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Hello, my darlings,
Time for another sneak peek at life in the Ferranti household (readers want more Nico and Bronte and the kids. I live only to serve.)
THE DOWER HOUSE, in the grounds of LUDLOW HALL:
Nico, Tonio and Luca are kicking back in jeans and T-shirts in the family kitchen-living space, watching their favourite soccer star playing in the Serie A in Italy. All the guys have their bare feet on the coffee table. Good job Bronte’s not home.
*Aaaaaaaaand he’s SCORED. As the crowd in the San Siro roar, Tonio is doing a bum boogie, while Nico and Luca are screaming their joy*
“Did you see the speed of the ball, papa? Olivier shot it into the right hand corner, and the goalie went left. Result!” Tonio sings.
*Nico, sucks a beer, nods*
“Si, Olivier is on FIRE.”
*The boys grab a handful of popcorn from the huge bowl on the plate glass coffee table and suck on their sodas. Nico knows full well Bronte frowns on sugar laden drinks for the kids. To hell with it, today’s a special day. Plus, she’s not here. What she doesn’t know won’t kill her*
“Please may I have ice cream?” Luca asks, turning big dark eyes on his papa. Eyes that say he hasn’t had a treat for weeks. Nico scrubs knuckles on top of Luca’s inky curls, grins.
“Si, mio figlio.” He turns to Tonio. “Get three bowls. We’ll all have some.”
*Tonio shoots to the freezer, pulls out a two pint tub of dark chocolate chip, proceeds to dump spoonfuls into bowls. While he’s at it he adds a dollop of black chocolate syrup from his mama’s baking stash. The guys dig in while cheering on Olivier Conti who’s shot has just shook the goalpost*
“This is THE best day,” Tonio says.
Nico grins, gives him a high five. “Si.”
*Sophia the fairy, dressed in a skirt of pink and white netting, complete with wand and white ballet pumps on her feet, enters the family room. She stops dead. The volume of the huge flat screen TV is so loud her brothers and papa need to shout to be heard. The place smells of popcorn, beer, soda and chocolate ice-cream. Her brows rise as she takes in a scene of utter carnage. Popcorn flows over the glass table, the floor, AND her mama’s pride and joy, the new velvet couch the color of pale lilac. Luca’s mouth is ringed with chocolate ice cream, plus he’s slopped chocolate sauce on his favourite Spiderman T-shirt. AND there are empty bottles of Coke and beer on the table. Her pink lips pucker in feminine disgust. They haven’t used the coasters to protect the table either. Mama will not be pleased. Then her emerald eyes narrow when she clocks the abandoned ice-cream melting in the carton, and dripping spoon on the worktop near the sink. She takes a breath and marches to stand right in front of her papa*
*Nico shifts to the right to wince at his team’s near miss. Sophia mirrors his move to go nose to nose with him. He places his hands on her waist and shifts her to the left. Tonio yells FOUL and something about the referee needing glasses. Sophia climbs onto her papa’s lap to face him, and bonks him on the head with her wand*
Nico finally pays attention. “Sophia, cara mia, what is it? We are watching the game.”
“Can I have a kitten?” Sophia asks, ignoring Tonio and Luca’s wide you-cannot-be-serious eyes.
“No,” Nico says without missing a beat.
*Sophia clamps her little hands on Nico’s cheeks and squeezes until his mouth resembles a goldfish and they’re eye-to-eye*
“Can I have a Bacon Freeze?”
Nico blinks. “You want bacon?”
*Sophia heaves a sigh that tells him he’s the stupidest papa in the whole wide world*
“No,” she says. “It’s a dog. A Bacon Freeze.”
*Tonio turns to look at her, frowns for a minute, and then nods*
“She means a Bichon Frise. Her best friend Emily has a new puppy.”
“No,” Nico says without missing another beat.
*If he’d been paying attention to the way the devil enters his baby girl’s vivid green eyes, he might have received a clue. But since he was roaring encouragement to Olivier in rapid Italian, Nico misses the warning signs of impending doom. His daughter climbs off his lap, snatches his cell phone from the table, and marches out of the family room*
“Mama,” Sophia says into the phone as she stomps up the stairs to her bedroom to turn four of her least favourite dolls into trolls with her magic wand. “When are you coming home?”
“Finished early, so I’m on my way,” Bronte says, using her hands-free kit in her car. “What’s up, buttercup?”
“Papa won’t let me have a kitten, or a Bacon Freeze.”
“Honey, we’ve talked about this. No pets at the moment. I have the baby and you guys and papa to look after. Pets, especially puppies and kittens need a lot of attention. Poor Emily isn’t as lucky as you. She doesn’t have brothers or sisters. Her mama bought her a pet so Emily won’t get lonely.”
*Sophia’s wand isn’t sprinkling fairy dust upon her dolls. They keep staring at her with lifeless, unblinking, eyes. And no one had shared the popcorn, or the soda, or the ice-cream with her either, had they? Nope. The boys in this house were greedy, disgusting pigs*
“Papa and Tonio and Luca have made a mess in the family room,” Sophia says tossing her father and brothers under the train without a blink.
“It’s football season. Olivier’s playing,” her mama says. Then a silence, which went on, and on. “Exactly how much of a mess are we talking about?”
“A BIG mess. Popcorn on the coffee table, the floor and the new couch. Luca’s spilled Coke and chocolate ice-cream…”
“Papa gave Luca chocolate ice-cream? Coke?” Bronte yells.
“Yep, and I haven’t had any popcorn, Coke, or ice-cream,” Sophia says, piling more fuel on the fire. She feels a lot better when her mama snarls in her ear.
“I’ll be home in two minutes, and then you and me will visit Emily and her puppy. How about that?”
Sophia does a happy dance. “Yay! Thank you, mama.”
*Sophia skips down the stairs and into the family room to find her papa and her brothers slumped on the couch, and the perfect picture of male misery. The opposition have scored three goals in ten minutes. The game’s in the final seconds of extra time, and things are not looking good for Roma. The sound of a car coming to a halt in the gravel drive, a door closing, and high heels click, click, clicking on sandstone slabs brings Nico’s head up like a wolf scenting imminent danger. He leaps to his bare feet. Tonio and Luca slap bare feet to the floor. Sophia slides her papa’s phone on the coffee table. Bronte stalks into the family room. Stops dead. Hands on her hips, she surveys the scene through slitty eyes*
She jabs a finger at her husband and sons. “You lot have exactly one hour to clean this mess while Sophia and I visit Emily and her puppy. And when we get back, Nico Ferranti, you’d better prepare yourself for little chat.”
*A beaming Sophia does a little spin in her fairy dress, waves her wand, and dances behind her mama out the door*
“I don’t feel well,” a green looking Luca says.
*Thinking of the new couch, Nico grabs him as his son spews what was chocolate ice-cream, Coke and popcorn all over what had this morning been a spotless floor. Bronte’s gonna kill him. Thirty minutes later, Luca was in bed hugging a plastic bucket, just in case. Tonio and Nico work as a team to clean the family room to his wife’s incredibly high standards*
“How can the best day turn into the worst day?” Tonio wants to know as he piles bowls into the dishwasher.
*Nico’s frantically rubbing stain remover on the couch, and praying to God it works*
“This is life,” he says, and sends Tonio a lightning grin. “We are Italian, we understand this.”
Ahh, all of the above brings back many happy(!) memories of H babysitting while I did grocery shopping when the girls were small. The tales I could tell…
Am busy with SEAN’s story, and my super-seeeeeekrit project.
Until next week……