capitolo uno

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capitolo uno

Messaggio  simona80 il Gio 03 Mar 2011, 22:51

Chapter One
he knew better than to look up at his green eyes now. Now she put her head down, and worried her plump, lower lip between her teeth, back and forth and back and forth.
―It was my fault, Professor. I was just asking what page we were on.”
―Hardly an appropriate question from a doctoral student, Peter. But since you asked, we began at the beginning. I trust you can find it without Miss Swan‟s help. Oh, and Miss Swan?”
The frightened rabbit‟s pony tail trembled ever so slightly as she brought her eyes up.
―See me in my office after class. Immediately.”
At the end of the seminar, Bella Swan hastily tucked the folded piece of paper she‘d been cradling in her lap into her Italian dictionary, under the entry asino.
―Sorry about that. I‘m Peter.‖ The friendly man extended his large paw over the table. She shook it gently and he marvelled at how small and frail her little hand was. He could have bruised it just by flexing his palm.
―Hello, Peter. I‘m Bella Swan.‖
He laughed softly. ―I would have never guessed your last name, not with Masen being such a prick. I don‘t know what‘s eating him today.‖
Bella reddened slightly and turned back to her books.
―You‘re new?‖ He persisted, tilting his head a little as if he was trying to catch her eye.
―Just arrived. From Seattle University.‖
He nodded as if that meant something. ―And you‘re here for a Master‘s?‖
―Yes.‖ She gestured to the front of the now empty seminar room. ―It doesn‘t look like it, but I‘m supposed to be studying to be a Dante specialist. That‘s why I‘m here.‖
Peter whistled through his teeth. ―So you‘re here for Masen?‖
She nodded and he noticed that the veins in her neck began to pulsate slightly as her heartrate quickened. Since he couldn‘t find an explanation for her reaction, he dismissed it. But he would remember it later.
―He‘s difficult to work with, so he doesn‘t have a lot of students. I‘m writing my Ph.D. dissertation with him and then there‘s Angela, who you‘ve already met.‖
―Angela?‖ She gave him a questioning look.
―The tart at the front. She‘s unbelievable. Bakes him cookies, runs into him accidentally-on-purpose outside of the university. She‘s his other Ph.D. student but her goal is to be the future Mrs. Masen.‖
Bella blushed again but said nothing.
―Angela doesn‘t seem to be aware of the strict non-fraternization policy set up by the university. She‘s Canadian.‖
Bella‘s eyebrows furrowed at the non sequitur. ―Canadian?‖
Peter laughed at his own joke. ―You have to be careful about the Canadian jokes. Canadians are kind of touchy. But the rest of us Americans have a theory that there are a certain group of Canadian young ladies who come to the University of Toronto for the sole purpose of marrying an American professor.‖
Bella smiled and giggled slightly. ―So the University of Toronto is actually the University of Green Card Acquisition?‖
―Something like that. Or the University of Edward Masen.‖
Peter rolled his eyes and was rewarded with a very pretty smile. He reminded himself that he would have to make Bella Swan smile more often. But that would have to be postponed. For now.
―You‘d better go. He said immediately and he‘ll be waiting.‖
Bella gathered her things into a shabby L.L. Bean knapsack that she had carried since she was a freshman. ―I don‘t know where his office is.‖
―Turn left on your way out of the seminar room and then make another left. He has the corner office at the end of the hall. Good luck and I‘ll see you next seminar. If not before.‖
She smiled gratefully and walked timidly out of the seminar room.
As she rounded the corner, she saw that Professor Masen‘s office door was open about a quarter of the way.
Bella stood in front of the opening nervously, wondering if she should knock first or peek her head around. She opted for the former.
She straightened her shoulders, took a deep breath, held it, and then placed her knuckles in front of the wood panelling. That‘s when she heard him.
―I‘m sorry I didn‘t call you back, Emmett, I was in my seminar!‖ An angry voice, all too familiar now, spat aloud.
―Because it‘s the first seminar of the year, asshole, and because Rose told me everything was fine!‖
Bella took a step back from the door. It sounded like he was on the telephone. It sounded like he was yelling. She didn‘t want him yelling at her and so she decided to flee and deal with the consequences later.
But a heartwrenching sob tore from his throat and assaulted her ears. And from that she could not flee.
―Of course I wanted to be there! She was a mother to me as much as to you. I loved her, Emmett. Of course I wanted to be there.‖ Another sob emerged from behind the door.
―I don‘t know what time I‘ll be home. Tell them I‘m coming. I‘ll go straight to the airport and hop a plane, but I don‘t know what kind of connections I can get on short notice between Toronto and Seattle.‖ He paused.
―I know. Tell them I‘m sorry. I‘m so sorry . . .‖ His voice trailed off into a soft, shuddering cry and Bella heard him hang up the telephone.
Without considering her actions, Bella carefully peeked around the door.
A tall, bronze haired man held his head in his long fingered hands, leaning his elbows over his desk and crying. She watched as his wide shoulders shook. She heard anguish and sorrow rip out of his chest. And she felt compassion.
She wanted to go to him, to offer condolences and comfort and to put her arms around his neck. She wanted to smooth his tousled hair and tell him that she was sorry. She imagined briefly what it would be like to wipe tears away from those perfect emerald eyes and not see them glint at her coldly. She thought about a gentle peck on the cheek, just to reassure him of her sympathy.
But watching him cry as if his heart was broken momentarily froze her and so she did none of those things. When she finally realized where she was, she quickly disappeared back behind the door, pulled a scrap of paper from her knapsack and wrote the following words,
