listened to Rino’s confessions, his gaze still pinned on the painting. He had seen a part of Adeline’s behavior towards his childhood friend, and he had noticed that there was some familiarity and flirting, but he hadn’t expected that she was leading him on too. At least, as Rino was saying, she hadn’t given him more… but obviously she had given more to that artist, because this painting looked too intimate, even if it wasn’t as indecent as not to fit an exhibition organized by a priest.
”You are right, Rino. Better learn now than after the engagement, or after marriage. And playing three men at the same time takes some theatrical skills not every woman has,” he added with sarcasm in his voice, mixed with the overriding grief.
He was going to follow Gemma’s invitation, because both he and Rino needed a drink this afternoon. It was obvious they needed a place to drown their sorrow about an unfaithful woman.
Right then, having heard his sad and angry words, a man next to them intervened, telling him that many women were flighty. This was a thing Francesco had known, at least in theory, up to now, when he got confronted with the reality of it. Imagining Adeline old, ugly and with six children around her, all looking like Bastien Desrosiers, helped a little calming the two men unlucky in love.
”Thank you very much, signore, for your wise words. This helps with understanding what women find to admire so much at artists. And it makes a Hell of a sense… Everyone would know her only like she is here,” he pointed at the painting. ”Not a busy housemaid, not a future wife, mother or grandmother. And I guess this was exactly what she wanted. As for you, after this exhibition, do you want a glass of wine at the Tipsy Crow? It’s nearby. I guess I need a more experienced man’s support…”
He blushed at being complimented for his taste in women, nodding at the wish to find a faithful one.
”This is what I wish too, thank you. A faithful wife, a reliable work partner, a lover and a friend at the same time. Just that I have been wrong in thinking that Adeline was all these.”
Just realizing that he invited the man for a drink without exchanging introductions first, he said:
”And please allow me to introduce myself. Francesco Zanotta, inn helper at the Drunken Duck.”
He never mentioned his involvement in the law enforcement patrols unless it was necessary. And now it surely wasn’t.
word count: 440