IMPORTANT NOTES: Lasca and Gianni are two of the main characters from my novel, Without Wings. Five Photographs, however, is an ALTERNATE UNIVERSE. These events could not happen in the novel (unfortunately) so I'm sharing them as a separate work. Long story short, if Lasca and Gianni had been given more time to focus on being a couple in San Francisco, perhaps something like this would have occurred. (Lasca POV)

. . . . .

Operation: Bedhead

When attempting to observe the Gianni in his natural habitat, stealth is paramount. And timing. Timing is a biggie. Luck is with me tonight as the previous evening's we-so-shouldn't-because-it's-almost-bedtime indulgence in a nice, big cup of coffee takes effect.

I doze, curled up on my side, and wait for the telltale dip in the mattress as my lover rolls out of bed to answer the call of nature. Then, I wait until his tip-toeing footsteps carry him out into the hallway and onward to the bathroom. I wait until the bathroom door softly squeaks closed on hinges that absolutely refuse to submit to oil and then I slither out from under the covers, collect my camera from under the bed where I'd stashed it the afternoon before, and soundlessly creep over to the open door.

I brace myself against the doorjamb, adjust the lens' aperture in anticipation, and then I wait some more.

It turns out there's quite a lot of waiting involved with Gianni-watching.

I listen for the flush of the toilet – there it goes! – and then, yup, that's the gush of the tap in the sink and finally—!

The bathroom door squeals open. Gianni – hair mussed, chin and cheeks scruffy with Italian-man-beard, sleep pants skewed to the side and T-shirt twisted – reaches for the light switch. I act quickly.

Click!

I scurry back to bed, stowing the camera in its hiding place and snuggling myself back under the covers. I close my eyes.

And instant later, Gianni pauses on the threshold of the room.

"Lasca?" he checks softly and with apparent wariness.

Oh yes, the Gianni is highly intelligent and suspicious of unexpected behavior from those around him. One must never underestimate the Gianni's acute senses or enviable intellect.

"Hm?" I hum belatedly, nuzzling against the edge of the quilt in a classic sleepy reflex.

I can feel him studying me in the gloom of pre-dawn. The moment drags and stretches. I let my breathing even out and deepen as if I'm in the midst of falling back asleep.

"Nothing," he eventually replies in a quiet – but still suspicious – tone.

I swallow back my smirk and keep my lips slack and ready for drooling.

Operation Bedhead status: mission complete.

One down, four more to go.

. . . . .

NEXT: Part 2: Operation Intellect!