"Its texture?" The poet squinted at his friend while he sipped some more wine.
"Did you actually feel its texture?"
Maggiormente stifled an eruption of irritation. "How about shape? That offers a chance to employ some, ah—sensual detail."
The poet's face brightened. "Oui! Curves, curls, tumbling down…" He bent over the page again, scribbling furiously.
The alchemist downed the last of the wine in his glass and poured more of the bottle into Gustave's glass. The poet seemed to be operating under his own steam now. "I shall leave you to your task," Maggiormente said as he rose to his feet.
"Hmm? Yes, yes," the poet muttered as he continued to scratch away in the notebook. "Bountiful, yes, that's good, yes."
The alchemist smiled and turned away. It seemed his friend would not notice his absence now. While Maggiormente pitied his friend's struggle, he knew that the poet would be up to the task for certain. Now that his muse burned brightly, there would be no stopping him.
The alchemist started to walk away from the restaurant, raising a hand to wave farewell to Philippe and then wondered what direction he ought to head. He had been wandering in the general direction of the river in hopes of retrieving some sand, but now he wondered.
What was he doing?
It was an important question that had a lot more to it than geography. What was he going to do? What if they had to move?! Oh, that was a thought too horrible to countenance. The problem of the concierge was a complicated one. However, he had every confidence that ignoring the problem was likely to make it go away.
Surely problems always went that way?
The alchemist walked toward the river. Even if he didn't really care about the sand anymore, it would offer him a good excuse. He pondered the options before him. Either he gave in to the concierge's interest or he struck off in a new direction.
Sadly, a new direction might mean a new location—just when he had arranged his workshop so neatly. The alchemist sighed. Surely it wasn't possible; his concierge wouldn't make him move just for—
Just for what?
Maggiormente pondered. Did she really have the kind of madness that the poet exhibited? No, he was sure not. But then again, what did he really know—about her, about the situation, about any of it?
The alchemist frowned. It wasn't so much that he dismissed the attentions of an interesting older woman. In fact, he couldn't think of much that would be more gratifying. However, his concierge's interest didn't seem to be so much in him as in the uses he could provide.
Which rather made him feel like a prize chicken and not a human at all. I should go back to the house and rescue Eduardo.
After a moment, the alchemist retraced his steps and bent them toward the familiar steps of the little hotel. He had been pleased to find it initially as accommodating as he had imagined from Italy.
Who knew the concierge would offer an interesting twist of her own?
When they had come from Italy it seemed to be everything he had wanted: spacious, slightly remote, with a non-residential feel to it that promised plenty of elbow room for experimentation. They had had a few breakthroughs that gave him hope.
And Eduardo liked the number of pigeons. He was sadly consistent in that.
"It needn't be like this, "Maggiormente told himself. But then he pondered the concierge again. She might disagree with that.
"I do need sand," he told himself, but then bent his trails back to a more classical approach. "Perhaps I ought to be checking on Eduardo. We can explore the sands together.
The alchemist reversed his path. Concierge or no concierge, he was going to be brave about this.