Chapter 22: Long Distance

TONI

He stood by Maria while his mother fixed his collar. "Mama, I still don't understand why we are having our annual family picture, right now. I mean why not tomorrow instead?"

"I already told you, we have so much that is going to happen in the next three days and I really don't want to deal with the stress of packing and flights and all."

Maria rolled her eyes. "Still, I could be sleeping right about now" Maria grumbled locking at the big old clock on the wall which read 5:27 AM.

"Quit your whining already, and stand up straight! I don't want you to hunch during the photo." Her mother snapped.

Toni sighed and ran his fingers through his hair but his mother slapped them away.

"No! Don't mess up your hair Antonio! It took the stylist one hour! ONE HOUR to do your hair!" His mother snapped.

"Si te equivocas tu pelo te juro que te pego con una tortilla y una bofetada a su alrededor hasta que sus mejillas empiezan a doler y todos ellos son una palpitante y rojo!"

"¿Me entiendes?"

Toni nodded keeping his hands by his side like they were before.

"Bueno, ahora toca que el pelo y obtendrá la tortilla"

"You know mom's pissed when she brings out the tortillas" Maria whispered looking down at her newly manicured nails.

"No kidding" he hastily whispered back as his mother started snapping at Fernando for un-buttoning his shirt and at David who messed up his own hair.

She shooed them back to the stylist who was finishing up with Natalia and Kimberly. "Oi! Who made your mother angry?" his father asked as he came back from makeup.

"Everything makes her angry during photo shoots papa" Maria responded. "Ah, this reminds of the time we did that interview and photo for the magazine named Tevenovelas."

"Okay that day was ten times worse than what is going today" Mara said. "I had never seen mom so heated up, I thought that vein on her forehead was going to burst" Toni inquired.

"Alright! We are talking the photo in five minutes now! Places" the photographer yelled out as she took one last test-shot of Ariel and Victoria who both blinked with dazed looks on their little faces.

She tossed them both lollipops and left to set up her camera.

Every member of the Romero family, including the older kids Xavier, Alicia, and Pamela where there, as was Javier, but they saw him every day so it didn't really matter saying hi to him.

"Okay I probably should have done this sooner, but I didn't." the photographer said flipping her brown hair back, her hazel eyes looking over at the family.

"My name is Sabrina Sinclair, yes I am the daughter of Ramona Sinclair who owns the biggest jewelry store across the country yadda yadda. You probably heard about my idiot brother Feliciano, he's a member of a big corporation which really is not important or concerns you in any way. Uh I also have two nieces, and I really don't know why I'm telling you this since this really isn't any of your damn business BUUUT if you heard anything bad about me like I'm scum or a Damn whore, it's no true!" she snapped her eyes looking with Toni's. She noticed the look Mrs. Romero sent her and she sighed. "Excuse my Italian"

She looked away and grabbed her camera raising it up to her face. "Introductions short I am Sabrina Sinclair, the photographer. Say cheese Damn it"

The camera flashed. "How many did you say you wanted ma'am?"

"Two please, and one of individuals and one of just the kids, and just me and my husband."

"Easy peasy" Sabrina murmured.

"She's related to that girlfriend of yours huh?" Maria asked sneaking a look at her brother then at Sabrina.

"Si"

Maria chuckled. "You know how to pick 'em, Hermano"

Toni rolled his eyes and smiled once more she snapped another.

A whole hour passed and they finished the photos of the kids, Sabrina prepared for the mother and father photo.

"Ai! It's almost seven! I have to get to work!" Toni exclaimed running upstairs tearing off his tie. "Hey what did I say about—"

Toni ignored his mother and climbed up the tsars, tripping up them once in a while. He ran into the door pushing it open and grabbing his apron and changing out of his dress shoes.

He grabbed his telephone and ran back don stairs.

"Have fun at work Toni, see you at noon!"

Toni bid his farewells and ran to work.

His phone beeped and it was Evelyn.

He answered.

"Hello?"

"Ah Toni, good thing you answered. Okay this is like really important so listen up."

"I'm listening"

"Okay today I am leaving to America to visit my cousins, and I know you and everyone are leaving out of Sicily and out of the country, which is why I want you to give the store key to Patrick and the older people that work the morning shifts, okay? Patrick will be there and he already knows, and I'll be back before the break ends anyway. It'll be Gunther that will return first so it won't be too long for them."

"Okay, I got it."

"Great! Anyways have fun in Barcelona, Sayōnara"

"Adios have fun in America!"

The call ended and Toni neared the café, Charlotte stood there waiting for him talking to Patrick.

"Howdy mate!" Patrick drawled out grinning at Toni. "Hola Patrick, Charlotte."

"I heard you were going to Barcelona for the summer, eh?"

"Si, I'm visiting some family."

"Have fun mate" Patrick said as Toni unlocked the door. "All I have to do is make the schedules for the next month."

Patrick went to the back where they kept the schedule book and the printer and laptop.

Toni turned on the lights and put on his apron. Charlotte started setting up the tables. She seemed a bit nervous about something, but Toni decided not to get into it.

