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Chapter 12: Greece- Santorini

Mia opened her eyes as warm sun warmed her room through the open window. The curtains whiffled slightly as the room filled with fresh air. Mia sat up on her bed and stretched her body out. She brushed her teeth after getting out of bed and walked out of the room rubbing her eyes and yawning.

“Morning” she said looking around. The aroma of freshly baked bacon mixed with coffee filled her senses and she smiled. Enzo and Natasha were cooking breakfast in the kitchen. Archer and Lydia were setting up the table outside so we could sit there and eat. Aria was making coffee. And Lucas sat on the couch, typing something on his phone. “Do you guys need some help?” Mia asked, no one answered so she just shrugged and sat beside Lucas.

“Don’t worry about helping we have a routine and everyone has their own job. So let them do their thing.” He was the first to speak up.

“Okay. Don’t you have anything to do?” Mia was curious as he was the only one besides her that didn’t do anything.

“No, I do everything wrong so they just don’t ask me to do anything anymore.” He winks. He puts his finger on his lips and whispers “It’s a secret” Mia smiled. “Did you sleep well? You were in the Jacuzzi till late.” He asked Mia after a while.

“Yes I did. And you?”

“Yeah I did, once I could ignore Enzo’s snoring” he smiled and so did she.

“Hey I heard that” Enzo came in view with a spatula in his hand. “And FYI I don’t snore!” Lucas and Mia burst out in laugher when he left.

When breakfast was ready everyone took a plate of bacon, eggs and toast and a cup of coffee and went out on the patio to eat together. It was a beautiful sunny day. The wind blew softly and the birds chirped around. For the first time Mia noticed these small things around her. She got lost in thoughts as the group chatted while having their breakfast.

“So what do we have on the agenda today?” Aria inquired. They all turned their heads to Lucas.

“Today we’re going to the beach. We’re leaving around 10 a.m. so make sure everyone is ready.”

“I thought we were going sight-seeing today?” Lydia said with a pout.

“Today beach. Tomorrow sight-seeing.” Lucas said simply.

Mia had a confused expression on her face, which Natasha noticed and she whispered. “Everyone has their own share of responsibility they need to fulfill towards the group and Lucas’ is planning our trips.” Mia nodded. Well that explains why he was sitting around when everyone was busy. They cleaned everything up and got themselves ready for a day at the beach. On the way there they stopped at a shop to get snacks and drinks.

The beach wasn’t that crowded. They found a nice spot not far from the shore and set their things up there. Aria, Archer, Lucas and Lydia took off and played soccer, Natasha was engrossed in her book. Enzo walked over to Mia.

“Hey. Do you want to go for a stroll?” he asked.

“Yeah, sure” she stood up from the beach towel which she was sitting on and joined him. For some time neither of the, said a word. Mia was engrossed in her surroundings. The wind flipping violently through her hair, the salty air filling her senses, the sand on the soles of her feet and the waves gently caressing her feet. She closed her eyes and took all of it in. It all made her feel alive. She opened her eyes and looked over at Enzo. He look lost in his thoughts. Mia reached out and touched his arm. His eyes met hers and his lips curved up in a small smile. “How are you holding up?” Mia asked.

“It’s going a little better. I still miss her but I love her and I know seeing me happy will make her happy.” He let out a sigh. They were both looking at the horizon.

“I’m glad to hear that.” They were enjoying our silence.

“Regret. It’s a real funny thing you know. One moment you make a decision and the next moment the consequences appear. You can turn those consequences in lessons and move forward or you can regret that decision and never learn from it. That regret stays with you forever and makes you doubt the decisions you make. That’s why we need to learn from our decisions so there is no room for regret.” she looked over to him as he spoke while staring straight ahead. He looked lost in his thoughts. “Do you know, my mom called me when she was sick. She asked me some random questions and not once did I ask her how she was doing.” His voice started to tremble, it’s too much for him. She reach out and held his arm and he pulled her in a tight hug. She stroked his back trying to comfort him.

“You don’t have to talk about it if you’re not comfortable talking about it. I’ll be here whenever you are ready to talk.” She said.

“No, for the first time I’m opening up, I need to let it out. I didn’t even say that I loved her and missed her. And that is the thing I regretted the most. I wish there was some way to go back to that moment and talk more to her. For me to tell her I love her, but I never got to talk to her personally again. If you have something to tell someone tell them immediately. Don’t waste time, because if the time has passed all you have is regret.”

