The Look of Love: A Novel

The Look of Love: A Novel by Sarah Jio

Book: The Look of Love: A Novel by Sarah Jio Read Free Book Online
Authors: Sarah Jio
exhale. She almost wishes that she would have canceled the appointment with the contractor today. She has so much to do before Eli’s return. Somehow, details of the kitchen remodel seem almost meaningless when her husband’s homecoming is imminent. She wants the house to be just right—the bed made with new flannel sheets; his favorite dessert, apple crisp, ready to be baked, with vanilla ice cream in the freezer. They’ll open that bottle of 2002 Dom Pérignon she received as a gift from a client two years ago. Surely, he’ll see the love in her eyes, the love she knew he missed. He’ll give up his intense touring schedule and focus on recording. They’ll build a home studio for him in the backyard. Mary smiles to herself and imagines them clinking glasses together, Eli looking at her the way he used to, with eyes of love. She’ll have to find something new to wear, of course, something stunning. A red dress, maybe. Eli loves red.
    The doorbell rings again, and she walks to the front entryway.
    “Hello,” she says to the man standing on the stoop. “You must be from Ridgeway Construction.”
    “Yes,” he replies. His accent is thick, and Mary immediately places it as Italian. In a moment, she’s transported back to her year abroad in Rome, where she danced the night away with men named Dino and Giovanni. “My name is Luca,” he says.
    “Come in,” Mary says, smiling. He’s handsome, in a quiet way. Tall, with strong features, but soft, kind brown eyes. “You must be from Italy.”
    “Yes, I am,” he says, tucking a lock of hair behind his right ear. It’s wavy and unruly, and just as he’s tucked it away, it falls back over his eye. “I live here for two years only.”
    Mary smiles at his sentence construction. “Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed Seattle, then.”
    “I like it very much,” he says. “In Italy, I make cabinets. And here I make cabinets. I do what I love.”
    “Me, too,” Mary says. “We’re in the lucky minority.” She points to the kitchen. “So I explained to Ridgeway that I would show you around today, and the demolition should start next week. You see, my husband is coming home tomorrow, and I’d like us to have some time together before everything’s torn up. I imagine there’ll be a lot of dust.”
    “Of course,” Luca says quickly. “I understand.”
    Mary leads him to the kitchen, and together they stand near the fireplace. When they purchased the house, Eli didn’t like the idea of a fireplace in the kitchen. “It’s such a waste of space,” he said. But Mary had always loved the thought of having a log flickering away in the fireplace while she cooked dinner. “My mother had a fireplace in her kitchen in Italy,” Luca says. “It makes memories for me.”
    “My grandmother had a fireplace in her kitchen,” Mary says, reminiscing, “in an old farmhouse in Skagit Valley. All through the cold winters and rainy springs she’d keep a fire burning. My sister and I used to love to sit by it and warm ourselves while she cooked.”
    Luca sets his bag down on the kitchen table and pulls out the architectural renderings for the new space. “There must be a mistake,” he says. “This plan show no fireplace.”
    Mary nods. “My husband wants it out.” She finds herself speaking in a very convincing manner, as if perhaps she’s trying to convince herself. “We’ll need the space on that wall for the Sub-Zero,” she says. “There just isn’t room for the old fireplace, sadly.”
    Luca nods as Mary’s cell phone rings in her pocket. She glances at the screen. “Sorry,” she says. “It’s my husband calling from New York. I have to take it.”
    “It’s OK,” Luca says, turning back to the plans.
    Mary walks out to the living room. “Eli, hi!”
    “Hello, beautiful,” he says. She loves his terms of endearment.
    “I miss you so much,” she says. “I can’t wait to see you tomorrow.”
    There’s a long pause, and at first Mary wonders if the

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