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Celestial Pieces

Celestial Pieces

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Celestial Pieces

Longitud:
453 páginas
6 horas
Editorial:
Publicado:
14 sept 2019
ISBN:
9781071510391
Formato:
Libro

Descripción

For lovers of novels such as The Da Vinci Code, The Eight, or The Last Cato

What is the truth behind the death of someone you thought you knew? An unsettling message turns young New York professor Julia's world upside down and leads her to embark in a hasty journey to Europe.


Ancient mysteries and a dangerous secret that has been kept for centuries, and that somebody will go to any lengths for it to remain that way, will lead Julia into a thrilling adventure through the most fascinating European cities.


Madrid in the period of Charles V, alchemic Prague, London when the Royal Society was founded and Medici Paris, combined with the hermeticism of the Vatican Archives and arcane Rome are the settings for a dangerous race around the clock that could make heaven seem closer than it is... unless she wins the game. 

INTERNATIONAL MEDIA, BLOGS AND READERS GIVE THEIR OPINION:


"CELESTIAL PIECES has a highly attractive plot."  El Nuevo Herald, Miami 


"Is there an Indiana Jones hiding deep inside your soul? Are history, art and mystery your passion? This novel is for you!"  El buscalibros


"If what you need is a plot with suspense, twists, surprises, mysteries and loads of action, CELESTIAL PIECES is a must."  Bookceando entre letras


"Plenty of adventure and hazards to remind us that a girl can live without a wardrobe, but never without her stilettos and a good-sized purse, because one day they could become her favorite weapons."  El escritorio del Búho


"Watch out, Dan Brown! Totally recommend it!"  Amor y palabras


"Fast action, intrigue, sex and mystery all the way through. Full of references to humanity's greatest minds, sharing with us knowledge of the occult world that surrounds us."  Marc-Amazon Spain

Editorial:
Publicado:
14 sept 2019
ISBN:
9781071510391
Formato:
Libro

Sobre el autor


Vista previa del libro

Celestial Pieces - Delmi Anyó

Celestial Pieces

Delmi Anyó

Translated by Paula Nicole Sepulveda 

Celestial Pieces

Written By Delmi Anyó

Copyright © 2019 Delmi Anyó

All rights reserved

Distributed by Babelcube, Inc.

www.babelcube.com

Translated by Paula Nicole Sepulveda

Cover Design © 2019 Alexia Jorques

Babelcube Books and Babelcube are trademarks of Babelcube Inc.

http://www.delmianyo.com

The full or partial reproduction of this work by any means or process, including reprography or computer processing, as well as the distribution of copies through public rental or lending is strictly prohibited without the copyright owner's written permission and will be subject to legal penalties under copyright law.

Table of Contents

Part I: Loss........................................................................11

Chapter 1..........................................................................11

Chapter 2..........................................................................17

Chapter 3..........................................................................20

Part II: Despair................................................................25

Chapter 4..........................................................................25

Part III: The warning....................................................31

Chapter 5..........................................................................31

Chapter 6..........................................................................36

Part IV: The journey.....................................................45

Chapter 7..........................................................................45

Part V: Fate.......................................................................54

Chapter 8..........................................................................54

Part VI: Awe (the sign)................................................61

Chapter 9..........................................................................61

Chapter 10........................................................................65

Part VII: Terra..................................................................74

Chapter 11..........................................................................74

Chapter 12........................................................................84

Chapter 13.........................................................................92

Chapter 14......................................................................100

Chapter 15......................................................................112

Chapter 16......................................................................119

Chapter 17......................................................................129

Chapter 18......................................................................134

Chapter 19......................................................................144

Chapter 20......................................................................148

Chapter 21......................................................................154

Part VIII: Ignis...............................................................163

Chapter 22......................................................................163

Chapter 23......................................................................167

Chapter 24......................................................................174

Chapter 25......................................................................179

Chapter 26......................................................................188

Chapter 27......................................................................197

Chapter 28......................................................................202

Chapter 29......................................................................207

Chapter 30......................................................................216

Chapter 31......................................................................219

Chapter 32......................................................................227

Chapter 33.........................................................................231

Part IX: Aqua.................................................................238

Chapter 34......................................................................238

Chapter 35......................................................................248

Chapter 36......................................................................258

Chapter 37......................................................................264

Chapter 38......................................................................274

Chapter 39......................................................................285

Chapter 40......................................................................290

Chapter 41......................................................................294

Chapter 42......................................................................299

