|31| - "All's fair in love and cyberwar."

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Maybe Nathan had been too subtle in his previous attempts to reject Marie, but his latest conversation with her had left no room for misinterpretation.

She must have felt that way, too, if the Facebook message I received was anything to go by.

"Oh...my...God."

"What is it?" Jasmine asked, glancing up from behind her camera.

We'd been standing in Piazza Maggiore for an hour, with Jasmine's camera mounted on a tripod as she worked to capture the perfect moment in the fading dusk light. During that hour, we'd barely said a word to each other. She'd concentrated intently on her camera, and I'd scrolled through each corner of social media available to me.

"Marie has messaged me," I said.

Jasmine straightened up, her eyes widening. "Saying what?"

"Don't know. It just says there's an attachment..."

She snorted. "Probably a virus, knowing her. All's fair in love and cyberwar..."

Sliding the phone into my back pocket in order to resist the temptation to open the message, I nodded.

"You're right."

Jasmine bent over her camera again but continued to talk. "The whole situation absolutely baffles me. Why hasn't she moved on? I mean, don't get me wrong, Nathan is fit as, but he's made his feelings clear to her. You'd think she'd be embarrassed at the continual rejection."

"You'd think..."

"Unless she genuinely gets off on the chase."

The camera clicked and she leaned back to inspect the photo. Wrinkling her nose in distaste, she adjusted the settings.

"Maybe she's just not used to people saying no to her," I said. "She's very attractive."

"He's said no plenty of times, though. If she wasn't used to it before, she will be now." Jasmine chuckled to herself as she bent down again to peer into the viewfinder.

"You know how people lose a lot of money at a casino? They lose a little, then they try to win it back, and then they lose even more. They just keep going because the more they lose, the more desperate they become to win it back."

"I get your point, and I very much approve of you comparing Marie's dignity to casino chips."

I laughed, wondering if it made me a bad person to joke at someone else's misfortune. Then I contemplated how Marie had been wishing misfortune on me for a while now, and that eased my conscience.

*

Half an hour later, we strolled back to the flat with Jasmine grumbling about her photography skills. She'd shown me the photos and they looked great to my untrained eye, but she felt differently.

"Isn't a good photo half camera skill and half editing skill, though?" I said.

"Yeah, I just don't like over-editing."

"Think of it as enhancing, then. All the top photographers will be doing it."

When we reached the flat, I checked my phone, noticing another message from Marie. This time she'd actually written something.

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