She just stood there hugging him back, unsure of what to say. There was nothing she could say in that moment that could make him feel better. He just needed a shoulder to cry on. After some time he sobered up. He looked at her and gave Mia his signature smirk. “Thank you so much. I feel much better now.”

Mia smiled back at him. “Do you need anything? Water?”

“No I’m fine. Let’s head back to the others.” They started walking back.

“You know if you ever want to talk to your mom you can just look at the stars and talk to her. I know it’s a myth that deceased ones become stars but the stars are a constant in life and by seeing that point of view I can understand why people do it. The stars are always there, up in the sky, looking down on us. By associating it to someone you love it can make you feel better because no matter what happens it will always be there. I’m sorry I’m just rambling nonsense.” She looked away.

“I’ll keep that in mind.” She looked over to him and he was smiling. At least she could make him smile. “And that was not nonsense.” They reached the others.

“I’m starving let’s get some real food, something that doesn’t qualify as snacks, please” Aria exclaimed.

“You’re always hungry Ar. Where does all your food go?” Lydia said and they all laughed.

“You’re just jealous so shut up. Come on guys lets goooo.” Aria stood up and started pulling Lucas and Natasha off the ground. They all stood up packed their things and head over to a restaurant not too far from the beach.

Lydia ordered Kotosoupa Avgolemono (chicken and rice soup with egg lemon sauce added). Natasha had the Bamies (containing okra with tomato sauce and lamb). Archer went for Apáki (lean pork marinated in vinegar, then smoked with aromatic herbs and shrubs, and packed in salt.) Enzo wanted the Astakomacaronada (spaghetti with lobster). Lucas ordered Xiphias (swordfish). Aria ordered Yiouvarlakia (meatballs soup with egg-lemon sauce) along with the same thing Enzo ordered. And Pastitsio (an oven-baked layer dish: Béchamel sauce top, then pasta in the middle and ground meat cooked with tomato sauce at the bottom). Mia decided to have Kotópoulo sto foúrna me patátes (Oven-baked chicken with potato)

For dessert Aria orderd Galaktoboureko (custard baked between layers of phyllo, and then soaked with lemon-scented honey syrup). And Melitinia cookies, Santorini’s speciality.

They enjoyed the food while chatting along happily. When they had ordered Mia doubted Aria could finish what she ordered but to Mia’s surprise she did. They paid and head back to the beach. They set up their things again. Lydia and Aria were playing cards and the rest of them went for a swim. After a while they also joined the two girls’ playing cards. The whole group had a lot of fun. By the time they got back to the villa everyone was so exhausted they went straight to bed. Around 3 a.m. Mia woke up and couldn’t fall asleep anymore. She got up and went into the balcony. The quiet night, the infinite sky lit up with endless stars had such a calming effect. The night breeze was refreshing against her skin. She sat down for a while. She was enjoying the quiet of the night when she heard someone yelling in Spanish, she didn’t want to impose so she didn’t move. After a while the yelling stopped and Lydia walked into the balcony. She was a little shocked to see Mia there, she hesitated but sat down beside her.

“I guess you heard that?” she didn’t look at Mia. Why is she acting so shy? Mia thought to herself.

“Yeah. I didn’t want to impose that’s why I stayed here. Is everything okay?” Lydia stayed silent for a while, she looked at her hands while she was playing with the hems of her shirt. “You don’t have to say anything if you don’t want to. I won’t pressure you.” they sat there in silence together, looking at the stars.

“My idiot boyfriend broke up with me via text.” Lydia finally spoke up.

“I’m sorry to hear that. But if it helps boys are stupid and clueless. And to break up via text just makes him dumb. Honestly he sounds like someone who has more dick in his personality than his pants.” She looked straight into Mia’s eyes and they both burst out in laughter.

“Thank you I needed that.” Mia gave her a hug.

“You deserve much more than someone who breaks up via text.” She let out a small smile.

“So what are you doing up so late? I’m sure you’re not just here to plays the role of my therapist.”

“I couldn’t sleep. So I thought to come out and get some fresh air.”

“Hhmm okay. Well I’m tired and that asshole disturbed my sleep so I’m heading back to bed. See you tomorrow.”

“Okay, good night.” Lydia walked into the villa. She stopped at the door and looked over to Mia.

“You know you’re really special. The strongest people make time to help others even if they’re struggling with their own personal demons. I’m glad to have met you and that you are our friend... my friend.”

Mia smiled back at what she said. Lydia didn’t wait for her to say anything back she just walked to her room.

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