by Paolo Copparoni, translated into English by Ruth Stephens
Chapter 7 – Blackmail
Relations between Amir and Marco have changed since the Italian confessed to finding the gun.
They no longer laugh and joke together as they once did. Instead there is coldness and lack of trust between them.
Amir is ever more mysterious in his weekend disappearances. And Marco, who spends his weekends with Reya, has stopped asking him questions.
The two young lovers always meet in different places. Because of this, a month or more after they first met, no one yet knows about their relationship.
One day the two are sitting in a quiet corner of a café in the suburbs of Tripoli, well away from the crowds that besiege the city every day.
By coincidence, Amir enters with two of his activist friends from the rebel movement. He recognises Reya immediately, having seen her at rebel meetings.
Amir and his friends know that she is the daughter of a police general, which is why they’ve never allowed her to become involved in their clandestine activities. Some of the young revolutionaries even suspect her of being a spy!
Amir pretends not to have seen Marco and Reya. He plans to wait until they get up to go, and then follow them.
But Marco and Reya separate as they leave the café, kissing each other goodbye and then going in different directions.
Amir suspected that Marco had a secret, and this is now confirmed. He begins to think about how he can use this knowledge to his advantage…
As soon as he comes home from work the next evening, Amir knocks at Marco’s door.
He announces, through the door, that he has something important to say.
Marco, who he is a little surprised at Amir’s words, opens it.
Amir enters Marco’s bedroom and comes straight to the point.
“I know that you are seeing the police general’s daughter,” he says, his voice decisive, almost threatening.
“What do you know about it?
In any case it’s nothing to do with you”
replies Marco, who is becoming annoyed.
Amir steps closer to Marco, and takes hold of his shirt with both hands.
“It seems that now we both have something to hide.
From now on, you’ll do what I say.
Or I’ll tell your beautiful girlfriend’s father everything!”
“What do you want?” asks Marco, his anger changing to doubt…