Love across the Balearic

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Chapter 2

That night, Amelia allowed her brother to stay over. Not because she particularly cared or anything! She just didn't want to have to hear all of Eliseo’s bitching and whining if he decided to call when he arrived back at their grandfathers. She definitely wasn't worried that her airhead of a little fratellino would get lost in the midst of this damned storm. Nope, definitely not.

"It's been so long since we've spent a day together, Amelia." The younger Italian cooed, easily snuggling up to his sister’s side; with ease both managed to fit onto Amelia’s bed.

"What the hell are you saying? Working in the restaurant together isn't nice?" The elder snickered, pretending that she minded her brother's touchy nature. She wasn't pulling him closer or anything like that...

"It's not that -" a little yawn "-but, I like spending time outside of work with my sorella maggiore.” Eliseo explained, nuzzling into the crook of his sister’s warm, sun-kissed shoulder.

"Whatever, idiota. Go to bed." The elder of the two muttered, embarrassed and cheeks slightly flushed as she gently knocked Eliseo on the head with the backs of her knuckles. To this, a delighted little giggle bubbled from the younger of the pair and he quipped a slightly tired "si!" before settling down and relaxing in Amelia’s arms. Soon enough, the only sound encompassing the room was the sound of their mixed breathing with the occasional, sleepy mumble.

The next morning, Amelia awoke to a dull, gray light struggling through her blinds. It wasn't nearly as unpleasant as the shrieking alarm clock, but she still found it in herself to groan as she untangled herself from Eliseo and pushed her body up into a sitting position. Swinging her legs over the side of the bed the Italian cursed under her breathe as her bare feet contacted the chilled floor. Eliseo was, of course, still sound asleep, shivering as he cuddled into the cool pillow that had quickly replaced his older sister’s warm body.

This minor disruption in her morning schedule, having her brother over for once, wasn't something that bothered Amelia in the slightest...Not having any coffee, however, did bother her.

The suddenly enraged and still very tired italian began to go through every single one of her cupboards, slamming them when she found all of them to be completely devoid of her precious coffee. "Damn it all!" She grumbled, quietly sliding out of the kitchen as she was suddenly conscious of her sleeping fratellino. Idly she wondered how the hell he could sleep through all of that.

Seeing no other alternative, Amelia began to get ready to go and purchase some new coffee beans, hoping that the turkish bastard would have his shop open this early; it was only about eight-thirty in the morning, much too early to even function without her daily dose of caffeine. After sneaking back into her bedroom finding that Eliseo was, amazing as it was, still sound asleep she proceeded in quickly dressing in her daily clothes. Stylishly ripped blue jeans, a white tank top slightly accenting her figure along with a creamy orange over coat were paired together for today’s excursion. Before she left however Amelia took care in wrapping her slender neck with a long chocolate brown scarf. The Italian slipped out of the front door, though not before writing a quick and slightly sarcastic note to her brother:

"Eli,

There's no more coffee, so I went out to buy some. Thanks for drinking all of it last night, bastard.

~Amelia"

She crunched through the once virgin snow, moodily making her way to the shop a few blocks away from her apartment complex. However not in the possession of a car, it proved quickest to trek through the park to reach most of her destinations. The park had an old stone bridge that crossed the water and although her brother frequently begged his sister to take him; while Eliseo were off playing this is where she went. Whenever Amelia went over it she always paused to look down, partially to see the swift, brown river, partially to see the green necked ducks glide over the water, but also in hopes of catching a glimpse of the man whom lived there. It was while leaning over the side of the bridge did her scarf get caught under her palms and get untangled from her neck. Amelia clawed at the air but to no avail her scarf had drifted down into the river bank. "Goddamn it!" She let out, Amelia was almost tempted to rush down to the bank to retrieve the article of clothing but all that would result of it were her increased chances for hypothermia. As she was absolutely determined to get her coffee, even more so after this incident she simply trudged on glaring down at the ground cursing her lack of luck. And perhaps this is the effect of hindsight: the light before a shadow falls seems brighter in memory.

