The Hybrid

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Chapter 29 - This Is Rome

Note: I have packed this school trip all into one chapter otherwise this book would be a bit longer than I originally want it to be. Therefore, Chapter 31 will describe them coming back to New York.

Another important thing to note is that I have never been to Rome and I have done research on the landmarks to the best of my ability. However, if some things are not correct please let me know so I can improve the book.

I gaze down at the large amphitheater before me, taking in every detail with eager eyes. It showcases how ancient it is with its worn walls and the strength of the materials used to build this magnificent piece of architecture. I can hear the light chattering of the many people who are taking a tour with us, the class posing for some group photos that will be posted online tonight.

Taking one last picture, I catch up with the group and proceed to make my way to the Trevi Fountain, that’s the second thing I am most excited to see after the Colosseum. Following Mr. Alvaro, the class crosses roads whilst taking pictures of the beautiful city.

The first landmark we had visited was the Pantheon, which is the most preserved and influential building of ancient Rome, that consisted of historic tombs; a temple dedicated to all the gods of pagan Rome, as Mr Alvaro had divulged. It stood tall and proud with rows of columns to support the grand structure. The inside was as intriguing as the outside, with a dome ceiling and a tiny skylight providing light into the semi-dark area. We had spent a good while there, admiring what the landmark had to offer before heading off to the next destination on our list which was the Colosseum.

The group makes their way past cute cafes and shops before finally reaching the beautifully iconic, 18th century, sculpted fountain. I gasp quietly, pushing my way through to the front to get a closer look at the mix of water and stone. It’s a breath-taking piece of art that looks very ethereal.

“The construction of this landmark started in the year of 1732 and opened to the public in 1762. The architects were Gian Bernini, Pope Clement XII and Nicola Salvi, who was also the artist.” Mr Alvaro explains to our group as we take down notes. “The media used was Carrara marble and Travertine. This fountain was inspired by Roman triumphal arches and is the largest and most famous Baroque fountain in Rome.”

I move to the side, taking a few pictures before my gaze lands on the various statues that are part of the fountain. It’s hard to decide which is my most favorite landmark, as they are all beautifully unique in their own way.

Swinging the strap of my professional camera onto my shoulder, I find Sophia in the crowd and link arms with her whilst sharing the pictures I have taken. Mr. Alvaro shouts from the front that we can go and have dinner in the city if we want before retiring to the hotel for the night and continuing the tour tomorrow.

My group of friends huddle together whilst we search on our phones for some good food places nearby. We finally decide on a pizzeria nearby and follow the directions Theo is giving us. Soon, after fifteen minutes of walking, we reach the restaurant and head inside, grabbing a group table for ourselves. I sit between Sophia and Kayla, picking up the red menu from the table and scouring for something that will fill me up.

When the waitress arrives with our drinks, we tell her our orders before resuming our chat and sipping our drinks. I have ordered a tropical cocktail and a pizza with potato chips as a side dish. Sophia jokingly clinks her glass with mine making me laugh as she takes a sip as I look around the restaurant, taking in the interior and lively atmosphere.

Thankfully, we don’t have to wait long for our food and soon find ourselves digging into our dishes, the sound of cutlery clinking against plates reaching my ears. We spend about an hour in the restaurant, enjoying our food with no rush before paying the bill and making our way out the door. As we walk down the street, live music fills my ears making me look to the opposite street where a band plays, a small crowd of people who have stopped to listen around the makeshift stage.

Smiling, I turn my gaze back to the group ahead, taking my camera and snapping some pictures of the nightlife of Rome. Jogging lightly, I catch up with the group again and grin at Kaden who puts an arm around my shoulders and mumbles about getting lost easily here if it’s your first time.

The next morning.

I turn off the blaring alarm of my phone and jump out of bed, excited for the day ahead. Kayla groans when I try waking her up, her hair tangled whilst she snores, drifting back to sleep again. I call for her to get up to avoid being late whilst I make my way into the bathroom to shower and change.

After I’m done, I slip into a floral dress and pack a light cardigan in my backpack just in case. Slipping on some comfortable shoes, I decide to put my hair up in a ponytail, my curls now wavy and loose after the warm shower and blow dry. Applying some eyeliner, I laugh as a grumbling Kayla makes her way into the bathroom. Swiping some lip gloss onto my lips, I pack some essentials and make sure that both my phone and camera won’t die on me during the day.

I smile softly as I look down at my phone, reading the message Vulcan had sent me last night. As promised, I have been keeping in touch with him and updating him daily on my whereabouts, telling him about what I do throughout the day and where I go. He, as usual, is being his worrying self and constantly reminding me to stay with the pack members.

I hear Kayla open the door of the bathroom and walk out while I send him a text telling him about the sites I will be seeing today. After the message is sent, I turn off my phone and look up with a content smile on my face, which instantly fades when I notice Kayla’s grinning expression.

“So, who’s Mr. Tall, Dark and Handsome?” She muses, wiggling her eyebrows.

I laugh and bring her up-to-date about the recent turn of events, minus Vulcan being a supernatural creature along with most of the people she knows. She listens with eager eyes before squealing at the end about how cute we are. I chuckle and push her lightly when she starts teasing me, heading out of the hotel room with her yelling at me to wait up.

