Author: Andramion PM
Best friends Sophia Fontana and Lissa Prince spend their summer without each other for the first time. While Sophia goes to Italy to meet the family she hasn't seen since her father passed away, Lissa has to stay home and work in her parent's free house. Both girls find out things - about themselves and others - they hadn't expected.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Family - Chapters: 2 - Words: 6,305 - Reviews: 1 - Updated: 09-14-12 - Published: 09-08-12 - id: 3056822
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Sofia could feel the warm air press her skin before she'd really stepped out of the airplane. Her granddad and grandma were already waiting for them when they came out of the luggage retrieval.
"Michelle! Sophia, Patrick!" Her grandmother came towards them as soon as they came through the automatic doors. She gave Sophia's mother a tight hug and kissed Pat and Sophia on both cheeks. Sophia looked at her grandfather, who was standing a few feet away. He smiled when he saw her looking and she couldn't help but smile too. Pat ran towards him and the old man caught the boy in his arms.
Sophia's grandmother started talking in rapid Italian and Sophia was glad she'd kept her language skills up after her father had died. "Come, we'll go home. I've asked Maria to watch my lasagne while we went to pick you up, but I don't want to keep her. She's got a family of hungry teenagers at home too!"
"Hmm," Sophia's mother agreed. "Five of them, if I'm right?" Secretly, Sophia had to smile at her mother's rusty Italian.
"Yes, but four at the moment. Bianca, the oldest of the girls, is studying abroad in France."
They arrived at he car and Sophia helped her grandfather to fit the suitcases in the boot. Pat climbed onto one of the back seats quickly and Sophia smiled when she saw him point at their grandmother and heard him say 'Nonna'. Nonna smiled and ran a hand through Pat's black hair. It was a shame Pat had never learnt to speak Italian. Sophia's grandparents only spoke a little bit of English. Luckily, Sophia and her mother could translate for Pat.
It wasn't long before the pastel yellow car came to a halt. Getting out halfway, Sophia took in the sight of the white plastered house of her grandparents. It was quite flat and there wasn't a full second story. The gardens in front of the house were well-watered, she concluded from the lush green of the plants.
She helped to get the suitcases out and followed her grandmother to the wooden front door after a bit of spurring on. Once she'd been shown to her room, she took her time to take in every detail about the house: from the wooden beams that gave so much character to the house, to the large, open windows that let in a cool breeze, billowing the almost translucent white curtains.
"Sophia!" Nonna's voice drifted in from the hallway and Sophia left the room to ser what it was.
"Yes, Nonna?" she asked the woman standing in the hallway. The grandmother grinned broadly at her granddaughter. "There is someone here I'd like you to meet." She stepped aside to reveal the visitor standing in the doorway.
Sophia took the sight of the young man standing across the hallway in. He was tall, taller than her at least, with a tan skin and dark brown ringlets of hair bouncing off his head. His most apparent feature, though, was his smile.
Sophia stepped forward and offered her hand to him, hardly noticing how easily she switched from English to Italian. "Hi, I'm Sophia Fontana."
"Marco Napoli," he answered in a voice that made her shiver, in a good way. To her great surprise, he didn't take her hand to shake it, but caught her fingers in his and turned her hand to place a quick kiss on the back of it. Then he let go as if nothing had happened. "Nice to meet you again, Sophia."
"I'm sorry," she asked, a little confused, "again?" She looked at her grandmother, but didn't get more than a smile.
"Oh," Marco exclaimed and he started to explain. "I live next door, I used to take you to the river when you came over when you were younger."
When she sifted through the few memories she had of this place, she came up with a little boy fishing with her. The kid had the same smile as Marco.
"You're the one that dropped a fish down my shirt?" she asked without thinking. Marco seemed a little embarrassed about it.
"Yes, I'm afraid I am. Sorry about that." Sophia noticed that he was rubbing the back of his neck nervously.
"So, ah," she started, suddenly feeling little shy too, "what brings you here, Marco?"
