This story is the continuation from last weeks Ludlow Hall Sneak Peek…..
The Dower House, later in the morning…
Bronte was relieved to see that the arrival of Sophia’s best friend, Emily, her mother Grace, and Emily’s Bichon Frise, Bubblegum, appeared to lift Sophia’s spirits. As had the entrance of Auntie Rosie, Uncle Alexander and baby Mila. It seemed the mummys were about to spend an afternoon of sheer indulgence at the Ferranti Hotel and Spa. Nico and Alexander were in charge of the children, and looking forward to what promised to be a cracking game of soccer between an Italian team and ‘City.’
Bronte picked up a bag of scarlet leather the size of a small town and shoved it on her shoulder. She turned to cast a severe eye upon her husband and her brother. “You know where I am if you need me. Try and keep your ear open for the babies when they wake.”
Nico sent her a slow, sexy smile and waved her away. “Go and enjoy yourselves. Between the two of us and Tonio nothing can go wrong,” he said.”
As she guided them out to the door and down the path to her car, Bronte muttered to her companions, “Famous last words.”
Grace, her auburn curls bouncing on her shoulders and her blue eyes dancing, said, “God, I love Nico’s voice and the way his Italian accent rumbles in his chest.”
When Bronte just laughed, Rosie dug Grace sharply in the ribs. “You’ve been too long without your man. When’s he home?”
“A week today. We’ve missed him. It’s not the same talking everyday on Skype.”
They piled into Bronte’s shiny black Range Rover. As the car sped it’s way through the winding country road, Rosie relaxed in the back seat and wiggled her toes inside her black UGG ankle boots. “I’ve been waiting for this treat for weeks.” She tugged the neck of her T-shirt to check out her girls, and made a face. “Mila’s gobbled up my boobs. I actually had a C cup for about three months.”
Bronte swung the car through the sandstone gates of Ludlow Hall. The car purred up the long winding drive. “You’re lucky. I never had boobs to begin with.”
Grace, studying a glossy leaflet from the Ferranti beauty spa, piped up, “It says here that they offer ‘Breacials’ or breast facials.”
Rose laughed. “Wow, facials for our ta-tas whatever next.”
As Bronte parked the car, Grace continued, “It’s a massage of the breast tissue and surrounding areas, often used in conjunction with lotions, masks, and oils. After a few sessions you can expect perkier breasts (although they won’t make the girls bigger)…”
“Typical,” Rosie muttered as she climbed out.
“However,” Grace added, joining her, “It also says they do deliver glowing skin, may help drain lymphatic fluid and ease pain or tenderness from regular hormonal changes.”
“Sounds kooky to me,” Bronte said as she locked the car, hefted her bag and joined her besties as they made their way up the steps and into Ludlow Hall.
Still reading, Grace said, “Apparently a medical expert in dermatology, cosmetic, and laser surgery says, ‘Draining the lymphatic system helps maintain a balanced body and when applies to breasts, can help with discomfort and increase breast health.'”
“I might just try it,” Rosie said.
“I will if you will,” Grace said.
“How about you?” Rosie turned to Bronte.
“Nah. I have Nico. He keeps my girls pretty perky.”
Meanwhile, back at The Dower House…
In her pink bedroom, Jimmy Chew and Bubblegum were lying on the rug and braving the ministrations of two little girls tying bows between their ears to keep their fur out of their eyes. And Miss Sophia was having a serious talk with Emily…
“I told mama and papa I don’t wanna go and live in Italy.”
Emily’s little face fell and big blue eyes welled up with emotion. “I don’t want you to go to Italy either,” she whispered in her high, breathy voice.
Sophia nodded. “I told them you would be upset.” She waved the brush in the air. “We’re like sistas, like mama and Auntie Rosie.”
Emily sniffed heroically. “We’re besties.”
Sophia nodded, her face fierce. “Yup. And I’m not going to stupid Italy to learn stupid Italian. Papa and Tonio can teach us all the Italian we need.”
