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“It’s still snowing!” “Flakes” is a guys’ love serial novel with romance, intrigue, snow, chocolate, and a dash of Italy—start with episode one—and scroll down to read the latest episode.
This already written novel will be posted in 12 parts. This story is being polished as it is being posted, so please, feel free to use the comment section to point out typos, what you like, and what needs more polish. As always, each episode opens with a quote to tempt you to read on.
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Flakes, episode 3
Nearby, silver-tipped eyebrows rose over a sinister smile as the one who lurked nearby responded to what he overheard.
Cristoforo was finally safely and warmly sheltered, but now, there was a man with silver-tipped eyebrows walking toward him. His heart raced as he watched the otherwise dark-featured man step closer and closer. He was quite tall. He was also nicely dressed—that is for a businessman caught between a deal and drinks. This one clearly made an art of both. Realizing he could handle neither at the moment, Cristoforo became nervous, for one or the other was clearly coming his way.
He looked toward the man in case he was wrong. Maybe he was walking toward but not to him? Alas, he was still making his approach—directly. More disturbingly, he wore the hint of a menacing smile on his face. If Cristoforo was nervous before, he was scared now. “What does he want from me? I best figure that out, for he is only a step or two away.”
The approaching man’s shadow was just about to darken Cristoforo’s feet when its approach was halted by a sure-footed stranger. The stranger’s sturdy foot came down like a pile driver breaking earth. This man, heretofore unseen by Cristoforo, planted himself between the one with the silver eyebrows and his sitting prey.
Cristoforo looked to the newcomer’s face, but he could not see its features with the brilliant ball of light blazing directly behind his head. All he could see was his silhouette, which was rather well-proportioned.His strong legs were topped by a pronounced v-shaped torso, which supported broad shoulders and a powerful neck. Cristoforo was uncertain if this was the silhouette of a man or a statue.
Like the other stranger, he was also well dressed, but this one was outfitted as much for dinner as he was for the deal. Cristoforo hoped he grew up to look like this man, and while he could not see the stranger’s face, he was sure it was fine face—one he would proudly call his own.
The stranger with the silver tipped eyebrows quickly stepped to the side. He walked away scowling like he had just given something up. Cristoforo wondered why he was so sullen, but before he could ponder this, the new stranger’s head eclipsed the blinding ball of light. This allowed his face to suddenly come into view. Cristoforo was bothered by it, for it was indeed a fine a face—too fine. “Why would someone want to be that handsome? That’s just showing off.”
Knowing he would never be that handsome, Cristoforo became sad, but his sadness quickly morphed into madness as the stranger stepped before him and picked up his hand: “Oww, why are you hurting me!?!”
The broad-shouldered stranger stood holding Cristoforo’s hurt hand between his own. Compared to his strong hands and thick forearms, Cristoforo’s own looked sleight: “I feel like a girl with this one standing before me.” This realization troubled him.
“You are hurt.” The stranger’s voice sounded as solid and sturdy as the rest of him looked.
Cristoforo’s cheeks heated with a blush. He did not know why, but this stranger unnerved him. “The other one scared me . . . this one makes me nervous. Why do these men make feel this way?” He withdrew his hand angrily: “Stop! Don’t, my friend is helping me.”
“Some friend, he left you all alone.”
Fury showed in Cristoforo’s eyes and sounded in his voice: “You don’t know he left me. You don’t know him.”
“Never mind that one. I will take care of you now.” The man reached into his pocket and fished around with his fingers.
Standing far enough away to be unnoticed but near enough to hear and see everything, the stranger with the silvered eyebrows pressed his body flatter against the wall. He stood there silently still and staring.
Withdrawing a handkerchief from his pocket, the man quickly fashioned an effective bandage over Cristoforo’s hand. He smiled warmly as his disciplined hands finished tying it off. “There, all done.”
Cristoforo looked at his bandaged hand and smiled with welcome surprise. “You stopped the bleeding. I bleed a lot, or at least, I think I do.”
The man laughed. “What do you mean you think you do? You either do or you don’t.”
Cristoforo became angry. “You ask too many questions.”
“Then, tell me what you mean directly, and I will not have to.”
This reasonable response angered Cristoforo, but after a moment, his anger melted. “I don’t want to tell him, but something makes me . . . trust this one. This is so confusing.”
The man stood patiently waiting for Cristoforo’s response. His enduring patience prompted Cristoforo to speak despite himself. “I don’t remember . . . anything . . . but my name . . . Cristoforo. So, I don’t even know if I have good or bad blood.” HIs shoulders slumped and his voice lowered. “I must have bad blood, very bad.”
