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Chapter 32 – Nancy

The moment mom’s face turned pale, I knew that an explosion wasn’t far behind. Tay must have sensed it too as he straightened up, looking ready to bolt. His eyes flit around the room; looking for possible escape routes should mom explode and attack him.

“You might want to slow down there a little Corazón mío (my heart).” Dad places a calming hand on mom’s arm. Dad’s usually nickname for mom doesn’t work as it should and it only increases his anger. “I know you are not happy with his proposal for him to take our Greg halfway around the world.” Dad moves his hand up to mom’s shoulders and starts massaging his tense shoulders. “That’s why I called Gordo and he confirmed that he, Meredith and Sylvester will accompany them to Italy and that they will stay with Gordo and Meredith.”

Mom looks up at dad suspiciously before crossing his arms in front his wide chest. “I want to hear that for myself.” In a flash Tay produces his cell phone and is calling Gordo. Once he picks up he hands the phone over to mom, who reluctantly accepts it. But once he has Gordo on the phone there was no stopping him from asking all kinds of embarrassing questions. To save myself and Greg from the embarrassment, I left the room quietly.

Trudging back upstairs to my room, I let out a sigh as I drop face first on my bed. If mom was this upset about Greg going to Italy with Gordo, Meredith, Sylvester and Tay, I can only imagine how he will react as I extend the invitation Rafa made to go away for a long weekend. Just the two of us. Although I promised Rafa that I would ask them as soon as possible, I haven’t found any courage to talk to mom about it.

My hand reaches out as I hear my phone chirp out the tune for an incoming text. My heart sinks a little as I see Rafa’s name flash across the screen. Biting my lip, I open his text.

Hi Travolgente, I was wondering if you asked your parents about our little holiday yet. I hope that you will ask them soon so I can book the little cabin!

I sigh deeply, dropping my phone on my chest as roll over to my back. Looking at the ceiling, I grab my fleeting courage and sit up. Determined to ask mom and dad today since they will still be in shock.

“Can I help you Miel?” Dad asks as I re-enter the kitchen, clutching the phone to my chest. I look up at him as he calls me honey. A nickname that he hasn’t used in a while. They called me that in the beginning because my hair was the colour of honey and I was using honey on everything I ate.

“Yeah….” Dad stops doing whatever it is in the sink and dries his hands as he turns to look at me. “It’s about the summer holidays.” I start but my mouth dries up as mom enters looking worried. Making me unable to continue.

“What about the summer holidays?” His voice raises a few pitches, looking at me wide eyed.

“Relax Corazón mío; I am sure that she will tell us if you give her some space.” Mom seems to realise he took a threatening step towards me. His shoulders slump as he flops down on a kitchen chair on the other side of the kitchen.

“I am sorry honey,” He sighs groaning lightly “I just….” I take a tentative step towards the kitchen table.

“I know mom…” I mumble, looking down at the table. “I just wanted to ask if….” I swallow hard. “If I and Rafa can go to a little holiday cabin in Hallow Creek holiday cabins for a long weekend.” My voice trails off as mom looks up startled.

“When…” Mom licks his lips, taking a deep breath. “When will you go there?” Determined to not show anybody in the room his obvious anxiousness.

“According to Rafa it will be the weekend before we leave for Rain.” Mom perks up considerably as I say that.

“You are going with us?” There is obvious hope in his voice as he asks.

I nod my head “Yeah, I promised Lo that I would take him to that Chucky Cheese like place they have there. And the only thing I learned is you don’t break any promises you make.”

“Let me think about it okay? I need to wrap my head around this.” Mom smiles slightly and reaches out slowly and ruffles my hair. Neither male reacts as I flinch slightly, a lifetime of living in fear making its presence known.

“Thank you.” I whisper softly to his retreating back and he lifts his hand in acknowledgement.

Hi boo, I asked mom today and he said he needs to think about it. I think he is still in shock about Tay saying that he wants to take Greg with him to Italy.

Rafa’s response was immediate, Really??? Talk about being bold! ;D But I hope that he will allow us to go. But are we still on for tomorrow?

I can’t help but smile a little as I remember that he agreed to take me along to his family’s gathering in what he likes to call angolo Italia. Or as I googled it the Italian corner of our country.

Yes I am. Dad said he would drop me off near the bus stop by the picnic park. I roll my eyes at his sappy response.

Great! I will see you then Travolgente! I wish you happy dreams, and dream of me!

Still his words never fail to make me smile, so I fell asleep with a slight smile on my face.

“Come ON Travolgente! You need to hurry up!” Rafa huffs as he continues to pull me along quaint cobblestone streets. “We are late as it is!” It might be my imagination but there seems to be a little bit of fear underlining his voice.

