Chapter 2: Love, Pastries

“What?

Under a rope twined in paper flowers, drooping under layers of bulging, peeling plaster, Dobroluba stabbed a pin through hair she’d gathered and coiled. She leaned to the mirror. A faint crop of down gleamed along the thin neck, and a delicate shoulder blade flexed under chalky skin. In the mirror, under brow lines sketched at the bridges of her eye sockets, blue eyes followed C.’s hands fumbling between trays and wine glasses alongside the bed. At her shoulder, a nude Amazon, vase at her shoulder, waist-deep in a greasy jungle, stared out through the shell of a room into a soft, vast, external industrial bellow.

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