Nearby, silver-tipped eyebrows rose over a sinister smile as the one who lurked nearby responded to what he overheard. The lurker was not the only one responding. If Cristoforo had not been looking down at his feet, he might have noticed the stranger’s face reflecting a sudden sadness. “You don’t remember anything?” His sad face turned sadder yet. “You might remember something if you try.”
“I told you I don’t remember anything.” Cristoforo’s nostrils flared with anger.
The embodiment of anger and sadness stood facing one another with upside down smiles and slouched shoulders. Reaching for Cristoforo’s unhurt hand, the man spoke. “Don’t you remember . . . anyone, anyone at all?”
Withdrawing his hand, Cristoforo snapped. “No, I don’t! But, I know I’m Cristoforo.”
Steadying himself, the stranger straightened his frown and his shoulders before looking hopefully into Cristoforo’s eyes. “I’m Carlo.” He then searched Cristoforo’s eyes for several seconds, but not finding whatever he sought there, his frowned returned.
Cristoforo could not understand why this man was so sad about his situation. He examined the stranger curiously. “He looks as sad as I feel. I must look like him on the inside.” This made him more curious. “I don’t know him, so why do I trust him? It’s like I already know him.” Becoming increasingly nervous, he searched his mind for answers. “Why does this stranger move me so?”
Carlo once again took Cristoforo’s hand. “Why does he keep touching me? He makes me more nervous when he does that! Everyone can see what we . . . what he is doing.”
Feeling self-conscious, Cristoforo remembered the rest of the room. The sea of faces was still there. Everywhere he looked, like a peeping tapestry, the men still stared at him—at him and the stranger before him. He could hear them still whispering. “Are they together?” “How’d he get his attention?” “How cute!”
Their whispers rose in his ears until the word cute stirred his anger: “Let go of my hand!”
But, Carlo refused, grabbing it more tightly, and he was much, much too strong for Cristoforo to resist. “Not until you tell me how you came to be here?”
“My life is none of your business!” If he was angry before, Cristoforo was furious now.
“I won’t let you go until you tell me how you got here.”
Cristoforo’s anger flowed from him and unloosed his tongue. “I don’t know! I woke up in the snow. My friend carried me in here, and now, you won’t leave me alone, and everyone is staring at me!” His head dropped as hot tears fell from his eyes. “I’ve told this stranger everything. Now I have no secrets from him, no secrets, except for what is still secret to myself.”
Lifting Cristoforo’s head by the chin, Carlo looked directly into his embarrassed eyes. “That one is not your friend. He deserted you, but I’m your friend.”
Cristoforo considered his words. “This stranger helped me, but the price for his help was my secrets.”
Reading the hesitation in the young man’s eyes, Carlo answered it. “You have no past, so your future is uncertain, but one thing is certain, you cannot stay here. It’s not safe, not safe by a longshot.”
Cristoforo agreed. He needed to get away from all these men—these endlessly staring men, but where would he go? “But, I’ve nowhere to go.”
“You will go home with me.”
Cristoforo’s face stirred with confusion. “I know too little about myself, and this one knows too much about me.” He shivered with uncertain fear.
Seeing Cristoforo shake, Carlo removed his jacket and slipped it over the shoulders shaking before him. “You are shaking. Let’s go home.”
“Without a past, I have no other place to go.” Overwhelmed by sadness, Cristoforo’s eyes filled again with tears as he began sobbing. With one swoop, Carlo took the shaking heap before him into his arms and carried him to the door.
Cristoforo settled into Carlos’ arms and rested his head against his thickly developed chest. “Take me away from this strange place and these strange staring men. Take me home, where I will be warm and safe.”
With the slightest movement of his chin, which might have been akin to something like nuzzling, Carlo wordlessly responded while stepping toward the door with his arms full of a sighing young man.
Silver-tipped eyebrows lowered over a scowl as the pair approached the door. Suddenly, beside him, there appeared a tall, thin, young man, holding a bandage in his hand. He looked anxious, then sad. “He is leaving without me.”
The scowling man beside turned to face him with anger. “Stay away from him, Angelo, and you will, if you know what’s good for you.”
Angelo’s anger rose, which rarely happened. “But, I was the one who found him!”
“But you weren’t man enough to keep him. Were you? Are you man enough?”’
Angelo’s head dropped as his cheeks reddened. “No, Giacomo, I’m not.”
A sinister smile rose beneath Giacomo’s sliver-tipped eyebrows. “But, I am.”
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“Flakes” © MJ Isola
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Just a pic of me in Portugal. I am thinking about adding some pictures from my trip here.