RUINED BY MURDER,
ADDICTED TO LOVE
Chapter One: Recovery
“Love is a certain inborn suffering derived from the sight of and excessive meditation upon the beauty of the opposite sex.”
— Andreas Capellanus, De Amore (1186 - 1190)
The romantic culture of 12th-century courtly love not only reignited Carlos Almarón’s lost passion but also embroiled him in uncomfortable, emotional tugs of war, which boiled over. Standing and slamming shut the hefty reference book on the library table in front of him, he screamed, “ENOUGH!” and flung both arms up. His wiry, millennial, six-two frame stretched toward the gilded ceiling of the august building that had become his second home, Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue library.
Leaning forward, he rested his weight upon his two locked arms and pressed his closed fists into the tome’s leather cover; head bent down, his salt-and-pepper hair flopped past his closed eyelids. He sighed.
Librarians rushed to shush him. Stolid glares from bookish patrons of all ages, and both genders bore holes into his reddened skin.
Ignoring the onlookers’ commotion, and his feelings, he picked up his weathered, brown-leather valise from beside his chair and placed it on the solid wood surface in front of him. Gathering his yellow pads and multi-colored markers and pens, he stashed them inside the bag before slinging it over his left shoulder and walking away.
Two security guards kept eyes on him to the tall, main entrance doors. They watched him push one door open hard and depart.
Outside, late-afternoon shadows cast across the library’s campus like a fly fisherman’s line and leader in flight. The angle and sharp reflections of sunlight glinting off the windows of nearby skyscrapers made Almarón shield his eyes from the glare. Moving across the lawn at a steady clip, he ignored the cloudless blue sky above him.
The memory of his would-be fiancé flashed past his eyes when a sudden flip of female hair directly in front of him slowed his pace to a halt. Suddenly grief-stricken and miserable, he shuffled across the remainder of the quaint park in the same manner that he had muddled through in recent, unfocused weeks. He stopped at the curb under a bus stop sign. Within minutes he was aboard a crosstown bus taking him east toward the United Nations campus and the adjacent Turtle Bay neighborhood where he lived.
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