Lily and Camilla are giddy with eggnog and the scrumptious castagnaccio Camilla made, excited too about the surprise for Victoria. Then the doorbell rings.

“Must be Mrs. Watson, second floor.” Victoria gets up from the floor and goes to the door. 

Camilla and Lily turn to the entrance, but the doorway’s hidden by a wall. Angelo motions for Victoria to keep quiet and asks her to step outside.
“I’ll be right back!” She closes the door behind her, keeping a hand on the handle, and looks him over.
“you must be angelo”

“Yes, sorry to butt in. Camilla told me no presents, but I don’t know her well enough to know if she’s serious —”

“My sister? Pooh! Always. Come in, I’m sure the wrath of Khan will do you some good.”

“Jesus! We’ve just met, and you’re making fun of me! How is that possible?”

Victoria looks at him over her eyes. She already likes him, regardless. “Are you coming in?”

“Not on your life, or mine. Shh,” he laughs too. “This is for Lily.” Angelo gives her a bag with gifts from him and Camilla’s friends, then out of his jacket, he takes out a small box wrapped in gold and pink.

“this is for you”

“I cannot—”

“Yes, you can.”

“And for the Princess?”

I love my characters and, although I obviously connect with the ladies, some of the male characters are fun to write for. Angelo’s one of those. He makes me smile by just thinking of him.


is a chestnut cake. And Al Forno makes an out-of-this-world one — where I discovered it and the only one I’ve had. Haven’t made it because I have not found a recipe that could be it. Don’t even want to try them.

i’ll keep looking

I like roasted chestnuts — scoring the shells, roasting them in the oven, then opening the hot things to uncover the meat inside. It may be heartbreaking to go through all that and have chestnuts with little (or bad) taste, but overall that’s a rarity. Chestnuts on the streets of Rome, or in New York City, now, were always perfect.