Chapter 43......................................................................304

Chapter 44......................................................................314

Part X: Aer......................................................................320

Chapter 45......................................................................320

Chapter 46......................................................................332

Chapter 47......................................................................342

Chapter 48......................................................................349

Chapter 49......................................................................357

Part XI: Caelum............................................................361

Chapter 50......................................................................361

Chapter 51......................................................................368

Chapter 52......................................................................378

Chapter 53......................................................................392

Chapter 54......................................................................403

Chapter 55......................................................................409

Chapter 56......................................................................413

Chapter 57......................................................................420

Chapter 58......................................................................426

Chapter 59......................................................................438

Chapter 60......................................................................444

Chapter 61......................................................................447

"What we know is a drop,

what we don't know is an ocean"

Isaac Newton

Part I: Loss

1)  Chapter 1

You never know how you're going to wake up the following morning. You go to bed, you fall asleep, and the next day everything has changed. Everything you had, that you thought was safe, is gone.

That morning my cell phone woke me. I don't know how long it rang for. They say our body has defined biorhythms, and maybe my brain simply refused to abandon that pleasant state of drowsiness, so I had merged the annoying blare with the blurriness of my dream. But the noise became so shrill I finally woke up with a start. I reacted and heard Peter's deep voice.

Julia, did I wake you?

Yes, I growled, leaning my hazy head on my hand.

Sorry... But this is important, he apologized.

I didn't forgive him. You can't forgive someone who is arrogant enough to call so early. There was a brief silence. He seemed pretty nervous:

Something awful has happened.

What? What is it?

Yes, Julia. It's awful. It's about James. James...

James? What's wrong with James? My voice sounded thick and I was starting to shake.

He's had an accident, I thought I heard.

An accident? I couldn't process.

Yes, Julia. A very serious accident.

But he's not...? I hardly dared ask.

I'm sorry Julia. I'm so sorry...

He went on talking, saying something about a plane, and flying in from Madrid. He spoke about the funeral and told me to calm down. He would be over in the afternoon. I thought I heard him say over and over that he was sorry until I couldn't stand it any longer. I dropped the phone.

I felt a sharp stab in my chest. I was stunned, sweating, shaking like a leaf and I could hardly breathe. Everything around me turned blurry and I felt a terrible agonizing feeling that can only be caused by pain.

Without meaning to the image of James flashed before me: his brown eyes and tousled hair over his forehead. Impossible. No way. He couldn't have just gone. I ran to the bathroom and threw up.

Crying and terrified I fell onto my bed. I couldn't believe it. It was too awful to be true. James. My James. It couldn't be. He couldn't be gone. I needed him too much. I needed his smile and his caresses. I saw him smiling at me. I felt him stroking me and telling me to calm down. Calm down? How? I would never feel his touch again! I would never hear his laughter!

I curled up and yearned for him as I sobbed and felt stabs of pain, telling myself that what was happening wasn't real. It had to be a bad dream; but suddenly reality hit me in the face, proving that I was wide awake.

James and I had arrived at the University of Columbia in New York the same year. We were both in the department of Modern European History. We shared an office and Peter, our department head, helped us find a common ground. He offered us to work on a project involving the development of art and science during the Spanish empire of the 16th century. At the university the viability of a department was measured according to its research action; any type of finding was cause for the institution's aggrandizement; therefore, unhesitatingly it took over it and published it in the leading scientific journals in order to legitimize its prestige. The university world was engaged in a headlong race for the visibility of its discoveries, which is why it devoted a large portion of its budget to financing projects, the majority of which bore no results. However, when results were achieved, it meant a greater reputation, more students, and ultimately more money, which is what it's really all about. American universities were traditionally cutting-edge in science; however, in the field of Modern European History, any university from the old continent, for obvious reasons, ran circles around us; hence Peter's massive interest in us investigating. He said that according to the dean, it was not acceptable for the country with the best universities in the world to rank second in that area of knowledge. He would spare no expense to make New York the new center for advanced studies on the topic.

The project Peter offered us was thrilling. Both James and I were like two kids with a new toy. It was a wonderful opportunity to study one of the most fruitful and luxurious periods in modern European history.

These circumstances forced us to spend a lot of time together and we soon hit it off. At first what connected us was simply friendship. We were clearly on the same wavelength; but then one day we started to feel an attraction that surprised us both and we crossed the friendship line.

