I’m heading south, I think. Honestly, I’m not sure that I boarded the right train. I was on the verge of full-blown panic when I bought my ticket to Naples. It’s only a few hour trip, though, so I suppose I’ll find out soon.
Everything happened so quickly in Rome.
Nico had asked me if I wanted to hang out with him and some friends last night at one of the clubs where he frequently holds court. I’d been planning to just stay in and read. But sitting around the house waiting for Nonie to decide she wanted me out for no reason other than she didn’t like the look of me is not as much fun as as it sounds. I also figured that with my paranoia growing daily, a night out and a few cocktails might be a good idea.
Everything started out well enough. First, Nico introduced me to the Negroni, and I’m still getting over the fact that someone found a way to use Campari in a drink that doesn’t make me think of paint thinner. And as if that wasn’t enough, he then introduced me to a few of his lady friends. Of course, they were all much too young to be wasting their evening talking to a middle-aged American, so I assume they were doing him some sort of favor. At any rate, I promised myself I’d try not to bore them at least, and after several cocktails I’m sure I was the very definition of charming.
Thankfully, they were all too polite to tell me otherwise.
So, while Nico mingled here and there, chatting with friends and business contacts, I tried to entertain the pretty Italian girls just to prove to myself I still could. It was more fun than I’d had in some time.
Until I saw him again. Somewhere between my third and fourth drink, I spotted the man in the dark suit across the room. He was sitting alone again, occasionally sipping a drink. I didn’t catch him sneaking glances my way like I had at lunch a few days ago, but it was enough for me either way. I bought the girls a round of drinks, paid my tab, and thanked Nico for the entertainment. He pressed me to stay, to join him at another place in an hour or so, but I pretended I was tired and wanted to turn in.
In truth, my heart was pounding so hard that I struggled to speak normally. Enough adrenalin coursed through me that I still haven’t managed any sleep.
Are they going to follow me everywhere?
I very obviously went towards the men’s room and then doubled back through the crowded club as far from the man as I could. The cool, fresh air outside was a welcome change, and soon my pulse returned to some approximation of normal.
I walked quickly back to the house through the ancient Roman streets, turning my head at every errant sound behind me, startling at every shadow. I don’t think I was followed.
The house was quiet as a tomb when I got back. Thankfully, the rest of the family, grandmother included, had already gone to bed. I hope the stack of lira I left on my nightstand table will make up for me running off in the middle of the night without a word.
I suppose it doesn’t matter, though. I’ll never see Nonie or Nico again.
At any rate, I suppose I’m safe enough for now; I didn’t see the man again before I boarded the train. Not surprisingly, that brings me little comfort.
I’m going to try to relax and get an hour or so of sleep. Hopefully the rhythm of the train will help. When I reach Naples, I’m going to have to come up with some kind of plan. I can’t keep living like this.