Authors: Dan Brown
Tags: #General, #Fiction, #Action & Adventure, #Thrillers, #Fiction - Espionage, #Suspense, #Thriller, #Adventure fiction, #American Mystery & Suspense Fiction, #Mystery & Thrillers, #Papacy, #Popular American Fiction, #Adventure, #Vatican City, #Crime & Thriller, #Murder, #Adventure stories; American, #Secret societies, #Antimatter, #Churches, #Papacy - Vatican City, #Brotherhoods, #Illuminati
Chartrand slumped. “You remember
Langdon sighed. “I fear it will remain a mystery forever.”
When Robert Langdon returned to the bedroom, the vision awaiting him stopped him in his tracks. Vittoria stood on the balcony, her back to the railing, her eyes gazing deeply at him. She looked like a heavenly apparition . . . a radiant silhouette with the moon behind her. She could have been a Roman goddess, enshrouded in her white terrycloth robe, the drawstring cinched tight, accentuating her slender curves. Behind her, a pale mist hung like a halo over Bernini’s Triton Fountain. Langdon felt wildly drawn to her . . . more than to any woman in his life. Quietly, he lay the Illuminati Diamond and the Pope’s letter on his bedside table. There would be time to explain all of that later. He went to her on the balcony.
Vittoria looked happy to see him. “You’re awake,” she said, in a coy whisper. “
Langdon smiled. “Long day.”
She ran a hand through her luxuriant hair, the neck of her robe falling open slightly. “And now . . . I suppose you want your reward.”
The comment took Langdon off guard. “I’m . . . sorry?”
“We’re adults, Robert. You can admit it. You feel a longing. I see it in your eyes. A deep, carnal hunger.”
She smiled. “I feel it too. And that craving is about to be satisfied.”
“It is?” He felt emboldened and took a step toward her.
” She held up a room-service menu. “I ordered everything they’ve got.”
The feast was sumptuous. They dined together by moonlight . . . sitting on their balcony . . . savoring
truffles, and risotto. They sipped
wine and talked late into the night. Langdon did not need to be a symbologist to read the signs Vittoria was sending him. During dessert of boysenberry cream with
Vittoria pressed her bare legs against his beneath the table and fixed him with a sultry stare. She seemed to be willing him to set down his fork and carry her off in his arms.
But Langdon did nothing. He remained the perfect gentleman.
Two can play at this game,
he thought, hiding a roguish smile.
When all the food was eaten, Langdon retired to the edge of his bed where he sat alone, turning the Illuminati Diamond over and over in his hands, making repeated comments about the miracle of its symmetry. Vittoria stared at him, her confusion growing to an obvious frustration.
“You find that ambigram terribly interesting, don’t you?” she demanded.
Langdon nodded. “Mesmerizing.”
“Would you say it’s the most interesting thing in this room?”
Langdon scratched his head, making a show of pondering it. “Well, there is
thing that interests me more.”
She smiled and took a step toward him. “That being?”
“How you disproved that Einstein theory using tuna fish.”
Vittoria threw up her hands. “
Enough with the tuna fish! Don’t play with me, I’m warning you.”
Langdon grinned. “Maybe for your
experiment, you could study flounders and prove the earth is flat.”
Vittoria was steaming now, but the first faint hints of an exasperated smile appeared on her lips. “For your information, professor, my next experiment will make scientific history. I plan to prove neutrinos have mass.”
” Langdon shot her a stunned look. “I didn’t even know they were Catholic!”
With one fluid motion, she was on him, pinning him down. “I hope you believe in life after death, Robert Langdon.” Vittoria was laughing as she straddled him, her hands holding him down, her eyes ablaze with a mischievous fire.
“Actually,” he choked, laughing harder now, “I’ve always had trouble picturing anything beyond this world.”
“Really? So you’ve never had a religious experience? A perfect moment of glorious rapture?”
Langdon shook his head. “No, and I seriously doubt I’m the kind of man who could ever
a religious experience.”
Vittoria slipped off her robe. “You’ve never been to bed with a yoga master, have you?”
DAN BROWN is the bestselling author of
. He is a graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy, where he has taught English and creative writing. He lives in New England with his wife.