James was quite a charmer. He was that type of person who tears through your life like a tornado and shakes the foundations of your being. At his side even the smallest finding was a cause for celebration. His passion for history was as overwhelming as his passion for life and I soon realized that his attitude had a contagious effect on me. I went from being fed up with my job to bouncing off the walls. Going to the university every morning and knowing that James was going to be there waiting made me feel as excited as a kid at a fun fair. I knew one day it would be like an enjoyable merry-go-round, while others it would be like riding on the ghost train, or maybe even on the roller coaster. He was an unpredictable madman. However, he had the amazing ability for observation, and a special nose for detecting connections that normal human beings would certainly miss. And even though his methods were not always proper, he always carried out his research with surprising rigor. I think that's what fascinated me about him. But eventually we hit a bad patch. Although our relationship was sensational, the project had reached a standstill: it was time to do research on site. We had to check out our hypotheses with first-hand written testimonies. What we needed in order to move forward was in files stored miles from New York, so we asked Peter to get funding for us to transfer to a Spanish university and finish our project there. That was our dream: to travel to Europe together.

I think it had been my idea. At any rate, I was the one who asked Peter. Our boss began the process and, although the dean's initial promises were very generous, once the project had begun there were some cutbacks. Only one of us would be able to travel with the funding he had obtained. I had dreamed of travelling with James. I thought both of us wanted it, because we had planned it together and we had talked about it so many times. James and I were a team; we worked well together: he put in the passion and I added the logical thinking. While I had my feet on the ground, for him the only limit was the sky.

I had always wanted to live in Europe for a spell, even before meeting James. But now I didn't think I would be able to spend months away from him; the investigation would not be the same if we were separated by an ocean. That's why I insisted that they try to increase the budget; I had even calculated that with a modest increase we could both live in an apartment in the outskirts and continue our task. That which we had fought for belonged to both of us. We had both developed every single idea of the investigation and I refused to envision the most important part taking place if we were not together.

However, Peter decided that only one of us would travel, and that the lucky one would be James. I was supposed to stay in New York engaging in support tasks and giving lectures at the university. To my surprise, James readily agreed; he even seemed happy about it. And that settled the matter: he was capable of slamming the door in my face at the drop of a hat.

What I really felt was rage and impotence. I thought Peter had done it on purpose. He knew I wouldn't go without James; but that James would be willing to go without me. I was disappointed. Now I felt ashamed and sorry to remember that at the time I had slightly hated James. But nothing mattered anymore.

I got up and took a shower. I had meant to go about my day as usual. I tried to forget that it was not a normal day. However, although the shower had always been a good way to drive away my problems, this time it didn't work.

I kept seeing James' face; his youthful smile and his lively brown eyes cropped up in my thoughts like a reprimand.

Wrapped in a towel, I called the university. I cancelled all my lectures for the day. I wasn't up to it. When I hung up I curled up on the bed and cried.

.

2)  Chapter 2

It was seven o'clock and the funeral was about to end. Peter seemed upset. We all were, in fact. Even the dean, who had lately become an obstacle for our investigations, always threatening to cut back the budget and trash all our work, now seemed really upset.

I have never liked funerals. I only attended the strictly necessary ones. In fact, it was the second one I had gone to in my entire life: first my father's, and now James'.

As I gathered was customary in these cases, everyone had spoken wonders about James in their farewell speeches. Peter had said something that had made me think: ‘Today we are burying a friend.’ For me James was more than a friend.

Then one of James' cousins had spoken. On behalf of his family he thanked those present for our company during those difficult moments. A small woman, dressed in mourning, nodded at his words, bowing her head and keeping her eyes glued to the coffin. It was easy to guess she was his mother. She was the one who filled James' fridge with delicious raspberry pies and tasty stews. He had been planning to introduce me to her one day, when we both felt that our relationship was solid enough to involve members from our inner circle. I didn't have the strength to approach her.

I was still distraught and the two tranquilizers that Peter had made me swallow when he had come over and found me utterly devastated had done nothing to soothe me. James was dead. I was so sorry about everything that had happened between us during the past few months! Now I would never be able to tell him how little I cared about the investigation if we weren't together; I couldn't tell him how much I loved him and how important he was in my life. Now it was too late.

A cold breeze full of damp scents made the cypress trees at Greenwood cemetery collide against each other as they swayed. I tried hard to stay calm during the whole ceremony, but what I really wanted to do was run away and cry by myself.

Accompanied by an elegant middle-aged gentleman, the dean walked over to where I stood. He gave me a warm hug which I bore stoically and introduced me to his companion.