He looked up at that question and his smile reappeared. "Benedetta, mama wanted me to ask whether you and your family would like to come over for dinner tomorrow."
"We'd love to," Nonna replied immediately. "Would you please tell her thank you for taking the lasagne out of the oven?"
"I will." The silence became a little awkward, but Sophia had no idea what to say. Neither did Marco, or so it seemed. Luckily, Nonna knew exactly what to do.
"Marco, you have your summer break now, don't you? Would you mind terribly to show Sophia around town tomorrow? I'm getting a little too old to do so."
"No, no, it's not a problem." He turned to Sophia. "If it's okay with you, I'll pick you up at seven? We'll go for breakfast."
Sophia was blushing at the idea of going out for breakfast with this handsome guy, but she nodded anyway.
"Good, I'll see you then." Marco stepped away from the doorpost and waved at his neighbour. "I'll let mama know, Benedetta." With one last look at the blonde in the hallway, he turned around to leave the porch and make his way to his own house.
Marco took his shoes off as soon as he stepped into the house and went into the kitchen, where the smell of roasted meat filled his nose even before he entered the cosy room.
"I'm back, mama," he said, planting a kiss on his mother's cheek. She was busy draining the water from the potatoes and told him off for standing so close to the sink.
"So what did they say?" she asked after she put the hot pan away on a coaster on the counter. She pushed a stray curl away from her face and looked at her third child while she leaned against the sink.
"Oh, they are coming." Marco opened the each of the pans to see what was inside. "Benedetta told me to thank you for babysitting their dinner." Just before he picked a slice of cooked egg from the bowl of salad, his mother slapped him on his fingers.
"Wait 'till it's on the table, impatient child. Get your brothers and sister downstairs, will you?"
"Sure," Marco answered. As soon as she turned around again, he popped the slice in his mouth anyway. Then he made his way up the stairs and opened the third door on the left.
"Paolo, dinner's ready," he told his older brother, who was sitting at his desk. Without waiting for a response, he went on to the next two doors, which were already open.
"Gabriëlla, Lorenzo, dinner!" Marco went in to his own room to drop his wallet and phone on his desk. He'd been asked to go over to the neighbours as soon as he'd gotten home from Luca's.
"Marco," a voice drifted in from the doorway. His little brother was standing there, his short black hair covered with a newsboy cap.
"Hey, what's up?" Marco closed the door behind him and they both made their way downstairs.
"Did you just go over to the Fontana's?" When Marco nodded, Lorenzo went on. "Did you see the hot blonde? I could see her from my window. Who is she?"
"She's Benedetta and Antonio's granddaughter, Lorenzo," their mother answered for Marco. She put two plates down on the table. "Sit." The boys obliged happily. They were anything but vegetarians and a steak would not be wasted on them.
"Gah, mama! Can you believe Vanna? She just texted me I shouldn't even bother coming over for her birthday!" Gabriëlla, the fourth child of the Napoli household, pushed her long tresses over her shoulder and took her seat at the kitchen table.
Using her rambling as a sound cover for his own words, Lorenzo started inquiring about the girl.
"Did you see the girl?" he asked his second brother when Paolo came into the room. Marco swallowed his bite of steak and answered.
"Yeah, Benedetta called her to the door. You don't remember her? She used to tag along with us when we went fishing."
"I don't even remember the Fontana's having a granddaughter, much less such a pretty one."
"Well, apparently, their daughter-in-law stopped coming over when their son died. It's been a while since Sophia's been here. Sophia's the blonde, in case you didn't make the link."
"Well, how old is she?" Lorenzo was pretty interested in this girl. He hadn't really gotten a good look at her yet, but the room she'd been unpacking her suitcases in was right across the fence from his and he could see her when she stood in front of the window.
"I don't know, about our age? You can ask her tomorrow, they're coming over for dinner."
"Really?"Lorenzo's eyebrows shot up.
"What are you boys talking about?" their father suddenly demanded and both looked up.
"Nothing!" they blurted at the same time, focussing on their plates afterwards and both protesting when their mother started piling salad on their plates.
