Chapter 16 The Scent of Blood Oranges

Amaris Dahia reached for the fruit, cradled it in her hands for some seconds, then brought it close to her face, allowing the intoxicating aroma to fill her senses. Digging her nails into the coarse outer skin, she peeled it away and stared in wonder at the perfect red fruit of the blood orange. She divided it in two and offered half to Yjou, who suddenly grasped Amaris Dahia's hands in hers and said, "hu."

"hu," replied Amaris Dahia. She stroked Yjou's cheek and wiped away a tear. Their eyes met. Amaris Dahia felt her heart beating fiercely again.

She closed her eyes. Placed the ruby-red citrus on her tongue. Its juices tingled in her mouth, and she felt as if all the bitterness of the world vanished in the tart sweetness of that first taste.

Lingering with her eyes closed, she wanted to sear the moment into her being, so that it might serve her some other time, some other place. Amaris Dahia felt at peace for the first time in how long she could not say.