Gigi scuttled into the room with an impish smile and attached
herself to Annina’s skirts, as she directed coquettish little glances at her uncle. He gave her funny looks, and she giggled and buried her face in the folds of Annina’s dress. Then she turned to him and giggled again.
This was a new situation for her. There was a child in the room, and she and Antonio were the adults. She was no longer the little girl, looking up to him in a hero-worshipping way. Without her realizing it, their relationship had become more equalized. She felt
closer to him, yet at the same time more aware of the inevitable distance between them. The vague longing that had recently crept up on her was beginning to define itself with alarming precision.
Later in bed, she wrapped her arms around herself and stared through the window at the clear night sky. She struggled not to let herself think it. An untenable desire had overtaken her. Complete happiness was so close at hand, yet untouchable. That realization only increased her agony. It was wrong. It was Satan tempting her.
It was the same desire that had caused Chiara’s falling out with Antonio seven years before. She curled up on her side and hugged her knees, letting out a trembling sigh as her heart raced. Part of her reasoned that the gossips were saying it about them anyway, so why not really give them something to talk about? Another part of her recoiled at such an idea.
The worst part of all was that she couldn’t discuss this with anyone. She was determined that no one suspect her forbidden yearning. But it was there. She managed to suppress her foolish fantasies for awhile by reminding herself that those sorts of thoughts put her in the same league as Chiara, the last person in the world she wanted to emulate. She caused nothing
but problems and misery for everyone around her...She just hoped she wasn’t about to follow in her footsteps.