A sharp right turn down the sidewalk, into the slightly shadier part of the city, and a few blocks later, Amelia found herself standing in front of the Turkish man's shop. The outside looked poor - a crooked-hanging sign was held up by just one nail, dusty curtains covered up the grimy windows so that no one could really see through them. All the Italian cared to see was that the little wooden sign read open.

"Oi! You in here, bastard?" She called as she walked through the creaky doorway; a small chiming of a bell signalled her arrival. Without so much as waiting for an answer, she began to look through the selection of coffee beans. Being a very proud Italian, Amelia usually preferred Italian coffee over anything else, her favourite being Lavazza beans since they were quite popular in Turin. Unfortunately, it looked like they didn't have any in stock.

While she was busy trying to decide between the Spanish Torrefacto and Arabic Yemen beans, the shops co-owner, Michalis, shuffled out from the back of the store. "Ah...Hello, Amelia." He called out, leaning his arms against the counter as he watched the Italian as she tried to decide. Amelia gave a sigh before she turned towards the Grecian, giving a slight nod. "Morning. Turk isn't here?" She asked conversationally, exhaustion and irritation both clear in her voice.

"Not today. Apparently he's sick." Michalis gave a grimace, shaking his head. Ozcan was helpless when he was sick, to the point where not even his lover yes, lover, it was a very little known fact that the two were together, didn't want to be around.

Amelia gave a weak laugh, rolling her eyes. "And you didn't want to have to baby him." She guessed, spot-on. She and the Grecian got on quite well, in spite of them being polar opposites. Michalis was stoic and usually rather calm, except when it came to being around a certain Turk. Amelia was...expressive and quite overdramatic, however it proved difficult to not calm down around someone so mellow and nonchalant.

"No." The man behind the counter answered simply. "And by the way...Try the new Spanish Torrefacto, it's actually pretty good. A little more pricey, though." He added as a suggestion, seeing that the Italian was obviously having trouble deciding which coffee to pick.

After a few seconds, Amelia shrugged and proceeded to fill up two sacks of the Spanish coffee beans, trusting her friend's taste. When the price was brought up, the girl’s eyes went a bit wide. Pricey indeed. "Fifteen dollars and forty-seven cents will be your total. It's worth it." Michalis assured the other as she handed over some crumpled bills and change.

"It better be you jerk,.” Amelia warned, though there was no real meaning behind what she said. There never was, and as she left, Amelia gave a quick wave, the bell hanging near the door gave a light chime when the door was opened and closed and then she was gone, heading back to her apartment complex with two bags full of what better turn out to be the best fucking coffee she'd ever had.

By the time Amelia walked through her apartment's door, the smell of what promised to be a delicious breakfast along with the sound of her brother's soft humming wafted through the small room. Curious, she peeked into the kitchen, watching as her brother scraped batter out of the mixing bowl and onto the pan. "Buongiorno, I've got the coffee." She stated, waltzing into the kitchen and setting the bag on the counter. "It's a new Spanish brand, Michalis recommended it." She gave a shrug, plugging in the grinder and readied the coffee maker.

"Good morning, Amelia!” Eliseo cooed, watching the blue speckled batter bubble beneath the pans heat.

Within half an hour the coffee was made and Eliseo’s blueberry pancakes were done, the siblings sat at Amelia’s small dining room table, eager to try the coffee. "If it's shit, I'm going to return it." Amelia huffed, lifting the coffee up and giving it a sniff.

"Let’s drink it already!" Eliseo chimed in optimistically. At the exact same time, they both went to take their first sip of this new coffee both being pleasantly surprised. The coffee was bitter, yet because the beans were glazed in some kind of sugar there was also this kind of sweetness to it, and it was a bit earthy, but in the sense that one could tell the beans were very fresh and of high quality.

"I guess that bastard was right, it was worth the money..." Amelia admitted after a moment.

Eliseo gave her a grin along with a nod of agreement, "Si! It's really good! I like it better than the Lavazza or Yemen beans you usually get, sorella!" He said, eagerly going for another sip.

