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104 erotic stories to disguise herself, covering her mouth with a handkerchief as though she had toothache, or wrapping her head in a shawl as they do in the country, seemed to guarantee the secrecy of our risky affair. All the same, as always happens in such cases, after a while we became less careful, and she began to allow herself liberties which could well have proved to be fatal. For example: one of the things which delighted her the most (and me as well) was to look at herself naked in the tilting mirror in the bedroom, running the risk of somebody coming in before I could stop them. On one occasion my wife almost caught her in Eve’s clothing. She was just finishing getting dressed when someone knocked on the street door, leaving us in no doubt that it was someone who knew the place well. Marta hardly had time to escape by the patio door. It was my wife, who never used to go to the house, but who for some reason – no doubt due to her condition, poor thing – had decided to come herself to see how I was, as when I woke that morning I had complained of a headache, so that I could get out sooner into the fresh air…

Opposite the office was the pharmacy owned by an old apothecary, who by that time sold absolutely nothing, and who only opened up on Sundays; more than once I had thought I could see the figure of Baltasar Ponciano behind the glass-fronted door which looked out onto the square, and this had made me warn Julia to take more care, although to my surprise she replied forcefully:

‘Oh yes? Is he here to spy? Fine, let him know. He’ll be bursting with envy…’

I feared that nothing but harm could come from such carelessness, but love, and the desire which she engendered in me, blinded me, and our meetings became more frequent with fewer precautions.

April was coming to an end; my wife had successfully produced a strong boy, dark as a berry, but she was weak since she had haemorrhaged massively after the birth; she remained in bed, but the finicky anxiousness she had recently

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