I‟m sorry.
-Bella Swan
And then, not quite knowing what to do, she placed the paper in between the doorjamb and the door, and silently pulled his office door shut.
Charlie Swan telephoned his daughter‘s cellphone later that night, pleased that she finally decided to answer it.
―How‘s it going up there, Bells?‖ His voice, unsentimental but nevertheless comforting, warmed her like a blanket.
She sighed. ―It‘s fine. The first day was – interesting, but it‘s fine.‖
―Those Canadians treating you right?‖
―Oh, yes. They‘re all pretty nice.‖ It‟s the Americans who are the bastards. Well, one American.
Charlie cleared his throat once or twice and Bella caught her breath. She knew from years of experience that he was preparing to say something serious. She wondered what it was.
―Bella, Esme Cullen died today.‖
Bella sat upright on her twin bed and stared into space.
―Did you hear what I said?‖
―Yes. Yes, I heard.‖
―Her cancer came back, honey. They thought she was fine. Carlisle thought she was fine. But it came back and by the time they found it, it was in her bones and her liver. Poor kids are pretty shaken up about it.‖
Bella bit her lip and stifled a sob.
―I know you‘d take the news hard. She was good to you and Alice was such a good friend of yours in high school. Have you heard from her lately?‖
―Um, no. Not for a long time. Why didn‘t she tell me?‖
―I'm not sure when they found out she was sick. I was over at the hospital this afternoon and Edward wasn‘t even there. That‘s created quite a problem. I don‘t know what he‘s walking into when he arrives. There‘s a lot of bad blood in that family.‖ Charlie cursed softly.
―Are you sending flowers?‖
Charlie breathed in and out a couple of times before answering. ―I guess so. I‘m not really good at that sort of thing, but I could ask Sue if she‘d help.‖
―Ask her, please, to send something from me. Esme loved gardenias. And just have Sue sign the card.‖
―Will do. Do you need anything?‖
―No, I‘m fine.‖
―Do you need any money?‖
―No, Dad. I have enough to live on with my scholarship if I‘m careful.‖
Charlie paused and even before he‘d opened his mouth, she knew what he was about to say.
―I‘m sorry about Harvard, Bella. Maybe next year.‖
Bella straightened her shoulders and forced a smile, even thought Charlie couldn‘t see it. ―Maybe. Talk to you later.‖
The next morning, Bella walked a little more slowly on her way to the university. She walked along Bloor Street listening to her Ipod. In her head, she composed an email of condolence and apology to Alice, writing and rewriting it as she walked.
The September breeze was warm in Toronto and she liked it. She liked being near water without being cold. She liked sunshine and friendliness. She liked tidy streets absent litter. She liked the fact she was in Toronto and not in Forks or Seattle; that she was thousands of miles away from him. She only hoped it would stay that way.
She was still writing the email to Alice in her head when she stepped into the office of the Centre for Medieval Studies to check her mailbox. Someone tapped her on the elbow, and moved out of her periphery.
She removed her earbuds. ―Peter, hi.‖
Peter smiled down at her, his gaze descending some distance. Bella was small, especially on flat feet and merely reached the lower edge of his pectorals. She was small enough, he reasoned, to be his carryon on an airplane. He wished he could have that opportunity.
―Bella, how did the meeting go?‖ His smile faded and he looked at her with concern.
She bit her lip, a nervous habit that she should stop but was unwilling to primarily because she was unaware of it.
―Um, I didn‘t go.‖
He closed his eyes and leaned his head back. He groaned a little. ―That‘s – not good.‖
Bella tried to clarify the situation. ―His office door was closed. I think he was on the phone; I‘m not sure. So I left a note.‖
Peter noticed her nervousness and the way her little eyebrows came together at the middle. He felt sorry for her and silently cursed Professor Masen for being so abrasive. She looked as if she would bruise easily and Masen was oblivious to the way his attitude affected the graduate students. Peter resolved to help her.
―If he was on the telephone, he wouldn‘t want to be interrupted. So let‘s hope that‘s what was going on. Otherwise, I‘d say you just took your life into your own hands. Let me know if there‘s any fallout, and I‘ll see what I can do.‖ He straightened up to his full height and flexed his arms casually. ―If he shouts at me, I can take it. I wouldn‘t want him to shout at you.‖ Because from the looks of it, you'd die of shock, Frightened Rabbit.
Bella looked as if she wanted to say something but said nothing. She smiled thinly and nodded as if in appreciation. Then she stepped over to the mailboxes and emptied her pigeon hole.
Junk mail, mostly. A few advertisements from the Centre, including an announcement of a public lecture to be delivered by Professor Edward A. Masen entitled, ―Lust in Dante and Aquinas: The Deadly Sin against the Self.‖ Bella read the title over several times before she was able to absorb it into her brain. But once it had been absorbed, she hummed softly to herself.
She hummed as she noticed a second announcement, which mentioned that Professor Masen‘s lecture had been cancelled and rescheduled for a later date.
She hummed as she noticed a third announcement, which declared that all of Professor Masen‘s seminars, appointments and meetings had been cancelled until further notice.
And she kept right on humming as she reached back into her pigeon hole for a small square of folded white paper. She opened it and read the following,
I‟m sorry.
-Bella Swan
She continued to hum as she puzzled as to what it meant to find her note in her mailbox the day after she had placed it at Professor Masen‘s door.
But her humming finally stopped, as did her heart, when she turned the paper over and read the following,
Masen is an ass.


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Data d'iscrizione : 01.01.11
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