I kept my mouth wisely shut and just trotted along behind him. Biting my lips as my foot catches between the cobbles and my ankle twists painfully. Rafa is so distracted he doesn’t notice it and only stops when my hand and his untangle.

“What is it Travolgente? You are not going to back out now are you?” He looks at me wide eyed as I gently place my right foot on the ground and bite back a hiss. “What is it then?” He asks as I shake my head and he seems to get what happened as I hobble over to his side. My ankle clearly swollen. After knocking on a door, he scoops me up in his arms and barges in as the door opens.

I am placed on a kitchen stool in a busy bustling kitchen, people milling around the place, stirring in pots and pans, talking too rapid in Italian for me to follow.

“Nancy!” Rafa’s mom gasps as she sees me sitting there with my shoeless foot balancing on Rafa’s knee. Her eyes snap down to Rafa’s face as she sees my angry swollen ankle and mutters something under her breath before handing Rafa a pack of frozen peas.

Hissing as the cold meets my heated skin, I grab tightly onto the edge of the stool, clenching my teeth together. And that is how I find myself squished beside one of Rafa’s notorious cousins at the end of the table with my ankle bandaged and resting on the little stool.

“Youh Takeh Good Careh of Her…” Although it was a casual like statement everybody at the table froze, looking at Rafa. Who was staring or rather glaring at his grandfather seated at the head of the table. The man looked like he walked out of one of the Godfather movies. Grave expression on his face, squinting eyes and his pants are held up by suspenders and his button up shirt is white and his shoes polished until they reflect your face.

“Of course!” Rafa snaps, spoon and knife clanging against the porcelain of his plate. His grandfather looks pointedly in my direction. “If I didn’t love her as much as I do I wouldn’t have brought her here!”

“I am so sorry Travolgente. “ Rafa apologises later in the car. “I didn’t mean to snap like that at dinner.” His hand squeezes my knee lightly as he returns his gaze back to the road. “It’s just -- he somehow always manages to get under my skin and it makes me angry that he can. And that I let him get under my skin.”

I can see him stew in anger by the set of his jaw and I gently squeeze his hand. The ride home is quiet, but it is comfortable silence, I don’t feel that unnerved or uncomfortable by it.

At home he helps me up the porch steps and gently cups my cheeks. “I am really sorry Travolgente, for ruining the family dinner exploding like that.”

I smile slightly and stand on the tip of my good foot and kiss him gently. “It’s okay Rafa; I am not that bothered that we got to leave earlier.” He smiles a little sadly, gives me one more lingering look and steps off the porch.

Getting weird looks at school is nothing new the next day. But the hostile looks boring in my back as I hobble along on crutches are new. Glancing around, I can see Veronica glare at me from a row of lockers ahead but strangely it isn’t her.

Oddly enough it is Naill that seems to be giving me the death glare. I can’t really remember doing anything to piss him off. He puts his hands into his jean pockets as he walk over I see a folder tucked away under his arm. A folder called the Astro project and suddenly I remember that we are supposed to hand it in today. Luckily I already finished my part and rummage for a few minutes through my stuff and hand him the papers needed to finish the project. He blinks as he scans the papers before stuffing them into the folder and stalking off.

The rest of the day was uneventful, although Niall and I got some of the top marks for handing the project in on time. Niall seemed happy that he and I would get extra points for our effort.

After my last class of the day, it was finally time to go home and I was ready to throw those blasted crutches in the trash or use them to bash the head in from the next person who look at me with either pity or morbid curiosity. So it wasn’t a big surprise that I nearly clobbered Rafa with one of my crutches as he sneaked up on my from behind.

“Good God Rafa! Are you trying to give me a heart attack?!” I gasp as he fights to keep from snickering. With my hand over my wildly beating heart, I shake my head and softly mutter profanities all the way home. But I couldn’t stay angry at Rafa as he smiles brightly making me shake my head giggly lightly. Rafa kissed me as he knows he is being forgiven before quickly turning his gaze back to the road, avoiding a collision with a heavy truck in the process. I slapped his arm as he laughs when the truck honks its horn angrily.

“God, I love you.” Rafa startles me with his honesty as he gazes at me tenderly as we park in front of my house. “I love you so much Nancy.”

An unknown heavy emotion churns in my gut as I stare in his soft gaze. My throat closes, “I love you to Rafa.” I manage to croak before he seals his lips over mine. I am dangerously in love with this boy. I think to myself as I watch Rafa turn out of our driveway. I just hope he doesn’t break my heart.

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