She catches up to me and we both make our way down, meeting Max and Theo on the way. We reach the hotel lobby where the rest of the group are waiting and soon make our way outside. I’m just as excited about today as I was about yesterday. Today, we’re visiting St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums. I absentmindedly pat my camera bag, thinking about the pictures I’ll be filling it up with today’s landmarks.

The day is spent sightseeing with Mr. Alvaro and the group, making stops on the way for some gelato and food while we travel from the basilica to the chapel. I look through my camera, taking in the pictures of St. Peter’s Basilica’s exterior and interior. It really is a magnificent piece of architecture.

I’m snapped out of my thoughts when Alex grabs my hand and pulls me forward, grinning at me when I smile up at him, both of us with our sunglasses on to block the sun’s rays from blinding us. Soon, I find myself walking through the Sistine Chapel with Mr. Alvaro’s voice floating back with the history of how this church came to be. Sadly, we are not allowed to take pictures here but I enjoy looking around anyways.

After, we all head out to make our way to the last destination which are the Vatican Museums. Our group shuffles in through the entrance and ready our devices once again. I marvel at the sight of the ceiling, various amounts of paintings scattered across the area with larger artworks on the walls. Moving closer, I angle my camera and take a picture of the ceiling which showcases the length of it, the end of the room visible in the snapshot. We are allowed to take pictures of some places but, other artwork pieces are forbidden to take photos of.

The museum is full of hallway after hallway of statues, paintings and tapestries. My favorite part of the museum is the ceilings, it’s just so gorgeous and carefully crafted. I listen to my teacher ramble about the museum and Vatican City itself, telling us the history of how it was all made and when. Keeping, my gaze on the group, I take one last picture of a statue and an intriguing tapestry before following them out.

We walk to the golden ball outside, a substitute teacher holding a camera up for us to take another class photo. Looping my arm through Sophia and Kaden’s, I smile for the pictures before heading back into the city for food with the group.

Walking through the streets, I look up at the evening sky, wondering what Vulcan is doing right now. Knowing him, he’s definitely holed up in his office or training the pack - always working. He really needs to get away for a bit to relax, I can’t imagine how stressful it must have been to take over and manage the pack from such a young age and not having some time for yourself in between. I always love some alone time at least once a week to unwind and relax but Vulcan is the exact opposite.

I’m brought out of my thoughts when Kaden nudges me in the side with his elbow, making me yelp in shock at the sensation it causes. He chuckles when I glare at him in mock anger, bringing me to his side and pointing out different sights and where he has been before or what he has yet to visit.

After lunch at a cute cafe in the city, we head back to the hotel in the evening, the dark sky clear of any clouds and twinkling with bright stars instead. I turn the camera around to face Kaden and I, both pulling a funny face and laughing once we look at the snapshot.

“This was a good day.” I murmur, smiling as we enter the hotel to retire for the night.

On our last day, we can do whatever we want in the city but there are restrictions on clubbing, not that I want to party the night away and be hungover in the morning when I can explore the city a bit more instead.

As promised, Kaden takes Kayla, Max and I out to explore the city whilst Sophia and Alex have to meet with another pack. Theo is with us too, fulfilling his duty as a warrior and I know there are numerous other male and female guards discreetly following our group, watching and protecting. I’m a little bummed that Sophia and Alex won’t be joining us but understand that they have pack work too. So waving goodbye to them, we head off to the first stop on the list: The Campo dei Fiori Markets.

I have heard about the outdoor market and am excited to see it, following Kaden as he guides us through the busy streets of Rome. It’s not far from Piazza Navona and is known for being a food market where people mostly come to stock up their kitchens and try out what is on offer.

I gaze at the various stalls set up, picking out some things that look tasty and different. We spend most of our morning here as these stalls are only set up earlier in the day. If you sleep in, you will miss it.

After, we spend some time in shops, buying bits and pieces to bring back home as souvenirs. We take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city and stroll through the peaceful neighborhood. The cobbled streets are scarce, there are hardly any cars in sight. There are some restaurants and cafes that serve up some cheap food but taste delicious all the same.

Kaden guides us on to the piazza, in front of the Santa Maria, in Trastevere church which is a gorgeous sight to look at. He then leads us back, saying how after nightfall this neighborhood loses its peacefulness and relaxing quality, becoming an interesting area for many other reasons that he won’t reveal no matter how many times we ask.

For the rest of the evening, we walk around and discover independent boutiques, little cafes and various forms of entertainment, even strolling through the streets of various neighborhoods and chatting to the residents who are outside enjoying the weather.

Soon, it’s time to go back to the hotel and rest up for we have to be up early in the morning to make it to the airport in time. I bid goodbye to the boys and follow Kayla back to the room, chuckling when she jumps onto her bed, lying on her stomach and groaning about how her feet ache yet she would go through all of it again just to spend the day in the charming city once more.

Once I’m changed and ready to go to bed, I send Vulcan a message alerting him that I’m back at the hotel and will see him tomorrow. I slip under the sheets, chatting to Kayla about how amazing this trip has been until we both doze off.

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