Francesco brought an ashtray over to the balcony table, and leant close to place it beside him, so close that Georgie could clearly smell his perfume. He wondered if it might be one of those new French colognes, and what it might be like to wear a daring cologne himself rather than just boring old toilet water.
‘I did enjoy your recital with Miss Bracely, sir,’ his valet murmured respectfully. ‘I had no idea you were such a talented pianist in addition to your painting skills.’
‘Thank you,’ Georgie replied awkwardly into Francesco’s shirt front. He found his heart was suddenly beating more quickly, doubtless as a result of his agitation.
‘Tell me, sir,’ Francesco enquired softly. ‘You are clearly such a sensitive gentleman. Do you possess any other particular ... artistic tastes?’
This at least was an easy question to answer. ‘Why, yes,’ Georgie said brightly. ‘How clever of you to guess. Actually, do you know, I’m very fond of needlepoint.’
Francesco moved away and said, ‘Indeed, sir’ as he gently closed the French window.
Lucia on Holiday (2012)