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Chapter 35 – Taylor

I can tell that Greg is nervous and excited to go to Italy. Although he said he wasn’t tired at all, he fell asleep before his head hit the pillow. Shaking my head as Greg sleeps through the sound of my alarm clock; I decide to let him sleep a little longer.

“Come on sleepy head, time to wake up.” Ruffling his hair, because I know how much he hates that, he glares at me with one eye as the rest of his face is hidden in the pillow. “You need to get dressed if you want to catch the plane.” That seems to wake him up as he sits up quickly and throws of the quilt and rushes around the room to get his clothes and slams the bathroom door behind him. I walk down the stairs as I hear the shower running.

Chuckling as I see Syl bounce in his seat to a rhythm he can only hear as he munches on his cereal, I quickly nab two hot pieces of toast that just popped up out of the toaster. “Hey!” Meredith looks a little annoyed but rolls her eyes and swiftly put in two more pieces, standing close to it so I can’t nab any other pieces.

“Morning.” Gordo grumbles as he kisses Meredith on her cheek and sits down in his seat, gratefully accepting the espresso Meredith hands him. “Where is Greg?” Gordo looks at me over the rim of his tiny cup.

“I think he just finished showering, so I think he will be here soon.” Greg enters the room just as I wash down my last piece of toast with some orange juice. He flushes a little as he takes a seat beside me, murmurs he would love some cereal for breakfast as Meredith asked him what he would like to have. “I am going to get ready.” Rising from my seat, I carry my dishes over to the sink; I make my way to the hall and take the stairs two at a time. After a quick wash and rinse, I emerge freshly washed and teeth brushed.

I can’t help but chuckle as I watch Greg’s awed face as we enter the airport after parking the car in the long term parking space. His head keeps rotating round and round, wide eyed as he tries to take in everything that is happening at once. He starts as Syl lets out a happy squeal on top of the suitcases as I sharply turn the trolley. “Don’t do that damn it!” He mutters as he still hold his hand over his heart. “Nearly gave me a heart attack.”

Syl pouts and clambers off the suitcases as Meredith gives us a stern glare just before we join the queue to drop off our suitcases that go into the bottom of the plane. Greg nervously hands over his passport to Meredith when it is our turn and Gordo and I lug all the suitcases piece for piece on the rotator belt so we can see what the weight is and the stewardess ca attach our plan information on it. She gives Meredith the passports back and the printed tickets and circles the gate and departure time on the top most ticket.

After dropping the trolley near the other trolleys, Greg firmly grabs hold of my hand as we make our way through customs. Dropping my bag in the designated little tray, I wriggle my belt out of the belt loops, putting all the stuff from my pockets in a separate tray, I wait for the customs officer to wave me through the machine that scans my body for anything hidden under my clothes.

The alarm goes off just as I finish putting my belt through the last hoop and look up to see a white faced Greg speaking to the customs officer. He pulled off his belt and was made to walk through the machine again – this time the alarm doesn’t go off and he is free to gather his things.

“Remember to remove your belt next time.” Greg scowls at my grin as he continues to stuff things back in his pockets as we wait on Gordo, Meredith and Syl to go through customs. Nobody makes any more fun of Greg as we all totter to the big screen behind customs to see what gate we need to go to. It doesn’t take long for our gate to open and we stroll down to it.

I give Greg the window seat that was originally mine so he can look out the window as we board the plane. Settling in my seat beside Greg, I chuckle as he bounces excitedly like Syl in his seat. He pays a lot of focused attention as the stewards and stewardesses point out the safety features in our plane. As soon as they are done, I yawn and nearly fall asleep as we take off. It is only for Greg’s startled grunt that I open my eyes and look at him. He blushes as he firmly grips my hand and squeezes it for the duration of take-off and landing.

“Welcome to Italia.” I grin as Greg squints at the sunlight filtering in through the little round window and my heartbeat picks up a notch. It feels good to be back. The longest wait is for our baggage, apparently some of our suitcases got mixed up with another flight and we had to wait to hours for that flight and our baggage to arrive. Once it finally did we walked outside straight into Mickey’s embrace.

Greg is a little tense as he spots the gruff looking group but they warmly welcome him as they lug our baggage to the car, talking a mile a minute. Outside the airport I take a minute and just enjoy the sunshine on my face and take a deep breath. All my worries disappear the longer I stand there. I can feel Greg’s curious gaze on me as he stands there beside me. “Just enjoying the feeling of being back.” Greg raises an eyebrow at my words and I just grin. The familia was quite taken with Greg as soon ashe entered the door; he was a little overwhelmed and blushed the whole evening.

