Excerpt from the Belle Curve
All Rights Reserved – Copyright Addison Kline 2016
January 7, 2016
St. Petersburg, Russia
The towers of Red Square climbed to the heavens as a thick fog rolled in off the Moskva River. The air was frigid, and Isobelle Hoffman’s breath clouded before her. Reaching into her pocket, she pulled out the acceptance letter from Saint Petersburg University. She was to meet with Laws Gunther, an esteemed professor from Berlin who had taken the Music department chair position just six months prior. Staring around at her from wide eyes, everything was so foreign to Belle. No one spoke her native English tongue. She couldn’t understand the street signs. She didn’t even know how she was going to get to her meeting with Professor Gunther.
Her hands shook with chill, her thermal gloves not enough to stave off the brutal cold. Dropping her letter to the ground, the wind swept it away in a rush. Tossing to and fro in the tempestuous gale of the wind, Belle’s letter evaded her with each swipe of her hand. Chasing after it, Belle’s black hair swept in the wind. Finally, after several moments of a precarious chase across Red Square, Belle had trapped the letter under her foot. Bending down, she reached for it, and as she did, a man approached. Belle stared down at his pair of polished black shoes and handsome grey trouser pants. Peering up at him with a nervous glint in her eyes, Isobelle Hoffman locked eyes upon the face of Laws Gunther.
“Miss Hoffman, I presume?”
Stammering Isobelle replied “Uh…yes…” Shooting upright, Isobelle, reached out and shook Professor Gunther’s hand. “How did you know it was me?”
Peering at her from mysterious grey irises, a slick smile tugged at Laws’s mouth.
“For one,” he said in a deep voice rank with irony, “You’re the only American I see fumbling about Red Square. Two, I recognized you from your photograph. Three, you’re late.”
“I’m sorry,” Isobelle fumbled. “I got lost.”
His eyes seemed to be smiling at Isobelle. With a sweep of his arm, he led Isobelle away from Red Square. “As most foreigners do their first time in St. Petersburg. Come. We have work to do.”