Speaking of the Devil, Tonio popped his dark head around the door, his dark eyes twinkling. He opened his mouth and then closed it when he spotted the girls’ handiwork. “Dio mio. You cannot have pink ribbons on boy dogs!”
Sophia sent him a dark look. “They need a trim because they can hardly see. I’d do it myself but mama told me never to touch scissors.”
“No wonder,” he said. “The last time you had a pair of scissors, you cut mama’s ponytail and got into Big Trouble.” He wore soft blue jeans, worn at the seams and a replica shirt of his favourite Italian soccer team.
Stung, Sophia fired up. “It was an accident.”
Cheeks pink, in her breathy voice Emily intervened to tell him he’d lost a sock.
Shooting her a grin that caught the little girl’s breath, Tonio tugged off his sock and shoved it in the pocket of his jeans. The way he wiggled his toes and made her laugh.
Hugging Bubblegum to her chest, Emily gazed up adoringly into his face and missed the way Sophia rolled her eyes.
“I can stand on my head,” Tonio told them, and put the words into action.
And of course, the girls had to show him they could stand on their head, too.
By the time they’d finished falling over, their peals of breathless laughter had brought Sophia’s twin Luca into the room to see what all the fuss was about, along with a warning. “You’d better keep it quiet or you’ll wake the babies.”
Tonio nodded. “Si. The game is about to start are you watching it with us?” he asked the girls. Their expression of utter horror made him curl his lip.
“Girls” Luca muttered.
After the boys had left, with Jimmy Chew and Bubblegum hot on their heels, Sophia heaved a deep sigh.
“I forgot!” Emily cried. She spun around to grab her favourite bag—one of Grace’s old handbags—and rummaged around. She held up an item. “Mummy bought me this! It’s a magnifying glass!”
Sophia’s emerald eyes popped. “Wow.”
The next five minutes were spent searching out cool stuff to magnify.
When Emily peered through glass to Sophia’s skin, she muttered, “You have fuzzy chin hair. It’s white.”
Sophia stroked her chin, her eyes wide. “Do I?”
Emily handed her the glass. “Do I have a hairy chin?”
Sophia studied Emily’s chin through the glass. “A little bit. It’s white, too.”
She scrambled to her feet and studied her chin in her dressing table mirror. “I can’t see it here.” Then she spun around. “But, there’s a magnifying mirror in mama and papa’s bathroom.”
She grabbed a white plastic stool and led the way through her parents bedroom and into their huge bathroom. In front of one of the built in sinks, she stepped on the stool and checked out her chin on the extendable mirror. “Oh, yeah. I can see the hair.”
She jumped down and while Emily checked out her own chin, Sophia rummaged around the built in cupboards beneath the creamy marble worktop, and emerged with a can of shaving foam and her papa’s razor.
Emily’s blue eyes went like saucers. “What are you doing?”
Sophia gave her a look that told her she’d just asked a dumb question. “I’m going to shave it off.”
Emily shook her head. “Uh-huh. Nope. My mummy says razors are dangerous to little children.”
“Pooh!” said her sista.
A sista who proceeded to shake the can like a maraca, then pressed the button and a huge blob of shaving foam landed on the counter top. Sophia scooped up the foam in both hands and smeared it over her chin. She turned to a grinning Emily. “I look like Santa Claus!”
But when Sophia picked up the blade, the grin slid from Emily’s little face. “No, Sophia. Don’t do it.”
“Pooh!” However, once she’d made a couple of strokes without disaster, she gained confidence and studied the clean part of her chin in the magnifying mirror. “The fuzz has gone. This is sooooo cooooool.”
She tipped up her chin and tried to copy how her papa shaved his face that very morning. When the shaving foam turned bloody, Sophia dropped the razor, grabbed one of the pristine white cotton towels and pressed it to her face.
“Omigod,” Emily whispered, her freckles dotted like constellations on her white face.
