“I think you’re right,” I answer.
And then he opens up the door to what will be my bedroom.
It’s a girl’s paradise.
A dreamy four-poster bed stands in the center of the room with white gauzy drapes surrounding it. Fluffy white bedding sits atop the bed and heavy furniture is artfully placed in the perfectly decorated room. And I have a balcony.
I cross the room and open the glass French-doors.
“My word,” I breathe.
My bedroom overlooks the back of the estate and I can see olive trees for miles and miles. They line rolling hills and everything is green and shady and beautiful.
“That’s my balcony,” Dante points right next to me. “So we can stare at each other when we’re having our morning coffee.”
And that’s when I notice that there is a small bistro table in the corner of each of the balconies. I can sit out here in the serene solitude and have coffee, breakfast, scribble in a journal, or think about Dante.
I’ll probably be thinking about Dante a lot.
Especially now that I know that his room is literally right next door to mine.
I love him.
I make that realization with a start.
Because it’s startling.
Is it possible to love someone that you’ve only known for a couple of weeks?
It has to be possible. Because I love him.
I love thinking his name.
I love saying his name.
I love looking at him.
I love everything about him.
“Dante,” I whisper.
He turns to me, beautiful in the sunlight.
Holy crap. Did I say that out loud? I scramble to think of something to say.
“I love your house.”
“Me too. I’m glad you’re here.”
To: Reece Ellis <[email protected]
From: Becca Cline <[email protected]
Subject: A package
Thank you for the turtle. I love him and he’s adorable. Question, though. Don’t olive branches mean a peace offering? Um, did you notice that the turtle is eating your peace offering? Just an observation.
I hate fighting with you too. I love you like a sister. And I know that you don’t want Quinn anymore. So, let’s make up, okay? I’m sorry I freaked out. It wasn’t all your fault.
I actually decided to take a break from Quinn. That’s why I’ve been so upset. For a long time I’ve felt him slipping away. We’re young and he needs to experience other things- other than me. Other girls. I’m not that upset now—I’d rather this happen now than later.
Your mom told me that you’re staying there for the entire summer. What the eff?? What about senior pictures?
PS. Who were you talking about when you said that you might like someone else? Details please. And pictures.
I stare at the laptop and then sigh a huge sigh of relief. It’s like a weight has been taken off of my shoulders and I didn’t even realize that it was there.
But what a relief.
Becca and I have never had a fight as big as this one was. And I seriously thought that she might never talk to me again.
But she and Quinn have broken up? That thought makes it feel like the earth is a little off its axis or something. They’ve dated for years. Becca-and-Quinn. It’s like a staple back home. It’s the way it is. Becca-and-Quinn.
But things change, I guess.
Oh, how they change.
I’m sitting on my own personal balcony right now using the laptop that Dante had brought for me. My things have already been moved here and this will officially be my home all summer long. And I hadn’t thought of senior pictures until Becca mentioned them. I briefly wonder if there is photographer here that I could use because OhMyWord it would be awesome to have senior pictures taken here in paradise. I make a mental note to ask Dante.
I stare absently over the olive groves and watch the various workers tending to the trees. I think they are pruning them, but I can’t be sure. They are out there with sharp cutters and they are so very gentle, as though the trees are made from gold. And as much money as the Giliberti’s make from the olives and olive oils, I guess they might as well be.
I watch as Darius, the foreman, visits random trees and inspects the budding olives. It’s barely past breakfast. The sun hasn’t even been up that long. But Darius lives for his job. Or so Marionette tells me.
I watch Dante out there, too. He’s up early and working with Darius. He’s wearing a short-sleeved dark blue tee and khaki shorts. Even at work, he’s sort of dressed up. Boys back home would probably be wearing cut-offs. And I’ve got to stop comparing him to boys back home. There is no comparison.
Dante looks up and meets my gaze and grins. His smile is like a hundred suns and I smile back, waving. And then Darius calls him and Dante returns to work.
I sigh and close my laptop.
And then there’s a knock at my bedroom door.
I tighten the thick robe that Marionette gave me and open the door.
Mia stands there with a hot croissant, a coffee and a folded-up shirt.
“Here you go,” she tosses the shirt at me without any other greeting. And that’s slightly odd since I haven’t seen her since I left the Old Palace a couple of days ago.
“Well, good morning to you too,” I raise my eyebrows and look at the shirt. And then I realize that she is wearing a matching one. A forest green polo shirt with a gold G embroidered on the lapel. “What’s this?”
“Your uniform,” she tells me as she sets the food on my dresser. “And I brought you breakfast too. You’re welcome.”
I smile and thank her. And then I notice that she now has bright green streaks in her jet black hair.
“I like the hair,” I tell her. She nods.
“My dad didn’t,” she smirks.
“Isn’t that the point?”
She grins. “I love how you get me.”
I laugh and bite into the croissant. And then I want to die. Right after I eat a hundred more rolls.
“OhMyGosh. This is the best croissant I’ve ever had,” I tell her in all seriousness. She nods.