Lissa was busy cleaning the tables when she saw the light streaming in from the open door. She went around the corner of the room to see who had come into the free house.
"Hey." Her eyebrows shot up when she saw it was one of the group of teens from last night. The cute one.
"Hey," she replied, not really knowing what to say next. She didn't know what he was doing here.
"Oh, right, ah." He came closer and offered his hand. She took it cautiously and he shook it, a firm hand. "I'm Benjamin Fletcher. I just wanted to come and apologize for yesterday. I hope you didn't get into too much trouble with your mum."
"Oh, thank you. You really didn't have to." Lissa pulled on her hair to tighten her ponytail and transferred the wet cloth from her hands to the table. "I'm Lissa by the way. Lissa Prince."
"Hi, Lissa." He smiled at her and brushed a hand through his blond hair. He took in a deep breath and sighed. "Okay, I lied, that wasn't the only reason I stopped by."
Lissa's eyebrows shot up again and she had to hide her smile at the sight of his apologetic look. "What can I help you with?" she offered.
"I saw the sign saying you're looking for a new employee yesterday? Could you maybe tell me who I need to talk to?"
"Ah, that would be my dad." She turned on her heels to go to the door that separated the free house from their home and called for her father.
"You can wait here if you want to," she said, gesturing at a chair. "He should be down in a minute." She picked up the cloth again and dipped it in the bucket of hot water sitting on the floor.
"So, how long have you been working here?" Benjamin asked her as she wrung the cloth out.
"Pretty much since I was born I think," she joked and she started on the table closest to her. She turned her head to look at him.
"Right, stupid question." He bit his lip lightly.
"No, I'm just kidding. I think I started really working here when I was thirteen. I started the restaurant in the evening when I turned sixteen. And when I was finally eighteen I started doing the bar too." Lissa could clearly remember her first night of bar duty. She'd been completely worn out by the end of the evening, having to run to and fro all the time. It had been a Saturday: live music day at The House and the busiest night of the week.
"It must be nice to always be assured of a job," Benjamin pondered, playing with a cardboard coaster that was left on the table he was sitting at. "I've been applying all over town."
"I guess so." Lissa thought about it. "I've always thought it annoying that I was expected to work here, but when you put it that way..." It wasn't that bad. And she knew she could do something else if she wanted. Or just refuse to work shifts, like Steve did. She shook her head and went on to the next table, taking the bucket with her.
"So..." Benjamin's voice faded and she heard him tap on the table. "Do you have any tips on what your father's looking for in an employee?" He flashed her another smile when she looked up from her work.
"Ah, let me think about that for a minute." She dropped the cloth in the bucket after the last minute and pulled a chair out across the table from the boy. "Make sure you mention that you don't mind working weeks and weekends. And don't tell him you enjoy going out with your friends, because he'll think you won't want to work Friday and Saturday evenings." Lissa tapped her cheek with one of her long fingers and looked at the beams in the ceiling. "I think that might be it." She looked him in the eyes and noticed they were blue. Not as bright or clear as Sam's, though. "Just be friendly and he'll probably give you the job. We only put the sign up yesterday anyway and you're the only one asking for it up 'till now."
"Lissa? You called me?" She turned her head to see her dad in the doorway and she got up. Benjamin mirrored her actions and shook her father's hand immediately. Lissa couldn't help but smile when she remembered his handshake was firm. Her dad always liked that in people.
"Hi, mister Prince. I'm Benjamin Fletcher. I'd like to apply for the job." Lissa's father nodded and started guiding Benjamin to the office, which was just through the restaurant's kitchen.
"This way, Benjamin. I hope I didn't make you wait too long?" Lissa followed them into the kitchen so she could throw out the dirty water. She could hardly hear their voice when they moved into the office.
Anyway, she was done for the afternoon. Maybe she could go upstairs and watch a film with Steve and Sam. She might be able to get herself to sit next to him.
