“Our family doctor will see to your nose at once,” Leonardo continued. “Where are you staying while in Venice?” Robert knew this question was merely polite conversation, but it further complicated the role he was expected to play. How would it look to admit he had no lodgings?
“I was supposed to stay at the Splendid Hotel, but it didn’t work out,” he responded at last. “I don’t have a place to stay just now.”
“Yes, Venice hotels can be quite bothersome, making too many reservations then not having enough space. They are too greedy, I think.” Leonardo fidgeted with the papers in his hand, a tell-tale sign that he was anxious to return to his work.
They sat staring at each other. Robert couldn’t decide what more to say, so he shifted his attention to Lucrezia. Her posture was just as erect as Leonardo’s. The two made him think of old portraits depicting people who possessed wealth and social status. Lucrezia had a model’s figure, slim and small breasted, but her poise was more regal than sensual. He knew if he had met her twenty-seven years ago, he would’ve lacked the confidence and maturity this young woman expected in men. He would’ve had no idea how to behave or talk to her. The fifty-year-old Rob, on the other hand, was quite at ease observing and even admiring her. This thought reminded him of just how preposterous his situation had become. He was a modern day Jekyll and Hyde, living in a body borrowed from another place in time.
Rosa broke the awkward silence when she reappeared with the doctor they called Filippo. He was about Leonardo’s age but with a much heavier build and a less severe manner. In contrast to Leonardo, he was formally dressed in coat and tie and carried a small black bag much like the ones Rob had seen in old movies.
Filippo gently probed the bones and noted the swelling. “It’s most likely broken, but it might only be bruised,” he announced. “There is no way to know until the swelling subsides. An x-ray isn’t necessary unless the swelling persists. In any case, it’s a small break at most and will heal itself in a few weeks.” He gave Robert a small bottle of pills he had removed from his bag and stuffed cotton up each nostril. Then, he carefully wrapped a small splint and bandage over the nose.
Venice Lost - Excerpt
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