He reached for the iPod they kept safely hidden in the vault and put it on the music. Everyone that worked their made their own playlist with songs that they liked, sometimes they'd mix the songs and they'd all play. Each one of the playlists have played and the people enjoy it, whether it's Italian, Spanish, English, French, or German (yes Greek too and Japanese) people really do like it.

"Hey Toni?"

Toni looked up from the cashier at Charlotte. "yes?"

'Uh, I wanted to talk to you about something."

He nodded. Charlotte bit her lip and leaned against the counter looking nervously at Toni who was still counting the money.

"Antoinette Molynuex called me yesterday and she offered me a job to work for her as her personal assistant" she spoke looking down at the marble counter.

"Antoinette Molynuex? Pierre's mother?"

Charlotte nodded. "Yeah."

Ton smiled. "Good, that's good Charlotte. Your dream is coming true huh?"

Charlotte nodded uneasily remembering she had told him about her dreams.

"Also she wanted me to start as soon as possible"

Toni nodded still now knowing where this was going. "But the thing is… is it's in France and I'm leaving tomorrow to France."

There was a still silence and Charlotte looked down quickly as Toni looked at her. "Oh."

"Oh? Is that all you have to say"

Toni shook his head, hiding the sadness. "No, Charlotte. Good for you I'm so happy for you."

"I was supposed to leave on Wednesday, but I already talked things out with my dad and he allowed me to go so I told Antoinette and she has a plane ready for me at three. I'm leaving with her, Pierre and her daughter to France. Oh and my aunt Sabrina is going too since he said he wanted someone to keep watch on me while I'm there."

Toni managed to smile. "Oh that's good. I hope you have fun"

He turned away from her and greeted a customer.

Charlotte bit her lip. "are you mad at me?" she asked after Ton finished serving the customer. "No. I really am happy for you and I am pretty sad you aren't going with me to Barcelona but hey. We have next year too."

Charlotte smiled. "Okay good. Anyways since that is settled I have to go now, I still need to finish packing and my aunt Sabrina is still at her photo shoot thing for a family portrait."

"Ah that reminds me, your aunt was well and still is doing our family portrait."

"Are you serious?"

"Yes, why didn't you tell me she was a photographer?"

Charlotte shrugged. "I don't know, it just never came up. Anyways bye Toni, don't worry I will call you once I land."

She said giving him a hug.

Toni smiled widely, "Okay."

They shared a kiss and Toni watched as she left.

He sighed and resumed counting money. "HAHA! Antonio, what's up"

He looked up to see Soren casually strolling in with a wide smile. "Just counting money"

Soren laughed once more. "Man you have changed since the last time I saw you, hmm. So is Charlotte going with you to Barcelona?"

"No, she's going to France for an internship." Toni answered. "Why?"

"Well I was wondering if I could go with you?"

Toni faceplate. "...why?"

"'Cause man! WE need to spend some bro time together! And we haven't seen each other. Also remember that one time I went with you to Barcelona?"

Toni cringed. ".. you almost lit our kitchen on fir."

"Ha that was by accident. So what do you say?"

Toni sighed he knew if he rejected Soren would find a way to meet him up in Barcelona, almost like a stalker. Soren is just awesomely creepy like that.

"… okay"

"WAZOOH! Thanks buddy, you'll see I won't light the kitchen on fire this time!"

Toni sighed again. "You better not."

Soren chuckled and jumped over the counter. "I still can't believe you work here. Is Evelyn still uptight and shy?"

"Uptight as ever, but she's that shy anymore" Toni answered. "ha, ember that one time I broke the ice machine?"

"yeah it like a hail storm here."

Soren chuckled. "Man this job was fun. I remember Evelyn threatened to fire me but she never did."

Toni chuckled. "yeah."

"Man it sucks that I got transferred. Or else we'd still be wrecking this place up."

"And then we'd end up fired... and the rehired the next day…"

Toni and Soren looked each other and laughed. "Those were good times."

Toni resumed working and time passed by fast. He left home with Soren who wanted to see his family again. His family adored Soren, and Soren adored them right back.

They got home and Soren was greeted by everyone. Toni and Soren greeted them and Soren stayed talking to them while Toni went into the kitchen.

"Hole Toni, what's the matter?" his big sister, Alicia asked as she stood over the sink washing a pot. "Nothing, nothing" he murmured giving her a smile. Alicia raised an eyebrow. "So how was work?"

"Okay" he mumbled.

Alicia sighed. "Well then. You're girlfriend called, Charlotte I think her name was, um she wanted you to go over to her house and help her for her trip I don't know then she started speaking Italian and my Italian isn't all that d good so…"

"Ah esta bien, I'll go right now, Soren is here."

Alicia nodded. "Ah, I haven't seen him in a while."

Toni nodded. "I'm going to go change and head over to her house. I'll be back."

"Okay, bye Toni"

Toni headed over to Charlotte's house. He knocked on the door and in an instant the door swung open revealing Madeline wearing all yellow and a lightning shaped tail and a Pikachu.

"Pika! Ciao Toni!" She chirped happily smiling at him and hugging him. "Hola Maddy."

