Once more, as so many times in the past and certainly also in the future, Blaine and I were over at the Auditore mansion to spend time with our friends. We kinda always alternated meeting places, but with few exceptions it was one family’s home or the other. As liberating as being vampires was, there were certain limitations it caused, which the world had not yet become too accommodating of.
So here we sat, Melissa between Blaine and I on the couch and Ezio facing us from a chair, we were talking, laughing, drinking, wine for the girls and Bourbon for the boys.
The home had changed somewhat. I saw boxes standing around the entrance and a pile of blueprints, catalogs, pattern books spread across the dining room table when I went to the bathroom. Blaine, you cunning fox. His advice actually had worked. Since he and I didn’t keep secrets from each other he did enlighten me about what he had told her. Good for you, Melissa! I thought, grinning to myself.
At some point Ezio even brought up the impending renovations and change of scenery inside the house, even though it was nowhere near final yet.
“I am not looking forward to the noise and dirt and utter disaster this will be. For weeks, mind you.” he frowned.
“Yeah, makes sneaking away to secretly work tougher, huh?” Melissa teased.
“I would never!” he smiled back, winking.
“Oh you are funny, lover!” Melissa quipped.
“Really funny …” I chimed in “…especially him thinking any of us would buy that.”
“Well, aside from work, ladies, there are grumpy school children and whiney toddlers to consider. In case you and Blaine are not aware or have forgotten, Michael does not take kindly to interrupted nap times, worse than any toddler I have ever encountered. I am truly not certain how to schedule home improvement crews around toddler naps.”
“Then don’t, Captain Moneybags. Pack a few duffel bags full of that cash you roll around in and take a trip. Go on vacation. Come back when it’s done, you drama-queen.” Blaine suggested, shrugging.
“Blaine, I know you are not familiar with the mere concept of holding down a meaningful career to ensure your family is properly taken care of, but one cannot just drop everything and vacation whenever the mood hits. Even if one is financial secure enough to allow such a thing it does not mean, one should! It’s called acting reasonably, you might want to give that a test drive some day!” Ah, there was the usual man-bickering, for a moment I had thought Ezio and Blaine needed new batteries or something.
“Yeah, being the owner of a large firm with half the population of San Myshuno on payroll is such a blood-job. Of course you could just vacation whenever you wanted to, if you could let go of the reigns for a second, you control freak. But guess you need this to make you feel like yours is bigger than everybody else’s …”
“I am not even going to grace this with a response, you infantile!”
“You know guys, Blaine is right. You have been married for years now and never went on that honeymoon. First the twins, then Stefania, then Michael… you are well overdue.” I sided with my husband.
“Yeah, travel fast before something else is overdue again.” Blaine grinned.
“Blaine, I love you, but shut up, ok?” I kissed him, leaning awkwardly across Melissa, before he could argue.
“Ezio, they are right. We never had a honeymoon …” Melissa agreed, while pushing Blaine and me back to our respective positions to each of her sides, probably fearing we’d get into more of a romantic mood.
“Ok, so I am outvoted already. Splendid. Well, I suppose you have a point. So, where would you like to go, bella mia?” he smiled at Melissa.
“I don’t know …. hmmm..”
“I do. Take her to Italy. Show her where all this Italian splendor, good looks, charisma, the good wine and your temper come from.” I winked at him.
“Oh Viktoria. Italy is a bit ambitious don’t you think? That is quite far and in an emergency we could not quickly travel back.” he looked at me like I was a raving idiot.
I shook my head when I had the idea to both, help Melissa and shove the beratement up Ezio’s butt, so I leaned over to Melissa and whispered in her ear, she giggled, we whispered back and forth a few times until she addressed Ezio, suppressing a grin.
“Ezio! Ho bisogno di fare pratica con il mio italiano!(*1)” she blurted out, sounding near perfect. I was like a proud momma, even though it earned me one of those ‘I’ll get you back for this’ looks from Ezio. Oh well, I got you back first, my friend. I flashed my brightest smile at him. And of course could he not deny his Melissa.
He chuckled when he said “You do, huh? Non c’è problema (*2). Italy it is. I will call Carla with the travel department tomorrow morning. Are we taking the kids?”
“Ezio, what is wrong with you?” I scolded, shaking my finger at him before continuing “you do not take children on a honeymoon! I am sure between Addy and …ouch!” I halted when I felt a hard nudge by Blaine, reaching behind Melissa, trying his best to prevent me from offering us up, so to save my own hide I continued “… ahem… other family plus the nanny they will be just fine. And Blaine and I will keep tabs and text you frequently.”
(*1) “I need to practice my Italian!”
(*2) “Not a problem.”