Tea Leaves and Sapphire Earrings

England to Italy

Match Eighteen: England to Italy:

Sabine sat in the London airport with her luggage at her side. She looked at her phone. Ten in the morning. The nightcomers’ plans couldn’t just stay in England. They had to spread out through the rest of Europe. Whether Allison realizes it or not, it didn’t matter. Tandeki was pulling ahead. The gates were opened and they had the horsemen and the Dis Program. This would not do. Mam would have to pull ahead in their own way.

“Attention, passengers: all flights to Rome are now boarding!” the announcer said over the intercom. “All flights to Rome are now boarding!” Sabine shoved her phone into her purse. Time to go. She gathered up her bag and walked over to board the plane.


“You sure this will work?” Tessa asked.

“Uh-huh,” Sabine said. Her sister raised her eyebrow.

“What makes you so sure?” she asked.

“We don’t have a choice,” Sabine said. “We can’t just stay in England.”

“And how do you think this gamble will pay off?”

“I’m going to try it. Better than sitting around doing nothing.”

Tessa shrugged. “Well, good luck then.”

“Thank you.”


Sabine had a window seat as she flew to Rome.


Feliciano could barely keep it together. Dr. Faust wanted his soul? The thought made him shiver. I can’t do it…

Suddenly, the doorbell rang.

“Who is it?” Feliciano asked. He walked over to the front door and looked out the peep hole. Francis stood outside, looking in. The Italian man relaxed and opened the door.

“Brother Francis!” he said in his usual chipper voice. “So good to see you! How have you been?”

“Fine,” Francis said. “And how about you?”

“Fine,” Feliciano lied. “I’m doing good. Do you want to come in?” The Italian man backed into the house. Francis gave him an odd look but followed him inside.

They sat quiet in the living room. Feliciano forced himself to smile and keep calm.

“So, what brings you by?” he asked.

“Strange things keeping happening,” Francis said. The Italian man looked confused.

“Strange?” he asked.

“Oui,” the Frenchman said. “Dark times are ahead.” Feliciano shuddered.

“Oh…” he said in a low voice. The ticking clock in the background ate up the silence. Feliciano looked down at his lap.

“How are you holding up, really?” the French man asked.

“Fine,” Feliciano said. “Everything has been going well with me. There’s nothing strange going on.” Every word sounded so forced.

“Nothing?” Francis asked.

“Nothing at all,” the Italian man lied.

“How is Ludwig?” the Frenchman asked. Feliciano looked ready to cry.

“He’s still in a daze!” he wailed. “He won’t respond! The doctors don’t know what’s wrong! They can’t fix him. I’m scared he won’t come back!” Feliciano broke down crying. Francis patted him on the back.

“Don’t cry, Little Italy,” he whispered. “You can’t lose hope. Ludwig will get better soon. You’ll see.”

“Will he though?” the younger man asked.

“Feliciano,” Francis said. The Italian man broke down sobbing.

“Come on, don’t do this,” the French man said. “Come here.” He pulled Feliciano into his arms for a hug. His adopted brother wept harder.

“I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do,” he whimpered.

“Shhh,” Francis whispered. “I am here for you. We all are.”

Meanwhile, Sabine stood outside the house. She frowned when she saw that her target wasn’t alone. Oh well, she would have to wait. Not a problem from her. Just as long as Feliciano sold his soul to Faust.

Sabine pulled out her phone from her purse. She typed up a quick text and hit send. The nightcomer smirked to herself. Then she vanished into thin air. Couldn’t hurt to do a little sight-seeing.

Feliciano looked down at the floor. “Brother France.”

“Hm?” Francis asked. The Italian man lifted his head with tired eyes.

“Would you sell your soul to save someone you love?” he asked. The French man stared at him with the color drain from his face.

“Why would you ask that?” he asked. The Italian man shook his head.

“No reason,” he said. Francis grabbed him by the hands.

“Listen to me, Italy,” he pleaded. “Don’t do anything you’re going to regret!”

“Francis…” Feliciano said.

“Listen to me,” the Frenchman said. “Ludwig will get better! You don’t need to do anything distract. You have to believe in him. Do you understand?” Something about his words commanded the Italian man’s attention. Feliciano slowly nodded.

“Good,” Francis said with relief. “I am going to stay with you tonight, okay?” The Italian man tried to smile for real. This wasn’t much but it would have to do for now. It would feel good to have some sort comfort around him for a change.

But such comfort can open a man up to the most vulnerable of traps. Starting tonight.

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