Chapter 37 - A Small Gift

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Valentina thought (hoped) that Lucian would try to contact her. He knew more or less, where she lived and she had also made it clear she wouldn't be going back to the market. So where was he?

She certainly wasn't going to chase him. Stuff like that never worked out anyway. The couple of times that she had chased men she fancied had always ended in them losing interest quickly (even when she had had an indication that they wanted her back). Men were «connards» like that. She had to face facts: although he was kind and polite, HE hadn't given any indication he was interested – at all. Valentina had assumed Lucius was just shy, which she found endearing. Although she had lost a great deal of her substantial self confidence, she had just enough left that she hadn't even considered that he wasn't interested... up until now.

She knew she was being ridiculous for having 'feelings' for some man she knew nothing about, but she couldn't help it. It felt like (it was embarrassing to confess it... even to herself) she felt like – she knew him. Even the way he smelled (delicious) felt familiar. Valentina had always thought it was absurd when people talked about falling in love with another on first sight. She felt she was probably getting some type of karmic retribution now, because although she knew it was completely irrational, she was completely smitten. She needed to see him again.

Alright, so she still refused to 'chase' him, but she had an idea:

On a day when most of her spots had cleared up and she had had enough sleep the night before, Valentina prepared to take one of the goats for a long walk: she washed her hair and scrubbed under her nails, spent time putting on just enough make-up and made sure to put on the work trousers that she knew showed off her figure nicely (all while making sure not to let it look obvious that she had made a big effort). She carried with her a new tube of the cadmium lemon yellow paint and also took a note – prepared for the likely possibility that she wouldn't happen to run into the beautiful man as she hoped.

With D'Estaing's doubly strengthened enchantments, it took her an unusually long while to find the great oak tree with the heart shaped knot, which she had passed a hundred times or more in the past. (Of course she put it down to her bad sense of direction and that she was incredibly nervous.)

Alas, he wasn't there. Valentina took the tube from her pocket, wiped the dust off one last time on her jacket and gingerly placed it on the large rock under the tree that she sometimes sat on. She reviewed the tube in situ seriously and bending down, squared it up so it was dead in the middle and parallel with the rock. She looked at it critically again and then picked the tube up and flattened out the slightly dented foil and tried to plump it up a little, before repositioning it again... Then imagining what an absolute crazy person he would think she was if he were watching her, threw her hands over her eyes in shame.

"It's a tube of paint Valentina!" she muttered, scorning herself.

If he was even the type who would appreciate that it was parallel and centred (and he'd probably be a control freak if he were) it probably wouldn't be that way when he found it. The wind, or a squirrel, would probably knock it out of position.

She regretted too writing the little note. It said: 

 It said: 

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