I swear, you could've choked on the thick perfumed air that I was inhaling. It was even worse than smoking. I looked around curiously. Even her house looked sensual. There was red satin and flashy beads on everything. It kind of resembled an old-fashioned strip club. Burlesque!
"She's nice, right?" Pietro asked excitedly.
"Yes, but," I started.
Pietro covered my mouth.
"Don't be rude," He warned coldly.
I pried his fingers off my face.
"I can behave myself," I whispered back fiercely, but I felt deflated inside.
"Children!" the woman sang as her and her deep rouge nightdress swung into the room.
She gently placed a tray of chocolates on her royally carved wooden table before gracefully depositing herself on an ornately beaded cushioned chair. Lamps with red shades illuminated the room.
"So, have you made love yet?" Maron asked us. She eyes us like a hungry tiger.
"That's personal!" I choked, but she was staring at Pietro.
They were sharing an intense gaze that made me feel like the intruder. Pietro pursed his lips.
"No," He answered cooly.
I gaped at him. How could he share something so intimate with her? I willed myself not to fight with him here. I gently elbowed him indiscreetly. He scowled at me as I snuggled in and observed Maron. I knew even before now that I didn't like her. She was a creep. She was an ancient tempest.
"You are so young, Elsie," Maron smiled.
I smiled fakely.
"I love your apartment," I giggled.
The perfume was getting to my head. Maron laughed heartily. She sounded genuine, but I was sure that she didn't like me either.
"Pietro speaks about you all the time," She stated sweetly.
"To you?" I joked.
We shared another fake laugh, but I felt Pietro relax. Maron and I bantered (sometimes in French, but mostly in English) for some time. We stuck to the easy stuff. No peace was disrupted until,
"So, are you coming to the wedding?" I asked easily.
What a mistake. It was as if the entire room dropped to Antarctic temperatures. I shut my mouth, but it was too late. Pietro was stone, and Maron literally froze while biting daintily into her chocolates. I waited for somebody to talk.
"Weel, are you?" Pietro asked in a choked voice.
We watched Maron as she slowly put down her good and pursed her lips thoughtfully.
"I'm sorry, but I can't make it," She finally admitted in a hushed voice.
She smiled, but I could see wounds in her hard eyes. Pietro still hadn't moved.
"Ok!" I smiled, but I was beyond relieved.
She was staring straight at Pietro in a pleading yet admonishing way. I felt him shift beneath. Suddenly, he stood and pulled me to him tightly.
"We have to go," Pietro said rigidly.
I was confused, but I never opened my mouth.
"So soon?" Maron asked politely.
Her eyes were shiny in the shaded room.
"Yes. Thank you," Pietro spoke sharply before leading me quickly to the door.
I heard Maron bid us goodbye in her honey-coated voice before the door slammed behind us. That night, in bed, I felt Pietro's soft tears when I brushed his face, but he refused to explain.