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Chapter 2. Unusual Suspects
The next day, Gianna is busy translating: Inspector John Fox of the NYPD is hunting a serial killer who preys on bespectacled young Asian baby-sitters.
The day passes slowly. At seven in the evening her mobile rings.
“Honey, I’m afraid I’m not coming home tonight,” says Eugenio quickly. “At midnight I have a videoconference with a famous gallery-owner from Sydney. Don’t wait up for me, I’m sure I’ll be very late.”
Gianna is a little surprised. Her husband normally gives her plenty of notice.
“How strange! I wonder why he didn’t tell me earlier…?”
A little annoyed, Gianna goes back to translating and works for the rest of the evening, finally going to bed at around half past eleven.
During the night, she is woken up by the noise of Eugenio, who has come in and is getting undressed as quietly as he can. Gianna pretends to be sleeping, though she glances at the clock on the bedside table.
“Twenty past three… that conference of his must have gone on and on…” she thinks before closing her eyes.
When the alarm goes off at eight o’clock in the morning, Eugenio is already up. He’s in the bathroom, taking a shower and he is whistling.
Gianna is confused at this behaviour. Normally, when her husband has just got up, he’s quiet and even a little grouchy. She gets up, too, and goes into the kitchen. On a chair is Eugenio’s coat, left there from the night before. She picks it up to put it away in the wardrobe, but immediately begins sneezing. There’s something strange about that coat.
Gianna gives it a sniff and can’t help noticing a strong smell of jasmine.
“Strange! He knows I’m allergic to jasmine…”
She stops, still holding the coat, and thinks.
“Whose scent could this be? It’s certainly not mine!”
Gianna can’t help but feel supspicious, and jealous, but tries to remain calm and not let her thoughts run away with her.
“There must be an explanation,” she thinks, taking the coat into the bedroom. “At the end of the day, it’s just a bit of perfume…”
When she goes back into the kitchen to make breakfast, however, she notices another detail. On the chair is a folded slip of paper. She opens it and sees that it’s a receipt from a bar in the centre of town. She doesn’t remember ever going there with Eugenio. Curious, she looks at the time and date on the receipt: half past one last night! And the receipt is for two drinks and two cover charges!
Gianna doesn’t know what is going on. When she hears Eugenio coming into the kitchen, still whistling and in obvious high spirits, she manages to hide the receipt in her pyjama pocket.
Without saying a word, her husband gives her a kiss on the cheek and pours himself a cup of coffee.
As he drinks his breakfast, he’s busy texting someone and smiling. Every now and then he looks at Gianna to see if she is all right.
But she really isn’t!
Three o’clock in the morning, the smell of jasmine, the receipt from the bar, her husband so happy first thing in the morning…
Something is very wrong.
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