The Earthquake

Laird Elizabeth

CHAPTER ONE

Two Tickets

Gabriel had a kind face and intelligent brown eyes. He usually had a friendly smile. But there was no smile on his face today. He wasn't happy.

'I'd like to be as rich as Marco,' he thought. 'But I'm only good old Gabriel. Silvia likes me. I know she does. She thinks I'm kind and nice. But she thinks I'm boring, too. Boring old Gabriel, that's me.'

Gabriel had two tickets for a film. There was a red rose on the table in his sitting-room. He took the rose and the tickets and went out.

An hour later, Gabriel arrived at the door of Silvia's flat. When she opened the door, she didn't smile at him.

'Oh, hello,' she said. 'What... er...?'

'Don't you remember, Silvia?' said Gabriel. 'It's Sunday evening. We're going to the cinema. I've got the tickets. It's that great new film. You said...'

'What do you mean?' said Silvia. 'I can't go out with you this evening. I'm busy. 1 don't remember

'But I called you on Thursday!' Gabriel said. 'You wanted to come!'

Silvia pushed her beautiful dark hair out of her eyes. She didn't look at Gabriel.

'Oh dear,' she said. 'That was stupid of me. I'm really sorry. Please don't be angry, Gabriel. Come back tomorrow. We'll go to the film tomorrow.'

She began to shut the door.

'Silvia,' Gabriel said angrily, 'you're going out with Marco! I know you are! I want to tell you something about Marco. He's rich, but he's a bad man. You're being stupid, Silvia.'

He stopped. Silvia wasn't there. 'I'm talking to the door,' he thought angrily. He looked at the rose in his hand. Then he threw it onto the ground.

Behind him, he heard a quiet laugh. He turned. There was a man on the stairs. His clothes were expensive, and there were twenty red roses in his hand. It was Marco.

'Oh dear, Gabriel,' Marco laughed. 'Is she busy tonight? Doesn't she want to go out with you? I'll try now. Perhaps she'll go out with me'

Gabriel didn't answer. He walked quickly away and went down to the street.