"Sorella is upstairs, she needs help with closing her suitcases." Madeline let go of Toni's shoulders and wandered back into the living room. "But first I want to show you something!"

"Guuuuuntherrrrrr!" she whined trying to pull him. Toni awkwardly walked over. "Oh dear Maddy what are you doing to Gunther now."

"TA_DAAA!" she revealed Gunther wearing the same thing as her, except he was frowning and it was a darker shade of yellow, almost brown. "He's Raichu!"

Gunther glared at Toni. "Tell anyone about this and I'll gas you."

Toni chuckled. "Aww c'mon Gunthy, you look adorable~ Right Toni."

Gunther groaned. "So adorable, this is a Kodak moment, he said taking out his phone and snapping a quick picture. He started running up the stairs as an angry German ran after him.

"NOO GUNTHY!" Madeline jumped onto his back but it didn't faze him, but he did trip running up the stairs. Toni laughed, and fell as well. He casually got up and coughed and walked to Charlotte's room.

He saw Alfred playing with Bambino who looked like he was going to pounce any moment. Alfred meowed happily and ran to Toni. "Hello little guy."

Bambino ignored Toni and climbed onto one of Charlotte's suitcases, staring at his owners sister.

"Ah Toni" Charlotte exclaimed peeking he head out from her bathroom. "Hola."

"I'm, so glad you're here, can you help me with closing that suitcase over there." She pointed towards the one Alfred tried climbing onto.

He did so.

"I leave in like an hour," she said exasperated climbing onto Toni's lap. He chuckled. "And I'm so tired."

"Well maybe you wouldn't be if you hadn't packed all of your clothes."

"I packed my summer wear."

"I saw you put in a beanie and Uggs."

"Hey it might be cold in France during the summer, that's how t is in England, it rains during the summer."

"Ho do you know that?"

"Bella told me, she says there is nothing to do. Which is why this time she is going to Belgium with Harry, while the others go to England."

"She's Flemish?"

"Yeah, she's half though, but she seems more like an Englishwoman though."

Charlotte snuggled against Toni. They stayed like that for twenty minutes until her phone ringed. Charlotte jumped. "Ash hello?"

"Oh, hi, Antoinette, you're here? Oh okay I'm …I'll be right there and please ignore my sister if she peeks out the window and starts saying gibberish. Okay bye."

"Time to go?" Toni asked.

"Time to go" she murmured quietly. I'll miss you."

"I'll miss your more"

"I'll miss you most" they shared another long sweet kiss.

They both went outside.

"I'll call you!" she said as she headed towards the limo. "Ah Charlotte we will be spending zhe whole summer togezer, how delightful" Pierre said sarcastically as he peeked through the window.

"Damn frog…"

"Ah Charlotte, so nice to see you. Antonio! How are you I haven't seen you since the game, bonjour!" Antoinette said hugging Charlotte and hugging Toni as well.

"I hope you bid your farewells to your father and sister."

Charlotte nodded. "Yes, my aunt should be here shortly though."

"Good, good."

"All bow down the queen has arrived." They turned to see Sabrina with her luggage and camera hanging on her neck. Charlotte groaned.

"Be gentlemen and help me put my luggage in will you" she said to Toni. Charlotte glared at her. "Oh stop it Chancy," Sabrina sneered.

Toni helped her. "Hey you're Chancy's boy-toy? Huh, you're the kid from the photo-shoot. Wow, how the hell did she snag you up?"

"There is no way , Chancy, did you put him under a spell."

"Shut up!" Charlotte snapped. Sabrina laughed. "It's nice to meet you Antonio."

"Likewise" Toni replied smiling casually. Sabrina closed the trunk and walked over to the limo doors. "Well let's get this show on the road. Madame Molynuex." She said.

"I agree, Alright Charlotte get into ze limo. Adieu Antonio!"

Toni bid his farewells and hugged Charlotte one last time. "I'll call you!"

Toni waved and watched the limo disappear. "TOOONIIII~ want to play some pokemon with me and Gunther? You can be Pichu!"

Toni turned back and walked into the house. "I'm in."

Madeline squealed and put the Pichu hat onto his head. "Pika! Pika! PIKACHU!"

She nudged Gunther who groaned and stuffed his face into a pillow.

Toni chuckled and played with them. This was going o be an interesting summer.


A/N: Please note Charlotte's chapter will be about her trip to France and dealing with her aunt Sabrina, and she'll meet Pauline. Also once Charlotte's chapter is done, Toni's chapter will be two years after which is where they are now adults and the real shiz begins.

Translations

Si te equivocas tu pelo te juro que te pego con una tortilla y una bofetada a su alrededor hasta que sus mejillas empiezan a doler y todos ellos son una palpitante y rojo! - If you mess up your hair I swear I'll hit you with a tortilla and slap you around till your cheeks start to hurt and they are all a throbbing and red!

¿Me entiendes?- Do you understand me?

Bueno, ahora toca que el pelo y obtendrá la tortilla - Good, now touch that hair and you'll get the tortilla

Sayōnara - goodbye