Olivia stepped off the plane nineteen hours later very tired and relieved that she could actually eat real food and stretch her legs. She walked down the steps slowly and carefully as her eyes adjusted to the darkness, she didn’t feel any different here than she did stepping off any other flight she had been on. She tossed her bag across her shoulder and looked for her car, scanning the open pavement a sleek black car with a sign that read her name and “Welcome” in English. A short sporty looking man with dark hair held the sign by the car, “I hope he speaks English, I don’t even know what to say.” She waited for her suitcase to be unloaded and brought to her as she thanked the attendants and wheeled it to over to the car. “Ms. Olivia?” The stranger said with an accent, she nodded and reached out a hand “Olivia Jepkins.” The man although short was very attractive, unlike all her father’s drivers and help. They were always older men that looked like they could have seriously kicked some ass and take names later. It always bugged her friends when they were younger because it always felt like your dad was watching and you couldn’t curse or act stupid because it probably would end up tracing back to her parents. The man took her hand into his and kissed it softly. “Piacere, it is lovely to meet you, Olivia.”
“So sol tanto un po di Italiano.” She tried explaining that she didn’t speak much Italian and that she was still learning and practicing. “Come si chiama?” With that, the man flashed a beautiful white smile, “Mi chiamo Leonardo. Your Italian isn’t bad.” He opened the rear car door for her and closed it after she stepped in, he loaded her purple suitcase and luggage in the trunk and started up the car and pulled away. “Verano is a very beautiful place, you will love it here.” The sun had set already and it was nearly 10 o’clock. “Leonardo, is there anything open right now? I’m awfully hungry.” He drove off onto a street that had many lights and people were out walking down the streets as if it were daytime. “There are plenty of places, they have a good amount of nightlife between here, and Verona. Would you like to visit the house first and settle while I pick something?” Olivia wasn’t used to her drivers making conversations like this, and choosing for her. “I think I’d like to go home first, and then we can leave together and find something.” She took out her phone and texted her parents in a group chat. “On my way to the Verona house. I will text you when I get there. Miss you already. xoxo” followed by a couple of kiss emojis.
Olivia rolled down her window and drank in the warm air as they drove to the house, Leonardo nearly waking her as he turned off the car and stepping out. She dozed off for a moment, she turned to her purse and dug out an awkward looking key and held it in her hand. “This is it, I’m home.” The house was very large and somewhat similar to what she had left back home, a small one-bedroom apartment near the campus or just a dorm room would have sufficed. But it’s not unlike her father to have the best of the best, and this was just modest. A small fountain greeted them as she unlocked the gate and stepped in, it looked like something out the movies or an old romance novel. It was a garden of flowers with benches and stone walls, she looked around and couldn’t find a light so she used her flashlight on her phone and explored in darkness. She came to another door and turned the knob, it wasn’t opening. Olivia looked around and found a little black box hung under the doorknob with a lock that had only numbers after she tried her birthday she was in and it revealed another odd-looking key which unlocked the front door. She stepped in and found a light switch.
Her father had outdone himself as always, beautiful wooden floors lead her down the hallway and into a large living room where a tv, couch and matching chase sat in the middle. She flicked on another light and headed to her left and was greeted by dimmed lights outside lighting up the pathway to a large pool. Olivia continued to explore room after room. In a whole, the house was one floor, large and roomy with three bedrooms, one which stood a new computer for her studies. She hadn’t decided which room she’d pick, why should she have to choose? Why not just switch every night until one feels like home. “Leonardo? Could you drop the bags in the living room, I’m going to find the bathroom and then we can leave.”
Olivia found herself back in the car and driving down streets she had only dreamt of. Leonardo talked to himself mostly, Olivia didn’t hear him over the beauty of a new place. She settled on pizza as they both stepped inside a small restaurant where Leonardo ordered. “Do they have Uber here?” She pipped up. Taking a large slice of pizza into his mouth he nodded and grinned, “Si, we do.” Olivia excused herself to the bathroom and slipped outside and looked around, she found what might be a bar or nightclub, either way, there was many people gathering and music pounded. She tried to memorize the name on the building and pleaded with Leonardo, “I’m so tired... Do you think you could take me home now? Thank you for suggesting this delicious pizza. It’s amazing.” She smiled and signed the receipt. “Grazie, Grazie.” He said scarfing down the last bite of pizza, “I will take you home now, tomorrow we have a early morning.” Olivia’s eyes widened, “I don’t think I understand. You’re just my driver today right?” Leonardo ushered her to the door as she spoke, “I am your driver for the first month. I am staying close by to help, I live not far.” Leonardo seemed like a nice guy but he was not the type she was interested in, he could be a good friend but she knew that whatever she did was going to be reported back to her parents. Including whoever she brought over. It was like being home all over again.
When they arrived home she waved goodbye and bid Leonardo a good night as she got inside she immediately searched through suitcases and bags to find the perfect dress. She set her mind to a small black dress with silver glitter that painted the front, spaghetti straps barely holding it up and an open back. She ran a shower and wrapped a towel around her body and headed to the bedroom dressed in neutrals. The room was a nude color with light hardwood floors and a grey faux fur rug that sat next to the bed. The headboard was covered in white fabric and the blanket was light grey. It was perfect and girly, certainly, her mom had helped her father with colors and inside design. She pulled up her phone and called her parents. “I know it’s early for you and late for me Mom. I just wanted to let you know it’s beautiful here and I love the house, I’m going to bed now. So we can catch up later, I love you guys. Buona notte.” She whispered in the large room leaving a voicemail. She dried her hair and slipped on the dress after her hair and makeup were finished she shut off the light and slipped on another pair of heels making her way for the door. A Silver car sent her on the way to a local nightclub.
The wait wasn’t as long as she slipped inside and ordered a drink. After a few sips, she headed to the dance floor and found herself lost in a dance with a tall handsome man with bulging biceps who ran his hands over her curves and tangled his fingers in the ties of her dress. She would pull away playfully as the club grew closer to closing. “I should go home,” she shouted over loud music. His strong hand gripped her wrist and made a come here motion with his free hand leading her back to the bar where he leaned back and reached for his phone. He handed it to her asking for her number, she hastily put it in and smiled, he leaned in and kissed her cheek. “Buona Notte, Il tuo sorriso è davvero bellissimi!" Her cheeks flushed a bright pink, "Mi dispiace, ma non parlo bene l'italiano." She apologized, her Italian was still building, and if she had a teacher as beautiful as him, she would have no problems learning quickly. "I do speak English as, well." He smiled in response, "I meant too, I speak English too, but not well." They both laughed and agreed to meet for coffee sometime. "I never got your name," She shouted out down the street, "Lazarus!" Olivia flashed a bright smile, "Olivia!" she shouted in response.