Breakfast was soon finished; the dirty dishes were washed by hand and stacked away by none other than Eliseo, who received an embarrassed "grazie" along with a kiss to the cheek. In spite of what most others thought, Amelia was actually quite caring towards Eliseo. After all, they were siblings and while they were currently being raised by their grandfather they had both become quite family oriented, as most Italians were. Yes, she often yelled at her brother and even called him names, but she loved Eliseo nonetheless and sometimes her irate and stubborn nature didn't always allow her to show such a feeling.

"Let me walk you home. You might get lost again." Amelia muttered, rolling her eyes as her younger brother sat in the middle of the living room and pulled on his boots. The tip of his little, pink tongue poked out as he shoved his foot inside of each one, and then he finally gave an answer.

"Okay! It'll be fun!" He agreed quickly, standing up and going to pull on his jacket as Amelia went to do the same. In minutes, they were out the door and on their way towards the restaurant. Eliseo along with their grandfather actually lived right above the restaurant in a spare room, and for awhile Amelia had lived with them, but the space proved to be much too small so she offered to move into her own place, since it meant that she wouldn't have to stay in such an enclosed space. Amelia loved them no less and to be honest, she didn't want them getting involved. She desired nothing more than their safety and comfort and if she were the one to leave, she was content. This solidarity was familiar territory, and sometimes venturing into unfamiliar territory proved to be more frightening.

Eliseo chattered on about useless things, and Amelia simply nodded along, humouring her brother as best as she could. Honestly, she'd like to be more like her little brother. Eliseo was so much more likeable and cute, that people had a tenancy to flock towards him, and he always accepted them with a genuine smile while Amelia tended to sit at the sidelines, watching with an envious glint in those blue eyes. Oftentimes she feared that Eliseo being so young and carefree would just go off with some odd stranger no questions asked because he was so kind and trusting. This was why Amelia came off as overprotective and overbearing; because she cared. In the back of her mind, she was sure that her younger brother always understood these things, but it was a subject that both tended to skirt around.

"Addio, Amelia! I'll see you tomorrow morning when we open back up!" Eliseo smiled, leaning forward and kissing both of his sister’s cheeks, a gesture that Amelia quickly returned. "Si, tomorrow. Ciao." Amelia gave a small wave as she watched her brother go inside, and only when the door was shut did she turn on her heel and start back home.

New York was extremely cosmopolitan. They were people from every country and ethnic group, either as residents or tourists. New York City citizens did not usually stare at someone merely because they look different. Something exceptional were required as time itself seemed to pause ever so slightly as the Italian bit at her lip, Amelia’s gaze falling over the man who was slumbering on the bus stop bench. He didn't actually look too old, perhaps only a few years older than Amelia was. His olive cheeks were tinted pink, his auburn curls were splayed around his face, eyes shut as he curled into himself, layers of clothes being the only things that were keeping him warm...

Along with an all too familiar scarf.

Although little time had passed since she saw her scarf floating down the river there was no denying it’s true ownership. The man’s face rested upon his fists as he slept, chest heaving at a pace that indicated he was sleeping quite soundly.

And the Italian was frozen in place, she wasn't sure why this shocked her so much, and why she didn't just wake the damn guy up and demand to have her scarf back. Perhaps because it was actually kind of heartbreaking to see someone who would actually trudge through the water to retrieve the scarf whose now frozen frigidity suggested to give no warmth. A frown found its way onto Amelia’s face as she stood there for a moment, hands curling and uncurling in her coats pocket as she idly wondered what the man had done during the storm, why he was out here, who he was, and why the hell did Amelia of all people care?

Giving a light huff, Amelia her hands buried in her pockets pulled out her mittens. In an action one could describe as almost delicate she placed the pair onto the bench next to the man. She wasn't sure what she was thinking, perhaps she wasn't even thinking at all. Who was to say that the man would even notice them? However it was too late to turn back, for Amelia was already stomping back towards her apartment complex, scarf and mittens both left behind to that stranger.

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