Mrs P’s Lullaby
A Christmas Tale
Songs I Like Series
Text copyright © 2017 Mia Soto
All Rights Reserved
Chapter 2: 2 Turtle Doves
December; Italy, Present Day
“I’m going for my run,” she called.
Serge and the kids were sitting on the beaten up couch that was there the day they moved in months ago. It may have been there since the 1400s when the home was built and it had somehow never moved out. Jonah, their sixteen year old, turned and waved. Louisa was playing on her tea set and the baby, Isa, was diligently looking for some new mischief to get into.
“Keep your eye on Isa.” She warned.
Serge was pouting in front of the TV watching a soccer match he had no interest in, refusing to answer her. The doctor had put him on rest and told him if he saw him again that year he would start giving Serge a frequent buyer rate. It was Jonah who called, “we got it Mom.”
The air was cold, frigid even. Snow was expected before Christmas and they were just north enough that they might get the kind that stuck around for a few days. The rhythm of the pounding of her feet on the cold ground was hypnotic. It allowed her mind to wander, dangerously wander.
They were in a mess, the two of them. What had happened to them? They had beaten the odds, the smoking hot Russian DQ shift manager and the smoking hot southern belle cashier. He had pursued her like a cat stalking its prey.
Many said it was the other way around. More said she landed him by getting pregnant. No few declared he was the best ticket she could find. There was some truth to the fact that many thought she might be too stupid and too poor to expect anything better than him. Nobody considered the possibility that it was love, pure and simple.
Serge was the first man who did not sum her up in total by the golden locks on her head or the piercing blue eyes that were not as dumb as some might have thought. He told her she was beautiful not only for the perfect body and face but for her mind and generous soul.
He told her he would give her the world. And he did in many ways. His ambition drove him from shift manager, to manager, to owner to corporate exec to entrepreneur before she could blink. As they rose in standing, he defended her against jealous gossip and snide comments aimed at her for her gauche tendencies and simple ways.
Still life had taken a toll. This house nestled in the picturesque international beauty of Italy was supposed to take them away from the petty expectations of a redneck society with its small minded plutocracy. All it was doing was driving the final stake through their hearts.
She took the turn onto the Medici lands to climb the highest hill in the area. The air burned her lungs as she followed her normal route plowing through the thigh high grasses. Suddenly she hit a flock of birds that scattered with cries of frustration. A gun shot, much closer than comfortable, boomed and she screeched falling to the ground in defense.
“HEY!” She cried. Then she heard muttering and a string of curses.
“You’re going to get your Goddamn head taken off lady!” The masculine voice speaking English with a thick Italian accent was angry and loud. She lifted her head over the grasses to see the tall shadow of a man striding toward her.
“I-I’m s-sorry.” The adrenaline saturated her throat making it difficult to speak.
“You should be.” He lorded over her with his hands on his hips the sun still protecting his face in a dark shadow.
She shielded her eyes from the rays of light feeling a cold sweat of relief break out all over her body. “I-I’m so sorry. Oh my god, my heart is racing. You could have killed me.”
“Hardly.” He stepped around so she would no longer have to squint up at him and oh my god, hmmm, oh my god. Was this what they meant when discussing Latin lovers? Oh, yes, indeed it was – tall, dark, and hmm, oh yes. Her mind wandered like a high school girl’s.
“I’m shooting birds, not cows or crazy Americans. Birds fly.” His look was sarcastic and not amused.
Good looking or not, he was kind of an ass. In a huff, she stood brushing herself off and planting her hands on her hips. “You know what? I said I’m sorry.”
He regarded her with an appreciative smile. A hint of humor touched his eyes. “Indeed. You did.”
“Would you like it in a formal letter?”
Yes, it was humor twinkling in his chocolate eyes. “Maybe. Let me think on that.”
“What are you doing anyway?”
“I’m hunting pheasant. Well, I was. What are you doing? This is private property.”
“Signore di Medici told me to run through whenever I wanted. So that I wouldn’t be on the roads. He passed me a few times.”
The man chuckled to himself. “Papa, always an eye for a pretty face.” The wind blew lifting her sweat soaked tendrils and he whistled under his breath.
“Wow, you look like that movie star. That one…” He struggled to find the name.
She nodded with a roll of the eyes. Charlize Theron. She had heard it a million times. Once it had made her happy, filling her with contentment to be so compared, once.
She bristled. “Anyway, see ya. Thanks for not shooting me.”
Beauty, she found, was a weapon of mass destruction. It summed you up to the world, made you hate it for how little credit it gave you and made you covet it when it decided to leave you for younger pastures.
“Did I say something?” He looked surprised, disappointed even.
“No, you’re hunting. I’m interrupting.”
“Not anymore, lady. Those birds are halfway to Chicago by now.” She laughed at the unexpected reference. “So you can stay and talk to me as a means of apology.” He sat down on the ledge of the hill opening his gun to clear the rounds.
“Sit,” he ordered and she did for some reason. “So, now, who are you?” He continued to fuss over his gun.
“Well, umm.” She fumbled around knowing she should continue her run and leave the smoking hot Italian with the perfect English wrapped in the sexy, make me yours, accent on the hill where she found him. Still, she found herself answering. “Natalie Dobrev. We moved into the Villa di Pittoresco.”
“Ohhh, you’re those Americans.” His chuckle spoke volumes about the gossip and laughter going on behind their backs.
“Yes,” she bristled and shifted to stand again.
“No, no, really no. I think it’s admirable.” He tried to stifle his smile. “If foolish. It sat for so long. Didn’t they tell you that?”
They did. As Americans they were not to be daunted, no challenge too great. “It’s a beautiful home,” she said quietly.
He gave her a thoughtful look before answering with a seriousness too great for what they were talking about. “Indeed.”
“It will be beautiful when it’s finished.” She was captured in his dark gaze like a deer in headlights.
“Like its owner,” he agreed.
Time to go. With a hearty mental shake and a figurative slap across the face, she stood up. “I need to get home.”
“Do you run every day?” He squinted up at her as she nodded. “Good, maybe I’ll see you again before I leave.”
“Leave?” Why did she feel a pang of sadness at that idea?
“Hmm, I’m the prodigal son,” he laughed before going back to his gun. “Nice to meet you, Natalie.” He annunciated every syllable in her name like the caress of a soft breeze.
“I don’t know you’re name.” She realized out loud.
“Call me,” He thought for a moment then smiled a mega watt, oh my god, smile. “Bob.”
“Bob?” She laughed and he nodded. “Ok, well, Bob,” she stressed the name with a comical flair. “Nice to know you.”
He reached up to tickle her fingers with his. “And you.” He dropped her hand as quickly as he had grabbed it and she was left with little else to do but turn and run down the mountain.