Excerpt #4: The photo is of Piazza del Duomo in Florence, Italy. The Baptistry can be seen at left, Giotto’s Bell Tower at right, and the duomo … Florence’s cathedral … is between them. Megan and friends are urgently crossing the city searching for Jakes.

At Piazza del Duomo we have to wait for traffic. I try to catch my breath as we wait for the light to change. Luca still holds my arm, and I feel him twitch with impatience. Then the pedestrians surge into the square and Luca drags me with him toward the Baptistery.

I pull back, but he continues to propel me forward.

“Stop!” I say.

He releases my arm and turns, but continues taking small steps backwards. “I am sorry,” he says. “I am going too fast. Should I go on without you?”

“That’s not it. It’s him … that was Jakes!”

“Where?” Luca begins checking the faces in the crowd that surge around us.

“Inside. He just went inside.”

I point to the Duomo’s peaked doorway.

Luca leaves us and charges across the stream of pedestrians. “Mi scusi,” he mutters as he pushes through, ignoring hostile glances.

We weave through behind him.

Once inside, we split up to check the chapels, moving down both side naves, but we reach the high altar without finding Jakes.

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