Mr Gonzalez, this is professor Julia Robinson. She shared the investigation with professor James. She's an authority in Modern European History.

I nodded listlessly.

Mr Gonzalez is a distinguished benefactor of our university. Thanks to him we will soon have the building that is going to house the new library, he said in his usual pompous manner.

Pleased to meet you, I replied, and my hand shot out automatically.

What did I care? I had no interest in meeting anybody, but I had no idea of how to get out of it. The drugs did absolutely nothing to numb my pain; they were actually affecting my capacity to react.

I'm very pleased to meet you and I'm sorry for this terrible loss, said the gentleman. I have asked your dean to arrange for us to talk calmly about your work. I have always been fascinated by history.

I looked at this man who persisted in holding my hand in his. He was wearing a long navy blue cashmere coat and custom-made shiny patent leather shoes. He gave me the creeps.

Reality can sometimes be as spectacular as fantasy. But this is not the case, believe me. My work is quite tedious, I replied, bringing the conversation to an abrupt end and moving away.

I was surprised by his interest in the project but at that moment I hadn't felt like talking about it or even thinking about it. It reminded me too much of James.

3)  Chapter 3

Peter approached me and put his arm around my shoulder.

Would you like to get something to eat?

Yes. I need to get something inside my stomach, I quickly replied. I had a strange feeling in my gut that I knew was not caused by hunger, but it was close enough and I thought perhaps some food would make it go away.

We walked down a gravel path that opened through a field of grayish tombstones. The leaves on the trees fluttered. Peter's snazzy convertible was parked two streets away from the cemetery gates, right next to a block of red brick low rise homes with porches, pointed roofs and small front yards. I pictured James growing up in one of them.

We got into his powerful, scandalously red car and bolted away. I found the car was not his style at all. His personality was more in line with an elegant car, perhaps a German sedan; but one never knew with Peter.

He was an attractive man. His thick mop of dark hair mottled with silver strands revealed he was no longer young, but that did not make him any less interesting. A pair of small blue eyes shone behind a discreet pair of spectacles. His female students were crazy about him.

We drove for a while in silence. We left Brooklyn and entered Manhattan. He stopped the car in front of a café two blocks from my house.

Is this a good place? he asked without looking at me.

This is fine. What did I care?

We sat at a table by the window, where I could see the street lit in a yellowish glow from the streetlights. Our waiter was a scruffy twenty-year old. He took our order and brought us sandwiches. I didn't taste mine. I couldn't chew.

I know this has been a terrible blow for you. For all of us, in fact. But we have to get over it, said Peter taking my hands in his.

Peter had always been nice to me, which is more than I can say about any other man with the exception of James and my father. Although his words offered no solace they filled me with the warmth that I desperately needed.

I still can't believe it, I murmured. Yesterday I was supposed to get an email from him. He was going to send me some documents to review. He said he was just about to make an important discovery, but now...

It could happen to any of us. Don't torture yourself.

Peter was right. Anyone can have bad luck. I thought chance was as cruel as it was random. We go about our lives thinking it will never happen to us, and when something like this hits you in the face, you realize how fragile life can actually be.

I didn't dare inquire about the details, but Peter seemed ready to provide them.

It was an unfortunate accident. You know how James drove, he drawled, without taking his eyes off me.

My only response was to gape at him incredulously, because I knew perfectly how James drove. We had, after all, travelled over half the country in his Ford searching for the information Peter himself had commissioned us with. James was an expert driver.

For some reason his car went off the road. He may have got distracted. The police said he was speeding. The car flipped over several times and the engine caught fire. When the paramedics arrived they could do nothing to save his life. His body was completely burnt.

My stomach turned and my disbelief turned into horror.

We sat in silence for a long time. I was astonished. I tried to lead my mind away from the dreadful impression.

So now what's going to happen with the investigation? The journey was crucial in order to move forward, and without him... I said all this even though the project was the last thing on my mind.

Don't think about that now, Peter interrupted me. It's better to let some time pass. You're in no condition to continue, and I don't have it in me either.

I figured it was the most sensible thing to do; I shouldn't even have mentioned it.

James was a bit of a dreamer and we just played along, he added.

I didn't like to hear Peter speak about James like that. He was no dreamer; he was a meticulous specialist. My reaction to his words probably showed on my face.

But he said our research was about to reveal something really important. He wouldn't have wanted us to quit, I protested weakly.

