Arabella lifted her eyes from the book. The words on the page resonated with her. Jarring her awake as if triggering a memory, and she reread the sentence slowly.
We shared our first dance where the sun kissed the sea, your eyes were the stars, and you became the moon to me.
She did not know how to explain why she understood those words, and she continued to reread them the way one listens to a familiar voice they cannot place a name or face to.
You avoided me for days, and then days turned into weeks, but no matter how far you drifted away on the oceans of space and time, I swam after you without regard for my exhaustion. And I know we will find each other in the darkened corridors that preserve the missives of secret love.
“The darkened corridors that preserve the missives of secret love?” She repeated to herself, and a flash of memory illuminated a shadowed corner of her mind. At that moment, the image of Aurelio sitting on a bench in the plaza with his book in his lap made her delirious with hope and gave her the courage to defy her circumstances. She recalled having heard of the Labyrinth of Love Letters, a place often talked about but never seen.
It was evident to Arabella that Aurelio did not adhere to the belief of those who said love in youth was an illusion. And like a man holding a knife to his own throat, he challenged the Fates for control of his destiny.
She stuffed the book in the satchel, pulled her hair back and wrapped her head in a scarf. She quickly searched the house for a pair of sunglasses, and though she only found a pair that belonged to Ramiro they would suffice for the intended purpose. She held the door ajar and peered through the opening before she ventured outside once again. Arabella pulled the door shut and began walking as if she had no particular destination in mind. She searched for the bench in the plaza that she recalled seeing on the day she was found. Perhaps Aurelio would be there again, she thought as she glanced over her shoulder occasionally. She felt ridiculous in sunglasses with the overcast sky, but she didn’t want to risk being recognized by one of Ramiro’s, or his father’s spies.
She turned corner after corner, staying close against the buildings she passed. Occasionally she’d glance over her shoulder or stop and peer down an alleyway or street before she turned a corner or crossed a street. The maze of cobbled streets that made Old Sienna did not look familiar to her, but instead they all looked the same and she didn’t know if she had walked in circles or had gotten lost. The streets sloped ever so slightly at one point, and then she knew she had made it out of the main quarter of the city.
The smell of the sea filled the air. She heard waves in the distance. The occasional stranger passed her walking in the opposite direction. Their eyes either lowered or stared straight ahead gave her a false sense of security. Either they tended to their own thoughts, or they wouldn’t betray their thoughts of recognizing her. Regardless, she continued ahead without a destination in mind repeating the words in her head, We shared our first dance where the sun kissed the sea.
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