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Blindsided by Desire by Leonardo Ricci

Blindsided by Desire

3

Whispers of Desire

1

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As Luca turned onto the path leading to his family’s home, Nero ran ahead, weaving through the familiar landscape.

Their home was a quaint stone cottage perched on a gentle slope, surrounded by a bamboo grove on one side and a spring that flowed from the mountains behind them.


The cottage had three rooms. The central room housed his parents, while Luca and his brother, Marco, had smaller rooms on either side.


Reaching the spring, Luca washed his face. He entered the courtyard to find Marco, squatting on a stool, eating his meal with their mother, Mara, bustling around.


"Busy day, Marco?" Luca teased.


Marco looked up, not bothering to hide his irritation.


"Save the lectures, Luca. I’m heading to the neighboring village soon."


Nero trotted over, sitting expectantly in front of Marco, who tossed a piece of bread in the air. Nero leaped and caught it, earning a laugh from Mara.


Luca stepped inside, greeted by the familiar sight of his father, Giovanni, resting on the wooden bench by the hearth.


Mara glanced up from the pot she was stirring.


"Luca, sit and eat. We can talk after you’ve had your meal."

Luca nodded and take his seat, though his thoughts were elsewhere.


As he ate, he replayed the encounter with Sofia, the intensity of her presence, the electric touch of her lips against his. He knew he needed to talk to his parents about her, about the future he now saw so clearly.


After dinner, Marco packed up his carpentry tools, slinging them over his shoulder with a long-handled adze, and headed toward the nearby village of San Marino.


Mara was busy washing pots and bowls at the stove. As Giovanni left the room, Luca saw his chance to talk to his mother about what had been weighing on his mind.


Luca hesitated for a moment, then blurted out, "Mamma, I want a wife."


Maria, engrossed in her chores, didn’t catch his words clearly and replied, "After dinner, hurry to the vineyard and finish those tasks."


Luca’s frustration boiled over.


"Mamma, I want a wife. Paolo, who’s the same age as me, is getting married this year, and I don’t even know where to find my wife yet."


Mara finally understood what he was saying. She smiled gently.


"I know, Luca. Once your brother’s marriage is settled, we’ll find someone for you."


Luca's patience snapped. "The matchmakers have introduced so many potential brides to Marco, but he rejects them all. His indecision is delaying me, and it’s not fair. I want to find my own wife first."


Maria’s face hardened slightly.


"Luca, your brother is the eldest. We must respect tradition. His marriage must be arranged first. Now, go and finish your work."


Luca left the house in a huff, Nero trotting at his heels as they headed to the vineyard.


Luca had a cousin, Matteo, who was straightforward and kind.


Matteo’s wife, Elena, was renowned for her sharp wit and matchmaking skills. She had successfully paired many couples in the surrounding villages. During festivals, her home was filled with gifts and treats from grateful families.


Maria, troubled by the delay in Marco’s marriage, knew she needed Elena's help.


Though it was hard for her to ask a younger relative for assistance, the pressing need for both her sons to marry made her swallow her pride.


Determined, Mara walked to Matteo’s house. Matteo greeted her warmly before heading out, leaving Mara and Elena to talk in the yard. Elena was busy with a ball of wool in her hands, knitting swiftly but pausing to welcome Maria with a bright smile.


"Aunt Mara, what brings you here today?" Elena asked.


Mara sighed deeply. "Ah, Elena, I feel troubled. Marco’s refusal to settle down is delaying Luca’s chance to marry, and it’s causing tension at home."

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