Florence Fiction Friday (3)

Alissa’s laugh pierced the night. I glanced over, assuming she was on the phone with her boyfriend, but instead found her standing on our balcony. Grumbling as I walked over to check what she was laughing at, a scene sprawled out in front of me. Three guys on the ground below our balcony formed a little circle and waved their hands around while ferociously speaking in Italian.

Alissa liked to pretend she knew things. Case in point:  “They’re arguing about drugs.”


“I dunno. Probably. I mean, look at them. Their hair is greased back, one of them looks half conscious. The other one… hey, he’s actually kinda hot.”

I focused in again. The baker.

The baker swung at the guy on his left, causing him to stumble back. Simultaneously, I stumbled back into my room. It was a rough reminder that we didn’t know anything about this country or the people. The baker might’ve seem like an attractive, innocent-enough guy, but that blow he’d just dealt said otherwise.

Alissa rolled her eyes at me. “Honestly, Lauren, don’t act so sheltered.”

My face heated up. I’d had enough of people not understanding me or telling me who I was. This past week, it felt like too many people were telling me how to adjust to a new country, how to fit in, blah blah blah. I’d had enough of it. “Honestly, Alissa, what makes you think it’s a good idea to watch whatever’s going on down there? What if they see you? Then they’ll know where we live.”

“That’s fine with me.”

“Dude, shut up. You have a boyfriend.”

She tossed her caramel-colored hair in the way I thought they only did in movies about high-school girls.

“Anyway, why don’t you spy on the old woman across the building? Her windows always open and there’s some janky smells coming out of it.”

“That’s disgusting.”

Before I could answer, something shattered my thoughts. Below us, the man on the baker’s left had shoved the other man into a window. Alissa screamed when she saw the body, unmoving. The baker looked up and met my eyes. This time, my tall and dark Italian did not wave.

I heard Greg and Matt’s heavy steps before I saw them.

“What happened?” Greg burst in. Matt looked a little more alive than usual.

Alissa grabbed my arm and whispered, “They saw us. Oh, God, what did we just see?”

Matt moved us out of the way and peered over. “What’s going on? There’s nothing there.”

“What?” Alissa all but screamed. She leaned over the ledge. “What?”

I pushed them both aside, expecting to see the baker staring up at us. He was gone and so was the body.

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