As I had promised him, I woke him up early so we could go to Rome and see the Coliseum and the Spanish steps. Our family lives just outside of Rome I managed to get my cousin Giorgio to lend us his moped so we can cruise around at our own speed. Greg looked a little uncertain when I handed him the helmet and eyed the moped suspiciously but got on anyway. “It is the fastest way to travel around here.” I assure him and revved the gas before mingling into the early morning traffic.

“Traffic always this crazy?” Greg wonders as we watch several people whiz past us as we take a breather in the shade with some ice cream of the local ice cream shop.

Winching at a very close call between a car and a moped driver, I shrug as the two start shouting at each other. “More or less.” Finishing the ice cream and stretching, “Are you ready to see more?” Greg carefree munches on his ice cream, walking up and down a few paces on the sidewalk. Blinking, I see a grinning Greg lowering a small digital camera. “Did you just take a picture of me?” We spend the rest of the day touring around and Greg snapping pictures here and there.

True to his word, Greg was found texting his parents or making the occasional call, startling Zach and Tiago. It didn’t take Greg very long before he starting to feel comfortable around my excited and boisterous family members, he even started getting a tan. He even went around shirtless on the beach when we were there. Documenting our whole trip with pictures and the entries in his little travel diaries.

All too soon we have to return home. In a blink of an eye, we entered our last few days in Italy. “I don’t want to leave.” Greg groans as he looks out in the sun drenched back yard where Syl is playing a boardgame with Giorgio, exclaiming loudly in Italian when Giorgio cheated.

“I know.” I finish up placing the rinsed dishes in the dishwasher and squeeze his shoulders. “We can always come back on our next break.” Placing a kiss on his cheek, making him look up startled.

“We can?” Stretching and examining his beautiful golden tan, Greg embraces me lightly pressing butterfly kisses on my lips. Grinning I wrap my arms around his waist, twirling him around the kitchen.

“Of course we can.” I nip at his lips. “I am sure my family wouldn’t mind having you over anytime soon.” Greg giggles as he wraps his legs around my waist, clinging like a monkey. “You positively won them over with your charm and loveable personality.” Greg laughs carefree as I carry him upstairs, mouthing on his neck.

“Taylor!” I roll my eyes as Gordo appears at the bottom of the stairs, looking quite stern. “Don’t go there. Wait until you are home.” Shaking my head at Greg’s pouting, I place him carefully on the floor.

“Better listen to the Don.” Greg’s playful pout turns into a deep frown at my words. “Gordo used to be a Don for the family down in Tuscany.” I clarify. “He came up when my dad was Don, grandpa’s orders. I don’t know the details though.”

We spend the rest of the day downstairs in the living room instead of in my or Greg’s room like I had hoped. As frustrating it could be, we did enjoy our last days. Greg became quite fluent enough in Italian to have five minute conversations with Giorgio or my uncle Alberto. When we said goodbye in Italian and Greg blushed prettily when there were catcalls and the invitation to come again soon.

Greg, Syl and I were out cold as soon as the safety features were done. We all barely managed to keep our eyes open during the required ten minutes. “Come on guys,” I startle awake as Meredith shakes my shoulder. “We’re here.”

Blinking twice, I realise we have landed and people are disembarking the plane. “Greg, Syl, Svegliati, abbiamo bisogno di lasciare.” (wake up, we need to leave). Both bodies beside me move sluggishly at my words, both stretching and blinking. ” Qualche tempo fa abbiamo atterrato.” (We have landed a while ago.)

After some awkward shuffling, it is always a hassle to get the cases out of the overhead locker we all set foot back on home soil. “It feels weird to be here again.” Greg is eyeing the seemingly innocent light grey clouds with a certain degree of apprehension. The weather here can change in a blink of an eye.

I am surprised to see no hide nor hare of Zach or Tiago, I had expected them to meet us at the terminal. “Where are Zach and Tiago? I thought they said they were going to meet us here?” Scanning the numerous faces in the crowd, I don’t spot the two I am looking for.

“I don’t know,” Greg sounds absolutely wiped as he checks his phone. “oh, wait they just texted saying they just dropped both Nance and Lo home and are on their way here.”

The reuniting between Zach, Tiago and Greg was quite touching. Besides the fact that Zach nearly crushed him to death, it was quite emotional from them. Zach kept touch or stroking Greg’s arms or face, like to make sure he was really there. “You really do look good Greg, you look a lot better. Healthier and happier.” The last part was muttered slightly as if he wasn’t too sure whether he was pleased with the healthy glow that surrounds Greg or not.

“Thanks mom.” Greg smiles and I can see something shift inside of Zach, even Tiago looked surprised for a moment. “We had a great time! I need to show you all the pictures of the things we have seen!”

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