Her legs like jelly, Sophia sat on the white plastic stool, and when she checked out the towel and found it bloody, her eyes rolled back in head and she fainted clean away.
Chanting, “Omigod. Omigod. Omigod.” Emily raced out of the room, down the stairs, through the hall and into the kitchen/dining/living space.
Nico and company, thoroughly enjoying the game, took one look at Emily’s face and muted the flat screen TV on the wall.
“What is it?”
Emily danced a jig in front of him. “She’s bleeding. She’s bleeding. Quick. Quick. Quick.” Then she raced out of the room with Nico, Alexander, Tonio and Luca on her heels.
His heart pounding, his ears buzzing, Nico took in the scene and dropped to his knees in the bathroom and scooped up his baby girl. “Dio, what on earth was she doing?”
“Shaving her beard,” Emily sobbed from the safety of her perch on Alexander’s lap.
Tonio stared at her as if she was crazy. “Girls don’t have beards!”
Dabbing Sophia’s pale and bloody face with hands that weren’t quite steady, Nico was relieved to see the damage was not as bad as it looked. Like Luca, Sophia was not good with blood. He pressed the towel to the wound.
“Does it need stitches?” Alexander asked, then rocked Emily when his question had her wail for her mummy at the top of her voice.
Nico shook his head and lifted the towel to get a better look. “No. However, she has removed a thin layer of skin.”
“Jeez, we can’t turn our back on them for five f… frigging minutes,” Alexander said. “It’s okay. It’s okay, Emily. She’ll be fine. Look, she’s coming round.”
Sure enough, Sophia’s eyelids fluttered madly and then cleared and spotted her papa.
Her emerald eyes filled.
“You are going to be fine,” Nico told her in a rough voice. “Once the bleeding stops, we will put a plaster on your chin.”
“A Frozen plaster?” Sophia asked.
Nico took a deep breath, there was no use in yelling at his child. She’d been frightened enough. “Si. A Frozen plaster.”
By the time he had attended to his daughter, and cleaned the bathroom, Nico reckoned he had earned a Peroni. A large one.
Later, when Bronte and her friends returned to The Dower House, she walked into a scene of peace and tranquillity. Unusually, the room was immaculate. The flat screen was playing the end credits of the movie Frozen, which was nothing new except that the boys and men lined up on the sofa looked a bit glassy-eyed, as if shell-shocked. Nico and Alexander nursed their sleeping baby girls. On a fat love seat of lilac velvet and matching footstool, Sophia and Emily were tucked in together beneath a blanket. Emily had her arm around Sophia and the dogs dozed on the rug.
Bronte frowned at Nico. “Okay. What’s going on?”
He slid a guilty look at his wife and cleared his throat. “Um… we had a small drama. But, everything is fine.”
When she spotted the large plaster on Sophia’s chin. A plaster featuring Elsa, the heroine of Frozen blowing a kiss, Bronte’s brows flew into her hairline. “What on earth happened to you?”
“I had an accident in the bathroom.”
“There was blood everywhere,” Luca told his mama. Then he tossed his sister under the bus. “And Sophia fainted.”
Bronte opened her mouth, but Tonio jumped in with, “She was shaving her beard and shaved her skin off instead.”
Nico nodded. “Si. With my razor.”
By the time Bronte had checked out her daughter, Rosie shook her head as she cuddled Mila. “Honestly, Sophia Ferranti, what are you going to do next?”
“That’s it,” Bronte said, her eyes burning. “We need to put a lock on our bedroom door.”
Rosie made a face. “Might not be a good idea, knowing them they’ll get hold of the key and probably lock themselves inside and you’d have to break down the door or worse.”
“I think,” Nico said, his deep voice no more than a growl. “She had learned her lesson. She was a brave girl.”
Eyes too bright, Sophia lifted her sore chin. “I didn’t cry. I am Italian!”
Until next time, keep your chin up!