James... poor James... ever the optimist, said Peter with irony. He was in Spain for eleven months and many thousands of dollars were invested. In the end... nothing. The dean and the board are tired of diverting funds to a project that produces no results, and I don't have the strength to keep fighting.

I didn't like what I was hearing, but I was so tired and stunned that all I could manage was a weak expression of defeat.

Forget it, murmured Peter as he kissed my hands. The only reason we kept it was so as not to give in to James' obsession. Now what we have to do is move on and look for another goal together.

I thought it wiser not to insist. I disagreed with Peter, but I didn't feel like arguing. Actually, I didn't even feel like talking about it, or even thinking about it. A large hole in my stomach and a deep, suffocating wound in my chest prevented me from saying a word. Suddenly, I burst into tears.

Peter tried to comfort me, but the harder he tried, the worse I felt.

Take some time off, he said as he dried my tears. I'll take care of everything so that you can take a week off. But not another day. In a week I want to you back at the university.

When we reached my house, Peter tried to come in with me. I didn't let him. I needed to be alone to release my pain.

Part II: Despair

4)  Chapter 4

A week turned into two without me being able to set foot in the university. I was still depressed and angry. My world had fallen apart and I kept thinking that if things had gone differently, none of this would have happened.

Peter visited me every afternoon. The first days he made soup; other days he would bring me Chinese food or make sandwiches that I simply couldn't swallow. Some afternoons I let him into the kitchen to fill the fridge with his stash of probiotic drinks and invigorating soups, while other times I didn't even let him in the door.

The nights were endless and I spent many of them wide awake going back and forth from my bed to the bathroom. Sometimes I made myself a cup of tea in the kitchen. Once I fainted from sheer exhaustion in the living room and bumped my head. I have no idea how long I lay on the floor. All I know is that when I came to there was dried blood caked on my forehead and for the first time since James' death I felt refreshed and serene, as if drugged by a pleasant sleep. Something had clicked in my head that day.

At eight o'clock sharp the next day I woke up and did everything as I had done before James' death.

I surprised myself by getting up and walking to the bathroom. I let the hot water run until I was surrounded by a large cloud of steam and I stood under the shower for a long time. I remembered that it was the time of day that I enjoyed the most, but I became aware that then all I felt was rage.

I never had breakfast at home. I wasn't able to brew coffee at that hour.

I got dressed and headed to the university in the blue Plymouth Valiant that my father had left me. Not a good choice for driving around New York.

When I reached the campus I parked across the metal fence around the boiler room, although George, the new caretaker, had warned me over and over not to do it. But today I was feeling stubborn.

After five years of investigation I was not about to abandon. James would never forgive me for throwing in the towel like that. And neither would I.

It had been Peter who had gotten us into this mess. He had suggested the topic for our research and urged us to keep at it, and now he expected us to quit.

I would not beat around the bush; I would go straight to the point. This was one of the few times I was absolutely certain about something. I was convinced that I wanted to keep working on the project, with or without Peter. I owed it to James and to myself. I knew that if I quit, James' memory would die forever, and I wanted to keep feeling him alive inside me.

I walked into the university's canteen and had a latte and two slices of toast. I couldn't think clearly on an empty stomach and lately I hadn't been feeding myself properly. There was quite a bustle of sleepy-eyed students ordering their breakfast; but in spite of them the canteen seemed empty without James.

When I arrived at the department Peter was sitting in James' chair and seemed absorbed reading some papers. For a second I mistook him for James.

Julia, what a surprise! He shuffled the papers around.

I was sad and angry because he wasn't James and because I would never see him sitting there again.

I need you to listen to me, I cut him off. I want to carry on with the investigation. I want you to talk to the dean and get him to transfer James' resources to me. I'm going to Spain. I've made up my mind.

It had only taken me ten seconds to say it and my heart was beating like it was about to burst out of my chest.

Peter just sat there deadpan, saying nothing for what seemed like an age. I stood looking at him defiantly with my hands on the desk that separated us. Eventually, he spoke.

We've already discussed this, he said patiently.

You know these past few weeks I haven't been in a state to discuss anything, I replied exasperated.

Peter stood up, cat-like. He made sure the door was properly closed before taking me in his arms in a tight embrace.

I know you're suffering, he whispered in my ear.

I broke down like a child and burst into tears as he held me. It was so unfair. But I reacted. It annoyed me that he used that primeval scheme under those circumstances. Peter always thought he knew how to get me to change my mind.

