Luca's eyes flashed open. Gasping for air, he sat up in bed, the sheets falling from his pale muscular form, settling around his slender waist. Sweat droplets stood out on his neck, his shoulders, upper back and abs. He'd been dreaming. The same dream he'd had every night for the last three years since…since the last time he saw—her. It was 2010 and still the memory of her hadn't faded; his Amore inglese still haunted his dreams. And it was the same dream. When they met in Verona, the first time they laid eyes on each other. Her smile every time she locked eyes with him. They never exchanged words; it was pointless; neither spoke the other's language. All they could share were simple glances, smiles—intimate looks of the eye. But to him, it had been worth it—even though it only lasted two weeks. He glanced his bedside clock; 2AM. He rubbed his eyes, exhausted. He hated waking up in the middle of the night, knowing he wouldn't be able to fall back to sleep for hours. Throwing the covers back, his feet hit the hard cherry wood floors which creaked under his weight as he stood. He padded sleepily out to the small kitchen, opening the fridge to view its contents. Nothing grabbed his attention so sighing heavily, he settled for an Italian spritzer. He wondered aimlessly back into his room, falling back against his pillows and flipping on the nightstand lamp. Taking a deep swig of the strawberry flavored spritzer, he grabbed for his cell phone, speed dialing his brother's number.
The phone rang twice before a groggy voice answered on the other end. "Hello?"
"Brother, it's Luca."
"Luca…it's 2AM…is everything alright with you?"
"Yes, Dante…I'm fine it's just…I dreamed of her again…"
Silence followed. "Luca…brother, it's been three years."
"I know. Trust me, I don't miss a day. I just—I can't help it—I can't stop dreaming of her."
"Perhaps…perhaps it is because you haven't moved on. You deserve to be happy, I know you loved her, Luca but you need to move on. Move past this and be happy."
Luca ran a hand through his blond hair. Frustration pressed down on him, making his heart heavier than ever. "You're right—I just need to move past this; it's time to move on."
"I know it's not easy…but if you need anything. I'm willing to do whatever it takes to help you. Whatever."
"I know you are, Brother…thank you."
Dante smiled. "Well look, it's been lovely but if we don't get to sleep we're gonna be dead on our feet on stage tomorrow night. Plus, we have an early flight."
"Yeah, yeah I can take a hint 'shut up, Luca I want to sleep!'" He laughed then and Dante only snorted.
# # # #
The next morning, Luca woke earlier than planned but considering his late night—or rather early morning—wakening, he wasn't surprised; once he woke in the middle of the night, there was really no regaining a restful sleep. Since he had an extra hour he decided to take a longer shower than normal. The hot water felt good as it poured down his tired muscles. He leaned against the shower wall, the coolness of the tile calming his ragged nerves. Finishing, he chose a relaxed yet stylish ensemble to wear; a pair of dark-wash jeans with a brown button-down dress shirt, a black vest and lastly, his charcoal sports jacket. He threw on a comfortable pair of charcoal high-tops and grabbing up his guitar case, wallet, duffle bag and passport he headed out of his small but comfortable five-floor walk-up in Varese and out to the waiting taxi cab.
# # # #
Their flight was on time and before they knew it, they were landing in Dominican Republic. They're Latin American tour was over a 10-week period where they would be performing in Dominican Republic, Beliz, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Panama, Venezuela, Colombia, Chile, Argentina and finally, Brazil where they would conclude their 10-week tour. Luca had only been to Mexico and was looking forward to experiencing many of the other cultures of South America. The Hispanic culture had always fascinated him in the ways that it was similar as well as dissimilar to their own and he couldn't wait to immerse himself. Dante sensed his elder brother's excitement and had high hopes that this ten week tour would be just the distraction Luca needed to push him forward, leaving his past behind and moving towards a better future.
After landing safely, they gathered their luggage and headed towards the main lobby. Dominican Security was already waiting for them and it was a good thing because it didn't take long before the native Varese brothers were recognized. Hundreds of fawning fans tried to press in closer to catch a glimpse of them as they were escorted out of the airport via security. Their transportation was waiting for them just outside the main entrance in the form of two black SUVs with additional police escort in front and behind. As their luggage was loaded, both men turned and waved to the gathering crowd of fans and even went so far as to sign a few autographs before disappearing into the back seat of the first SUV. The ride to the hotel was about an hour as they drove into the very heart of the city. "You boys sure are popular in our country; I hope that doesn't frighten you at all." Their driver called back good-naturedly.
Both Luca and Dante shared a look and then laughed. "No, we're pretty used to it, nothing to be scared about; this is pretty normal for us."
The driver smiled and nodded as they pulled up to the main entrance of the hotel. Police escort and hotel security were at the doors in an instant, clearing a secure pathway inside.
"Dante! Luca!" The crowd screamed their names and both couldn't help but smile as they made their way inside.
That night, they had settled into their suite and headed downstairs to get some food. There was an Italian menu that had been prepared for them as well as a selection of native dishes and neither of them could wait to dig in. They reached the dining room and were instantly greeted by several hotel guests and staff.
# # # #
"Oh my god. I think I've died and gone to heaven."
Dante laughed at his brother's obvious enthusiasm for the food. "Does that mean I get your guitar?"
Luca shoved him and both burst out laughing at the long-standing joke between them. "Well, I'm gonna get some more food. Because I'm hungry and quite frankly, even if I wasn't, I'd still get more because it's too good to not." Luca stood, backing his chair away from the table when he suddenly lost his balance, nearly falling into someone walking behind him. He reached out his hands to steady himself which only threw the unsuspecting said person, off balance. Both stumbled but finally, Luca regained his footing, steading the other with his hands on their arms.
"Oh! I'm so terribly sorry, it was my fault." The young woman spoke in fluent Spanish, her exotic accent thick with apology.
Luca was stunned as he looked into the dark eyes of a young Hispanic woman who looked to be about twenty-two or twenty-four at the oldest. Catching his gaze, a small gasp escaped her lips when she realized just who she'd almost tumbled to the floor with. Her mouth opened and closed again like a fish as she searched for words but nothing came out. Dante stood watching the surprising scene before him. He could see the look on his brother's face and the only words he could find to describe it were 'utterly smitten.' He coughed, holding back the urge to laugh; Luca was so predictable when it came to situations like this; if anyone was gonna fall head-over-heels for an exotic native at first sight, it would be Luca. He was a hopeless romantic at heart and always would be.
"Ohhh…I'm—so very—sorry um I didn't see you I was—I wasn't paying attention I'm so sorry—I" she trailed off as he started to smile; the brilliance of it as it reached his light golden brown eyes, left her speechless. She felt her cheeks flushing a deep red and no doubt, it wasn't going unnoticed by the handsome Italian musician. "Excuse me—sorry." She slowly backed away from him; her cheeks flushed a deeper red as she felt his fingers slip off her arms from where he'd steadied her from falling. She couldn't look at his eyes anymore and turning, she escaped the dining room without so much as a backward glance.