On her socks, she padded up the stairs and softly knocked on the slightly opened door and pushed it open further. "Hey guys," she greeted them, "mind if I join you?"
The screen was paused immediately and she could see both heads peek over the back of the sofa in Steve's room.
At the same time Sam started to invite her, Steve groaned. "Lissa, just bugger off, will you? Just because Sophie isn't here, doesn't mean you need to bother my friends."
She wasn't bothering them! Or was she? She just wanted to sit next to Sam and steal glances in his direction while his eyes were fixed on the story playing out.
"Oh, come on Steve!" she exclaimed, embarrassed by the way she'd been rejected immediately.
"You wouldn't like the film anyway!" Steve shot back and Lissa felt her temper flare up.
"Well, go to hell, asshole!" She slammed the door on her way out and stormed into her own room, letting herself fall face first onto her mattress. She laid there for a couple of minutes before she heard the shuffling of feet by the door.
"What's wrong, sweetie?" her mother asked, coming in and closing the door with a soft thud. She sat down next to Lissa and brushed the long auburn curls away from the girl's face.
"Could you tell Steve to stop being a dick?" Lissa spat out angrily. Sally Prince clicked her tongue at the name-calling.
"Mind your language, young lady."
"Well, he is!" Lissa moved to sit up, holding on to her pillow like it was a buoy keeping her from drowning. "He won't even let me watch a film with them!"
She knew she was throwing a tantrum, but she didn't care. Steve was so selfish, always keeping Sam to himself!
"Well, Steve doesn't get to see Samuel that often, so can you really blame him for wanting to spend some time with his friend? It's not such a short trip from Workington here."
Lissa sighed, letting go of the pillow and smoothing out the fabric as it laid on her lap. "I know. It's just... I want to do something fun too."
"I know, sweetie." Her mother laid a hand against her cheek and Lissa leaned into it. "Sophie's off to Italy, but why don't you call one of your friends from college to see whether they want to come here? They can stay over if they want to."
"Maybe I'll do that."
"Good," her mother agreed and patted her leg once before she got up. "But not too many, okay? And you still need to work tonight, we don't have anybody else to work the restaurant."
Lissa watched her mother leave the room. Then she got up and used her big toe to push the start button on her desktop PC and waited for it to be done starting up.
Her inbox was horribly empty, apart from adverts and spam. Sighing heavily, she pressed the "new e-mail" button and started typing away.
From: melissaprince TheHouse
Subject: I miss you!
How are you doing? How is la Italia? As amazing as I thought it would be? Meet any hot guys yet? They must be fawning over your blond hair! That's what they say right? That Italians love blond hair so much?
And how are your grandparents? Experienced any awkwardness yet? I hope not. Give Pat a hug for me! And say hi to your mum and grandparents!
It's awfully quiet without you here! It's only been one and a half day and I'm already going crazy!
Remember how I said I was definitely over Sam? Turns out, I'm not. God, I'm such an idiot! Apparently, he's staying over here for a couple of weeks and I find myself wanting to barge into Steve's room and just kiss Sam already! Seriously, he is still as gorgeous as ever, maybe even more so!
But. I. Am. Not. Going to make this whole e-mail about Sam. What else, what else?
Oh! Someone came in to apply for the job opening here today! He's in the office with dad right now. I just hope he gets hired so I'll have some time off once in a while.
His name is Benjamin Fletcher. Do you know him? He must have gone to Alde Valley too, I mean, everybody from Halesworth does, right? But I don't think I've ever seen him. Maybe he went to secondary in Beccles or Framlingham.
Anyway, he seems like a nice guy and he's not too bad to look at either. Not as good-looking as Sam, though.
No! No more Sam!
Have fun in Italy, Soph! You deserve a good holiday! I just still can't believe you are spending your first summer after your A-levels without me! And in Italia!
Love, hugs and kisses!
OK, so my doc manager is hating me at the moment. Sorry if this comes out a little weird :s
I'll try to change it sometime later if doc manager agrees with me.
As always, thanks so much for reading and don't forget to let me know what you think!