I won't give in, I said angrily as I pushed him away. It's been too many years and too much work to just let it go.

I rooted around in my purse and pulled out a rumpled tissue which I used to dab at my tears. I was sad and angry. I would have cried even longer, but my pride stood in the way.

I won't give in, I insisted.

Peter moved away and sat down again. An enraged silence filled the room.

Have you thought it out? Can't you see we've failed? Do you think I don't care?

His tone became angrier.

This project's been dead for a long time. The only thing James did in Spain these last few months was spend all the funds on getting drunk and partying. The economic commission looked into it and reported back to me. During his last phone call, when he realized he had been found out, he didn't even try to lie his way out of it.

What are you talking about? How dare you?! I cried out, hurt. How could Peter be so despicable? Did he even realize how painful his words were?

James failed and brought us down with him!

He was staring at me bright-eyed and I could see the veins on his neck sticking out. There is no solution because there was never a problem. There's nothing new to discover, unlike that fool thought!

You mean... I mumbled confused.

I mean we've spent five years chasing a ghost. A ghost that was a figment of James' imagination.

We fell silent for a long time. I felt such bitterness that words failed me.

Julia, don't go, he went on, more calmly now. We are historians, serious researchers, and we know when we have reached a dead end. Stay here with me.

It's cruel for a friend to die and it's also cruel for a dream to die. James had made me feel alive. He was passionate about his work. He was that kind of guy who faced life cheerfully. Everything seemed easy by his side. He had the amazing ability to spread his excitement on to me and make me feel like everything was going to be fine.

I had never liked history. I don't even know why I didn't study Law or Economics. Today I could have been a competent lawyer like my father, or a successful business woman. But no; I had had to choose, and I have never been good at making choices.

Now Peter wanted to convince me that I had been associate professor in the Modern History department for five years, preparing a dissertation on a topic that doesn't exist alongside a fool whom I had taken for a genius.

How Peter could say such things?

He gave me a moody look. He shuffled more papers around and produced an envelope. It contained photographs. James appeared next to a rather young-looking redhead in a pose that suggested more than simple friendship.

My face must have reflected my surprise.

I didn't want to show them to you. The dean sent them to me before the accident. James wasn't meeting the deadlines and the board made some inquiries. It seems that during the past few months James wasn't devoting much time to the investigation.

I turned and walked out. I couldn't listen to him.

I burned rubber skidding out of the university's parking lot. I have always been naive even though I try to hide it. The image of James holding that girl caused a whirlwind of jealousy and sadness to burst through my head and although I knew I was partly responsible, I couldn't help feeling disappointed.

I needed to rethink my life.

I felt a sudden urge to go far away, to escape all the pain. A holiday seemed like a good idea. I could spend some time with mother and my sister Katy in Tulsa, my hometown in Oklahoma. I hadn't seen my nephews since Christmas and even then I had only spent three days with them. Little Robert hardly recognized me when I got home.

My mind was made up. I would talk to Peter; he would understand. I had to get away for a long time.

Part III: The warning

5)  Chapter 5

I spoke to Peter. He was understanding and got the dean and the university board to grant me a sabbatical year and a generous monetary compensation. The pompous board members had assigned me a cash compensation equivalent to two years of my salary. In addition, the university agreed to pay my monthly salary into my account. So this year I was getting three times my salary in exchange for not working. Who understands those people? The year before they had refused to give me a cent for working with James in an investigation that could add fame to the already well-known University of Columbia, and now they were giving me more than what I needed. My intention had only been to keep my post, but one never knew with those people.

In exchange, Peter only asked me to visit him the following summer and afterwards to go back to the department and work with him. I promised I would. He had always been good to me. I left him my dad's Plymouth Valiant as collateral and he promised to keep it at the university's garage and drive it around once in a while until I got back.

We kissed goodbye.

Tulsa was my haven. I longed to sit on the porch swing watching those rosy sunsets over a yellow sea of wheat ears. I wanted to hear the lazy murmur of the wind rustling the leaves of the trees in the garden. It was the best thing I could do under the circumstances. I needed its soothing effect to heal my wounds. I was determined.

I didn't call mother. I didn't feel like giving her hasty explanations about my unexpected trip home, or tell her how stupid I felt. I would think of some logical story when I saw her. All I wanted was to get as far away from New York and the university as I could; forget about everything for a while.

I got to my apartment at a quarter to two. I called a travel agency and booked a seat on a flight the following day because I didn't want to postpone the journey, just in case I changed my

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